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

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Seven Quick Takes No. 61

Seven Quick Takes No. 61

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I.

This week felt like it flew by.It’s that time of year again, when it just gets closer to Christmas and there’s so much to DO and not enough time to do it! Totally the theory of relativity, right? As a kid, you remember these days going so slowly. And now? Gone so quickly. It’s amazing.

II.

This is partially because there’s a lot going on–tomorrow I’m going to a Penguins/Jackets game with my parents (in which I will be happy with the outcome, because one team I love will win!). On Sunday, it’s the last CCD class before the break, which basically means a video on St. Nicholas and bingo games; then we have a catechist meeting; then there’s a Third Order meeting which concludes with life promises (EEEEK), and then dinner with Mary and lessons and carols at my parish. WHEW. And Monday I have a doctor appointment with all that attends that, and an audition that night.

III.

So, life promises. Yes. Basically, this means I’m a Lay Dominican forever and ever (amen), I promise to live by the rule of St. Dominic for the rest of my life, and be a good Lay Dominican. 🙂 The rule requires that I say morning and evening prayer of the liturgy of the hours, attend Mass as often as possible during the week, go to confession once a month, say a daily rosary, and perform individual religious study. None of these are bound by pain of sin. If I miss vespers one day or something, it’s not a thing I need to confess. But these are the “pillars”, so to speak, of my life, forever, after Sunday. I’ve been in formation for five+ years now, and I’m so glad to be making this final step.

IV.

My Christmas shopping, however, is 98% finished. I still have to get something for two more people, who are hard to shop for. Sigh. I’m hoping to come up with magic inspiration over the next week.

V.

My 2015 calendar is starting to fill up–January has good things (a Symphony concert!) and some unfun/fun things–a colonoscopy (Oh YAY!). Yes, my friends, I need to have one, and the hospital, of course, is freaking because I have a PORT, and we’re going to USE IT, and OH MY GOSH!

Really, guys, it’s not that hard. They don’t even have to access me–mom can do it. All they have to do is push the lovely happy meds into the tube. I do not understand the freak out. It’s an adult hospital I’m going to, but they treat cancer patients, so a port isn’t some exotic medical things they’ve never seen. Sigh. I guess it’ll be a “teachable moment” for them. AS long as they don’t break the port, I don’t care. Just give me the fun meds and do what you have to do, doc.

VI.

in 2015, revision on THE BOOK will begin in earnest. Yes. I have left the draft alone for a few months, I’ve gotten some feedback from my beta readers, and in January it will be time to start massaging it into shape again, and bring out the long knife of editing. Oh yes, my friends. The knife is coming out!

VII.

Next week has two of my favorite days! JANE DAY, her birthday, on Dec. 16, in which we shall all drink tea, watch the Wet Shirt video, and read her books, and Dec. 17, which is Beethoven Day (it’s the day Beethoven was Baptized.) Such great genius!  They were born five years apart (Beethoven in 1700, Jane in 1775), and died ten years apart (Jane in July 1817, Beethoven in March 1827). So on Beethoven Day we will listen to much Beethoven and rejoice in his genius. (Yes, he’s my favorite composer, why do you ask?)

HipsterBeethoven-51735

(Side note: people: stop using this to mean “pounds.” I See it all the time: “The fish was 8#!” REALLY?!?!?!)

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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.

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.

Wearing::

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.

Reading::

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. 🙂

Fitness::

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.

Rhythm::

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.

Pondering::

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.

Writing::

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.

Knitting::

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.

Emily’s Book Reviews, August

 

emily's book reviews button

 

(I love the sparkle, don’t you?)

What I’ve been reading of late. Some of these are “new” reads, and some are old friends, and some I’ve just started!

Dakota, The Virgin of Bennington, Amazing Grace, all by Kathleen Norris: These are all religious books, which are written as memoirs, and tell the story of the author’s “reversion” to Christianity, starting with her life after college as a poet in New York City, moving to her grandmother’s home in South Dakota with her new husband, and finally, becoming a Benedictine Oblate and diving deep into the history and movements of Christianity. I’ve read her two previous books The Cloister Walk and Acedia and Me, and loved them both. These three were harder to find, but I was well rewarded, especially in the case of Amazing Grace, which is a bit of a “dictionary of Christianity”. Norris takes common phrases in religion (i.e., salvation, Hell, grace, creation) and writes about what they mean to her. Dakota is a spiritual memoir, which links family and religion. Virgin is a bit of an odd read, at least for me; I thought it would be more religious in tone and less about her post-graduation life in New York City, but if you like poetry, this is an excellent read. They are all well-written, but Dakota and Amazing Grace gripped me more than Virgin did.

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais: The movie previews lead you to believe that the movie is about Madame Mallory, a Frenchwoman with a Michelin two-star restaurant in France, and her trials when a raucous Indian family move in across the street and open their own restaurant. Well, that may be the crux of the film, but it makes up quite a small portion of the novel, but with lasting repercussions for the protagonist, Hassan. If you like to watch Food Network and read cookbooks, like I do, you’ll like this book. It will also make you hungry!

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom: I wanted to like this more than I did. It had a lot of promise in the beginning– Lavinia, an Irish orphan, becomes an indentured servant on a southern plantation in the late 18th century. Though she’s white, she works with the black slaves, and soon considers them her family, even though the master and mistress of the house try to raise her “properly”. Lavinia and Belle, a slave, are the two narrators of the book, and I don’t think it worked very well, in this case. Belle’s portions of the story become less and less, and Lavinia’s become  more central, but since the book is told from only their perspectives, there are gaps in the story as it moves towards its climax. When it ended, I felt as if several chapters were cut from my copy, which was a shame, because I did like it in the beginning. It loses steam, however, and sort of sputters to a close, and I felt several characters were ill-drawn.

The Way of Perfection, by St. Teresa of Avila: I had previously read The Interior Castle, and this book was sitting on my shelf, quietly waiting for me to pick it up, which I finally did! It’s an excellent book, written before Interior Castle, so it obliquely deals with some of the topics in that (probably) more famous work. My copy was very heavy on notes and summaries, which made a bit of slow reading. They were helpful at times, but sometimes I just wanted to move on to the next chapter! St. Teresa is to be read slowly, and not raced through, so this took me awhile due to the deliberate pace I set when I was reading it. Have a pen handy so you can make notes.

Following that: Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul, by Cathleen Medwick: I’ve seen a lot of my friends reading this book, so I thought I should read it too, and get to know more about St. Teresa. I joke that part of my soul is Carmelite, so why not know more about them? (My Confirmation saint is indeed a Carmelite–St. Therese of Lisieux).

(And wow, lots of Cathleen/Kathleens this month! Well, the past few months, anyway)

Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldman: This book was a Christmas gift, and I’m really diving into it now. I love books about writing (see the next entry, too!) and I’ve heard such good things about this one!

The Writer’s Way, by Julia Cameron: again, a gift; again, heard great things. Starting this tomorrow.

The Year of Pleasures, by Elizabeth Berg: This is one of my desert-island books. I just adore it, and it’s what got me started reading Elizabeth Berg’s novels. Betta Nolan’s husband has died, and she decides to sell her brownstone in Boston and move to a tiny town outside Chicago, sight unseen, and have a “year of pleasures”, living in a small town and reconnecting with her three roommates from college. Berg’s trademark attention to detail, dialogue and character are richly displayed here, and I wish the book would’ve had at least 150 more pages. You’ll want music, tea, and bubble bath while you’re reading this!

The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan: A re-read, but it’s been about a decade since I read it, so it’s overdue.

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds, by Jen Wilkin.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane: Part of the Jane re-read. The end of the book always makes me smile. Next up is Mansfield Park.

Swann’s Way , by Marcel Proust: I keep dipping into it, but it’s time to Get Serious and Read it. 🙂

Wish You Were Here, by Amy Welborn: Another re-read, another book I love. Welborn writes exquisitely of the time immediately after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack. She took her three children to Sicily, so the book is part travelogue, part journal of grieving, and part religious meditation. It’s fantastic and has many C.S. Lewis like passages.

Summer Reading Notes

A few summer reading notes:

(And a note: the vast majority of these are older books that I either received as gifts or bought awhile back and have been in the “to read” pile! The OUPs I got at The Strand in NYC for like, three dollars each! And yes, I generally prefer OUP–Oxford University Press–for ‘classics’.)

** The great Jane re-read continues, although I’m still on S&S. I need to get in gear and finish it, so that’s on the list for next week, and move into P&P.

**I just finished The Nesting Place: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, and highly recommend it, especially if you are a renter (like moi), who despairs of decorating well.

**I need to read Middlemarch this summer. I’ve been trying to read this now for almost ten years, and the time has come (the Walrus Said), so it’s going to happen.

**Also on tap: The Goldfinch, Trains and Lovers,  The Lacuna, and All The Light We Cannot See. Oh, and The Three Musketeers.  (missed this one as a child!)

** I am ALMOST DONE with The Wings of the Dove. Almost done, I tell you!