Where do you find 6 strong men on a Monday morning?!

I know, I know, it’s been 7 months since I’ve written on here. In my defense, I’ve been busy. I’ve been busy acclimating to Wisconsin, making a life here, and in general, working – except, it doesn’t feel like work (most days). My job is so incredibly random during any given week…I’m never sure what to expect, or even who to expect.

Technically, my job description is to do exactly what I used to do… raise money for a cause. Well, I work for a Catholic Church, so I can’t really imagine a better cause than working for God. Win. (some of my close friends just giggled.., yeah, giggled.)

Anyhow, while my job description is so similar to my past experience, what I actually do every day is not.

We are doing a church renovation (and it is almost done…whooooh!!), and one of my days last week began like this:

7:30am – Phone Call from Parishioner – “Carly, the tile people are here to put the tile down, but they need the altar to be moved. “

“Okay, I can figure that out. How heavy is it?”

“You’ll need about 6 really strong men.”

“Great. I’ll call you back.”

Let me just pause here to let you know I had not had a full cup of coffee, I was running around trying to get my dog finished with his morning…routine. And, I had no idea, NO IDEA, where I was going to find 6 strong men in Wisconsin on a Monday morning when school is out of session.

So, the only thing I can think is to call the other church and see if THEY have people around to help.  And have a minor panic attack.

“Lorraine, hi, hey, good morning. It’s Carly. Our tile people are here and the altar is still on the riser and they need it moved, but it is very heavy, and I have only lived here a few months so I don’t know many people who are strong enough to lift it while the college kids are away. Do you know anyone at St. Mary’s? “

My phone didn’t stop ringing until about 9am . The calls went back and forth about getting people to help, to people telling me the altar was finally moved.

People come together quickly in small(er) places. I didn’t even GET to the Church until people were pulling away 10 minutes later, after having already helped.

And no, it didn’t take 6 super strong people. It took 2 larger men, 2 women, and 1 college student. Pshhhh…and maybe a little help from God on a Monday morning.

Two Copper Coins

I went back to work today, after what felt like the longest vacation I have ever had. I feel refreshed, happy, and looking forward to this week and, well, all of 2013. There are so many things to look forward to… Friends getting married, having babies, little ones growing up, people achieving their goals. Sharing in these joys is one of my favorite things to do, and no matter where I am, I will participate as much as possible. (PROMISE!)

Sunday was Three Kings day…or the gift of the magi. This is the day we celebrate the 3 Kings who came to give baby Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gold symbolizes giving Jesus all of our material wealth. The frankincense, an incense, is what we use to worship Jesus. Myrrh was used as a perfume, so it symbolizes us giving our bodies to our Lord, as pure as humanly possible. I’m sure more educated people could go more in depth, but this is the easiest way for me to understand this great feast.

Even if you aren’t religious, you’ve probably heard the story of the woman who gave 2 small coins to the church. If not…please read below:
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.  42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

These verses always get me. Amazing, right? This poor woman gave away everything she had to give.

No, this isn’t a bible lesson. These are verses that touched me this morning when I came into work.

I walked into my office and found a letter sitting on my desk. The letter was from a husband and wife whose son goes to the local university. The man wrote about how he wished his son participated more with the church and Newman Center. He enclosed a check and said “I know it isn’t much, but I hope it helps”.

I re-read the letter several times. I was so humbled by this man’s words. He and his wife don’t live here, they don’t go to mass here, and have probably never been in this church…..yet they gave the parish money to help our mission. Yes, they wish their son would participate with the Newman Center, but still….

What’s the big deal? This couple has so much faith, and such humility, that I felt…uncomfortable reading this letter. Every day I learn how much work I need to do on myself, and this letter was another reminder. Would I be willing to give up so much? Their money goes to a parish that isn’t even near them…. yet I know the amount was very large to them, like the woman in the bible. But, they weren’t just giving it to the parish, they were giving it to God.

Please understand, this letter wasn’t sad at all. The letter exuded a certain calm. Just …calm. Have you ever seen this? The certain calm..certain peace that comes to people who are close to God?

Here comes the worst thing I could say… I’m jealous of them. SO jealous. I know, I know, that is terrible. Jealousy is NOT the emotion that should come from seeing a person who loves God. Right? Yet, I sit here, wishing I knew the secret they know.

I know the secret though. We all know the secret, because it isn’t a secret. Ha. Right? I’m speaking in riddles now. I’m even frustrating myself.

You know how happy you feel when you give someone a gift? Think of it like that. You know how you feel when you help someone out, even though you won’t get anything back? Exactly. I have a few friends, who aren’t Catholic, religious, some even swear they don’t believe in God, but THEY are closer to that constant peace than I am.

What am I doing wrong? Oh, so many things. 

I have been taught that I should strive to be like Jesus. I’ve been trying. Just not hard enough. So, I’ve decided, I’m going to strive to be like the woman with the two copper coins. It’s all about faith, my dear ones.

I’m also going to keep this letter in my drawer, to constantly remind me that no matter how incredibly frustrated I may get at times,  it is completely possible to be at peace.

Thank you for your time.. I know this may not be up your alley, but I appreciate you reading my thoughts anyhow.

I’ve failed you, Dr. Bond.

I talk too much. I use too many words. Deemed a flibbertigibbet (look it up, it’s from Bambi) at childhood, and not much as changed. Sometimes I talk while I’m laughing and it becomes a strange language only those close to me can understand. I skip over words, I speak too loud, and I sometimes change subject mid sentence. Yup, those are my relaxed communication skills in a nutshell.

Funny? Well, to some people around me. It isn’t all that funny to me. I studied Communication as a major. I studied how to speak, how to get a point across, how to use less words, how to make those words strong and pointed. I also learned that it isn’t what we say, it is how we say it. More than 80% of our communication is non-verbal. I studied non-verbal behavior, and while it helps me understand others much better…it doesn’t help them understand me.

Professional settings put me into a different mind frame. The communication skills I learned come right back and I will pat myself on the back when I say…I’m awesome when it comes to work related speaking/writing. My logical brain makes debating a point easy, and explaining something very simple. I have no emotional attachment to the dicussion, so it flows smoothly, and the words and non-verbals come in a gracious manner.

Enter in emotions, and all my college lessons go out the window. As I said, I can read other people well, but this just makes it harder. I know when people are uncomfortable, lying, disagree, are frustrated, happy, impatient, stressed, or that I simply don’t have their attention. I try to factor these non-verbals into what I say, but people get confused. I’m at a loss. This causes my own frustration, stress, impatience and makes me uncomfortable. Ooh how I’ve failed my Professors.

People who work in technology constantly take new courses, as technology is constantly changing. I believe how we communicate has changed greatly and this will continue. We now use that same technology to communicate, and we are at a loss as the non-verbal behavior is different, if not absent. There are little cues…. a pause in the texting conversation…bold letters, exclamation points…all those are almost like non verbals.

I wish there was continuing education for communication majors. Not a Masters Degree, simple communication studies brush up. Help to keep us up to date on how to speak in a way that will be most effective now, and how to read the new world of non-verbal behavior.

I’ve been drowning at times in these emotional conversations. SOS, professors of the world. I need you to give me a rope, pull me into this new century of changing communication.

As we, from MSU, alway say….It shouldn’t be so hard, for a Communication Major. Perhaps the more you know and understand, the harder it is to communicate with someone who isn’t in tune with what you are seeing and hearing. Or, maybe I should just stop reading the non-verbals and simply listen to the words.

Communication isn’t what it was when I graduated, and yet communication is the key to any successful relationship of any kind. I need a mentor, a teacher, someone who knows a universal way of speaking that translates across time.

 If you find this person I am seeking, please point them out to me, ASAP.

My love to all who stand in these same shoes.

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Not a Bucket List.

The past 3 years I’ve made a bucket list for the year…so really, it isn’t a bucket list, it’s a yearly “to do” list. I’ve never completed them all. This year, I hope to change my bad track record.

Mary Mattern @nomyourself is great with “bucket” lists. If you want to follow someone who has done more than most people (lived in several states, started a roller derby team, shaved her head twice, toured warped tour on roller skates, created 2 fashion shows, started a vegan blog that turned into a website that now has a cookbook..and the list goes on). I’ve been blessed to have her as my partner in crime many times, and know we cross paths physically when we need one another. No less, no more.

Anyhow, it’s time for this year’s “to do”. These are not resolutions, these are hopes, these are “if I have time”, and these words (right there, to the left, that you were reading)….are all rationalizations on why I won’t accomplish even one. Okay, let me start over.

This is my to do list, and I will try my best to do them all. Better? Somewhere my friend Greg, Bambi, is laughing at me and shaking his head. (yes, I call my close friend Bambi because he reminds me of the guy from the show Scrubs)

Carly’s 2013 To-Do List:

1. Walk the “M” (there is a giant M on a hill in Platteville…look it up, it’s awesome sauce)
2. Go to Chicago to visit my cousin Kathy, and my friend Lauren
3. Visit Canada…. hey, I’m not THAT far away from it.
4. Visit New Jersey at least 2 times in 2013, and spend no less than 5 days there.
5. Have a 30th birthday party – for once, make a big deal out of my birthday!!
6. Convince at least 2 of my friends to visit Wisconsin for at least 2 days.
7. Fly in a crop duster
8. Go on 25 dates (okay, you knew this one, but I feel it needed repeating)
9. Learn how to drive a stick shift
10. Learn how to shoot a gun http://www.travelwisconsin.com/Article_Detail.aspx?ArticleID=423&menuid=72
11. Ice skate for the first time
12. Go Zip Lining. http://www.travelwisconsin.com/Article_Detail.aspx?ArticleID=423&menuid=72
13. Write letters to my friends at least once a month
14. Train to do a 5k, and then do a 5k.
15. Go to the Cow Chip and Throw Festivalhttp://www.wiscowchip.com/ …yes, they throw cow chips (poop)
16. Go to Wisconsin Hot Air Affair Festivalhttp://www.hudsonhotairaffair.com/  ….balloons everywhere!!
17. Go to a Packers game (hopefully with Stephanie B.!)
18. Visit the 7 Natural Wonders of Wisconsin –  http://www.travelwisconsin.com/Article_Detail.aspx?articleid=446&menuid=72
19. Go Kayaking (preferably on Apostle Island)
20. Go to a Badger Game! Yeahhhh Badgers!
21. Learn to fish – for real
22. Spend a day on a farm, doing everything!

Alright, that tis all I have for now. Give me more ideas!! 🙂 Or, feel free to come join me in my adventures. I feel some may be pretty funny to watch.

So…I went on a date

Folks, I am determined to get through my New Years Resolutions. I’m pretty good with them. In 2010 I made a resolution to find a better job and to move. Well, I found a new job by February 12th and moved by March 16th. I’m deterMINED. Sometimes.

Okay, so in a past entry I said I would go on at least 25 dates this year. So, many of you may think that is a small number, some may think it’s a big number…I think it’s just enough to scare me, yet I can accomplish it. In a new town, in a new state, in a new area of our nation. Who am I kidding? This is going to be a ridiculous challenge.

Alright, alright, I’m getting to the good stuff. For the sake of my dates, I will never use real names. So, today, we will go with Samuel.

3 days after I moved to Wisconsin, I went on a date with Samuel. Carly, you went on a date 3 days after you moved? What did you do, date the mover? How did you find him? Is that even SAFE?! Did he have all his teeth even?  Okay, okay, calm down. Contrary to some beliefs, Wisconsin residents do have their teeth… New Jersey, we don’t like people calling us an armpit do we? Or that all us women have big hair and chew gum with our mouth open? No. So lets move past all the stereotypes (some are true, but I’ll get to those later)

I met Samuel on Catholic Match dot com. Yup. I paid a dating website to help me find a husband. A Catholic husband at that. Look, I tried e-Harmony. I spent 3 hours on their site filling out answers to all sorts of weird questions, and you know what happened? They sent me an email saying “We’re sorry, but we cannot match you at this time”.

Seriously. I was told by e-Harmony, one of the biggest dating sites out there, there are NO COMPATIBLE PEOPLE FOR ME ON THEIR SITE. I went through a series of strange emotions after that, and started to believe my dad was right. When I was little, he would always say “Ut, now you are un-marriageable”…. (this only really happened when I complained I had a paper cut or a splinter and whined all day about it).

So yeah, Catholic Match it is! You can find me on there if you like. Look up my profile, let me know what you think.

Samuel came to my attention, and vice versa, because of our common love of the Traditional Latin Mass. Sweet, right? Turns out, he had been going to my parents church on Sundays for the past few months….just for the Latin Mass. Coincidence? Of course not people, there are no coincidences! He doesn’t even live here, he travels to this church because the other ones don’t hold this type of mass.

Samuel and I met for coffee on a Thursday. He is handsome, sweet, very respectful and polite. Let me also so, he was in the army for 13 years as a combat pilot, so he has a certain “thing” about him…that strong army type…”thing”. (Ehh, there are days I’m great with words, and others…I just fail.”

Badger Brothers Coffee in Platteville – The small brown hanging sign with the striped awning

We went for coffee, then walked about 4 miles around Platteville. He showed me around, even though he isn’t from there. We stopped into my Church, and we talked with the staff of my new job. Then, he took me for a ride. CARLY!! You got in a CAR with this strange man you barely know??!!. Yesiree Bob. And I forgot my cell phone. Dumb, right? I was having so much fun, I didn’t realize I had left my own cell phone in my car.

We drove to Galena, IL. Dear Friends, if you ever have a chance to go to IL, visit Galena. It is one of the most beautiful towns I have ever seen. It is antique like but larger and beautiful… shops with meat, cheese and wine… bread stores.. some amazing restaurants.Galena 4                                            Galena 1

The art shops are incredible. We went into one that had all pictures of animals from around the world. Samuel made up conversations these animals were having, or saying what he believed they were thinking. I was laughing with tears in my eyes. This guy is funny. We made friends with the shop owner, and I even signed onto their email list. I have my eye on a particular photo of a large elephant. You’d have to see it…

We walked Galena for at least 2 miles. Ulysses S. Grant lived there before he went off to war. There was a lot of old memorials and statues, very well placed and well-kept. There was also a little sign with a mother duck and 3 baby ducks. The middle baby duck was trying to fly. This was adorable, and I can only imagine the sign meant “Duck crossing”…or “Watch for baby ducks trying to fly, it will be entertaining…” Galena 3                                    Galena 2

Samuel took me back to my car a few hours later. I rushed home from there, running in the house to say “I FORGOT MY PHONE, I’M FINE, NOTHING HAPPENED TO ME!”. My dad looked at me with a “What?” kinda face. You know, the head tipped sideways, squished nose and squinted eyes. Yeah, that look. Apparently, no one realized I had been gone that long, so no one was waiting for my call. Awesome. I could have been KIDNAPPED GUYS. he.he. just kidding. hopefully.

The date was fun, full of different little adventures, and completely comfortable.

So, what happens next? I have no idea. Samuel had to go somewhere for 2 weeks after that, and then it was Christmas so he was with family, and since then it has either snowed or he has been away again.

We talk and text now and then. Remember, I’ve only been here a few weeks, there isn’t much that could happen!

If nothing else, I’ve found a great new friend who goes to Mass with me when he is in the area. Hey, that’s more than I had anywhere else I lived. : )

1 down. 24 more to go.

Chinese food and grass.

It is 12 degrees in Wisconsin. There is still snow on the ground from the blizzard that occurred before Christmas. In some places, as much as a foot and a half of snow still sits as though it arrived yesterday. I can’t see any grass, and while that would normally never matter to me (I love snow!!), it matters to my dog, Manny.

Manny is a fawn colored, hazel eyed, 12lb, min-pin. The most common comment I get.. “He looks like a baby deer!!”. He does. And during Christmas, he seemed to look like a tiny baby reindeer. My mother wanted me to paint his nose red…..I hid all the lipstick in the house.

Manny is a very loyal puppy (I say puppy because he is only a year old, and well…acts like a 2 year old most days). He loves his chewies, cranberries, carrots, and his two favorite toys…Sid the Monkey, and his baby chicken. Let me clear this up, his chicken is not a baby, it is really a grown rooster, but Manny has adopted it as his bab

The thing is hideous, and it makes a horrible squeaking noise that sounds like crying. When Manny was first given the toy, my aunt squeezed it to show him the absolutely JOY it could bring him. So what does he do? He cries. Manny stood there, hiding in a corner, crying. Every time you squeaked it, he cried. Finally, the poor puppy walked over to the chicken/rooster and started to lick it’s face. He cradled it in between his paws, sat down, and licked it while snuggling. We realized then that he thought it was alive, and that he must be its protector….for everyone else seemed to be abusing it to the point of eliciting horrible squeals of terror.

He is a sensitive dog. His feelings get hurt, he gets depressed when he is on steroids, and he looks around for my father (Pop Pop) whenever he is missing. He loves his Pop Pop, perhaps because he is the only other male in the house, or perhaps because my father is the Alpha. Either way, they have formed a bond…once in a while you can find them on the same sofa with Manny curled up against him.

A common moment between Manny and Pop Pop - Sorry for the blur, I was taking it in secret

A common moment between Manny and Pop Pop – Sorry for the blur, I was taking it in secret

This is rare. Manny doesn’t like people all that much. He isn’t vicious, mean, or angry. Manny is scared. Humans didn’t treat him so well when he was a baby, and when I got him he was 4 months old, 2lbs, ribs showing, and had giardia. I won’t tell you what that means….but it was disgusting and my house in PA looked like a murder had occurred.

Anyhow, he is all better physically, but emotionally, he has difficulty with new people. It took him a good month to warm up to my family, but I swear he is so much happier about life now that he has 3 new friends. He is excited to wake up in the morning, and so pleased when there are people to greet him!

A week after I arrived in Wisconsin Manny and I were taking a nap in my new room. No one else was home, so we were peacefully slumbering under the large down comforter. Manny was making little “murr murr” noises, as he does when he is having a wonderful dream of what I can only imagine is sitting in a pool of chewies while Pop Pop scratches his belly. Anyway…. we’re sleeping. Peacefully. And then I hear the faint sound of the doorbell. Now, this house is new to me, so I’m not entirely sure it’s a doorbell. So I lay there for a moment. .. Again, I hear the same noise, and am now convince it is a doorbell because Manny is up and yelling at my bedroom door.

Out I go… into the hallway…this person is insistent, ring ring riiiiiiing riin gggg rin rin rinnng… So by the time I’m about to round the corner to the front door, I’m frustrated at this person’s insistence, and worried something had happened….and, remember, half awake. So what do I see when I get to the foyer?

The door open, and a Chinese man standing inside the house. Standing IN THE HOUSE. I don’t think I screamed. Maybe I did. I don’t remember. Manny was barking at him, and then, sensing my fear,….well, Manny went to hide behind the coffee table (just for a second while I assessed the situation).

“This your food”

“NO.” – I didn’t move

“No, this your food. This 1120!”

“I didn’t order any, this isn’t 1120” – I’m still standing about 10 feet from him.

“Yes, 1120, you look here, 1120!”

I walked over to glance at the number on what appeared to be a large bag of Chinese Food.

“No, I didn’t order any, and this is 1125, please go. Now”

He shook his head, walked out of my house, didn’t even close the door behind him.

Yup, I was shaking like a leaf. Manny was shaking, and then puked. Poor puppy.

Now, I know Wisconsin is a very pleasant state, people are very friendly, helpful, super sweet….but I didn’t know they would just walk into your home when you didn’t answer the doorbell fast enough!

Well, I did what any single woman would do. I ran into my room with my dog, locked the door and sat on the bed until someone else came home (seriously, what did I do for the 10 years I lived alone? or semi alone, I did have great roommates at one point…).

My parents came home, I told them the story, they proceeded to stare at me in horror and well, laughed. Apparently this ISN’T normal behavior around here, No, we didn’t order Chinese food, and YES, I can keep the front door locked.

The jokes about the Chinese Food delivery man have continued over the past few weeks. I have a feeling they have a good few months worth of material on this one.

What would you have done?! In hindsight, I should have screamed at him to get out of the house, but I’m the new one in the town… I don’t know the etiquette. I don’t want to offend anyone.

Ugh. What did I start this about?

Oh yea, Manny and the grass. Okay, well, no grass=confustion on where to go to the bathroom. Confusion=accidents. Accidents=”Manny if you poop on my floor one more time I’m going to throw you out the window!!” Ooh, we’re just kidding. 5 minutes later we feel bad for him.

But really, the snow needs to melt sometime, right?

I still check to make sure the front door is locked before I go to sleep.