He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Holy Week and Easter notes and sundries

Easter cookies

  • Hope you all had a wonderful Easter! Mine consisted of 10:30 Mass and lunch at the local Buca di Beppo with my parents and my siblings and their significant others. There was much Italian food eaten and many leftovers brought home. 
  • It finally warmed up over the past few days and we’ve had sun and spring temps. Welcome Spring.
  • Go back and read the Easter Gospel, and notice how many times John says he beat Peter to the tomb. We get it, John. You da man. You are faster than Peter. Everyone for thousands of years can rejoice in that. 🙂
  • I love my parish, but I don’t think I can go there for Good Friday anymore, because they chant the Passion and it makes me absolutely insane. It shouldn’t take six notes to say “Who”. Really? Maybe it’s because I’m fasting, but I’m hungry, I’m cranky, let’s go. I had an appointment with my dermatologist (every six months, Oh Joy, since we transplant folk are at a much higher risk for skin cancer than the normal population) so I didn’t get to stay for the whole thing. But the chanted Passion is like nails down the back of my spine. Uggggggh.
  • I went shopping for a bit with my parents last night and got two birthday gifts: A Vera Bradley case for my iPad mini and one of their cosmetic bags for packing purposes for the upcoming Florida Adventure. Good thing we’re taking the car. I have so much stuff I need to bring with me that the carryon is always bulging full of meds and another medical materials. It’s definitely easier than pre-transplant, but it’s still more stuff than the Average Bear travels with when they fly.
  • Saturday was the anniversary of the premiere of Fraggle Rock, so I had this in my head all day:

(not that Fraggles are EVER a bad thing…)

  • This week: Ballet class, and cleaning, and the cable guy coming….nothing major on the schedule. My birthday is next Tuesday so we will verily rejoice then. 🙂
  • As far as this week’s food: I’ve got it scribbled out here, but I do need to revamp my veggies and fruits for the upcoming week, because they are basically gone.
  • I am reading the first Game of Thrones book, and I have to admit, I’m liking it more than I thought I would. Normally “adult” fantasy makes me lift my eyebrows and go “really, folks?” but this is good stuff thus far.
  • My easter dress–I’ll have to post a picture later–was a lavender colored one from Boden with a white dot pattern that matched my pearl necklace pretty well. 🙂 I wore that with a cardigan and black patent-leather heels. Doesn’t matter how old I get–I want a new dress for Christmas and Easter. 🙂 There were some girls at church today with their Easter Hats, which is always excellent.

Doc visit

So today was my every-three-month bonding experience with my doctors and nurses and c. 🙂 The big news today was that I lost five pounds, which I totally wasn’t planning on. I mean, yeah, I thought I’d lost something, but five pounds was really exciting! WE also have decided on a “goal” weight for me, which is nice: 150 lbs. That’s in their “healthy” range and still gives me some extra that I could lose if I ever got sick for a bit (after my pre-transplant experience of not having that cushion, I told the dietician today I definitely wanted one, when we were figuring. She agreed.). So that made everyone happy.

PFTs (Pulmonary Function Tests) were the basics today (usually I do three different kinds of tests. This was the most “basic” one), and I’m stable there. The chest x-ray actually looks a bit clearer, so another bonus (guess the exercise is working, bwahahahaha). Everyone is quite pleased. My doc wanted to know what I’ve been doing so he could “bottle it”, but it hasn’t been anything drastic.

So the goal is to lose 5-6 lbs. every three months–totally doable–until I reach the goal. I’ve been doing Jillian Michaels’ circuit training workouts and yoga, and I added dance back last week, so that helps, for sure. And we also talked about numbers on the scale can be subjective, of course (because muscle weighs more than fat, etc) but things like going down clothing sizes isn’t so subjective.

Food wise, I’ve definitely been incorporating more fruits and veggies and I’ve almost totally eliminated soda in any form (go me) except when I’m at restaurants. (I don’t have to cut it out completely, but cutting it out at home is a good way to start.) And since it’s (supposedly) spring (I can’t tell there’s snow on my lawn) in parts of the nation, more fruits and veggies and yummy things are going to be happening soon. 🙂 And of course Disney World, with all the walking that entails.

So, it was a super good clinic today. Very excited.

The Rite of Spring

Blog readers:

I am not often at a loss for words. I am now.

There is just no way to describe the awesome epicness of BalletMet and Columbus Symphony’s Rite of Spring. It is beyong adjectives. I was amazed, exhilarated, thrilled–I wanted to get up there and dance. James Kudelka’s choreography seems to me to be so close to what Nijinsky had done back in 1913 Paris. I’ve seen several of his works, and I think this is clearly his best effort yet.

Jean-Marie Zeitouni and the CSO were in top-notch, world-class form on all the pieces, but in Rite, they were glorious. Everything about it was perfect. The dancers, wearing dyed pointe shoes and mismatched costumes (that they pulled from the costume shop themselves) channeled the primitive, sometimes disturbing (as when the sacrifice occurs at the end) but always incredible emotions that permeate and pull this work forward to its conclusion. I have never had a more thrilling evening at the ballet, or the symphony.

If you live in Columbus, or anywhere near, you must come. Two more performances, one tomorrow evening and one Sunday matinee. DO. IT.

The performance also has Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun (DeBussy), with choreography by Amedeo Amodio, and Rapsodie Espagnole (Ravel) with choreography by company dancer Jimmy Orrante. The costumes for this were fantastic, and the three men and three women who danced this piece brought the Spanish influences to life with their clear, crisp dancing and Spanish inspired costumes.

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 13



OK, first a note.

My Traditional Catholic brethren: If you don’t start being at least marginally charitable to Pope Francis (like, I dunno, start calling him the pope, as opposed to “the current occupant of the Petrine ministry-and I didn’t make that up), until/if he does something incredibly egregious, I am going to a) stop reading your blogs and b) take a really, REALLY dim view of the Extraordinary Form of Mass, if this is how it makes you. End of note.


Now, onto happier things! Like, virginal sacrifices! Yes today is Rite of Spring day! The program showcases the artists of BalletMet and the 109 members of the Columbus Symphony (That’s like maybe 140 people on stage. Imagine that.) The program: Rhapsody Espagnole, Afternoon of a Faun, and the Rite. There are instruments like piccolo clarinet (which Tiff–the MA in Clarinet Performance, so the expert–says is an E-flat clarinet), a bass clarinet (I knew what that was) and lots of other fun instruments!


I will, of course, have a post about Da Rite, once we’re back. Bien sur! Who do you think I am!?!


To whet your whistle, here’s a costuming tidbit or two from BalletMet:

The dancers were allowed to select their own costume. The idea was that they looked sort of disjointed and a bit, well, ragged. So the costume department pulled about 250 pieces from their vast costume shop (which I’ve seen, it’s amazing) and let the dancers pick. Also, the pointe shoes are dyed great colors like royal blue, yellow, and scarlet!


Books: I started reading Game of Thrones, but probably won’t get into it until this weekend. Still reading Summa, and I found my box of Dear America books, so I’ve been delighting in them as well.


OK so knitting? I can do the knot. I can cast on. The knit stitch is defeating me. I think I understand it, in theory. I put the R needle behind the first strich on the left (like under the thread). I hold both needles in my L hand and put the yarn counterclockwise around the R hand needle, so the yarn is between the needles. And then I sort of lose it….help?


I want it to be warm. Like no more snow. No more frost. Weather is NOT cooperating!

Preaching the Kingdom

This is one of those mysteries that you can ponder for a long time and never quite finish pondering it. The “preaching of the kingdom” covers just about everything in the gospels: the Sermon on the Mount, the parables, the cures, the Loaves and Fishes, the Bread of Life discourse–all of Jesus’ preaching and activities. In that sense, it’s an easy mystery to pray, because you can pick your favorite image or story or event and meditate on that.

But I think it’s also fruitful to use this to ponder our own sense of mission. For nuns and sisters, it’s their prayer and their apostolate that is their preaching. For married women, it’s their married life, and growing in holiness with their husbands; for a mother, it’s taking care of her family, and raising her kids to know God and to be devout Catholics. For the single, it can be a little harder, but we are all called to holiness, to prayer, and to bringing that to the world.


For the rest, head over to Suscipio. 


If it’s Lent, it’s time for me to post my annual defense of The Passion of the Christ.

I love this movie with a sort of strange love. Maybe it’s because I’m a Good Friday baby–born at 2:47 pm, to be precise–and so I just love things associated with the Passion and the Triduum. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching a lot of Jesus of Nazareth.  I dunno.

I saw this movie four times in the movie theater (my personal record). First, with my dad. Then with friends who could get extra credit in their religion classes at our Lutheran university if they saw it and wrote about it, and then again on Good Friday. (Note about that Lutheran University: at the time I was there, the student population was majority Catholic. Quite amusing.)

I will not deny that there is blood. There is violence. There is pain.

But that is what the passion was.

Did you think the pain was artistic? That the blood was in nice little spots at His hands and feet? That the crown of thorns was lovingly placed on His head? That the scourging didn’t really hurt and rend His skin like that? That it was just a couple swipes?

I have little patience with people who say the violence in it is “gratuitous.” It is real. This isn’t violence to be fun, “shoot-em-up/ Die Hard” violence. This is what happened to Our Lord. If He endured it, we can certainly watch it.

Now, that being said, I can’t watch the nailing sequences. That just makes me squirmy. So I sort of squint. I’ve never watched it full on–maybe this year will be the year I do. I seriously think this should be required viewing for people that are old enough to watch it (as in, I’m not putting a 10 year old in front of this. Start ’em with Jesus of Nazareth.). But for adults to be “oh, I don’t like violence, so that’s my get-out-of-jail-free card.” Well, I don’t think Jesus did either. “We preach Christ crucified,” St. Paul tells us. This is part of our message. As Catholics, we don’t look past Good Friday in the rush to Easter. We have crucifixes in our homes and in our churches–not empty crosses. We remember His passion on a daily basis.

I think you have to see it at least once, if you are an adult Christian. It’s a beautifully made film. If we want Catholic/Christian films in the mainstream, then we have to be willing to watch the ones with great artistic merit, which this has. The acting is superb. I love the soundtrack, especially the music when Mary goes to Jesus.

And also, I think it helps us understand His great, incredible love for all of us. To endure all that–for me. For you. For every single person on the planet, that ever was and ever will be. In spite of all the ways we continually screw up, He loved us that much. This movie really drives that home. That’s how I felt when it was over–full of love for every single person in that theater.

Now, if you have kids, then watching it at home can be tricky. We don’t want to terrify them and give them nightmares. But if you have teenagers, it’s something worth talking about, even if you don’t watch the film. That love. And if you’re an adult, like I said, I highly recommend a watch before Easter.


When I went to Nashville for retreat a week and change ago, I went because I wanted to get my purpose, my mission, my goal inline. As a lifelong Catholic, I’d thought my mission would be one of two things: marriage, or consecrated life ( as in; get thee to a nunnery), but I thought I’d get married and have kids and that was where my life would go.
I was wrong.
Almost got married. No consecrated life. I am a lay Dominican, but as I said d to Sr. John Thomas, to echo a mermaid, “I want more.” I didn’t feel like I was being stretched or challenged or filling what I was supposed to be doing.
Reding sore blog posts today on Patheos made me realize my mission: to tell stories, in particularly, mine.
For awhile I’ve wanted to write a memoir. I’ve got a 75% finished book proposal, ad some drft pages. But now I feel that it has to be one, written and sent out into the world.
I don’t think I’m a hero or a saint, though I’ve been called both. ( each time I want to go, really, people? Are unsure youre talking to the right person?) People somehow equate survival with heroics…I don’t know about that.

But I do know that more and more people like me aren’t being born. People with genetic diseases try to prevent their children from having the same disease, which makes me go, “why?” Don’t give me, oh, I don’t want her to suffer like I did.

I’ve always sort of thought suffering is a choice–pain isn’t. Things hurt. Suffering, as in, your mental state, is a choice. It’s a verb–it’s an action word. It’s not something that can be avoided. Everyone suffers differently. So if my kid didn’t have CF, they’d have something else. It could be less. It could be more. Are you saying that you wish your parents had aborted you? Or decided “not to implant” your particular embryo? I certainly hope not.

Benedict XVI once said, “Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”  We are all necessary.

Why can I do this? Because a lot of other CF folks don’t–they get their transplant, and they die. Or they don’t get their transplant, and they die. Or they’re OK with their lives, and they don’t really think about the greater world and how it perceives us (and by “us”, I mean all those who aren’t quite genetically or physically or whatever-ly normal. [As Br. H would say: “Normal? What does anyone in this family know about normal? The only normal one here is Jack-Jack, and he’s not even toilet-trained!”])

I have to write my story. I have loved all of it. In less than a month, I’ll be 31–something I hadn’t imagined as a kid. It seemed so old. My life isn’t perfect, and I’m not a saint, or a hero. I have not gotten everything I’ve wanted in life, like all of us. (Name me one person whose life is completely fulfilled.) I’m a person who has tried her best to have “life, and have it more abundantly.” The fact that so many people see my birth as a mistake or a choice to be avoided, as something terribly wrong, is what I have to correct.

God made me this way. He wanted me this way. And in the book, and in this blog, I want to tell you why this life is just so darn worth living. Why you shouldn’t be afraid if your kid has a disease or a defect or a whatever. Yes, life can be hard. Pain happens to everyone. But that isn’t a reason to not live life.

I look normal. I don’t have an oxygen tank, I don’t have scars in visible places, unless you count the right arm burn/skin graft. I work and I pay rent and I grocery shop and I do all those other things people do. Maybe if people can see that–they’ll think again. Or they’ll at least know that it is possible. A lot of the stories out there have been told by parents. I think we need to hear from us.

So now, I have to finish that draft. I have to write it, finish the book proposal, get some kind soul to read both and comment (or at least the book proposal) and then send it off.

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 25

Outside my window::

It is cold and misty/drizzly. I WANT WARM. Rain is better than snow, but still, it’s depressing to have these cold temps.

I am wearing::

A red short-sleeved cashmere sweater with roses on the left neck; a gray layered skirt, gray socks, black boots.

I am reading::

Summa of a Summa; Death on a Friday Afternoon; Praying with the Dominicans. I re-read the Percy Jackson series over the weekend, so that was fun. 🙂

From the kitchen::

Aglio olio pasta before ballet class tonight–carbs! 🙂 I think a shrimp recipe tomorrow night, or possibly soup and sandwich, given the weather….

Listening to::

Renee Fleming, Dark Hope but about to change it to Jesus Christ Superstar. Yeah, I know. 🙂


Daily office going well, over all, as is spiritual reading. I’m also incorporating some of the Nashville Dominican’s prayers, like the Litany to St. Dominic.

Working out::

Returning to ballet class tonight, because I miss it! I may go again tomorrow night, or go to yoga class, or do circuits here at home. So many possibilities. 🙂 We’ll see how tonight’s class goes.

Around the house::

The spring closet clean-out continues, as does the organizing of the book room. And my kitchen table looks like a ream of paper exploded on it, so I need to deal with that too!

Plans for the week::

Not a whole lot other than my workout classes, and RITE OF SPRING on Friday! So massively excited. And of course Pope Francis’ inaugural Mass is tomorrow. 🙂


Peonies for St. Cecilia

Peonies for St. Cecilia

Cochlear Implants and Music

The NY Times has been talking a lot about cochlear implants lately in the health section, and I wanted to clear a few things up, based on my experience.

One of the things people say about CIs is that they suck for music. This is not precisely true. Like just about EVERYTHING CI related, a lot depends on what your hearing was like before, and how much work you’re willing to put into it. Everyone is different.

I was a musician before. I am a musician after. My old CI processor pitched me sharp, and made hearing instrumental music I didn’t know sort of difficult, but I could fill in the gaps, because, after 23 years of music study, I “knew” where the tune was going to go next. My new processor is much better for new instrumental music, and vocal music.

I can learn new music. Some people, like radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, can’t. He has said in interviews that he only can “hear” the music that he knew before, and for a lot of people, this is the case. But music is such a huge part of my life, I knew I was going to have to regain this ability, and I have. For words, liner notes with CDs are a beautiful thing!

If music is a big part of your life pre-CI, you can probably recapture that with a new processor, especially as the technology improves. But I think a lot of it has to do with how your brain is wired; if you’re intensely musical, you should be able to get it back. Not so much–then, yeah, it might be well nigh impossible. But the technology is rapidly evolving, so don’t give up entirely.

Now, phones are another story…I’m still working on that. That’s been my biggest problem thus far.

Anyway, if you’re considering getting a CI, or you know people who are, don’t despair about the music.It’s much better than with a hearing aid!

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 12



So last weekend was all about Nashville! If you haven’t read the Nashville posts, you can find them all conveniently listed here. (I realize that links here can be hard to see–they’re sort of a forest green. So trust me when I say, it’s there. 🙂 )


After the retreat, the sisters were lovely to send us a follow-up email with the group picture, a booklist, and some more spiritual direction tips. The first is “the heroic minute”–getting up right when the alarm goes off. (I think St. Josemaria is the one who named it thus.) Let me tell you, it’s indeed heroic. I like that snooze button waaaaay too much.


The book list was pretty awesome. I’ll share it with you in a later post, because it’s among my Nashville papers that I still haven’t organized. The Summa is on it, however, and I am making progress there–I’ve read about 100 pages. One of the things the sisters do every day is 15 minutes of spiritual reading, so I’ve adapted that habit for my “studious” spiritual reading–the stuff that requires my total focus and brain power. The Summa is definitely that.


So the other big thing this week: Pope Francis! I must say, I am really dismayed with how some Church traditionalists are getting on the guy for not wearing certain things (an amice? What the heck, folks). To me, he looks like John Paul II in his attire, and in his habits. But I have recently found out some didn’t like his approach to liturgy either. Sigh.

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth reiterating: Just because I attend an NO (Novus Ordo, the “English” Mass) that doesn’t mean I don’t like and want good liturgy. I do not like guitar Masses. I do not want puppets or dancing or any crazy vestments. God deservers proper, reverent worship. I believe that can happen in English. At my parish, we have chant. We have good preaching (Dominicans, bien sur!), we have devotion. You can have the NO and have it. So the EF (extraordinary form, the Latin Mass, the Tridentine Mass, whatever you want to call it) is not the only way to have reverence.

Are all parishes like this? Oh, my goodness, no. And I wish that would change. I think the new translation will be very helpful in restoring some lost reverence in these places.

Let us not criticize our brand new Pontiff because he doesn’t chant blessings, he doesn’t wear certain things, etc., etc. He seems very holy, devoted to prayer and Our Lady, and otherwise a solid man. I don’t know much about him; I imagine few lay people do. But let’s stop. the.freak.out. NOW.


So Rite of Spring is next week. Have I told you about this? Our symphony and ballet companies are joining forces to put on this tempestuous classic of dance and music. Since the riot at the 1913 premier, the original choreography is lost, and it’s rarely performed, especially with both complete symphony and ballet company together. We are so fortunate to see it here in Columbus! I have been waiting about a year for this, ever since it was announced last March.

If you aren’t familiar with the Rite of Spring: it’s the dinosaur segment from Fantasia.

(This is the final segment, not the beginning; I tried to find the beginning but YouTube was not obliging for what I wanted. The beginning, though, is recognizable from its very high, strange bassoon part.)


I’m re-reading the Percy Jackson series. “I kissed the poodle. You kiss the poodle.” I just crack up laughing. Great stuff, even if I am totally outside of the target age range. 🙂


I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April! So excited. This time I think I’m planning a YA novel, with my dad’s mom’s as the inspiration for one of the main characters (don’t worry, Dad, it’s good!). I’m really excited about this one!