Emily M. DeArdo

writer

7 Quick Takes

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....

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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!

IMG_4074.JPG

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. 

 

Seven Quick Takes 125: Why Y'all Should Silent Retreat (Or retreat, at all)

7 Quick Takes, CatholicismEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I. 

OK, before we get down to Quick Taking, here's this week's writing: 

You Get What You Get

Hail Mary

And, since I'm going to be on retreat tomorrow--aka St. Therese's Feast Day--I give you: 

This post about her as my Confirmation Saint

II. 

OK, so anyway, this weekend, I'm going on a silent retreat. I go on a lot of these; I try to go on at least one a year. If I'm lucky, I get in two. But one a year is absolutely vital, and I think everyone should try to go on one, because they are awesome

But why are they awesome, Emily? Because they don't sound awesome to me. And I'm busy. I have Stuff. I have Life. I can't just go retreat!

OK, maybe you can't. But if you can, at all, you NEED TO!

III. 

Reason Number 1: SILENCE

OK, I know that this will make a lot of you run screaming for the hills. Silence? For a whole weekend? I can't do that. I have to talk! 

No, you don't. Trust me. Trust God. You really don't need to talk. You need to talk LESS (take it from a girl who used to get "refrains from unnecessary talking" marked as a need to improve area on every report card between grades 1-8. That's thirty two report cards, guys. )

God cannot talk to you if you're too busy yapping and watching Netflix and listening to Adelle and Facebooking and Face Timing and Messaging and Snapchatting and whatever else. I mean, he'll try

But if we take away all those distractions, all the talking, and we just sit and are quiet? It's a lot easier to hear God talking to you. 

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave.

---1 Kings 19:11-13

Yeah, sometimes God speaks in the thunder. But sometimes he's speaking in the quiet, and he's easy to miss. Make it quiet so you can hear him!

IV. 

Second: TOTAL focus on God

You have nothing to do in this retreat but be with God. That's it. You have nothing else to worry about. You are fed. You have a room that you don't have to clean. You have ample places to walk, to pray, and books to read, if you didn't bring your own. All you have to do is have quiet time with the Person Who Loves You The Most. (Yeah, that would be God.) You can do that however you want, as long as you don't break the silence. You can say the rosary. You can sit in the chapel and just stare at the tabernacle. You can go to confession. You can journal. You can read. WHATEVER. But the whole point is to grow in your spiritual relationship with God. 

Nothing stays stagnant. If you are staying stagnant, you're not growing. You're decaying. Think of flowers that don't blossom, or an apple tree that doesn't give apples. Something's wrong. You need to continually grow in the spiritual life. Retreats are a great way to do that. 

V. 

Third: New perspectives

Every retreat I've been on, there's been something new I've learned. Sometimes it's from the retreat master's talk. Sometimes it's from prayer in the chapel. Sometimes it's from a book I'm reading. But I always learn something new. 

VI.

Fourth: Refreshment

There is refreshment in retreat. Since life is stripped to the bare essentials, you don't feel like you have to be Chatty Cathy at the lunch table. You don't have to worry about laundry and cooking and all the other mundane things. You can just be. A retreat is fantastic self-care. You have to refresh yourself in order to continue growing. You need water just like a plant. A retreat is a great way to get that refreshment. 

VII.

Now, you don't need to do a silent retreat. They're my preferred retreats, because I find that I can really hear God best that way. But you can do retreats that let you talk. :) But some degree of quiet is important when it comes to retreat. They're meant to be introspective. You're meant to spend a fair amount of time on your soul and God and prayer. 

That being said, I also love Catholic Conferences, like the Columbus Catholic Women's Conference. Holy hours are also a great way to refresh yourself in the middle of life, if you can't get away for a weekend. 

But if you can, at all, I'd suggest trying  a weekend retreat. It might bear more fruit than you ever thought! 

Seven Quick Takes No. 124: Describing Myself in 7 Fictional Characters

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo3 Comments

There was a meme on Instagram/Facebook this week, asking you to describe yourself in THREE fictional characters. I found that really difficult, but I did it! But I thought seven might be a more well-rounded image. So, here we go. The first three are obviously the ones I used for the meme. :) 

I. 

First up: Rapunzel, from Tangled

Besides the blonde hair (mine was NEVER as epic as hers, however), Rapunzel and I do have a lot in common. We both like to draw, paint, knit, read, and cook. We both love cast-iron skillets. But other than that, we both spent a lot of our lives waiting for something; in my case, waiting for transplant/better health. After my transplant, my life opened up in broad, broad strokes. It's been amazing the things I've done in the last 11 years that I couldn't have imagined in the first twenty-three. Rapunzel's life changes drastically once she gets out of the tower.  We both hesitate over leaving what is safe and known for the unknown (which could be a lot better, or a lot worse). 

We're also obedient. Both of us tend to believe that people want the best for us. We think that people always have good hearts. That's not always true--which we also find out. 

And I'd also like a chameleon as a sidekick. 

 

Second: Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

No, I'm not an orphan. But Anne and I are both bubbly, somewhat intense personalities that you either like or you don't.  We both have big imaginations, are fiercely loyal friends, want to be writers, and generally want to make the world a better place. We have tempers! We also don't mind standing up for what we think is right. And we both may be a little bit dramatic. ;-) 

Third: Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

It was actually hard for me to pick one Austen Heroine. You'll see why in a bit. But I'm probably the most like Lizzy. We "take pleasure in many things", we like to laugh (especially about our neighbors' foibles). Wit, common sense, good conversation, and intelligence are important to us (and are to be cultivated in ourselves). We have a somewhat critical view of humanity. We both think that people should be more like us--to the exasperation of others.

 "There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconstancy of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense."
"My dear Lizzy, [said Jane] do not give way to such feelings as these...you do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper." 

We are both somewhat quick to judgment, and often have our judgments reversed on closer acquaintance. We also, though, both know what we want, and don't want to settle for anything less than that. 

Fourth: Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey

OK, I realize that Lady Mary is not universally loved. And I will say I would not have made all of her choices (namely, screwing around at the hotel before getting married; Mister Pamuk.....). But that being said, I identify a lot with Mary.

We're both oldest children. We both want to be seen as women of substance, and not just pretty things. We are extremely stubborn and strong-willed. We have definite views of Right and Wrong. We can be a bit blunt. When the chips are down, we step up and do what we have to do to make sure everything comes out right--or at least, that the best possible outcome is achieved. Our softer side can be hard to find. We don't take any nonsense/whining. But sometimes, yeah, we have a little pity party and go up to our rooms. But then we bounce back and proceed to Set Things Right and Move On With Life. 

And sometimes our tempers/feelings get the better of us, and we have Very Bad Moments at the Breakfast Table.

Marianne, Margaret, and Elinor Dashwood

Marianne, Margaret, and Elinor Dashwood

Fifth: Elinor Dashwood, (right) Sense and Sensibility

 

I'm like Elinor in that I have a practical, logical side. I have an imagination and I like to daydream, but eventually, facts be facts, and we have to deal with them (same as with Lady Mary). Some things I tend to keep bottled up inside me, and I'm good at being in charge, even when I don't want to be. We can both be considered cold, when we're really just being practical/logical, or trying to protect ourselves, in a situation where love might be involved. (Also like Lady Mary. So really, Elinor, Lady Mary, and I could have a party.)   

 

Sixth: Eowyn, Lord of the Rings

Oh, Eowyn.  A lot of the time I feel like Eowyn is my spirit animal, in a sense. Both of us have been shaped by circumstances we wouldn't have selected. Both of us are brave (but we don't see bravery the same way--she desires great deeds, and I never really had that desire). We both want to prove ourselves to other people, and make people see us. And we will defend our family to the death! (Although I haven't had to prove this yet. Hopefully no Nazguls are waiting outside my door.....) 

Seven: Belle, Beauty and the Beast

Obviously, the book thing. Devotion to family, and a willingness to help them out of tough spots (are you seeing a pattern here?). A craving for adventure and a big life. Temper when roused, and a mind of our own. A willingness to change our minds and opinions if the situation warrants it. A bit of curiosity killed the cat, as a flaw. But knowing what's the right thing to do, and doing it, even when we might not want to do it. 

 

So those are my seven. Who are yours? 

(honorable mentions: Marianne, Sense and Sensibility; Esther Summerson, Bleak House)

Seven Quick Takes No. 122

7 Quick Takes, food, books, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I. 

Happy Friday, everybody!!!!

Here's what I wrote about this week, ICYMI: 

Hospital Hair Salons (With a follow up next week!) 

Catholic 101: The Eucharist

II. 

We FINALLY had rain! Lots and lots of rain! My plant doesn't look like it's going to die now! Yay!!!!! (Even when you water a plant copiously, when it's 90+ degrees for many days in a row, the plant will look very sad.) Just in time for school starting, the weather has become less hot and more normal--70s and low 80s. I can handle this. In fact, this is sort of my perfect type of weather. I am ready for my sweaters!  

III. 

This was this week's Kitchen Adventure: 

This is the Guinness Cake. The Cake of My Heart. And next week, it'll get its own Food Stories post!  (It's been awhile since I've done one of those!) 

IV. 

I'm falling down on the reading this month, but I do have the new Mother Teresa book, A Call To Mercy on my iPad, as well as Shauna Niequist's Present Over Perfect.

V. 

In my own writing: I'm working on some submissions and still editing the memoir. Always, right? And NaNoWriMo 2016 is over the horizon, so I need to come up with a novel idea to write this year!

VI. 

After a long hiatus, I'm back to the knitting, because my new yarn bowl arrived. So back to those knits and purls. I'm using up some odds and ends of yarn so this is definitely a project for me, and not a gift. And I need to start thinking about Christmas gifts too, yikes! And birthday gifts for my fall people!

VII. 

Has school started where you are? I remember when it started at the end of August. The beginning/middle of August feels so odd for school start dates. Course they also get out a lot earlier than I did, too.But starting on August 16 (when a lot of schools here started) seems wayyyy too early for me. 

 

 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 121

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

Ohio weather is extreme. 

In the winter, we can plunge to Hoth-like levels of cold, when everyone wishes they had a Tauntaun to stay warm inside, and hibernation in the order of the day. 

In the summer, hibernation can ALSO be the order of the day--because it's SO DARN HOT. 

We don't quite hit Houston levels of heat (100+ for the temperature), but we've been in the upper 80s for a week now, and I'm about done. With my skin, I generally hibernate whenever it's super sunny (and almost always from noon-two), but when it's super sunny, AND hot AND humid? No. 

I would pay a lot of money for a decent rain storm right now. 

I love summer more than winter--I'd rather have this heat than freezing cold. So I'm trying to embrace it and remember that this will be something I want when I can't even take the trash out without putting on boots and scarves and hats and gloves and my Puffy Coat. 

II. 

Did you know there was a right way to put bobby pins in your hair? I didn't. But apparently you're supposed to put the crinkly side down, not up. Whoops. 

I'm such a hair fail. Fortunately my friend Andrea showed me this website, and now I'm going to try to become less hair impaired.  This style, especially, looks like it will be good for when the weather makes me want to shave my head. 

III.

School officially starts around these parts next week. In other parts of the state, it started today. I can't believe how early school starts now, but I have to say, when I was in school, I was "done" with summer by now. I wanted to be back to a routine. Routine is my friend, even as an adult. I do like some spontaneity, but generally, if I don't have a routine, I end up sitting at home in my pajamas mindlessly watching Fraggle Rock, and that's no good (as much as I love Wembley and Red). 

I've finally disciplined myself enough to have the start of a good morning routine: get up, start the coffee, say Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours and read my daily devotionals, get coffee, have breakfast. It's finally reached a point where this is just what I do--it's become a habit. Thank goodness. 

IV. 

Habits experts tell us that routine is a great thing, because it saves us from having to make decisions and use willpower. If we know we're going to get up and do X, Y, Z right away, then bang, it's done. You don't need to think about it. It's become like brushing your teeth or getting dressed. You just do it. 

The next step is when to work in my workout. I've found that doing it before lunch is actually a really good spot for me, but it's not automatic yet. I'm working on getting it to that point, whether I actually leave the house for barre class, or do a workout video at home, or whatever. 

V. 

Italian is a strange language. Verbs can be nouns. Nouns can be verbs. You can completely leave the subject out. But I'm on track to be 50% fluent by the end of the year, which is one of my Powersheets goals, so I keep practicing. I love the Duolingo app.  

VI. 

I will OFFICIALLY be a Children's Hospital volunteer really soon, which is exciting. After spending so much of my life there, it's nice to give back a bit to other patients and families. And it gives me an excuse to find a cool lanyard for my volunteer badge. 

VII. 

If you've read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, what did you think of it? Spill in the comments. 

Seven Quick Takes No. 120: Let's talk about Harry

7 Quick Takes, booksEmily DeArdo5 Comments

I. 

Before we get into Harry Mania, here's this week's posts: 

Summer Reading: July

Let's Communicate

II. 

(Obviously: If you haven't read the HP books or watched the movies, there are tons and tons and tons of spoilers ahead.) 

Like a lot of other people, I picked up the "eighth" Harry Potter book on Sunday, the 31st--which is also Harry Potter's birthday. 

As you can see, it's a play--a two part play, actually--published here as a script. The "rehearsal addition" means that it's the script the cast was using in rehearsals, based on a story by Rowling. The final script will be published later. The show opened on the 30th, and up until a show opens, changes can be made (and usually are) in previews. 

(That doesn't mean that no changes are made once it's officially open, it just is pretty unlikely.) 

The story opens nineteen years later, with Harry as the Head of Magical Law Enforcement, Ron running the Weasley joke shop, and Hermione as Minister for Magic. Harry also has three children (mentioned in the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows)--James, Albus, and Lily. Albus and Harry have a...rocky relationship. And there are problems at work. 

I won't much more because I don't want to give anything away. But the script works well, both as a script (Ginny has a fantastic monologue in Part II that I would love to use in an audition), and as the next chapter in the Harry Potter universe.

III.

So, obviously, after I read the play (And I HAD to read the female parts out loud, come on!), I decided I had to go back to the movies and the books. 

Right now I'm re-watching the movies, and it's really clear that Chamber of Secrets is my least-favorite. It's so long, and so unwiedly. So many important things are introduced in it, but yet, it is a movie I usually skip. 

This is the movie where we get Dobby, Ginny arriving at Hogwarts, a HORCRUX!....and the movie is just so SLOW. 

I also don't really like the book, because I don't think it "fits" in the rest of the series. 

IV. 

I also have a beef about the diary as Horcrux. Does it feel like a sort of half-done thing to anyone else? The other horcruxes are crazy well protected, important items--and the diary is just given to the Malfoys! Who would give the Malfoys anything important?!?! 

And the whole "Riddle as memory"....that seems odd. The whole mechanics of the diary seem not well done. I sense authorial inattention. 

V. 

There are two movies that I dislike--Goblet of Fire and Chamber of Secrets. GOF because the book is just so rich, and so much is cut out in the movie. I know it probably had to happen, and I don't really mind missing SPEW, but I do miss all the other neat things, especially "after", when Dumbledore and Fudge are talking in the office, etc. "The Parting of the Ways" is one of my favorite chapters in the series.  
But I like Order of the Phoenix much better than the book. In the book it's all Harry yelling and being....teenagery. That's not interesting. I do like the bits on Occlumency, the Order, and St. Mungo's, but the series drags for me here. The movie is streamlined and focuses on the big points, which I enjoy. 

VI. 

Book seven--and movie eight (DH part II)--make me cry. I cannot read or watch with anyone else around, because it's ugly crying. Like, sobbing. As soon as Harry goes into Snape's memories in the pensieve, I am gone. 

 

I mean, just that picture. Holy cow. 

VII. 

Also, I am still mad at Lupin died. I LOVE Lupin. I would've married Lupin. He's my favorite teacher and he just DIESSSSSSS. 

Molly Weasley is also the Bomb. 

Share your thoughts on HP--really, anything HP related--in the comments. :) We'll have a Harry Potter party! 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 119: 23 Rules for Sane Eating, and Dragons!

7 Quick Takes, Catholicism, family, foodEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I. 

The weekly recap: 

Intro to the Sacraments

Seeking Motivation

II. 

Last weekend, I visited my grandma with my parents. My grandma is 86 years old, and she's my last remaining grandparent--and I love her to bits. She raised eight kids on a music teacher's salary, and all 8 kids are married (STILL married! Not divorced!--several of them in the 30+ years category of marriage), and all have had children. There are 25 of us grandkids, and 9 great-grandchildren. Grandma gave me my lifelong love of piano. (And listened to me play even when it was more like....random noise.....than music.) 

Me and my grandma, celebrating her 85th birthday last year. 

Me and my grandma, celebrating her 85th birthday last year. 

 

Anyway, Grandma's house always has good reading. I was reading her back issues of Catholic Digest, and found some food columns written by Emily Stimpson, whom I love to read. And then I remembered that Emily had a blog about Catholic food and friendship and entertaining called The Catholic Table

So I went home and read through her archives, where I found this gem: 

23 Rules for Sane Eating. 

Really, don't we need these? Eating, one of our most basic tasks, has become so complicated, hasn't it? It was so refreshing to find Emily's level-headed advice, here. 

And I am definitely going to start entertaining people again. I love dinner parties, and though my place is small, I love having people over to eat. 

III. 

Today is the Feast of St. Martha. DRAGONS, people. DRAGONS. (Click the link for Dragons!) 

Seriously, I love St. Martha. She gets such a bad wrap for the "Martha, Martha" story. But geez. She is really a pretty awesome lady. 

Some musical inspiration, as well: 

IV. 

This week I've been crazy into my painting and sketching. I'm working on adding some SoCal trip pages to my "big" sketchbook . Here's some of this week's work: 

Charcoal movement sketches as part of a SBS assignment. The idea was to catch people doing things, or in poses. So it was mostly line drawings, but I'm glad with what I caught here. The goal wasn't to be realistic. 

Charcoal movement sketches as part of a SBS assignment. The idea was to catch people doing things, or in poses. So it was mostly line drawings, but I'm glad with what I caught here. The goal wasn't to be realistic. 

A page in my big watercolor sketchbook detailing the SoCal trip with two maps--a larger (and wonkier) one with the general area, and then a more detailed one of LA and environs proper. I do have a travel sketchbook, but sometimes I want the larger pages. 

A page in my big watercolor sketchbook detailing the SoCal trip with two maps--a larger (and wonkier) one with the general area, and then a more detailed one of LA and environs proper. I do have a travel sketchbook, but sometimes I want the larger pages. 

This is a watercolor version of my grandma's flower bed. I put the paint blocks in first and then drew in some flowers in ink once the paint had dried. The flowers are sort of successful, but I wonder if it would've worked with just the paint blocks. I think it might have. And obviously, my green got away from me. Too much green! 

This is a watercolor version of my grandma's flower bed. I put the paint blocks in first and then drew in some flowers in ink once the paint had dried. The flowers are sort of successful, but I wonder if it would've worked with just the paint blocks. I think it might have. And obviously, my green got away from me. Too much green! 

I'm trying to work with my watercolors and brushes, to get to know them a little better, and see what they can do. But I really had fun with the charcoal pencils. 

V.

I'm on snapchat now as emdeardo, if you're in to Snapchat. I think I have the hang of it. Maybe? Not sure. But I do see how it can be fun. I haven't used any of the silly filters yet. :-p 

VI. 

One of my favorite Columbus Summer things is next weekend--the Dublin Irish Festival! And thank goodness, it looks like decent temps for the day I want to go. I love going and hearing the Irish bands, eating the good food, and it's a great time for sketching. I brought my sketchbook for the first time last year and I had a lot of fun with it. I can't wait to sketch some more this year! One of my favorite bands is Cassie and Maggie, sisters from Nova Scotia. They don't just sing and play; they dance, too. Seriously. They are fantastic!

VII. 

Does anyone else really like the month of August? I like June because it's like the unfolding of spring and summer. It's full of possibility. July, I don't really like. I don't know why. And this has even been a particularly good July, with all sorts of fun things happening. 

But August just seems like such a lovely month. A slow month, a month to sort of enjoy the summer and prepare for fall. I remember when I was going back to school and I was always ready for school to start come August. August is like that slow transition from summer to the demands of fall. (But I do love fall.) 

Seven Quick Takes No. 118: Aftermath

7 Quick Takes, JeopardyEmily DeArdo1 Comment

I. 

OK, so if you missed the wrap up on Tuesday: 

here you go. 

If you want more Jeopardy things, then click the "Jeopardy " link under the title of this post, and you will see all the goodness!

II. 

I was at a party, graciously hosted by Tiff and Bill, on Monday, so I wasn't tending to my social media. However, that didn't mean that social media didn't have thoughts about me....

So, um, I don't know what that means. 

BUT it did give me a great title for my memoir: Absurdly Happy. What do you think? :) There is a subtitle coming. I just don't know what. 

And some Tweeters did do a nice job sticking up for me: 

Matt wins the prize! :) 

Should I change my ringtone to Hello, Dolly? :) 

III. 

What Alex said to me after the show: He was impressed that I wrote down my answer for Final Jeopardy so quickly. "That was the fastest writing I've ever seen!" So, that can be my claim to fame, beyond all other things. 

He also explained why that was the Final Jeopardy question--the Tour is going on right about now. So, it's pertinent. 

(I mean, somewhere. Maybe not here--in Columbus it's All Convention, All The Time....)

IV. 

Someone did recognize me in the grocery store yesterday....

I had a craving for cereal, so I made a quick run to the store. In the cereal aisle, a woman stopped, looked at me, looked at the cereal, looked at me....

Her: Can I ask you a weird question?

Me: Yes.

Her: Were you just on Jeopardy? 

Me: Yes. 

Her: (Squeal--no, I didn't make that up) We watch that every night! We were so happy someone from here was on! 

She was very nice. But it was very surreal, being recognized in the cereal aisle. 

V. 

After my episode wrapped, Mary and I went to the Santa Monica Pier and had lunch. I could've stayed to watch the rest of the day's episodes, but I thought it was time to get out of there....and I really didn't want to see another show that would've had "better" questions air. I didn't need that sort of thing. So we decided to leave right after I signed all the forms. One of the lovely producers called me a taxi, and we headed off to explore.

VI. 

I don't know if I get a tape of the episode. I sort of hope I do? It's currently on my parents' DVR. :) 

VII. 

It was definitely an excellent experience--one I'm glad I got to do, and I'm so glad that you all got to watch it (or at least, most of you.) It was also nice to bring some positive coverage to the CF community!