I have 6,395 songs in my itunes

Sunday, February 24, 2013

It used to be upwards of 10,000
but technology hates me (The story on that is a veritable Tess of the D'Urbervilles, in which all apple products play the villain Alec. Alas, there is neither time nor space here to list my indignances here.) 

The REAL tragedy here, 
is that of those 6,395 songs, 
only 48 are Celine Dion. 

It's 9:20 on Sunday night,
I am WAY behind for my exam
and WAY WAY behind on my sleep
The only thing to get me through the final study push for tonight is melodramatic lyrics and powerful, emotional vocals. 

And perhaps the  biggest tragedy is that I am not ashamed.
Not one iota. 
Love you, Celine <3 

EDIT: This morning I realized that it is just a TEENY bit possible that this post is the result of some major pre-menstrual emotionality...

getting through a head and neck lecture...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I am having a productive day. 

σε μία εβδομάδα

Thursday, February 21, 2013

this guy moves across an ocean to be with me
 (no, not the baby. the bearded one. the baby wants nothing to do with me)
He's tall, pale and handsome

he likes taking silly photos

...ahem. he likes taking silly photos A LOT

he's very wise

 he loves adventure
it's amazing how he can't stop moving... I am convinced that the only thing more energetic than him was our Jack Russel Terrier (Skipper, RIP little dude <3).

oh, and he carries the backpack if I whine enough ;-) 
basically, he's just the kind of person you'd want to wander with.
 and I like him love him a lot!
although judging from this photo, he does not reciprocate. hehe! 

Music Monday (on Tuesday)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

So we're coming up around exam time here in med school world. Which means I am about to enter a hole of darkness, despair and cramming going to be really really busy for the next week or so. I am currently feeling a little like this:

You knew that was coming, didn't you?
I mean, I didn't call this blog Lord of the Rings (and other such things) for nothing! 

In the meantime, 
this song is guaranteed to lift your spirits. 
I could go on about the warm fuzzy feeling I get from the guitar
or that rich voice that sounds like honey 
(if honey could talk, that is. In case you haven't noticed, this is not a very realistic blog)
Or those lyrics that somehow say everything you're feeling.

Yea, I love this song. 
I'll shut up now.

(p.s. if you watch the video AND the gif at the same time, it kind of looks like gollum is grooving along to the music. fyi.) 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I have to admit, Valentine's Day is not my favorite holiday. Any holiday relying on so much red and pink and frilliness is bound to get on my nerves. But there's also something kind of sweet about it. It's a friendly reminder to show our love and compassion, not just for boyfriends and girlfriends and crushes and the like, but also towards family and friends, and hopefully beyond February 14th.

Love graffiti in Heraklion, Crete- thanks boyfriend!

After all, there's more than one type of love. The way I feel about my Mom is quite different from the way I feel about the person I am with, though I love them both very much. The medievals had it right- they had quite a few different words for different types of love, defined by Saint Augustine, Andreus Capellanus and later C.S. Lewis. More details can be found in this awesome book, but here's a few brief definitions:

  • Amor: courtly love- usually between two people who really shouldn't be together; love is in some way unattainable (think Lancelot and Guinevere- but seriously, who cheats with the queen's wife?). This kind of love is a paradox, as it is forbidden and passionate and yet at the same time noble and "morally elevating" (where they came up with this stuff, I have no clue. But women used to tweeze back their hair to make their foreheads appear larger in those days, so I don't ask questions.) 
  • Caritas- Latin for charity; this is the love of God that St Augustine discusses in City of God. It was always my favorite. It's not rooted in emotion or passion, but in altruism, friendship and virtue. It is "the motion of the soul towards God for His sake and towards one's self and one's fellow man for the sake of God" (source here
  • Cupiditas: sensual, desirous love (Romeo and Juliet, I'm looking at you) It is selfish (and it kind of sucks.) It is a quest to satisfy one's natural urges, a love of the world and worldly things. It's quite the opposite of Caritas. 
  • Affectio: the affection or fondness a spouse feels for their husband or wife, the appropriate bond between two lovers in an appropriate marriage (none of this medieval ashleymadison.com amor stuff.) 

There are probably a couple more medieval loves that I've missed, but you get the idea. Love is dynamic, so having multiple words for it kind of makes sense.

Anyways, the point of this post was originally to teach the boyfriend about Saint Valentine, but it appears that (a) there are many Saint Valentines and (b) their lives and works have already been summarized very nicely here. For example,  one legend has Saint Valentine secretly wedding soldiers to their loves, which was apparently against the law at the time, while another tells of his ending of a quarrel between two lovers by approaching them with a rose and counseling them briefly. The couple later came to him to bless their marriage.

source here
Any way you cut it, Valentine's Day is a pretty commercial holiday, but that doesn't mean we can't make something good out of it. Beyond thoughtful acts or a a friendly reminder to someone you care about that they're loved, a little compassion really does go a long way.

Chrestos of Albania

Monday, February 11, 2013

I love trees.

and flowers.

and moss.

and nature. anything that grows, really...

So when I opened the Orthodox Weekly Bulletin this past Sunday in church I was really excited to read about Saint Chrestos of Albania, a simple Istanbul Constantinople (sorry, I had to!) gardener who was martyred for Christ in the 18th century. I can't find him on Orthodoxwiki, but his story was written and published by the Orthodox Weekly Bulletin (this mini-homily that is put out with the announcements in some churches:)

"From his youth he was a lover of nature, finding great joy in caring for the plants and flowers that beautified God's creation." 
 A saint after my own heart. Might have to add him to the list of awesome-saints-for-baby-names.

"He was a devout Christian, and he found that his gardening made him feel closer to God, Who originally intended for mankind to live forever in the Garden of Eden." 

The story continues that he arrived in Istanbul and began tending to the Sultan's gardens due to his talent with horticulture and gift for making beautiful things grow. His fellow workers accused him of ridiculing the Muslim faith, resulting in his imprisonment and torture for many years. Although the sultan offered him freedom and his previous employment back if he'd only give up his Christian faith, Chrestos refused, even refraining from food and drink in the days leading up to his execution because he wished to die "hungering and thirsting" for being with Christ. He was beheaded February 12th.
icon found here

This little exemplary solidified something I've always felt- beyond the church, God is closest to us in nature. the natural world- the woods, and fields, the trees and meadows- are earth as God intended it to be (or as close as we can get to that, at least in this world.) It's a shame we don't take better care of what is left of it.

What did you learn in school today?

Today we learned to cast a simple wrist fracture here at the college of medicine. It was great fun (and probably good that we practiced on each other before dealing with a real live injured person.) Sometimes I need days like this to break up the monotony of plain old booklearning.  
Mine was blue! and my partner did a much prettier job at the hand-end of the cast.

While my job on my partner's arm didn't end up anywhere near perfect, I love these hands-on experiences. They're sort of like friendly little reminders that there's life beyond exams and textbook studying, and they get me excited for clinical rotations- only 4 short months away :) I can't wait.

What did you learn in school today?

The Lord Will Fight For You

You need only to be still
 Exodus 14:14

Dare We Hope For the Salvation of All?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The following is an excerpt of The Inner Kingdom, by Metropolitan Timothy Ware:

It was particularly characteristic of the Staretz Silouan to pray for the dead suffering in the hell of separation from God.. He could not bear to think that anyone would languish in “outer darkness.” I remember a conversation between him and a certain hermit, who declared with evident satisfaction, “God will punish all atheists. They will burn in everlasting fire.”

Obviously upset, the Staretz said, “Tell me, supposing you went to paradise, an there looked down and saw somebody burning in hell-fire- would you feel happy?”

“It can’t be helped. It would be their own fault,” said the hermit.

found this lovely drawing by Heather Young here 

The Staretz answered him with a sorrowful countenance. “Love could not bear that,” he said. “We must pray for all.”