Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 34

Linking up with Suscipio!


Black maxi skirt and purple top, both from White House Black Market.


Prayer Primer; Tips for Actors (I re-read this every time I do a straight play), the novel And Then There Were None.

In The CD Player::

Nothing. In the midst of CD changing. 🙂

Around the house:: 

We did this and this over the weekend. Now on to deep cleaning the living room!

From the kitchen::

Not sure this week. I know. I’m bad.

Being healthy::

Swimming, since it’ll be warm enough this week, and ballet beautiful. 

Being creative::

Christmas Scarf No. 2 in the works; learning my lines for And Then There Were None.

Praying for::

Thomas Peters

Plans for the week::

Catechist retreat for the upcoming CCD year on Sunday. Possible rehearsals this weekend (I’m only in Act I, so I’m not sure what this weekend’s schedule looks like.) Parents coming over for dinner tomorrow.

captured::My Oxford University Press books–well, some of them–displayed


Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 27

Outside my window::

Looks like a storm is coming in so no swimming tonight. boooo.


A gray skirt, sky blue top with ivory colored lace trim around the neckline, the Venitian glass necklace I bought at the EPCOT Italy pavilion, and sandals.


Game of Thrones book 4, A Feast for Crows; Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things; Doctors of the Church, Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette (I love anything about Maria Antoinette). Over vacation I read the following: Dearie, a biography of Julia Child, which was tremendously well-done; Possession which was a glorious read, which you must read immediately, and Game of Thrones 2 and 3. I also re-read Ahab’s Wife.

In the CD Player::

Les Miz complete recording, Act I. Working on word memorization and running through blocking in my head as I listen.

Around the house::

Oh, the general stuff that happens when you’re home from vacation: unpacking is almost done, however. Grocery shopping needs to happen, as well as general cleaning and tidying of post-unpacking. I’m trying to establish a rhythm to my housekeeping a la Fly Lady or something of that order.

From the kitchen::

Well first I have to have things in the kitchen. 🙂 I got two cookbooks in Orlando: Delicious Disney and one written by Princess Diana’s chef. Both have great things in them that I want to try. But tonight is Chipotle night.


That two of my friends, who are moving, sell their houses!


“Every Francis needs His Clare”

Importance of community theater

Working out::

Workouts for every day that I don’t have rehearsal. So that’s today, tomorrow, Thursday; Friday I’m going to a yoga class, so that counts. Maybe a pick up ballet class tomorrow?

Plans for the week::


Wednesday: Music rehearsal

Thursday: Lunch w/ Dad

Friday: Restorative yoga class w/ a friend of mine

Saturday: Music rehearsal

Sunday: Blocking rehearsal

I also need to write two letters and a thank you note.


The Grey Stuff at Be Our Guest. Divine.

The Grey Stuff at Be Our Guest. Divine.


NYC Trip Diary No. 3

Monday evening

Jack got home from school around five, and I persuaded him to visit the Metropolitan Opera shop with me.

Now, you have to understand, I have a deep and abiding love of the Met. When I first started voice lessons, I didn’t care much for opera. But as I’ve matured and learned more about the art form and the voice, I’ve come to love it. That doesn’t mean all operas are my cup of tea (because they’re not), but I love the Met and the productions it puts on. Originally, it was Renee Fleming’s recordings that brought me into opera, but now I have so many favorite singers and productions it’s hard to keep them straight!

So, I had to visit the Met. Ideally, I want to visit there and see a performance, but American Ballet Theater had started their summer season at the Met, so I was denied that (although I love ballet as well–that night’s performance of Onegin looked well sold, probably sold out.) However, the Met shop was open, so Jack and I headed over.

In front of the Met

In front of the Met


I was thrilled when I saw one of Joyce DidDonato’s costumes from Maria Stuarda on display in the shop.

Maria Stuarda costume

Maria Stuarda costume

The shop is amazing–DVDs and CDs of opera and ballet, clothes, jewelry, opera souvenirs…it’s a magical place for opera lovers.

Caruso in Il Trovatore at the Met in 1906

Caruso in Il Trovatore at the Met in 1908-1909

Outside the Met

Outside the Met

I loved getting to see the fountain that’s played a part in many of my favorite movies, including Black Swan and Moonstruck. 

Afterwards, we headed back to the apartment and had a great Greek meze platter that my aunt and uncle had made. Their dining room has a great view of not only the Met and Lincoln Center but cruise boats on the river. Sunset there is awesome.

After dinner I did some reading and talked to Jack–who also taught me to play chess ( I didn’t do tooooo terribly), and I went to bed early because Jeopardy! audition was in the morning. Gulp.


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!

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

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!

Day 23: The Red Shoes

First off: If you haven’t seen the 1946 movie that’s based on Andersen’s story, do it now! It’s an incredible film. Yes, it might be hard to find. It’s also a Criterion Collection DVD and those are pricey. But if you love dance or the performing arts, it’s a must-have.

Moira Shearer as Victoria Page in “The Red Shoes”

Today, however, we’ll talk about the Andersen story. Andersen said that the idea was taken from life. His father was a cobbler, and a wealthy customer wanted a pair of red silk shoes for her daughter. The customer sent him the material to be used, and the cobbler carefully made a pair of shoes to her specifications. However, when the woman came to pick them up, she said they were nothing by trash and that he had ruined her silk. Andersen’s father replied that he might as well ruin his leather, too, and cut up the shoes.

The Red Shoes, published in 1845, tells the story of a girl named Karen, an peasant girl who is adopted by a wealthy old woman after her mother’s death. Before her adoption, Karen had a rough, worn pair of red shoes that she had made out of a piece of old cloth. But now, Karen wants a pair of red shoes, fit for a princess, and convinces her  new mother to buying her a gorgeous pair of red shoes to replace the tattered pair. Karen wears the shoes to her confirmation ceremony, where she pays no attention to the service and instead indulges her vanity. She continues to do this regardless of her mother’s disapproval and stares from the congregation.

Karen’s mother becomes ill, but instead of staying home with her, Karen attends a party, wearing her shoes. A soldier appears and tells her she has beautiful dancing shoes. At this, Karen begins to dance, but finds she cannot stop. The shoes take over, and she dances night and day, without rest. She dances in all weather conditions, through rough brambles that tear her skin, and even misses her adopted mother’s funeral, all because of the tyrannical shoes. An angel appears to her, wielding a heavenly sword, and Karen begs him to release her from the shoe’s power, but the angel refuses, condemning her to dance until she dies as a warning to other vain children.

One of Vilhelm Pedersen’s illustrations for “The Red Shoes”

Karen finds an executioner and begs him to chop off her feet so she can be free of the shoes. He does so, and the shows continue to dance, even separated from Karen’s body. The executioner gives her a pair of wooden feet, and crutches. Thinking she has suffered enough, she heads to a church to pray for forgiveness, but she cannot enter–her dancing feet in the red shoes bar the way. She tries again next Sunday, but still the feet do not allow her passage.

Karen gets a job as the parsonage’s maid, but she doesn’t attempt to go to church again. Instead, she sits alone and prays to God for help. The angel she had seen previously re-appears, now bearing a bouquet of roses, and gives Karen the mercy she asked for. Her heart becomes so filled with joy that it bursts, and she is taken up to heaven, where no one mentions the red shoes.

In the film The Red Shoes, Andersen’s story is the pivotal ballet in the plot, rocketing dancer Vicki Page to international fame. But the shoes are also symbolic, in that Vicki has to chose between her dancing, or the love of her life, Julian, the composer and conductor for the ballet company. Eventually, the shoes drive her to her death, just as they would have done for Andersen’s Karen.