Emily M. DeArdo

writer

7 Quick Takes

Seven Quick Takes In a Deluge

7 Quick Takes, current projects, Seven Quick Takes, Orchard House, hockeyEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

I.

OK, so, first, I’m thrilled to tell you that the talk I recorded for Kelly’s conference has been accepted! Yay! I’m part of the speaker’s library that attendees will have access to!

What is this conference, you might ask? Kelly has created a conference for Catholic parents of kids with special needs, called “Accepting the Gift.” You can attend in person, OR (and I love this part), you can attend virtually! How cool is that? So if you can’t make it to New Jersey, you can still attend!

Here is the conference page, so check it out! And do attend!


II.

This is also the first talk I’ve done as an adult—I did a witness talk at my parish mission when I was sixteen—but I really do like my talk, all things considered. :) It’s called “Joy Anyway”, and it’s about living life with a chronic illness, because, a lot of the time, we hear from the parents of people like me, but not the actual people who have the illness, and so I’m thrilled that Kelly asked me to contribute my thoughts, because I do care about this quite passionately, as you all know. :)

And of course I love the parents! Parents are awesome! But it’s important to get the perspective from the person with “the thing” as well, in my book. So, thanks Kelly for asking me! (And accepting the talk!)


III.

OK so yeah, it’s deluging here right now. Lots and lots and lots of rain being dumped on Orchard House at the moment. I overslept this morning and this is probably why, because it’s really dark outside. Not that I mind—I generally like rainy days.


IV.

Today is part of the editing process in the writing of the book. My editor has sent me chapters back, and now I go through and play with them and see what I can do to make them better. Some of the changes I just accepted on the first go round because they were easy (like, adapting to the press’s style guide) or just made sense. Bigger changes require more thought and distance, so that’s what I’m doing today.


V.

My birthday was on Tuesday, so I’m thirty-seven now! And it was a gorgeous day, which is rare in central Ohio in early April—it snowed on my birthday (as in the day I was born). But yesterday it was 82 and kids were in the pool, which made me shiver just seeing them in there, because that water was going to be cold!

ANYWAY (digression over!), it was a good birthday with sun and good food.

No, Emily did not eat all this cake. Emily did not come  close  to eating all this cake. We shared it. :)

No, Emily did not eat all this cake. Emily did not come close to eating all this cake. We shared it. :)


VI.

I also think that everyone should like their birthday. Because birthdays mean you survived another trip around the sun! Yay!!!!!! Birthdays are great! I mean, yeah, I’m thirty-seven, but to me, that’s sort of awesome. I wasn’t supposed to hit thirty-three. I wouldn’t have seen twenty-seven without Suzanne, my donor. So, yeah. Birthdays rock.

VII.

It’s hockey playoff time, and Dad and I are going to see the Jackets play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday! This has been a bucket list item for me for awhile—seeing an NHL playoff game. The nice thing is that since the Jackets are playing Tampa, I can unreservedly root for them. When they play the Penguins in the playoffs (as they’ve done before), I can’t do that, I’m torn! But now, I can root for them all the way. It’s going to be great! The Jackets have all sorts of things planned—there’s a big plaza in front of the arena so there will be activities, and the arena opens up earlier than usual so people can head in and start the party. I hope the Jackets win! (They won the first game on Wednesday in Tampa in an amazing comeback. They play tonight. Pens are down one game to none against the Islanders. If you don’t care about hockey, I’m sorry this take was all hockey. :) )

Seven Quick Takes--House Updates, Writing, Hockey

7 Quick Takes, behind the scenes, current projects, the book, Seven Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

I.

So, first, the Penguins are in the playoffs for the thirteenth year in a row. This makes me happy.

(If you’re new here—I’m a huge hockey fan. The Penguins are my “main” team. The Blue Jackets are my “home” team and I want them to make the playoffs too, which they will do if they win one of their next two games.)

II.

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Orchard House is in the stage of “personalization” or “zhushing” as they say on Home Town. I’m putting up pictures and other fun things, like my refreshed ribbon board in my bedroom:


III.

If you want to see how tiny Emily was in college, here’s my college ID closeup, along with one of my favorite magazine cutouts:

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IV.

And about the button. It says “Italians for President Nixon.” Now, obviously, I wasn’t alive to vote for Nixon. But one of my best friends, Branden, is an auctioneer (as well as about 5 million other things, including our county clerk), and he loves political memorabilia, so he thought I’d like it, since I’m half Italian. And I do like it. It’s funny.

V.
The big pink piece of paper is an audience ticket my friend Amilia gave me. She was lucky enough to attend a general audience with Pope St. John Paul II, and she gave me the ticket. You can tell I’ve had it FOREVER, it’s all sun bleached, but I love it.

VI.

The dog picture? That’s Liberty, who used to be Colonial Williamsburg’s mascot. I was so psyched to meet her when we visited two years ago! She was such a good dog!

VII.

I could keep telling stories, but I’ll wrap up with a writing update! (Maybe next week I’ll tell more stories? What do you think? Because everything on this board has a story!)

So I’ve sent chapters 1-4 to my editor. She has sent me edits for chapters 1-2. So we are really making progress! Yayyyy!





Seven Ways To Bring Joy To Your Day

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

So after my last post, I thought it might be helpful to give you some concrete ways to bring joy to your days when that might REALLY be lacking. So, here we go!

I.

Iris Murdoch said that, “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” So, that’s how we’re looking at this. Small treats!

The first one: Eat your favorite meal. Do the comfort food thing. One meal (and I do mean one) isn’t going to send everything into a tailspin. For me, it’s usually Chuy’s or pasta carbonara. Eat something you enjoy. And enjoy it, while you eat it.

II.

Take a lunch break. When I was working full-time, a lot of my days were…rough. So I would go to Barnes and Noble on my lunch break. Even if I didn’t buy anything, just getting out of the office and into a place that I loved was a great way to reset my day and give me energy to get through the rest of the day.

III.

Go to Eucharistic Adoration. Just sit with Jesus. You don’t have to do anything. Just be there and rest in his presence.

IV.

If you’re not near a chapel, then take some time to pray—a decade of the rosary, reading the Bible, whatever works for you.

V.

Read your favorite book or watch your favorite movie. Say, “tonight is movie night. I’m going to go home and watch my favorite movie and eat popcorn and it’ll be great.”

VI.

Have something to look forward to. Schedule lunch with a friend, make a date to see a movie (even if the date is with yourself, there is nothing wrong with that!), but get something on your calendar that makes you happy, even if it’s something small.

VII.

This doesn’t always work for me, but it might work for some of you—do something physical. That can mean working out, but for me it can also mean playing the piano or singing or even knitting. Do something that moves your body and makes you focus on something else. Sometimes just saying to myself, I can work on that knitting project, or I can do yoga class on Friday, is really helpful.


These are just a few suggestions of things that work for me. I hope they help you!





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!!!

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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.



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!

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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!


Seven Quick Takes!

7 Quick Takes, Catholicism, Take Up and Read, writing, LentEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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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.

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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).

Seven Quick Takes--Groundhog, Give Me Spring

7 Quick Takes, goal setting, Seven Quick Takes, writingEmily DeArdoComment
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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!)


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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
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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:

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—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!

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Seven Quick Takes: Thoughts on the Single Life

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum! 

I've been having thoughts about being single in this world lately, but unsure of how to write it out, so I thought, hey, Seven Quick Takes! :-D There are good and bad things about being single, so here are my thoughts: 

I. 

A good thing: All the food in the fridge is MINE. It's all what I want to eat. :) Also, I can get books without a text message from a husband of "WOMAN! Stop buying books!" unlike my friend, Liz. (Her husband is a great guy. He's kidding. I think. LOL) 

II. 

A not good thing: Everything in the house I have to do myself. The food? Doesn't get cooked without me. The dishes? Don't get washed unless I do it. The trash? The cleaning? Etc. Etc. I don't have a husband to help me do those things. So it's all on me. I can't say, hey, husband, please go to the grocery store so I can go work out. Or, please do the dishes while I shower. 

That is particularly a bad thing when I'm sick. Stuff still needs done. 
And this "stuff" also piles up. It's not so bad now, that I freelance, but when I was working, it was a LOT. I had maybe four hours of free time a day. I never got enough sleep, because there was stuff to do. One cannot go to work (at least not where I worked) with unwashed hair, for example. :) Hygiene is good! 

III. 
A good thing: I have parents who are very helpful in this regard. :) (ESPECIALLY when I'm sick.)  Also, a very very helpful brother and sister-in-law (My sister lives in Colorado. She is helpful--but she can't come over and help me clean. :-P) 

IV. 

Another good thing: I can watch Opera all day and no one can tell me not to. :-p 

I can also go to bed when I want, and decorate my house how I want. I may or may not still have my Stuffed Rabbit Caroline and Stuffed Bear Coach in my bedroom..... :-P 

V. 

A not good thing: You sort of get shafted. No one gives showers for single people. Housewarming parties? Few and far between. But married people get showers, which, OK, that makes sense--except now, everyone has the stuff they need, usually, before they get married. 

And this sort of leads to the larger point. If you're single, people just don't think about you, unless it's negative. I'm not bar hopping or going to clubs every night. Sure, I can do some things, like go to the movies, or the ballet, or whatever, on my own. I don't have to ask my husband if he wants to go or find a baby-sitter. But at the same time, a lot of people think that single people are just living footloose and fancy free. And we're not. it's often really hard being a single person.

(Especially a single woman. I have to dig out my house after snowstorms. I have to dig out my car. If it's bad, my dad will help me, assuming he can get over! But I am a smallish girl, with about 55% lung function. It's hard for people with NORMAL lungs to clear snow! And if the car is iced over, forget about it. There's no way.)

VI. 

And it's sort of lonely. I mean, sometimes I'd like a husband because, hello, I have feelings, yo! I get lonely and would like a guy in my life that's not a blood relative. (Love you, Dad and Brother!) 

VII. 
A good thing: I can entertain whenever I want. I can have people over whenever I want. Or not, as the case may be. :) I can sit around my house in my pajamas all day. No one's going to care. I can eat PBJ for three meals if I want to (I don't, but I COULD!). I can stock my cupboard with tea to my heart's content. I can watch Pride and Prejudice for like, a week straight, if I want. There is freedom in that. And I enjoy that freedom. 

 

So there are good points and bad points, just like everything else. But generally I'm fairly content being single. But--please don't assume that all single people are just partying like it's 1999. We have commitments and concerns and responsibilities just like every one else. 

Except we can also just hole up in our Hobbit Holes for hours without anyone needing us. Which is another good thing. 

Seven Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

So, I don't really have anything to write about that makes up a big post, lately, so I thought I'd do some quick takes for your reading this week. 

Speaking of reading--MORE LIBRARY BOOKS

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I've recently become REALLY enamored with our local library, because it's joined the Columbus Metropolitan Library system, which is one of the best in the country (not kidding). So that means that I now have access to so many books that I've been wanting to read! So off to the stacks I've gone. I love that I can request online and have them shipped to the library of my choice in the system. So, yay libraries! (No, Amazon libraries. NO.)

II.
As a part of that--I adore physical books. There's just something about them that makes them special. Now, I have an iPad, and I have books on it. Heck, I wrote an ebook. But if you come to my house, you will see real books galore. They are what I love. Ebooks have their place (meaning, when I'm in the hospital, when I'm traveling, etc.), but I love and crave real books. 

Just a few of the beloved "real books." Just a few. 

Just a few of the beloved "real books." Just a few. 

III. 

Some of my favorite books that I've read this summer? The Shark Club, by Ann Kidd Taylor, and China Court, by Rumer Gooden. (This is out of print, sadly.) The Shark Club combines mystery, the idea of forgiveness, handling loss, romance, and, yes, sharks; China Court is about the lives of three generations of family in an estate in Cornwall (if you watch Doc Martin, then CORNWALL! Yay! Seriously gotten hooked on Doc Martin this summer. I adore it.) 

IV. 

And speaking of books....

true friend cover.jpg

Y'all know I write for Take Up & Read. Our newest journal, True Friend, begins on Sunday! Yes! Yay!

This one is, obviously, all about friendship. We look at the Scriptures and see what it tells us about being a good friend, how to nurture friendship, and all sorts of friendship-related things. 

This book is beautiful

Coloring pages! 

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Every essay is brand new--all twenty-eight of them. I am privileged to be one of the writers! Kristin Foss, our art designer, designed the cover and did all the beautiful calligraphy and illustrations you'll find throughout. 

Each day has a Scripture verse (or more), an essay, and journaling pages. There are also lovely reflection questions and even a page where you can write your prayer intentions every day!

You can purchase the book here, and also check out the Look Inside feature! (Since Squarespace is being silly and I can't edit my photos....sigh.....) 

We also have a great blog to check out as well!

V.

Also, Christmas is less than five months away...if you start shopping early, maybe consider some of our studies or journals as gifts for the ladies in your life? We have so many lovely journals! Click on the Take Up and Read Page here and there are links to all of them. 

VI. 

I adore getting books for Christmas, but they have to be worthy. Does that make sense to you? That generally means hardback, or hard to find, or a lovely cookbook....something like that. Really, one year I could probably have a Christmas of all books. Wouldn't that be great? 

VII.

And in a non-book thought--is anyone else ready for fall? Because I am!

 

linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum

 

Seven Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes, books, politicsEmily DeArdo1 Comment

I. 

I haven't done one of these in awhile, but I thought, since I had a lot of linkage to share, I'd bring it back! :) 

II. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been so excited about the launch of Lara Casey's Cultivate book! I'm so excited, in fact, that I'll be giving away a copy next month! So watch for details! Here is my preview of the book (my real review goes up soon!).  If you can't wait for the giveaway, you can get your copy on Amazon here or at your local bookstore!

 

III. 

Since we're talking Health Care (again), I thought I'd share some links on a series I wrote earlier this year: Parts one, two, and three. I might have something else about the Medicaid stuff next week. I know some of you enjoy my policy wonk adventures, but not all of you, so I try to keep it to a minimum. :) 

Essentially, what it comes down to is this--if we want to expand something--or even create something-- we have to make it solvent. I'm reading the Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton right now (the one that inspired Hamilton, although the more I read the book, the more I am annoyed at the liberties the musical took....), and Hamilton wrote something I found prescient: "Creation of debt should always be accompanied by the means of extinguishment." 

Or, in other words--how are we going to pay for this

IV. 

As we're heading into the Fourth of July weekend, here are some of my favorite book/movie suggestions for you. They either talk about the revolutionary war, or revolve around July 4th: 

The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara, and the movie, Gettysburg, which is based on the novel. 

Laurie Halse Anderson's Seeds of America trilogy: Chains, Forge, Ashes

The movie 1776 (the musical. It's great! Mr. Feeney is John Adams!) 

The miniseries John Adams, and the David McCullough bio upon which it's based. Also McCullough's 1776, which is amazing. 

V. 

Also, read the declaration, and the preamble to the Constitution: 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

(And also realize the difference between the two--please?) 

VI. 

If you love candles, but have a hard time finding a good summer scent, then you need this candle from the Laurel Mercantile Co. (It's run by Erin and Ben Napier, of HGTV's Home Town.) It is a divine floral smell that smells just like being outside in the spring and summer

 

 

Not only does it smell great, but it also burns very evenly and cleanly--both big bonuses. And, in fitting with the American theme of this post, it's made in Mississippi, so go American manufacturing! (Which was also something Alexander Hamilton supported. He wrote an entire paper on manufacturing and the sort of things he thought we should make.) 

VII. 

Finally....

I've been seeing a lot of "lose" vs. "loose" on the Internet this week. Y'all know the difference, right? :-p 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 131: A Royal Friday!

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

Happy Sapphire Jubilee to Queen Elizabeth II!

(Portrait of the Queen taken in 2014)

A sapphire jubilee is 65 years on the throne, which Queen Elizabeth reached on Monday, the 6th. No other British monarch has ever reigned so long!. 

The sapphires she's wearing in the portrait  were a wedding gift from her father, George VI. (We'll talk about her wedding in a bit!)

This may be my favorite current (ish) portrait of the queen. She looks regal but also like she's about to smile or laugh. 

II. 

Victoria, currently on PBS, is about Elizabeth's great-great-great grandmother. And while I love Queen Victoria, who is the second longest reigning monarch after her descendant Elizabeth, I'm not a huge fan of the series, because of the liberties that are being taken with the facts. 

I know that in these types of things, some liberties must be taken because 1) there isn't enough money to cast everyone who really existed; 2) we have limited time, and 3) there has to be a good storyline to hook viewers. I know all that, and I'm still annoyed by Victoria. 

Here are some of the bigger points that are being fudged: 

III. 

Prince Albert around the time of his marriage to Victoria. 

Prince Albert around the time of his marriage to Victoria. 

Albert was not nearly so whiny. He didn't want a title when he married Victoria; he wrote that "It would almost be a step downwards, for as a Duke of Saxony, I feel myself much higher than a Duke of York or Kent."  He did become an HRH before he was married to the queen (His Royal Highness) and in 1857 Victoria named him prince consort. He knew when he married Victoria that he wouldn't be king, and he couldn't be a peer, and that did lead to the problem of finding things to do. In a letter written in May 1840, he said," I am very happy and contented; but the difficulty in filling my place with the proper dignity is that I am only the husband, not the master in the house." (This is a problem that Philip Mountbatten would have with his queen wife, as well.) However, once Victoria became pregnant, he began to take a much larger public role. 

It is true that Lehzen and Albert didn't like each other, which culminated in a brouhaha a few years after the wedding. 

As far as Albert's allowance, it is true that Prince Leopold, the last person to marry an heiress presumptive, received £50,000 pounds. Albert received £30,000 (Not "half as much" as the series contends.) (In comparison, Prince Philip receives a whopping £395,000. Wow!) Part of the problem was that Leopold spent his allowance on mistresses after Charlotte died, so yes, Albert was probably being punished for his predecessor's profligacy. 

But anyway, the point is, Albert was not nearly as whiny as the series makes him out to be. He knew what he was getting into; he was well-prepared by Leopold and Baron Stockmar (whom I'm very sad is missing, since he was a key advisor to both Victoria and Albert.). 

IV. 

Leopold painted as King of the Belgians. 

Leopold painted as King of the Belgians. 

Speaking of Leopold: Victoria and her uncle were quite close. She considered him her "best and kindest adviser", as she wrote in her journal in 1835. There was none of this coldness and stiffness that the series gives us. 

V. 

Honorable William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne 

Honorable William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne 

Also, Victoria never had romantic feelings for Lord Melbourne. Ever. Full stop. Melbourne was 63 when Victoria ascended to the throne! She did say that he was like a father to her, and the press did call her Mrs. Melbourne, but that was mostly cattiness about her closeness to her prime minister. Remember that Victoria's father died when she was a baby, and Lord Conroy, her mother's "advisor", was not someone she trusted at all. She didn't have a lot of strong male role models in her life, or people who treated her like an adult (Her mother slept with her every night and she was forbidden from walking down a staircase without holding someone's hand!), other than Leopold and Stockmar, but they weren't with Victoria all the time, obviously. 

So, essentially: fact-check while you watch. :) Or, if you're not like me and just don't care, ignore all this. :-P

So now that that's cleared up, let's talk about fun stuff: Weddings!

VI. 

Victoria and Albert's wedding in the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace, February 10, 1840. 

Victoria and Albert's wedding in the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace, February 10, 1840. 

Victoria did start the fashion of white dresses for brides. Prior to that, most women married in their "best" dress, no matter what the color. Most of them didn't have the money for a totally new dress that would only be worn once, and in such an impractical color at that! But Victoria did. 

The dress was made of heavy silk satin and Honiton lace (Honiton being city in Devon, England). The dress's satin was woven in England and had an 18 foot train! She did wear a diamond necklace, and sapphire brooch that Albert had given her the night before the wedding. (Not seen here in the painting.)

(And the Chapel Royal is essential a room, not a grand church, like the series showed us.) 

VII. 

When her great-great-great-granddaughter married Philip Mountbatten on November 20, 1947 (a few years before she became queen), Elizabeth's dress was made of Chinese silk and English satin . The royal couple was married in Westminster Abbey. (A grand church indeed!) 

Since wartime rationing was still in effect, Princess Elizabeth had to save clothing ration cards to buy the material for her dress. The government did grant her 200 extra coupons, probably thinking that the investment in the heiress presumptive's wedding gown was worth it. The dress had a 13 foot long train, and was embellished with crystals and pearls. 

The Princess was just as radiant on her wedding day as her august ancestor. 

Princess Elizabeth and Philip on their wedding day. 

Princess Elizabeth and Philip on their wedding day. 

Here's Queen Elizabeth in her coronation gown, which was designed by Norman Hartnell, who also designed her wedding dress. 

 

This dress took eight months to research, design, and make. She also wore this necklace, which Victoria also wore. 

As gorgeous as these photos are, this is a much cozier one. The portrait was taken by Annie Leibovitz to celebrate the Queen's ninetieth birthday. 

Isn't this sweet? 

From L-R: James, Viscount Severn (8 YO) and his sister, Lady Louise (12 YO--they're the youngest of the queen's eight grandchildren and are the children of Prince Edward); Mia Tindall, age two, holds the queen's handbag; Princess Charlotte, as the youngest great-grandchild (11 months, here) is on the queen's lap, with her brother George (2 YO) next to her. The other two girls are Savannah and Isla Phillips (5 and 3 YO, respectively). 

Mia is the daughter of Zara and Mark Tindall (Zara is Princess Anne's daughter), and the Phillips girls are the daughters of Peter Phillips, who is Princess Anne's son. I love Mia with the handbag! (And James is so insouciant in his eight year old way.) 

So there you have it--enter your weekend with history, jewels, and queens! :) 

Seven Quick Takes 130: Seven Books I'll Read in 2017

books, 7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment

OK, let's get real. I'll read a LOT more than seven books in 2017. But here are ones currently on my "to read" list: 

I & II

The God of the Hive and The Pirate King, both by Laurie R. King: these are volumes 10 and 11, respectively, in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series that I've been devouring since I read the first one in October. Book number 12 is coming in the mail but hasn't arrived yet. So I guess that'll be book eight! 

III

Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett: I love Ann's writing, and I'm excited to dive into this one since I've heard such good things. 

IV

The Alexander Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow that everyone is apparently reading. Also a Christmas gift. 

V

Kim, by Rudyard Kipling. A book I haven't read, but am curious about. In that same vein...

VI

The Forsythe Saga, by John Galsworthy. My friends have raved about this one and I keep trying to start it but this year I'm gonna do it. :) I feel like, as a person who majored in English literature with a concentration in Brit Lit, that I should be well-versed in All of the Oxford World Classic Brit Lit novels. So, this one is getting read. 

VII

Finally Fortune's Rocks, by Anita Shreve. Got it for a steal at one of my favorite independent bookstores, and it keeps sitting on the to-read pile. So I'll recuse it! 

What about you? Any good books on your lists? 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 129: Happy birthday, Jane!

7 Quick Takes, Jane Austen, books, holidays, history, linksEmily DeArdo3 Comments

I. 
Today is Jane Austen's 241st birthday!!! Yay!

This is definitely something to celebrate. So here's some links to help you celebrate, too! 

II. 

Here is one of my series on Jane's writing, if you want to catch up: 

Jane, Aristotle, and Aquinas

Also, Jane's characters figured prominently in my Seven Characters post! 

III. 

A wonderful way to celebrate today is to watch Pride and Prejudice. The ONLY Pride and Prejudice. As in, the one featuring Colin F as Mr. Darcy. Because I do not acknowledge any others. :-P Keira Knightly is not Lizzie in my world. 

IV.

If you would like to watch a Jane biopic, there is Becoming Jane, which I recommend. Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy are fantastic. 

Anne Hathaway as Jane in  Becoming Jane

Anne Hathaway as Jane in Becoming Jane

V. 

You could also practice your instruments if you play any. Be like Marianne and play a "powerful concerto".  Or just listen to the Sense and Sensibility movie soundtrack, which is perfection. 

And since it's Christmastime (well, almost), we might wonder what carols would Jane have known? Here's a piece about Regency Christmas carols, and here's one from the Jane Austen Center. Also, Messiah was composed in 1741, thirty-four years before Jane was born, so she might have been familiar with some of the pieces. (It was first performed in Dublin, but had its London premiere in March 1743).  Her father was a clergyman, and the piece was performed in cathedrals around the country after the London premiere, so it might have been possible for Jane, or members of her family, to have heard it. 

Not familiar with some of the regency carols? I've provided some audio for your listening pleasure. 

VI. 

A little bit about Jane's family: her father, George Austen, was a clergyman who married Cassandra Leigh on April 26, 1764. Jane was the seventh of eight children and the second (and last) daughter--her sister, Cassandra, who was her best friend, was two years older than she was, and outlived Jane by twenty-eight years. 

The rest of the siblings were: Rev. James Austen; George Austen (who was severely disabled--either with epilepsy or cerebral palsy, we're not quite sure); Edward Austen-Knight (he was adopted by the Knight family as their heir, thus his last name); Henry Austen, Jane's favorite brother; Francis (Frank), who became a vice-admiral in the British Navy (giving Jane plenty of knowledge about the navy for her novels, especially Mansfield Park and Persuasion); and her younger brother, and youngest sibling, Charles, who also joined the Navy. 

Edward ended up being instrumental in the care of his widowed mother and unmarried sisters after their father died in 1805; he provided them with Chawton Cottage, where Jane did most of her writing, and where she died on July 18, 1817 at the age of forty-two.  (All of the brothers, though, helped support the women in the family after the reverend's death, with money and offerings of housing, etc.) 

VII. 

And finally, we must have tea! if you really want to drink tea like Jane did, get some Twinings, which was the brand she and her family drank! From the Twinings website: 

A century later, writer Jane Austen was a devoted customer because, at a time when tea leaves were sometimes mixed with tree leaves by unscrupulous vendors and smugglers, Austen could be sure of buying unadulterated leaves at Twinings. In an 1814 letter to her sister Cassandra, she mentions: “I am sorry to hear that there has been a rise in tea. I do not mean to pay Twining til later in the day, when we may order a fresh supply.” 

She visited the shop to buy tea for herself and her family when she was in town (meaning London) visiting her brother, Henry.  So, we must have tea on Jane's birthday. Their Lady Grey tea is an excellent choice for afternoon tea drinking.

 Here's a piece on tea in the Regency Era , and one on tea in her novels. 

There is also the delightful book Tea with Jane Austen as well as At Home With Jane Austen.  One day I WILL get to England and do the Jane Austen tour. My entire bucket list is basically that. 

Happy birthday, dear Jane!

Seven Quick Takes No. 128

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo2 Comments

This week's seven quick takes: Seven of my Favorite Christmas Songs (Carols and non-Carols!)

I. 

O Holy Night

I mean, really? We can't forget this one. 

II. 

In The Bleak Midwinter

III. 

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (And DO NOT CHANGE THE WORDS, y'all)

IV. 

The Seven Rejoices of Mary. You've probably never heard of this one, but it's great!

V. 

O Come All Ye Faithful

VI. 

Carol of the Bells (two versions, for your listening pleasure!)

VII

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (If you're not familiar with the history of this one, go here. Judy Garland just slays it in the movie, which I can't put here, but it's on TV like every day during the holidays.) 

And bonus: I was never really a fan of this carol, but I Love Loreena's Version of it!

What are your favorite Christmas songs? 

How to be an Awesome Person (Inspired by Kid President)

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo2 Comments

This is Seven Quick Takes, but it's not a usual one. 

Have you heard of Kid President? I found a video of him the day after the election, and it seemed oddly....appropriate. 

 

So I've spent a lot of time since then watching his other videos. He encourages people to "be awesome." So I'm doing the same thing here, because people, we need a bit more awesome in our lives. 

 

NUMBER ONE!

The Thumper Principle: If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all. 

NUMBER TWO!

Say please and thank you, like your parents and grandparents taught you! Thank everyone! The lady who bags your groceries! The kid at the drive through! The waiter who brings your beverages! THANK PEOPLE!

(And since today is Veterans' Day...thank Veterans? Good idea.) 

NUMBER THREE!

Be helpful! Hold doors for people. If someone drops something, pick it up for them. Etc. 

NUMBER FOUR! 

SMILE AT PEOPLE. Seriously. Smile. It's nice. 

 

NUMBER FIVE!

Send people notes! Real notes! In the mail! 

NUMBER SIX! 

Don't be a jerk. Turn on your lights when you're driving and it's dark outside. Use your turn signal. Return carts to the cart corral! Throw away your empty popcorn container after a movie! 

NUMBER SEVEN!

From the video: Treat people like people!!!!! Use the Golden Rule! 

Come on, guys. We're big adult humans. (Most of us who are reading this, anyway. I guess there might be some kids out there.) Let's be mature, reasonable, responsible, AWESOME PEOPLE. 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 128

7 Quick Takes, health, transplant, writing, fictionEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I. 

ICYMI: I wrote other things than the 30 Days series this week! Here's a post on the Four Last Things--in time for Halloween. (Or it was when I posted it!) And part II of my Houston Postcards.

II.

I had clinic on Monday. The X-ray is good, the PFTs are in their normal range, so that's all happy. The biggest happy, though? I got to go off prednisone! Yayyyy!

Prednisone is a steroid that does some nasty things to your body. It keeps inflammation down, and it's widely used in the transplant world. In other types of transplant, people can go off this drug after a few years. In lung transplant, that's much less common. So I knew that there was a good chance my doctors wouldn't let me go off it. But I'm 11 years out, I'm stable....I might as well ask!

"These lungs are basically yours," my doctor told me, so he didn't see a problem with me trying it. I have to go back for lung function tests (PFTs) in December, to make sure that nothing evil is happening in my lungs. But right now, I am off prednisone. 

III. 

I'm not going to lie: the first few days of this have been rough. After only seven days, your body adapts to prednisone and makes changes in a lot of ways. I've been on it for eleven years. Tuesday, Wednesday, and yesterday were a bit tough as my body adjusted to being off it, especially in the muscle/joint department. They liked steroids. I'm hoping that now that I have good lungs that are not full of Evil Bacteria, my joints will be happy without the prednisone. (CF people often have a sort of quasi-arthritis--it's not "real" arthritis, but joint pain, stiffness, etc. happens.) I really didn't miss all that insanity, so I'm hoping that they're going to be happy without the pred. 

IV. 

On Wednesday I got to see one of my favorite singers, Canadian artist Loreena McKennit. If you're not familiar with her music, here's a few tastes: 

 

 

She's hard to categorize; sometimes she's labeled "Celtic", sometimes "new age", and sometimes "world", but I just say she's great. She rarely tours, and very rarely tours in the U.S., so when tickets went on sale for her one concert in town, my friend Suellen and I jumped on them.

Our AP English teacher, Mrs. Low, had introduced us to Loreena's Music, with "Lady of Shalott" and "The Highwayman"--so we've been fans for a long time now. (Yikes, 17 years!) Hearing her sing "The Lady of Shalott" in person has vastly added to my lifetime happiness. 

V. 

I'm also doing NaNoWriMo! This is my fifth year. I'm writing a story about a girl who enters a monastery. I've been wanting to write a novel about nuns for awhile, but having seen a lot of recently released novels that paint nuns in a less than flattering light made me move this story forward over other NaNo ideas. It also has a strong ballet component, so I'm writing about two pretty rarefied worlds in one novel. (And no, it's not like the ballet in Trouble With Angels. Ha!) I'm going to hit the 10K mark today. 

(If you're not familiar with NaNo: The objective is to write a 50,000 words novel from start to finish during the month of November.) 

VI. 

As soon as I hit 10K today, I'm watching The Crown on Netflix. Seriously. I love Claire Foy, I love the Royals, I love Netflix....it all works together for pure binge watching enjoyment! (And there's going to be a second season! WOOOOO!) The goal is to have 60 episodes over 6 seasons. So Claire Foy is playing Queen Elizabeth II in the early part of her reign. I'm so excited. Seriously. Royal geek, right here. 

(And Stephen Daldry is directing episodes! He directed one of my favorite movies, The Hours.) 

VII. 

OK, wow, that's enough fan-girling for one post. Sorry guys. :) Have a great weekend! 

Next week--my October reading wrap post. It's long! It's fun! 

Seven Quick Takes No. 127

7 Quick Takes, drawing, family, travel, Jeopardy, hearing lossEmily DeArdo3 Comments

I.

In case you missed it: Thirty Days of Beauty continued this week. It was really all I wrote this week, since I was in Houston visiting my sister, and didn't bring the laptop with me. So go enjoy those posts. :) 

I will be updating my Houston Postcard next week with the places I did this trip, so it will be more Comprehensive for all you Houston-bound people!

II.

When I was in Houston I did a lot of sketching, including making a point of taking my supplies to the beach at Galveston. I knew that the paint would dry faster in the heat, but I wasn't prepared for how much faster. Still, I'm pretty happy with what I managed to get. 

III. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you are aware that my sister has a cat. Bella is a pretty sweet kitty, who flicks her tail whenever you say her name, and likes to try to get extra kibble out of the automatic feeder. (My sister is a nurse who works night shift, so automatic feeding for Bella is a good thing!) She discovered that by moving her paw under the slot, she could get extra kibble to drop down. Sometimes. Never having lived with a cat, I was hugely amused by her behavior. 

IV. 

There were FOUR bookstores visited on this trip, guys. FOUR. One of them, yes, was a Barnes and Noble, and I wasn't there for very long, but still. FOUR! 

Brazos, of course. I introduced Melanie to its beautiful-ness. Small but mighty. 

We checked out Galveston Bookshop--didn't buy anything, though. It looked like it might be a decent place to prowl around and look for books. It's mostly used books, with some new, and they have an excellent collection of books about Galveston and Texas, if that's your thing. They also have a shop cat!

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The last shop we visited was Murder By the Book, which was excellent. It's a lot more than mystery novels (at first I was like, mystery novels are not my thing), but I had a lot of fun here. More about this guy later. 

V. 

This chocolate cake, people. THIS CHOCOLATE CAKE: 

Does it remind you of this scene in Matilda, or what?!

It reminded me of that. :) And Mel and I love Matilda. So extra bonus points. 

And no. I did not eat that entire piece. Do I look crazy? But it was magically delicious. 

VI.

One of the things that I'm terrible at vis-a-vis traveling is unpacking. My suitcase sits in the main room and is gradually unpacked over a series of days. The longer the trip, the longer it takes to sort everything out! 

VII. 

And finally....

 I wrote a piece for the Cochlear Website about my Jeopardy! experience. You can read it here

It went up on Tuesday when I was in Texas so I didn't have time to write about it. :) But here you go! 

Seven Quick Takes No. 126

7 Quick Takes, family, travelEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

Until the election, I'm doing 30 Days of Beauty. It's a series where I post images, book and movie recommendations, and music to serve as a bit of peace and loveliness in the crazy. They're not very long, but hopefully you enjoy them as much as I've enjoyed putting them together!

II. 

Makeup recommendation time (this is where all the guys scroll down!): Best mascara I've ever tried is Maybelline's Last Stiletto. Seriously. Try it. Works just as well as Lancome's Definicils and better than any Bobbi Brown I've tried. Needed to share this with y'all. 

III. 

I am going to Houston on Sunday! My sister's birthday is on Monday and she wanted me to come visit her, so I am complying. I'll be there for a few days. 

The extra-fun part is that my sister shares a birthday with two of our cousins, one of which also lives in Houston. So it's gonna be one big party. Yay!

(I do love birthdays. So much.)

IV. 

On Tuesday we're going to the beach. Here's how that conversation went:
Mel: So we'll go to the beach on Tuesday.
Me: Guess I won't need to pack my sweater, then....

It's going to 90 when I'm there. The beach in October? That just seems wrong. 

Oh well! Better than not being on the beach, right? 

V. 

I haven't been to Houston in about five years, so I'm excited to go back. I also get to meet my sister's boyfriend, whom I haven't met yet. Hopefully I don't scare him away. :-P 

VI. 

The TSA agents really do not help women. I mean, seriously. ONE little bag to carry on of toiletries? This, and my meds, is why I have to check baggage. Seriously. I need more than one little baggie, TSA people. 

(First world problem, I know. At least I'm flying Southwest and my checked bag is free.) 

VII. 

Hockey season has begun and my heart is happy. Hockey season always makes me happy. Except when/if my teams are tanking. I don't want that to happen. That's not happy.