Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 32

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I.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! Mine was quiet; we went out for dinner to the Buxton Inn in a nearby college town, and only my mom and I had traditional turkey. My dad had a seafood dish, Bryan had steak, and Melanie had salmon, so we were all happy! The Inn was built in 1812, so it’s got a historical streak my mom and I enjoy (and it may be haunted. Maybe. Possibly.).

Before that, I’d gone to my parents’ house and watched some football and worked on knitting. After, I came home and did MORE knitting and watched The Godfather Part II on AMC, and football. So a quiet Thanksgiving, which was nice.

II.

Today I think I’m going out with my brother and his girlfriend for dinner and putting up my tree and maybe movies/shopping? We’ll see. I always like help putting up my tree since it’s sort of a complicated process. I have the tree itself, then the lights, then the strands of decorations, then the ornaments (of which I have many). The Advent wreath and Nativity scene are already in place, minus Baby Jesus in the creche. 🙂

III.

I can’t believe Advent starts tomorrow. I love Advent. I like to go to the Vigil Mass so that I’m there–bang–right when Advent starts, and hopefully I can get to confession beforehand. We’ll see if this is all possible. It’s OSU/Michigan (aka “The Game”) day here so it should be fairly quiet on the roads since most everyone will be inside watching the game.

IV.

One of my favorite Advent books is Come, Lord Jesus, by Mother Mary Francis, PCC. If you haven’t read this, please do yourself a favor and order it. She gives so much wonderful food for thought in this season of waiting and preparation. (Because, y’know, it’s not all about the shopping!)

V.

I haven’t seen Frozen yet, but I am liking the soundtrack very much. Idina Menzel does a great job and the songs are pretty witty (there are a few lyrics that are a little cockeyed, but I can forgive that. I think.). The songs are composed by a different person than the musical score, which is interesting, but I think it works? At least on the CD. I hope to see the movie this weekend so I can tell you how it works in actuality.

VI.

I have to make a list today of holiday things: gifts to wrap, cards to send out, and how I’m going to package said gifts. Most people are done, although not everyone. I want to hit Hallmark today or tomorrow and get some Grinch gift bags which I adore for packing people’s gifts. Who doesn’t love the Grinch, I ask?

(I may had an abnormal love for him; my dad, brother and I used to re-enact the Grinch stories in  our basement, with Bryan as Max the Dog and Dad as the Grinch. I was Cindy Lou Who, who was way more than two, when we did this. :-p So I love Grinch things.)

 VII.

On Wednesday we got dismissed from work at noon. So I went home, had Chipotle, and read the Valentine series by Adriana Trigiani, including the newest book, The Supreme Macaroni Company. It was cold and my fire was “lit” (It’s a gas fireplace, so it was really “on”). It was glorious: reading, good food, and a fire. And snow outside! Perfect.

Thanksgiving

Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hard oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of Public Thanksgiving for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of the earth–for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives–and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man’s faith in his manhood, that nourish and strength his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land;–that we may humbly take heart of the blessings as we gather once against with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.

–Wilber L. Cross, seventy-first governor of Connecticut

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Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 43

saint catherine of alexandria reading a book by marinari

Happy Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Co-Patroness of the Dominican Order! 🙂 

Outside my window::

Getting dark, and it’s COLD. Like in the teens at night cold. Brrr!

Wearing::

Black v-neck dress with a deep blue camisole, and black flats earlier, but those are off. My “grover” (my furry North Face Fleece, which is bright blue) is getting a lot of use as well these days.

In the kitchen::

Pasta, cacio e pepi, which is basically pasta with lots of cheese and pepper.

Reading::

St. Catherine of Siena’s dialogues. I should finish this tonight!

Fun links::

Pride and patridges: Jane Austen and food. 

Knitting as a feminist issue? 

Praying for::
Angela in her “cancer eradication” surgery today. 🙂 (That’s what she’s calling it)

My pregnant friends

Around the house::

I have to start wrapping Christmas gifts. I did a lot of cleaning this weekend and my Advent wreath and my Nativity are both us. The tree is this weekend’s project. I only have work until Wednesday at noon, so a nice long holiday is in my future! Plenty of time to clean and deck the halls.

Being creative::

A bit less than 9,000 words left in NaNoWriMo sweeps! Yes! I also ordered a ton of new yarn today for a ridiculously low price, so I want to finish the scarf I have going on now and then clear my needles for the yarn that’s coming!

In the CD player::

Oh yeah, it’s Christmas music. 🙂

Plans for the week::

In no particular order: Thanksgiving (well, on Thursday, duh); three Pure Barre classes; my brother coming over with his girlfriend; the OSU Michigan game; putting up the tree; seeing Frozen, and going to a production of A Christmas Carol on Sunday. And I want to see Book Thief too!

Head over to Suscipio for more CWAs!

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 31

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I.

Happy St. Cecilia’s Day!

She is the patroness of all musicians, so I love this feast. And here’s the poem for this day, by John Dryden.

II.

Last March, you may remember I visited the Dominicans of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN. So happy patronal feast day to all the sisters there as well!

Statue of St. Cecilia at the Nashville Dominican Motherhouse.

Statue of St. Cecilia at the Nashville Dominican Motherhouse.

III.

I know I have been terrible AWOL here lately, but between NaNoWriMo (I’m still chugging away, less than 20K words to go!) and random chaos, the blog muses haven’t been hanging around. I’m hoping that changes soon. NaNo takes most of my writing energy at the moment.

IV.

Last week’s adorable CCD quote:

Me: (Talking about the fourth commandment) And how do we honor our parents?
Anthony: We don’t stick our tongues out at them.

I love my class so, so much. And we managed to get through the entire story of Moses (well, minus the vivid plague descriptions) and the 10 commandments in one day! This week we’re covering the Annunciation and talking about Advent, since we’re off next week for Thanksgiving break.

V.

Speaking of that–how the heck is it less than one week to Thanksgiving?! WOW! Fortunately I have inherited my mother’s early shopping gene, so I’m about done with my Christmas gifts. I still need to get two more things but I’m ordering those today. For Turkey Day, “we are going out to eat”, and I’m taking Pure Barre class that morning so I can eat sans guilt. 🙂

VI.

Reading: I’m re-reading the Royal Diaries and still in Abandonment to Divine Providence. And I have a beef with B&N.

B&N: I love you. But please put only NEW books (as in, released in the past month) in the “new books’ section,  not books that were released in March and thus are not new anymore, and then it’s hard to find legitimately new books. Pleaaase fix this! Why do you do this?!

VII.

Watched Man of Steel this week. I generally really liked it. How could I not with three of my favorite actors in it (Amy Adams, Henry Cavill and Russell Crowe?) But I did find two essentially back to back scenes of massive fighting and destruction a bit…wearying. But I know much less about Superman than I do about say, Batman, so maybe this is how it goes?

Saints Are Not Sad

I believe it was Venerable Fulton Sheen who said, “saints are not sad.” His assertion is borne out by other saints, namely Saint Padre Pio, who said, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

‘Tis the season to be thankful. But I’ve noticed a lot of grumpy Catholics lately. Or, more accurately, doomsday Catholics, who feel that we’re all going to perish anon if we don’t give up all pleasures and move to a monastery to weep for our sins….Read the rest over at Suscipio!

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 42

Outside my window::

Snow tonight. Accumlative snow. As in at least an inch or more. Now an inch isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s the first accumulative snow of the season, so people are going to freak in the AM. Sigh.

Wearing::

An awesome Jane Austen ish nightgown from Garnet Hill. It was also a costume in the last act of the House of Bernarda Alba. So, go nightgowns! 🙂

Reading::

Much Ado About Nothing, for audition prep; The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen, which I picked up at Half Price Books today with a gift card I had; The Dialogues of Catherine of Siena (I WILL FINISH THIS). I also picked up A Dance With Dragons at HPB. I won two $10 gift cards at the Pickerington Community Theater auction over the weekend, which was so much fun.

Cooking::

I made a strawberry omelet for dinner (from Giada’s Feel Good Food), and I think I had the heat up too long or something. The bottom was burned but the top part was good. I did like it, I think my general skill with omelet making is to blame here. So I’ll try it again soon (because I have this whole thing of strawberries, now…).

Fitness: 

Pure Barre W and Thursday. 🙂

Crafting::

Working on a scarf for me, and I’m planning a knitted shell/tank top. I’ve got the yarn all planned out. Also, I will be braving the task of purling soon!

Also doing NaNoWriMo. I’ve got over 20,000 words!

Plans for the week::

Volunteer dinner tomorrow night for Lifeline of Ohio (Organ donation organization) volunteers; pure barre W and Th; possibly seeing The Book Thief on Friday; audition and baby shower on Saturday, and teaching the CCD kids about Moses and the 10 commandments on Sunday. Whew!

Doctor update 11/4

OK, so in the “education and awareness” category, here’s how today’s doctor appointment went down:

  • blood draw via the port. It liked me, life is good. Numbers here look happy except for a few things we’ll talk about later.
  • chest X-ray (CXR): No problems here
  • PFTs: WE just did basic pulmonary function tests (PFTs). These are stable. I was hoping the overall capacity would go up, but when I talked to my doctor he said that that probably won’t happen because: 1) Lot of scar tissue in the chest cavity limits the ability of expansion; 2) my lungs were trimmed, so also, limits expansion possibilities (lungs are “trimmed” when they are a bit too big for your body. I actually grew about 2 inches post transplant, but at the time I was about 5’2″. So, small.) and 3) my numbers are above normal for adults. 🙂 So Unless I Become Michael Phelps (swimmers actually can increase their capacity, to over 100% sometimes), we’re limited on what we can do here. I actually didn’t know all this, so I felt good after this talk
  • I have to have a colonoscopy next year for a baseline. I really don’t mind this. I’ve had all the “prep” drugs, or anyway, drugs of that ilk, before, so I’m fine with that. And it’s fun drugs. We’ll have to work our port access for IV access because, you know, my veins are FUN, but we can do that later. CF folk have a higher risk of colon cancer, and transplant increases that again (cancer, in general, although lymphoma is the most common one).
  • I’m seeing my ENT in January, because the sinuses hate me. So we may need surgery on those next year, too. My ENT likes to do it every other year, so 2012, 2014….
  • My blood work was good, but my iron levels were lower than normal (I”m anemic, so they’re usually low). So we’re trying to raise that level a bit by eating more red meat, and other iron rich foods. Apparently clams and oysters are high in iron, as well as things like sesame-seed bagels. Who knew?
  • Also the dietician has given me full rein to indulge the CHEESE. Because my bone density is awesome, and we like that, so cheese please! And dairy! She likes the fat free milk I drink from a nearby farm in Athens.
  • ALSO: I got to drop a drug! Yes! One of my meds is being removed from my list. My doctor, Dr. H, gave me the option and I took it. So yay! It’s weird seeing my drug dosages slowly reduce.
  • Don’t have to go back until Feb. 3. Score!

 

What defines you?

This is something that’s always bothered me and recently I’ve felt the need to articulate it.

Maybe it’s simply become more prevalent in the internet blogging age, but I see a LOT of people who blog where they totally define themselves by something that’s wrong with them. Some of these parents completely define (this is mostly parents, I’ve seen) their children by these facts.

This bothers me. If my parents had done this, I would’ve been so perturbed. No one’s parents are perfect, but I’ve had something wrong with me since I was a bit over a year old. Before being diagnosed with CF at 11, I had seizures. But I took swimming lessons, dance lessons. My parents took us to Disney World. We went to theme parks. After my CF diagnosis, I wasn’t given any “special” quarter. My parents didn’t deny me things like class trips to Disney, or anything like that. I wanted to be seen as normal, as much as possible. They treated me, as much as possible, like my other two “Normal” siblings.

So when I see parents who are so worried about their children that they won’t take them to theme parks, or to REGULAR parks (and CF kids do NOT have compromised immune systems, guys); who title their blogs with things like “CF (kid’s name)” or “CF Warrior So and So”, I feel bad for these kids. Because how are they supposed to see themselves as more than a disease if their parents very publicly do these things?

Personally, I only told people I had CF when they needed to know. My teachers only knew if I was on IVs, and then I needed extra time to get to class, because my school had 2000 plus kids and 4 minutes to get to class. Jostling in the hallways, not good. A really heavy backpack with a PICC line, not good. So I had extra time to get books and get to my next class.

I made up all my work. Always. Once I missed an Algebra II exam because my PICC line decided to start bleeding out in the middle of the night. (Yeah, that was fun.) After getting it fixed after an hour or so on the phone, I went back to bed, my mom called the school, I took the exam that afternoon. (believe me, I need all my mental powers for algebra…)

I see parents who treat their kids like they are precious pieces of porcelain that are going to shatter at the lightest touch. They have made their kids entire existence about a disease.

I do not, ever, want to be defined by the fact that I have a sucky genetic code. If I had to define myself as anything, it would be: Catholic. American. Italian/German/Scots-Irish. Writer. Sister. Daughter. Friend. Actress. Those sorts of things. Not “Oh, a kid with a bad genetic code.”

It makes me sad because I see these parents and I think, do you know what you’re doing to your kid? I feel like you’re stunting them. There’s a line between “My kid can do anything!” and “my kid can do nothing.” It’s called reality. I will never climb Everest, OK? I’m cool with that. I will never have kids. I’m also cool with that. (And that took a long time to get cool with, people. ) I may get married. I may not.

My life is not defined by things I can’t control. To me that’s like defining yourself by skin or eye color, or height. It’s not who you are . It’s something that is part of the puzzle, sure. But it’s not what I am.

I believe, of course, in awareness. Now I talk about organ donation a TON because I want to get more donors. I’m open about it in a way I wasn’t with my CF. Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to effect change. Be an organ donor. Save lives. Boom. Also, people don’t know a lot about genetic diseases. They can be afraid it’s ‘contagious’. So awareness is important, there, too, but it’s also harder.

I’ve had people reject me because of this stuff. I’ve had guys break up with me over it. And you know? That’s just part of it. But it’s not, and never will be, how I define myself. And it makes me sad when parents do that to their kids, because they are laying a mental groundwork that can be hard to overcome later.

I don’t want pity, and I don’t want special treatment. I’m not made of glass. Accommodation when needed, yes. I have a lot more doctor appointments than most people. I have my transplant team, my ENT, a cardiologist, a dentist, an eye doctor, an OB/GYN, a PCP (that I never see but that’s another story), a dermatologist, an audiologist. The list is long. Yes, I can get sick easier than most people, hence my “get a flu shot” campaign. But don’t treat me like I’m less because of these things. I am what I am, and this has made me what I am. But it’s not how I choose to define myself, or talk about myself.

I use this blog, sort of, as a platform for awareness and education of CF and lung transplant. Transplant, especially lungs, is a bit of a Brave New World of medicine. By talking about it, I’m hoping people will learn about it. But I don’t want to be the transplant kid, or a walking medical guinea pig, although I am those things. 🙂 I want to be something better.

I don’t know if this really makes sense. But this is something that’s been on my mind for awhile. Don’t define people by what they might “have” or “what’s wrong” with them.

For example: My CCD class has one kid who is blind. But you know, I don’t even think about that anymore. Yes, if people bring in something he can touch to cement a lesson, we let him touch it. But he’s so whip smart and adorable and just endearing that he’s just him. He’s not “the blind kid”.

All Souls’ Day

"All Souls' Day", Jackub Schikander

“All Souls’ Day”, Jackub Schikander

I would go so far as to say that if there was no purgatory, then we would have to invent it, for who would dare say of himself that he was able to stand directly before God. And yet we don’t want to be, to use an image from Scripture, ‘a pot that turned out wrong,’ that has to be thrown away; we want to be able to be put right. Purgatory basically means that God can put the pieces back together again. That he can cleanse us in such a way that we are able to be with him and can stand there in the fullness of life. Purgatory strips off from one person what is unbearable and from another the inability to bear certain things, so that in each of them a pure heart is revealed, and we can see that we all belong together in one enormous symphony of being.”

–Pope Benedict XVI