Daybook No. 94

Daybook No. 94

IMG_0826

Outside my window::

Cloudy and chilly! My iPhone says it’s 28 degrees out there, and I’d believe it.

Wearing::

My PJs–blue t-shirt and Disney PJ pants. So, you know, nothing exciting.

Reading::

I’m about to finish The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times, and this is REALLY good, guys. I highly recommend it!

Also, this arrived at the house yesterday!:

IMG_0840

Yay!

This was originally a Christmas present! But there was so much interest, and the press that publishes this is so tiny, that I’m just now getting it. I’m not going to link to it on Amazon because I don’t think they have any–but your local bookstore might! If you’re a LIW fan like me, you will really love this. And if you’re a real fan, then you’ll appreciate this photo of a hay log!

IMG_0846

(If you’re not a LIW fan, then just….move on. :-P)

Around the house::

The usual. Changing sheets today, though, and working on cleaning out the office. I need to get some trash bags up there so I can bag stuff that’s been tagged for discarding.

Pondering::

Why people think that good food should be cheap. I mean this in terms of meat and produce, milk and eggs.

A good product that is raised humanely and responsibly, by actual family farms, is going to cost more. It just is. There’s a lot more that those farms have to pay for. And we’re not even coming close to really covering their labor costs. BUT they provide a product that is better–for the animals, for the environment, for us. Have you tasted local milk before? Let me tell you, it’s awesome. I gladly pay more money for it because it’s so good. Stores that have higher price tags on these items are usually (Not always) but usually providing you with a better product. If you want healthier food, you’re probably going to have to pay for it.

I’m just touching the surface here–if you’re really into this, read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, which is amazing.

Farming is hard work, people. Raising food, raising crops is hard work. Some of that should be reflected in what we’re paying (and I say this as someone who is, by no means, rolling in the cash). That doesn’t mean you can’t love Trader Joe’s. I do love Trader Joe’s.

You can get deals at Farmer’s Markets. In fact, I direct you to Elizabeth on this. I don’t have a vast experience with farmer’s markets, and that’s something I’m hoping to change this summer. Don’t go to places like the market or more expensive grocery stores thinking everything is going to be expensive. In fact, when it’s in season, it’s usually cheaper! It’s when we’re paying for tomatoes to be shipped from Chile that they’re expensive! (And they just don’t taste as good.)

Anyway, read Elizabeth’s link, read the book, and think about food as more than just a price tag, guys. Just some food for thought, this morning.

Lent::

We’re in Passiontide–the last two weeks before Easter. Yesterday I was teaching CCD and the two questions were:

“Is Pilate a Bad Guy?”

“Is Judas in Hell?”

I had to refrain from pulling out Dante for that last one. 🙂

Writing::

I’ve got a list of writing projects to work on, so I have to get cracking there. This includes making an omelet so I can photograph it later this week.

Daybook No. 92

TheArtOfCelebratingLife[8]

(More on grace later in this post, y’all)

Outside my window::

It’s WARM!!! It was brilliantly sunny most of the day but now it’s clouding up a bit. But it’s still warm! My bedroom window is open! The snow MELTS! I rejoice. 🙂

Wearing::

A J. Jill jersey skirt with an asymmetrical hemline; a long-sleeved gray t-shirt (v-neck) from Eddie Bauer. This is one of my favorite outfits. Earlier I had on a pink and coral scarf but that went off when I had to cook dinner. I don’t want to set myself on fire.

In the CD player::

I had Surfacing in yesterday because I needed to sing to some nice songs. 🙂 🙂 Nice meaning with a decent beat. First sunroof opening of the year? Cause for celebration.

In the book pile::

Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love
Death On A Friday Afternoon Meditations On The Last Words Of Jesus From The Cross
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander)
Be Holy: A Catholic’s Guide to the Spiritual Life
That last one?I love it. I read it on a sort of regular basis, and it always goes on retreat with me. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it to all people. It’s one of my favorite books ever.

Around the house::

It’s so much easier to keep the place clean when it’s easy to take the trash out. Really. No snow? No drifts? Straight shot to the dumpster. 🙂 I changed the filter in my vacuum, swept the kitchen floor, and am mopping after I finish writing this.

From the kitchen::

Dinner was Rachael Ray’s leek-y chicken with a rice pilaf. Normally I’m not good at cooking rice, but this was great–it has white wine, chicken stock, thyme, and lemon zest in it, along with a shallot. Win. basically the only thing I needed to buy for this recipe was the chicken and the leeks!

Rest of the week–Black Bean and Rice “Stoup”; Garlic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon; Luna Marinara (Friday lunch), and taco bowls. Yum.

Pondering//Retreat Notes:: (One of many to come, I’m sure)

There’s a lot I could say about this retreat. And I will. But in re the photo at the top of this page, I have this from our retreat director:

“Grace doesn’t just sit on a shelf. Grace is mediated, grace is given, grace is asked for, and grace is used! It’s not just something in a box.”

The theme of the retreat was the Virtues of Mary, but we talked about a lot of other things as well. Stay tuned.

Plans for the week::

Holy hour on Wednesday, lunch with my Dad on Thursday, and not sure about Friday 🙂 Going to see Donna del Lago on Saturday!!! Yeah Bel Canto! I can’t wait to see this opera. It looks like a gorgeous production, and I adore Joyce DiDonato.

Photo I’m sharing::

Tiff at I at the Columbus Hofbrauhaus.

Tiff at I at the Columbus Hofbrauhaus.

Daybook No. 91–and my first Real Housekeeping article! :)

FaithThanksGodInTheMiddleOfTheStory2[2]

Outside my window::

It’s cloudy. It’s going to rain later though! I am so excited about rain, I can’t even tell you. It will be in the FORTIES today!

Wearing::

Jeans and a Lands’ End scoop neck, Royal blue t-shirt. Nothing awesome, because I’m just working around the house today.

In the CD player::

Jesus Christ Superstar. OK, I know, it’s not precisely…accurate. 🙂 However, it’s great music.

Reading::

The Fiery Cross, A Time of Renewal, Loved As I Am, and a book about the making of the Passion of the Christ.

Sharing::

My first Real Housekeeping article!!!!!

Hope you like it!

Around the house::

The normal stuff–trash out, vacuuming, dusting. My brother’s coming over for dinner tonight so I have to clear off the kitchen table so we have a place to eat before we watch House of Cards.

From the kitchen::

Tonight is a slow-cooker chicken recipe with paprika, cayenne pepper, apricot jam, and other yummy things. It’s one of my favorite meals. Tomorrow I’m having dinner with my parents, Thursday I’m having dinner with Mary before a Frassati meeting, and then Friday-Sunday I’m on retreat!

Speaking of retreat….if you have any prayer requests, drop ’em in the comment box. 🙂

Fitness::

I actually got to the gym yesterday! Yayyyy!

Daybook No. 89

TimeIsCertainly

Outside my window::

Snow flurries, on and off. It snowed, then rained, yesterday, so the snow isn’t really sticking. But it looks pretty falling!

Wearing::

Jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt. It’s a house day so nothing fancy.

Reading::

Amata Means Beloved, by Sr. Mary Catherine, Cardinal Wuerl’s book about the creed (which was a Christmas gift from this person). Also need to start Our Mutual Friend.

Creativity::

Working on the ending of THE BOOK. Not exactly sure where this is going. I mean, I have an idea, and I’ve started, but I’m not sure how that will play out in actual words. (That makes sense. Right?) I’m also working on the cowl so I’ll have an update for YA this week!

You may have noticed a new widget on the sideboard. I’m a new contributor for Real Housekeeping! Squee! Go check it out. My first piece should be up in March. I think. At the moment, I’m planning on writing about food glorious food.

From the kitchen::

I have every single meal for the entire week planned out. I’m happy with myself, yes? But I won’t bore you with all that. I’ll just give you dinners:

M: Jamie Oliver’s pork stir-fry

T: Curry from Dinner: A Love Story.

W: Chicken Caesar Salad from 30 Minute Meals

Th: Jamie Oliver’s stew

F: Out

Saturday: Rachael Ray’s chili con carne (Saturday and Friday can be flopped, if necessary)

I have to make stew a lot during the winter, for obvious reasons. 🙂 For breakfast this morning I had a cheese omelet that turned out very well, If I Do Say So Myself!

Around the House::

The usual–vacuum, mop, dust, that sort of stuff. Nothing different here.

Pondering::

Why can’t people go anywhere without their music in their ears? Seriously? I saw a guy at the grocery yesterday who was wearing huge Beats headphones while he was grocery shopping. I love music, people, but this is just getting ridiculous. It’s OK to have silence every once in awhile! Really!

Photo love::

The winning trivia night team! I love my church’s trivia night fundraiser. It’s a chance to use all the random factoids that hide out in my brain!

Trivia Night 2015

Trivia Night 2015

Outside

Daybook No. 87

Daybook No. 87

InChristYouHaveUnlimitedResources[3]

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! 🙂

Wearing::

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

Reading::

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!

Writing/Creativity::

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

Daybook No. 83

Daybook No. 83

Happy birthday, Jane Austen!

Happy birthday, Jane Austen!

Outside my window::

Well, it’s raining, but that’s OK. It’s been in the 50s the past few days–I actually had the windows open in here yesterday. Amazing!

Wearing::

Jeans, t-shirt. Nothing interesting, sorry. 🙂

In the CD player::

Messiah. Because it’s that time of year!

Reading::

I started The Miniaturist last night, and it’s been REALLY hard to put down so far. I’m a quarter of the way through and I’m loving it. I also have Some Luck, which was an early Christmas gift, and of course all my Advent books. And since it’s Jane Day, I may open one of hers, like Persuasion, which is a bit shorter than the others, and I love it. (Well, I love them all. How to choose, people?!)

Around the house::

Normal weekly cleaning today–dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, etc. Working on cleaning the master bathroom as well.

From the kitchen::

Today I’m having dinner with my parents, but lunch will be a salad, I think. I need to check out my meal plan ideas for the rest of the week.

Health/Fitness::

Lost a pound at clinic yesterday, WIN. Everyone generally pleased, go back at the end of January. I’ve also been noticing that I’m getting a wee bit stronger, so that’s a good thing. Still going to the gym 3-4 times a week. I’ve been having some muscle cramps in my legs which is inhibiting the working out, but we think it’s a problem due to low magnesium levels in my blood (this is a pretty common post-transplant problem), so we’re upping my mag doses to see if that helps. It should.

Church::

I made life promises on Sunday. 🙂 It was a pretty great day. I’ll write more about that in a separate post.

Plans for the week::

Not a whole lot, actually! No CCD because we’re on break, so it’s a nice, wide-open week. 🙂

Praying for::

  • Elizabeth’s son Patrick, who’s having surgery today
  • Courtney, and her family.
  • A woman in my Lay Dominican chapter who may have a recurrence of her brain tumor.
  • Elizabeth

Adorable Photo of the Week::

Prince George. Look at those cheeks!

Prince George. LOOK at those cheeks!

Pondering::

JoyIsAlwaysPossible

Daybook No. 82

Daybook No. 82

Outside my window::

Cloudy, a good day for staying inside with the fireplace on and the tree lit.

My Christmas Tree, 2014

My Christmas Tree, 2014

Wearing::

Jeans and an IBM Innovate conference long-sleeved shirt. (When we’ve gone to Disney the past two years, this is what we went for–that conference. Dad and I have matching shirts. 🙂 ) And fuzzy Life is Good socks, because it’s chilly!

Reading::

Love Does, Seeking Spiritual Direction. And of course my Advent books.

In the CD player::

Renee Fleming’s Christmas in New York. I’m really loving her version of “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

Around the house::

This week I’m working on the kitchen–cleaning out the fridge and freezer, stuff like that. I’m trying to stick with the Zones, with some adjustments, because I want to polish all the furniture on the first level before Christmas week, sow hen people come over it’s pretty. 🙂

From the kitchen::

I’m working on some recipes from Mad Hungry. Yes, it’s for “feeding men and boys”, but man there are great recipes in here. Dinner is chicken and a side salad. Lunch is–tentatively–a meal-sized salad.

Health::

Clinic on Monday. Scheduled a colonoscopy for January–happy new year to me, eh? 🙂 Currently my stomach is acting up and refusing food, so we’ll see if it changes its mind later. It might, it might not. No biggie. I mean, not currently a biggie. If it decides to act up more, I will be displeased, but at the moment, it’s kosher.

Plans for the week::

Hockey game on Saturday night–Pens/Jackets. A tough night for cheering–but either way, a team I love wins! Sunday, I make life promises!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!!

Pondering::

This amazing blog. People. This mom? This family? This shows us grace, and how God works. How He is good all the time. I love this family. These are my sorts of people!
Click over? Read the story? (You might want to start here.)

Really, it’s all grace. Overwhelming grace, God’s grace, the gifts we get every day. This family, this mom, gets that.

SometimeTheProofThatGodExists

I try to live my life this way. And God knows, man, I fail and I fall and I flounder around going, Where is the burning bush?! But the older I get, the more I realize that grace is just everywhere, abundant, and that trust is how we find Him.

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. 79

Outside my window::

Well, this

IMG_0106

IMG_0107

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!

Wearing::

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.

Reading::

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.

Pondering::

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.

Creativity::

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!

Wearing::

red cashmere sweater, jeans, grey flats.

Reading::

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

Pondering::

“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

Creativity::

Working on this knitting project.

Writing::

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!

Fitness::

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.