Seven Quick Takes No. 77

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

I.

Next week there won’t be a 7QT, since I’ll be in D.C. and attending ordinations that day, so I won’t have time to write! I’ll be churching. 🙂 But I am so excited to be heading to D.C. since I haven’t been in so long, and I’ll be with some great friends. Plus, our hotel offers free homemade cookies–hot–for all visitors.

Really? Can I just live there forever?

II.

Let’s talk about some season finales of TV, shall we?

I love The Middle. Sue Heck is an awful lot like me, from her love of Disney World Planning to her academic endeavors. Last night’s season finale really struck a chord with me.

Sue has been trying, all year, to have the Best Year Ever. It’s her Senior year of high school (AKA, The Year of Sue), and she tries to win one of the class superlatives (best smile, etc.), get accepted to a great college, have the most school spirit, and generally be all around awesome.

But leading up to graduation, everything goes wrong. She loses her yearbook–and her name is misspelled under her photo She’s not eligible for any honor cords because  her activities “don’t count”. She misses getting the perfect attendance award because she snuck of campus to eat lunch. Her graduation motorboard is way too big. She doesn’t even want to go to graduation now, because she feels like nothing she did mattered. She has left no legacy. She feels like a loser.

But her mom convinces her to go to the ceremony. At the ceremony, her yearbook is returned–full of notes from people who did notice her, and appreciated her, even if she didn’t get any honor cords or win any Senior Superlatives. She sees the impact she had on the members of her class, and she had no idea they even felt that way.

I feel like Sue sometimes, like everything I do is just passing and I won’t have any lasting legacy anywhere. But The Middle reminds us that people do notice those little things, even if they don’t write about it in our yearbooks.

III.

Another TV finale wasn’t quite so satisfying, and that’s Bates Motel.

Now, I love Bates Motel on a lot of levels, as I’ve previously discussed. But this year it started going off the rails, relative to actual CF/transplant things, and this makes me Displeased.

Emma’s been on the lung transplant list the entire time the show has been on the air, so three years. She hasn’t moved up the list in all that time–her condition has been pretty stable. But this season she started to deteriorate a bit.

Now, the way lungs are allocated is something called an LAS score. Basically, it takes into account how sick you are. The sicker you are, the higher up you are on the list. Emma, actually, probably isn’t sick enough to be first in line on the list. Yes, she’s on oxygen, but her condition is pretty stable.

However, on the show, her dad tells Dylan (Norman’s brother) that the reason Emma hasn’t gotten her transplant is because they don’t have $20,000, which they apparently need to bribe someone to move her up the list.

Um, no. No no no no five thousand nos.

The only way you move up the list is by getting sicker. When I was called for my transplant, I was the top person on the AB+ blood type list, because I was the sickest person that was also the best match for the lungs I received. It’s sort of a complicated process. Organs have to match blood type, tissue type, body size, etc. Emma could only move up by getting sicker, or by people passing on the chance to have the operation, or being removed from the list.

So anyway, in the season finale, Emma gets her call (this is after Dylan has come up with the money and given  it to Emma’s Dad). Emma then proceeds to have a crying jag/meltdown in front of Dylan. Now, I know this makes good TV because it’s cathartic and all that, but you have to talk to social workers and therapists about this stuff before you can get listed. You have to be totally on board. You can’t be sort of wishy-washy. Now, yes, I understand that Emma’s a little freaked, but by the time you get the call, you are about to die, normally. Dying on the operating table doesn’t really phase you, because you are going to die without the surgery very soon.

So anyway, this is all so wrong, people. So, so, wrong.

However, she is right about lungs being tricky, in the transplant world. They are. Lucky us.

IV.

A few reading notes:

The Royal We: Totally based on Prince William and Kate Middleton (right down to Kate’s fashion choices and wedding dress), only the girl is an American, this story of the future King of England meeting his fiance at a British University is well-told and charmingly written. Nicholas and Rebecca meet cute, break up, and finally get engaged–but will they make it to the altar? Nicholas’s brother, Freddie, is hysterical, but Rebecca’s twin is sort of annoying. But this would definitely make a great beach read. If you’re a fan of the British Royal Family, then give this one a whirl.

Made In the U.S.A.: I found this on the remained table at B&N, read the first chapter, and was drawn in to the story of Lutie and her brother, Fate, who are left alone after their stepmother dies of a heart attack in the local North Dakota Wal-Mart. Intent on escaping Child Protective Services, Lutie and Fate drive to Las Vegas, the last known address of their ne’er-do-well alcoholic father, sure that if they find him, he will take them in. But things definitely do not work out like the pair plans, and they’re finally rescued by Juan, a Mexican immigrant who takes the children to his family in Oklahoma.

The book had a pretty dark first half–Lutie does a lot of things to survive and to heal some serious wounds in herself–but the final pages give the characters chances for redemption.  I don’t generally mind dark books, and I’d probably read this again, but reading it the first time had me going “are these kids going to be OK? Because they better be, or I’m going to be really irritated.

The Happiness Project: This is one of my must-reads, and I’m reading it again. It’s a great kick in the pants for self-motivation to Do Better and Achieve Goals.

V.

And since we have book notes, let’s have some movie notes:

Still Alice: The movie that won Julianne Moore her elusive Oscar is much better than I thought it would be. The book is good, but the movie is better–this falls into a small category of books and movies where this is true, for me (some of the others are The Wizard of Oz, Gone With The Wind, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).  Moore plays Alice, a linguistic professor at Columbia who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Moore’s performance is realistic and sympathetic, but the other best part of the movie is Kristin Stewart’s role as Lydia, Moore’s “black sheep” daughter, who comes home to take care of her mother while her father (Alec Baldwin) moves to Minnesota to run a study at the Mayo Clinic. Stewart and Moore could be mother and daughter in real life, and they play beautifully off one another here. I loved how their relationship evolved throughout the movie.

Panic Room: Yes, another Kristin Stewart movie! This time she plays Jodi Foster’s daughter in a thriller that places both of them at the mercy of three robbers. This is one of Stewart’s earliest film roles, and she and Foster are a believable mother daughter pair, complete with the sass and eye rolls. It’s a tidy thriller that ends somewhat predictably, but it’s a good movie to watch if you’re not up to following a complicated plot.

 VI.

CCD winds up this weekend. I’ll miss this class, which was much smaller than my previous class of 35 kids. But each year’s class has its own plusses and minuses, and this has been a pretty good group. I’m curious to see how many we have next year, since that affects the “arts and crafts” aspect of the curriculum. With a group of 35, you really can’t do too many art projects, but with 20, you can.

VII.

Can you believe we’re halfway through May already? I can’t. I swear things move faster as we get older.

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Seven Quick Takes No. 76

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

I.

BONJOUR, FRIDAY!!!!!! I’m so happy to see you!

II.

I’m going to D.C.! I haven’t been to the capital in ages and I’m so excited to be going with my friends Mary and Katie for Dominican ordinations. The last road trip the three of us took, it was to Nashville to visit some Dominican sisters. We had a blast. I don’t know if D.C. is ready for us!

III.

The CCD year is rapidly coming to a close. We only have two more classes. Last year’s class just received their first communion, and I’m so happy for them! I hope they remember everything we’ve taught them about it. 😉 Next year’s CCD will be here before we know it, though, and then it’s a new group of kids to teach about the sacraments and the trinity.

IV.

Speaking of summer breaks: it’s summer here. Already! It’s supposed to be 90 tomorrow! Sadly, the pool doesn’t open until next week, when it’s going to be much more seasonal. Oh well. When the pool is open, it’s time for me to do my happy dance. Not just because pool=summer, but because I love swimming and it’s better than gym workouts!

V.

Although I have been very faithful to those gym workouts–going to the gym today, in fact. My schedule right now is two yoga practices a week, and three gym days. Yes, there are two rest days in there. I also need to get a strength program back on line, because I’ve been slacking here.

VI.

I made huge progress this week on one of my novels, so I’m excited about that! It was the first one I wrote for NaNoWriMo, and I was in a hurry to get it done, so I left out a few key scenes, but now I’m going back and putting them in, an they’re fitting really well. I had to slash parts that were just way too crazy, but in general, I’m pleased with the shape of the manuscript.

VII.

Do any of you garden? Do you want to share gardening tips with me? I’m writing about this more next week, but I’m about to start my first container garden (with just two things–let’s not get crazy) and I want to make sure they don’t die. 🙂

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 71

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I.

I’m watching the tournament with my mom–she just had surgery so I’m here to help out around the house and answer the door for packages that may come. 🙂  We’re both rooting for Kansas to wi! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

II.

The knitting comes along splendidly. I’m on washcloth two and I’m really liking this project. As Ginny says, it’s easy comfort knitting. 

III.

I’m also finally catching up on my reading. I’ve been so behind lately, I don’t know what is going on. But I’m back to Pilgrim’s Progress and Out Mutual Friend, and I’m also reading The Noonday Devil for my spiritual reading bit. It’s actually amazingly good so far. I’m a nerd for things like this. Also, if you haven’t read Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life, do it, because it’s great.

IV.

I tried, in vain, to watch No Country for Old Men. I’m at a loss as to how people not only like this movie, but think it’s a great  movie. After the shoot-out at the motel, I was done. I can’t stand movies with no redeemable characters, and there was not a single one like that in this movie, except maybe Carla, but I didn’t watch the end of the movie, so I dunno if she’s redeemable or not (But Kelly MacDonald was by far the best thing about the movie). Ugh. It made me feel like I had to take a shower after watching it. I do not understand it. I guess these movies aren’t for me.

V.

 However, I did see the new Live Action Cinderella this week and really liked it.Lily James and Richard Madden were great together (and I was glad to see that Robb Stark survived this movie :-P), and Sophie McShera was a scream. This is actually better than the animated version, in my opinion. So go see it and be happy.

Kit (Richard Madden) and Ella (Lily James) meet at the ball.

Kit (Richard Madden) and Ella (Lily James) meet at the ball.

Also the music is great! Go Patrick Doyle!

VI.

I played Scrabble with my Dad last night and I won. My first Scrabble win ever. You know why? Because it was Disney Scrabble. Which means that things like “Zurg” are acceptable words, and worth bonus points.

So really, I can only win Scrabble when I can use my crazy Disney knowledge.

VII.

This week in CCD (the last until after Easter–we get two weeks off), I’m teaching the kids about Holy Week. Let the fun begin!

Seven Quick Takes No. 61

Seven Quick Takes No. 61

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I.

This week felt like it flew by.It’s that time of year again, when it just gets closer to Christmas and there’s so much to DO and not enough time to do it! Totally the theory of relativity, right? As a kid, you remember these days going so slowly. And now? Gone so quickly. It’s amazing.

II.

This is partially because there’s a lot going on–tomorrow I’m going to a Penguins/Jackets game with my parents (in which I will be happy with the outcome, because one team I love will win!). On Sunday, it’s the last CCD class before the break, which basically means a video on St. Nicholas and bingo games; then we have a catechist meeting; then there’s a Third Order meeting which concludes with life promises (EEEEK), and then dinner with Mary and lessons and carols at my parish. WHEW. And Monday I have a doctor appointment with all that attends that, and an audition that night.

III.

So, life promises. Yes. Basically, this means I’m a Lay Dominican forever and ever (amen), I promise to live by the rule of St. Dominic for the rest of my life, and be a good Lay Dominican. 🙂 The rule requires that I say morning and evening prayer of the liturgy of the hours, attend Mass as often as possible during the week, go to confession once a month, say a daily rosary, and perform individual religious study. None of these are bound by pain of sin. If I miss vespers one day or something, it’s not a thing I need to confess. But these are the “pillars”, so to speak, of my life, forever, after Sunday. I’ve been in formation for five+ years now, and I’m so glad to be making this final step.

IV.

My Christmas shopping, however, is 98% finished. I still have to get something for two more people, who are hard to shop for. Sigh. I’m hoping to come up with magic inspiration over the next week.

V.

My 2015 calendar is starting to fill up–January has good things (a Symphony concert!) and some unfun/fun things–a colonoscopy (Oh YAY!). Yes, my friends, I need to have one, and the hospital, of course, is freaking because I have a PORT, and we’re going to USE IT, and OH MY GOSH!

Really, guys, it’s not that hard. They don’t even have to access me–mom can do it. All they have to do is push the lovely happy meds into the tube. I do not understand the freak out. It’s an adult hospital I’m going to, but they treat cancer patients, so a port isn’t some exotic medical things they’ve never seen. Sigh. I guess it’ll be a “teachable moment” for them. AS long as they don’t break the port, I don’t care. Just give me the fun meds and do what you have to do, doc.

VI.

in 2015, revision on THE BOOK will begin in earnest. Yes. I have left the draft alone for a few months, I’ve gotten some feedback from my beta readers, and in January it will be time to start massaging it into shape again, and bring out the long knife of editing. Oh yes, my friends. The knife is coming out!

VII.

Next week has two of my favorite days! JANE DAY, her birthday, on Dec. 16, in which we shall all drink tea, watch the Wet Shirt video, and read her books, and Dec. 17, which is Beethoven Day (it’s the day Beethoven was Baptized.) Such great genius!  They were born five years apart (Beethoven in 1700, Jane in 1775), and died ten years apart (Jane in July 1817, Beethoven in March 1827). So on Beethoven Day we will listen to much Beethoven and rejoice in his genius. (Yes, he’s my favorite composer, why do you ask?)

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(Side note: people: stop using this to mean “pounds.” I See it all the time: “The fish was 8#!” REALLY?!?!?!)

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Things I Think About

A list of random things that are occupying my brain:

  • Does anyone else think the Comeback Canyon on Biggest Loser isn’t working? It’s like it’s always week two over there. The person who is the newest is always going to win. It’s a decent idea in theory, but in practice? not so much. (Much like many government policies!)
  • I’m always glad when people come out to see a show that I’m in. Heck, I’m glad when people support live theater in general! But if you’re going to come, don’t play video games. Don’t play with your phone. Don’t hold conversations in the middle of a big musical number. We, the actors, can see you! We can see the light from the phone, and we can see you talking! It’s distracting! It’s RUDE! STOP IT! You paid money to see a show–how about you, I dunno, watch it? A few random whispered things, like “I’m leaving to answer the phone, because the President is calling”, that’s fine. But these people were having a multi-person conclave across an entire row. Folks….just don’t. This is especially true in smaller theaters. It’s not like you’re at the Met and you’re in the family circle. You’re right in front of us!
  • My dad is a really funny guy. Proof here.
  • James Levine celebrates his 2,500 conducting outing at the Met today. That’s amazing, as is the music he leads. I’ve got  one of his Ring cycles on DVD, and one of his Otellos, and man….that’s good stuff. Bravo, maestro.
  • I wish it was November so I could start writing my novel, but I’ve got about a week of planning left. NaNoWriMo, here I come! I’ve got the family trees roughly sketched and a (rough, of course) timeline, and I think I need to start making some character notes, just so I have an idea. I don’t generally plot the end of my books. I like to see where characters take me.
  • In CCD tomorrow I’m teaching the kids about Abraham and Noah. Actually, that should be Noah and Abraham. I think. I always mix up who comes first. Thank God for the book. 🙂

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.

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!

Wearing::

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

Reading::

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!

Theater::

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

Liturgy::

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.

Pondering::

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

Fitness::

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.