Posts Tagged ‘ Writing

Ash Wednesday

Remember you are dust and from dust you will return.

Just got back from a beautiful Ash Wednesday mass with Jeff and Danielle tonight. It was nice to kick-off Lent with so many people; it was standing room only, you’d think it was Christmas. To those who observe, may you have a most blessed Lenten season, “For even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart.”

The Mayonnaise Jar

I usually don’t forward along these stories, but figured this one was post-worthy. :)

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar… and the coffee…

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, ” I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things-your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions-things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else-the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

Thanks to Andrea for the find.

To Myk

…the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Michael Patrick Gonzales
June 17, 1983 – October 3, 2007

Me & Myk in Vegas

To my dearest friend… I wish thee not eternal rest, but eternal life. <3

Pride can stand a thousand trials
the strong will never fall,
But watching stars without
you, My soul cried.

Friedrichsbad Baths

Baden-Baden – Day 2

The following day we had breakfast in our cute little hotel above a pastry shop (The Hotel Beeg) and walked around town some more. Most notably, Val brought me to the Freidbrichsbad Baths!

Friedrichsbad Baths

At the Friedrichsbad you lose track of time within 10 minutes and track of the world within 20 minutes

- Mark Twain

Basically you pay a flat fee to progress through the following stations:

1. shower; 2. warm air bath 54 C; 3. hot air bath 68 C; 4. shower; 5. soap and brush massage; 6. shower; 7. thermal steam bath 45C; 8. thermal steam bath 48C; 9. thermal full bath 36C; 10.thermal whirl pool bath; 11. thermal kinotherapeutic bath; 12. shower; 13. cold water bath (immersion bath) 18 C; 14. drying off (warm towels); 15. application of moisturizing cream; 16. resting area

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Casino Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden – Day 1

On Thursday, Val and I took the train (actually 3) to Baden-Baden, the famous casino and spa town. We arrived in the afternoon and walked around before having dinner. We ultimately ended up in this bizarre little restaurant filled with smoke and chicken dolls hanging from the walls. This oddity aside, the food was really good and I found my new favorite German dish: maltauschen. Think big ravioli. Kinda.

Casino Interior

The big event of the night though was to visit the Casino Baden-Baden. This was unlike any casino I have been to in the States (and was certainly not Vegas). For one, it cost money just to enter and there was a strict dress code of jacket and tie. Once inside, we found ourselves surrounded in a lavish room filled with much older German and Russian men. The atmosphere looked something straight out of a James Bond movie. What was even more unexpected was that the place was quiet, save for the clicking of chips and the spin of the roulette ball. Everyone inside was stoic, walking about gravely. We spotted only 3-4 other women there at most. It was also much smaller than any casino I’ve been to. It being a Thursday night, only 4 roulette tables and 1 blackjack table was open.

Given the grandeur of the place, I was surprised to find that the minimum bets were extremely low (10 euros per hand in blackJack, only 2 euros for roulette). Granted, most folks played much much more than that, which made playing side by side with them even more funny.

We played roulette mainly, which was a little odd without the usual cheers and jeers, but still pretty fun. I played a few hands at the lone Blackjack table which was exciting, despite not doing particularly well. Interestingly, an old man was playing 4 of the 7 positions on the table with 200+ euros per hand and was just bleeding money like crazy. The vein on his temple pulsated as he cursed under his breath, hah. The whole experience was quite surreal and it was actually one of my favorite on my trip. I only wish I could’ve recorded video of it!

London Sightseeing

My parents arrived to London Saturday morning where we met at their hotel in South Kensington. It was a pretty eventful next 3 days where we went sightseeing and I had the chance to show them around (namely via Tube). During their stay we went to the Natural History Museum, Westminster Cathedral for Sunday mass, Big Ben & the Parliament Building, the London Eye, the Victoria Station area, the Tower of London, and Chinatown. By far, my two favorite places we visited happen to be the most popular tourist attractions in the city: the Eye and the Tower.

Top of the London EyeThe London Eye is one of those attractions everyone should really do at some point during their stay in London. I mean, who can pass up being suspended 500 feet in the air in a bubble overlooking the entire city? The lines were surprisingly speedy too. My Dad also purchased the little guide book that described the buildings in each direction. You really can’t beat the view.

Yay! Tower of London!The Tower of London was pretty sweet, in the nerdy history-loving kinda way. It was just neat to walk (sometimes run) around a place that I’ve read so much about. The Yeoman Warden tour was pretty entertaining and insightful, another must-do. However, I was particularly enthusiastic–admittedly, I was the only one in my 100+ person tour group who took notes the entire time.

The Crown Jewels were also a highlight of our visit there. I didn’t think I’d be too interested in that sort of thing, but it’s pretty crazy to actually see them in-person. So much sparkle… As I left the Jewel House all I could think of was how badly I wanted diamonds, hah. Read more