Kelli O’Hara: “To Build A Home”

Kelli O’Hara singing the opening number from Jason Robert Brown’s new musical, “The Bridges of Madison County”.
(This is amazing, peeps.)


Catholic Women’s Daybook No. 59

Outside my window::

It’s a bit overcast. That’s OK. It’s supposed to get up to nearly 86 this week. BAZINGA!

Yeah. I’m SO not complaining. Ever.


jeans and a t-shirt. Nothing fancy yet. 🙂


Finished St. Faustina’s Diary (yay!), now reading In Paradise and beginning to get books together for the Florida trip in A MONTH!!!!!! So far I’ve got The Lullaby of Polish Girls and The Orchardist. I want to add The Gargoyle and Mrs. Dalloway from my stash, and of course there shall be Jane, because I do the Great Jane Re-Read every summer. The question is what book I’ll be on by then. I start the re-read Memorial Day weekend and usually I get through Sense and Sensibility, at least, over that period of time. So I think Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park will probably get packed. We’re driving, so I will need books. 🙂 And books by the pool, of course.

In the CD player::

The Music Man, mostly. Because, yeah, I have to learn the music. 🙂 I know most of it, obviously. I mean, most kids who grow up loving musicals do or see Music Man at some point in their formative years. Now it’s more like learning the parts (for pieces like Iowa Stubborn, for example), and polishing words (“we can be cold as OUR falling thermometers in December” as opposed to “we can be cold as A falling thermometer in December”, which is how I’d always heard it!).


And segueing right into this. 🙂 Last weekend we had our organizational meeting on Friday. We were measured for costumes, had head shots/ group photos taken (in my case, group photo, of the Pick-A-Little ladies), paid fees, ordered t-shirts, and were given a run-down of how rehearsals will work.

Saturday we had a table read. I love table reads. What a “table read” is: you go through the entire show, start to finish, to see what’s going on and get a “lay of the land”, so to speak. From my perspective, I didn’t have to stay the whole time, because at a certain point my person doesn’t have any more lines to worry about. (That’s typical for Act II in most musicals.) So we were let go a bit before the end. I got music for a few of our pieces–more copies at Friday rehearsal!–and then I took them home and started working on them. So music practice is now a part of my daily routine.

This week I have rehearsal on Friday, when we start blocking the opening sequence for the ensemble (Iowa Stubborn). So it’s a blocking/music rehearsal.

Around the house::

Sweeping, dusting, mopping, trash out–the usual Monday stuff.

From the kitchen::

Right now I have a bowl of oatmeal and strawberries in front of me, and coffee, so you can’t go wrong with that. Lunch is going to be either peanut soup or sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. Dinner is at the parental units. I have to meal plan for the rest of the week before I go to Pulm Rehab today.


Yes, another week of Pulm Rehab commences!  Today is PT and OT. Last week I’d lost another pound, which was exciting for all of us, so we want to continue the trend this week (see “food”, above. 🙂 ).

Plans for the week::

Lunch with mom and a family friend tomorrow; Rehab on W and Friday; rehearsal Friday night, and La Cenerentola Live in HD from the Met on Saturday. I’m really excited about this because I love Joyce DiDonato, who is singing Cinderella.






Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 43

Outside my window::

A good 3-4″ of fresh white powder from a “dusting” this morning. The weathermen here seem to be living in Wonderland; we call for a big storm, we get limited snow, we call for a dusting, we get dumped on (well, a bit. It’s a dumping when you’re expecting less than an inch!). Opposite day, anyone?

I agree with Olaf:


Nutmeg colored boots; black v-neck, empire waist dress, and a cranberry camisole under it, with my Our Lady of Knots and St. Thomas Aquinas medals.

In the CD player::

FrozenYeah. I probably need to switch it out.


One Thousand White Women; A Dance With Dragons; Outlander (again); Come Lord Jesus, The Greatest Gift

Keeping Advent::

Went to confession on Saturday. Score! Also the last two books above are Advent devotionals.

Christmas prep::

Working on that last Christmas scarf, and a few more cards to send out.

From the kitchen::

Girls’ dinner party on Saturday, so: salad, St. Lucia buns, and beef and cider pot for that. Saturday is St. Lucia’s day, so let’s party with buns, since I am Italian, bien sur!

Around the house::

I need to start wrapping gifts. I am horrible at this. Once I was about nine, my dad had me wrap my mom’s presents. I didn’t do too well, but….so I am not the world’s best gift wrapper. I do, however, have AWESOME paper with the Grinch and various characters on it. (For the roots of my Grinch love, go here, number 6)


The novel is resting. In January I start revisions.


…I ask you to take this very deeply into your prayer, so that we are not just facilely mouthing, “Come, come!” without realizing what we are saying. Then each “Come” would ring very hollow in heaven. We want it to fill the world; we want to reach out to all the world, so that is says, “Come!”  If we open wide, he will come in; he will grow within us, in each of our lives and in the life of our community, and we will be able to respond with joy to everything his coming asks for us, expected, unexpected; ordinary or extraordinary; predictable or unpredictable. He will come in and give us the strength as he says, “I will take my repast with him; I will take supper with him, if he lets me in.” Then we will be nourished unto the fullness of him whom we have allowed to come into our souls, whom we have allowed to come into us both in himself and through the sisterhood.”

–Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. “Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting”, Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent

Plans for the week::

Dinner party on Saturday

Girls’ night and gift exchange on Friday with Tiffy (movie night!)

Gaudete Sunday and last CCD class until 2014!

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 23



This is the transplant anniversary and Les Miz post. 🙂 On Monday I went to Children’s for day one of my annual testing. This included blood work, chest x-ray, PFTs, a six minute walk, and a bone density scan, as well as a talk with my doctors, the social worker, and the dietician on the team.

The social worker can help with any sort of insurance questions, family support, etc., that you may need. I had a few questions regarding the Finance Office, but other than that, I’m easy for her. 🙂 The dietician and I touched base about my activity level and diet. My doctors are very pleased with how I’m doing. My PFTs are stable, and my bone density is actually normal! Go cheese !

The only thing that wasn’t normal was my triglyceride level. I’ve always had high triglycerides, as do a lot of people in my family (on my mom’s side), so this is genetic and also medicinially based (the immunosuppressants give you high cholesterol, no matter what.) We’ve tried lots of statins (drugs to reduce your cholesterol, like Lipitor) and I just can’t tolerate them. I have awful bone pain and extreme lethargy.

So the team was powwowing about the results and one of my docs said, “Let’s try red wine.” No, I’m not kidding. So I’m supposed to have one glass (maximum) of red wine a day. That’s a prescription I an willing to try, right? 🙂 So–here comes the wine!


The transplant anniversary is always a mighty powerful day. It’s a day of resurrection, of new chances, of celebrating being alive. (Cue the song from Company)

(yeah, video clip!)

Or, as Emily Webb said in Our Town: “Do humans ever realize why they live it? Every, every minute?”


This year the transplant anniversary fell on our last day of Les Miz tech week. We were warming up, preparing to go on, when my friend Bethany steps up and starts talking about me….and I turn bright red. One of the girls gave me a bouquet of flowers and Doug, our Javert, led everyone in singing happy anniversary to me. I was so touched by this. My friend Abby and our director, Robin, were also behind this scheme. I felt so loved. Afterwards a lot of people asked me questions (including the 11 year old playing Gavroche), and I was happy to  answer them. I just felt so wonderful. Thanks to all of you (again!)


Also on my anniversary, I got to have lunch with my transplant nurse, Karen, and her precious little girls. I just love spending time with her. She was a great nurse and she’s also a fantastic friend. Her little girls are 5 and 2, and they are adorable and fun. They also have two Westies that I adore (except for when one of them brings me dead Rabbits that he’s killed, but that’s another story…) And Karen’s husband is pretty awesome, too. Basically I just love that family. A true gift of Transplant has been getting to know them!


So this year was the 8 year anniversary. That’s a pretty darn good milestone, given that only about half of the lung transplant patients make it to 5 years. Lung transplants are not done nearly as often as other organs, so we’re still setting precedents, in a sense. 🙂 There’s so much we still don’t know about transplant science, in general. So I’m very glad that I’m doing so well.


Opening night for Les Miz was last night. We had a full house (really. Full house) and got an immediate standing ovation after the finale. I clutched hands with the girl next to me–we were so happy and proud and excited. It was truly a memorable night. Tomorrow and tonight are the last two performances.


A few fun transplant facts for you: My surgery was over 12 hours long; My lungs were too big for me, so my center trimmed them; they came from Minnesota, from a 50ish year old woman who died of a brain aneurysm. I am so thankful to her and her family for giving me the ability to sit here and type to y’all. 🙂

The Eiffel Tower is outside my window

Well, OK, not the real one. (Sorry.) The EPCOT one.

I’m writing in the middle of my Disney vacation, from the Beach Club Resort, which is our home base, and also really close to EPCOT. From our window you can see Spaceship Earth to the left, and the Eiffel Tower to the right. It’s a pretty great view, I have to say.

We are having a great time here in Disney World. We got here on Sunday afternoon after driving through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, and I just fell in love. The entire first floor smells like orchids, due to the gorgeous fresh flower arrangements that are everywhere. Our housekeeper is a cross between Ethel and Tinkerbell–she’s as fastidious as any Downton maid, but also does magical things, like make towel sculptures and arrange my Disney bear, Duffy, in a different place each morning. 🙂 The cast members (you are not a Disney employee. You are a Disney CAST MEMBER!) who work in the lobby are unfailingly helpful and cheerful.

The pool complex is amazing. So far I’ve spent every morning there, exploring the different pools (There are at least four) and their features, from a sandy bottom, to whirpools (yes, a real whirpool) and fountains. It really is magical.

And, of course, beaches and cream. Oh my gosh, Beaches and Cream.  I have had thus far: two hot dogs, two cheeseburgers, and the Milky way Sundae (no, not all at the same time! Four different meals. It’s great for lunch and we had dinner here on Monday.) Dad and I sat at the counter on Monday and watched the servers make the Kitchen Sink sundae, which is unreal. It’s every flavor of ice cream they have, plus all the toppings they have. When it’s served ambulance-like flashing lights come on and people applaud. Seeing kids’ faces when it’s placed in front of them is so much fun. They cannot believe the amount of sugar that is being laid before them.

Yesterday we did the Magic Kingdom, and tonight is Epcot. I will post pictures once I’m home, and attendant stories, but here are two for you:

    • When I was in Bonjour! gifts in the new Fantasyland, the cast member who was checking me out noticed my celebration button. Disney provides free buttons at the park entrances for people to wear for special occassions: birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoons, family reunions, first visits, and a general “I’m celebrating” button. Since this trip is also celebrating my eight year transplant anniversary, I grabbed the general “I’m celebrating” button. So the cast member asked me what I was celebrating. I said that it was my eight year lung transplant anniversary. Unbelieveably: this guy had just had his own transplant, eight months ago, also double lung! I was amazed. We were talking about that whilehe wrapped my items. He’s from Michigan so not far from my home turf. He also gave me eight Beauty and the Beast stickers. 🙂
    • Also, due to the “I’m celebrating” button: I had the grey stuff at Be Our Guest. If you don’t know what that is:

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Holy Week and Easter notes and sundries

Easter cookies

  • Hope you all had a wonderful Easter! Mine consisted of 10:30 Mass and lunch at the local Buca di Beppo with my parents and my siblings and their significant others. There was much Italian food eaten and many leftovers brought home. 
  • It finally warmed up over the past few days and we’ve had sun and spring temps. Welcome Spring.
  • Go back and read the Easter Gospel, and notice how many times John says he beat Peter to the tomb. We get it, John. You da man. You are faster than Peter. Everyone for thousands of years can rejoice in that. 🙂
  • I love my parish, but I don’t think I can go there for Good Friday anymore, because they chant the Passion and it makes me absolutely insane. It shouldn’t take six notes to say “Who”. Really? Maybe it’s because I’m fasting, but I’m hungry, I’m cranky, let’s go. I had an appointment with my dermatologist (every six months, Oh Joy, since we transplant folk are at a much higher risk for skin cancer than the normal population) so I didn’t get to stay for the whole thing. But the chanted Passion is like nails down the back of my spine. Uggggggh.
  • I went shopping for a bit with my parents last night and got two birthday gifts: A Vera Bradley case for my iPad mini and one of their cosmetic bags for packing purposes for the upcoming Florida Adventure. Good thing we’re taking the car. I have so much stuff I need to bring with me that the carryon is always bulging full of meds and another medical materials. It’s definitely easier than pre-transplant, but it’s still more stuff than the Average Bear travels with when they fly.
  • Saturday was the anniversary of the premiere of Fraggle Rock, so I had this in my head all day:

(not that Fraggles are EVER a bad thing…)

  • This week: Ballet class, and cleaning, and the cable guy coming….nothing major on the schedule. My birthday is next Tuesday so we will verily rejoice then. 🙂
  • As far as this week’s food: I’ve got it scribbled out here, but I do need to revamp my veggies and fruits for the upcoming week, because they are basically gone.
  • I am reading the first Game of Thrones book, and I have to admit, I’m liking it more than I thought I would. Normally “adult” fantasy makes me lift my eyebrows and go “really, folks?” but this is good stuff thus far.
  • My easter dress–I’ll have to post a picture later–was a lavender colored one from Boden with a white dot pattern that matched my pearl necklace pretty well. 🙂 I wore that with a cardigan and black patent-leather heels. Doesn’t matter how old I get–I want a new dress for Christmas and Easter. 🙂 There were some girls at church today with their Easter Hats, which is always excellent.

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 12



So last weekend was all about Nashville! If you haven’t read the Nashville posts, you can find them all conveniently listed here. (I realize that links here can be hard to see–they’re sort of a forest green. So trust me when I say, it’s there. 🙂 )


After the retreat, the sisters were lovely to send us a follow-up email with the group picture, a booklist, and some more spiritual direction tips. The first is “the heroic minute”–getting up right when the alarm goes off. (I think St. Josemaria is the one who named it thus.) Let me tell you, it’s indeed heroic. I like that snooze button waaaaay too much.


The book list was pretty awesome. I’ll share it with you in a later post, because it’s among my Nashville papers that I still haven’t organized. The Summa is on it, however, and I am making progress there–I’ve read about 100 pages. One of the things the sisters do every day is 15 minutes of spiritual reading, so I’ve adapted that habit for my “studious” spiritual reading–the stuff that requires my total focus and brain power. The Summa is definitely that.


So the other big thing this week: Pope Francis! I must say, I am really dismayed with how some Church traditionalists are getting on the guy for not wearing certain things (an amice? What the heck, folks). To me, he looks like John Paul II in his attire, and in his habits. But I have recently found out some didn’t like his approach to liturgy either. Sigh.

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth reiterating: Just because I attend an NO (Novus Ordo, the “English” Mass) that doesn’t mean I don’t like and want good liturgy. I do not like guitar Masses. I do not want puppets or dancing or any crazy vestments. God deservers proper, reverent worship. I believe that can happen in English. At my parish, we have chant. We have good preaching (Dominicans, bien sur!), we have devotion. You can have the NO and have it. So the EF (extraordinary form, the Latin Mass, the Tridentine Mass, whatever you want to call it) is not the only way to have reverence.

Are all parishes like this? Oh, my goodness, no. And I wish that would change. I think the new translation will be very helpful in restoring some lost reverence in these places.

Let us not criticize our brand new Pontiff because he doesn’t chant blessings, he doesn’t wear certain things, etc., etc. He seems very holy, devoted to prayer and Our Lady, and otherwise a solid man. I don’t know much about him; I imagine few lay people do. But let’s stop. the.freak.out. NOW.


So Rite of Spring is next week. Have I told you about this? Our symphony and ballet companies are joining forces to put on this tempestuous classic of dance and music. Since the riot at the 1913 premier, the original choreography is lost, and it’s rarely performed, especially with both complete symphony and ballet company together. We are so fortunate to see it here in Columbus! I have been waiting about a year for this, ever since it was announced last March.

If you aren’t familiar with the Rite of Spring: it’s the dinosaur segment from Fantasia.

(This is the final segment, not the beginning; I tried to find the beginning but YouTube was not obliging for what I wanted. The beginning, though, is recognizable from its very high, strange bassoon part.)


I’m re-reading the Percy Jackson series. “I kissed the poodle. You kiss the poodle.” I just crack up laughing. Great stuff, even if I am totally outside of the target age range. 🙂


I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April! So excited. This time I think I’m planning a YA novel, with my dad’s mom’s as the inspiration for one of the main characters (don’t worry, Dad, it’s good!). I’m really excited about this one!