Seven Quick Takes No. 77

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo

I.

Next week there won’t be a 7QT, since I’ll be in D.C. and attending ordinations that day, so I won’t have time to write! I’ll be churching. ūüôā But I am so excited to be heading to D.C. since I haven’t been in so long, and I’ll be with some great friends. Plus, our hotel offers¬†free¬†homemade cookies–hot–for all visitors.

Really? Can I just live there forever?

II.

Let’s talk about some season finales of TV, shall we?

I love¬†The Middle. Sue Heck is an awful lot like me, from her love of Disney World Planning to her academic endeavors. Last night’s season finale really struck a chord with me.

Sue has been trying, all year, to have the Best Year Ever. It’s her Senior year of high school (AKA, The Year of Sue), and she tries to win one of the class superlatives (best smile, etc.), get accepted to a great college, have the most school spirit, and generally be all around awesome.

But leading up to graduation, everything goes wrong. She loses her yearbook–and her name is misspelled under her photo She’s not eligible for any honor cords because ¬†her activities “don’t count”. She misses getting the perfect attendance award because she snuck of campus to eat lunch. Her graduation motorboard is way too big. She doesn’t even¬†want¬†to go to graduation now, because she feels like nothing she did mattered. She has left no legacy. She feels like a loser.

But her mom convinces her to go to the ceremony. At the ceremony, her yearbook is returned–full of notes from people who¬†did¬†notice her, and appreciated her, even if she didn’t get any honor cords or win any Senior Superlatives. She sees the impact she had on the members of her class, and she had no idea they even felt that way.

I feel like Sue sometimes, like everything I do is just passing and I won’t have any lasting legacy anywhere. But¬†The Middle¬†reminds us that people do notice those little things, even if they don’t write about it in our yearbooks.

III.

Another TV finale wasn’t quite so satisfying, and that’s¬†Bates Motel.

Now, I love Bates Motel on a lot of levels, as I’ve previously discussed. But this year it started going off the rails, relative to actual CF/transplant things, and this makes me Displeased.

Emma’s been on the lung transplant list the entire time the show has been on the air, so three years. She hasn’t moved up the list in all that time–her condition has been pretty stable. But this season she started to deteriorate a bit.

Now, the way lungs are allocated is something called an LAS score. Basically, it takes into account how sick you are. The sicker you are, the higher up you are on the list. Emma, actually, probably isn’t sick enough to be first in line on the list. Yes, she’s on oxygen, but her condition is pretty stable.

However, on the show, her dad tells Dylan (Norman’s brother) that the reason Emma hasn’t gotten her transplant is because they don’t have $20,000, which they apparently need to bribe someone to move her up the list.

Um, no. No no no no five thousand nos.

The only way you move up the list is by getting sicker. When I was called for my transplant, I was the top person on the AB+ blood type list, because I was the sickest person that was also the best match for the lungs I received. It’s sort of a complicated process. Organs have to match blood type, tissue type, body size, etc. Emma could only move up by getting sicker, or by people passing on the chance to have the operation, or being removed from the list.

So anyway, in the season finale, Emma gets her call (this is after Dylan has come up with the money and given ¬†it to Emma’s Dad). Emma then proceeds to have a crying jag/meltdown in front of Dylan. Now, I know this makes good TV because it’s cathartic and all that, but you have to talk to social workers and therapists about this stuff before you can get listed. You have to be¬†totally¬†on board. You can’t be sort of wishy-washy. Now, yes, I understand that Emma’s a little freaked, but by the time you get the call, you are¬†about to die, normally. Dying on the operating table doesn’t really phase you, because you are going to die¬†without¬†the surgery very soon.

So anyway, this is all so wrong, people. So, so, wrong.

However, she is right about lungs being tricky, in the transplant world. They are. Lucky us.

IV.

A few reading notes:

The Royal We:¬†Totally based on Prince William and Kate Middleton (right down to Kate’s fashion choices and wedding dress), only the girl is an American, this story of the future King of England meeting his fiance at a British University is well-told and charmingly written. Nicholas and Rebecca meet cute, break up, and finally get engaged–but will they make it to the altar? Nicholas’s brother, Freddie, is hysterical, but Rebecca’s twin is sort of annoying. But this would definitely make a great beach read. If you’re a fan of the British Royal Family, then give this one a whirl.

Made In¬†the U.S.A.:¬†I found this on the remained table at B&N, read the first chapter, and was drawn in to the story of Lutie and her brother, Fate, who are left alone after their stepmother dies of a heart attack in the local North Dakota Wal-Mart. Intent on escaping Child Protective Services, Lutie and Fate drive to Las Vegas, the last known address of their ne’er-do-well alcoholic father, sure that if they find him, he will take them in. But things definitely do not work out like the pair plans, and they’re finally rescued by Juan, a Mexican immigrant who takes the children to his family in Oklahoma.

The book had a pretty dark first half–Lutie does a lot of things to survive and to heal some serious wounds in herself–but the final pages give the characters chances for redemption. ¬†I don’t generally mind dark books, and I’d probably read this again, but reading it the first time had me going “are these kids going to be OK? Because they better be, or I’m going to be¬†really irritated.

The Happiness Project:¬†This is one of my must-reads, and I’m reading it again. It’s a great kick in the pants for self-motivation to Do Better and Achieve Goals.

V.

And since we have book notes, let’s have some movie notes:

Still Alice:¬†The movie that won Julianne Moore her elusive Oscar is much better than I thought it would be. The book is good, but the movie is better–this falls into a small category of books and movies where this is true, for me (some of the others are¬†The Wizard of Oz, Gone With The Wind, and¬†Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). ¬†Moore plays Alice, a linguistic professor at Columbia who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Moore’s performance is realistic and sympathetic, but the other best part of the movie is Kristin Stewart’s role as Lydia, Moore’s “black sheep” daughter, who comes home to take care of her mother while her father (Alec Baldwin) moves to Minnesota to run a study at the Mayo Clinic. Stewart and Moore could be mother and daughter in real life, and they play beautifully off one another here. I loved how their¬†relationship evolved throughout the movie.

Panic Room: Yes, another Kristin Stewart movie! This time she plays Jodi Foster’s daughter in a thriller that places both of them at the mercy of three robbers. This is one of Stewart’s earliest film roles, and she and Foster are a believable mother daughter pair, complete with the sass and eye rolls. It’s a tidy thriller that ends somewhat predictably, but it’s a good movie to watch if you’re not up to following a complicated plot.

 VI.

CCD winds up this weekend. I’ll miss this class, which was much smaller than my previous class of 35 kids. But each year’s class has its own plusses and minuses, and this has been a pretty good group. I’m curious to see how many we have next year, since that affects the “arts and crafts” aspect of the curriculum. With a group of 35, you really can’t do too many art projects, but with 20, you can.

VII.

Can you believe we’re halfway through May already? I can’t. I swear things move faster as we get older.

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Seven Quick Takes Vol. 74

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I.

Welcome to a sunny spring day. ūüôā I just want to curl up in the puddles of sunshine like a cat. However, I will be sure to get out today and enjoy this weather!

II.

This week I’ve been really watching what I eat and weighing myself every morning. I know that does not sound like a load of fun. But for me it’s good to keep track on the numbers so I can adjust my plans when necessary. I want to lose a substantial (read: more than two pounds) amount of weight before my next clinic appointment in early June, so that means being on top of these things. I should¬†probably¬†do a Whole 30. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and I have the book upstairs, but….I keep saying “I love my coffee creamer!” (Which I do.)

The time has come, people, to just Do It. (Mayhap with modifications. Because me and dairy, we’re tight, and vitamin D/calcium are quite important for my bones given my CF history of malabsorption of vitamins. But I’ll ponder.)

I shall keep y’all updated.

III.

My new editorial calendar is all set up for the next few weeks, and I’m excited about this .

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Essentially, I’m working with Trello for my calendar. It’s a flow where I have my ideas column, then every step in between. This way I keep all my projects organized and I have a sense of what’s going where, when. It also means that this site and my author site (please follow!) will have regular, high-quality content being posted. That’s exciting!

Some of the topics coming up are: a tour of my office; confession 101; my writing process, and Jane Austen’s views on marriage.

IV.

It’s Donate Life month, y’all. As you know, I am a big supporter of organ donation, because without it, I’m not here. Really. I would’ve been dead before my twenty-fourth birthday. That’s pretty sobering stuff.

But because Suzanne, a woman in Minnesota, decided to be an organ donor, I am here, writing to you. ūüôā

There are more than 123,000 people on the waiting list for an organ donor. That’s more than the amount of people that can fit inside Ohio Stadium during an OSU game. 21 people die each day waiting for an organ–when I received my lungs, that number was 18.

To find out more about organ donation, go here. And please consider being an organ donor. I’ve had an entire¬†decade¬†of life I would not have gotten otherwise, thanks to my donor.

V.

For your viewing enjoyment:

A

VI.

I’m reading¬†Ivanhoe¬†right now, and I’m more than 60% done with it. I have to ask–Why is it called¬†Ivanhoe? Because he’s¬†barely been involved at all.¬†

VII.

I’m teaching the CCD kids about the Ascension this week. Since we covered the Assumption last week, they should be OK with this. We’re also throwing in a dash of apostolic succession, because,¬†why not?

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 71

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I.

I’m watching the tournament with my mom–she just had surgery so I’m here to help out around the house and answer the door for packages that may come. ūüôā ¬†We’re both rooting for Kansas to wi! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

II.

The knitting comes along splendidly. I’m on washcloth two and I’m really liking this project. As Ginny says, it’s easy comfort knitting.¬†

III.

I’m also finally catching up on my reading. I’ve been so behind lately, I don’t know¬†what¬†is going on. But I’m back to¬†Pilgrim’s Progress¬†and¬†Out Mutual Friend, and I’m also reading The Noonday Devil¬†for my spiritual reading bit. It’s actually amazingly good so far. I’m a nerd for things like this. Also, if you haven’t read¬†Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life, do it, because it’s great.

IV.

I tried, in vain, to watch¬†No Country for Old Men. I’m at a loss as to how people not only¬†like¬†this movie, but think it’s a¬†great ¬†movie. After the shoot-out at the motel, I was done. I can’t stand movies with no redeemable characters, and there was not a single one like that in this movie, except¬†maybe Carla, but I didn’t watch the end of the movie, so I dunno if she’s redeemable or not (But Kelly MacDonald was¬†by far¬†the best thing about the movie). Ugh. It made me feel like I had to take a shower after watching it. I do not understand it. I guess these movies aren’t for me.

V.

 However, I did see the new Live Action Cinderella this week and really liked it.Lily James and Richard Madden were great together (and I was glad to see that Robb Stark survived this movie :-P), and Sophie McShera was a scream. This is actually better than the animated version, in my opinion. So go see it and be happy.

Kit (Richard Madden) and Ella (Lily James) meet at the ball.

Kit (Richard Madden) and Ella (Lily James) meet at the ball.

Also the music is great! Go Patrick Doyle!

VI.

I played Scrabble with my Dad last night and I won. My first Scrabble win ever. You know why? Because it was Disney Scrabble. Which means that things like “Zurg” are acceptable words, and worth¬†bonus points.

So really, I can only win Scrabble when I can use my crazy Disney knowledge.

VII.

This week in CCD (the last until after Easter–we get two weeks off), I’m teaching the kids about Holy Week. Let the fun begin!

Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 65

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I.

Happy Friday again, y’all!

Here’s a quick wrap-up of some of this week’s posts, in case you missed them: Daybook, Yarn Along, The Open Guitar Case, Contemplation, How a Dominican Friar Prays (who happens to be one of my BFFs).

II.

There was also this special post. I am¬†so happy. Editing this manuscript went pretty well, except for some parts that made me think¬†why did I write this DRECK?! But that’s what editing is for….getting out all the crap. There are some entire sections that need to be seriously trashed and re-written, and the prospect there is sort of daunting. But first I’m working on adding a more solid ending, which was one of the big problems in the first go-round. One thing at a time, right? But for January, my goal was to just edit the firs two¬†parts¬†of the book, not the whole thing. So I am lightyears ahead there!

III.

Quick Oscar movie posts: I saw Gone Girl and How to Train Your Dragon 2. Gone Girl has one nomination (best actress for Rosamund Pike, who plays Amy), and How to Train Your Dragon 2 is nominated for Best Animated Feature.

I wasn’t really impressed with Pike in¬†Gone Girl. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a good actress, but I don’t think she was quite as creepy as the role requires her to be. I’m also not sure if that’s a fault of the writing/medium. In the book, she’s just¬†so¬†creepy. In the movie she’s borderline creepy. Also, the movie doesn’t do as good of a job fleshing out Amy and Nick’s¬†before.”¬†I know, movies are different than books, but in this case it just didn’t translate well. And with the competition in the best actress category, I don’t think Pike will win.

As far as¬†HTTYD2, I thought it was very well done, just as good as its predecessor. Gorgeous animation, great story. I’d need to see more of this category to predict, however.

IV.

If you’re looking for a great Lenten e-retreat, as it were, ladies, I give you this:

RESTORE.

I did this last year, and it was amazing. Please consider gifting this to yourself. It’s amazing.

V.

And yes, Lent. It’s coming soon, peeps. It’s early this year. May I direct you to my Lent series? ūüôā

VI.

And to round this out, some Christmas pics:

Me and my cousin Paige (who, incidentally, also asked me to be her Confirmation sponsor.)

Me and my cousin Paige (who, incidentally, also asked me to be her Confirmation sponsor.)

VII.

My cousin Kelly, and another cousin, Justin. These guys kill me.

My cousin Kelly, and another cousin, Justin. These guys kill me.

Seven Quick Takes No. 46

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I.

Happy Almost Divine Mercy Sunday! And almost two popes Canonization Day!

OK, I realize, if you’re not Catholic, you don’t care about the above two things, but….oh well. I am especially excited for the canonization of John Paul II. His Papacy covered the first 23 years of my life, and even now, it’s still sort of hard to think he’s not here anymore. He was a giant of his age (OK, any age, really). My parents were married under his reign, me and my siblings were born, I received all my sacraments…he colored everything during my growing-up years. Such witness. And I don’t think I need to say that his example in suffering has been incredibly helpful to me. Right now I’m reading his encyclical¬†Veritas Splendor–the Splendor of Truth. Having been growing up during his papacy, I obviously missed reading a lot of his writings as they initially came out. So I’m doing catch-up now.

II.

This post is one I really like. If you haven’t read it, would you please? ūüôā (End of blatant self-promotion, right there)

III.

CCD starts back up this week, and I’m the teacher of the week. We’re talking about the Ascension. There’s only four weeks left in the CCD year, which I’m having a hard time imagining. This year’s class has been a great group of kids and I’ll miss them.

IV.

Auditioning for¬†The Music Man¬†tonight–summer theater production. So dusting off the resume and the music books.

V.

Pulm Rehab is also going well. Today was supposed to be my last day but we extended it into May because I seemed to be making progress, and we don’t want to stop the progress train. ūüėõ Progress does not mean I’ll be running the Boston Marathon any time soon (read: EVER), so get that out of your head.

VI.

I’m hoping to get to the Met’s Live in HD presentation of Cosi Fan Tutti tomorrow. I’m not a huge Mozart fan, except for his operas, so I’m trying to see more of those (the only ones I’ve seen in Don Giovanni and Le Nozze Di Figaro). ¬†I love that the Met does this– basically, it’s the live performance streamed into movie theaters all over the world, so you get to see what the people in the opera house are seeing, without, you know, flying to NYC and paying lots of money. One of my bucket list items is to see a production¬†in¬†the house, but this is a good substitute until I get there.

VII.

Hoping to teach myself a new and better way to cast on knitting projects this weekend, because the one I use doesn’t really work. I need to have a better one in my repertoire for better projects!

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 35

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I.

What a week.

So we started with this, which lead to me being hermit-ish all week, which worked out well, because now I have a cold. ¬†Now in the grand scheme of my life, a cold is not a huge deal–even with a suppressed immune system–but since we’re doing Super Immunosuppression This Week, it’s a bit more of a Deal that usual. I’m hoping that I can get over it with a day and half of hermitness.

The Massive Steroid doses have stopped, praise Jesus, so maybe now I’ll stop wanting to eat the table?

II.

In addition to the steroid doses, there’s also two new antibiotics on board, which you would think would help with the cold thing, but….not so much so far. Oh well. At least I can take cold meds now; I couldn’t before, with CF, since the last thing you want is anything that’s a cough suppressant in any way.

III.

The huge benefit to all this, obviously, is that I’ve gotten to read a lot. ūüôā I ordered four Dickens novels from Amazon last week and they arrived, thankfully, on Monday, so I was able to read two of them. I’m hoping to get through¬†Pickwick Papers¬†today. Of course my overriding sentiment with Dickens is that his books would have been much better with an editor. I do realize that he wrote and got paid as a columnist for most of his writing. But still.

That being said, I really enjoyed Dombey and Son (much more than I thought I would, even if the titular son does, erm, disappear rather early), and I liked Old Curiosity Shop, although there is a clear instance of toooooo mannnnny characters. Oh well.

IV.

I do need to leave the hermit nest today, if briefly, to re-stock the kitchen. It’s going to get really cold again. When I say “really cold”, I mean temps below 0 sans wind chill.

I am aware it is winter. I am aware, in winter, it gets cold. I have lived in the state of Ohio my entire life, and I’m well-aware of this.

But I severely dislike cold that is in single digits, and below zero. And yes, I’m gonna complain about it. It’s pretty if I don’t have to go out into it (snow, anyway.). But it shouldn’t be like getting ready to go deep sea diving just to take out the trash. That’s ridiculous.

V.

Another thing I did this week was knit some bookmarks. I have actually gotten much better at this, and they LOOK LIKE bookmarks! Huzzah! The yarn is from Knit picks, and I think it’s been discontinued, sadly. It was called Imagination and had all sorts of fairy tale colors. I’ll have to put pictures up later. The two completed bookmarks are in “Unicorn”, with lots of baby pastels, and I’d like to knit one in “Loch Ness”, which is deeper blue, greens, browns–very Scottish looking.

VI.

In a sampling of why you will never be totally prepared for CCD in 1st grade, this is what the kids asked last week (small sampling):

“When did St. Joseph die?”¬†(we don’t know, but before Jesus began His public ministry at age 30)

“How did St. Joseph die?” (Again, don’t know)

“How did Mary die?”¬†(Explanation of the Assumption)

“When we use holy water, are we re-baptizing ourselves?” (Explanation of sacramentals)

VII.

And, finally: this.

Praise Jesus. An anthem singer I can tolerate!

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 31

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I.

Happy St. Cecilia’s Day!

She is the patroness of all musicians, so I love this feast. And here’s the poem for this day, by John Dryden.

II.

Last March, you may remember I visited the Dominicans of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN. So happy patronal feast day to all the sisters there as well!

Statue of St. Cecilia at the Nashville Dominican Motherhouse.

Statue of St. Cecilia at the Nashville Dominican Motherhouse.

III.

I know I have been terrible AWOL here lately, but between NaNoWriMo (I’m still chugging away, less than 20K words to go!) and random chaos, the blog muses haven’t been hanging around. I’m hoping that changes soon. NaNo takes most of my writing energy at the moment.

IV.

Last week’s adorable CCD quote:

Me: (Talking about the fourth commandment) And how do we honor our parents?
Anthony: We don’t stick our tongues out at them.

I love my class so, so much. And we managed to get through the entire story of Moses (well, minus the vivid plague descriptions) and the 10 commandments in one day! This week we’re covering the Annunciation and talking about Advent, since we’re off next week for Thanksgiving break.

V.

Speaking of that–how the heck is it less than one week to Thanksgiving?! WOW! Fortunately I have inherited my mother’s early shopping gene, so I’m about done with my Christmas gifts. I still need to get two more things but I’m ordering those today. For Turkey Day, “we are going out to eat”, and I’m taking Pure Barre class that morning so I can eat sans guilt. ūüôā

VI.

Reading: I’m re-reading the Royal Diaries and still in Abandonment to Divine Providence. And I have a beef with B&N.

B&N: I love you. But please put only NEW books (as in, released in the past month) in the “new books’ section, ¬†not books that were released in¬†March¬†and thus are not new anymore, and then it’s hard to find legitimately¬†new books. Pleaaase fix this! Why do you do this?!

VII.

Watched¬†Man of Steel¬†this week. I generally really liked it. How could I not with three of my favorite actors in it (Amy Adams, Henry Cavill and Russell Crowe?) But I did find two essentially back to back scenes of massive fighting and destruction a bit…wearying. But I know much less about Superman than I do about say, Batman, so maybe this is how it goes?