Emily M. DeArdo


Yarn Along No. 79

books, journal, knittingEmily DeArdo3 Comments

Yayyy October yarn along!

So, first, since it’s October, I’m deep in knitting gifts. This one is for a little friend (I do mean little—it’s a little boy, although he’d probably bristle at being called “little”)—he picked the color and the type of yarn. It’s Carrie’s Yellow from Quince, in their Lark line. I haven’t worked with Lark before, so it’s a new experience, but it’s going well so far! (If you love Quince like I do, I highly recommend getting their color cards—they’ve been SO helpful, especially when it comes to gifts! Feeling the yarn and really seeing the colors in person as opposed to on a screen is so helpful).


I’m reading Make Something Good Today, which has been like having a cup of coffee with good friends. I love Home Town on HGTV, because Erin and Ben seem so real, and this book just proves they are. You’re probably thinking, “Of course they’re real, duh”, but I mean real as in, authentic. And the last chapter on their baby girl will make you cry. Seriously. Too much.

When I work on Christmas gifts, my own projects get moved to Sunday. So that means the shawl’s progress has slowed, but I’m reaching the end!


The end work on this shawl is sort of slow, though, because of the detail level-it’s not just the lovely garter stitch I’ve been doing for most of the shawl! However, it is pretty. This shawl is being knit in Quince’s Chickadee. (Carnation—special edition—Frank’s Plum, and Sage)

As it gets colder—maybe, it’s going to be in the 80s this weekend (OH weather is insane), I just am drawn to knitting more and more. It’s so cozy! Once I finish the shawl I’m going to —gulp—cast on a hat! My first one!

#16 Grandma

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(This is the post for Saturday—there will be a Sunday post later!)

My grandma is down here with my aunts, spending time on a girls’ weekend together at Easton (A shopping/entertainment district near where I live). I didn’t know grandma was in town, so I was really pleasantly surprised to see her at Mass last night!

Grandma is 88 and she’s the last grandparent I have. The older I get, the more conscious I am of that, and I treasure getting to spend time with her. Even if it’s just an hour at Mass. :)

At Bryan and Sarah’s wedding in May

At Bryan and Sarah’s wedding in May

#15 Rainbows

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This was last night, but this made me seriously happy:


A gorgeous, full rainbow when it was getting dark. The colors were AMAZING. It felt like Oz, almost. Really really cool.

Today was a gorgeous fall day, crisp blue sky, little breezy—one of those days that just makes me happy. So I’m going to go take a bath and then read some of my library books and maybe watch opera? Because I have a ton of opera DVDs here from the library that I need to get working on.

#14 Ohio

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Ohio tends to get a bad rap. It’s boring, it’s flat, it’s a hot bed of drug use and terrible things and Rust Belt ghosts and all that.

But I’ve lived here all my life, and I really do like it.


Especially when I had a drive home that included:

  • that view

  • Corn fields ready for harvesting

  • FOUR horses in paddocks, grazing

  • a farm house with a sign that said “Fresh apple cider sold here”

  • a farm run by sisters that has a resident llama

  • A barn with an old “Mail Pouch Tobacco” advertisement on its side

I drove home from barre class with the windows down and great songs on the stereo and a gorgeous early fall day.

Ohio has its good points.

#13 Paul, Apostle of Christ

journal, movies, Take Up and ReadEmily DeArdoComment
paul poster.jpg

I totally missed this movie when it was in the theaters, but I picked it up on DVD, and it’s great!

I gotta say, I knew very little about Paul’s life until I worked on Flourish, the new Take Up and Read book that focuses on the Book of Romans (and that you can BUY RIGHT NOW HERE!). Watching this movie was a great way to cement that knowledge and also watch some great acting. (I love Jim Caviezel!)

So if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. And the Flourish study starts October 14! I’ll post more about it—INCLUDING a give away!—as we get closer to the start date!

#12 rainy days

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Flicker—taken by Angela Rae

Flicker—taken by Angela Rae

When I was little, I had a pink bedroom, and a pink-and-white marbled lamp on my nightstand. On rainy days, I loved the bus ride home from school, because I knew I’d get to go home, go up to my little pink room, turn on that lamp, and read or play with my dolls in my cozy bedroom while it rained outside. Mom would be making dinner downstairs, the house would smell good, and Dad would be home soon.

Rainy days are cozy and safe days to me.

So today, I got a lot done, but I’m also going to curl up with some tea and a stack of library books on my couch and read until I get sleepy. And then I’ll go to bed and read some more. And eventually go to bed. But rainy, cozy days, with books and tea, are some of the best days.

#11 More tea!

writing, journalEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Tea is a focal point in my life. So is writing.

So today a writers’ group I’m in had tea at the Cambridge Tea House—because, seriously, tea is awesome.

I had my usual cream tea, but the other two ladies shared an afternoon tea.


I had some of the pimento cheese sandwich—it was yummy.

It was great just to talk and hang out, and next week we have our “regular” every other month meeting where we talk about writing and what we’re working on. I love having a writers’ group!

(And it’s the first day of fall and the WINDOWS ARE OPENNNNNN!!!! Yay!)

#10 I didn't die at barre class

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Seriously, people, this is worth sharing.
I hadn’t been to a Pure Barre class in about four years. And when I went, I would get so frustrated, constantly comparing my body to the other bodies in the room. Why couldn’t I do this? So, of course, I stopped going after about 10 classes.

But last night, I had this strange compulsion. I was going to a Board and Brush class with my SIL and my brother. There was a Pure Barre studio right by the class and their apartment. I could….go to class and then meet them for dinner and then paint.

I signed up for a class, my first in almost five years.

What in the world?!??!

Before I went in today, I gave myself a pep talk. Emily. You cannot compare your body to theirs. You have maybe half the lung capacity. You have a wrist that hates plank. But you know what? You are strong anyway. You can modify. Just get through the class.

So that was my goal. Get through class.

And I did. And not only that? I’m stronger than I was five years ago. I could get through the warm up and arms almost easily. I could do leg work without feeling like a failure. Sure, at the end, when we did crunches with legs in the air, I couldn’t do that. But you know what? THAT IS OK.

I left class feeling really proud of myself, and energized, and amazed that I felt stronger than I had when I was younger.

This is really different for me. I used to leave class frustrated and angry at myself, or at the very least, with a “got that done” mindset.

Maybe….I need to go more often?

Maybe my body can do things?

And board and brush was awesome. Here’s what I made:


AND I got to have fun with Liz and her cat Vito and knit and talk books and have tea this morning

So basically, a great day.

#8 & #9 GMBD and Book Baby!

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Did you ever watch The Middle?

If not, you should, it’s REALLY funny.

Anyway, yesterday reminded me of this clip:

Frankie’s “Getting Her Business Done!” (GHBD)

Yesterday was a “GMBD” (my business) done day here, which is why I forgot to write!

I went through all these clothes:

*Yes, my bed is unmade. DON’T JUDGE.

*Yes, my bed is unmade. DON’T JUDGE.

And then put them all back in the closet: (Well, all the keepers)


(See that turquoise dress? That’s the dress I wore to work—the last day of work—before my transplant. So I keep it as a sentimental thing. :) )

There are six bags of clothes to be donated and there were four bags of trash removed.

People. This is so freeing. Do it some time. It didn’t take that long! Maybe two hours? And I broke it up so it wasn’t two hours at ONCE.

Then I took a bath with some Barr Co. bath salts that I got from Laurel Mercantile:

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 6.14.16 PM.png

I love bath bubbles and potions and things. I haven’t had any in a long time so I was so excited to pick this up. It’s DELICIOUS. Lightly scented by lovely and your skin feels like silk afterwards.

Talked to Mel on the phone again, and then watched Batman Begins.



Skin cancer check. I get these every six months. Two biopsied spots, so we’ll see if they’re anything.

Sent off my book proposal package to my acquisitions editor and hopefully the publisher likes it! My little book baby is out in the world!!

#7 Fajitas with Mel (and Ember Days start tomorrow!)

Catholicism, family, journalEmily DeArdoComment

My sister lives in Colorado, so I don’t get to see her that much, which is sad. She’s an RN at Colorado Children’s, the only children’s hospital in the entire state. She’s also getting married in June!

Tonight she called me and we cooked together. I love FaceTime. She was making a cake while I made fajitas for dinner, and we talked about wedding plans and our brother and what we like to cook and how she was eating all the cake batter. :-P And I got to say hi to Bella, her cat. We also decided that I’d look up a place for the rehearsal dinner, because I really do love reading Yelp reviews and I want to help her out. :)

Sadly I didn’t take a shot of her on the phone—she was having an AMAZING hair day. She has thick blonde hair I envy. Mine is not thick.

But I did take a photo of the fajitas.

Homemade salsa in there, too!

Homemade salsa in there, too!

And—a few dioceses around the country, and many individuals, are re-instating the practice of Ember Days in their spiritual lives. What are ember days? They’re days that the Church used to use for prayers—blessings on the natural world, on crops, on the people who live in the area, etc. They happen four times a year, and the Michaelmas (fall) ones are tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. They’re days for fasting and more prayer.

If you want to know more, check out this great article. I am terrible at fasting. But I will abstain from meat. Here’s a specific link on the fall Embertide. (The other ones fall after Pentecost, St. Lucy’s Day [Dec. 13] and after Ash Wednesday.)

(If you’re a blog subscriber, you’re getting this W morning….but you can still fast or do things on the Friday and Saturday! Not too late!)

#6 A Letter from the Palace

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So, it’s not every day you see this stamp and return address in your mailbox amongst the bills and catalogues:


Yeah, I was a little surprised, too.

But then I remembered, Oh, it must be a thank you photo!

And indeed, it was!

Prince Louis birth card

If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say thank you photo: if you write a member of the royal family in congratulations for an event, they don’t just send notes. Nuh-uh. They send you a photograph and a note on the back.

And in a sign of true classiness:


You know, they were just sort of busy this summer. A wedding. A christening. Recovering from birth and chasing around two kids. Etc. So yeah, I liked this touch a lot, even though, hello, they must have gotten tons of mail! Their poor mail people!

So, yes, this is a good highlight from today.

(We also celebrated my brother’s birthday, which was last week, and I had a good clinic appointment today. So those are good too.)

#5 Snuggly Sunday

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I had nothing to do today, which I love. I go to Mass on Saturday nights, usually, so my Sunday is wide, wide open. The Steelers were playing terribly, so I turned off the game and read a bit on the couch.


The blanket is a Disney Vera Bradley pattern that my SIL got me a few Christmases ago, and I LOVE it. I love all blankets, really. Snuggly blankets and pillows are so good.

The book is this one.

And then I watched Coco and did some yoga and am about to start Interstellar, because it’s a great movie and I haven’t seen it in too long! (And the soundtrack is FABULOUS, btw. So different from most Hans Zimmer scores.)

I have a clinic appointment tomorrow which should be an in and out kind of deal. And dermatologist on Thursday. So it’s a busy doctor week and I’m glad I had today to just snuggle.

#4 Roses and Fun Paperwork

journal, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments

My neighbor planted rose bushes in the spring, and boy howdy, the blooms have been amazing lately….


Every day, something different on that side of our little fence and I love it.

Today I also did “fun” paperwork. I’ve been doing not fun insanity-inducing paperwork, but this paperwork is for the book proposal, hence “fun”, although also sort of nerve wracking because it’s IMPORTANT. But also fun.

(At Mass tonight, our pastor opened his homily with the stat that professional writers spend 70% of their time revising and editing. BOY HOWDY is he right….)

And now it’s time to watch OSU play some football (just like everyone else in the city is doing), and drink some Diet Coke, take another nice bath, and read some more about event horizons and singularities and Einstein.

(Oh, and Pitt beat Georgia Tech! HTP!)

(Oh, AND: The OSU band is seriously the best part of seeing a game at the ‘Shoe. I love the band.
If you haven’t seen Script Ohio, do yourself a favor:

#3 Day of Jubilee

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I was super looking forward to today for a long time, because I got to have lunch and go shopping with Sarah, who is one of my best friends, and her daughter, Lydia came with her as well. It was BLAZING hot, but we still had a great lunch at Marcella’s, a local Italian place, and had a great time shopping.

Things were even better because I got news that an editor is interested in a book proposal I submitted! SO HOLY COW! I’m sending a LEGIT PITCH out into the world which might get to be a real book!!!!

My buddy Lydia, whom I adore.

My buddy Lydia, whom I adore.

Shopping—hair styling stuff and then I bought this great necklace from a company called My Saint, My Hero. I figured I deserved some really pretty jewelry for the day of jubilee, right? :) It’s the Our Father in Morse code. How cool is that?

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 7.54.12 PM.png

It’s so hot that I’ve been sitting in the A/C since I got home, but it’s been a great day. I’m so happy. part of my stress in July and August was wondering if my book proposal was any good. Guess it was? :) God is good, people. I’m terrible at waiting, and I guess before I die, God is going to make me good at it, dang it. :)

So now I’m on my couch watching Coco and then I’m going to medicate and take a nice bath before I go to bed and read more of In This House of Brede and The Science Behind Interstellar, because I’m a NERD. And I might watch that movie tomorrow too.


(Coco is really good. You should watch it.)

#2 Kitchen dance party

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I love to cook. I probably get it from the Italians in my family. The women on my mom’s side cook because they have to, not because they like it, I don’t think. At least that’s the vibe I’ve always gotten. On Dad’s side, though, cooking is fun.

So I turned on some tunes and made a new recipe, which involved mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese; it’s used in tiramisu but here it’s used to thicken a really basic sauce just a little bit, and to give some richness).


Here’s the recipe if you want to try it. It’s ridiculously easy. You can get mascarpone at Giant Eagle nowadays, so this isn’t hard to find. I made it in my Dutch oven, and I only simmered the tomatoes for 10 minutes (my cookbook versions says 10-15, not 15-20 minutes, like the link says). If it would’ve gone any longer I would’ve freaked about the tomatoes and the onions and such. So I only went 10. The food was fine. :)

And yes, it’s in the upper 80s right now, and I turned on my oven to make this. I’m probably nuts. But sometimes I just love putting on good music in my kitchen, trying a new recipe, and dancing along as I make dinner. The Julie and Julia soundtrack is perfect for this. The movie is super cute, but the soundtrack is really better than the movie, I think. (The movie is a total feel-good movie. It just makes you happy. And makes you want to cook and bake things. So it’s a good motivator, if you need it.) Most times, cooking makes me happy. And anything with cheese makes me happy.

The label says that mascarpone is also good on toast. So I might have to try that. Later.

#1 Scones

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I’m pulling a page out of Erin Napier’s book and I’m adding my own journal pages. If you’re not familiar with Erin (of Home Town fame, which is my second favorite TV show EVER, after Outlander), she originally started her blog as a way to keep track of the good things that happened to her every day. One thing, one entry, every day.

Lately, the stress monster has been eating me up, so I’m going to be doing this. One thing, daily, usually written at night, so blog subscribers will get the previous day’s entry in their mailbox the next day.

Today, it’s scones.


My friend Mary is leaving for France to be an au pair at the end of the month (she speaks beautiful French, so this a great job for her). As such, we’re cramming in a lot of things to do because she’ll be gone a long time (until next August, but she gets to come home for Christmas).

So today we went to Cambridge Tea House and had our favorite cream tea and jam and clotted cream and scones. We talked about whether cream or jam should go on the scone first, and we are both Cornwall people—cream first. Sorry, Queen Elizabeth, but the jam first is just not as good, at least not to us. (Also: milk or sugar first in tea?)

Scones are wonderful things.

In Which Emily Blogs Angry

Emily DeArdo6 Comments

You remember Groundhog Day, when Phil tells the groundhog not to drive angry? I probably shouldn't blog angry, but my Idiot-O-Meter is so high today, and it's also like 100 degrees here, so I have no tolerance for idiots, and I'm about to get it out. :) 

OK, look. Being disabled in church sucks. It's hard. Life is already hard, but churches make it even harder because they don't give you ANY HELP. You want to hear the Mass? Oh, well, priests shouldn't wear microphones. The sound system's fine. We won't mic the cantor because we have great acoustics in the church. 


You want--WANT--to go to confession? Oh, I'm sorry. We can't provide accommodation so you can do that. You have to make an appointment with a priest. Using the phone, which you can't use, because why should the office have email? Why should we offer face to face confession or confessional rooms because people who are hard of hearing, or paralyzed, or on crutches, or WHATEVER, need and want to go to confession? That's ridiculous. You just call and make the appointment, because a person who is disabled and has chronic illness doesn't make enough freaking appointments in her life. 

No one else has to make an appointment to go to FREAKING CONFESSION. 

So, from now on, everyone who says that we should get rid of face to face confession, then you tell me how I'm supposed to go to confession. You tell me that on a week when I have a doctor's appointment, THREE phone call meetings about health stuff that has to be moderated by my parents because  SSDI and the state of Ohio won't use email to talk to me, that I just need to "make an appointment." Because, you know, I really  don't want to be accommodated. Today Iw as told that I just need to make  a "perfect act of contrition."

WHAT THE EVERLOVING &%*$(@) AH does that MEAN?! 

I am done with idiots

Seriously, people, PLEASE THINK. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE THINK. Don't just tell me I have to "make an appointment". Don't tell me that I just have to make a perfect act of contrition. 



I very rarely blog angry. Today I am incandescent with rage. 


What people say

journal, transplant, essaysEmily DeArdo1 Comment
Roses outside the parish priory

Roses outside the parish priory

I was reading one of Nie Nie's recent posts, and it got me thinking. 

Like her, meeting new people can make me nervous. There's a lot to explain. If I go out to eat with a good friend, they know my "I don't understand please translate" look I give when the waitress is talking. New people don't.  My friends know that if I miss something or mishear it, that I didn't mean to do it, and they'll correct me and we'll move on. New people don't know these things. 

New people also don't know why my arm is scarred up. Like Nie, I was burned--not nearly as badly, thank God. But, people ask about it. It's not "normal."

Some people think that "nice people" don't ask rude questions. They do. 

I was asked to show someone my transplant scars in the middle of an office. They're underneath my breasts. Not happening. 

I've been asked what happened to my arm when I'm buying moisturizer and toilet paper at Walgreen's. Recently, a checkout clerk asked me what happened to it as I was digging out my wallet. 

"I was burned during surgery." That's all I wanted to say. People are not owed my whole story just because they're curious. 

But this woman wouldn't stop. "What hospital was that at?"

I didn't answer. I slipped my card into the reader. Fortunately, by this point, there was a woman behind me. The employee continued chattering at me as I finished my transaction. 

Why do people do this? Because they're curious? They probably don't mean to be rude, but they certainly didn't think before the words left their mouths. 

I don't mind little kids asking me, because they really don't know better. Adults do. 

You're not entitled to know everyone's story. My life and its intimacies aren't your personal fodder. It's like touching a pregnant woman's stomach. That's just wrong, man. It's not yours to touch. 

I write here. I talk about my life. I want to do that. But that doesn't mean that when I'm buying toilet paper I want to go into the details of transplant and skin grafts with you. And honestly, people aren't owed that information. 

People can be crazy rude. And it hammers home the point that, yes, my arm looks weird. But if you want to talk to someone you don't know, compliment them? Say they have great eyeliner or their shoes are a fun color or something. Don't say, hey, why is your arm funny? Why are you in the wheelchair? Why don't you have any hair? 

I don't mind talking about it, but I don't like it being pointed out like it's some sort of freakish wonder. There's a difference.