Emily M. DeArdo

writer

The Annunciation

CatholicismEmily DeArdoComment
Jean Hay ,  The Annunciation ,  1490/95., oil on panel.

Jean Hay, The Annunciation, 1490/95., oil on panel.

Happy solemnity of the Annunciation!

(If you’re a Tolkien fan, you know today was the day the Ring was destroyed….so go watch Return of the King today.)

I thought I’d share some poetry with you today. I don’t generally do this, but there’s a lot of good stuff about the Annunciation, so, to the poets!

John Donne, Divine Poems, 2. Annunciation


 Salvation to all that will is nigh;

That All, which always is all everywhere,

Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,

Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,

Lo! faithful Virgin, yields Himself to lie       

 In prison, in thy womb; and though He there

Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He’ll wear,

Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.

Ere by the spheres time was created thou

Wast in His mind, who is thy Son, and Brother;        

Whom thou conceivest, conceived; yea, thou art now

Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother.

Thou hast light in dark, and shutt’st in little room

Immensity, cloistered in thy dear womb.

And some Rilke. In this one, the angel Gabriel is the speaker.

Annunciation
The Angel speaks


You are not closer to God than we
We’re all from Him so far

Yet with such sweet wonder

Your hands blessed are.

So do they ripen, so they shimmer

from the sleeves as by no woman before.

I am the day, I am the dew,

But Thou,

Thou art the Tree.


I'm weary, for the way was long

Forgive me, I forgot

What He, who sits in gold array as in the sun sent me to say,

You thoughtful one

(great space bewilders me)

You see: I am the beginning

But Thou,

Thou art the Tree.


Wide I spread the arc of my flight

I found myself so strange and far

And now your little house is drowned

in the folds of my great, bright dress.

And yet you’re alone as never before

You don’t see me at all

As if: I’m a breath of wind in the wood

But Thou

Thou art the Tree.


All the angels fear like this

Let one another go:

Never had we such desire

Uncertain yet so great

Perhaps that something happens soon

You only know in dreams

Hail, for thus my soul now sees:

You ready and so ripe.

You, Lady, are the great, high door

that soon shall open wide.

You, most beloved ear to my song

Now I feel: my word is lost

in you as in a wood.


So I came and I fulfilled

A thousand and one dreams

God looked at me; bedazzled me…

But Thou

Thou art the Tree.

Seven Quick Takes from the New Place

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

linking up with Kelly!

I.

Recent posts from these parts:

Meet Orchard House
The contract came!

II.

This video is right on, in all ways:

“That’s compassion!”

“That’s eugenics.”

III.

New desk here. For your Home Town fans: quarter sawn white oak, yo!!!

IMG_8520.JPG

IV.

There are two more boxes that need unpacked, but everything has been sort of a blur this week so I’m sort of delaying that. A bit. Maybe. :)

V.

I had clinic on Monday and things are pretty good. lung function is stable. My A1c (a measure of sugar in your blood, over time, to put it really basically) is trending upward, though, so that means I’m going back to checking my blood sugar a few times a day, and we’re going to tweak the diet. Yay. My enthusiasm is noted. Essentially, the last three months were stress-tastic so there was stress eating and all sorts of other not-great health decisions, so I have to be much more disciplined in this area.

Well, it is Lent. So being penitential is cool right now. So, into the gym and into a stricter diet I go….

VI.

I re-read the Ramona Quimby books this week, because Ramona is good comfort reading, right? :) She’s also good quick reading.

VII.

I lived in my old place for about 14 years, so one of the things I have to get used to now is new traffic patterns/timing. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get places anymore, because new traffic over here! So that’s been a little stressful since I had two doctor’s appointments this week (the above mentioned clinic and my dermatologist). But I know I’ll figure it out…eventually.



I Never Want to Get Used to This

behind the scenes, the bookEmily DeArdoComment

I came home from grocery shopping yesterday and found a box against my door.

7FAAFDB7-9580-4BDE-BCCE-F5697D701CA8.jpg
B1D899A3-0D74-41E9-93B4-BFB398C99487.jpg

This is the box that holds my contract, as well as some AMP swag (yay swag!) and other notes that are important in the Writing of The Book.

I still really can’t entirely believe this is happening.


And yes, the book is being written. The contract will be signed and mailed today so yay!


Orchard House

essays, Orchard HouseEmily DeArdo1 Comment
3D0C6A97-5AD0-48AA-8C15-7B54A5726192.jpg
IMG_8493.JPG
IMG_8513.JPG
IMG_8516.JPG
IMG_8499.JPG

I’ve decided to call the new place Orchard House, for a few reasons.

One, Little Women was the first “adult” book I read, back in third grade, and it’s always resonated with me, in various stages. As a kid, I liked Amy, because she looked like me (the blonde). Of course I evolved into Jo, the writer; Beth, the one who stayed behind, was also relevant for a lot of my life, although I’ve never been that sweet, and she played piano, which I do (sort of—I’m self-taught). Meg, the oldest, has also had resonance over the years.

Also, Orchard House was a cozy place of creation—the girls were always making something—but it was a home. Sort of idealized, yes, but a comfortably, cozy, safe place. Who doesn’t like that idea?

And of course, there will be lots of writing happening here. So I’ll be channeling Jo in her attic room. Although my room isn’t an attic and it’s a bit nicer.

I  love  my desk!

I love my desk!


So, a snapshot of the new place, and it’s name. More decorating photos to come, but I wanted to introduce you!

The Week of Everything

essaysEmily DeArdoComment
A gorgeous rose from the bouquet my brother and sister in law sent me, celebrating the book!

A gorgeous rose from the bouquet my brother and sister in law sent me, celebrating the book!

This is the week of everything.

I’ve started writing the book.

I will sign the contract this week.

I’m moving.

Yup, it’s a lot.

But in the midst of all this good stress (and it is good stress), I’m really thankful for my body.

And that’s weird for me to say, because normally, my body and I are at odds. It’s not perfect, by any standard. And it never will be. It’s always going to be ‘Healthy for me’, which is not healthy for anyone else, generally.

But right now, it’s able to take out big bags of trash, and go under beds and cabinets, and pack boxes, and clean toilets. It’s slow going, because my knee never really recovered from the meds last fall, which messed it up, and I still only have 54% lung function (which is so much better than 19%, don’t get me wrong!), so I don’t work as quickly as someone else might.

But my body can do these things. And I’m really grateful for that. It can do these physical tasks, and I can type these words.

So even though it’s the week of Everything, and I’m running around like a crazy person, I’m glad I can run around like a crazy person.

No yarn along this week, and no quick takes, because it’s The Week of Everything!

But next week, maybe a tour of the new place?

Did That Really Just Happen?

writing, the bookEmily DeArdo4 Comments
Jo's novel .jpg

Well, guys.

It happened.

I have a book contract.


Yes. IT’S TRUE!!!!!

I’m going to write a book for Ave Maria Press, uniting my story with a Way of the Cross. The book is tentatively titled The Way of Your Cross, and it’s devotional in nature. It’s going to incorporate Pope St. John Paul II’s Salvific Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering), Scripture, all sorts of stuff.

I am thrilled to death. And also flabbergasted. And….just amazed. It’s sort of like the world’s best caffeine high.

I’ve been going around the world like Belle in the bookshop.


I mean, it’ll be a real book! On REAL SHELVES! That people can REALLY GO TO A STORE AND BUY!

I feel a lot like Jo in Little Women. “I'‘M AN AUTHOR!!!!”

I can’t quite process this.

(Last GIF, I swear:

The book will be for sale next Lent, we’re hoping. That’s the goal.

Now I have to write the thing.

Obviously I will keep you updated! If you want to know about book stuff FIRST, then please sign up to follow the blog, so you get all the news first!

Thank you for all the support and prayers, everyone! It means the world to me!



Ash Wednesday Yarn Along!

books, knitting, Lent, yarn alongEmily DeArdo2 Comments

It’s Yarn Along Time!!!! :)

And it’s Ash Wednesday, so happy Lent to you! And yes, I do mean “happy” Lent. I really like Lent, probably because: 1) I’m a spring baby, and 2) I was born on Good Friday. So, I like Lent. And I also need discipline every once in awhile (who doesn’t), and the spiritual rigor of it, the peeling away of the non-essential, is a good thing.

Anyway, to the yarn!

IMG_8425.JPG
IMG_8426.JPG


OK, so the details:

This is the Feile shawl, which I am loving. I love how the stripes change—do you see how they had a sort of neat pattern going on, and then switch to solid stripes? Love that. Eventually, the contrast color, the blue, will become the dominant color as I work toward the end of the shawl, with the white being the contrast. This is a really easy shawl, but the fun is in the slight pattern changes. The thing that’s going to be a pain is all the end weaving in! But oh well.

I’m using Frabjous Fibers yarn, the Mad Hatter base (sport weight). The white speckled is Victorian China, and the blue is called “Muchness” (seriously, isn’t that great?). I’m using Knitpicks sunstruck needles, size 4, on one of their interchangeable cables.

The book is a great one for Lent, I think: Catherine Doherty’s The People of the Towel and Water. It’s about doing every day activities as prayer—really being present in the moment, and allowing everything you do to be prayer, working for God, even when you’re sweeping or cleaning or writing (or knitting!). Catherine founded Madonna House, and I’ve been reading some of her writing lately. I recommend it!

Listen Up! (For World Hearing Day)

essays, health, hearing lossEmily DeArdoComment
(c) Wikipedia

(c) Wikipedia

World Hearing Day was yesterday, and so I thought I’d put up links to the post I wrote last year, about my CI and how it works and ways people can make hearing better for everyone!

So if you missed them the first time:

Part I: How I lost my hearing

Part II: How the Cochlear Implant Works

Part III: Living with a CI

Part IV: Accommodations, i.e., the post that you should read even if you don’t read any of the others!


I am (hopefully!) getting my CI upgraded in the next few months. The current processor I have has been “obsoleted”, meaning that if it breaks, Cochlear (the company who makes my processor) won’t fix it, they won’t sell any more replacement parts for it, etc. Now, they do this, in part, so that insurance companies will pay for new processors, because if it can’t be fixed anymore, then, yeah. Probably need an upgrade. This one should be better and allow me to hear more, but I have no idea until I get it. :) I do know that it will have bluetooth capability so it can stream my iPhone sound directly into my processor, and this might be a big thing. We’ll see what happens and I’ll let you know!

And thinking about my CI is timely because of a conversation I had in a lung transplant group on facebook. We were talking about the toxicity of a certain class of meds, and that they are crazy hard on the body. Some people were adamant that they would never take a drug in that class.

But here’s the thing—all meds are toxic at some point. They just are. Tylenol is! I knew that the ototoxic drugs were destroying my hearing. But I decided I’d rather be alive, than dead with great hearing. It’s about choices. And sometimes, yes, you just have to cut out a class of drugs. The meds I took over the fall for a sinus infection have pretty much messed up my right knee permanently. I’m not really happy about that. But you know, I like being alive, I like that we managed to stop the infection without it 1) getting into my lungs and 2) requiring the big guns of IV meds and /or hospitalization.

It’s a trade off.



Seven Quick Takes--Bits and Pieces

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo4 Comments
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

—1—

So the month of February has been STRESS CITY and I’m glad it’s over and I’m back to sleeping properly. :) I had to record a talk, which I was nervous about, and then I had book proposal stuff to do, and then I have MOVE stuff to do, and while all this stuff is good stuff, it’s also a lot, so whew. But things have calmed down a bit and I’m back to being stressed but not insanely so.

—2—

The book proposal is going to the publisher groups today for them to look over. Please pray for it?

—3—

One of the reasons I think I was stressed is that I couldn’t knit! I was waiting for a special order of yarn to come in so I could get back to my knitting project, and now that it has, I can knit again!

D0758D11-A1AF-46A0-ABFC-EF37E4C06FF4.jpg

It looks sort of messy because of all the little tails, but it’ll be fine. :) This is the Feile shawl, which uses a variegated yarn and a solid color. It’s a really easy pattern and already I’m thinking about the variations I can do on this theme.

The yarn is INCREDIBLY yummy—it’s Frabjous Fibers Wonderland Yarns, Mad Hatter base (sport, which is a little heavier than the fingering yarn that’s called for). The speckled is in Victorian China, and the blue is Muchness. It’s a gorgeous blue, really sort of blue violet, bluebell-y color, and I adore it. I could wear this color all the time! So I have a feeling this shawl is going to get a lot of wear.

—4—

Moving is rapidly coming up and I’m in the stage where I want to throw out everything except books and yarn and tea and just start again. :-P (Well, and my bed. ETc.) There are boxes and bags everywhere, it’s definitely chaotic around here!

—5—

I’m really late to the party but I’ve been watching Best Picture nominees (Green Book won, if you missed that). I’ve seen Black Panther and A Star Is Born so far, and Roma is next.

Black Panther was….good, but not Best Picture good, in my opinion. I’m not really a Marvel comic book person so watching the movie I had to infer a lot, which I generally don’t like, but I understand I’m not the target audience. I loved the costumes and the sibling relationship was the best part. But the actual action seemed….slow, to me. I know, again, I’m not the target audience. But not good.

—6—

I did, however, really like A Star Is Born, and I didn’t think I would, because I am loyal to the Judy Garland Version, and it’s still a better version because, hello, “The Man That Got Away” and freaking Judy Garland. BUT—this version was good. Good pacing, I surprisingly liked the music, and the acting was solid, even remarkable at times.

Yes, there was too much swearing.

BUT, I really did like this movie. Last scene? Total goosebumps.

—7—

Do you have Hosanna for Lent yet? Go get it!


For Lent: Hosanna

Take Up and Read, Lent, prayerEmily DeArdo1 Comment
10787680640_IMG_7970.JPG

Hosanna is the new Take Up & Read offering for Lent, and she is so lovely!

I know I say that about all our books, but guys, she really is.

ESSENTIALS:

Hosanna covers the Gospel of Matthew
It runs from Ash Wednesday (ahem, next week!) to Easter Monday, so it’s the entire season of Lent!
Extra deep dives on the Beatitudes (photo below), and special Scripture for the triduum!

A variety of contributors, as always, and gorgeous art by Kristin Foss.
Plenty of space for journaling!

Available on Amazon

10786909248_IMG_7960.JPG

SCRIPTURE MEMORY every week.

10787653408_IMG_7958.JPG

Here are the deep dive into the Beatitudes pages!

10787663968_IMG_7950.JPG

Daily Scripture written out, with plenty of room for lectio divina on the next page.

10787667616_IMG_7955.JPG

On Saturday, we give you a selah day , meaning time to relax and go back and do pages you may have missed, or just check in with yourself, your spiritual life, and how the week went for you.

All of these books are a true labor of love—we love writing them and making them for you, but we really love sharing God’s Word with you! Come join us this Lent!

Got $20? You can feed a child for an entire YEAR!

Catholicism, essays, LentEmily DeArdoComment

I am a BIG fan of Mary’s Meals, and you should be, too! Let me tell you why.

(Also, SUPER cute video at the bottom!)

One of the Mary’s Meals t-shirts I picked up at the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference last weekend.

One of the Mary’s Meals t-shirts I picked up at the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference last weekend.

As we approach Lent, people start to think about Lenten penances, and the pillars of Lent: Almsgiving, Fasting, and Prayer. We should think about these things all year, of course, but especially during Lent, when we prepare for Christ’s Death and we imitate His 40 days in the desert.

It’s sobering to think about people who do not have enough to eat, who are truly starving. Not just “food insecure”, but really, truly, starving. People who will not eat on a daily basis. According to World Vision, one in eight people in the developing world do not have enough to eat.

Mary’s Meals has a simple idea: One nutritious meal every day for a child in a place of education.

Children who are hungry can’t learn. That seems obvious, right? You can’t think if you’re starving.

64 MILLION children around the world who are hungry can’t attend school—they have to beg for their food instead.

Mary’s Meals wants to stop that—they want to help children LEARN and be fed.

So, in 18 country around the world, they set up food serving stations at schools, run by local volunteers, who feed the children a nutritious meal every school day. In some places, it’s an actual school. In others, like in India, it’s “non-formal education centers”, like railway platforms, where kids learn and eat. In Madagascar, they actually feed children in prison, because in the prisons, the food service isn’t consistent. The kids learn and get fed.

Feeding one child for an entire school year costs $19.50.

That’s it! $20 feeds a child who otherwise wouldn’t eat. And when they eat, they are better equipped to learn, and as they learn, they can get out of poverty, get a job, and help themselves and their families break the cycle of crushing poverty.

Currently, Mary’s Meals is feeding more than one million children around the world! Which is amazing, but there is still more work to be done.

Magnus McFarlane-Barrow, the founder and CEO of Mary’s Meals, spoke at the conference last weekend, and he is passionate about feeing these children, about making a difference, and it’s so simple to do. This isn’t a hard thing. They will do anything to get these kids food; in Haiti, they deliver food to the foot of a mountain and carry the food up to the school settlement! Even though Mary’s Meals is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, and Magnus is Catholic, the schools serves everyone, not just religious schools.

This Lent, I think it’s a great idea to support Mary’s Meals however you can. Maybe you eat a simple meal and save the money you would’ve spent on going out—do that once a week, and at the end, give the money to Mary’s Meals. Maybe you can hold a bake sale or a fundraiser at your school. There are lots of ways to help!

Donate right here. Think about it. $20—a movie ticket and a soda, or an entree at a nice restaurant—that can feed a kid for an entire year. That makes a huge difference in a child’s life.

To find out more, watch Child 31, the documentary about Mary’s Meals:

And the follow-up, Generation Hope:




And if you like the actor Gerard Butler, like I do (he was in The Phantom of the Opera!), then you’ll love this video of him directing kids in Haiti at a Mary’s Meals school!












Be Like Briony! (Or: Disability and Reality TV)

essaysEmily DeArdoComment

So, I love the Great British Bake Off. Do you? :)

(For those of you who have no idea what it is: 12 bakers in Britain bake three challenges every week—two they can practice, one they can’t—they don’t even know what it is. The bakes cover pies (their pies, not American pies), cookies (biscuits in England), bread, patisserie, all sorts of things. At the end of each week, one person is “Star Baker” and one person is sent home.)


Anyway, I was watching the 2018 Bake Off on Netflix over the weekend, and I was super happy to see Briony, one of the contestants, on the show. Why? Well, first, she’s just great, but second, because she has a disability and she didn’t make hay about it!

She has what she calls a “little hand”—it’s a birth defect where she only has six fingers:

Explaining why she and Channel 4 chose not to mention what she has dubbed her “little hand”, the 33-year-old said: "I specified early on that I didn’t want them to make a big deal out of it because I just wanted to see how people would view it".

Williams went on to say that her disability is “a part of me, not all of me” before adding: “It’s not that I’m embarrassed about it or ashamed of it in any way. I want to be there on my own merit and I don’t want people to think that I’m getting special treatment.

Think about this. BAKING! With six fingers!

But what I love is that it’s never mentioned on the show. Never. She just bakes. She doesn’t use special equipment, there aren’t any “special moments” where she has a tender music fueled close-up where she talks about “overcoming”. She just does her stuff! And it’s great stuff!

When I was on Jeopardy! I didn’t really want to talk about my transplant. But….I did. Because that was the most “interesting” thing about me, apparently (eye roll). And they did make accommodation for me—but I didn’t ask for it—they did it in the interest of fairness, because they wanted to be scrupulously fair. So there weren’t any video categories for my game, or any music clues (even thought I might have done OK with that!).

The reason I like this so much is because I HATE a lot of reality TV—especially the talent/singing shows, where the singer comes up and does her bit and then spiels all about her issues.

Look. THIS DRIVES ME NUTS. I have always wanted to be judged solely on my abilities. I would never enter a contest and then pay the pity card. EVER. I didn’t do it for Jeopardy!, I don’t do it when I audition for shows, I don’t do it, period. Because I don’t want to get pity. I want to get respect for what I can do. So when I see people talking about how “Oh, this person with X was crowned Homecoming Queen!” or “this person with Y is on X Factor!” I want to scream. Because it makes it sound like that person only did these things because of pity. Not because of their excellence, their human qualities, their goodness, etc., but they become like side shows. “Oh, look, this person can be like anyone else!” these shows croon. Whereas Briony (and I hope, me) just go out and do it. We don’t have to draw attention to it. It just is. Not everything has to be a Special Inspirational Story of the Day!

Briony is my sort of person. She has an issue, yeah. But I mean, it’s not her whole identity. I’ll tell you I’m hearing impaired. Blog readers know it. But if you met me in actual life, you might not know. The people on Jeopardy! didn’t know until I told them. That’s how I like it. If I need accommodation, I’ll tell you. But I want to be judged on my merits, not on the pity you feel for me. I do not want pity votes.

Briony got on the show because she’s a kick butt baker. And that’s what matters!

Vulnerability and Community

essaysEmily DeArdoComment
Jules Adolphe Breton,  The Song of the Lark

Jules Adolphe Breton, The Song of the Lark

I am really, really bad at being vulnerable.

Meaning: I don’t like to ask people for help. I’m terrible at it, really.

I have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of women are the same way.

But lately I’ve been thinking about this: we need each other. We need community. As so many things do it reminds me of In This House of Brede, where Lady Abbess tells Philippa, “You need the community,” when Philippa is trying to pray for something on her own.

We need community.

So why don’t we ask for it?

Are we embarrassed? Our house is a mess. I don’t want anyone to think that I can’t do it myself. Etc.
Are we afraid that people won’t help us?
Are we afraid that people will judge us? Oh, I was at so and so’s house yesterday and OH MY GOSH…..

I don’t know about you, but I’m honored to help people. I like helping people.

I don’t care what your house looks like. I’m coming to see you, not photograph your house for Architectural Digest.

What do you need? Do you need someone to grocery shop for you because the kids are sick and you can’t get out? Do you need someone to watch the baby while you shower? Are you just overwhelmed and you need someone to vacuum while you start the dishwasher so you can feel like you’re making some progress in your life? Do you need someone to listen, and pray for you?

Community should do all those things.

In 2001, I was in the ICU for two weeks, and in the hospital for a little over a month, total. I came home in time for Thanksgiving. My brother was with the band, performing in the Macy’s parade—a bigger event than usual that year, since it was right after 9/11, and each band member marched in honor of someone who died that day. Since Bryan was gone, and Thanksgiving was never a big deal in my family, we were just going to watch the band and have something heated up from the freezer.

But while the parade was on, a woman came to the door from our church. She brought us a Thanksgiving dinner. She knew that, since I’d just been released from the hospital a few days ago, Mom probably hadn’t bought the ingredients, we probably weren’t planning on cooking. So our church friends gathered around and brought us the meal.

That’s community.

It doesn’t matter if someone is having their first, fifth, ninth, fourteenth baby. We should bring them meals. We should rejoice in this new life.

We should want to cultivate relationships that allow for vulnerability, for people to feel safe asking for help.

Do you feel safe, asking your friends to help you? I hope so.

I wasn’t planning on writing this, but it seems important to me, now more than ever, maybe, to want to encourage this. Step in, step up, and be community for each other. Help each other out, whether it’s just listening over a pizza or a cup of coffee, or sending a card, or helping someone with their dishes and vacuuming when they’ve had a rough week, or holding the baby so mom can get clean for the first time in a week.

As Christians, we’re supposed to love one another. Part of love is service. Let’s not be afraid to be vulnerable, and to be community for each other.

Seven Quick Takes!

7 Quick Takes, Catholicism, Take Up and Read, writing, LentEmily DeArdo2 Comments
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

—1—

Lent is coming soon! (It’s in a little over a month, if you can believe it.) Take Up & Read has a beautiful new book for Lent, focusing on the Gospel of Matthew, called Hosanna.

hosanna cover.jpg


We have new writers, some new design and prayer pages, and all sorts of other goodies that you can read about here.

Making it EVEN BETTER is that right now the book is ON SALE! That’s right—price drop! We don’t know how long this will last, so go grab your copy!

I love the gospel of Matthew, so I was thrilled to contribute an essay to this book. I’m sure you’ll love it!

—2—

Did January feel like it lasted FOREVER to anyone else? Whew. I’m glad that month is over. February always feels like it moves pretty quickly, but it’s also the last full month before my move, so it feels like time moves even faster.

—3—

I’m still Kon Mari-ing the house. I’ve done clothes, books, papers, and I’m in “komono” (AKA EVERYTHING ELSE), but even that is moving well so I should have that done in the next week or so. Yay!!!!

—4—

A brief bit of policy wonkery (if you’re new here, I worked for the state government for ten years, so in a past life I lived, ate, and breathed policy wonkery). This really isn’t about policy, per se, as it is about common sense:

If you are contacting a representative about a policy proposal that you support or do not support, please remember to be respectful, to be brief, and to contact your representative. Please don’t call a representative that doesn’t represent you (as in, you live in Ohio, but you’re calling a senator from Colorado or Hawaii). This irritates the staffers and does not make them happy. They want to know what their constituents think. Not what everyone in the country thinks.

And if you call your elected representative for any reason, please be nice to the person on the phone. It is not that person’s fault that you are having issues with whatever you’re having issues with. If you are mean, that does not make them want to help you! Do not make the person answering the phone cry with streams of curse words! STOP IT!

—5—

Do you re-read books? Please tell me you do. To me, half the fun is in re-reading. I read so quickly that if I didn’t re-read, I’d be really bored. Re-reading is good!

—6—

My friend Richelle asked me if I’d read all of Dickens’ novels. I haven’t'; I’ve read 10 of his 15 novels (A Christmas Carol is considered a novella, and I have read that as well). The last five I have to read are Nicholas Nickleby, Barnaby Rudge, Martin Chuzzlewit, Our Mutual Friend, and his unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

If you’re looking to start reading Dickens (he’s not my favorite, but he is an important writer), I’d suggest starting with A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist (because just about everyone knows the basic story), and A Tale of Two Cities, which is one of my favorites. These are all pretty short, too, which is a plus, given that some of his novels are the size of bricks.

—7—

I’m also watching Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix. The series is good, but he book is even better (same title), because it EXPLAINS THINGS, like why you should boil potatoes in salt water before you roast them! I had always wondered about this and now I know. (It’s because you get the salt in to the potatoes—if you just roast them, then you toss salt on top of them and that doesn’t really penetrate said potato).

Yarn Along #86

yarn along, knitting, booksEmily DeArdo6 Comments

Linking up with Ginny!

I finished my shawl!

IMG_8367.JPG
IMG_8368.JPG
IMG_8369.JPG



I’m definitely getting faster at this pattern the more I do it; this time it took me a little over a month. Not bad. (And of course the crazy cold days when I couldn’t do anything but stay inside also helped.)

I’ve started my Find Your Fade shawl. Right now, this is a pattern where I have to pay attention to what I’m doing, because I’ve had to start it over twice—once because I had too many stitches, and once because I forgot what row I was on and knit the wrong thing….sigh…..so this represents my third attempt. Fortunately I love the yarn! (I’m doing this is Knitpicks Hawthorne yarn, on Knitpicks needles). If you click the Hawthorne yarn link you can see all the colors I’m using, because I used that kit. I’m hoping to finally get out of the first section today and start the lace bit. I’m a little nervous about this because even though I understand the technique involved, I’ve never done lace before…..so fingers crossed! My ravelry notes are here.

As for reading—last night I stayed up late to read The Winter of the Witch *, the last book in the Winternight trilogy, which takes place in Medieval Russia and blends fantasy and history. They’re so good, and if you haven’t read them, I do recommend it. I love Russian history anyway, so that helped me get into these when the first one came out a few years ago.

I’m still chugging my way through Villette although I’m getting a little annoyed with Lucy Snowe….not surprising, I get annoyed with lots of Charlotte’s heroines. I think I’m going to start The Terror next, or The Sea Queen, * but I think with The Sea Queen I’ll have to re-read Half-Drowned King first….just to make sure the story is really fresh in my mind again. Can you tell I’m on a myth/fantasy kick? (These books are Norwegian stories, based on myth and legend. Very cool and very well-written.)



*=Amazon affiliate link



Seven Quick Takes--Groundhog, Give Me Spring

7 Quick Takes, goal setting, Seven Quick Takes, writingEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

inking up with Kelly!

—1—

There is no way I will complain about 100 degrees this summer. Nope. No way, no how.

—2—

(Athough, extreme heat does make it hard for me to breathe…..but so does extreme cold. But it’s EASIER in the heat, to do things like take out trash. :) And get the mail. I can just go out and do it quickly. In the winter, it means boots, hat, gloves, scarf, big coat…..it’s a production, similar to:


—3—

Should we talk about February goals? Sure, let’s do that. I’m still doing the contentment challenge, (the first month went well! I am proud of myself!), I sent out the book proposal (SQUEEEEE), I saved money for my emergency fund, went to confession, and I did pretty well getting into my Bible every day! I only missed FIVE DAYS all month, which is pretty awesome, guys. I’m happy about that.

—4—

For this month:

Monthly goals: Contentment Challenge month two; more to emergency fund, finish Kon Mari-ing the house (I’m almost there! In the komono category right now, which is basically everything in the house that isn’t clothes, books, papers, or sentimental items. It’s a lot, to put it mildly), go to confession, and attend the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference!

—5—

Weekly goals:

Contentment Challenge devotional reading; meal plan; blog; artist date (part of The Artist’s Way—going out once a week to do something fun, that fills the creative well in you—it’s been hard with this weather but I”m trying!), and a holy hour.

—6—

Daily goals:

Examen before bed (basically examination of conscience), exercise (I just signed up for YogaGlo again. I did that last year and it was REALLY helpful for me, so back we go!), keep a food journal, and reconcile my checkbook every morning (I use the Every Dollar program for this).

—7—

And finally, some cute Corgis and Harry Potter (thanks to my friend, Abby, for showing me this!)


51378265_2149069871820473_1070935831671209984_n.jpg






Yarn Along #85

yarn along, books, knittingEmily DeArdoComment

Winter is really killing my soul this year—it’s been so cold that the cold is always in the house, you know? You’re sort of always cold, and I don’t want to crank up the heat because then I’ll have an astronomical bill in February (the heat company here is….um….rather iniquitous when it comes to their rates). So at least knitting my shawl helps keep me warm!


IMG_8352.JPG

I’m re-reading Villette and trying to see if I like it better after about 15 years have passed since I read it first. Charlotte Bronte was pretty anti-Catholic, and this book highlights that, so there are definitely parts where I just have to roll my eyes. It’s also annoying that there’s a lot of French in it which is translated in the back. (My French is decent, but not perfect.) Maybe that’s just this edition. But anyway, it’s a typical Gothic novel/ghost story/crazy romance in the Bronte sister vein, and it’s good reading for winter.



Seven Quick Takes--Stories from the Loony Bin

health, 7 Quick Takes, transplantEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile. Today’s a good day to do it, because this week, New York State passed the most incredible abortion “rights” law—a baby can be aborted essentially any time up to birth. If the mother wants that to happen.

Any time. We’re not talking about babies that aren’t viable here. We’re talking about babies that could be a week away from delivery.

(And be sure to read that post for the definition of “health of the mother” that the law used. It’s….interesting.)

Anyway. I am mad about this, of course. But at the same time, I feel like I need to write something funny to counteract this insanity that caused the state of New York to light up One World Trade Center pink to “celebrate” this law passing.

Look, my life hasn’t been a picnic. But at the same time, sometimes plain funny things have happened because of it. So, I present, tales from the loony bin.

(c) Erica Kay Photography. This year’s Christmas card photo.  L-R: Me, my mom, Sarah (new SIL) , Bryan (my brother), Dad, Melanie (my sister), Jason (her fiance)

(c) Erica Kay Photography. This year’s Christmas card photo. L-R: Me, my mom, Sarah (new SIL) , Bryan (my brother), Dad, Melanie (my sister), Jason (her fiance)

(Just a note before we start: some of the medical technology has changed. So you know, don’t go that’s not how these things work!)


-1-

Back in the day, I did a lot of home IVs. Basically, it’s IV meds you give at home, so I didn’t have to be stuck in the hospital for 2-3 weeks and could go to school and have a life. But that also meant that sometimes, there was a learning curve.

IVs have to be kept sterile—you can’t get them wet, you have to protect them. Now, when I first did home IVs, I would climb trees with an IV, but you know, I was young! :)
Anyway one time, the cap—the thing that protects the end of the IV line—got stuck. We couldn’t get it unattached, and this was bad, because then we couldn’t give the meds I needed.

So dad decided the best way to fix this was….with a pair of pliers. From his tool box. Grimy, gritty, dirty pliers. On a sterile IV line.

He came into my room with the pliers and I backed myself into a corner like a freaked out animal. “GET AWAY FROM ME!”
”What? We have to get the cap off!”
”At least clean them first! Use the alcohol wipes!”
(Fortunately, we could replace the tubing bit. We didn’t have to resort to the pliers.)


—2—

The night before my algebra II final my junior year, I woke up in the middle of the night. No, not because of Law of Cosine nightmares. I felt something wet.
I rolled over and saw that the sleeve of the t-shirt I slept in was bloody. Like, soaking with blood.

At the time, I had a PICC line in (peripherally inserted central catheter—basically a line that wasn’t under my skin, like my port is now, but went into a deep vein, so if we had problems with this, they became large problems.)

I ran into mom and dad’s room. “I’m bleeding.” Mom grabbed a towel and we went back to my room, applying pressure. Dad stumbled in with the cordless phone (this was 1999).

We called the direct line to Children’s and were put on hold while we waited for someone to answer our question. Were we going to have to go to the hospital? Was this really bad?

It’s around 2 AM, the lights are on in the hallway, and my brother and sister are standing in the doorway. Mom and Dad are arguing—what should we do? Should we do this? Should we do that?

At some point, Mom calls my dad something not nice.

And then we hear, “hello?”

We hadn’t muted the phone. The person on the other end had heard the entire argument.


—3—

Sometimes, though, it was a little funnier. Like the time Mel and I decided to use unused saline (salt water) syringes as squirt guns and pelt my brother with them. “Stop it! You’re going to kill me! What is that stuff?!”

“It’s water.”

“Oh.”


—4—

You know that you’ve passed the point of a normal family when going to the ER in the middle of the Super Bowl—which your favorite team is in—isn’t really cause for angst. The Steelers were playing the Packers in Super Bowl 45, and I started to get the lovely feeling of heart arrythmia.

“We have to go to the hospital,” I told my mom during the first quarter.

At halftime, we went. We went to the special area of the ER, doctors buzzing around me, the normal stuff happening. Dad is on his phone checking the score.

“We’re going to lose,” he mutters from the corner.

We did lose. But we got to watch the Puppy Bowl in the ICU!

—5—

Right before my transplant, my doctors were pulling every medical rabbit out of the hat to keep me alive. We were trying every drug we could think of, anything to keep me stable. Forget about improvement, we just didn’t want to get worse.
One of those drugs (another IV med) had to be constituted by us, meaning that it came as a powder, and we had to add the saline. This was rather difficult for some reason, because the force needed to get the saline out of the bottle, into the syringe, and then the saline IN to the med, was quite a bit. WE had jerry rigged some contraption onto the kitchen cabinets to try to give my dad and brother more leverage, because they were the only ones that could do this.

So I came home from work (granted, work was mostly just sitting at my desk—I really couldn’t do a whole lot at this point) and find my brother mixing the 3:00 med dose. I put down my bag

CRASSSSSHHHHH!!!!! SHATTER!!!!!!!!!

I look up. Bryan is holding the syringe, dumbfounded. The glass bottle had exploded all over the floor from the force of the saline trying to go into it.

All I could do was laugh.


—6—

This one has entered family lore:

I had pancreatitis—well, I had pancreatitis a lot. It wasn’t one of those things where I had to get to the ER toute de suite, but I was in a lot of pain.
Dad and I were in the car and stopped at the stoplight at the end of our road. One car was in front of us. We wanted to turn right, but this guy either wanted to go straight or was waiting for an invitation to turn (you know those people).

Dad revs the engine, and jumps the curb. Seriously. Drove the car right over the curb, scraping the bottom of the Accord, a tremendous nails on the blackboard sound.

Now whenever we’re behind someone in that situation, I always tell dad that he can feel free to jump the curb.


—7—

OK this last story is me.

The Resort (my normal hospital) is a teaching hospital. So sometimes when you get admitted from the ER, you have to go through the special hell of having some resident take your history. I don’t know what this resident had done to get me, but whatever. Poor guy.

Anyway, I was tired, I was drugged up, and I really didn’t want to be doing this. Plus, when I’m sick, my hearing goes out the window. I can’t concentrate. So I was just nodded and “yup”ing and all sorts of things to get this guy out of here.

Dad, of course, couldn’t be present for this because you know, I might talk about sex. So he was in the hall with his free coffee.

The medical student asked me a question. I said, yup. He said, how often. I said, oh, twice a day. I mean, I thought he was asking about meds.

He looks at me, shocked. Deer in the headlights.

“I’m sorry, what did you ask me?”

He turns bright red and mutters, “I was asking if you were sexually active.”

OH.

“Well, then, um, nope. Sorry. Never. Wow. Yeah.”


I figure that’s a good way to end, don’t you? :)




Seven Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes, behind the scenes, current projects, knitting, life issues, memoir, Seven Quick Takes, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

—ONE—

I haven’t done this in awhile, so, hey, time to do one! Especially since we’re supposed to get a big old snow storm with insanely cold temperatures this weekend, so if you never hear from me again, at least you have this. (I’m kidding. I’ll be fine.)

This cartoon made the rounds a few years ago, but once again it looks like I’ll be living in Hoth:

hoth.jpg


—TWO—

There’s been a lot going on over here. I’m moving, so that’s the first thing—in March! So I have two months to get my place packed up. Which means that yes, I’ve been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, and I love it. (And no, she’s never said that you only need 30 books, where did people get this?! I have WAY more than 30> I have more than 30 cookbooks, probably—yes, I might have a problem.)

But I’ve really enjoyed the process. If you haven’t heard of her, the idea is that you get rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy”, or that you need (like, a screwdriver, for instance. Or copies of recent tax returns.). So you let go of things that you’re just holding on to out of guilt or uncertainty or “just because”, and it’s done in categories: clothes, books, papers, “komono “ (miscellaneous—she divides it down further), and sentimental items. I’m on “komono”, and it’s mostly household stuff and knitting stuff that’s left.


—THREE—

Speaking of knitting, here’s this week’s yarn along! I’m making a drachenfels shawl, again. :) Deets are at Ravelry, here.


—FOUR—

In other news, I’m very close to submitting my book proposal! Oh my gosh. This has been a few months in the making but I think I’m in the home stretch! Yayyy!

And you can help me!

Please subscribe to the blog! This is something that really helps me with publishers. It shows I have people who care about what I write! So do that, and then follow my author page on Facebook? Every follower/subscriber is important! If you already subscribe, thank you! Mwah!


—FIVE—

The proposal is a memoir about my life with CF and transplant and how it ties into the idea that life is always worth living, no matter what’s “wrong” with you. Today is the March for Life, so yes, I feel it’s a timely topic. I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t exist. But I DO exist and so there. :-p

—SIX—

I made a holy hour yesterday, since I might not be able to get to Mass this weekend depending on weather. If you don’t make a holy hour (Or holy half hour, or Holy Fifteen Minutes!), can I recommend that you start? It’s restorative, transformative, energizing….it’s time with the Lord who loves you so much! Get thee to an adoration chapel! Or get to Mass early, if you can. God wants to visit with you!


—SEVEN—

And, also, if you missed it, Take Up & Read has a new study! We’re starting on Monday but feel free to hop in whenever! It’s called Call Me Blessed (here’s my blog post about it!)—and you can get it at other bookstores besides Amazon! Yay!!!!! It’s all about our vocation as women, our dignity as women, using women in the Bible and the writings of Pope John Paul II. I do hope you’ll join us!

CMB 1.jpg



Yarn Along #84: The Lambs and Wool Shawls

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo1 Comment
IMG_8325.JPG

I’m about to be living in Hoth again:

hoth.jpg

Seriously, it’s going to be so cold—I’m hearing negative numbers for actual temps on Sunday and Monday. Time to batten down the hatches!

At least when knitting a shawl in winter, the shawl keeps you warm! I’m into the striping section which is easy and pretty relaxing so I can watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo or Home Town while I’m knitting and I can stay sort of warm.

The Lambs * was a wonderful book about a lawyer who decided to close her firm and move to a farm in Virginia where she raised karakul sheep. The story is wonderfully written, and the book itself is lovely, with color photographs and gorgeous design. If you like to knit, like sheep, animals, or farming, or just a well-written, meditative memoir, this is the book for you.

*Amazon Affiliate link