If you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious!

Um diddle-diddly um diddle-lie!

If you have no idea to what I am referring, I suppose I can forgive you…but really?

MARY POPPINS! “She’s….supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…”

Wonderful movie. Wonderful. I love it now, and I loved it as a child.

I had the soundtrack on tape, and my sister and cousins and I would choreograph (brilliant!) dances to the songs and perform them. We played “Posts everyone!” at my grandma’s a lot: someone would yell “Posts everyone!” and we’d all find a wall to hold together while a fake cannon went off, and then we’d go around smacking walls to straighten invisible paintings and put imaginary vases back on imaginary rolling pianos. The tea party on the ceiling that I always wanted never quite happened. We’d draw pictures on the sidewalk (never quite as good as Bert’s), then we’d wink, we’d think, we’d do a double blink, close our eyes, and JUMP! And long before I ever had a clue what rum punch was, I could imitate Mary Poppins drinking her rum punch medicine, then hiccuping, and licking her finger. (“Quite satisfactory.”)

I studied abroad for a semester in England in college. We took a British studies trip to St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Very few people truly understood my giddiness as I sat on the steps of St. Paul’s with the birds and my tuppence. (Tuppence=two pence/pennies. I sadly didn’t have a tuppence coin, but my two Ps worked out quite nicely.) I was only a little bit disappointed when there wasn’t actually a bird lady there waiting to take my tuppence and give me a bag to feed the birds.

“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag…” on the steps of St. Paul’s!

The other day on Pinterest, I saw a quote from the movie, along with a cutout of Mary Poppins flying with her umbrella. I enjoyed it a lot (and sadly didn’t repin, I’m bad about that when I’m browsing). But I had an even better idea of what I wanted the quote to look like. So I made one for myself, and it turned out almost exactly how I’d pictured it in my head! It will soon be framed, and hanging up where I can see it all the time. But I don’t want to make you wait, so here it is, in all its glory:

(You get the “fun” stripes inside the drab, everyday black umbrella, right?)

The quote was printed, of course, but the umbrella I completely cut out of cardstock/scrapbook paper by hand. And Mary Poppins’s name just happens to be traced in ink from her name on the tape measure: “Practically Perfect in Every Way.”

(Repin it on Pinterest if you like!)

The Google image of the tape measure that I traced came from a blog post that has actually made me love the movie even more. The author analytically and academically (and theologically—don’t think there’s an “a” word for that) broke down almost every aspect of the movie and compared it to Christianity (more specifically, Catholicism). There’s no Christ figure in the movie, but he compares Mary Poppins to Mary, the Mother of God, and Bert to her husband, St. Joseph. And that’s just the beginning. No analogy is perfect, of course, but I’m amazed at how far he’s able to explain so many little details of the movie regarding Christianity. Take a look for yourself here. But be warned: I think it’s literally the longest blog post I’ve ever seen! I’ve gotten about halfway through it, but it really is amazing. (For example: he breaks Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious up into Latin roots and finds relevant meaning for the word as a whole.) I will never watch Mary Poppins the same way again.

In summary: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

I think this film qualifies as a thing of beauty.

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7 Quick Takes: Volume 3

It’s not Friday anymore, but the lovely Jennifer @Conversion Diary is still hosting these 7 Quick Takes!

1)

Remember perler beads? Those little bitty plastic things that you put on a pegboard in some sort of design, then use an iron to melt them together? (Personally, they make me think of sledding. Weird, I know, but at my cousins’ house, when we’d take a break from sled riding, we drank hot chocolate and played with “ironing beads.” Good times!)

I saw these portraits the other day, made from, yep, you guessed it, those iron-together beads.

I could do that, right?

So I felt inspired…but that didn’t last long. I attempted to bead my JW logo. I sort of succeeded, but it looked absolutely nothing like it did in my head. My bead supply was also rather limited.

My calling is probably not to melt plastic beads together. But then again, this was my first attempt in about 15 years, so hey!

2)

Cows in the backyard (behind a fence). I think that cattle head-on might always look angry, even if they’re just confused.

This calf was not even thinking about charging. Really. He’s just hungry.

3)

I was hanging out with Pope Benedict XVI the other day. In Indianapolis. No big deal. He was shorter than I expected. And really quiet.

And a bit 2-d from the side, since he’s just a cutout. (Shh!)

I also hung out with some other cool people—the IndyCatholic Young Adult group. A wonderful community! And it was great hanging out with my friend Kate (on the right) from camp, otherwise known as Shark Bait (oo ah ah!) Kate. 🙂

4)

Speaking of Kate, I stayed at her place in Indy. I’d forgotten how much more interesting older house/apartments can be. The house I lived in the past few years was built recently, in a neighborhood of very similar-looking houses. Not so in this neighborhood, not so. Check out the ironwork on the front door:

Character.

Love it.

5)

I also had a lot of fun a few days later eating out and wandering through antique shops with some of my aunts. We saw more cool old stuff. One of my aunts asked me if I liked looking at antiques (…or if I was just allowing myself to be dragged through the shops…). I love looking through old stuff, though, and as I told her, I also like taking pictures of it! I showed her this photo I took of an old chandelier:

she just said, “you see things differently sometimes, don’t you?”

Yep, that’s what I’m going for. 🙂

Isn’t that wallpaper behind the chandelier fantastic, too??

6)

One of the antique shops had a collection of old Oz books. My parents used to host Wizard of Oz themed parties every year (BC: Before Children), so I’ve always thought the Yellow Brick Road was pretty great. But I had no idea there were so many sequels to the original book:

Hungry Tiger? Pirates? Tik-Tok? Gnome King? And I thought Jitterbugging trees were cool.

(Sidenote, though: L. Frank Baum apparently didn’t write all of these…Some sort of fanfiction, I guess.) Well, that’s a horse of a different color!

7)

Lucky number seven has more old stuff! This is in my possession, though. 528 cool points to anyone who can guess what this is before you read the answer. (No cheating! Arbitrary cool points are a big deal!)

A clock? No, not exactly…

It’s a darkroom timer. It turns the enlarger light off at the precise time that you set it to. Ahhh, I can’t wait to find a place to actually use it. My uncle gave me all of his old darkroom equipment that he found in his garage—two enlargers and lots of other necessary equipment. I got it all out accidentally today…meaning, it literally fell on top of me off the top shelf in the storage room of the basement. After I surmised that I wasn’t actually hurt (and hopefully neither was any of the equipment), I looked through it all again. I played with one of the enlargers for a while, and put some old film onto the developing reel to make sure it still works. It does! (37 bonus cool points if anyone can tell me why I had the song “Walk it out” stuck in my head the rest of the day.)

~

Even more cool points opportunities:
• Best cutout you’ve ever had the privilege of having your photo taken with? (It’s pretty hard to beat Papa!)
• Coolest iron bean design you ever did?
• Craziest thing you’ve ever seen in an antique/old junk store?

I’m falling asleep, so I’ll award more arbitrary cool points later for other things I like if you comment them!

A Sock in the Woods: 7 Quick Takes about camp

I got to visit camp this past week.

Hold on. Let me try that again: I GOT TO VISIT CAMP LAST WEEK!! The kids were gone for the summer, but it was so great to see the place.

I was on staff there for three summers, during college. (I didn’t go there as a kid, sadly.) I don’t think I’m exaggerating at all when I say that it was the best summer job ever. I got to play with kids all summer. Kids who looked up to me, and thought that I was cool simply because I was their counselor, and I loved them. And I got paid for it.

I don’t think that I can adequately put into words exactly what being on staff (rather, being a “role model”) at this Catholic camp has meant to me. The things I learned there about people, about myself, about God and the way He sees each of us…well, those things have become part of me. It’s the kind of thing that I’m not conscious of most of the time, but when I went back to visit, memories started coming back, too.

So because I don’t want to bore you by going on and on with excited camp story word vomit, I’ll do this in Seven Quick Takes! Hopefully they’ll be somewhat poignant and funny and touching and ridiculous and whatever else…but if not, thanks for indulging me. I know that most of this probably won’t make much sense to people who’ve never been there, but I hope you get something out of it! (More quick takes by Jennifer and friends at Conversion Diary.)

1) Completely unexpected, yet thoroughly predictable

Sock #4287. And none of them have matches.

One of the first things I saw in the woods on my visit the other day was this sock, hiding in the woods beneath some leaves. I almost couldn’t stop laughing enough to steady my hand to take this pic. (It might just be one of those “have to be there” kind of things…I don’t think me explaining will even be funny.) The camp has a collection of single socks that have been picked up in the woods throughout the summer. How a kid can lose just one sock in the woods—while either wearing two socks under tennis shoes or no socks with flip flops—is beyond me. I guess that’s so like kids, though. People in general, really: completely unexpected at times, and yet, thoroughly predictable. And they just make me smile.

2) Setting boundaries

Like the pirate code…they’re really more like guidelines…

One of the coolest parts about the camp I worked at was the discipline system, or rather, the lack of a discipline system. The way we treated the campers was based on the way St. John Bosco treated the kids he hung out with and worked with. Basically, instead of waiting to punish someone when they do something wrong, love them and give them attention so they will respect you and won’t do anything wrong in the first place. It’s kind of amazing how simple it is, and how well it works. (It helped having a 1 to 4 camper to kid ratio, too.) We didn’t have rules, we set expectations…and held the kids to those standards. I lost my voice often from yelling—not at kids, but with them. (Riiiise and shiiine and give God the glory, glory….silver FOX :)…going on a squeegee hunt…have you ever seen a penguin come to tea? (or was that company? whatever…it was definitely a fox and not a fish though) and the great camp AMEN!)

3) Traditions!

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING EVERYONE!

Singing “Grand Old Flag” every morning normally, then fast, then slow, then really fast… and hearing the same (lame!) jokes every. single. week. Sometimes every day. And usually told badly. (“Cheese that’s not mine? Hm…”) Living for the moment when out of the blue some kid tells a legitimately hilarious joke and we’d actually laugh instead of politely “da do do ch”-ing them. Hearing the weather (will today be one of the three cloudless days of the Indiana summer??) more or less straight from the ambulance-chaser-who-shall-no-longer-be-named, because, well….we just won’t get into that. (If you were there, you know how awesomely ridiculous it got to be. If you weren’t, don’t worry about it.)

And those are just a few of the flagpole traditions. That’s about 15 minutes of the day. This post barely even scratches the surface.

4) Having a blast.

“Ok, fine, I’ll go on the ridiculously fun swing again if I have to…” 🙂

Working at camp wasn’t easy. We were “on” 22 hours a day, five or six days a week for nine weeks straight. But it is seriously SO MUCH FUN. Some weeks were better than others, and there’s this collective exhaustion from the staff that sort of sneaks up on you sometime around week 5 or so. (Maybe that was week 2?) It’s the good kind of exhaustion, though, the kind that realizes (perhaps even more in hindsight) that it’s all way worth it. And did I mention that we had a great time? I’m pretty sure I learned all my best dance moves at camp, but people other places just don’t quite understand why my dancing is so…awesome.

5) Awesome staff

Some of the coolest people in the world.

Sometimes staff time hanging out on the weekends were even more fun than camp weeks…which was hard to do. I don’t think we ever really got out of camp mode all summer. We’d show up to Chili’s on a Friday night in groups of 20 or more, entertaining the waitresses with pirate jokes (I don’t remember if Jesse ended up getting a date out of that one or not…). There were slack-jaw dance-offs while eating ice cream, rolling down hills right before watching amazing sunsets, and the best star-gazing ever on the basketball courts (always with at least one shooting star!). We played way more intense versions of Canada Game in the rain while pelting each other with water balloons. (We never did play staff Gold Rush…huh. Surprise! ;)) And there was the weekend that the road flooded and the camp bus (sweet Caroline) died while valiantly attempting to ford the raging creek to get us all to church. She came back to life again, though, don’t worry!

6) Witnessing growth

Beautiful.

As a camp counselor, I was privileged to witness firsthand (and even have a small part in) kids maturing by leaps and bounds in the course of a week. Often this was because of the camp’s inclusive program—anyone can come to camp and participate, regardless of physical or mental ability. Integrating the kids with extra needs in with the groups was the best thing that could have happened for everyone involved. Take, for example, the girls who didn’t quite know what to do with the girl in their group who had some mobility challenges. By the end of the week they were helping her walk everywhere! There was the guy who at the beginning of the week I would have sworn was one of those “too cool for school” types. He was the only person in the guys’ cabin who could calm a cabin-mate down and get him to go to bed without screaming. It’s amazing how much we can all learn from each other.

7) Seeing God

Staff-decorated altar cloth (please note the lovely serif font. Yes, Kate and I know we are awesome)

We had the opportunity to end each camp week with Mass in the amphitheater. It was always a beautiful way to end the week, praying together one last time before everyone went home. Living in such close quarters with so many people brings out the best and the worst in people, but the best tends to be the part that really shines. And God is able to use the hard stuff to eventually draw us closer to each other and to him. He can teach us about himself by allowing us to learn from others.

I hope that through camp, I was able to reach out to even just one person the way that so many people affected me.

My staff block (along with my sister’s) in the Handicrafts building. The paint fades a lot faster than the memories.

Got any CYO Camp (or just camp in general) stories or memories of your own?? I wanna hear ’em!! (Keep it appropriate, por favor.)

A bad joke, some decent photos, a lot of random: 7 Quick Takes Friday

What did the mama tomato say to the baby tomato when she was behind on her blog photos?

KETCHUP and make a 7 Quick Takes post! he.he.he. So I’m going to play the red sauce game now. Please don’t expect a theme throughout, because there isn’t one. (Even within each take. Don’t pretend like you haven’t been warned.)

For more Quick Takes, check out Jennifer @ConversionDiary. She’s such a good hostess!

~

Uno:

Chai for me, please!

One way I unwind is by making homemade, hand-stamped greeting cards…and whatever else I feel like stamping up at the time. So here’s some of my work!  I just sent this a good friend of mine from college, just ‘cuz. I’d seen the quote on something in some gift shop somewhere, and knew it needed to get to her somehow. She drinks more tea than most of the other people I know—combined. 🙂 (Isn’t hyperbole just the absolute most bestest thing ever?)

~

Dos:

Baby white tail deer all alone in the park!

I went walking in the park, and this adorable little guy was on a walk, too. I had to do the digital zoom thing, because I didn’t want to scare him off, so this one’s a little fuzzy. But aren’t they so cute when they’re little (and not splattered on the side of the road or all over your bumper…ew, sorry…)???

~

Tres:

Just another walk in the park.

The sun was shining perfectly through the trees right on these flowers. They were practically shouting, “Shoot me! Shoot me! With your camera, of course!” I couldn’t say no.

~

Quattro:

Check out those details! So cool!

A doorknob in my church. I doubt it was around when the church was built (1850 or so!), but it’s still kinda old. They definitely don’t make ’em quite like they used to. Quill in an inkwell, anyone? (Ohhh, thought tangent…Heroes in a half shell! :))

~

Cinco:

Of course not!

“Safe? Of course he isn’t safe! But he’s good. He’s the King!”

^One of my favorite-ever quotes from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. One of the beavers was telling the children (Lucy in particular, I believe) about Aslan, the lion. Mmmm. Wonderful.

I’d considered going all Instagram on this one in Photoshop, but I couldn’t do it. I guess I’m just a purist. And I love capturing details that are already there. Our surroundings are often interesting enough without filtering them. (Not that I have anything against filters…or messing with photos. Sometimes that’s just fun!) I’m also loving the blackletter going on here. (I don’t think I mentioned…this photo is from a…guess: SAFE. The thing is legit—it’s taller than I am.)

~

Seis:

Dear A.E.&S.: thanks for the cool brick.

Shot outside my church. (I’m pretty sure I could do this whole blog with photos from my church. It’s chock-full of beauty in the details. Again, they seriously don’t build them like they used to! Beautiful churches and cathedrals are such an awesome testament to God’s beauty….even though they don’t even come close! Thanks for trying, though! And thank you, Catholicism, for understanding our very real need to experience beauty, through all our senses! God is good. All the time.

~

Siete:

Oh, and speaking of beauty…

A very cool sunset slash thunderstorm!

(Does anyone remember the Animaniacs? Anvilania? Their national anthem? I couldn’t find an actual video of it, but: “The national anthem [of Anvilania] consists of Perry Coma singing the word ‘Anvilania’ three times in a drowsy tone, putting almost everyone who hears it to sleep.” Citing my source. (Wow. I just started talking about beauty and ended up singing Anvilania in my head. Fairly warned, my friends, fairly warned.))

~

Aaaaaand on that note, happy Friday, everyone.

On your mark, get set, FLAMINGO!

Welcome to the blog of a four-time finalist in the National Flamingo Racing Association.

“Is that a real association?” you ask. Well, I’d say that depends on your definition of “real.” 🙂 It has been in existence for over 30 years, and there’s a race every year that’s a pretty big deal to those who know about it. But it’s not exactly official. And the NFRA, as we like to call it, has almost zero web presence. It’s a bunch of family and friends getting together to have a BLAST at an event called Cornfest—because we eat corn, of course. I guess you could argue that it’s a little corny, too. Which makes it some of the best kind of fun.

“Are they real flamingoes that you race?” you may also ask. Well, that may also depend on your definition of “real.” They are very real flamingo marionettes, and they most definitely have personalities all their own. Take, for example, “Don’t Bug the Lady,” a black spotted red bird with a ‘tude. Or “Irish Eyes,” whose slightly inward-turned feet and rich heritage make her a wonderful racing flamingo. There’s “Ringo Flamingo,” sporting some sweet Beatles graphics and his very own drum, and the “Bird of Pray,” a bird complete with a nun’s habit and crucifix. I could seriously go on forever—there are well over 20 awesome racing birds to date—but I’ll just let you check out the youtube video whenever I get it finished. (Hopefully that will give you a better idea of what the heck I’m going on about, as well. There truly just are no words. Oh, and did I mention that there’s almost zero alcohol involved, as well? We’re just that ridiculously awesome.)

For now, as promised last post, I’ll just show you the bird I painted this year. She’s a “Wannabe.” Long story. But to truncate it (oh, how I wish that could have been a flamingo pun instead of a potential elephant one…useless), a few of my cousins and I who had never won decided we were “wannabe champions.” So we made t-shirts. One of us has gone on to win it all. I, on the other hand, have not…so I painted a wannabe champion bird to celebrate. 🙂 She was chosen to race in a majority of races this year, and she won a few of them, too! I was proud.

Lookin’ good, isn’t she? Simple but effective.

She’s based loosely on me…a few years ago I showed up to Cornfest decked out in my gray Wannabe t-shirt, black flip-flops & sunglasses, and, of course, neon pink tights under my shorts. (I didn’t feel that my flamingo friend needed the shorts.)

To be perfectly honest, it would probably be less fun to be a champion than a wannabe. But I won’t stop trying! There’s always next year!

Happy Cornfest! 😀

Because abstract art has feelings, too.

Yeah, just kidding. Art doesn’t have feelings. It does evoke them, however. And abstract art can definitely evoke feeling, even if that feeling is utter discombobulation.

So I was painting a flamingo today (true story…more on that in a future post…stay tuned :)) and I thought my scrap paper paint palette looked really cool. And BOOM, there you have it: photo of the day.

It doesn’t take much. But I did put a little bit of thought into this one. Forget Duchamp, this is art! 🙂

I’m excited to share with you about flamingoes, flamingo racing, and the like. My family is so cool! But you’ll just have to wait…

Raindrops …falling on my head!

Wow. I just did a scroll-down of my blog, and there’s a lot of randomness going on. But, as a good friend of mine would correct me, nothing is random. I guess you’re just seeing some of the bits of me that may or may not all seem to be cohesive!

 

Today it rained. Not a lot. But it was still exciting. And I captured some of the raindrops falling off the shed roof! Check it:

What??? You don’t see those two drops tumbling off the roof? They’re there, I promise! The dog saw them. He knows.

 

SEE? I told ya! 🙂