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. 🙂

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.

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 33

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I.

Happy feast of St. John the Evangelist!

II.

So how was your Christmas? Mine, as usual, was pretty excellent, and it continues (Christmas is 12 days, y’know) with the family reunion, which kicks off today. We went to the 4:00 Mass on Christmas Eve at my parish, where the priest (a son of the parish, who was ordained in June–as a Jesuit, but we limited the Jesuit jokes) gave a wonderful homily based on a line from the psalm, “blessed the people who know the joyful shout”. He also talked about God’s intense love for each one of us, at every moment of our lives. It was a really beautiful homily. The children’s choir provided the music.

My parish altar, decorated for Christmas

My parish altar, decorated for Christmas

After Mass we headed to a local Italian place for the usual Christmas dinner, and then back to the house for the exchange of sibling gifts, and my brother and his girlfriend exchanged presents. There was much watching of A Christmas Story, per usual. We love that movie at our house.

III.

Christmas morning–my brother had to go to Mass on Christmas day (Since he worked the Eve), so once he was home we opened gifts and had the Traditional Christmas Morning Feast, which is sausage and cinnamon rolls. I look forward to that meal all year. I love it. I delight in it.

One of my favorite gifts: tickets to see the new US tour of Phantom of the Opera in March. My love for Phantom is deep and well-documented–it was the first professional musical I ever saw–and to see it again is always exciting to me, especially in a new production.

Christmas Day is a fairly low-key affair at our house. We stay in, nap, watch movies, and things like that. Bryan and I spent the night again while my sister went home (she had to work the 26th).

IV.

A nice “Christmas surprise” on the 26th was that my vacuum had given up the ghost, so dad ran to Best Buy and got me a new one. It’s nice, living where I do, in that there are three big box stores on one street, so it’s good when you need food and/or appliances. The new vacuum works amazingly well–it got up a crazy amount of dirt from the carpets. I was suitably impressed. As a reward for our efforts, we had Chipotle for lunch.

V.

Today kicks off the Annual Family Reunion and I am, as usual, psyched about it. It’s always great to see all my aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandma for a few days, especially now that everyone is getting older and it’s hard to see everyone when my family visits during the summer. Most of the family lives in Pittsburgh but some live in NYC, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, and my cousin Diane lives in Houston with her husband and two girls. So at Christmas we get to see about 98% of the family. There is lots of food, drink, frivolity, shopping and movie-seeing.

VI.

On Sunday I’m going to a hockey game with a friend’s family–Penguins vs. Blue Jackets. This is a tough game, because the Penguins have been “my team” since I was about six years old, but the Jackets are my hometown team. Either way, a team I like shall win–but the game is here, in Columbus, so it would probably be safer to root for the Jackets? Maybe? I might just wear a neutral blue shirt and “Grover”, my North Face fleece. 🙂 Then I’m good either way!

VII.

As usual, I got several books for Christmas (to be augmented today–I got a B&N gift card, too): Longbourn, Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking, and Jane Austen’s EnglandLongbourn was amazing, and I highly recommend it. I was a bit wary of the premise–it’s the “downstairs” version of Pride and Prejudice, basically–but it turned out wonderfully well. And since my sister got me a scarf with a quote from P&P on it, it was a very P&P Christmas. 🙂

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 45

waiting...soon He comes!

waiting…soon He comes!

Outside my window::

Cloudy, and a lot colder. It was almost 70 yesterday and we had rain all weekend, but it’s in the 30s now. Tomorrow it will be in the mid twenties. Brr! Quite seasonal though so I don’t mind.

Reading::

Finished One Thousand White Women and Yesterday, Today, Forever; the latter was better than the former. The former would have been better if it hadn’t been so slow to move, since it became very exciting towards the end. I’m eagerly anticipating Christmas books. 🙂

In the CD player::

One of Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas CD–the one with Carol of the bells, O Holy Night, Veni Veni, Hark the Herald, and a few others. It’s my favorite of all their Christmas albums.

Christmas::

Gosh I can’t wait!!!! I love Christmas so much, it’s sort of crazy. Tomorrow starts with brunch with my friends, which is always a great time. After that I head over to my parents’  (the restaurant is on the way), where I’ll spend the night Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We’ll go to 4:00 Mass at our parish, which will be glorious arrayed for  Christmas (I’ll post pictures), then dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse, and then back to the parents’ mason for the holiday. We do the sibling gift exchange on Christmas Eve, with the rest of the gifts on Christmas morning, followed by the most GLORIOUS breakfast of the year, and which I eagerly anticipate all year. It’s just cinnamon rolls and sausage links, but I love it. I am a big proponent of tradition, and this has been our breakfast for as long as I can remember, so I love seeing it re-appear every year.

In the spirit of West Wing’s State Dinner ep, this dress is what I’m wearing, and I shall endeavor to do my hair like this. (There are no mother-of-pearl toe buckles in sight, however.)

From the kitchen::
Not much, since I won’t be cooking the next two/three days. I did make these biscuits over the weekend and they were quite yummy! Note to the recipe: I used regular flour (2 c.), and “clabbered milk”, and they were still awesome.

Around the house::
Packing, last-minute gifts to pack up, cleaning out the trunk of my car so everything will fit, and then a bit of general tidying, to make room for Christmas stuff and c.

Plans for the week::

Other than the obvious? 🙂 Christmas family reunion kicks off on Friday, then Blue Jacket/Pens game on Sunday!

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 41

Outside my window::

It’s a really lovely fall day…blue sky, high clouds, bit of a breeze. It’s like upper 50s, I think, so that’s quite excellent, temp wise, for me.

Wearing::

Gray skirt, light purple tank, blue cardigan. Layers are our friend!

Reading::

Abandonment to Divine Providence; A Concise History of Italy; Be Holy. 

Crafting::

That Christmas scarf is still going. It’s like the Energizer Bunny.

 Praying for::

Pregnant friends

Thomas Peters

My CCD class

The new convent of Dominican Sisters in our diocese. One of them is the new CCD director at our parish.

Writing::

NaNoWriMo 2013 starts on Friday! Yippee! This year it’s a more “realistic fiction” piece as opposed to last year’s dystopian flavored one. It takes place in England, technically, near Newcastle, but the town is fictional, sort of like Thomas Hardy’s fictional British locales.

Fitness::

Three Pure Barre classes on the agenda for this week. Yay!

Around the house::

Vacuuming, dusting, mopping. The usual.

Recipe corner::

This macaroni from Rachael Ray sounds fantastic! And you don’t even have to have the BLT part, if you don’t want to.

Captured::

backstage at And Then There Were None, with Jenny, who played Vera (and also introduced me to Pure Barre!)

backstage at And Then There Were None, with Jenny, who played Vera (and also introduced me to Pure Barre!)

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 26

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I.

OK, this? This link? Please read it. And please answer A. Because if you answer any of the rest of them, you are totally missing the forest for the trees. And you need to calm the freak down.

II.

Expanding upon this theme: I also have problems with Catholics who are so focused on the tiny, the insignificant, and are so sure they are right about everything. This is why I don’t want to go to a Latin Mass, because the people I read/know that go to Latin Masses are such priggishly holier than thou that I cannot stand them. God doesn’t care if we laugh. God doesn’t care if we talk loudly. God doesn’t care that I’m wearing jeans, right this moment. God wants me to  live justly and walk with Him. How do Catholics do that? We go to Mass. We receive the sacraments. We pray. We read the Catechism. We try to become perfect.  But God isn’t some big fat traffic cop in the sky: YOU WORE PANTS! F!

III.

That doesn’t mean that I want to see slovenly worship or that “God doesn’t judge, He just loves. ” Um, no. Jesus could get pretty steamed (see, tables, the turning over of). There are things that are right and there are things that are wrong and there are lots of things that are left up to you.

IV.
OK, sorry guys, I had to get that out. 🙂  It’s something that’s been bothering me for a really long time. I’m breathing now. 🙂

V.

Tonight I’m making the Balsamic Strawberry Salad and Drunken Tuscan pasta for a Dominican Feast at my friend’s house. It shall be grand, and shall satiate my inner Grumpy Cat who has been meowing and wanting to claw people’s curtains into shreds all day.

VI.

Tomorrow I have dentist, and an audition, and a soccer game (Provided it doesn’t rain, for the soccer game.) I’m ready to rock the audition and have busted out my British accent.

VII.
And finally–I think I need to start watching Dr. Who, because it seems like I’m missing a lot of fun.