Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 46

Outside my window::

It’s sort of snowing. What I mean by that is the snow is being uncommital in its desire to come down. It’s sort of just floating along.

Wearing::

Jeans, black flats, a v-neck cornflower blue long sleeved tee from Eddie Bauer. It’s a house day. 🙂

Reading::

A Dance With Dragons; two Christmas books, Mythology and Charles Dickens (a biography by Claire Tomalin), and trying to finish a book on Italy’s history. And re-reading The Book Thief. 

Creative::

That last Christmas scarf? Yeah. It didn’t get done in time. So I’m working on that. Also one of my goals for the year is to write every day in some form, so this counts as that, but also keeping my journal up to date. I’ve been really slackerly there lately.

In the CD player::

Loreena McKennit A Midwinter Night’s Dream.

From the kitchen::

Dinner party tonight. Menu is Tuscan pasta (the pasta is cooked in a bottle of Chianti), a salad, and the ever-famous Guinness Cake, which is currently under the cake dome. I frost that at party time so the frosting doesn’t dry out and get unattractive. The wonderful thing about this cake is it is so MOIST that it does not dry out. You can eat this thing for a week, easy. It makes a divine breakfast. (Not that I know that by personal experience, or anything)

Around the house::

After much wrangling with it yesterday, the dishwasher is working again, Hallelujah! So I’ve done a round of dishes already this morning. I have to vacuum and dust a bit before the guests come over, and I have to change the sheets and linens in the master bath.

Plans for the week::

My parish offers Midnight Mass on New Year’s Eve, so I’ll be attending that. Back to work on the second!

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Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 44

Outside my window::

It’s not snowing! For the record, this has been the 8th snowiest December on record in Columbus–and it’s not even winter yet. Oy vey! It will, however, be snowing later today……about an inch of so.

Wearing::

Tan pants, a navy blue boatneck top, my Pandora charm bracelet, and really warm wool socks. Smartwool, thou art my friend.

Reading::

One Thousand White Women, The Fiery Cross (re-reading the Outlander series), Writing Down the Bones (a Christmas gift from Tiff)

In the CD player::

A Midwinter Night’s Dream. I have swapped out Frozen, but now I have the Frozen sheet music, so…. 🙂

Keeping Advent::

The O Antiphons start today with Wisdom. I love the O Antiphons!

Christmas Prep::

That last scarf! And writing a list of gifts received so I can write Thank You notes.

Celebrating::

Birthdays. Today is the Pope’s, and Beethoven; Jane Austen’s was yesterday. Let’s party!

From the kitchen::

Nothing tonight, but I did have a very successful dinner party on Saturday! Beef and cider pot along with a salad (greens, capers, red onion, and a vinaigrette with dijon mustard, EVOO, worchestershire, steak seasoning, white wine vinegar)

Around the house::

I think my vacuum cleaner is broken. 😦 So this makes me a bit unhappy. Thankfully it will warm up to the 50s (!) and rain this weekend so my car will get clean!

Pondering::

There is another very ordinary expression that I wonder how often we ponder: someone has a job to “wait on tables”. What do we mean by that? Not that you stand there and do nothing–quite the opposite! You are moving all the time. You are taking care of people’s needs. You are watching out for needs; you don’t even wait until they are expressed. You see that everyone is taken care of, that no one is missed. This is what we mean by waiting. And our dear Lord tells us that he rewards waiting–with waiting! Isn’t that marvelous? “Blessed are those whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them (Lk 12:37).” The reward for focus, for service, for active waiting upon the Lord is that he will wait on us. I think that is the most marvelous truth that the Church shows us in the Scriptures. This is how we rewards us for right, energetic, focused, joyous waiting for him. God always does this. When we wait upon him, then he waits upon our needs.

Who would not want to wait upon Jesus hand and foot? Well, so often the answer is that we are the ones who do not want to do this. Where is he? In the tabernacle, yes; in the world of Scripture, yes; and in the  persons in this room. We want to wait upon him hand and foot in one another, so that he may wait upon us. The more we do this, the more do we enter into the joy of the child, who says in the right way, with the wisdom peculiar to the child, unencumbered by the complexities and rationalizations of the adult, “I can’t wait! I can hardly bear the deliciousness of this activity of waiting!”

How do you wait for someone whom you really love? You do all kinds of things; you have all kinds of surprises awaiting the loved one. It is an expression of love. Real waiting always begets this loving “doing.” It eases the burden of waiting, which otherwise can scarcely be borne, as the child knows so well. The person waiting at the window is full of activity. When we are waiting for the loved one to come down the road, our heart is poudning, our eyes are straining, our whole body is taut, leaning forward. Someone is coming! Someone whom we love above all is coming! And now, in Advent, the One who we love about all is coming. The Church is giving us these precious days to focus the eye, to let the heart pound because he is coming. He will come. By the love of waiting for his little red lights that say, “Step back, now, because someone else needs to be served”, we will enter into the deliciousness of the real “Can’t wait.” We shall understand that when waiting is rightly comprehended, it is a deliciousness that is already indeed a wink of bliss.

–Mother Mary Francis, PCP, Come Lord Jesus, December 17: Waiting

Plans for the week::

Blood drive at work on Thursday and office Christmas lunch; Friday my parents and I are going out to lunch, and Saturday I’m planning to see The Book Thief with a theater pal.

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 38

A sunday version, this week. 🙂

I am wearing::

A grey BR pleated skirt; a Boden sweater w/ a Peter Pan color in navy and plum (plum at the collar, waist and wrists); tiny sparkly earrings from Touchstone Crystal. I taught CCD today and the girls like it when I wear jewelry. 🙂

Outside my window::

Sunny and blue skies, low sixties. It’s a lovely first day of Fall here.

In the CD player::

Joyce DiDonato, ReJoyce! Let me tell you: her “You’ll Never Walk Along” is stunning. Go give it a listen.

Reading::

The Last Olympian; Back to Virtue; Relish (which is so much more than a cookbook, it’s got some great tips in it.)

Crafting::

Christmas Scarf No. 5 in a beautiful cobalt blue yarn. I just love it.

Being healthy::

I’m taking my first pure barre class tomorrow. Gulp. We’ll see how this goes! One of the girls in the show works here and she told me all about it. I know I do better in a class when I can’t just quit early, and when I have to be accountable for it. So I’m a bit nervous but also excited to try this!

From the kitchen: 

Tonight is Ina Garten’s weeknight bolognese, which I’ve been wanting to try for awhile. Also this week are some new chicken and pasta recipes that I’ll share as I try them out. Also planning a menu for a Saturday night dinner party!  (Small–only two other guests–but still fun!)

Around the house::

Clearing out the closet and sifting through clothes I could donate; vacuuming; clearing off the kitchen table.  I’ve got friends coming over for dinner on Saturday so we have to have a place to eat!

Praying for::

Thomas Peters

my friends who are pregnant

Syria

Wendy, a member of my third order chapter, who is having a biospy in the near future

The kids in my CCD class

Plans for the week::

Lunch w/ my dad tomorrow

My parish’s 160th anniversary is on Wednesday, so I’m planning on attending the special Mass that evening.

Another Pure Barre class on Thursday

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Show rehearsal!

Saturday: Dinner party

Sunday: CCD class. ALSO the Master of the Dominican Order is visiting our parish and concelebrating the 9 AM Mass, so I will make a special effort to get up for that!

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 30

Wearing::

Black and white stripped maxi skirt; purple elbow-length sleeve top. Both from White House, Black Market.

Black flats

Reading::

Re-reading Madeline L’Engle’s Austin series, so I’m on book two of that (out of five), and Keeping House.  I have a $50 B&N gift card so I’m going to go stock up tomorrow. Last week I read Veronica Roth’s Divergent, so I need to get the sequel, Insurgent.

In the CD player::

Renee Fleming’s I Want Magic! American opera arias.

Around the house::

Unpacking from the weekend, and the show. Still have some things that need put away from the Les Miz adventure. Also mopping the kitchen floor, vacuuming and taking out the trash from upstairs.

From the kitchen::

Gosh, I haven’t been to the grocery in about two weeks. I think I’ll see what’s hiding in my pantry. Also I love this. Think it’s time to do this again.

Being healthy::

Workouts this week shall resume. I sort of gave myself a week off post Les Miz. I went hiking over the weekend and did outdoorsy things. So now we get back into the regular routine. But not today, because apparently I did soemthing to my lower back while being all outdoorsy, so I’m taking it easy until it decides to cooperate. Grrrrrr. Oh well. more time to knit (see below) and watch opera on the telly!

Being creative::

Since I finally learned to knit, I’m working on my first project, a scarf. I’m also going to write outlines for two writing projects I’ve been pondering.

Praying for::

My friends’ houses to sell.

My pregnant friends, and their babies! (I have three friends who are currently pregnant. One is supposed to deliver her daughter tomorrow!)

Plans for the week::

Tomorrow–book shopping 🙂

Wednesday: Lunch w/ dad

Weekend: The FIRST free weekend I have had in months. Like, since April. The only thing on my calendar is a virtual book club meeting (book: Moloka’i), and that’s fun. I am going to delight in this.

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 24

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I.

OK, so first up: please pray for Thomas Peters, AKA The American papist. He was in a swimming accident and has a broken neck; a Halo is being placed as we speak. They don’t think surgery will be necessary and that the spinal swelling will reduce on its own. Please pray.

II.

Also this article stunned and saddens me: 16 out of 17 babies found to have CF in utero are aborted. This is, of course, the result of several things, fear and ignorance being the top two. As a society, we fear suffering. We see it as an evil we can “avoid.” It’s not possible. So we kill people to avoid it. What? What sort of twisted logic is this?

It is an indescribable feeling, realizing that some people think you would be better off dead, than alive. Truly, indescribable.

I did meet someone like this, once. A girl I knew in high school. She was making the argument that we’d be better off not being born, and I said, “Well, then I guess you’re wishing I wasn’t here right now, because…” and then I filled her in. Complete silence. It takes a lot of gall to tell someone to their face that they shouldn’t be alive.

III.

Wow, those were cheery first two quick takes, huh? 🙂 Sorry! Here’s some poetry.

IV.
The NHL 2013-2014 schedule is out. My Penguins and Jackets play each other back to back here at Nationwide Arena Nov. 1-2. Those will be great days, indeed! I’m excited to have the Jackets in the Eastern Conference.

V.

Tonight I’m heading to Hocking Hills (so you’ll be reading this, as I’m going down there) for a weekend with my friends. This should involve s’mores, hiking, board games, and kids (two of the couples have kids now) and cooking. All things I greatly enjoy. Oh, and knitting! Hopefully I will complete one knitting project this weekend!

VI.

This week’s really good read: Veronica Roth’s Divergent. It’s being made into a movie with Kate Winslet and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), so I thought I’d pick it up. Dystopian lit, yes, but good distopian lit! Do read it. It’s the first book of a trilogy, the last book of which comes out later this year (I think).

VII.

Speaking of movies and books: There is a new Percy Jackson movie coming out! Sea of Monsters, with new casting and new everything so that Percy is actually sort of the right age! Score! I’m excited for this one.

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 23

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I.

This is the transplant anniversary and Les Miz post. 🙂 On Monday I went to Children’s for day one of my annual testing. This included blood work, chest x-ray, PFTs, a six minute walk, and a bone density scan, as well as a talk with my doctors, the social worker, and the dietician on the team.

The social worker can help with any sort of insurance questions, family support, etc., that you may need. I had a few questions regarding the Finance Office, but other than that, I’m easy for her. 🙂 The dietician and I touched base about my activity level and diet. My doctors are very pleased with how I’m doing. My PFTs are stable, and my bone density is actually normal! Go cheese !

The only thing that wasn’t normal was my triglyceride level. I’ve always had high triglycerides, as do a lot of people in my family (on my mom’s side), so this is genetic and also medicinially based (the immunosuppressants give you high cholesterol, no matter what.) We’ve tried lots of statins (drugs to reduce your cholesterol, like Lipitor) and I just can’t tolerate them. I have awful bone pain and extreme lethargy.

So the team was powwowing about the results and one of my docs said, “Let’s try red wine.” No, I’m not kidding. So I’m supposed to have one glass (maximum) of red wine a day. That’s a prescription I an willing to try, right? 🙂 So–here comes the wine!

II.

The transplant anniversary is always a mighty powerful day. It’s a day of resurrection, of new chances, of celebrating being alive. (Cue the song from Company)

(yeah, video clip!)

Or, as Emily Webb said in Our Town: “Do humans ever realize why they live it? Every, every minute?”

III.

This year the transplant anniversary fell on our last day of Les Miz tech week. We were warming up, preparing to go on, when my friend Bethany steps up and starts talking about me….and I turn bright red. One of the girls gave me a bouquet of flowers and Doug, our Javert, led everyone in singing happy anniversary to me. I was so touched by this. My friend Abby and our director, Robin, were also behind this scheme. I felt so loved. Afterwards a lot of people asked me questions (including the 11 year old playing Gavroche), and I was happy to  answer them. I just felt so wonderful. Thanks to all of you (again!)

IV.

Also on my anniversary, I got to have lunch with my transplant nurse, Karen, and her precious little girls. I just love spending time with her. She was a great nurse and she’s also a fantastic friend. Her little girls are 5 and 2, and they are adorable and fun. They also have two Westies that I adore (except for when one of them brings me dead Rabbits that he’s killed, but that’s another story…) And Karen’s husband is pretty awesome, too. Basically I just love that family. A true gift of Transplant has been getting to know them!

V.

So this year was the 8 year anniversary. That’s a pretty darn good milestone, given that only about half of the lung transplant patients make it to 5 years. Lung transplants are not done nearly as often as other organs, so we’re still setting precedents, in a sense. 🙂 There’s so much we still don’t know about transplant science, in general. So I’m very glad that I’m doing so well.

VI.

Opening night for Les Miz was last night. We had a full house (really. Full house) and got an immediate standing ovation after the finale. I clutched hands with the girl next to me–we were so happy and proud and excited. It was truly a memorable night. Tomorrow and tonight are the last two performances.

VII.

A few fun transplant facts for you: My surgery was over 12 hours long; My lungs were too big for me, so my center trimmed them; they came from Minnesota, from a 50ish year old woman who died of a brain aneurysm. I am so thankful to her and her family for giving me the ability to sit here and type to y’all. 🙂

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 20

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I.

Welcome summer. Officially. 🙂 It’s 88 degrees here (well, it will be.It’s not, currently) and will be about 90 all weekend so Emily has plans for A/C, shorts and swimming. What about you? Also, it’s June and we’re almost done with June, so I need to read Mrs. Dalloway this weekend: “Life, London, this moment of June…” Mm. Good stuff.

II.

Both my parents had birthday this week–they were born three days apart, same year, same city. I think that’s awesome. Dad’s was on the 19th and Mom’s is tomorrow. Their wedding anniversary is next week, on the same day at my grandma’s (mom’s mom’s) birthday. It’s a busy time for birthdays around here, I’ll tell ya. But then we’re done until my brother’s in September.

III.

I was talking to a former colleague of mine whose wife is pregnant with their first child. We were talking about the baby’s gender; did they want to know, did they know and they just weren’t telling, etc. I find this sort of fascinating. I don’t think I’d want to know; I’d want like that one massive surprise in the delivery room. But I wouldn’t be all annoyed if I found out beforehand (I’m pretty good at reading ultrasounds at this point in my life. Well, OK, not baby ultrasounds, but abdominal ultrasounds. Same diff, right? Humor me.). So, Colleague seemed pretty sure they were having a boy. So me: “Do you know you’re having a boy, or are you doing an Emily’s dad from 1981 where he bought the child a male teddy bear and was sort of disappointed when his firstborn was, indeed, a girl?” Him: Oh, we know.

Back in 1981, ultrasounds were not that super duper. I don’t think my parents wanted to know, anyway. But yes, there was a teddy bear named Coach, who had a t-shirt that said COACH (hence the highly original name) and a whistle around his neck. I think my dad wanted me to be a boy. But Coach lives on, to this day, with me. Sans t-shirt and whistle. I don’t think the whistle even made it out of my infancy…

Oh, what technology has wrought. (Although, I know, the ultrasounds can be wrong…)

addendum: Dad read this and said he never wanted me to be a boy. Just clearing up the record. 🙂 

IV.

It must be funny anecdote day over here on da blog. So here’s a bit of a conversation I had  with a Francophile friend yesterday:

Me: My high school teacher described Robespierre as “someone you wouldn’t want to take to prom.”

Mary: But he could recite poetry in Latin!

Me: I don’t think that helps.

Mary: It does!

Me: Um….no.

Mary: Whatever….not that I would ever date Robespierre.

These are the kind of conversations I have with my friends.  Although I am sure that almost twenty years later, the fact that I remember this bit from Mr. Liptrap’s College Prep World Studies Class should be a credit to him.

V.

Rehearsal over the weekend is actually fairly light, at least tomorrow. We’re blocking parts of Act II, and I’m only in one part of Act II, so I can get there early with my Tim Horton’s iced cappuccino and read some Jane on my iPad mini while people die gloriously onstage. Sounds like fun to me, anyway. Oh, and I get to try on a corset! “I’ll make it fit!” I’ve never actually worn a corset, but I have no doubt that I will not have Scarlett O’Hara’s “18 1/2 inches” of a waist. Ohhhh, no.

Sunday we have a music rehearsal–most of Act I–and then I’m celebrating my parents’ birthdays with them at some sort of dinner post-rehearsal.

VI.

Tomorrow night the “over 21” members of the Les Miz cast are going out for dinner and karaoke. I’m hoping they have the Carpenters or Simon and Garfunkel on the karaoke list. I love to sing “Rainy Days and Mondays” at karaoke.

VII.

And to round this out: books I read this week: Strange Gods, The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Catechism, The Art Forger. Also made progress on B XVI’s Doctors of the Church  and St. Catherine of Siena’s Dialogues.