Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 49

Outside my window::

Oh, it’s MORE SNOW. 

Yeah, I’m ready for winter to be over. -5 in the A.M. when I leave for work. My poor car.


wool socks, brown pants, light blue cashmere turtleneck. It’s like my really cold day work uniform.


Pickwick Papers, City of God. It’s cold, and I’m not going anywhere. I am reading and drinking tea. And watching hockey.

Around the house::

So, since I’m inside, I should be cleaning, right? Does eating down the fridge count? 🙂

In all seriousness, the house isn’t in awful shape. My parents helped me clean it a bit last week so that helped immensely. The sink is clean (for FlyLady peeps…. 🙂 ), and the dishes are also clean, so tat’s two big winners right there.

In the kitchen::

A lot of pasta. Because, why not. Going to try a Barefoot Contessa menu later this week of chicken piccata and roasted onions. It looked so good on the show. I also made a pork chop dish last week that was excellent (pork chop, onions, apples. Yes.). If it’s gonna be cold, I’m gonna be cooking. Might even make stew this weekend.


Feeling much better post antibiotic magic. Huzzah! Re-doing PFTs on Wednesday to see if they are up/down/stable. Hoping for up, or stable. I DO NOT want to see them go down anymore. No. Negative. Just nope.

In the CD player::

The Original Broadway Cast recording for Once.

Plans for the week::

PFTs on Wednesday, and a blood draw Thursday morning to check drug levels for one of my immunosuppressants. Auditions for a show this weekend!

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 35



What a week.

So we started with this, which lead to me being hermit-ish all week, which worked out well, because now I have a cold.  Now in the grand scheme of my life, a cold is not a huge deal–even with a suppressed immune system–but since we’re doing Super Immunosuppression This Week, it’s a bit more of a Deal that usual. I’m hoping that I can get over it with a day and half of hermitness.

The Massive Steroid doses have stopped, praise Jesus, so maybe now I’ll stop wanting to eat the table?


In addition to the steroid doses, there’s also two new antibiotics on board, which you would think would help with the cold thing, but….not so much so far. Oh well. At least I can take cold meds now; I couldn’t before, with CF, since the last thing you want is anything that’s a cough suppressant in any way.


The huge benefit to all this, obviously, is that I’ve gotten to read a lot. 🙂 I ordered four Dickens novels from Amazon last week and they arrived, thankfully, on Monday, so I was able to read two of them. I’m hoping to get through Pickwick Papers today. Of course my overriding sentiment with Dickens is that his books would have been much better with an editor. I do realize that he wrote and got paid as a columnist for most of his writing. But still.

That being said, I really enjoyed Dombey and Son (much more than I thought I would, even if the titular son does, erm, disappear rather early), and I liked Old Curiosity Shop, although there is a clear instance of toooooo mannnnny characters. Oh well.


I do need to leave the hermit nest today, if briefly, to re-stock the kitchen. It’s going to get really cold again. When I say “really cold”, I mean temps below 0 sans wind chill.

I am aware it is winter. I am aware, in winter, it gets cold. I have lived in the state of Ohio my entire life, and I’m well-aware of this.

But I severely dislike cold that is in single digits, and below zero. And yes, I’m gonna complain about it. It’s pretty if I don’t have to go out into it (snow, anyway.). But it shouldn’t be like getting ready to go deep sea diving just to take out the trash. That’s ridiculous.


Another thing I did this week was knit some bookmarks. I have actually gotten much better at this, and they LOOK LIKE bookmarks! Huzzah! The yarn is from Knit picks, and I think it’s been discontinued, sadly. It was called Imagination and had all sorts of fairy tale colors. I’ll have to put pictures up later. The two completed bookmarks are in “Unicorn”, with lots of baby pastels, and I’d like to knit one in “Loch Ness”, which is deeper blue, greens, browns–very Scottish looking.


In a sampling of why you will never be totally prepared for CCD in 1st grade, this is what the kids asked last week (small sampling):

“When did St. Joseph die?” (we don’t know, but before Jesus began His public ministry at age 30)

“How did St. Joseph die?” (Again, don’t know)

“How did Mary die?” (Explanation of the Assumption)

“When we use holy water, are we re-baptizing ourselves?” (Explanation of sacramentals)


And, finally: this.

Praise Jesus. An anthem singer I can tolerate!

Pondering the Mysteries: The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns

And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and stuck him with their hands.
John 19:2-3

Besides the pain of the torture being inflicted, there’s also the emotional pain. The taunts, the jeers, the jests from the soldiers and the crowds.

Jesus has just been scourged. Now, the soldiers, of their own initiative, decide to hurt Him even more. They weave a crown of thorns. Not like rose bush thorns, even though those hurt enough. The thorns that grow in the Holy Land could be inches long. So these are what the soldier wove into a crown and placed on Jesus’ head.

How can we bear to think about this?

Read the rest over at Plain Grace. 

The Bible Project 2014: Week 2, Light Shines

There’s a line in Farmer Boy, the book by Laura Ingalls Wilder about her husband, Almanzo’s, early years with his family in New York State:

When the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen.

Here in Ohio, that is true. The days are longer, but this month we have been plunged into frigid cold. The temperature outside is 4 degrees.

Do we ever feel that way about God?

We see the light–but it’s cold light.

We see God–but He is so cold, so remote, so far away.



It can be winter in our souls. We need His warmth, and light.

And so God sends it to us–He sends His only son to give us Light.

Even in the bleak midwinter–light. Warmth. God’s life in our souls, always, because there has never been a time without God.

On winter nights, the stars are so clear and brilliant–but they seem so impossibly remote.

God is not remote to us. He brings us light that no darkness can overcome. It may be, in some seasons, a tiny, flickering candle flame. It may seem so fragile.

But no amount of darkness can destroy the light. The light is there, shining.


A little resort stay

OK, before y’all go getting jealous, it’s not a real resort. The “resort” is what I call Children’s Hospital, because pre-transplant, that’s where all my vacation leave ended up being spent. 🙂 Hence, resort.

I’d been feeling crappy for about a week, so I called my transplant team on Wednesday. I’d been having some chest tightness so that’s something they like to know about, as well as shortness of breath, weakness, general malaise-y stuff. They said to watch it, and if the pain got worse to go to the ER.

Pain got worse Friday night, we went to the ER. In the ER they couldn’t find anything wrong with an EKG or X-ray, so they gave me some ativan/large dose of steroids because they thought it might be skeleto-muscular and/or inflammation. I remember nothing about post-ativan life until I sort of woke up in the car as we were heading home, but dad told me the major steroid dose was NOT a winner, since it made me throw up (as I knew it would, but I guess I didn’t tell them this?).

So Saturday was sort of lost in the fog of the drugs, although I did do my taxes correctly, and Dad came over to help me take down my tree.

Sunday, I went to teach CCD (the kids very much liked hearing about how the 12 apostles died), and we had our usual review game. I went to confession before Mass and in the middle of Fr. Tom’s homily my phone lights up. I have Google Voice to translate–well, write out, in this case–my messages, so I waited a few minutes and then surreptitiously checked my email.

It was the ER, saying I needed to come back in. They were rather adamant about this.


So I left after offertory and headed to the ER.

Apparently the blood tests they took on Friday had come back, and my port line was infected–or I had a blood infection–or something. So I was hooked up to a big bag of vancomycin (vanco, for the rest of this) and they told me I was going to be admitted, which was OK with me, because, as I said, I was feeling crappy. So I texted my parents and they came in, bearing things for a few days at the Resort. While I waited for nurses and parents, I planned the next two CCD lesson plans, so it wasn’t entirely unproductive, and watched football.

Apparently, I have a lovely reaction to IV vanco–I turn super-red (sort of like Violet in Willy Wonka, just, you know, red) and get super itchy. I was about two steps away form cutting off all my hair so I could scratch my scalp in a much better way, when the nurse came in with IV benadryl (which I didn’t know existed) and immediately it was like cool water on my scalp. Ahhhhh. 🙂 We had to do another dose later but the new rule: pre-treat Emily with benadryl before you give her vanco so she doesn’t turn into a purple-red tomato.

So I was up on the Floor of the Squirrel (at Children’s, each floor has an animal mascot, and my floor has a Squirrel). I didn’t sleep very well on Sunday night, due to the pain I still had, and the fact that when I’m in the hospital I wear my CI 24/7, and I had my port accessed and a peripheral IV in my right arm, so I couldn’t find a great sleeping position.

Monday I spent watching a lot of Food Network. 🙂 My sister had worked the night shift (she’s a nurse at Children’s) so she came in to keep me company and we bonded. My transplant docs made rounds around 9–not much new happening there, since we were waiting for results to come back–but they said I would go home that day after I did PFTs (pulmonary function tests).

My parents came, Mel went home to sleep, and I did PFTs. They had dropped a few points, which made me a bit unhappy, but it also explained the shortness of breath I’d been having, and my PFTs usually drop a bit in the winter. Most people have consistent PFT levels–they are always 75% or 60% of 18% or whatever. I’m not. Mine go up and down in a seasonal pattern, and winter is usually the worst, when I hang out in the upper 40s. So, this was “normal” but I wasn’t expecting it.

So I was discharged around 4:30 (it’s always rush hour. Always.) and my parents dropped me off at home and then, thankfully, did some grocery shopping for me, since the massive steroid doses make me want to eat the table I’ve got my computer on, here. I also had received the Dickens books I’d ordered from Amazon, so I have some reading today:  Dombey and Son, Our Mutual Friend, and The Pickwick Papers. 

Another exciting chapter in my life, right? I’m home now though, so that’s always happy.


Sunday History Links II

One of my favorite weekend emails is Breakfast Links from Two Nerdy History Girls. When I find ones I like, I share them here. 🙂 Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

It’s a major award!

One of my new Internet besties, Cristina, has gifted me with awards!

I feel special.

(The pictures are being silly, so here’s only one of them. )


I feel so loved, peeps. 🙂

Now for nominations. Well, I suck at this. I don’t read many “personal” blogs, I read ones that most people are already quite familiar with. And since I can’t gift Cristina again (I don’t think, anyway), I shall give a nod to Elizabeth F., whose blog I love dearly, and she is a wonderful sweet person.


So now I have to tell you 10 things about myself. That you don’t know, already. It’s part of the fun.

So, here we go:

1) My confirmation saint: St. Therese. I know, lots of people pick her. But we have a lot in common, so I picked her, and we get along well.

2) When I was younger, I wanted five kids. I’d still like lots of kids, but you know. Biology. 😛

3) My transplant surgery took 10 hours. It’s supposed to take 4-6.

4) One of my least-favorite books is Moby-Dick. Dear Herman: Decide if you want the book to be a novel, or a whale encyclopedia. Thanks.

5) The first role I ever had in a show was Snow White in preschool, because I could sing “Someday My Prince Will Come.” (the other girl could not. I WIN.)

6) My favorite Shakespeare play is King Lear.

7) I flunked swimming lessons as a kid, since I couldn’t float properly. I can now float (maybe not properly), but I can’t really swim correctly, either. But I can make do.

8) My favorite color is blue (used to be pink as a kid. So the whole pink/blue split in Sleeping Beauty is very familiar to me.)

9) I went to horse-back riding day camp the summer before sixth grade and learned to ride a horse, curry a horse, do everything involved with horses. It was awesome.

10) I am afraid of making pie with a proper crust. I can make precisely two pies, and neither of them involve rolling out a crust first.

The Bible Project 2014, Week 1: In the beginning…


In the beginning

A lot of stories begin that way. “It is always best to start at the beginning.”–Glinda. “Start at the beginning, and continue to the end, then stop.” —Alice in Wonderland

In seventh grade, my religion teacher, a former sister, had us learn “choral reading”. For our text, she chose this verse to start. Eventually, we did the entire Prologue to the Gospel of John. This could be what started my love affair with this Gospel.

I love John. I love his poetry, his words, the great speeches of Jesus he puts down. John, to me, is a gospel for writers. So many words.

So much logos. Logos–word.

In the beginning, was the word.


For a writer, this is exciting. Words!! Words have always been there.

And the Word is a person. A Word is…


The word.

In the beginning….

was the Word.

And the Word was with God.

And the Word was God.

God was a word.

God spoke words, and things were made.

There was never been a time without God, without The Word.

Words can be so many things. Ugly. Beautiful. Redemptive. Heartfelt. Hurtful. Painful. Inspiring. Joy-and-life-giving.

What kind of words do I speak? What do I want to speak?

Pondering the Mysteries: The second sorrowful mystery, the scourging at the pillar

Just the title of this mystery invokes shudders.


Public punishment is not something we have in our culture. But up until about a hundred years ago, this was a normal part of life. People were put in stocks, were whipped in courtyards, and, in Jesus’ time, scourged. It was thought to be a deterrent to bad behavior. Mosaic law limits the amount of scourges allowed to thirty-nine.


Thirty-nine lashes against bare skin. Can you imagine?

Read the rest over at Plain Grace. 

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 48

Outside my window

A glorious sunrise this morning, all sherbet pink and orange and purple and deep blue. One nice thing about the sun rising later–I’m awake to see it!


Grey pleated skirt, black flats, emerald green wrap top, and silver lotus flower earring. They were my Christmas gift to myself, those earrings, and I wear them almost every day.  (They’re the ones Natalie Portman is wearing in the photo below)

(and yes, I got them because I saw them in Black Swan. I am weird like that)


Over the weekend I had a stomach bug so I did a bit of reading: I finished Charles Dickens (he was not a nice man. I’m sorry. But he wasn’t. Or let me rephrase that: he was nice to everyone except his wife and most of his kids. He had a great heart for charity. Also, the author’s insertion of her opinion about the novels is sort of irritating.) and Renewed, and The Invention of Wings (which was good, but the narrator jumping back and forth was a bit choppy at times). This week, more City of God and I’m finally reading Michael Pollan’s Cooked. Reading the Dickens bio also made me want to read more of his early stuff, including Dombey and Little Curiosity Shop, so I might have to track those down.


ThisTalking about the first verse on Wednesday! Join us?


From the kitchen::

Tonight: Cacio e Pepi–pasta with cheese and pepper. Lots of pepper.

Tuesday: Lazy bolognese on penne (two pasta nights in a row? I try not to do that, but sometimes… 🙂 )

Wednesday: Salmon

Thursday: No idea. Need to find something.

Friday: Out

Saturday: Meatloaf, a  new recipe. I’m looking for my favorite one.

Made a lovely pork chop with mustard, onions and apples (and apple cider) last night, though. Very easy.

Around the house::

The usual Monday things–trash out, vacuuming, dusting, etc. According to Fly Lady we’re in the master bath and one extra room this week, so that’s my bathroom and the office/book room.

In the CD player::

A mix CD I made ages ago.

1000 gifts:: 

Up to No. 143. 🙂

This week::

ENT appointment at lunch time tomorrow. The sinuses need checked out, for sure.

Pure Barre tonight, W and Thursday–getting back in the class groove.

Teaching CCD as usual on Sunday.