Seven Quick Takes Vol. 71



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!


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. 


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.


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.


 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!


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.


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 Friday No. 38



(OK, just so you know–there’s some grumpiness ahead. Sorry)

So this week I’ve sort of been in the dumps because, you know, it’s Valentine’s Day week and I’m single…sigh. I think it’s just the winter blahs. I hope it’s just the winter blahs. So tomorrow night I’ll have to ponder something awesome fun to do that involves chocolate, hopefully.


I got a new dresser this week. I’d had the first one for 20+ years, so never let it be said I don’t get my use out of furniture! This is a maple wood dresser/mini armoire combo. The dresser part has four drawers–two small, two long–and the “armoire” part is a bit taller and has a drawer and three shelves behind a door. I just adore it, and the new lamp that goes on the top because my house has no overhead lighting in the bedrooms. BOO! I need light! So I’m glad to have this new guy in my house and, ergo, a more organized room, because I have places for things, as opposed to having a dresser where drawers fall out, don’t open, etc.


I signed up to attend my diocese’s Catholic Women’s Conference this week. I’m really excited about it, because the schedule looks great, and I hope to meet some other great Columbus Diocesan Catholic Women! 🙂 I also get continuing education credits which help my CCD teaching credentials. So–yes! If you live in or around Columbus, you should come! I’d love to meet you!


I’m also going to a silent retreat the weekend before my birthday. I love and need silent retreats, so I’m glad to go to this one at our local retreat center. It is vital to my spiritual well-being! I hope it’s not really cold, though, because I love to walk the center’s grounds.


Can I share a bee in my bonnet?

(Of course I can. It’s my blog)

I have noticed a lot of Catholic schools don’t accept/ have support for handicapped–whether physically or mentally or with learning disabilities–students. My elementary school had only stairs. I remember students with broken legs being carried by their fathers to their classrooms, and classmates bringing their lunch tray to their room so they could eat. I know many schools around here pride themselves on their “advanced” curriculum, but they don’t work with students who may not be on that level (at least they didn’t when I was in school.)

Now, I see Wyoming Catholic College doesn’t accept students who are physically disabled–and thus, unable to perform the intense outdoor activities that they “require”. I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong. I’m honestly surprised they haven’t been sued yet. So if a good, devout Catholic kid wants to go to WCC, but they have only one arm, or are blind or deaf, or have CF (like moi)–they can’t go. The school says it will not accept them. 

Last time I checked, rock climbing and white-water rafting have nothing to do with your academic and intellectual abilities.

I know there are other Catholic colleges in America, but there is a dearth of ones that are truly Catholic. So, in this limited category, we’re going to deny a place to Catholics who may be disabled?

Not cool, WCC. Not cool.


This weekend is a long weekend for me, praise Jesus. Saturday I’m planning on going to the Vigil Mass and then having dinner with my parents; Sunday I’m teaching my CCD class about the trinity, and I have a Mac Class with the Precious (and I’m hoping to get my iPad fixed), and dinner with my brother. Monday I have an appointment with my dermatologist to make sure we don’t have any weird pre-cancerous stuff happening (skin cancer is a big risk with a suppressed immune system+drugs that make your skin photosensitive (sensitive to sunlight). ) Even though I’m 1/2 Italian, I am vigilant about sunscreen! I’m also seeing my ENT today and hopefully we’ll get some sinus surgery on the schedule so they will behave.


And this: last minute addition. Legal assisted suicide for kids in Belgium is close to being law.

That is just….wow. I can’t even imagine. What sort of place is this? We don’t let 12 year olds decide whether to go to school for pete’s sake. Yet, Belgium’s going to allow them to decide if they want to die?

There is also no reason for it. We have drugs that can alleviate pain, completely. If you don’t want to be in pain, you won’t be. What sort of society are we creating when people are thrown away like trash, when we think it’s “progressive” to allow them to end their lives because they are suffering? Everyone suffers. Everyone will die, which , I realize, most people seem to forget.

No one gets out of here alive. Death can be painless. It can be excruciating. It can be ridiculously easy. But everyone is born, and everyone will die. Thinking that we can “control” life is the most ridiculous, inane statement ever.

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 5



OK, so it’s really Seven QT Saturday. Last night I came home after dinner with my parents and watched Season 1 of Downton, because I haven’t in awhile, and forgot all about my Mac, which is a good thing to do sometimes, yes? So we’re doing this on Saturday morning.


Time for the weekly Disney update: I made Sunday night reservations for us at the Flying Fish Cafe. In the words of my father, this sounds “very excellent.” It’s perfect for us because we love seafood. Also, the Boardwalk is close to our hotel, so we can walk there, eat, walk back–don’t have to worry about transportation issues. Sunday is the day we’re flying in, so I thought a late dinner reservation would be nice.


Reading update: I read Death Comes to Pemberley this week, and LOVED it. Wow it was super good. If you haven’t, go ahead and pick this up. Also read Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway, which was also very good, in true Chevalier style. Detailed, well-researched, and a great read. She’s coming to Columbus as part of her book tour in the spring, so I am excited to be able to meet not one, but two of my favorite authors within six months of each other. 🙂


It’s warm here–like spring. Thank you, Jesus, for the January thaw! It’s going to be in the 60s today, so that means washing my car. I’m sure I won’t be the only one with this idea in my neighborhood.


Something that I’ve noticed lately on the blogs I read is that there’s a lot of medical complaining going on, which I always find….amusing. And a bit exasperating. I still have trouble considering myself an adult, even though I’m 30, and clearly am one. (I think.) So when I see people my parents’ age, who are clearly “adults”, complaining about going to the doctor’s and having to take prescriptions (more than one!), et al., it makes the kid in me want to roll my eyes.

I know not everyone has my medical background and wonderful acquaintance with so many doctors. (And yeah, most of mine are wonderful.) I know not everyone has been taking some form of medication with their breakfast since they were two. But really, guys, if you’re  over 35, and you’ve gotten through your life without any medical problems, don’t complain. Be really, really, really grateful. And suck it up and go to the doctor and take your freaking meds. But do not complain about it on your blog for eternity. Please?

I admit I am fully short of sympathy in this area. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have kids because my metric for medical problems would begin with “is there blood? Can you breathe? Is anything broken? Are you in horrible pain? No? OK then.” (Well, maybe I’d be better. I don’t know.) But if the problems aren’t life and death, if it’s just annoying, then say it once, and move on. Really, folks. I know, I just shouldn’t read the blogs. I know. And yet…I do. I don’t know. I guess I’m asking for a bit of wider vision? (I know. I’m horribly unsympathetic and I’m an awful person. Well, this is the bee in my bonnet, so I’m sharing.)

(Life and death though? Then share. Share please. Because I’d like to know you’re OK! But yeah, if it’s just normal medical stuff, then mention once, and move on. Oh, and if you’re pregnant, then I do want to hear about that, so I can live vicariously through you. 🙂 )


The Christmas decorations come down tomorrow. I’m always sad about this because I like my tree very much, very much indeed. But ’tis the season for…no tree. Oh well.I will miss it.


It will, however, help with getting the house back in order, because the tree takes upa  chunk of my living room that’s usually used as a bag drop–where I keep my tote bags for all my various activities. But they really shouldn’t be there anyway. So I’m on a crusade to do the January “clean the house” resolution, like the rest of America.

For more quick Takes, visit Jen!

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 3



It’s snowing here. This is the one time of the year I like snow–during Christmas–and it can stop about mid January. The roads are, for the most part, just wet, which is definitely do-able. Snow in Columbus seems to be worse after the turn of the year. As Mr. Wilder said in Farmer Boy: “As the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen.” Well, thanks, Mother Nature.


I love Christmas. I’m always ready for it. So I thought I’d use this quick takes to talk about pat Christmases. We’ll start with our travel plans.

Both my parents are from Pittsburgh–different parts of the general metro area. So until my sister was born, my brother and I had a LOT of Christmas. First, we had Christmas early at home, probably on the 23rd. (I don’t remember the exact date). Yes. Santa came EARLY to our casa. I was very proud of this. On the 24th, we’d drive to Dad’s mom’s house, where we’d have dinner and more presents. After that, we’d drive to my mom’s parents’ house in Baldwin, where we’d see our grandparents and aunts for a bit before we went to bed. (When I was a kid, my mom still had three sisters living at home. They gradually got married as I got older, but it was awesome to have them there.) Christmas morning we had yet another Christmas, because there were gifts for us under Grandma and Pa’s tree as well. It was fabulous. There was also a family gathering at my great-grandma’s apartment building, where we’d have the gift exchange, eat food and play games.


Once Mel was born, we tended to stay home. Mom also sang for Midnight Mass, or sang and played flute, so we were busy. Also, mom’s family was growing (all those marriages), so we needed a big space for our par-tays. Christmas when we stayed home involved getting up very early–Christmas is the only day I will get up before seven without complaint–opening gifts, having Christmas Breakfast, which is sausage links and cinnamon rolls–and then lounging around the rest of the day. I love Christmas for a lot of reasons, but the “we’re not going anywhere” is one of the best parts. And the sausage. And the cinnamon rolls. And, OK, the presents. I mean, who am I kidding here?


As kids, we had to say Happy Birthday to Jesus and read the Santa note before we could dive in. Now we tend to open one gift at a time, going me, Melanie, and then our brother. That way it last longer and everyone gets to see what everyone else got, instead of a pure dive into present gluttony. 🙂


Soem favorite Christmas gifts have included: a  Care Bear Kitchen Set (which I wrote about here); the Cinderella Christmas, where I got Cinderella’s ball dress, the prince’s castle doll house, and a Cinderella tent; a ballerina doll that came with her own barre; the chocolate crayons we used to get in our stockings (they were chocolates shaped liked crayons); my nativity set, and  American Girl dolls. We all have different reactions to our gifts: I’m not really demonstrative; Bryan used to get REALLY excited, jumping up and down and yelling, and Mel always seemed disappointed in what she got. We haven’t really changed much as adults.


As for the family reunion–now they all come to us. We have ours at a nearby Hilton, where my mom’s siblings, my grandma, and my cousins all come in for three days of eating, gifts, and general merriment. The first night usually involves the gift exchange and then Pub Grub at the Irish pub nearby. (This was where my brother had Irish Coffee for the first time and was unaware it contained alcohol (after he’d downed three of them). Good thing we were staying at the hotel that year.)


We love A Christmas Story. I don’t even know how it happened, but it had totally invaded our family lexicon by the time I was about eight. “Truly, a little bribe never hurt.” “I tripe dog dare you!” “Now don’t you feel terrible? Don’t you feel remorse for what you have done?” “Fra-geee-lay! It must be Italian!” I cannot understand how people cannot like this film. It’s like disliking Christmas. Other favorites are The Family Man, and Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. Also: The Grinch. Always, always, ALWAYS the Grinch.  I’m a huge fan of Muppet Christmas Carol (which will be watched tonight), and Mickey’s Christmas Carol (ditto). 

Day 27: Fairy Tale Poll!

OK, so now that we’ve discussed these tales, included how they’ve been changed, what version is your favorite?

Let’s have a poll!

Feel free to explain your answer  in the comments!

Day 26: Fairy Tale References in Popular Culture

As well as adaptations and re-tellings:

  • ABC’s Once Upon A Time uses characters from the Disney canon–not necessarily all fairy-tale characters (Mulan and Lancelot, for example)–and places them in the modern world. So far, some of the characters are: Belle, Rumplestiltskin (even though, to the best of my knowledge, he hasn’t shown up in a Disney movie) , Snow White and her stepmother, and her prince; Pinnochio and his father, Geppetto, and Jiminy Cricket; Maleficient; Cinderella; Captain Hook; The Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts; Hansel and Gretel; Aladdin’s genie; the Magic Mirror.
  • Disney’s Lilo and Stitch references Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling to illustrate how lost Stitch, as an alien being, feels on Earth among humans.
  • Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods has been referenced many times in this series. The stories they use are: Jack and the Beanstalk; the Grimm Brother’s Cinderella; Rapunzel; Little Red Riding Hood; and Sleeping Beauty and Snow White (tangentially). The stories are tied together using the characters of a Baker and His Wife. The Baker is actually Rapunzel’s brother, and the Witch in the story is the one who took Rapunzel from her parents after the baker’s father stole the greens from her garden. The first act covers the stories as we know them; the second part covers “what happens after the stories ended?”
  • The British film The Red Shoes uses Andersen’s story and sets it in the world of ballet.
  • Sleeping Beauty became one of the greatest ballets of all time after its premiere in Imperial Russia in the 19th century. Music by Peter I. Tchaikovsky and choreography by Petipa. The role of Princess Aurora and the Lilac Fairy are highly coveted in the dance world.
  • The film Ever After retells Cinderella as if the characters were real people in 17th century France.
  • Shrek uses many fairy tale characters, including Puss-In-Boots, a Fairy Godmother, Snow White and the Dwarves, Pinnochio, and fairies.
  • The Steadfast Tin Soldier is a part of Disney’s Fantasia 2000.
  • Thumbelina was made into an animated motion picture in the 1990s.
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes  was spoofed, in a sense, by Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove.
  • The Princess and the Pea inspired the musical Once Upon A Mattress.
  • Cinderella has seen several versions in opera: Cendrillion, by Massenet, as well as a version by Rossini.
  • Joyce DiDonato as Cinderella at the Royal Opera House

  • Hansel and Gretel is also an opera, popularly performed during the holiday season as a “family” selection, since it’s in English and involves creative and funny costumes (like actors dressed up as fish in ties and tails!)

Man as fish! And scary cooks

  • The opera Rulsalka plays off Andersen’s Little Mermaid, but uses the Slavic idea of merwomen who lure men to their deaths with their music and tempting appearance  Rusalka, like the Little Mermaid, falls in love with a prince and wants to become human. She also fails in getting him to marry her, and returns to her watery world, but the prince commits suicide in order to be with her.
  • Renee Fleming as Rusalka, making her deal with the Witch