Sunday, March 29, 2009

Prayers, Please

To whomever comes across this blog, I have a prayer request: There's a project I'm trying to get finished at work - I'd like to complete it by the end of this week and I'd like to do it well. I'd be grateful for any prayers you can send my way, to that end!

I'm happy because I completed both my US and Canadian taxes this weekend - it didn't make for a very fun weekend, but at least they're done! :)

I also had a generous friend treat me to dinner on Saturday evening. We went to a restaurant called Mt. Everest on Bloor Street. It was quite good!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Spoiler Alert

You may not want to read this if you haven't read Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter, but plan to.

All I'm going to say about it is, it probably wasn't the ideal thing for me to read right after feeling depressed over Tess of the D'Urbervilles... Two sad stories in a row is a bit much for me.

I do like how Greene interweaves Catholicism into the daily experience of his characters, especially in the grittier aspects of their lives. I remember liking that about The End of the Affair too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This & That

Not much to report - just spending my evenings completing my Canadian and U.S. taxes - sigh...

Also reading "The Heart of the Matter" by Graham Greene.

On Sunday, April 5th, I'm planning to take Mom to see "Arsenic and Old Lace" at Theatre Etobicoke. A friend of mine is acting in it. That should be fun. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Christopher Leadership Course

This week, I completed my Christopher Leadership Course in Effective Speaking. I have to say I really enjoyed that class! We had very good instructors, and a LOT of fun. I also had a great bunch of classmates.

I wouldn't say that I'm now perfectly qualified to be a public speaker, but I think I've been taught some basic skills - and I've been given several opportunities to put these skills into practice and build some confidence.

I do recommend this course to anyone who's either trying to overcome a fear of public speaking or even those who just want to fine-tune their speaking skills.

There is a second level to the course which starts in about three weeks, and I've put my name on the waiting list....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Depressed by Tess

Warning: I'm about to write about "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" - if you haven't read it and plan to, don't read this post, in case I give away something that's crucial to the story.

I'll refrain from writing an essay about this book right here and now on my blog, because this wouldn't be the place for it - but I do feel moved to write an essay on this very sad story. Maybe I will do so privately. I finished reading the book last night and I woke up feeling depressed. If I was to write an essay on this book, the topic would be something like "The Treatment of Mercy and the Divine in 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' ".

What stood out most for me in this novel was Angel Clare's unforgiveness of Tess. He couldn't forgive Tess for the same sins that he had committed - and in Tess's case, she was sinned against, not sinning. Even when he finally forgives her, he still doesn't seem to realize that he had done the very acts that he had despised her for doing.

What a sad, sad life.

I felt pity for each of the characters at different times - even Alec Stoke-d'Urberville...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

St. Stephen, Pray for Us!

Sometimes you open up your mouth and just let the words come out.

Today, at my public speaking class, we had to give an impromptu talk. We were each given a topic and had only five minutes to prepare for it. I asked St. Stephen to intercede for me since he seemed particularly good at giving impromptu speeches - Ok, so St. Stephen was killed after he gave his powerful speech, but that was because he had the courage to speak the truth so boldly!

Unlike St. Stephen, no one tried to kill me, and I did not experience a theophany while speaking; however, I did find myself speaking pretty openly and I had plenty of experiences to draw upon - my topic was "trying to fit in at school." Actually, I found myself digging into some painful places from many years gone by to give my little two minute presentation, but I think I managed to present my topic both honestly and positively.

I'm really grateful to the instructors of this class for providing a course like this, and I'm also grateful to my very encouraging and supportive classmates. I must be sure to thank each one of them personally before this course ends!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More from Zo!

Here's Zo, still on a high from CPAC! :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

This & That

All is relatively well in my little corner of the world. Nana had a sore throat, but we cured it with some Strepcils. Yesterday, Mom got together with some old friends she used to work with, and they had a good time catching up. It's nice that Mom's starting to get out a bit more often!

Last night I met my favourite professor at the Al Green theater and we saw a couple of short films at the "Reel Artists Film Festival". I won't comment on the particular films we saw because they didn't really move me, but it's always nice spending time with Prof V. The pre- and post-film conversation was good! :)

This past week, I received the "Most Improved Speaker" award at my public speaking class. I was very grateful for the encouragement! I still have a tendency to wring my hands together when I speak, instead of keeping them at my side and only using them for gesturing. Anyway, we still have two more classes to go, and then the graduation dinner/ceremony.

Humble admission: I've decided not to do a low-carb diet for Lent. I did it for six days (starting on the Monday before Ash Wednesday) and I did lose three pounds; however, I was already in the acceptable weight range for my height even before I started doing it. I think what I'm more in need of is exercise, so my new commitment is to exercise three times a week, either by walking or going down to the fitness room in our building. I'm now thinking of this as more of a personal improvement commitment than a specific Lenten commitment.

A kind priest recently told me that according to St. Francis De Sales, the best Lenten sacrifice is to embrace more fully the crosses we've already been given...

In other news, the Conservative Political Action Convention (American) was held from Thursday through Saturday in Washington, D.C. It sounds like the participants had a great time - how could they not? Any event that brings together Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Zo - that has to be a good time! :)