fialleril: [earth of light / sky of earth] (desert sky)
Long time no post. Life has been busy - the semester is in full swing, which means I have student activities, liturgies, service projects, and other events nearly every day of the week. It is wonderful work, and I love it, but it doesn't leave me with a lot of mental energy for in-depth LJ posts, alas.

Anyway, some things I have been up to since last posting:

- Saw Florence + the Machine in concert, which was AWESOME. It would have been more awesome if I didn't have a cold/sinus infection at the time, but it was still completely awesome.

- Went to a Scottish festival and found out a little more about my family along the distaff line: My mother's mother's mother's mother was a Calhoun, the name that particular branch of the Colquhoun clan took when they came to USAmerica. The clan badge is a stag, which I find interesting because I have always had a particular fondness for deer.

Also, on a very geeky note: I am Scottish-descended on both sides of my family. My mother's side is Colquhoun, whose motto is "if I can" (which to me sounds like "I do what I want if I can get away with it" - an excellent motto), while my father's side is part of the Robertson clan, whose motto is "glory is the reward of valor." Sounds like Clan Slytherin and Clan Gryffindor to me.

I have been oddly into family history recently, and am considering doing some more in depth research into my roots, since everything seems to be very mysterious. My parents only know their own history about two generations back, and then very hazy vague knowledge of the distant past (like, supposedly my dad's family came to USAmerica from Scotland via Nova Scotia, but nobody really can say how or when or who). My interest is probably partially because I'm now the family member who lives closest to my maternal grandmother, so we've taken to meeting up regularly, and she has always had an interest in family history. I got to visit her house last Christmas, and she showed me the old Colquhoun family silver and whatnot. So I do know a bit more about my mom's family history than my dad's, but the more I learn the more it piques my curiosity.

- Took a group of students apple picking, which was lots of fun. And also kind of amusing for me as a farm kid, because several of the city kids had never picked their own fruit before. It was great to see them get so excited about it, and to see their interest in how fruit grows, what the difference between varieties is, how you know when it's ripe, etc.

- I did get a couple days' vacation and went to Columcille in Pennsylvania. Such an excellent place. I spent a day just meditatively walking and being in nature and refreshing my energy. I wish it was a bit closer to Albany, so I could take students there.

And there you have it: the State of Fia.

hello internet

Friday, July 13th, 2012 08:54 pm
fialleril: [someday perhaps I will write that AU about warrior!Sif and fosteredJotunPrince!Loki] (Sif/Loki)
I return, having had rather more adventures than expected.

I had an excellent time with my sister. We explored a good part of New York, and even some of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and came home with good memories, some little bits of nature, and rather too much mead. (This is a lie. You can never have too much mead.)

We ended the week by inviting one of my friends over for movie night. Neither she nor my sister had ever seen Thor, so we polished off a bottle of mead watching that. It seemed appropriate. There may or may not have been a drinking game involving Odin's terribleness as a parent and as a human being, but the mead disappeared long before we got to the end of the movie. Which was just as well, really, since that last scene between Loki, Odin, and Thor would probably have required the drinking of a whole bottle.

So, it was an excellent vacation. Unfortunately for me, it was followed by getting seriously ill (I had two ear infections, a sinus infection, and bronchitis all at once), so that was no fun.

And most recently, I had some car drama, the long and the short of which was that I now have a new car, because the cost of fixing the old one was more than the car itself was worth. This is not as awful as it could have been, because I've known for a while that I would need a new car, and was already saving up.

Anyway, that concludes this ho hum report of my activities. Next post will be much more interesting: Shakespeare!

Adventure!

Monday, May 28th, 2012 09:29 pm
fialleril: [is my favorite superhero] (Wally West)
It is summer at last, and tomorrow I'm off on a much needed vacation.

The school year was long, intense, and ultimately very fulfilling, and I got to see several of the students I've worked most closely with graduate, which was an odd mix of exciting, surreal, bittersweet, and proud. It's a little overwhelming, sometimes, being on the other side of the mentor/mentee relationship, but mostly it's something I really love, and I hope that I will continue growing in my skills as a mentor and friend for my students.

In any case, now that everyone has gone home for the summer, I'm taking a short break before buckling down for summer planning. My sister, the delightful [livejournal.com profile] veriond, is flying in tonight, and then tomorrow we are headed out to the Finger Lakes for a couple days, followed by a few days in New Jersey with our grandma. I am really looking forward to seeing both of them.

So, catch you all when I come back!

back in Chicago

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 11:01 pm
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Alyosha)
So I am back in Chicago! Not without incident: my first flight was delayed (which hardly mattered since I still had a five hour layover after the delay), and then my baggage was lost, or more accurately misplaced, and I had to wait through an hour and five different baggage attendants before someone finally figured out what was going on. But! The important thing is that I am in Chicago, and my bag of winter clothes is too!

And I came home to find a lovely stack of holiday cards waiting for me. :) Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] pokecharm, [livejournal.com profile] imadra_blue, [livejournal.com profile] lumy12, [livejournal.com profile] frostbit_sky, [livejournal.com profile] starfoozle, [livejournal.com profile] rizny, and [livejournal.com profile] rawles for the cards! I admit I may have fangirled over them. Which is not creepy at all. Also, [livejournal.com profile] starfoozle, thanks for the (very!) festive Kitster! And [livejournal.com profile] rizny, thanks for the cute little mittens. :)

Perhaps someday I will be a better person and actually write some of the fics I've promised folks. But, alas, that day is not today.
fialleril: [Mama always said they were trouble] (dead boys bearing fruit)
I had a pretty amazing time at the AAR Annual Meeting. It was great to see everyone again and to catch up, and it was also really helpful to me to be able to talk about JVC with people who are outside of the program altogether. I also had the opportunity to attend several sessions.

One session in particular had a pretty huge impact on me, and I'm still wrestling with it. It was the Religion and Genocide session, and the papers were all focused around Melissa Raphael's book The Female Face of God in Auschwitz: A Jewish Feminist Theology of the Holocaust. Most of the papers discussed the book directly and offered some form of criticism. But, although these papers were very interesting, the one that struck me most profoundly was actually a paper that took Raphael's theme and examined it in a new context: namely, women's care-giving as a strategy of resistance, particularly among abused women. She spoke about the ways in which some abused women make a conscious choice to act as caregivers to their children, to other women, or even sometimes to their abusers, because they believe that this choice is also a refusal of violence and of the paradigm of violence which is imposed on them.

The focus is shifted from abused women as victims to an attention to women's agency and active resistance, even in situations where the women may not ever escape their abusers.

I know I've encountered this idea, or germs of it, before, but there was something about this presentation that was incredibly raw and vital. And it was also very helpful to me, in my work with the Ignatian Spirituality Project and with women who have been abused. I had been increasingly uncomfortable with what I perceived as the women I work with blaming themselves for what was done to them, or accepting their role as care-givers without resisting. Now, though, I think my privilege was probably showing there. And...I'm glad that this program I work with is about listening to stories and simply taking them in. It's a growing and eye-opening experience, and continually shocking me out of my unacknowledged prejudices and comfort zones.

The Annual Meeting was something of a shock in another way, too, though. It's...well, very different from the kind of voluntary simplicity I've been living in since August (even if I do have my doubts about that simplicity sometimes, but more on that another time). And yet the AAR is still very much engaged in important work towards social justice. I feel like I've been a little caught in a bubble these last few months, dealing with only one aspect of social justice, and it was important for me to see the wider picture again.

And now for some far more mundane thoughts on Montréal, plus pictures!

more beneath the cut )
fialleril: [tzai and fine literature] (Kitster)
Just, you know, a heads up.

I'm in Montreal for the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting.

I have very limited internet access, since apparently Canadian hotels don't believe in free wifi, but I'm typing this at the information booth where I'm working. LOL.

P.S. Hey friends, anybody who live in Montreal? I'm here till Sunday. Just, you know, fyi.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Trek crew)
Today I got to go to Milwaukee for a meeting in conjunction with my job placement. The Ignatian Spirituality Project is just starting to offer retreats in Milwaukee, and the volunteers there wanted some advice on how to go about offering the women's retreats. (For the curious, ISP is basically run solely on volunteer power. There are only two actual employees of the organization in the whole country - an executive and an associate director, and now me.) In any case, the meeting went well, and I'm pretty excited about what will come out of this team.

After the meeting, one of the guys on the retreat team at Milwaukee invited my supervisor and I to go out with a couple other people on his sailboat. Yes, that's right. What did I do for my year of simple living and volunteering? I went sailing.

It was really fun, though. ;)

Also, thanks so much to [livejournal.com profile] albumsontheside, who sent me a wonderful care package, addressed to "Banai" (LOL!), which arrived today. <3
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
I got back from the American Academy of Religion meeting yesterday around 1:00 and went straight to class (ugh!), and then the election watching party. (Because sleep is for pansies, apparently.)

I have so many things to talk about from the AAR meeting that I decided I'd break them up into separate posts by topic. I figured I'd start with election-related things, since I'm still pretty exited about what went down last night. ;)

The AAR meeting was in Chicago this year, and was it ever a wild and exciting place to be! The whole city seemed to be energized with a kind of buzzing excitement, and everywhere you went there were Obama stickers, Obama T-shirts, entire shops filled with nothing but Obama merchandise, people on the street with megaphones - some of them all but convinced that Obama was the messiah, others arguing that he wasn't black enough to really understand black America. On Monday I walked through Grant Park and looked at the tents and everything that was being set up for the party/rally on Tuesday night. It was really an exciting place to be, just filled with so much energy.

And then on Tuesday morning I had to leave. If I had known back when I made my reservations that Obama would win the primaries and that he would be back in Chicago on election night - yeah, there's no way I would have left. But unfortunately I'd made my reservations way in advance, so I was back in Atlanta on Tuesday night.

I've got to tell you, I'm excited about the symbolism of Obama's election. (I'm excited about a lot of the concrete details, too, but right now I want to talk about the symbolism.) Of course there's been a lot of talk in the news about America electing our first black president, but I'm not sure anyone has really captured how momentous that is. I certainly don't think I can capture it.

But I think this is a symbolic victory in areas other than race, too. Not only have we elected a black man, we've elected a black man named Barack Obama. That's a name that many, many people have thought "doesn't sound American," and Americans tend to have a well-known fear of and distrust for "foreigners." And indeed the McCain campaign tried very hard to paint Obama as foreign and other (and therefore by implication dangerous and untrustworthy).

It didn't work.

That alone I think is something truly beautiful. I saw it embodied in the people I met in Chicago, and dare I say it, but it actually gives me a lot of hope for this country.

Chicago bound

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 09:21 pm
fialleril: [By virtue of all I have done, may the pain of every living creature be completely cleared away.] (Aang)
Tomorrow I'm flying out to Chicago for the American Academy of Religion's annual meeting! It promises the kind of thrilling fun and excitement that can only be found at three days' worth of the largest gathering of religion scholars in the world. And there's even going to be a Samhain celebration tomorrow evening in the park. (Also apparently there's going to be lots of booze? And I have a ticket for "first drink free" at about five different events? Which says all you need to know about religion scholars, really.)

I'm also going to try to smooze with some people from Loyola Chicago and Marquette while I'm there, and meet up with some of my old profs from Creighton. And a bunch of my fellow MTS students from Emory are going too. So a fun time should be had by all. Here's hoping I don't end up spending my non-existent life's savings at the book display (which is said to be about the size of a football field - surely they exaggerate?).

Before I leave tomorrow I'm scheduled to work the phones at the AAR office. Always a blast. >_< And starting at 8:00 a.m. too. Ick.

Anyway, since I'm leaving so early tomorrow, y'all know what that means. I'd better finish my fic for [livejournal.com profile] skywalkathon!

Heh. I fail at deadlines.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (wisdom & strength)
I got back to Atlanta around 9:00 on Monday night, and it feels like I've been running nonstop ever since then. But I finally have some time to sit down and write out my thoughts.

My younger brother is also looking at Marquette for his undergrad, so I met up with him and Dad in Milwaukee, and we had some good times. The idea that we might end up at the same school is both funny and kind of exciting...

All in all, I had a very good visit. The people I met with were helpful, informative, open and friendly, and it felt like they were honest, which is probably the most important thing. I got all of my questions answered, and for the most part I was very pleased with the answers. In the spirit of Ignatian spirituality, I'll list consolations and desolations about the visit.

This got long, so here's a cut... )

And I took pictures! )
fialleril: [my eyes are yours; they are not blue, but they're wide open] (martyr Kitster)
Because spontaneous road trips are the best kind, this morning I woke up early, got in the car, and started driving north until I hit the mountains. This is what happens when you're cooped up in an apartment all alone for too long. Also my dad called me last night and suggested that I needed to get away before school started again. I thought this was a good idea, so I did it.

I took a camera, my little writing notebook, and a bottle of sarsaparilla and headed north in search of adventure and my ever elusive muse. Surprisingly enough, I found both.

Naturally there are pictures, so the adventure continues under this cut... )

Also, because this song I'm listening to (and the one which inspired the title of this post) is completely amazing, and because so many people on my f-list have shared music with me, I decided to share. :)

Arrowheads

(I also consider this to be possibly the most perfect Anabasis!Kitster song ever, because of these lines:
My eyes are yours
they are not blue
but they're wide open.
)
fialleril: [somebody's gotta save our skins] (voice of reason)
I'm a little depressed by the fact that no one seems to want to read my latest fic, so I decided to cheer myself up by posting the last of my Disney World pictures.

We'll start with the Star Wars parade and the Jedi Training Academy pics. (Please note: a lot of these pics are better if you view them in full size!)

painted faces on parade )

And now for what I know you've all really been waiting for: the pics from Snigg and Oopla's Hyperspace Hoopla! But first, if you haven't seen the video on YouTube yet, go do so. Unfortunately, the YouTube video is only of the dance off part of the show, but it is definitely worth watching.

Here's this year's:


And, for those who are interested, I also hunted down last year's. (It seems that last year was the first year for the dance off.)


And now, on to the pictures )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (snapped)
I just dropped [livejournal.com profile] veriond off at the airport, and now she's headed back home. I'm going to miss having her around. We have over two weeks of vacation together, so now it almost feels weird with her not being here. But we had a lot of fun together, and spent the last couple of days just hanging out, which is why I haven't posted. :)

Now, though, it's time for the first Hollywood Studios Disney post. I have so many pics from Star Wars Weekend that I decided to break them up into two posts. This post contains all of the pictures we took with the Star Wars characters in the park, pictures from the sneak-peek of the upcoming Clone Wars film, and some of the non-Star Wars related stuff we did at Hollywood Studios. The next post will have pics from the Star Wars parade and the Hyperspace Hoopla (aka the dance-off).

it is your destiny )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (wisdom & strength)
Day three was spent in Animal Kingdom, which was possibly the park that had changed the most from what I remember. When I was there as a kid, I remember it as the most boring of the parks, but this time, we found quite a lot to do, and we probably could have spent two days there if we'd had more time. The torrential rain in the afternoon didn't really help, matters, either...

Anyway, more pictures and highlights beneath the cut. Also, check out [livejournal.com profile] veriond's posts about our Disney trip! :)

in the circle of life )

And that's all for day three. Next up will be Hollywood Studios and Star Wars Weekend!
fialleril: [tea makes everything better] (tea)
Day Two of Disney was spent at Epcot, that magical place that contains the whole world within its borders. (If, you know, the world were composed of only North America, Europe, and Asia.) There's also a section dedicated to the world of the future, and to past and ongoing inventions and innovations. All in all, it was a pretty good time.

take a peek inside the giant golf ball )

Disney highlights, take 1

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 03:28 pm
fialleril: [a bit like The Idiot, only written by someone much less talented than Dostoevsky] (Jar Jar Binks)
Hey all! [livejournal.com profile] veriond and I are back in Atlanta. So, time for pictures, and the highlights post. This post is dedicated entirely to the Magic Kingdom park.

Last time I went to Disney World, I was around 12 or 14, and so naturally I was too good for all the kiddie stuff, and spent most of my time on roller coasters. So you know what that means.

Yes. This time around I met characters and rode kiddie rides and generally relived my childhood. It was glorious.

So what were the highlights? Pictures and commentary beneath the cut!

Mickey always triumphs with the power of dreams )
fialleril: [Na-Ekkreth the trickster] (Anakin)
Finally, a week later, here's the pictures I promised to post of my recent trip to Québec City. I'm posting from my sister's dorm room in Missouri (we're moving her in today). Yay for highspeed internet! Well, sort of...

Canada pics below the cut. You can blame Photobucket for the inane and incredibly annoying layout. Therefore, descriptions are to the left of each photo. Click the thumbnails for a larger view.

warning: image heavy (37 images) )

travelogue

Monday, August 6th, 2007 07:26 pm
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (wisdom & strength)
I'm back!

My sister and I had a great time. We spent six days in Québec just relaxing, seeing all the sights, and sampling the local restaurants. :) It was good. Some highlights:

*The church of St. Roch. We visited this church on the first day, because we were passing it by on our way to the main section of the old town and thought it looked interesting. It wasn't in any of the guide books, but as it turned out, this church was among the most interesting and beautiful that we visited.

*The streets of Old Town. The atmosphere is wonderful: like an old European city. It was fun just to sit outside in the terrasse of a restaurant and watch the people go by.

*A little chocolate shop in the middle of Upper Town. They made all their own chocolates, and what's more, would create any piece of art you requested in chocolate. They had several on display, among them some recreations of classical Greek sculpture and a 2-D picture of Liv Tyler's Arwen. All made entirely of chocolate. :D

*St. Anne's Basilica. The church is a famed pilgrimage site, and the Novena of St. Anne had just ended a few days before our visit. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much of the main church because there was a funeral. But the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in the lower church was simply amazing. The ceiling literally sparkled, and the murals and mosaics on the walls were wonderful. A statue of the Virgin Mary stood literally in the middle of a giant organ at the front of the chapel.

*The all-vegetarian restaurant Le Commensal. Ah, vegetarian goodness. :D

*Chatting with people in shops and restaurants. We met quite a few interesting characters. ;)

After we returned to the States, we made a three-day visit to Omaha, home of Creighton University. That was really a blessing for me. I had the chance to catch up with all my friends from Campus Ministry and with one of my former roommates. And I got to see the newly-renovated St. John's Church on campus. It is truly stunning. Which made me a bit jealous, as Emory has literally the ugliest church I have ever seen in my life. But what can you do?

I'll post pics from Canada and Omaha as soon as I get a chance to upload them.

O Canada!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 09:59 pm
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
My sister and I are preparing for a trip to Québec City. We're leaving this Wednesday at some ungodly hour of the morning so we can get to the airport on time. ;) We'll have a week in Québec City, and I'm pretty excited about it.

And when we get back, we're headed to Omaha to see all my friends in Campus Ministry. One of my professors is calling it the "Fialleril Farewell Tour." He wanted shirts. LOL.

Just a short update. I'll probably post again before we go. And of course, when we come back, there will be pics. :)

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