The Open Guitar Case

You may have noticed the new widget on the sidebar–the “open guitar case”, as I’ve titled it. Basically I stole the idea that if you like a street performer’s work, you toss change/bills into the open guitar case they usually have in front of them (or coffee can or whatever).

I’m dedicating myself almost completely to my writing–here on the blog and on the big projects (editing the memoir and crafting the book proposal; novels and short story writing). So if you enjoy what you read here, and you want more of it, would you ponder tossing in some pennies to the case?

For my part, I will try my best to give you posts and material that is well-written and hopefully interesting to you. I assume you’re reading because you like something here. (Or you’re my family and you’re doing it because you’re family. Hi, Dad!)

There is absolutely no obligation to do so. I’m not going to charge anyone for reading because that’s just not how I roll. I don’t even have cool things to give people who donate, except lots of gratitude (and you get prayers!). Maybe at some point.

The money will go toward helping with medical expenses (I’m not cheap to keep alive), and the occasional bag of coffee and a book. (Can coffee be a medical expense? Maybe, right?)


(PS: I’m also in the process of attempting to make one of my short stories an e-book. So that’s also coming over the horizon.)

Also, I want to give you what you want to read about. So hit me up in the comments with likes and dislikes.

daybook no. 86

daybook no. 86


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.


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

In the CD player::

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


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!

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!


red cashmere sweater, jeans, grey flats.


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


“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


Working on this knitting project.


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!


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.

Daybook No. 73–in which there is much excitement!

OK, I’m just going to lead off with the excitement.  🙂

I am going to meet Diana Gabaldon.

If you don’t know who that is, you haven’t read Outlander. Or watched Outlander (on Starz!)

Jamie and Claire, the main characters of Outlander

Jamie and Claire, the main characters of Outlander

You really need to fix both those things, by the way.

Anyway, I’ve been hooked since a friend of mine sent me Outlander as a Christmas gift one year. I watch the show religiously, and re-watch it….I love Outlander Kitchen!

And now I’m going to meet the author. She’s coming to Westerville, and I have my ticket for a meet and greet before her talk at the local high school. It’s a library fundraiser. Tickets sold out in thirty six minutes this morning, and it’s only because one of my theater friends works for the library, and knows how much I love Outlander, and who reminded me that tickets went on sale this morning, that I have one.

So I am going to meet her.

I am tres excited, people. Really freaking excited.

November 15!!!!!

If you want to come to the talk at Westerville Central, here’s the details. I imagine the tickets will go very quickly!


Now, on to our regularly scheduled Daybook!

  Oh, and take my poll. Thanks. It’s important. I’ll tell you why later this week.

Outside my window::

A little cloudy, blue skies, breezy, very fall.


My workout clothes, since I just came from working out. 🙂


Dragonfly in Amber (the second Outlander series book) , The Artist’s Way, Summa of the Summa, and Unlimited by Jillian Michaels, which is quite good.


This week is the last week of Pulm Rehab, and then I’m entirely on my own!That’s sort of scary, but I think it’s totally doable, since I really like (almost love, shockingly) my gym. So the plan is MTW work out, Th rest day, Fri-Sat workout, Sunday rest day, with strengthening things happening in a rotation: arms, legs, core, etc., one per workout day. I also want to work in some restorative yoga classes.

And today I finally ran for a solid minute! Not 56 or 58 seconds! yay!

Living the Liturgy::

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Our Lady of Sorrows


From the kitchen::

Dinner tonight w/ Mom and Dad But the rest of this week contains: Moroccan fish; chicken fajitas; pan fried pork chops; chopped salad; salmon tikka; pea and mint soup, and Spanish skirt steak.

Yum and yummmmm!


Around the house::

The usual cleaning and tidying and all that. I actually got into a pretty good housekeeping groove last week so I want to keep it going–dishes in the dishwasher, nothing in the sink, no dishes on the table after meals. It was nice!



Working my way through The Artist’s Way, and pondering NaNoWriMo 2014!

Daybook No. 71

Outside my window::

Clear blue skies. Going to be another warm day, so I might go swimming at some point. The nice thing about the pool being open when the kids are back in school means there’s more time for “adult swim”, so to speak.


Just my PJs. I slept of 12 hours last night. I must have needed it because I’m never in bed by 9:00, but I was last night. Perhaps the last vestiges of surgery stuff? Who knows. But I’m taking it slowly this morning.


Mansfield Park, The Joy Luck Club, Women of the Word, The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds, Summa of the Summa. Yes, I’m back to good ol’ Aquinas, after being inspired to take him up again at my Dominican Laity’s Day of Recollection this past Sunday. There was a lot of talk about Aquinas, so I’m back to the Cliff Notes version of the Summa, as it were. 🙂


Back to rehab yesterday. It was nice to be back. I’d missed working out, if you can believe that! We didn’t run yesterday but we probably shall at tomorrow’s session.


Man, my rhythm everywhere is out of whack–housekeeping, sleeping, prayer, everything. Yesterday I just had total inertia once I got home from the hospital. I didn’t want to do anything, I was so tired. I could have gone to bed for good at 6:00! So today I’m going to imitate the Little Engine That Could and work through things slowly and methodically. Some of this is a result of surgery; it just throws off everything. So I need to get back into a rhythm of prayer, cooking, housekeeping, all that stuff.

CCD also resumes in TWO WEEKS, so I have to start planning the first two lessons, which is also on today’s agenda. The first class isn’t especially difficult–it’s mostly rules and paperwork sorts of things–but I still want an outline of sorts.


This year has flown by. I mean it seems like it was just March and here we are back to fall. Relativity of time, indeed.


Adding more structure and chapters to the memoir, but waiting also for the beta reader feedback. So it’s mostly ideas I’m playing with about structure and things that should be in the book, at least in my mind.


Dawdling like crazy on this washcloth but I hope to have it cast off and a new project started in time for tomorrow’s Yarn Along!

Photo to share::

perfect rose from my church's rose garden.

perfect rose from my church’s rose garden.

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 56


Outside my window::

A lovely, deep blue sky morning. I slept with the bedroom window open last night. Do I need to tell you how great that was, after the winter that we had?

I feel like it’s that line from the Song of Solomon:

For see, the winter is past! The rains are over and gone. 


my pjs–a red tank top and Boden PJ pants.


City of God (forever and ever, I swear); Orphan Train (I’m late to this party, I know); Pickwick. Really need to speed this one up. Also re-reading the Michael Vey series and still deep in St. Faustina’s Diary.

In the CD player::

L’Angelus, Sacred Hymns

Around the house:

Today: sweeping, vacuuming, mopping the kitchen floor, dusting, taking out the trash. That sort of stuff.

In the kitchen::

I met with the transplant nutritionist last Friday, and she is actually going to send me recipes/meal plan ideas today or tomorrow. So yay! She asked me what I liked to eat, and I said basically everything, except eggplant and big squash, because I can’t cut them up in my kitchen. 🙂 So I’m excited to see what she gives me.


Rehab work MWF, per usual. 🙂 Going to get to yoga class this week, probably tomorrow night.


So I filled out all my power sheets (, if you want them!) so I am ready. I have my five goals for the next six months plotted out:

  • Send the book proposal out
  • Organize my finances
  • Create a calm, clean, welcoming home with only the things I love and use
  • Create a healthier, stronger body by eating better and exercising consistently.
  • Creating a deep, focused prayer life.

I am so ready. As Anna says, “I was born ready!”

Plans for the week::

MWF: Rehab at 3:00.

Friday-Sunday: Silent retreat! Yay silent retreat! This starts Friday evening and goes until Sunday lunchtime. Yay!!!!

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.

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 38

(Prompts Elizabeth style, today) 


Noticing God’s glory::

Autumn in Central Ohio is usually beautiful, but even moreso when we have so much great leaf color. It makes it a bit easier to commute against the color show.


In the CD player::

Still the Joyce CD. I’m all about it, as my brother would say.


Clothing myself in::

Nutmeg boots; a asymmetrical hemmed skirt in oatmeal; a blue v-neck top, and a cream scarf (linen, not knitted. I still need to knit a blue scarf for me!). Oh, and smartwool socks, which I looooove.


thinking and thinking::

About how to get everything into my days; I have been working on that, and I’ve been getting up earlier. I’ve added a workout to my almost daily schedule. But then with the workout comes two hours home at night in which to do everything–write, take care of the house, knit, etc. Eventually my goal is to be awake at 6:30, but right now we’re about 40 minutes short of that. Maybe “falling back” will help?


pondering prayerfully::

the idea of vocation, and what it means when what you thought your vocation was isn’t what you thought it was–or, God has a different idea of how to use your skills, talents, and desires. What is the best use of these?


cultivating rhythm::

Well I sort of touched on this, above. But there’s some things that have to be done in a rhythmic way–the mornings, especially, and the preparation for the next day in the evenings.  Also, being sure I use the pockets of free time I have well, on the things that need done.  (Does this make sense?)


Creating by hand::

My grandma’s Christmas scarf is on my knitting needles now. Hopefully during Tech Week I can get a lot of this done. 🙂


Learning lessons in::

Balance. Always, always balance. How to get everything in, in a way that isn’t a rushed thing, but a way that allows everything to work the way it should.


Prayers for::

My friends with health problems

My pregnant friends

My World Vision child, Mery, who turned 13 today!

Thomas Peters


Keeping house::

Cleaning the kitchen. I’ve been cleaning out the cabinets and the fridge over the last few weekends and stocking up on some fall essentials. So I have to sweep and mop the floor and deep clear the stove burners.



Just finished The House of Hades, the latest Rick Riordan book. I’m not as pleased with it as I was with others that he’s written. There’s some unnecessary “contemporary” problems in there and it’s sort of meandering. (I’m being vague in case anyone reading this is a Percy fan. 🙂 )


Planning for the week ahead:

Tonight: workout at Pure Barre, and port access. Whee!

Wednesday: Eye doctor appointment; Pirates game. They better win.

Thursday: Another PB class

Friday-Sunday: Rehearsals for the show and Tech Week starts! We open next Friday.

Sunday: Possible Lay Dominicans meeting if I don’t have rehearsal on Sunday, but I”m fairly sure I will. Teaching CCD in the morning.

Emily Revamps Her Life II: The Evening Routine

This is part II of a series; read the whole series here.

FlyLady first mentioned the idea of an evening routine to me, via her book, but I really see the importance of it now to help streamline my mornings.

Basically, this is how it works: around 8:00 or so (or after dinner, when I do clean up), it starts:

  • Fill the coffeepot for the next morning (water and beans)
  • dole out PM and AM meds so I don’t have to mess with bottles, and if I need refills, I can take care of them
  • Check my work bag and make sure I have what I need in there
  • Set out my Divine Office book and make sure the pages are marked for lauds. (This can be harder than it sounds, if it’s Feast Day or something like that, which requires finding certain pages in the book and marking them with my prayer cards.)
  • Mark cookbook for tomorrow’s dinner and make sure I have all the ingredients
  • Charge phone and iPad, if needed.
  • Go upstairs and lay out clothes, accessories, etc.
  • After bath (if it’s hair wash night), put out the toiletry items I need in the morning: all my makeup, brushes, etc., so it’s right at hand. (This takes up counterspace, so I do it post-bath so I’m not knocking things over with the hair dryer and the towels!)
  • Set alarm for 6:30.

Things like the cookbook–this just makes my entire day work better. If I need ingredients, I can pick them up either during my lunch hour or on my way home. I also get out items I’ll need for that recipe before hand (canned things, spices, etc.–not perishable things, unless it’s meat that needs to thaw, then it goes in the fridge.) So when I get home I can just start dinner right away without looking for everything and realizing I’m missing something.

(I tend to meal plan for the week ahead. More on this later.)

Emily Revamps Her Life Part I

I love all the seasons, but I especially love the sense of newness that comes with fall. I haven’t been a student for (gulp) almost 10 years, but I still like the back-to-school, new notebooks and pencils idea of fall.

And lately, I’ve noticed that my life sort of needs a re-do, or a makeover, or a “back to school” sense, if you will. I need to get rid of all the things I don’t love, don’t use, and don’t need. I need to make time for prayer on a daily basis. I need to have a solid fitness routine.

I’ve had all these seeds careening around in my brain for awhile. But now is the time to start.

Why now?

Well first, I read this book:

It was mentioned by Elizabeth Foss (she also recommended another great book, here, which I also read while I was reading this.) Since she usually links to fantastic books, I added this to my Amazon queue and ordered it a few weeks ago.

The book has a lot of great advice, but this part is my favorite:

The author gives you a 10 day plan to totally remake your home into one you want to be living in. You get rid of everything you don’t use. You clean the spaces. You make them beautiful and inviting.

Now this is going to take me more than 10 days–probably more like 20!–but I am determined to do this.

Day 1 was throw everything away in your house that is trash, that doesn’t work, that’s broken and un-fixable. This has been done in 2/3 of the house. I still have to hit the music room and I plan on doing that today. Also get rid of stuff you don’t want, that’s in plain sight. (This isn’t the time to go through closets, etc.) So when I go down to the music room, I will examine the movie stash (because they’re in the same place). If I don’t love the movie, it gets put in the “Take to Half Price Books (HPB) To Sell” bag.

In the book, Day 1 is described like this:

“I’m talking about the obvious stuff…this is about the stuff that really doesn’t take any effort to find. This is the magazine collection in the bathroom, the trinkets on the end tables, and the knickknacks on your dresser–anything that visible as soon as you enter the room. ” –Organized Simplicity

So today I will finish Day 1.  I’m not following all her tips; instead of having a garage/yard sale, I’m taking things that can be sold to HPB; if they can’t be sold, I’m donating them. (But only donating things that are in good shape.)

Another thing I’ve been doing this week? Getting up earlier. 

I’ve set my alarm clock for 6:30. That means I’m usually up at 7 (I give myself three hits of the snooze). I am not one of those people that can set the alarm for when I need to wake up. I have to build in snooze button hitting time.

If I’m up at 7:00–and I’ve set out my clothes and make up items, and jewelry, the night before–my morning is simple. I’ve also added in a Morning Offering. (There are a lot of them, but I like the one I learned when I was with the Nashville Dominicans on retreat. I’ll post that later.)

I have time for a cup of coffee, and time to say lauds and take my morning meds, before I head out the door.

I want to add more to my morning, but so far, this is it:

  • Morning Offering
  • Dressing/makeup
  • Coffee/breakfast/pills
  • Lauds
  • Car time. 🙂