Daybook No. 75

Daybook No. 75

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

Happy Michaelmas–the feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the three Archangels. 

“And I do not have you married by Michaelmas, it will not be my fault.”

Sense and Sensibility

Outside my window::

Another lovely fall day, it looks like. On the warm side; I wouldn’t mind some fall temperatures!


PJs. I was doing my Morning Pages, and after this it’ll be time for Morning Prayer, and then I’ll get dressed.


Voyager (yes I am working my way through the Outlander series again, duh); Love Does, and whatever I bring back from today’s library trip. Monday is my new “library day”, I’ve decided. I’m returning what I got last week and have finished, and checking out whatever strikes me.

In the CD player::

Dolly, of course. It’s all off-book now, but practice makes perfect!


Speaking of Dolly, massive rehearsals start this weekend as we get ever closer to opening! You can get tickets here.


It’s a busy week for it! Today is Michaelmas, one of my feast days, because my middle name is a derivative of Michael; St. Therese’s Feast Day is on Wednesday, and she’s my Confirmation Patron, and Friday is the First Friday of October. Whew!

St. Therese

St. Therese of Lisieux 

I’m going to get to Mass on Wednesday and hopefully on Friday, too. Today I didn’t get up early enough to get things done before Mass, but I hope St. Michael will understand. 🙂 October and November are so chock-full of saints’ days and feasts, and then we’re into Advent again. Can you believe it?

CCD funny::

(In class this week, we discussed the creation story in Genesis and had the kids draw pictures of what they thought it looked like.)

Me: (looking at student’s drawing) Oh, what’s that?

Student: (gleefully) It’s a tidal wave!!!

These kids, they kill me.


It is a repeated observation of St. John of the Cross that God prostrates souls in a preliminary trial when he intends to draw closer in love. Here a pattern is noted, calling for our insight. No doubt we need to understand the providence of God differently.

Trials do not reflect a sign of disfavor with God. Rather, the reverse is indicated. God is offering an invitation, even if it hardly seems so. He is teaching, even if it seems a harsh lesson. It may be a hard truth to accept that God’s greater love is proven by the prevalence of trials we could not foresee, and by their lingering despite every plea for their removal. It is a rare soul that learns to take no surprise at this.

There are indeed many shocks in what can seem God’s rough treatment. Perhaps it is not unusual that we attempt to persuade God to be more gentle in his manner. It appears sometimes that nothing moves him in this regard. More love for God, for example, rather than overcoming a trial, will seem on occasion to extend the duration of a time of trial. But at the end of the day we face always the same question. Would we prefer to love less if it meant not to suffer?

–Father Donald Haggerty


I lost two pounds last week! This week it’s gym and I want to work in a yoga workout as well, possibly on Thursday. We’ll see how the schedule unfolds.

Around the house::

Working on cleaning out my closet as well as purging books and magazines from the first floor rooms. My pile of things to take to Half Price Books is growing, as is the pile in the recycling bag. (Trader Joe’s bags are excellent for paper recycling, because you can just throw everything in, including the bag. 🙂 )

From the kitchen::

Working on The Chew cookbooks this week; I’ve got some salads, chili recipes, and tonight’s meal, General Tso’s Chicken, in the works.


One of the things I see in the CF community is the desire to label or define themselves by their disease. This bother me. I see lots of Facebook pages with “CF (kid’s name)” or “So and So’s CF Journey” or “CF Mom”, or CaringBridge pages with the same sort of titles.

If my parents–or anyone else–ever did this to me, we’d be having words.

Why on earth do people choose to define themselves by their disease? Does it make them feel better? I guess some people think it brings awareness, but to me it’s the opposite. What brings awareness is when you live your life in the best way possible, without constantly doing a I HAVE THIS WRONG WITH ME drumbeat. To me, having a “CF Name” page is just about as sensical as having “I have blue eyes” name page. So what. Who cares? Why do people let this define them?

I am, obviously, not a CF parent. But if my parents did this, I’d be having a talk with them. It drives me crazy to see and hear these things, like the only thing worth knowing about these people is that their genes are off.

Also, I’m not a hero, OK? I have done absolutely nothing incredibly brave in my life. I’ve lived the life I’ve had and that’s it. That doesn’t make me anymore heroic than the person reading this.

I’m writing a book about my experiences, and I’m in the process of sending our proposals to agents. I want awareness, obviously. I want a cure. But I don’t think the way to do that is to trumpet THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. I think it’s to tell my story about how I tried my absolute best to live a great life, and this is what happened on the way; that you don’t have to have this victim mentality. I want more people to be organ donors. I want people to live healthy lives. But I would never call myself a CF anything, or a Cyster, or whatever. That drives me nuts.

A survivor? Yeah, you can call me that, given that I’ve got more lives than the average cat. But let’s stop defining people because of a disease, and start defining them based on other things, things that are much more valuable.



Daybook No. 74

Outside my window:

Another sparkling Fall day. Well, OK, it’s the first full day of Fall, but yesterday was gorgeous too. I got to sit on my back porch with a drink and a book and it was amazingly awesome.


My PJs. Late start this morning–stomach wanted more sleep, stomach got more sleep.


OK, so this week in The Artist’s Way, we’re not supposed to be reading. Um, yeah… I’m trying to “cut down” on my reading. The idea is that artists can use reading as a crutch to avoid doing other things. And yeah, there are times when I’m so guilty of that. So what I’m trying this week is “intentional reading”. As in, not just reading to avoid doing other things, but as a reward (not the best word, but it’s all that’s coming to me right now) for doing the other things. The only places where I’m keeping my reading “as is” is before I go to bed, and at the gym. Since I don’t have the CI adapter for my iPhone yet, I can’t listen to music, so I read, and I go harder when I do it. Strange but true.

And I went to the library yesterday and grabbed a whole haul of books, so I’m reading those. When I go to the library I just grab what looks good to me. So yesterday I read a biography of Gypsy Rose Lee, and two books on eating that were diametrically opposed to one another: The Engine 2 Diet and The Primal Connection. I liked the latter much better. Today I’m starting Palisades Park. Still reading Summa of the Summa, of course.

The Artist’s Way tasks, and learning the music for Hello, Dolly! I think we’re supposed to be off book this weekend, so I’m working on getting myself there.


Belief in God, and how that shapes your life.

I belong to a lung transplant group on Facebook, and I often see people over there saying things like “I was DETERMINED to control my destiny and my health! And so I did and I would do anything to keep on living!” or, “I believe that I control my health and my destiny”, or things of that nature.

All of these things make me pause. First, I love my life. But at some point–we’re all going to die. This should not be shocking to anyone. You’re born, you die. Circle of Life. (Cue Elton John) I am not willing to do anything to stay alive. For example, at this point, I wouldn’t consider a third transplant. A second, yes. A third, no. To me, a third seems selfish and sort of desperate. So many people are waiting for that first transplant, and you want a third? There’s also a lot of medical reasons: Your aorta is only so long. The more transplants you have, the more scar tissue, the more antibodies in your body (which make you harder to match to another set of organs), and the more trauma your body has been through.

I would much rather live my life, set things in order peacefully and calmly, then wait for a third call.

Life is wonderful, yes, but it’s not forever.

As for controlling health and destiny: well, health, to a certain extent, yes. Not entirely. If you think you can entirely prevent yourself from getting sick, you dwell in crazy land.

Destiny? No. You know who controls my life? God does. I don’t control it. I don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I have no idea. God controls my destiny. God knows when I’m going to die, and he knows everything that’s going to happen before then. My job is to cooperate with His plan for my life. If I went around thinking I controlled my destiny, I’d go crazy.

Yes, we control certain things. But big picture? That’s God’s domain. Far too many people blame Him for things they shouldn’t blame Him for, and far too many people think that they control things that are only in His hands.

I don’t have my book with me, but there’s a really good part in Outlander where Claire prays for Jamie; they’re in the French abbey and Jamie is close to death. She goes into the chapel, where the Host is in the monstrance for adoration, and she prays, “Lord, I commend to you your servant James” over and over. There, she realizes a way that might save him; but she realizes it in prayer, after she’s surrendered the person she loves completely to God.

It’s not just in transplant group where I see this. I see this every day in other people, and I’m sure you do, too. If I’ve learned one thing in my life, it’s that God is in control, not me. And praise Jesus for that! (Most of the time. 😉 )

Around the house::

(Back to the boring, eh?)

Cleaning, the normal stuff. Thursday has become my “cleaning” day since that’s an off day for the gym.

In the kitchen::

I made pea and mint soup last night, which was fun to make, but only so so in the taste department. Tonight it’s a Moroccan fish dish for dinner and a salad for lunch.

Plans for the week::

Gym today and W, and Fri and Sat.

Dinner with my brother tomorrow

A friend’s fundraiser on Thursday (he’s running for a county position)

Dolly rehearsals this weekend, and CCD on Sunday



Civics 101

The political scientist inside me dies a little bit when she sees:

  • People who think “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is in the US Constitution. It’s not. It’s in the Declaration of Independence. Big difference, there.
  • That free speech is an absolutely protected right. It’s not. You can’t shout “fire!” in a theater if there is no fire, for example.

Please, my fellow Americans…….don’t make me cry. 🙂

Catholicism 101: Sin

There has been some confusion in parts of the Catholic blogosphere lately about what sin is–specifically, what constitutes mortal sin.

So, time for some Catholicism 101.

The Catholic Church believes there are two types of sin: venial and mortal. All sin damages our relationship with God; however, venial sin does it in a way that is less damaging than mortal sin. Hence, the reason it’s called mortal–mortal sins send you to Hell. One mortal sin, unconfessed, sends you to Hell.

That’s why the Church has stringent definitions about it. A sin is only mortal if all three of the following conditions are met: 

  1. Grave matter
  2. Full knowledge
  3. Deliberate consent

So, it has to be something big. Murder (yes, abortion is in there), missing Mass, almost all sexual sins. The big things: robbing a bank, etc. Things that you go to jail for, in general, are things to be avoided.

You have to do it with full knowledge that it is wrong. Yes, it’s wrong to rob that bank!

And you have to deliberately consent to it. No one can make you commit a mortal sin. If you’re forced to do something, then you’re not deliberately consenting. If you’re raped, for example, then you are not committing a sin! It’s not your fault and you obviously did not consent! If someone is charging at you with a knife, fully intending to kill you, and you kill them first, it’s self-defense, not murder. But if you rob the bank? Yeah. That’s wrong, and you know it, and you do it anyway? Deliberate consent.

Saying “the dog ate my homework” is not a mortal sin. It’s a venial sin.

All mortal sins must be confessed in number (as in, how many times you did it) and in kind (the way you did it), before you can receive Communion again. Taking communion with mortal sin on your soul is to commit the mortal sin of blasphemy, so you’re not helping yourself out here, folks.

Venial sins, technically, do not need to be confessed; however, it’s a good idea to do so, and go to confession frequently, in order to better hone your conscience and be able to resist these sorts of sins in the future.

Now, the confusion? I’ve seen people saying that being anxious is a mortal sin.

Um, what?

That any sort of lie is a mortal sin.

Again: What?

No. These things are not mortal sins, sorry. Anxiety is not a mortal sin. If you’re anxious about something, you’re usually not willing it. It’s not like it’s fun to be anxious. If you have an anxiety disorder or are prone to it, you’re not committing mortal sin. For the love of all things holy, people! That’s like saying epileptics are possessed by the devil.

See that part about deliberate consent? Yeah, that’s important to remember. If you miss Mass because you’re sick, that’s one thing. If you wake up and say, “I know I should go to Mass. I know it’s a mortal sin to miss it without good reason. But I don’t care, I want to drink coffee and read the New York Times and do the crossword puzzle,” you are committing mortal sin. You have fulfilled all three of the conditions.

A person who has depression or an anxiety condition, or even people who worry a lot, are not doing it for fun. Most times, it’s not deliberate consent. And grave matter isn’t being fulfilled either. So you’re striking out left and right, here.

Should we lie? No. But not all lies are mortal sins, OK? The Church doesn’t say that they are. And sometimes lying saves people’s lives (i.e., see almost any story of people who hid Jews during World War II. They weren’t going to say, “oh, yes, we have Jews here!” when the Gestapo came to the door!)

If someone asks you if you like their outfit, when it makes them look horrific, you don’t say, “You look incredibly ugly in it”, even if it’s true! Geez!

Yes, when you lie, you’re breaking a commandment. Don’t do it. If you do it, confess it, move on. But it’s not going to send you to hell.

The church believes in various degrees of sin. Not all sin is equal.

Admonishing the sinner is one of the spiritual works of mercy. It’s an important thing to do. But there’s absolutely no reason to scare people into huge freak outs by saying things like what I’ve been reading-where everything is a mortal sin and we’re all going to Hell and we’re doooooooomed! That is not admonishing. That is scare-mongering, and it is not helpful at all.



Interview with David Shapard, Author of the Jane Austen Annotated Editions!

For my Jane friends! Great interview

Jane Austen in Vermont

Gentle Readers:David Shapard, author of five annotated editions of Jane Austen’s novels – all but Mansfield Park, which is due out next year – will be joining the JASNA Vermont Region next week at the Burlington Book Festival. He will be speaking on “The World of Jane Austen and her Novels,” offering us a peek into the society of early 19th-century England that dominates her novels, with a focus on the position and customs of the controlling landed elite, and the role of women in this society. 

I welcome David today for a Q&A about his love of Jane Austen and his excellent annotated editions. If you have any questions for him, please do comment at the end of this post – but better yet, if you are in the area next weekend, please join us at his talk – Saturday September 20, 2014, 1:30-2:45 at the Fletcher Free…

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Daybook No. 73–in which there is much excitement!

OK, I’m just going to lead off with the excitement.  🙂

I am going to meet Diana Gabaldon.

If you don’t know who that is, you haven’t read Outlander. Or watched Outlander (on Starz!)

Jamie and Claire, the main characters of Outlander

Jamie and Claire, the main characters of Outlander

You really need to fix both those things, by the way.

Anyway, I’ve been hooked since a friend of mine sent me Outlander as a Christmas gift one year. I watch the show religiously, and re-watch it….I love Outlander Kitchen!

And now I’m going to meet the author. She’s coming to Westerville, and I have my ticket for a meet and greet before her talk at the local high school. It’s a library fundraiser. Tickets sold out in thirty six minutes this morning, and it’s only because one of my theater friends works for the library, and knows how much I love Outlander, and who reminded me that tickets went on sale this morning, that I have one.

So I am going to meet her.

I am tres excited, people. Really freaking excited.

November 15!!!!!

If you want to come to the talk at Westerville Central, here’s the details. I imagine the tickets will go very quickly!


Now, on to our regularly scheduled Daybook!

  Oh, and take my poll. Thanks. It’s important. I’ll tell you why later this week.

Outside my window::

A little cloudy, blue skies, breezy, very fall.


My workout clothes, since I just came from working out. 🙂


Dragonfly in Amber (the second Outlander series book) , The Artist’s Way, Summa of the Summa, and Unlimited by Jillian Michaels, which is quite good.


This week is the last week of Pulm Rehab, and then I’m entirely on my own!That’s sort of scary, but I think it’s totally doable, since I really like (almost love, shockingly) my gym. So the plan is MTW work out, Th rest day, Fri-Sat workout, Sunday rest day, with strengthening things happening in a rotation: arms, legs, core, etc., one per workout day. I also want to work in some restorative yoga classes.

And today I finally ran for a solid minute! Not 56 or 58 seconds! yay!

Living the Liturgy::

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Our Lady of Sorrows


From the kitchen::

Dinner tonight w/ Mom and Dad But the rest of this week contains: Moroccan fish; chicken fajitas; pan fried pork chops; chopped salad; salmon tikka; pea and mint soup, and Spanish skirt steak.

Yum and yummmmm!


Around the house::

The usual cleaning and tidying and all that. I actually got into a pretty good housekeeping groove last week so I want to keep it going–dishes in the dishwasher, nothing in the sink, no dishes on the table after meals. It was nice!



Working my way through The Artist’s Way, and pondering NaNoWriMo 2014!

Seven Quick Takes No. 57




OK, I’m just going to be honest here. I don’t feel like writing today. There really isn’t anything going on and I just want to veg out in front of my couch with the DVR playing catch up. However: to make habits, you have to do the work. So writing is my work, and I have to do it even when I might not “want” to.


So fitness. Let’s start there. I’ve lost another pound this week, which brings my losing streak to about a month now, which is pretty great. I’m very happy about this. I talked to the dietician today and she would like to see me lose another 8 pounds (that’s keeping with my pound a week) before my clinic visit on Nov. 10. I think I can do that, and that would be a big chunk of my weight loss goal.

I’m working on M-W, and Fri-Sat. Sunday and Thursday are my off days. Next week is my last week of official rehab so then my work outs will take place entirely in the local gym, five times a week.

Five times a week. I never thought I’d be exercising five times a week. But I am. That’s sort of crazy.


Another thing that’s crazy? I haven’t had pasta in ages. I used to eat it at least twice a week. I’m Italian! But now it’s definitely in the special occasion  category (because there is no life without carbonara, people). The change to more protein in my diet has been a good thing.


And…writing. It’s fall, which means NaNoWriMo is happening soon. I think I have an idea for this year’s novel, and October is the month I use for planning purposes, which is great. But I haven’t done a lot of writing since I sent my manuscript (ms, in writer-speak) to my beta readers. That is pretty on hold until I get feedback, which will give me direction that I need for how to move forward in the second draft edits.


My friend Cristina talked about her writing schedule today on her blog. I really need something like that. There’s a lot of things I need to integrate into a schedule right now: The writing, the housekeeping, the fitness. There’s a lot happening there. And as much as I want to have everything done at one time, I realize that I can’t do that. I can only add habits one at a time. So the morning pages–working on adding that, and that’s clearly in the writing category. The five days a week of workout–we’re adding that. It’s incremental pieces, I think.


No rehearsal for Dolly this weekend, which is fun, but I will be rehearsing on my own, because this music is tricky, and I need to have it down.


And, of course, CCD is back. This week is our first real week of class, and we’ll be talking about God the Father and prayer.



Life and death

Everyone says the same thing about that day: It was beautiful.

And it really was. It was like a postcard, almost, the clear, vivid blue sky that covered the eastern part of the country; the temperatures, warm but not hot. There were hardly any clouds.

My brother’s sixteenth birthday was that day.

Easter in the 80s

Easter in the 80s

We didn’t celebrate that day.

Today he turns 29.

Easter 2014

Easter 2014

It’s very strange to me, to have life and death so vividly connected. It happens every day, but for us, 9/11 was a special day before it became 9/11, before my brother’s birthday became a national shortcut to mean something we will probably never understand.

But life goes on. That’s one of the things so many people died for, in the wake of 9/11: to ensure that our lives would go on, that no more families would know the pain of the 9/11 families, that no one else would board a plan and have it hijacked and taken into buildings. That beautiful September days could stay just that–beautiful September days–and not days of loss and mourning and incomprehensible things.

So many things were lost that day. But many things also endure.