Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 29




So last night was Opening Night for “And Then There Were None.” Here are some pictures from Tech Week, with me and my lovely stage husband. We had a great crowd, including my parents, last night, and everyone did a wonderful job onstage. So I think we’re all quite pleased. Backstage we had a rousing discussion of literature (one of my favorite kinds of rousing discussions!) and travel. It was much fun. I get some reading in while the others are finishing Act I, because no one else disappears until the end of the act.

The show has five more performances–two this weekend and three next weekend–so if you’re local, come on out!


Books: I’ve read Emily Freeman’s Million Little Ways, which I really liked, and now I’m into Madeline L’Engle’s “O’Keefe Family  trilogy”, which deals with Calvin and Meg from the Wrinkle Quintet and their kids, especially Poly (who’s name is really Polyhymnia–egads!). I finished The Arm of the Starfish and am about 1/2 through Dragons in the Waters. I’m also almost done with A Feast for Crows. One nice thing about dying early–reading time! 🙂


The Christmas scarves near completion. I think that may be tomorrow’s project backstage–finishing the Christmas scarf. Then I want to start a sort of scarf/wrap for me, because it’s definitely getting colder here. I think it’ll be like 45 today and it’s raining. Not that I mind–that’s great stay in weather, and my fireplace is going, and I have coffee–but it does mean scarf for Emily time. I’ve got some lovely Quince and Co. yarn that I can’t wait to knit up for me.


I missed my pure barre classes this week because of tech week, but I’m back at it on Monday. I’ve actually missed going to class. This is weird. Fortunately I’ve gone to enough classes now that I have an idea of things I can do at home, so I don’t want to be totally lost when I’m back on Monday.


In CCD this week, we’re talking about Adam and Eve. This is actually week one of two weeks on Adam and Eve. I guess we want to make sure the kids really get the story. The Fall is next week, so this week is about how great Eden was, and what God gave Adam and Eve to do, and so forth. Have I mentioned I love my class? Because I do. They are a bunch of great kids.


One of the “hot spots” (as the FlyLady says) in my house is my kitchen table. It tends to just be a mess. So this week I decided that maybe if I have flowers there, it will look better? As in, I can keep the table clear? So far it’s working. I’ve got golden chrysanthemums, some snap dragons, tiger lilies, and two roses in a green mason jar for a vase.


A huge pet peeve of mine is stores other than grocery stores that are open on Thanksgiving. Really, guys?

I live in a section off a street that has a Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc. on it. And every Thanksgiving I see people skipping time with their families to buy cheap video games and washers and dryers and TV sets. This really gets my goat.

These stores should not be open. The employees are going to have to get up at the crack of dawn anyway for Black Friday. They should have a day–a few hours–with their families before the commercial madness.

And the consumers in line? SHAME ON YOU. Really. You “need” an item so badly that you’re going to wait in (what is usually) crappy Ohio weather for it? ARE YOU INSANE?

Yes. The answer is yes. And every year, I hate this.

Today I read an article that said JCPenney is opening at 8 PM on Thanksgiving. This is wrong. So, so wrong.

People: please. Don’t shop on Thanksgiving, unless it’s to buy a new turkey to replace the one you ruined. Please.

Simple Woman’s Daybook–November 21, 2011

Outside my window….gray, windy, late fall weather. 
I am wearing…an army green BR button down; a black, green, and brown skirt from Coldwater creek; gray socks; black boots.

Thankful for…good friends; another day; the warmth of my fireplace; friends 

From the kitchen…carbonara tonight; sweet and sour pork tomorrow; biscotti for Thanksgiving

I am reading…Extreme Makeover; Grace for the Good Girl; One Thousand Gifts 

Liturgy…Today: Presentation of Mary; tomorrow: Feast of St. Cecilia 

In the CD player…Idina Menzel’s I stand 

Around the house…vacuuming, mopping the kitchen floor and entryway 

Plans for the week…Thanksgiving!

Simple Woman’s Daybook–November 7, 2011

Feast of all Dominican Saints

Outside my window…getting dark…the one thing I don’t like about daily savings. Oh well. Lovely fall day,. 

I am thinking...about my massive to-do list for tonight. There’s a lot on there, mostly stuff that needs organized, found, written, and done (like exercise). One thing about it getting dark earlier, it really kills my after-dinner walks, so have to find something else to do!

I am thankful for…the approach of another holiday season. How I love it. (All of it…Turkey Day, Advent, Christmas…)

To live the liturgy…Mass today for Dominican saints; tomorrow we remember all the souls of departed Dominicans. Also, being faithful to the Office. My life is a lot better when I do that. 

From the kitchen…cinnamon puffs from The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook. It’s a feast day! And these look yummy for snacking and breakfast. (and QUICK)

I am wearing…black pants, a berry colored sweater, and matching camisole underneath.

I am creating…A short story. 

I am readingFive for Sorrow, 10 for Joy

In the CD player…Original cast, The Phantom of the Opera

Around the house….dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, lots of loads in the dishwaster

A few plans for the rest of the week….Voting tomorrow; 20s group on Thursday; DAy off on Friday, so watching Harry Potter Seven part 2 and crying my eyes out; taking Tiff to the symphony on Saturday

A photo thought: 

At the barn dance on Saturday with my favorite dance partner. 🙂 

The Simple Woman’s Daybook–April 25, 2011

Outside my window…rain clouds coming up from the south. It’s so humid. Thank God my A/C was fixed today so I’ll be able to sleep tonight! It feels like August outside and it’s only late April!

I am listening to…Mary Poppins Original London Cast in my CD player. 🙂 Going to see the show here in Columbus on Thursday!

I am wearing…a short-sleeved, sky blue cotton Garnet Hill dress.

I am grateful for…a good Easter weekend!

I am pondering…musical auditions, and plans for the week.

I am reading…OK, so I’m on an Alison Weir kick now. This happens every so often. 🙂 I’m reading her novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine, Captive Queen, and I’m also reading The Lady in the Tower, about the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Next up: Henry VIII and His Court; The Mistress of the Monarchy, and Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Murder of Lord Darnley. Whew!

I am thinking…about more spring cleaning for the apartment.

I am creating…this blog post? 🙂 hahaha.

I am hoping and praying…for a good Easter octave; for a prayerful Easter season; and that my heart COOPERATES FOR LONGER THAN ONE MONTH. (Sorry, that deserves all caps!)

One of my favorite things…musicals! Learning new ones, and seeing new ones!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Pulm Rehab T and Th; Mary Poppins on Thursday; Seven Deadly Sins, BalletMet’s collaboration with Shadowbox Cabaret, sometime this weekend.

New Year’s Eve Stir-fry

from Jamie’s Food Revolution

Note before starting: Chop. Everything. You are working with a super hot pan, and you need to be able to just head, dump, and stir. 🙂 Also, have an extra bowl on hand and a slotted spoon/pasta server for the removal of the meat halfway through.

Yes, I’m boring—I’m spending New Year’s Eve at home, but that’s OK! I like my own company. I decided to make Jamie Oliver’s Sweet and Sour Pork—it serves two (perfect for lunch tomorrow) and is fast, healthy, and easy. (I used low sodium soy sauce in this recipe.)

On an interesting note, I received a note from Phil today, who said that on New Year’s Eve in the novitiate, they eat Chinese (It’s a provincial tradition.) So, even though I had this planned before I got that note, I thought the coincidence was cool. 🙂

‘Ere we go…

Sweet and Sour Pork

Serves 2

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 c. long-grain, basmati or jasmine rice (I used jasmine)

1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4” pieces

1 sm. red onion

1 red or yellow pepper

thumb-size piece of fresh ginger (or 1 tbsp. powdered)

1/2-1 fresh red chile, to taste

a small bunch of fresh cilantro (3 stalks)

peanut or vegetable oil

1 heaped tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

1 tsp. cornstarch

2-3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 8-oz can pineapple chunks or tidbits (I used a slightly bigger can, because I like pineapple)

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 sm. heart of romaine or 1/2 butter lettuce

2 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)

To prepare:

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and add the rice. Cook according to package instructions. Drain the rice in a strainer, put back into the pan and cover with lid or aluminum foil to keep warm. Halve the tenderloin, and cut into slices. Peel and halve the onion, then dice into 3/4-inch cubes. Halve the pepper, seed, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Peel and finely slice ginger and garlic. Finely slice the chile. Pick the cilantro leaves and put them aside. Finely chop the cilantro stalks.

To make the stir-fry:

Preheat a wok or large frying fan on high heat until it is wicked hot. Add a good lug of peanut or vegetable oil and swirl around. Add the pork and five-spice powder (be careful not to get hot oil on you!) and stir. Cook for a few minutes, until browned. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl. Carefully give the pan a quick wipe with a ball of paper towels and return to heat. When it’s really hot, add 2 good lugs of oil and the chopped ingredients. Toss/stir everything together and cook for two minutes. Stir in the cornstarch and soy sauce. Let everything cook for 30-40 seconds, then add the pineapple chunks with their juice, the browned pork, and the balsamic vinegar. Season with black pepper and more soy sauce, if needed. Break open a piece of pork, check it’s cooked through, then remove pan from heat. Reduce the sauce (if desired) by turning the heat to low and allowing the stir-fry to cook for a few more minutes.


Place rice in the bottom of a bowl, or on a plate. Add lettuce. Spoon the stir-fry ontop and sprinkle with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.

It’s Jane’s birthday!!

And in her honor, here are some ideas:

  1. Read: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park (or my thesis on said novel!), Emma, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey or the unfinished novels and juvenalia.
  2. Watch Colin Firth dive into the lake. Again. And again. And, what the heck, again. Also watch the BBC’s new versions of Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park, although the movie that came out in the early 2000s (actual, feature-length film) is better.
  3. Have some good Twining’s tea, which Jane drank! When I want to be very Jane, I drink the Lady Grey. It seems…Jane-ish.
  4. Wear some awesome Jane Austen clothes!
  5. Write in your journal.
  6. Compose a letter to a close friend/sibling. Jane’s letters to Cassandra are so wonderful.
  7. Read about Jane! There’s a book list in the Jane Austen project link, but here’s a few great ones: Becoming Jane Austen (Jon Ross), Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels (by Deirdre LeFaye, who is an Austen expert par excellence), Jane Austen (by Josephine Ross),  Jane Austen: A Life, by Clarie Tomlin. Really, there is so much to read!
  8. Give thanks for the wonder that is Jane Austen. 🙂

Seven Quick Takes Friday–Vol.???

  1. Have no idea what volume this is. Maybe I should just start renumbering?
  2. Big weekend! Tonight: Christmas shopping/dinner/Tangled with my brother and his girlfriend! Way excited!
  3. Tomorrow: First Earnest rehearsal! And first Christmas party!
  4. I have to make my Nigella super chocolate cookies again for the party tomorrow. Yum. Fortunately they are very quick and easy.
  5. NEW MAC arrived this week! Welcome Widget 3.0! Of course since my old one died, and it still had Christmas gifts on it, I spent most of this week re-doing those. Fortunately my short story for one person is done, or almost. Only two more scenes to write. Today I designed the cover!
  6. Christmas shopping is more than halfway done. Whew.
  7. Christmas tree also going up this weekend! YES!

Interrupted programming….

Sorry for the sort-of radio silence, gang. Normally I don’t blog on Turkey Day, or the day after, but in this case I was hindered because my Mac has gone to CA to be repaired, so I’m using an older one. It’s a bit slow and can annoy me. So that’s why blogging has been sort of light. A post on Advent (linkage from CPG) coming soon, though.

Busy week as I head into December. Singing Vespers tonight, then choir rehearsal on W, BalletMet Premiere Meeting on Thursday (and possible choir rehearsal, again), dinner/Tangled/tree-going-up (with Bryan and Sarah) on F, and on Sat….FIRST EARNEST REHEARSAL! And a birthday/holiday party at Karen’s.

So a busy week. Whew. Hopefully I will get my Mac back in the midst of all this…

I hope y’all had a good Turkey Day!


Happy Thanksgiving!… and for all the yumminess to come!