Daybook No. 87

Daybook No. 87


Outside my window:

Brightly sunny, yay! I like sunny and not cold. It’ll top out at around 40 degrees today so I can walk outside! 🙂


My PJs because I got up a half hour ago. 🙂


Under the Wide and Starry Sky (again), Nourishing (which is really good so far), Apollo’s Angels (about the history of ballet) and Benedict XVI’s general audiences on prayer.

In the CD player::

Adele’s 19.

Around the house::

Still taking down the tree. It’s a slow work in progress. Probably because I like my tree. 😦 Today dusting and vacuuming and changing the sheets on my bed. Thrilling, right?

From the kitchen::

Having dinner with my parents so not much today. Rest of the week:

  • Tuesday: Meatballs from Dinner: A Love Story
  • Wednesday: Milanese chicken from Smitten Kitchen
  • Thursday: Curry with apples from Dinner: A Love Story
  • Friday: Out, or Two Bean Chili

Plans for the week:

Working out–yoga and gym combination. Potential movie with my brother tomorrow. Other than that, not a lot! Yay! Teaching CCD on Sunday. We’ll be talking about Jesus’ miracles and four more of the apostles (we break the apostles down into groups of four so the kids can learn about them individually. Well, as much as we know about them. There isn’t a lot out there about some of them. This past week we did Peter, James the Greater, Andrew, and John.)

The NHL All-Star Game is also here next Sunday. My dad, lucky dog, is going to the game, but I’m hoping to go to Fan Fest and see the Stanley Cup!


Knitting continues, and editing continues. I’m hoping to have finished editing part II of the memoir this week.

daybook no. 86

daybook no. 86


Outside my window::

Cloudy, and icy. We had rain, then snow, then rain, then cold….so ice. LOVELY. Glad I don’t have to leave the house today for that.


Own Your LifePrayer, and Day After Night, by Anita Shreve.

In the CD player::

Renee Fleming’s Dark Hope–one of my favorite CDs.


my PJ’s. I’m having a colonoscopy tomorrow, so today is all about, yeah, prep. What joy. So no point in getting really dressed, right? 🙂

Around the house::

I need to start taking the tree down. 😦 SAD FACE. I do love my tree. And I need to sort through the Christmas cards. I generally keep the ones with photos so I have to sort those out. I keep the nativity scene up until Candlemas, the same as my parish Church, because why not. 🙂

Otherwise, it’s just putting things away, general tidying up. No cooking today, so that won’t be a problem. 🙂

From the kitchen::

Nothing today, and nothing tomorrow.

Wednesday: pork chops

Thursday: Chicken Milanese

Friday: Pasta from Cooking with My Sisters, by Adriana Trigiani and her sisters. I have some pasta I want to use up here, and since I’m trying not to eat meat on Fridays, pasta is a good substitute. That or fish.

Saturday lunch: Chicken curry with apples.

Plans for the week::

Colonoscopy tomorrow. Whee! 🙂

Lunch with a friend on Wednesday

Saturday I want to see The Merry Widow at the movie theater. I love the Met’s Live in HD series, and this one has Renee Fleming and Kelli O’Hara, so win! 

And of course the gym, starting on Wednesday….I’ll be able to take my vitamins and all that again, so I can stop shoveling red meat into me to make sure I’m getting my iron quotient, and I’ll be able to really exercise because I think it’s going to be above 0, so I can leave my house! Yay!

Daybook No. 85

Daybook No. 85


Outside my window:

It’s that washed-blue sky, light clouds. Winter is coming, though (a la Game of Thrones….). We’re getting snow tonight, and tomorrow, and on Wednesday the low is supposed to be -4. Yeah, that’s right. -4.


So I am mostly staying in. Not that that’s a problem!


I just finished a yoga class (via a website), so yoga pants in a bright orangey-red, and a long-sleeved gray t-shirt, because, again, it’s cold. 🙂 No makeup. Contacts are in though, so I’m not being totally slackerly in the looks department. 🙂


The Death Class, which is really great so far. I mean sort of addictive. It was hard to stop and take yoga class and eat lunch! Also reading Pope Benedict XVI’s general audiences on Prayer, for my spiritual reading. After Class, I think I’m starting either Middlemarch or Our Mutual FriendMay. May not. 🙂 And still reading Elizabeth of York, for my dash of British history.

Around the house::

Today is the normal mop/vacuum/dust/sweep/take the trash out before it snows combo. As part of this, I’m also doing some decluttering as I go about, particularly in the Book Room and in the DVD collection. I also have some plans for wall art–things to hang, etc., but it requires getting frames. I’ve always wanted photos and posters and things like that going up the staircase, so we’ll see how far I can get in that goal. I have some gorgeous pictures of Paris that I bought at the city art festival years ago, but never framed, so those are a top priority, because they’re too pretty to just be sitting around despondently.


I have two writing goals–blogging three days a week, and working on the Book for 30 minutes every day, before noon. So far I have hit both goals. However, it’s only January Fifth. 🙂 Generally I’ve been doing my Office, my lectio (Bible reading), and then going for the writing. So far this is a good plan (because I don’t even need to get dressed to write, right? I can just sit here with my coffee in my PJs!)

From the kitchen::

Here’s this week’s meal plan, dinner-wise:

Tonight: Beef chili

Tuesday: Sesame Turkey Meatballs from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Wednesday: Jamie Oliver’s stew. (When it’s -4, you want stew. That’s that.)

Thursday: Mustardy pork chops (a favorite around here)

Friday: Lunch–spicy shrimp with yogurt. I might be going out that night with the parents or having dinner at a friend’s, so I’m not entirely sure what dinner looks like.

Saturday we’re going to the symphony, so we’ll be eating out post Mass.

One of the great things I did over the weekend, when I saw the weather forecast, was take stock of my freezer. I buy meal and fish on sale throughout the year just for winter snaps like this, and I found I had:

  • 2 pk. of thick-cut pork chops
  • 3 lbs. of ground beef
  • 2 lbs. of ground turkey
  • a bag of shrimp
  • 1 lb. stew meat
  • tilapia filets

Thus, you can see why my menu is a bit meat heavy! Well that, and I’m having a colonoscopy next week. To prep for that, I have to stop my vitamins tomorrow, and since I”m anemic, I want to be loading up on the meat for the iron, and eating lots of iron-rich things. So GO MEAT. 🙂

So, I suggest taking stock of the freezer, writing down what you have, and then meal planning from that, if you’re in a “I need to shop quickly and cheaply” situation, because you might be like me and find many nice things!


Like I said, yoga today. Last week I exercised four days in a  row and lost two pounds. Yay! So since it’s going to be so cold, it’s going to be at home workouts until at least Friday. So I’m thinking yoga, ballet beautiful, and things like that, and I do have some small dumbbells here, so I can do some weight training to fill in any gaps, although I doubt there will be any. Yoga is great for giving your arms and core a workout.

In the CD player::

The film soundtrack to Mary Poppins. Singing along to “Sister Suffragette” is fun. But since Christmas isn’t over by the Breviary until Sunday–and the old calendar until Candlemas, which is February Second! –the Christmas music is still in rotation.



Christmas Train set. Pretty, no?

Outside my window::

Daybook No. 79

Outside my window::

Well, this



Yeah, it snowed yesterday. Heavy, wet snow, about 2-3″, depending on where you were in the city. This is the sort of snow that looks pretty, because it sticks to the tree branches and makes them look all magical, but it also causes power outages (because it’s so heavy, weighing on the lines), and is a real pain to get off the car.

I know. I’m a grump. Sorry. I mean, I didn’t have to go anywhere yesterday, so I didn’t mind it, and it is pretty. I just remembered days of having to scrape this stuff off my car, in the morning, when it’s really cold. Shiver. (This morning, the low was seven, without the windchill. Yeah.)

Anyway, moving on!


Jeans, a sweatshirt, gray socks. Nothing exciting. Today’s going to be a lot of around the house stuff (see, really cold temperatures, above) so I want utilitarian clothes.

From the kitchen::

On a day like today, a lot. I’m thinking a vegetable soup for lunch or dinner, depending, and then chicken and rice for the other meal. So it might be chicken and rice for dinner, since the meat has to thaw (an adventure, today…). I might also try this chili recipe, which is super good and fast. (and warming!)

The snow threw me quickly into “winter provision” mindset–meaning making sure the freezer is stocked and I have a list of things I can make if I get snowed in. I mean, it’s not The Long Winter, here, but Columbus can get very, very cold, and we do get big snow storms, as last winter attested. So it’s better to be prepared. Part of my “around the house” stuff today includes making a list of recipes I can make from mostly shelf and freezer stable items.


I just finished Traveling to Infinity, by Jane Hawking, ex-wife of Stephen Hawking. She wrote this book awhile ago, but it was re-released to coincide with the release of The Theory of Everything, the biopic about the two of them, which stars Eddie Redmayne (sigh) and Felicity Jones.

The book is very, very good. She does a wonderful job talking about the good and bad parts of their marriage–it’s not all about the ALS. It’s about his work, her work, their children, their travels…it’s well-written and she isn’t writing it heavy on the pity, like some memoirs are. It’s factual, but you can also feel Jane’s emotions as she tries to balance everything. The movie’s already opened in New York and LA, but it gets wide distribution next weekend. I’m really looking forward to seeing it.


How much money is enough money?

Recently, I’ve become a baseball fan. My parents are from Pittsburgh, so they grew up with a full complement of professional sports at hand, and us children were raised to love them. This included the Pirates. But for most of my (conscious) life, they weren’t very good. Rooting for them was sort of like rooting for the Bad News Bears. They sure tried hard. It just didn’t go anywhere.

Because of that, my experiences with pro baseball were pretty limited, and what I did know, I didn’t like: the designated hitter rule, the strike, and the fact that there wasn’t any salary cap. I thought it was ridiculous that someone was getting paid a nine figure deal to hit a ball.

So anyway, I started putting all this aside and realized that baseball could be exciting and a fun sport when the Pirates started winning. Not when they went to the playoffs for the first time two years ago, but a few years before that. I started to follow them and I liked what was happening.

Yesterday we lost one of our best players to another team, who are going to pay him eighty million dollars over 5 years.

Eighty freaking million dollars.

Now, that works out to about $16M a year (Canadian–it’s a Canadian team). $16M is more money than I would really know what to do with.

When is enough, enough? I don’t know if he left just because of the money (he’s Canadian, he wanted to end his career in Canada, etc.). But really? A team that treated you well, a city that adored you….lost because of money? (Or at least that’s what it seems like.)

When is enough money enough money? I know how capitalism works. I know it’s “what the market will bear”, yada yada yada. But all the other pro leagues have salary caps. Why doesn’t baseball? Why is money such a huge part of the baseball makeup? There’s no parity, that’s for sure. Teams like the Pirates will never make as much as the Yankees in TV deals and all that stuff. They don’t have $80M to throw on one player.

So the system does need fixed. But also—guys? When is enough money enough money? How long would it take to spend $80 million? Think about it for a second.

I just don’t get it.

(Back to regularly scheduled programming!)

Around the house::

Dishes need washed, the first floor needs vacuumed and dusted, I think I’m going to bring the creche up today, sheets need changed on my bed and the furniture in my bedroom needs dusted.


My NaNo novel has sort of stalled. I don’t know why. Is it because it’s not the right time for me to write this? Because I’m dry on ideas? Or something else? Or maybe this story just won’t bear out. I’ve tried writing it in two different formats, now, and each time it hasn’t been enough to sustain my writing juices. Something to think about.

Still working on my scarf/cowl. I’ll have photos tomorrow for the yarn along.

Daybook No. 78

Outside my window::

Sunny with some clouds, and definitely seasonal–it was almost 80 on Monday and we might have snow this weekend. The weather is ALL OVER THE PLACE!


red cashmere sweater, jeans, grey flats.


The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Little Town on the PrairieLeaving Time (again).


“In our culture, the concept of hospitality has lost much of its power and is often used in circles where we are more prone to expect a watered down piety than a serious search for authentic Christian spirituality. But still, if there is any concept worth restoring to its original depth and evocative potential, it is the concept of hospitality. It is one of the riches biblical terms that can deepen and broaden our insight in our relationships to our fellow human beings.”
– Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out


Working on this knitting project.


NaNoWriMo 2014 is only days away! Yayyyy!!!!  I am really excited for this year’s novel, and I’m doing some research this week.

Around the house::

Dishes and polishing the furniture in the living/family room.

From the kitchen::

Having a friend over for dinner on Saturday so I am planning that meal, as well as reading Ina Garten’s new cookbook (LOVE)! Dinner with my parents tonight and then fending for myself tomorrow and Friday, so I need to figure out what to make!


Back to the gym. I am finally feeling better and getting up at a decent time, so I’m glad to be back there. (Never thought I’d say that!)

Plans for the week::

Dinner and movie night on Saturday; CCD and brunch with my brother on Sunday.

Daybook 77 and A Saint for All Times


Outside my window::

Overcast and chilly. It’s definitely fall! But that’s OK! I have a lovely bouquet of red roses in a mason jar on my counter and they make all my mornings better. (My parents gave them to me for opening night of Dolly! They’re really gorgeous.)


PJs, and drinking Mystic Monk coffee. 🙂 My body has been demanding lots of extra sleep lately so I’m trying to obey it, even though it makes me grumpy, because I’d much rather get up at like 8, and not 10. But….the body wants what it wants.


I just won a book from Goodreads, so I’ll be starting that today (It arrived yesterday) and then blogging about it, so look for a review soon! Reading Benedict XVI’s general audiences on prayer as well. Really, I have a bunch of books I want to start/finish but I just haven’t yet, which is inexcusably lazy on my part.


The pontificate of St. John Paul II.


I was so, so lucky to spend the majority of my life under his pontificate, which also meant, sadly, that I didn’t really appreciate it until he had already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. (Well, one doesn’t really appreciate the pope when one is a small child, to be sure!) He was elected pope on October 22, 1979, just a few months after my parents were married. My siblings and I were all born during his reign. I received all my sacraments while he was pope. His writings, so rich in so many genres (he wrote plays and poetry), and his life, so rich in so many ways, are a source of inspiration and constant study for me.

I vividly remember feeling like I was losing a father when he was dying. My father is still alive–praise Jesus–but I thought this is what it would feel like. He had always been there, always faithful shepherding the church. He had done so much to bring Christ to the world, to “open wide the doors to Christ”, and he did so much to change the world! A pope from a Communist country, who helped bring about the defeat of Communism? Prayer works, indeed. It was unimaginable for so many people. I remember the night the Berlin Wall came down. We watched it on TV in our family room. But I really didn’t understand what was happening–I was only seven and a half. But as I studied history and became more mature, I marveled at it.

For me, personally, I have only admired him more as I’ve gotten older. I ask for his help before auditions, since he was an actor. I ask for his help when writing, since he was a writer (yeah, I ask St. Francis De Sales too, but John Paul II is more immediate for me). His fearless attitude, his call to “be not afraid!”, echoes all the time in my heart. And of course, his great devotion to Our Lady, as he entrusted his entire papacy to her.

I don’t think theologians have even begun to mine the brilliance of his writings, and what they mean for us. I’ll really always consider him “my” pope, like so many other people in my generation. It wasn’t just the length of his pontificate, but the way he spoke so intensely to young people, and even remembered them on his death bed: “I have looked for you. Now you have come to me, and I thank you.” I was a young person during his papacy; I was about to turn 23 when he died.

Watching him in prayer was an intense experience. I never got to see it, personally, but I’ve read accounts and seen video. He had such intense communion with God, such a deep prayer life. You could see how it imbued his mission, how vital it was to him.

And of course–his suffering, the idea of redemptive suffering which is so unique to Catholicism–was on display for everyone to see. As a sick person, this also inspired me. He showed us that life has worth always, even when fragile and failing. His spirit never faltered.

There’s so much that could be said about him. If you want to learn more, I suggest George Weigel’s monumental Witness to Hope

Around the house::

(I really need to reorder these when I have such a long pondering!)

Sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor today, and dusting the furniture in my bedroom.


Working on my NaNo2014 novel–getting the prep done before it starts up November 1!–and also it’s the last weekend of Dolly. Come see it!

Daybook 76

Daybook 76

Outside my window::

Totally clouded over. It was really pretty but really humid yesterday, and I think it’s raining outside now. Not that I mind rain and clouds, because they’re good knitting/reading/tea days.


Jeans and an Oakland Zoo (Pitt) t-shirt. I’m being lazy right now.


Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time comes out today. I was very lucky to snatch up an ARC (advanced reading copy) at an event a few weeks ago, and I have to tell you, this book is amazing. Read it. I want to write more about this book but not until more peeps have read it, so….get on it. 🙂

Taking up Swann’s Way again as well. During Tech Week/Performance weeks I load up my bag with books I’ve been meaning to read, and this is on the top of the pile. I re-read The Joy Luck Club earlier this week and found I really didn’t like the book as much as the movie! Also re-reading Outlander, and I’m on An Echo In The Bone.


A lot on this front. Dolly opens on Friday–gulp gulp double gulp. NaNoWriMo 2014 is live, so I’ve been drafting out my novel for that–thus far it involves opera and Italians (a good combination, of course!). And I’ve also been knitting. I can purl fine when I do an entire row of purl, but when I start with a knit stitch border it all goes to hell. Ideas? I really want to start a basket weave scarf but I can’t if I can’t manage to knit and purl in the same row!


Well I have lots of plans but this week is a mess with the cooking…so busy. Trying valiantly and possibly failing to get it under control!


my sister is in town! She moved to Texas over the summer and this is her first trip back since then. Her birthday is on Friday so we celebrated early on Sunday at a local restaurant. Yesterday we had lunch and coffee together before I had to run to a doctor’s appointment. It’s been great to see her!


Well, Dolly, really, all the time. We’re in dress rehearsals now. I’m hoping on of the lovely ladies in the cast can do something with my ridiculous hair….I am so hair impaired it’s not even funny.


I went to the dermatologist yesterday. Part of post-transplant life is making sure that you take care of your skin with sun protection, because we are super photosensitive (meaning we can burn a lot faster than other people due to the meds), and getting regular skin checks. I go about every six months. Nothing out of the ordinary at this appointment so that’s a good thing. We have a much higher risk of cancer compared to the general population, and skin cancer in particular, so it’s very important to stay on top of these things. Fortunately I’ve never been much of a sun bunny.

Around the house::

Today is a house day, meaning I’m going to clean and tackle some projects here (filing, bill paying, etc.) that I need to do. This gets super important during tech week because otherwise the house can become a monster of utterly terrifying proportions due to neglect. 😛

From the iPhone:

chalk ohio

During a local shopping district’s chalk art festival–isn’t this great?