Seven Quick Takes No. 79–A Trip to Pittsburgh

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo

I.

We spent last weekend and part of this week in Pittsburgh celebrating my grandma’s 85th birthday.

Me and Grandma

Me and Grandma

 We celebrated by taking a dinner cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet, which was a great meal and boat ride around the three rivers of Pittsburgh. We sailed by PNC Park, Heinz Field, the Point, and other Pittsburgh landmarks. Quite a bit of the family– though not all–was there, and it was a fun way to celebrate.

 

Dad and my cousin Diane's youngest child.

Dad and my cousin Diane’s youngest child.

II.

One of the best parts was seeing my cousin Diane, and especially meeting her newest baby (above with Dad). She has two older daughters, whom I’d met before, but I’d never met this little guy, who turns 1 in August.

Diane and I with her little guy.

Diane and I with her little guy.

III.

The next day we went to PNC Park to see the Pirates beat the Phillies in extra innings. I’d never been to a Pirates game where they won, so I was pretty excited about that! Dad taught me how to fill out the scorecard that was in the game program, so I feel very educated in the Ways of Baseball. (Sort of. I find baseball always has new ways to confuse me.)

Our seats were behind home plate and under the overhang of the upper deck, so we were in shade, which was great when it was 85+ degrees.

Pirates win and the Parrot takes the mound.

Pirates win and the Parrot takes the mound.

III.

 After the game we had another party at one of my aunt’s houses. She has a pool and her husband grilled, and there was, of course, jello marshmallow salad, because it’s not a family gathering on my mom’s side without jello marshmallow salad.

Kids like cookouts.

Kids like cookouts.

These kids....

These kids….

Grandma received cards and presents, and then there was Bethel Bakery cake, which is the Best Cake in the Universe. Not kidding. Our swimming was curtailed because of a huge thunderstorm that opened up, but that didn’t deter the youngest from having fun….

ballooooonnnnns!

ballooooonnnnns!

IV.

Diane’s oldest girl (seen above, in the pink glasses) and I:

Me: So, Susie, what’s your favorite movie?
Susie: Frozen.

Me: OK. What’s your favorite song?
Susie: (As if I am deeply, deeply stupid) “Let it Go.”
Me: Well, there are other songs in the movie.
Susie: No there aren’t.

V.

Monday we went to Kennywood, where I hadn’t been in over ten years, so it was nice to be back, and Diane’s husband had never been there at all. Susie and I had fun riding rides, but when I took Bridget on the carousel, she seemed a bit wary, until the ride starting going. She also really enjoyed the ice cream cone.

I had to rescue this ice cream from hitting the pavement more than once.

I had to rescue this ice cream from hitting the pavement more than once.

 VI.

Kennywood really does have things for everyone, which makes it fun, but my grandpa’s favorite ride was “The Restaurant”, so we had dinner there. It’s a large cafeteria style place and it has good food and, the real winning point, air conditioning. It was hot, so we got a lot of water rides under our belts, and then dried off with roller coasters.

VII.

Of course, some of us couldn’t handle all the excitement:

Being this cute takes a lot of work.

Being this cute takes a lot of work.

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Seven Quick Takes No. 75

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo

I.

People, this is a thing:

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So it was yesterday, but next week I’m going to have a post up on Books You Need To Read, so please check back for that! I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my favorite books with you (and yes, Jane tops the list. Let’s be real, people.)

II.

 This week on my other page I wrote about How I write  and A Tour of my Office.  Let me know what you think? (And follow the page there, too, please? This ends our commercial. :-p) Next week I’m writing about journaling and research. I’ve been journaling since I was 12 years old, so I have a few things to say about it!

III.

The fitness Regimen IS BACK! I worked out three days in a row this week, and I’m heading to the gym today. My “off” days are Thursday and Sunday. I’ve also brought back the weight training. AND I’m pondering kicking off a Whole 30 in May. Have I gone crazy? Maybe?

But no, I really need to focus on this stuff now. I fell off the fitness wagon in March, but now it’s time to get back on, entirely. I began adding back some activity toward the end of March/beginning of April, but I want to have good numbers when I go into clinic again in June for my ten year yearly.

IV.

(Ten years? For real? REALLY? I’m going to write more about this later, but holy cow: time flies when you’re having fun.)

V.

Planning for the Charleston Trip is in full swing–Mom and I have narrowed down a huge list of restaurants in the city to a manageable list, and we want to visit the plantation where parts of North and South and The Notebook were shot. MY ten year anniversary, coincidentally, will occur when we’re down there, and when I’m attending Edel! Whee!

VI.

It was chilly here this week–we had frost this morning and I actually had to turn the heat back on. So we’ve gone from like 80 to….34? Crazy weather is always with us. But hey, there’s no snow, unlike Pittsburgh, which had some yesterday during the Pirates game. Brrrr!

VII.

I started the Great Jane Re-Read Early this year–I just re-read Sense and Sensibility. I’ve got the Annotated Northanger Abbey here, so that’s next–going a bit out of order. 🙂

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 72

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I.

I don’t know what’s going on–if the Moon’s in Jupiter, if the weather is just Wuthering Heights Moor-ish, or if it’s the last gasp of Lent, but this week has been really out-of-sorts. Is anyone else feeling this?

II.

Some of it is stuff that doesn’t really matter, like when I wake up. I mean I don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time most days. But I dislike getting up past 10:00. It makes me grumpy. Yet that happened every single day this week. I guess my body is saying it needs this much sleep, but…? So, Grumpy Cat’s been out to play this week.

III.

Downton announced that next season is its last.

Here is my prediction:

Mary is not going to get married. Instead, since in 1925 (when the last season will be set)women were able to inherit property on their own, she will become the official heiress of Downton, thereby solving the “succession crisis” that has plagued the DA since Episode 1! Therefore, Mary is the heir when Robert dies, followed by George. Ta-da! So Mary can marry the pig man if she wants, but she doesn’t have to. She never has to marry again, because she is set for life as far as a place to live goes.

Yay!

IV.

Holy Week. Wow. Are you ready? I never feel ready, no matter how long Lent has seemed. It’s always like bam! That being said, I love Holy Week at my parish. There’s so much richness, and we have adoration every day and solemn vespers every night.

I was born on Good Friday, so naturally I have a special place in my heart for that day, anyway, but my birthday often falls on Palm Sunday or Holy Thursday, as well. So this week always feels a bit like ‘birthday week’ to me.

V.

Speaking of Birthday Bonuses: Outlander starts the second part of season 1 on Holy Saturday. Jamie in your Easter Basket, indeed!

VI.

Since Pioneer Girl is now in the house, I’ve been re-reading the Little House books. I’m about to start The Long Winter. I really like the books when the family is in DeSmet. I think they’re my favorite of the series. Reading Farmer Boy always makes me so hungry. I know I can’t be alone in that.

VII.

I’m about 50% done with washcloth no. 2. Hoping to make some more progress over the weekend!

Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 58

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 (I meant to schedule this for tomorrow morning. So “tonight”=Friday night. 🙂 )

I.

OK, so good news first: I’ve been accepted to make life promises with my Lay Dominican chapter! Yay! I will make them in December at our monthly chapter meeting.

agnes yay

I feel like Agnes with her Fluffy Unicorns. 🙂 🙂

II.

So I am super excited about that. I am also super excited that I got to read Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) of LOTS of awesome new books that are coming out! This week I got to read Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult’s new book which comes out October 14, and Alexander McCall Smith’s The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe, which also comes out in October. I love these authors, and I adore these new books. You must read them!

emily's book reviews button

I’m not going to say too much about these because I want y’all to read them yourselves and then we’ll talk.

Tonight I also read Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar, which comes out January 13. As an avid Virginia Woolf fan, I really liked this novel, especially since it was told from Vanessa’s Point of View, as the title tell us 🙂 I’ve read almost all of Virginia’s novels, and The Hours is always one of my top five movies. Highly recommend this one.

The last one, which I haven’t read yet, is A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison. This one also comes out in January (1/27).

How did I get these? A local public library had a rep from Random House come in and talk about new releases, and there were lots of ARCs available for us to read. Part of that is drumming up interest, and no, I didn’t get paid to read these, so I can tell you, without bias, that the three I’ve read so far are great.

(ARCs are basically the finished novel, but “uncorrected proofs”, so there may be small typeset or editing errors that will be corrected before the final copies that go to bookstores.)

III.

I’ve also been cooking a lot this week, mostly from The Chew‘s first cookbook.  I’ve made General Tso’s Chicken, Mario’s Restrictor Plate Chili, and Eggs in Hell thus far this week (and my hands are still stinging from chopping the jalapeños in that last one!). These recipes have all been really great, and I’ll try to post links to them on my cooking blog.

IV.

Speaking of blogs: as part of the BOOK PROPOSAL, I need to develop a “platform”. So I’ve got an “author” web page, which has links to my Twitter and Facebook Author Page. (Yes, I have one, yes it feels ridic to have one, but….) If you would be so kind as to go to my page here and follow both those things (and the page!), I’d be super happy. 

The page itself is still under construction, so there won’t be too much activity there for right now. But it is important in this digital webby era to have BRANDING ALL OVER.

So, I’m trying.

(I hate selling things, by the way. I hated selling Girl Scout cookies. But I really want the book to get published, so I’m selling myself for my book. :-0 )

V.

In the world of writing, it’s almost NANOWRIMO time! This will be the third year I’ve participated. I wrote more about it here.  Come join? 🙂 It’s fun!

VI.

Dolly rehearsals go hard core this week. Dancing is tonight.

I’m nervous about that. I don’t really….dance….

On Saturday we’re running/blocking Act I, and on Sunday, Act II. I’m not teaching CCD this week, it’s my co-catechist’s turn. The topic? The rosary. The first Sunday of October is Rosary Sunday at my parish, so we’re going to teach the kids about this very Dominican, very important devotion.

So it’s a weekend with Dolly and teaching, and dinner with my friend Mary.

VII.

And finally:

This is an awesome look at OSU’s Wizard of Oz halftime show.

Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 41

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I.

After a lot of stress and worry and crazy, I am so glad it’s 1) March and 2) this particular day in March, because I’m going to see the revamped North American tour of Phantom of the Opera.

Phantom has always been important to me. It was the first professional musical I saw, the first musical that I deeply loved and memorized completely, and it was a gift from my parents after I had my first home IV course, before I went into eighth grade. We had front row seats to that August performance, and I wore a sparkly emerald-green dress that I adored. No, it’s not about deep religious themes, like Les Miserables, but in way, that’s why I like it. I like the romantic sweep, I love the music. Sometimes we just need a love story, and nothing else.

II.

 More “crazy” hits on Monday when the GI testing rounds start, and pulmonary rehab. The test won’t be hard, just not one my list of favorite things to do, and blood work is always fun, especially if my veins decide not to behave (we don’t need a lot so we’re going with a veinipuncture, instead of drawing off my port). Pulm Rehab I’m just used to at this point–but it is fun to meet new people and see veterans that I enjoy. I like just about everyone at Children’s.

III.

We’ve also started a new med–we’re messing with my immunosuppressants right now, so we’ve taken one away, and added another (rapamune is what we’ve added, in case you’re interested). So far, no side effects, touch wood.

IV.

I knitted my first wash cloth this week! Last week at Lay Dominicans a fellow chapter member taught me to purl, so I did my first washcloth in stockinette stitch. I feel so accomplished. And it turned out pretty well! I mean it looks like it’s supposed to look! 🙂 So now I want to knit more of them!

V.

Humor from CCD:

Two weeks ago:

Me: What are you giving up for Lent?
Rose: Coffee.

Me: You’re giving up coffee for Lent? You drink coffee?

(I teach first graders)

Rose: Yup. With milk and sugar.

VI.

More humor:

Me: (during a review game) Rose, who was the apostle Peter’s brother?
Rose: Umm….
Andrew (Sitting next to Rose, in a stage whisper) Me! Me! ME! What’s my name?
Rose: I don’t know your name, sorry.

VII.

I finally saw The Book Thief this week. Such a good movie–and true to the book, in the major events and the ending. Of course the book’s unique perspective can’t quite be matched in a movie, but the performances are wonderful.

 
 

Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 40

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I.

Shamless promotion: Last post in the Lent series went up today. If you missed the earlier ones, you can read the entire series here. Lent starts on Wednesday, so get thy plan in gear!

II.

So, as we know from the post that went up today (yes, I’m making you all read it, bwahahah!), my Lent has basically been decided for me, with GI tests, rehab, and med changes, but I have some plans of my own. I can’t entirely abandon facebook, because people will want medical updates, so I’ll still be there, but it’ll be limited. I’m going to switch my lectio divina from the OT to the NT, starting with the Gospel of Matthew. Of course being dedicated to my office and going to Daily Mass as often as possible are givens. With all the waiting for my tests, I’ll be able to get a good chunk of reading done. And I’ve also given up book buying, so I’ll be reading only the books I have–in “real” or “e” form–already on March 5.

III.

Anyone else using Verbum software? Any tips or tricks? I love how many books are in the library (I have foundations). Just reading Bl. John Paul II’s encyclicals will keep me busy for a good long while, and I’m also using their Lenten devotional plan.

While we’re on the topic (sort of), here are some of my favorite Lenten resources: Magnificat’s Lenten companion; Death on a Friday Afternoon  by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus; B XVI’s Way of the Cross Meditations.  For additional Lenten reflection this year, you can also read the Pope’s Message for Lent 2014.

IV.

What I’m reading right now, incidentally: City of God, St. Faustina’s Diary, An Echo In the Bone, Pickwick, and Therese, Faustina and Bernadette. A real emphasis was placed on the Divine Mercy devotions and chaplet at the Women’s Retreat last weekend, so I’ve been inspired to delve back into it.

V.

The conference! Holy cow, I didn’t tell you about it. So I will now. 🙂

2,600 Catholic women from all over the diocese (and beyond!) were crammed into our building at the state fairgrounds. I got there around 7:15 and hit up a book vendor (Of course, come on, it’s me) before heading into the main conference area to find a seat. The rosary began at 7:30 and Mass began a little after 8:00. The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter was that day, so the readings and homily reflected that. Our bishop gives excellent homilies, so it’s always a treat to hear one (soundbite: When Jesus walked toward the apostles on the stormy water, after the Resurrection, and came into the boat, “he told them to calm down!”)

VI.

After Mass, we had breakfast. Our first speaker was Sr. Miriam James, SOLT, who gave a talk that had just about everyone in the audience in tears (showing Anne Hathaway singing “I Dreamed A Dream” didn’t stop them, for sure).  She talked about the “holy longing, holy desire” that we have for God, and our desire to be seen and noticed by the one who loves us. Part of desire is stretching, wanting to desire God Himself, who wants to fill us with Himself. A woman’s body and spirit reveal God to the world and emphasis receptivity, openness, and grace. The beauty of body and soul speaks to the longing for eternal beauty that everyone desires. A woman’s attentiveness to the person, recognizing the inidivudla, intuitiveness, nurturing spirit and being the guardian  and bearer of life make the world more humane–more fully human. Sister spoke about the toxicity of culture, and that outré mission to authenticity is to love and be loved. Christ wants to touch us and heal us, if we let him.

A priest spoke about Divine Mercy and the Sacrament of Confession, leading to so many ladies lining up for confessions. Forty priests were on hand to hear them! I got lunch and did some more book shopping, because we have abundant confession at my parish, so I didn’t want to deny someone who may not have it a chance to go.

VII.

After lunch, Kimberly Hahn took the stage. She spoke about the Proverbs 31 woman, and how we can work those qualities into our lives by being Godly, a woman of excellent, a woman who feast the Lord. To fear the Lord means to have reverence and awe for the God of the Universe who is our Father (I loved this definition.) This fear leads us to a faithful and faith-filled relationship with Him. God lavishes His love on us–we are His beloved daughters! We must hope in His steadfast love, because He made us, and bought us back–we are His twice. Kimberly encouraged us to let Jesus reside in our hearts, and to pursue purity and holiness, and know that God delights in each one of us.

The last speaker of the day was 2006 Olympian Rebecca Dussault , who talked about health and holiness–a great topic. (Her new book is excellent as well!) She talked about how FIT is an acronym for Finding Interior Transformation–I really liked that! Discipline in our prayer life leads to discipline win other areas. “It’s not that we win,” she said. “It’s that we take part.” (also liked that, although I do love to win.)

At 3:00, we said the Divine Mercy chaplet, and a period of adoration was offered, but, to me, was marred by overenthusiastic singers who wanted us to “participate” instead of praying in silence before the Monstrance. So I left around 3:30.

Overall, it was a great conference and I saw so many women I knew, and met some new ones! And I have so many great resources–CDs of the talks, books, and other things–to use for Lent. I feel so well prepared. 🙂

Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 39

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I.

I’m going to my first Diocesan Catholic Women’s Conference tomorrow! I am crazy excited to hear the wonderful speakers and hang out with great ladies. 🙂 I’ll have a recap here.

II.

The conference is well-timed, because Lent is coming….it’s coming…have you thought about it? Well if you haven’t:

* Read this.

*My “seven posts in seven days”, which starts tomorrow, is all about Lent! Lent-y goodness, folks! So get ready. 🙂

III.

I started watching The White Queen miniseries–it’s finally out on DVD and I missed it last summer because I don’t have Starz (I might need to get it before Outlander comes on this summer, though). The series is based on Philippa Gregory’s Cousins War series, which goes through the Wars of the Roses from the women’s perspective, so our main characters are: Jacquetta Rivers; her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, who married King Edward; Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry Tudor (to be Henry VII); Anne Neville, daughter of King Edward’s closest confidant; and Queen Elizabeth’s daughter, also named Elizabeth, who became Henry Tudor’s Queen Elizabeth and is the mother of Henry VIII.

Yeah, that’s a lot of women. I’ve only seen the first episode so far but I love it. I loved the books, too, so that helps. Civil Wars are always complicated (which is what the Wars of the Roses were), especially when they’re long, so this is a great way to make sense of that period of British history without trying to make your own genealogy and battle charts.

If you haven’t read the books, they are: The Lady of the Rivers (Jacquetta/Elizabeth), The White Queen (Elizabeth), The Red Queen (Margaret), The Kingmaker’s Daughter (Anne), The White Princess (Elizabeth Tudor). The last book in the series comes out in August.

IV.

The Olympics are drawing to a close–I’m sad about how the women’s skating turned out, because I don’t think the Russian girl deserved to win the gold over Carolina from Italy, but whatever…worlds are next month so maybe we’ll get on the podium then!

glad the Russians are out in hockey, glad that Jason Brown had a strong skate in the men’s figure skating final (he finished 9th, but he’s only 19, so I’m hoping to see him again in 2018 in South Korea).

V.
Ladies, have you signed up for the Restore Workshop? It’s being done by one of my favorite bloggers/people, Elizabeth Foss, and it promises to be divine! Six weeks of goodness! What a great Lenten project, girls. Check it out here.

VI.

People-it’s WARM. It really is. Snow is melting. There’s grass! and sunshine!

On Wednesday, I did not wear a coat to work. I felt…..subversive. 🙂

VII.

A further weather note: You know it’s been a cold winter when you appreciate being able to take out the trash without it requiring coat, hat, gloves, and boots.