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. 🙂

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Seven Quick Takes No. 75

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

I.

People, this is a thing:

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So it was yesterday, but next week I’m going to have a post up on Books You Need To Read, so please check back for that! I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my favorite books with you (and yes, Jane tops the list. Let’s be real, people.)

II.

 This week on my other page I wrote about How I write  and A Tour of my Office.  Let me know what you think? (And follow the page there, too, please? This ends our commercial. :-p) Next week I’m writing about journaling and research. I’ve been journaling since I was 12 years old, so I have a few things to say about it!

III.

The fitness Regimen IS BACK! I worked out three days in a row this week, and I’m heading to the gym today. My “off” days are Thursday and Sunday. I’ve also brought back the weight training. AND I’m pondering kicking off a Whole 30 in May. Have I gone crazy? Maybe?

But no, I really need to focus on this stuff now. I fell off the fitness wagon in March, but now it’s time to get back on, entirely. I began adding back some activity toward the end of March/beginning of April, but I want to have good numbers when I go into clinic again in June for my ten year yearly.

IV.

(Ten years? For real? REALLY? I’m going to write more about this later, but holy cow: time flies when you’re having fun.)

V.

Planning for the Charleston Trip is in full swing–Mom and I have narrowed down a huge list of restaurants in the city to a manageable list, and we want to visit the plantation where parts of North and South and The Notebook were shot. MY ten year anniversary, coincidentally, will occur when we’re down there, and when I’m attending Edel! Whee!

VI.

It was chilly here this week–we had frost this morning and I actually had to turn the heat back on. So we’ve gone from like 80 to….34? Crazy weather is always with us. But hey, there’s no snow, unlike Pittsburgh, which had some yesterday during the Pirates game. Brrrr!

VII.

I started the Great Jane Re-Read Early this year–I just re-read Sense and Sensibility. I’ve got the Annotated Northanger Abbey here, so that’s next–going a bit out of order. 🙂

daybook no. 86

daybook no. 86

ThereIsNeverAnythingToFear[5]

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.

Reading::

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

In the CD player::

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

wearing::

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!

Seven Quick Takes No. 63

seven-quick-takes-friday-2

I.

Brrrr.

We’re back to this:

mRm8Giw

Yes, I’m a Hothian. The lows this week were actually in the negative numbers. When I left to meet my dad for lunch today, it was  -1. Oh what joy, oh what rapture! Today the low is supposed to be -2 , but we’re staying clear of negative numbs next week, when it will be absolutely BALMY!

II.

Reading update: Finished Elizabeth of York, which was very good and led me to re-read the King’s Curse and dive back into the Cousins’ War series from Philippa Gregory. This series really made it much easier for me to understand the Wars of the Roses, because if you just read a history book version of it, it can be very, very dry. So bring on the historical fiction! (And then read the 100% official version.) Especially since Richard III’s remains were found a few years ago, this time period is pretty current in British studies at the moment.

The thing I really like about Gregory’s fiction is that she doesn’t make it all bodice-ripper romance novels. She is sympathetic to the character she’s writing about, and gives you lots of perspective, which I enjoy. They’re well-written and well-plotted. Obviously, some of the books I like better than others, but the Cousins’ War series doesn’t have a clunker in the bunch.

III.

I’m hoping to pick up some frames over the weekend and hang some new art around here, because the walls are awfully bare and I’m tired of it! Especially since I’m not allowed to paint here, I need things on the walls for color purposes!

IV.

There are a few movies that are just better in Blu-Ray, and Wizard of Oz is one of them. Holy Munchkins, the level of detail you can see is amazing–Glinda’s choker, the colors in Munchkinland, and those slippers really sparkle, peeps. Do yourself a favor and upgrade if you only have the DVD, because this is a lot better.

And also–the amount of detail. Someone had to make all those Munchkinland costumes by hand, people. HAND! And all the hats and accessories! What a job that must have been. Next time you watch the movie, check out the sheer number of Munchkins and give massive props to Adrian for designing all those, and all the people who sewed them!

(And I still want that lollipop that Dorothy gets. That’s the best lollipop ever.)

V.

Speaking of movies: If you haven’t seen Babette’s Feast, you need to do that, too. It will make you hungry. But it’s awesome. (It’s Pope Francis’ favorite movie.)

VI.

Back to Oz: I also just noticed how Margaret Hamilton changed her voice for Miss Gulch and the Wicked Witch. Yeah, I’ve been watching this movie for 32 years. Sue me. 😛 That’s pretty impressive that she does it so completely–she never slips–and both of them are different than her speaking voice (although the Witch is closer to her natural voice). It’s hard to maintain an accent like that (for a bad example, see Julianne Moore in A Single Man. UGGGGH. She slips in and out of that British accent like an oily fish.)

VI.

I’ve managed to do home workouts every day this week–YAY!–but I have…….I can’t believe it….

missed the gym.

Yeah. Wow.

So I’m doing that later today and tomorrow. Because since it’s about freezing I will attempt to leave the house!

VII.

Going to the symphony with my parents on Sunday (as part of my mom and mine’s attempt to Musically Educate Dad 🙂 ). Dvorak’s New World is a big part of the program, along with some shorter works, so it’ll be a great concert!

Daybook No. 85

Daybook No. 85

WhatFeelsLikeLosingIsReallyGaining

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.

Brrrrr.

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

Wearing::

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. 🙂

Reading::

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.

Writing::

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!

Fitness::

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.

Photo::

IMG_0598

Christmas Train set. Pretty, no?

Outside my window::

Daybook No. 80

Daybook No. 80

Outside my window::

Well, no snow. 🙂 In fact it’s really sunny and windy. Yesterday we had crazy winds–I was expecting Dorothy’s house to come flying by any second–but they appear to have calmed down now.

Wearing::

jeans and a v-neck t-shirt.

Reading::

I’m re-reading my Dear America books, because sometimes I like me some kid lit. I have a bunch of “adult” novels I should be reading, but I’m not, because they haven’t really hooked me yet. I’m going to give them another go today.

I will have a post on Advent books up either today or tomorrow!

In the CD player::

Christmas music. Well, Christmas/Advent music. I have a CD of Advent hymns (it’s this one), and I consider Messiah to be Advent music, so there’s that. But the CD that’s in now is a Christmas compilation CD of classical musicians singing Christmas songs. I have a lot of Christmas CDs lined up in the car.

Fitness::

Back in the gym habit. Yay! I’ve been feeling really good, too, when I’ve been working out. Yesterday I hit the free weights for the first time in like a month, and my arms complained, but too bad. 🙂

Creativity::

Well, my NaNo novel stalled. I’m not terribly surprised. The subject requires a lot of research, I’m coming to find, and it’s not the sort of thing that can be rushed out. I need to develop some characters more carefully before I write them. This is probably the hardest novel I’ve attempted so far. I’m not saying I’ll forget it forever, because I won’t–but it’s not going to be done by the end of this month. (By “done”, I mean first draft done. Not done done.) That’s OK.

Around the house/Holiday prep::

Just the usual. Thanksgiving is at my parents’ house, as usual, so I don’t have to do any crazy holiday cleaning. 🙂 My creche is up, and I’ll probably bring the Advent wreath up today, and possibly a box of ornaments. My tree preparations are elaborate. I have a ton of ornaments and other decorations, and if it’s just me, it can be a real slog to go up and down the stairs bringing up boxes, so this year I’ve decided to do it in pieces. I usually put my tree up the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I wish I could put up outdoor lights, but my house doesn’t have an outdoor outlet, so I don’t/can’t. My neighbors do, but they run an extension cord up through an open second floor window, which stays propped open a bit all season, which would be cold. So I don’t go that route.

From the kitchen::

I’m sort of “Off” cooking at the moment. Not sure why. But I’m planning a winter minestrone for dinner tonight. I think because it’s Thanksgiving week and I know there’s a big meal coming, I’m anticipating it. 🙂

Pondering::

Gratitude. This year has been big for that. I’ve counted more than 1000 gifts. I’ve learned–or just started to learn, really–how to  really trust God and to depend on Him for everything. This year has been crazy. There’s been  lot of ups and downs. But I’m grateful because they taught me how to trust God and to take everything to Him. I sort of knew that before, but I really know it now. Counting 1000+ gifts makes you see everything is gift. It really is. There’s so much of it, all around us, that we can remember and give thanks for everyday, not just on Thanksgiving.

Being Joyful Grateful

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.