Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas wishes

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We are saying Thank You

A much belated Thanksgiving update. Thanksgiving is the holiday in my family. Everyone gathers at Gram and Papa's to celebrate the day. This year was different without Papa, but we managed to have fun. I told the people up here that it was more important for me to go home for Thanksgiving that it was for Christmas.

This year I am thankful for:

Time with the brother.

meeting up with part of the alphabet.

Southwest airlines.

Gram and this little guy (Colin Daniel, my baby cousin)

these lovely ladies

Gram and Papa. <3

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Racism

As part of my volunteer year, I live and work in St. Cloud with a refugee resettlement program. The majority of the refugees I help resettle hail from Somalia. They've spent the past 15-20 years living in refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, and a few other countries while a civil war has raged on in their home country. I've had a chance to get to know this refugee community. Like all of us, they have their strengths and their faults. I've learning about the Muslim culture. This experience is completely different than anything I have ever experienced.

St. Cloud, while pretty and situated nicely along the Mississippi river, is a racist town. Despite welcoming refugees into their city for upwards of 10 years, there are still many people who don't hesitate to voice their hatred of the refugee community. St. Cloud is a primarily white, German, and Catholic town. The Somali refugees are Muslim. They speak a different language. They look different. They have different dietary needs and prayer needs. Some people have embraced them as neighbors. Others...not so much.

Why do I write about this? This morning, weeks after the November election, I stumbled across two articles about a man who was elected to the school board. He has definite feelings about how Muslim students should be treated in the school district - feelings that I don't agree with. Frankly, his one statement made me sick. (Nevermind the fact that I don't think he is qualified to be an elected member of the school board). This article, originally published in the St. Cloud Times, includes the comment that I saw this morning. How he was elected to the school board, I will never understand.

After conversations with my other volunteers, I know that I (we) cannot remain silent and ignore the racism in the city that we are calling home for 10 months.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Snow Walk

"I think some traditions are nice. Birthdays. Holidays. Taking a walk in the first snow of the season." (Lorelai in Love and War and Snow)

When I was a kid, we used to take snow walks through the woods behind our house. We'd go during the first snow of the year. I always felt like I was ruining the snow because we were the first people to make footprints in the snow that barely covered the ground.

I felt like that again today as I traipsed around my neighborhood. I walked across the grass to the swingset and felt guilty. I went out by myself for my snow walk this year and couldn't believe how quiet the neighborhood was. It's never this quiet even at 10am on a Saturday morning.

I didn't mind being awoken at 9 this morning when I heard Will and Ann in the hallway. "It's snowing!" one of them exclaimed. I peeked out my window. Sure enough there was a dusting on the ground enough to cover most of the grass. I flung myself out of bed so I could eat a quick breakfast of Sr. Cordy's homemade bread and coffee before heading outside.

It's magical (and I love the pattern on the swingset).





Friday, October 22, 2010

What the World Eats

One of my friends posted this on facebook this morning. Absolutely fascinating.

What the World Eats, Part 1

Friday, October 15, 2010

colors




This is why I must always live in a town where the leaves change colors. The leaves change earlier up here in Minnesota than they do in Ohio. Now, two weeks after I took these pictures, most of the leaves have fallen. They're just reaching peak color in Ohio.

I feel more alive in the fall. I just wish the vivid reds and oranges and yellows lasted longer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

confession

I spent entirely too much money on a pair of new shoes, but they are chacos and they are oh so comfortable. I could live in them and that is saying a lot for a closed toe shoe.

{l}

Monday, September 6, 2010

after 2 weeks

St. Cloud is one of those places that I have a hard time describing. It's a college town with a downtown on the smaller side. It's a city that feels suburban. I told my dad that it's how I imagine Youngstown in the 1950s and 60s. People here are nice.

I'm working for Lutheran Social Service in a program that resettles refugees. Most of the refugees that I work with are from Somalia. A few are from Iraq. In my one week on the job, I've registered a kid for school, spent hours at social security administration registering people, went to an eye doctor appt. with someone, and filled out countless forms. It's one of those jobs that is different every day. I love that. After spending almost 2 years working at a desk for 8 hours a day, this is a welcomed change of pace.

I'm also learning the bus system. I don't have a car here so my main mode of transportation is either the bus or by foot. I'm frustrated that my place of work is at the end of the bus route so I have an extra long (almost an hour) commute in the morning. If I had a car, it'd take me less than 10 minutes. The other 4 volunteers in my program don't have cars either.

Sometimes I have moments when I think, "holy crap. I'm living in Minnesota" and then I go back to my regular life of trying to help refugees or cooking dinner with the other volunteers.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Home for the next 10 months


Mississippi River by the campus of St. Cloud State University.

This Mississippi River is about a 10 minute walk from my house in St. Cloud - my new home - where I'm spending the next 10 months engaged in a volunteer program.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

more recently

Spent a weekend in Monroe, MI where I met some lovely people.

River House in Monroe. This is where I stayed. It overlooked the River Basin.
I'd love to go back and spend more time.

Drive home on the turnpike from Monroe.

I spent a week hanging out with these dogs (Cayleigh (L) and Maggie (R)).
Needless to say, I'm really not a dog person.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kiawah



You Should Spend Your Summer at the Beach




You're a free spirit who is always thinking of new ways to have fun.

And you don't just love summer... you live for it.

So, you really should blow off your responsibilities and head to the beach!


We used to spend a week every summer at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. The entire family (mom's side) would go. When I was younger, my grandparents owned a cottage. A couple years after Hurricaine Andrew, Papa sold the cottage. We'd stay in various condos closer to the beach than the condo. My family stopped going when I was in middle school, but my aunts, uncles, and cousins still go almost every summer. This week, my cousin Sarah is spending her honeymoon in Kiawah. To say that I am jealous would be an understatement.


{l}

I'd love to go back to Kiawah - to see what's become of the island that I thought my grandparent's owned. Everyone says that it's become more tourist-y and busy. I miss the lazy weeks spent playing at the beach, learning to swim in the kiddy pool, fishing in the ocean, and dancing at parties.

Sometimes, I step outside and it smells like Kiawah. It's in the air - the humidity mixed with flowers and sunblock. For a minute, I think I'm walking to the beach instead of looking at the pot hole filled Glenwood Ave.

lower case letters

I've always had an affinity fower lower case letters. I was the smart kid in preschool who asked the teacher if she could right her name in all lower case letters. I promised Mrs. Cunningham that I knew how to make the letters and I even knew "that I's really should never be lower case." She let me - probably to see if I'd actually know how to write the letters. I remember sitting at the table and scrawling my name across the top of the paper. My classmates were struggling to write their names, but I could write my name in lower case letters.
{l}
Even today, I favor lower case over upper case. I hate the look of the capital "I." I hated when facebook no longer let me list my favorite movies, books, etc. in lower case letters. My fancy phone automatically capitalizes all letters after a period even if I don't want it to. I told this to my aunt who said it was because I always had to do what people told me was wrong. I think that's wrong. I simply like lower case letters better. I don't ignore the shift key because I'm lazy.

I'm still a grammatical snob. I can't begin a sentence with a lower case "I." I can't begin sentences with lower case letters when it's something for other people to read. I don't want someone to think I'm lazy. I don't want people to think that my language is text speak or whatever it's called.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Becoming a regular

I've been spending time at Caribou under the guise of "working on my resume and applications." Yesterday, I managed to knock out my resume. I thought I had long lost the resume I created at Westminster, but last weekend I remembered that I had emailed it to a professor when he agreed to serve as a reference. It was still in my email. Thank goodness I rarely delete emails. I really didn't want to create a new resume. I rearranged, added a few publications, my latest work info, and viola.

I picked Caribou because it is significantly quieter than Barnes and there are far more interesting people to watch. Barnes has the daily crowd of old folks. Caribou has crazy people including the former karate master who used to date my mother, but is now partially paralyzed after a massive stroke a couple years ago and his posse. He sits outside every day with the aging left handed hippie who works on the crossword puzzle, the mother who arrives with the young girl who walks a stuffed animal, and a revolving door of additional characters. Today, there's a bearded kid (young man) wearing Keds and listening to music that's seeping out of his iPod headphones. We kept eying each other. I was convinced that he went to my high school. (He did).

I rebelled and changed my order today. Just as the girl started to punch in my regular order (small iced mocha), I ordered an iced mocha. I've got to keep the girl on her toes.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Lovin'

I have a feeling that this summer will be fantastic and I have grand plans for it. Immersion week in July followed immediately by Sarah's wedding, a weekend trip to Notre Dame with the family, and a possible trip to Monroe, MI to hang out with some fabulous ladies. I'm unemployed and I feel as though I have summer by the fingertips. I want to take unplanned road trips and give my scheduled friends a shake. I want to fill an album with candid photos because they are real.

I found myself looking forward to this summer like I did when I was little - when my only worry was that my bedtime was an hour earlier than my younger neighbors. In all actuality, I should be searching for a new job and fine tuning the resume that I can't find. I like summer much better when I forget about the stress of "adult" life.

When I was in elementary school, my family used to take weekend trips with good friends. They had 3 daughters and I was best friends with Marie, who was 6 months older than me. We’d venture up to Niagara Falls for a weekend or Lake Erie. Anywhere. I want that again. Aside from a lack of income, nothing is holding me back.

 
Ready, set, go! (My 8 year old self at Niagra Falls.
Please ignore the spandex shorts and fanny pack).

Monday, June 14, 2010

changes


I'm actually leaving my job and it didn't require that much of a notice. I gave them an almost 2 week notice. My last day is Friday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Life Presently

One of my friends has a facebook album called "my life presently." For some reason, the album makes me smile everytime I see it. My life's been full of friends, unproductive days at work, and tornado warnings. I like knowing that I'm busy - that my evenings and weekends aren't spent at home.


I write with the purple pen when I need a pick-me-up.


We've been friends since high school.

No night out is complete without Dunkin Donuts.

Driving down Market St. in Youngstown. I feel like I've lived on this street as of late.

Thursday evening brought tornado warnings and heavy rains.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?


My passport finally arrived in the mail today! Now I just need to plan an adventure.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

check this. follow him/her. update that.


Dear Twitter,
This is goodby. I signed up because I wanted to see what everyone was talking about. I do not care to tweet. I do not care to update my status all the time or know when my friend is taking a shower. Some things weren't meant to share with a general audience. I put your applicatio on my phone. That's when I realized that I was disgusted with myself for even signing up.

I'm tweeted out.

Sincerely,
Eilis

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Found.


Found while cleaning. A note to my writing professor senior year. It must have been second semester when I was taking a poetry class. I'm not much of a poetry person, but I loved that poetry class. I was writing creative nonfiction for Jim's class and having a hard time switching back and forth between the two.

I miss writing. I don't do it enough anymore.

Monday, May 3, 2010

To days of inspiration

To days of inspiration
Playing hookey
making something
Out of nothing, the need
To express -
To communicate
To going against the grain
Going insane,
Going mad







Sunday, April 25, 2010