Friday, April 25, 2008

Bear Drool

Wow, they're here! Families from Hartford, Torrington, and Winsted. I miss my friends Ruth and Luisa from Bridgeport, but this is still a good group. We have a pretty good cultural diversity here once again, and the kids all know each other from previous Family Days, so they all plunge right in to the experience.

I guess I leave stuff out. Or I talk fast? Or don't sing as many songs? But I finished the family gathering too soon and they weren't ready to serve the ice cream yet. So I had to stall. Lucky for me, I had not yet done "I am a Pizza." I was saving it for tomorrow. But I saw that look in Siena'a eyes when she came from checking the dining room. Uh-oh. So I got out the pizza hat and launched into some totally off the wall introduction to the song, and then we sang it. I never wore the hat before. Olivia always wore it. But I guess I finally felt ready.

After ice cream, we invaded the Lodge. I was beat at Candyland by a four-year-old girl. But I drew Mr. Plum twice, so I really did not have a chance. Then little Suzie decided on Uno and beat us at that, too. At which point, her daddy decided it was bedtime and I had to find other entertainment. I watched Xtreme Ping Pong for awhile-- they really should have been wearing helmets for that one. I think the ping-pong ball exceeded mach 5 a few times. No one actually tried to make the ball bounce on the table.

The kids all went out and played in the dark with flashlights, so I went out to sit at a picnic table to watch. They put leaves on their heads and walked around like a group of zombies. I found this hysterically funny, but I am not sure the parents got it. I think they just thought they were walking around with leaves on their heads. Then they came and got me because they found some mysterious substance outside Arts and Crafts. It was excess insulation foam. Essentially solidified shaving cream. I told them it was harmless so they broke it into pieces and played with it.

Connor told me he had thought it was like when a beer drools down the side. I thought he said beer. So I said, Oh, yeah, beer foam, if you pour a beer too fast. Connor is I think age 7. He patiently explained. No, BEAR. Like when a Bear drools down the side of his mouth. Yes, of course. That in fact is a far likelier explanation here at Trinita, now that I think about it. This place is inhabited by all manner of creatures. Including bears. And if one drooled around here, I am sure it would look like just like that foamy stuff they are playing with tonight.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Tomorrow is our Family Overnight. We have about 10 families coming to spend some fun time here, so we're in the midst of getting everything ready. This is possibly my most favorite program, the Family Day program. It is so much work, but the work is fun.

For example, on Tuesday I sat in the dining room, which was flooded with the sunshine of a perfect spring morning, and used a gluestick to attach tissue-paper scales to a paper-plate fish. He has a huge smile and tissue streamers stapled to his little foam tail. This was to create the example craft for the Littles activity. I have also had to dream up some offbeat relay-race type games involving foam fish. Of course we also have to plan lessons and discussion questions and so on, but it's all pretty entertaining. We are a bit understaffed, which at this point is my only real concern. I am not sure I can maintain the necessary exuberance for the presentations if I also have to be the master of ceremonies for the outdoor games. Our usual gang of teen volunteers are not able to help out this time. On the other hand, Angel Garcia is coming in from New York to help out, and we could not ask for better. He is a regular summer volunteer as well as a member of the lay branch of our family.

In the midst of these preparations, I am once again convinced that Trinita is a great mission. People love to come here. We are free to invent and adapt programs as we are inspired to do so, because we work for ourselves. Whatever we do, it always boils down to strengthening faith and family life. We do that at other missions of course, but here, it's always at least a little fun. And sometimes, very very fun.

Add to that the fact that the sky is blue, the grass is green, the mayflowers and daffodils are coming out, and it is pleasant enough to sit on the porch at night in short sleeves--it's pretty much perfect here. Imagine what we could do with this place if we had two or three more sisters?

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I am back from another trip, this time by car. I went to Riverdale MD, Lower East Side Manhattan, and then to the Motherhouse in Philly. I saw various stages of spring--well, not so much in New York. I walked a lot and the weather was quite pleasant, but it's not like you can see fields of green grass and hedges of blooming forsythia there.

So much to think about. Each visit placed unique demands on my poor brain. The meeting in Riverdale was entirely in Spanish, so after a full day I was stuttering no matter which language I tried to use. New York is... New York. I hate it. Lucky for me, I love our sisters there, so I must admit it was a pleasure to be with them, though I could have done without all the meetings. Philly was the easiest. I was a guest in Blessed Trinity Formation Cenacle, which was my home before I went off to school. Of course, to make up for feeling most at home there, that is the meeting that has produced the most homework for me.

And in between the tri-state sequence of meetings, there was the driving. I listened to a lot of music, and thought many thoughts. I worry too much about things I cannot control, and I have to say, the music does help. When I finally climbed into the Cat Car to return to Trinita, I found a brown bag of snacks waiting for me on the windshield. Amazing. I dug into the orange sections first, and by the third song I was in such high spirits I did something I never have done before-I made a cell phone call while driving. I don't own a cell phone, but I had the cenacle Tracphone we use on road trips. I called Olivia and thanked her for the snacks, and I sang along with the CD while eating oranges. Just for a minute. Driving while eating, singing, and using a phone is not recommended.

But that trip back to Trinita was the hardest. I was just worn out I guess. I had to pull over and take a nap at a convenience store in New Jersey. When I finally got back here, it was a dreary and very un-spring-like afternoon. No flowers, no warmth, just a hint of green in patches of grass. I began to unload the car in a zombie-like state. Then I began unpacking. And unpacking. And unpacking. As I put everything away, I was realizing that I brought back so much more than I left with. Same amount of clothes, but so much more to think about. Each visit was challenging, each one added to what I must plan for, discern about, pray about.

How do you finish unpacking a suitcase full of responsibility?