Daybook No. 97

(it’s back!)

daybook tag

Outside my window::

Sunny through thin white clouds. It’s not going to be very warm today–well, warm for June–so swimming is probably out, but that’s OK!

Wearing::

Jeans, a bright blue v-neck t-shirt, and flats.

Reading::

Working on Northanger Abbey. I finished Prodigal Summer yesterday, and man, I wish Barbara Kingsolver would write a sequel. It’s that kind of novel where you want to stay with the characters for a long time, even after the book is finished. I’m reading The One Thing is Three for my spiritual reading. The rest of the fiction pile includes The Forsyte Saga and A God In Ruins, and then I’ve got What Matters In Jane Austen and Jane Austen’s England. So a variety of things on the reading pile!

In the CD player::

The Light in the Piazza, celebrating Kelli O’Hara’s Tony win.

Writing::

This week I’m doing something different with LA–I’m going back to doing the link-ups/weekly features that I’ve sort of been neglecting amidst the new writing plan. So tomorrow is the Yarn Along, Thursday I’m talking about Sketchbook Skool, and then Friday we’ll have Quick Takes. I’m also going to get some things pre-written because I’ll be in Pittsburgh until Tuesday.

The Dominican section of the memoir continues apace. It’s sort of a complex section to write but the goal here is to get it down into a physical form on “paper” (or, in a Pages document). Then I can revise it. I’m hoping to have the section done by the end of the month so that in July, when I’m back from Charleston, I can start sending out queries and book proposals. (EEEEEK)

Creativity::

You’ll have to come back tomorrow and Thursday to read about that. 🙂 But really, it’s been really interesting in this area lately.

Health stuff::

So yesterday was my Annual Clinic Day of Testing for Transplant Guys. 🙂 Basically, all the yearly tests we do, I did yesterday. That involved lots of blood-letting, full PFTs (Pulmonary Function Tests–“full” meaning more than just the basic test I do every visit. We checked gas diffusions in my lungs and some other fun things), a CT scan of my lungs, bone density scan, and an abdominal ultrasound, which looks at my spleen, liver, kidneys, all that sort of stuff.

I lost five pounds “officially” in clinic (I told the dietician that I had lost 10 lbs at one point, but the loss doesn’t want to stay there, sadly), and the PFTs went up four points. So win to that correlation. Everyone’s happy with that. I haven’t gotten the results back yet from the other tests. (Other than things like my regular chest X-ray, which looked fine and dandy–we saw that in clinic.)

Today I’m going to see my ENT so he can check out my sinuses. I see him about every six months, and about every two years, we do the sinus surgery. This is because even though my lungs don’t have CF, the rest of my body does, so we still have to keep the sinuses happy. They tend to fill with the CF-quality mucus and that can be a huge breeding ground for infection. Fortunately, I don’t have nearly as many sinus issues as some other CF folks I know.

Pondering::

I normally don’t talk to many–if any–other patients when I’m at Children’s. Part of that is because I don’t really talk in waiting rooms, at all, and partially because a lot of the time, I’m alone. In clinic, I’m in my own room, and in radiology, the transplant/cancer patients sit in the radiology hallway itself, not in the general waiting room, because of concerns about sick people.

I’m really familiar with the radiology hallway. It used to be main radiology for the entire hospital, so I’ve come here as an ER patient, as a CF outpatient, and in the days after transplant, at 6 AM, before the hospital was really “up”, so I the chances of me running into a sick person (or anyone else) were really slim. I know all the radiology techs really well, and know some of them by name.

There are three chairs set up outside the main waiting room door for transplant/oncology patients. Sometimes it’s me and other transplant patients who are being seen that day (we all have the same routine–blood work, x-rays, clinic), but mostly it’s just me.

Yesterday there was a small family: a boy, a girl, and the mother. The kids looked to be in high school. I knew the boy was a transplant patient because 1) he was wearing a Dash for Donation shirt (it’s the annual Lifeline of Ohio race), and 2) he had a mask on. Most of us wear masks in the hospital. I hate wearing them so I generally don’t. (yeah, I’m a rebel.)

But the boy looked so sick. I couldn’t tell if he was pre or post-transplant. He was so thin I could see the ligaments in his legs around his knees, the tendons popping out. His shirt hung on his, and he was in a wheelchair. He didn’t really look anywhere, other than vaguely at his lap. His sister was plugging away at Facebook on her phone, but he just sat there, vaguely thinking about something.

I knew that look. I’d been there. It’s the look of not really having the brain power to do anything else but tend to the function of your body. Breathe, sit up. Breathe.

He went back for X-rays, and I talked briefly to his sister–small things, about the waiting area, her sparkly phone cover. Her brother came back quickly and they were gone, heading up to clinic.

The radiology technician called me to a room. “He’s rejecting,” she told me.

“How far out is he?”

“Five years.”

Ah, five years. Five is a magical number. About half make it to five years–it’s a little less than that, for girls. UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) doesn’t even have 10 year stats on their website, yet, for lung transplant patients. At hitting 10 years, I’m sort of a statistical anomaly. Five years is becoming more common, but 10 is still out there, and the people I know who are 15+ years have had two transplants.

I am extremely, extremely lucky. And it could all change, but right now, the fact that I’m this far out, and that I’ll be celebrating my 10 year mark in a month, is incredibly fortunate. am incredibly fortunate.

Plans for the Week::

I have a Summa Theologica class at church on Wednesday–this just started last week–which means I have to read Question 2 of Part 1 today so I’m ready to talk about it tomorrow. 🙂 On Friday I have another doctor appointment and then I leave for Pittsburgh on Saturday!

(note: that lovely photo of bluebells? Elizabeth Foss took that. 🙂 I hope she doesn’t mind that I borrowed it from her website! It’s just so gorgeous.)

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Daybook No. 96

Outside my window::

Cloudy. It’s not supposed to rain, but we’ll have clouds all day. I’m not opposed to that.

Wearing::

My PJs–a black t-shirt and Disney PJ pants. I’m unoriginal. 🙂

Reading::

I just finished Emma: A Modern Retelling, and I did enjoy it. At first I was sort of concerned because Emma was really different from how she is in Austen’s original, but it all calmed down by the end of the story, and, as always, Alexander McCall Smith is magical. For my birthday I also received Station Eleven: A novel, (which I’m probably the last person to read) so that’s on my list, as well as At the Water’s Edge: A NovelAnd I’m reading Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics). I’m reading it very slowly, a few chapters at a time before I go to bed. I’ve found that this is the best way to work through Big Fat Novels for me, other than a road trip. Small doses, and I get through it that way. 🙂

In the CD player::

The Lion King. Really. I don’t know why, but it’s been speaking to me lately.

Writing::

So, thanks to Cristina (again!) I have a new plan for posting. This week is a little off because I had clinic yesterday and I was cranky afterwards so I didn’t get a lot of posting done. But the new plan is to have fresh content on the blog here and the author site twice a week (on both), with Thursdays being the days I work on my manuscripts. So if you don’t already subscribe to the author site, do it, so you can get that content as well. I won’t always cross-link over here. Read this post for more on how Important the Author Site Is. 

There is also going to be some redesign happening here, so if you see any crazy test posts or changes, fear not!

Creativity::

About to start the third piece of the housewarming gift. I hope to have a few rows cast on before tomorrow’s Yarn Along.

Fitness/Food::

Steering back toward a better diet, which means really cutting back on carbs and other empty calorie snack things. Time to focus again on whole foods and protein. Wheeeeee. Of course this does mean strawberry and mint omelets, which are yummy!

Pondering::

So many people I know are going through hard seasons. Really hard seasons. Join me in praying for them?

HardThingsJustKeepCallingYou

Plans for the week::

Writing. Working out. Lunch with Dad on Thursday. The normal fun things. 🙂

Daybook No. 93

WeMayNotBeFearless

Outside my window::

Sunset time. The sky is a lovely robin egg blue, one of my favorite colors, and it so feels like summer.

Or as Olaf would say…..”SUMMMMMMMMMERRRRR!”

Wearing::

PJs–my BalletMet t-shirt and Disney World sweatpants. There are, by the by, the only pair of sweats I own. Apparently sparkle and tiaras must be had for me to go this route. 🙂

Reading::

The Pilgrim’s Progress (Oxford World’s Classics)

On the Passion of Christ: According to the Four Evangelists : Prayers and Meditations

I also read Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat- Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatiusover the weekend, and found it excellent. Really, it was the perfect book for me to read this year, since the word of the year is Trust. 🙂 A great read. It’s big, but if you’re a fast reader like me, you can get through it in much less than the weekend he recommends, but it’s not a book you really speed read, anyway.

In the CD player::

Jesus Christ Superstar, alternating with Lent at Ephesus. These nuns are amazing, folks.  Get their Easter CD, too!

Around the house::

There are several corners of the house that require deep tossing/cleaning. So I’m going to put them on my to-do list. I also need to take the HUGE pile of books/movies/CDs to Half Price Books and get some cash for them! It’s really an impressive pile.

From the kitchen::

various meals I’m making this week: sautéed salmon, French onion sou, Chicken with grapes, turkey burgers, Greek shrimp and feta penne, Provencal stew, balsamic chicken. (These are all Rachael Ray recipes. I’m on a Rachael Kick atthe moment.)

Plans for the week::

Dermatologis appt. in the morning. St. Patrick Feast Day Mass tomorrow (my parish’s patron, so we have Mass and then we party with Irish music and Irish tea party fixings). Also planning on getting to the gym several times this week.

Pondering::

Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our Good Lord, and I say to Him, ‘Lord, I am here. Tell me what you would have me do.’  If He gives me some task, I am content and I thank Him. If He gives me nothing, I still thank Him since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that. And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart. I tell Him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen. If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the Good Lord, you have to both speak and listen. God always speaks to you when you approach Him plainly and simply.

–St. Catherine Laboure

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. 90

Daybook No. 90

HardThingsJustKeepCallingYou

Outside my window::

Looks like rain, but that’s OK because my car needs washed! 🙂

Wearing::

A Garnet Hill faux wrap dress. It’s a navy background with navy, turquoise, brown, white, and grey circles. It’s hard to describe, but it’s pretty; fake diamond earrings; my St. Dominic medal; navy blue flats with silver detail.

Reading::

I Always Loved You: A Novel, and  Michelangelo and the Pope’s CeilingMichelangelo is my favorite artist (well, OK, one of my top five). Mary Cassatt and Degas are two of the others, and they’re in the first book. 🙂 So I’m on an art kick, here.

In the CD Player::

Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing.

Around the House::

Normal vacuuming, dusting, etc. tomorrow. Nothing major in that area.

From the kitchen::

Well since I was sick last week I was sort of “off my feed”, so most of last week’s menu is being transferred to this week. I’m having lunch with Dad tomorrow and I’m making a chicken caesar salad for dinner (caesar salad, by the way, is not Italian. It’s Mexican. That’s a tidbit. 🙂 )

Plans for the week::

I have to make a Guinness Cake so I can photograph it for my Real Housekeeping column. Hard job, right? 🙂 (I know. It is. But someone has to do it.)

Holy Hour on Wednesday, and our church is having a special Mass for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, so I’m going to try to go to that as well.

Funny CCD story::

Well it’s several things. Today we talked about the Eucharist, and the kids were take aback by the fact that they can drink wine (as part of communion in some parishes), and also, that in Jesus’ time, a lot of people drank wine. Like, kids. They were amazed at this.

Daybook No. 85

Daybook No. 85

WhatFeelsLikeLosingIsReallyGaining

Outside my window:

It’s that washed-blue sky, light clouds. Winter is coming, though (a la Game of Thrones….). We’re getting snow tonight, and tomorrow, and on Wednesday the low is supposed to be -4. Yeah, that’s right. -4.

Brrrrr.

So I am mostly staying in. Not that that’s a problem!

Wearing::

I just finished a yoga class (via a website), so yoga pants in a bright orangey-red, and a long-sleeved gray t-shirt, because, again, it’s cold. 🙂 No makeup. Contacts are in though, so I’m not being totally slackerly in the looks department. 🙂

Reading::

The Death Class, which is really great so far. I mean sort of addictive. It was hard to stop and take yoga class and eat lunch! Also reading Pope Benedict XVI’s general audiences on Prayer, for my spiritual reading. After Class, I think I’m starting either Middlemarch or Our Mutual FriendMay. May not. 🙂 And still reading Elizabeth of York, for my dash of British history.

Around the house::

Today is the normal mop/vacuum/dust/sweep/take the trash out before it snows combo. As part of this, I’m also doing some decluttering as I go about, particularly in the Book Room and in the DVD collection. I also have some plans for wall art–things to hang, etc., but it requires getting frames. I’ve always wanted photos and posters and things like that going up the staircase, so we’ll see how far I can get in that goal. I have some gorgeous pictures of Paris that I bought at the city art festival years ago, but never framed, so those are a top priority, because they’re too pretty to just be sitting around despondently.

Writing::

I have two writing goals–blogging three days a week, and working on the Book for 30 minutes every day, before noon. So far I have hit both goals. However, it’s only January Fifth. 🙂 Generally I’ve been doing my Office, my lectio (Bible reading), and then going for the writing. So far this is a good plan (because I don’t even need to get dressed to write, right? I can just sit here with my coffee in my PJs!)

From the kitchen::

Here’s this week’s meal plan, dinner-wise:

Tonight: Beef chili

Tuesday: Sesame Turkey Meatballs from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Wednesday: Jamie Oliver’s stew. (When it’s -4, you want stew. That’s that.)

Thursday: Mustardy pork chops (a favorite around here)

Friday: Lunch–spicy shrimp with yogurt. I might be going out that night with the parents or having dinner at a friend’s, so I’m not entirely sure what dinner looks like.

Saturday we’re going to the symphony, so we’ll be eating out post Mass.

One of the great things I did over the weekend, when I saw the weather forecast, was take stock of my freezer. I buy meal and fish on sale throughout the year just for winter snaps like this, and I found I had:

  • 2 pk. of thick-cut pork chops
  • 3 lbs. of ground beef
  • 2 lbs. of ground turkey
  • a bag of shrimp
  • 1 lb. stew meat
  • tilapia filets

Thus, you can see why my menu is a bit meat heavy! Well that, and I’m having a colonoscopy next week. To prep for that, I have to stop my vitamins tomorrow, and since I”m anemic, I want to be loading up on the meat for the iron, and eating lots of iron-rich things. So GO MEAT. 🙂

So, I suggest taking stock of the freezer, writing down what you have, and then meal planning from that, if you’re in a “I need to shop quickly and cheaply” situation, because you might be like me and find many nice things!

Fitness::

Like I said, yoga today. Last week I exercised four days in a  row and lost two pounds. Yay! So since it’s going to be so cold, it’s going to be at home workouts until at least Friday. So I’m thinking yoga, ballet beautiful, and things like that, and I do have some small dumbbells here, so I can do some weight training to fill in any gaps, although I doubt there will be any. Yoga is great for giving your arms and core a workout.

In the CD player::

The film soundtrack to Mary Poppins. Singing along to “Sister Suffragette” is fun. But since Christmas isn’t over by the Breviary until Sunday–and the old calendar until Candlemas, which is February Second! –the Christmas music is still in rotation.

Photo::

IMG_0598

Christmas Train set. Pretty, no?

Outside my window::