Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Daybook

An Old School Easter Daybook

Daybook, hockey, Orchard House, the book, travel, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Remember how we used to do these all the time? Bringing it back. :) At least for this week.

“Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb”, Fra Angelico

“Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb”, Fra Angelico

Outside my window:

The tree outside my porch. Isn’t she pretty?

The tree outside my porch. Isn’t she pretty?

Wearing:

Jeans and a navy blue and white stripped shirt that I’ve had forever and probably need to stop wearing outside the house, LOL.

Reading

I’m on a Laura Ingalls Wilder kick so I’m re-reading the series; I’m on By The Shores of Silver Lake. I’m also reading The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I’ve got Cranford in my bag for the trip I’m taking this week.

Plans for the week:

I’m going to visit my sister in Denver for her bachelorette party! Yay! So that’ll be fun. I’ve never been to Colorado.

Celebrating:

Easter! It’s an octave, so that means that it’s EIGHT DAYS OF EASTER. So be sure to keep celebrating! The Easter season is actually fifty days long, culminating in Pentecost. So get your celebration on. We fast and abstain and do penance for forty days of Lent, but then we have fun for fifty days! So have fun!

(But don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.)

If you normally give up meat on Friday, you don’t have to this coming Friday, because of the Easter octave. Yay! Woo woo!

I don’t pray the Glorious mysteries at all during Lent, but for the next seven days they’ll be all I pray when I say my rosary. Gotta fill up on the good stuff.

Around the house:

I’m putting up some wall art over at Orchard House. My couch has STILL not arrived and that’s holding up a lot of the art work because I want to see what works when the couch is here. But I have up two Rose Harrington prints in my office:

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Aren’t they pretty?

Speaking of the office….

Writing:

I’m doing pretty well on the book! I’m really excited about this. I’m almost 2/3 of the way done! Some of the chapters have been pretty substantially re-written from my first draft, but that’s ok because now they’re better. My editor is great. (She’s also patient, which is nice. Sometimes I get all rabbity in my thinking, meaning I’m all over the place. She helps. :) ) I want to have a draft of chapter 10 (Jesus is Stripped of His Garments) before I leave on Wednesday.

Listening to:

The “hallelujah!” chorus from Messiah and the studio cast recording of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (not the Disney movie. The musical that’s derived from the Disney movie. It’s good stuff.)

Sharing Contemplation:

In the Gospel of Matthew, the women at the tomb left quickly with fear and great joy.

Fear and joy go together a lot of the time, don’t they? I got the book contract and then I had to write the thing and I’m afraid I’ll write crap. :-P You get pregnant and you want a baby, but then….labor! Right? I’d never noticed that sentence before. Fear and joy, co-existing all the time.

Getting the transplant call—-fear and joy.

Bet you can think of your own examples.

Maybe I’ll put this in the book? :)

Other good things:

BLUE JACKETS!!!! Their second-round series will be with either Boston or Toronto and will start this week (most likely). That series is going to game seven, so whoever will play will be tired, to say the least—but the Jackets can’t let up. Hope they don’t! Very excited about this series!

A Little Catholic 101 on Easter and Pentecost

And I’ve started a monthly newsletter-y thingy JUST for blog subscribers. They will find out all the book news first, they get special behind-the-scenes glances of things, I might even do book giveaways, WHO KNOWS. Anyway, you don’t want to miss this, so SIGN UP.

Please and thank you!




A Little Daybook

Daybook, journalEmily DeArdoComment
WhatFeelsLikeLosingIsReallyGaining.jpeg

I used to write a daybook entry every Monday, sort of like a diary, a look into my life on that particular day. I've gotten out of the habit, but every now and then I think it's a nice way to start the week. So a few things from around here, books, and some inspiration for your Monday? 

That image up top:: Ann always has great things to share with us. I find that at the beginning of the year, when we have so many expectations about how this year is going to be (X, Y, Z), we can get overwhelmed really fast. You miss a day of working out once....or you have the cookie....or whatever your resolution was, you break it. 

That's OK. Just pick yourself up and move forward. 

Speaking of great images, this might be my new favorite Marian image--"Madonna of the Rose Bower", by Stefan Locher

madonna of the rose bower.jpg

You can read about the painting here

(I love that Mary's a redhead!)

One of the great productivity things I found last week:: Pomodoros. Have you heard about this? The link gives you more information, but essentially, you perform a task for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. You do this four times in a row--after the fourth pomodoro, you take a 25-30 minute break. Then you're back at it. I've found this amazingly helpful in both organizing my days and in getting things accomplished. And it gives you free time! 

I don't use the actual timer--I use a plain old kitchen timer, or the timer on my watch. 

The other great thing is that, if you're getting calls or email, you know that you'll get to them during your "break" period. 

Reading::

I re-read a lot. I know some people don't. But I do. So this week has been a lot of re-reading of the Lord John series, by Diana Gabaldon. If you're familiar with the main Outlander series, you know about Lord John already, but Diana has given him his own spin-off series of novels and novellas. So I've re-read Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, and now I'm on Scottish Prisoner. As far as new books, I'm reading Pachinko, which is really good so far. 

On the calendar this week::

ENT appointment tomorrow, which is good because my Bionic Ear has been bothering me. And it's not the external part, it's the internal part--i.e., that part in my skull--that's been bugging me the most. It's been really painful lately, and I'm not sure why, so I'm definitely going to ask my Awesome ENT about this tomorrow. 

So, that's a little, brief daybook for you. How was your weekend? 

Daybook No. 125: Hi, February! (And a writing project update)

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Outside my window::

Currently warm (going to be 50 today) but it was cold over the weekend. It felt like 14, which meant bundling up to take out the trash. I've determined I'd rather sit in a boiling hot car than a freezing cold one. Neither is fun, but at least with the really hot one you can open windows and get some fresh air circulating. When it's cold, you have to wait for the heat to kick in, and even when it does, it can be anemic. 

 

Reading::

Out of the Ashes, by Anthony Esolen. I've long been a fan of Esolen's writing in Magnificat, and I've been wanting to read his Divine Comedy translation, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. This is a work of non-fiction about our culture and how to rebuild it. 

He makes an interesting point, and one I like, in what I've read so far: People object to money being spent on churches, but not on stadiums, or movie theaters, or other "things" for public consumption. And I've never thought of it that way, but it's true. I've often heard that the money the Church spends on art, vestments, architecture, etc. should go "to the poor" instead of being given "to the priests". One person told me that the money was taken from the poor, like it was forcibly removed from their pockets!

I currently attend a beautiful church, built by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and 50s. The floors are maple and oak; the pews are solid maple. The stained glass is gorgeous. The stations of the cross are real stations of the cross, carved and painted with care. The church has stood for more than 150 years. And the poor built it. They gave their money and their handiwork to glorify God, and did it so well that people generations later can still gather and worship God there. The fancy vestments and the stained glass are put in churches for God. We have built a temple for Him, and doesn't he deserve our best? The poor knew that. 

Marble! Maple! Oak! And yes, a communion rail! 

Marble! Maple! Oak! And yes, a communion rail! 

Too often today our churches have plywood pews and linoleum floors and the tabernacle is shoved off somewhere else (and it doesn't even look like a place where God Dwells! It looks like a dirty box!) and the Stations are abstract things and there's no crucifix or real art to be found. We think this is "thrifty", but doesn't it just downgrade our idea of God, and our worship of God? (And isn't it a waste of money? Plywood floors will never last like the maple and oak my parish has. Within a generation, you'll need to replace them. That's not good stewardship! Quality materials, quality craftsmanship, last.) 

Look at this Eucharistic Chapel! I mean, you can  tell  God lives there! 

Look at this Eucharistic Chapel! I mean, you can tell God lives there! 

And, as the French Sister Colette says in In This House of Brede, "It is for Le Seigneur." It is for the Lord. 

Anyway, that's what I'm pondering and reading. :) I'm also reading Fortune's Rocks and An Everlasting Meal

Writing Updates:

So, the ebook progresses. I've edited all the pieces from the series that I published here, to make them a little more well-rounded, and now I'm beginning to write the new pieces that are also going in the book. I hope to have them done (there's about five of them) ready for March, so then I can put the whole manuscript together and begin to edit and proofread for consistency, readability, and correctness (as well as format it all properly.). The hard part will be figuring out which format to publish to. So if you use an e-reader, or own an iPad, and would like to read the book, can you tell me what format you use the most? (And if you don't have an e-reader, you can still read the book via apps. More on that later.) Thanks muchly!

And I'm working on my next query. I read a piece awhile ago that says you send out eighty queries in the quest to getting published. I don't know if that was a real number or hyperbole, but it made me feel better. 

From the kitchen::

I'm working through An Everlasting Meal's food suggestions, and thinking about ways to both stretch food dollars and also eat more vegetables, and eat more simply. I love to cook, but I don't like to cook insanely complicated things--I want things that are more accessible to everyday life, like scrambled eggs with herbed cheese, or pork chops with a simple glaze. And I'd love to be more skilled in cooking vegetables without a recipe. I mean, one shouldn't need a recipe for veggies, right? The book has been really helpful and I've post-in note marked a bunch of pages of things I want to try, starting with her ideas for chicken (cooking one and using bits of it all week), and vegetables. Of course, one can roast veggies without a recipe. Crank the over to 400 and stick 'em in for 45 minutes or so. And while that's great, other methods are probably equally as great. 

Plans for the week:

Lunch with Dad; taking mom to the doctor; and lots of writing. Oh, and knitting! 

 

 

 

Daybook No. 124: entering Ordinary Time

Daybook, behind the scenes, fiction, travel, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Outside my window::

Dark. I tend to write these on Sunday nights, so that they go up in the morning without me having to scramble to write. So it's Sunday night, but it was light until like 5:45 today! I love that. :) 

Wearing::

A skirt and a three-quarter sleeve robin's egg blue t-shirt. When I have to work around the house I'd rather do it in one of my dress down skirts because it's easier to move around in, and I was cleaning the kitchen this morning. 

Reading::

Kim, Anne of Green Gables, and I'm going to dig out my Queen Victoria books, because of Victoria on PBS. (No, I'm not watching it right now--the Steelers are on!) I have a feeling the series is not going to be as historically accurate as I would like, so I need to refresh my memory on the finer points. 

Played Disney Scrabble over the weekend. There are four "Disney words" in this puzzle: Song, Fox, Deb, and Hope. Do you know why? (Answers at the bottom)

Played Disney Scrabble over the weekend. There are four "Disney words" in this puzzle: Song, Fox, Deb, and Hope. Do you know why? (Answers at the bottom)

Looking forward to::

The Making Things Happen Intensive! I won a ticket to the conference, but I had to book my flight and hotel, and I'm done with my prep now! Yay! I am so excited to be attending this conference, and glad that the conference gets a good room rate and I found a decent airfare to Raleigh. 

Around the house::

Cleaning. Finishing the Christmas tree putting-away-ness. Putting it up, I usually have help. Taking it down, it's usually just me. So it takes a few days, especially since I like all the ornaments to go back--nicely--into their boxes. 

Random thoughts::

Is anyone else tired? What is it with this January? Is it the weird weather pattern of 3-4 days of FREEZING COLD and then 3-4 days of spring? I'm sleeping for 10-11 hours a night, and that's just weird. I shouldn't be sleeping like that. Anyone else, or am I just weird? 

Writing projects::

I'm making really good progress on the ebook editing, which is the first step here. I'm making sure every piece that I want to have in the book is first off, written, and second off, edited. Not finished, but edited. I'll have this goal met by the end of the month, then it's time for fine-tuning. 

I'm also editing my 2016 NaNo novel this month, to see if there's anything relatively passable in it. :) 

Fun Quote I found last week::

 

Tea is sacrosanct, thank you very much.

Dr. Gordon Wyatt, Bones

 

Plans for the week: 

*Lunch with Dad

* Mass at least once

*Finishing the Tree Takedown

*Taking yet more books/CDs/DVDs to Half Price Books

And knitting! Moreeee knitting--progress posted on Wednesday. 

 

Answers for the puzzle: In Disney Scrabble, Disney words are a wide variety of things and can include: ride names, movie titles, song titles, character names, etc. Obviously you have to prove it's a "Disney word." So in this case: Deb (character from Finding Nemo), Song ("Love Is a Song That Never Ends", from Bambi; "Happy Little Working Song" from EnchantedSong of the South; "With A Smile and a Song" from Snow White); Fox (Fox and the Hound), and Hope ("One Last Hope" from Hercules.) 

Daybook No. 123: A week into 2017

DaybookEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window:: (on Sunday morning, when I wrote this one!) 

This weekend: Sunny with a few clouds and cold. It's 12 degrees but it feels like 0. We've been in a cold snap for a few days now and there comes a point where cold is just cold. I was driving home from my parents' last night and the car refused to warm up. When I got home I checked the temperature and saw why I was cold even under all my layers of sweaters and tanks and heavy coat and scarf--it felt like -3 outside. Well, OK then. 

Fortunately we're in a warming trend now. 33 for a high sounds tropical!

Reading::

In This House of Brede (If you've never read it, please do, because you are in for a treat), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Fire Within, Kim

Music playlist::

Still the Christmas music. But alas, this is the last week for it. Sigh. I will miss it. 

Around the house::

I have to start taking things down. I leave the nativity scene up until Candlemas (February 2), because that's what my church does, and it's traditional. And I love it. But the tree and the rest of the decorations are beginning their slow decent back into boxes.

Goal updates::

I'm thinking that once a month I'll do a goal update post, if only as another way to keep me accountable! After a week, I'm glad to say I've made progress in editing my ebook, cleaning/decluttering the house (I even cleaned up my enormous yarn stash!), and I've been reading the bible for 10 minutes every day, as well as doing some form of exercise, whether it's just a quick plank/push up/sit up combo, or an hour of cardio. This is where my Apple Watch is really great, because I love seeing the goal rings close. It's really motivating, especially when you see that you're really close to closing one of them. It's fantastic incentive to do a little more!

I made it to weekday Mass twice last week--yay!!!--and the contentment challenge is going well. The only thing I've bought this month that weren't food was a set  of bedsheets (I needed another set since the last one gave up the ghost around Thanksgiving) which I found during a white sale. So I saved a good amount of money, too, while buying something that I needed. Sadly, my mini food processor also died this week, after 11+ years, so I have to buy one of those sooner rather than later, since I use it for a good amount of recipes. God bless Bed Bath and Beyond coupons. 

Yay cleaned up yarn stash!

Yay cleaned up yarn stash!

 

Liturgical Year::

Since the calendar is all messy this year with Christmas being on a Sunday, the Baptism of the Lord, and the current end of the Christmas season is tomorrow. Normally Baptism of the Lord is a week after Epiphany, but not this year. So after tomorrow, back to Ordinary Time (hence the removal of my Christmas decorations.). 

On the calendar::

* So excited to have lunch with my college friend, Liz, today! I haven't seen her in years and it'll be great to catch up in person! 

*Lunch with Dad

*Eucharistic Adoration on the 11th

*Writing more in my crazily bedraggled journal. :)

Photos from around here::

 

 

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Welcome, 2017

Daybook, essaysEmily DeArdo1 Comment

(And psst, it's still Christmas! Really! )

I've always liked this graphic from Ann Voskamp, and it especially works this year, because my word for 2017 is Courage. (actually, it's two words: Be Courageous.)

You might be wondering why I chose that word. Well, because sometimes I'm a 'fraidy cat. I don't audition for a show because I think I won't be cast. I don't take that trip because I'm afraid to travel alone. I delay in sending a book proposal because I'm afraid it will be rejected. 

And of course, all those things are true, if I don't go for it. But in being afraid that I won't be accepted, I don't try at all. And that's not a good thing. 

This year, I want to be embrace courage and the Nike motto: Just Do It. Just be brave. Don't give into fear. 

If an agent doesn't like my proposal, that's not the end of the world. There are tons of agents out there. 

This leads into words I've used in the past, especially TRUST. I'm still working on this Trust thing. It's hard. But trusting helps me to be brave, because it's like working with a net under me. I know that someone is going to catch me when I step out in faith. 

I hope 2017 is a year of Bravery. 

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

-- 2 Timothy 1:7

The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?

--Psalm 27:1

 

(Did you make new year's resolutions or set 2017 goals? I did, and my list is here.)

 

Daybook No. 122: Christmastide

Daybook, books, family, holidaysEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window:: 

It's cloudy and almost sixty degrees. Merry Christmas to us? :) My sister arrives today from Houston so maybe she brought the weather with her! 

Wearing::

My pajamas, because it's the day after Christmas and I am reading books on the couch once I finish writing this. Eventually, yes, I do have to get dressed because I want to see my sister. But not for a bit!

Reading::

Oh, the treasure trove of Christmas books! I received Three Sisters, Three Queens yesterday and I read that. I'm still reading Silence. I also got Cooking for Jeffrey and I read that several times yesterday. I know a few of those recipes are going to feature in the menu for my Christmas dinner this week. I also still have Frog Music and the Hamilton bio to start. So the cup runneth over (And when parents give you an Amazon gift card, what do you get? MORE BOOKS. I'm basically Cookie Monster, except...with books.)

Christmas notes::

I saw a tree by the dumpster today and it made me sad. Christmas is at least 12 days, guys! We get to celebrate for days and days! Eat the figgy pudding! (Whatever that is.) I can understand if you have a live tree and it's....dead. Then, yeah, you probably want to take it down. But Christmas isn't just one day. 

My brother had to work yesterday (he's a Steelers sportswriter for 24/7 sports) but fortunately the Steelers won in a Christmas miracle of an ending, so that makes it better. It was almost 50 degrees yesterday, too, so that was unseasonal. 

The Nativity scene at my parish. 

The Nativity scene at my parish. 

We go to the 4:00 Mass on Christmas Eve, also called the "Children's Mass". The children's choir sings and the nativity scene is blessed (that's what the book in the front is: it's the Book of Blessings. It's like Fiddler on the Roof: "There is a blessing for everything, my son!"). The church is always decorated to perfection. 

The altar, and yes, we USE those communion rails! The kneeler pads were embroidered by members of the altar guild, I believe. The stained glass window you can see is of St. Dominic receiving the rosary from Our Lady. 

The altar, and yes, we USE those communion rails! The kneeler pads were embroidered by members of the altar guild, I believe. The stained glass window you can see is of St. Dominic receiving the rosary from Our Lady. 

The Mass ends a little after five, and then we went home for dinner: 

There was also Peppermint Stick Ice Cream which is just the best. Seriously. The best. Mom made it part of a dessert with a sugar cookie bottom. Yum. 

Christmas Eve is pretty low key around the house. We watched Christmas Vacation because Bryan's girlfriend had never seen it--Bryan and I exchanged gifts, and his girlfriend and I did too. They left around 11:30 ish. 

Christmas Morning my brother came over around 9:30. We did the gifts, we did late brunch, and then we just hung out. It was lovely. 

Today Melanie comes in and will be here until the 31st, so there will be appropriate partying and other things. I think Bryan, Dad, and I are seeing the new Star Wars movie tomorrow. Maybe. 

Around the House::

Gotta get it ready for the Christmas dinner I'm having this week but the kitchen is in pretty good shape, so winning there. 

Living the Liturgy::

We're entering a pretty big swath of saints here. So it's not just the Octave of Christmas, it's also a lot of Feast Days. Yay! 

Quotable::

Christmas must mean more to us every year, and we must not be afraid of immersing ourselves in its joy."

--Mother Mary Francis, PCC, Come, Lord Jesus

 

Go immerse yourself in some joy today. :) 

 

 

Daybook No. 121: Fourth week of Advent

Daybook, books, current projects, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window::

It's snowing. Again. We're receiving our entire winter weather in one wallop thus far, it seems. Snow, ice, temperatures in the single digits...but then it'll be almost 50 on Christmas Day. Ah, Ohio! 

Wearing::

A blue t-shirt, yoga pants, and oatmeal colored leggings--I'm writing this after I just did a workout at home. Go me, right? :) 

Reading:

I just finished The Catholic Table, which I highly recommend. For Christmas, my friend Tiffany got me Frog Music and the Alexander Hamilton biography that Hamilton is based on, so I'll be reading those this week. 

In the CD player::

The Christmas music playlist, obviously. 

Listening to :

Sherlock on the TV-John and Mary just got married. (I'm Netflixing the series.) 

Living the Liturgy:

Current projects: 

Working on editing the Catholic 101 ebook. I've been doing a few entries a week so that I can devote proper attention to them and not feel like I have to fly through them all quickly. Really excited about this project!

From the kitchen: 

Sicilian spaghetti tonight, involving yellow raisins, fennel, garlic, red pepper, and pine nuts. Should be delicious. I hope. :) Also a black bean soup and a Moroccan chicken dish. 

Plans for the week: 

Since it's the week before Christmas--trying to tidy up the house before the big celebration, finish any menu planning, etc, that has to happen for the post-Christmas parties and such. One nice thing about really cold temps (and ice) is that you have to stay inside, so that means a lot of housework can get done. In theory, anyway. :-P (No, really, I have gotten quite a bit down. But it just...keeps....coming....:-P) I'm also planning to swatch some new yarn for a basketweave scarf project, but that'll keep until post-Christmas. 

Christmas carol!: Well, OK, not really. But this was always one of my favorite parts of Messiah to sing. Handel loves altos. He sort of hates tenors and sopranos, but he loves altos. :) 

 

 

 

 

 

Daybook No. 120: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Catholicism, DaybookEmily DeArdo1 Comment
The Our Lady of Guadalupe mural at the National Basilica 

The Our Lady of Guadalupe mural at the National Basilica 

Outside my window::

It's raining. It was snowing earlier and my car was covered this morning.  It's also been pretty cold but at the moment it's warm enough to rain and not ice, which is a blessing. Really. 

I'm wearing::

leggings and a blue t-shirt

In the CD player::

the Christmas playlist. 

Listening to::

Outlander Season two, episode one. Watching the series again. :) 

Reading::

Fire Within (more on that below),  O Jerusalem (A Russel-Holmes book--it's book 5 in the series); The Best Yes by Lysa Tekurst, for bible study, and I Believe In Love, which is the Well Read Mom book pick this month. (No, I'm not a mom, but I love this group.) 

Living the Liturgy::

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which I've talked about here. Here's a little bit from that piece: 

Mary appeared to Juan Diego four times, beginning December 9, 1531, at Tepeyac. She spoke in Juan Diego's native language and asked that a church be built on that site in her honor. When he went to the local bishop, he (like most bishops and priests in these accounts) asked for a sign. On December 12, Juan Diego saw Castellian roses at the foot of Tepeyac, which weren't indigenous to the region. He filled his cloak (ilma) with the roses, and presented them to the bishop. However, the roses weren't the only miraculous thing--the interior of the tilma was imprinted with a picture of the Lady as she appeared to Juan Diego. (For technical information about the image on the tilma, see this Wikipedia article.) 

She is also the patroness of Mexico, the Americas, the Philippines, and the unborn. 

So if you want to eat Mexican food today in honor of Our Lady, I won't stop you. ;-) Or Mexican Hot Chocolate! :) 

Tuesday: St. Lucy. Who doesn't love St. Lucy/ St. Lucia? Have some St. Lucia buns! If you're a woman of a certain age (ahem, my compatriots), dig out your old copy of Kristen's Surprise and find your Kirsten doll. (I may or may not have a Kirsten doll. I may or may not have her St. Lucia outfit. I ADMIT NOTHING. :-P)

On Wednesday, it's the feast of St. John of the Cross, who wrote the "Dark Night of the Soul", and many other spiritual classics. He was a contemporary of St. Teresa of Avila, and at one point was her confessor and spiritual director. I'm reading Fire Within right now, about both of them, so my spiritual reading is timely! (It's a great book. You need to read it slowly. It's long. But it's great.) Since I've given you food recommendations for every other day, I'd go with something appropriately Spanish here. Or, you know. Tacos again. 

And then on Saturday, it's time to get excited, people. It's the beginning of the O Antiphons, and it's a week until Christmas Eve! 

Around the house::

Getting ready for Christmas with the rest of the housekeeping. Wheeee, right? :) And my dishwasher is broken, so I'm hoping the guy will be out to fix it today. 

Fitness and Creativity::

I've been trying to do a sketch every day this month, and I've been keeping up with it pretty well. My goal is to finish my current sketchbook by the end of the month. I've got about 13 pages to go, so it's definitely doable. 

Fun Links:: 

A Christmas song for you!

 

(Or, as it was fondly renamed in high school choir, "Do you know what I hear".....yes, it's very easy to mix up all the "hears" and "sees" and "says".....) 

 

Daybook No 119--Advent Monday

DaybookEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Long time no daybook, guys! So I thought I'd jump back in with one. 

Outside my window: 

It's dark, and possibly going to snow. (I'm writing this on Sunday night, so we'll see if the snow actually happened by the time this is posted in the morning.) 

Wearing::

comfy clothes. Black leggings, oatmeal colored legwarmers, and a long white sweater with gray stripes. I like layers. 

Listening to: 

the Steelers/Giants game

In the CD player:

My "Christmas" playlist, which is cycling back and forth with the Advent/Christmas part of Messiah

Reading::

About to start the fifth Mary Russell novel, O Jerusalem. These are mystery novels--Sherlock Holmes is a main character in them. Normally I don't like mystery novels, but the first in this series, The Beekeeper's apprentice, caught me, and now I have to read them all. 

Celebrating the Liturgy: 

It's the second week of Advent. I love adding another candle, seeing two flames on the wreath. Everything is up, including my tree, which was done with the great help of my younger brother, who always looks in dismay at all my ornaments, proclaims they're not all going to go up, but then, they miraculously do. 

 

Here's a post I wrote in the Catholic 101 series about Advent feasts and memorials. And don't forget to go to Mass on Thursday! (Read the link to find out why....) 

Rhythm in housekeeping::

Well...funny thing. I decided to go back on steroids, because I couldn't handle being off them--my body was just NOT happy about it. I finally decided, after a day that felt eerily like life pre-transplant, that if 5 milligrams of prednisone was going to help me feel normal for my favorite time of year, then dagnabbit, I was going to do it. Maybe I'll be back on the pare-down train after the new year but for right now, I want to have energy and not feel like I'm going to collapse any second. 

Anyway, all of this to say that now I have energy, and thus, my house is going to start looking a lot better.

Exercise::

It also means that I can exercise again. So I've done it, 5/7 days last week. I'm insanely proud of that. 

Creativity::

One of my goals this month is to do a sketch every day. So far, I'm 4/4, so I'm pleased with that. I'm messing with my paints, colored pencils, markers, etc. And I'll have a new type of sketchbook to use when I'm done with the current one! So yay! (Currently I'm using a Moleskine, for you art people--the new one is a Stillman and Birn Zeta  ) 

Not every sketch I've done is one I Like. But that's OK. I'm getting the practice in and getting the chance to be creative. 

 

Daybook No 118

DaybookEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window::

it was really sunny and blue skied earlier, but now it's clouded up. Might rain later? 

Wearing::

Jeans and a Boden striped top. I love these things. 

In the CD player:

Audrey Assad's Inheritance.

Dinner: 

Chicken piccata with herbed basmati rice. There's not a lot of cooking going on this week since I'm leaving on Saturday for LA. I'm basically trying to use up all the perishables. 

On my mind::

LA. Packing, the taping, packing, driving a car around LA......all sorts of things. I'm working on iTunes playlists for the flight and books. It's a seven hour flight--the longest I've ever been on. So that's sort of exciting but also--gotta make sure I've got my reading material ready. I can't bring too many hard copy books because my suitcase is going to be pretty full, what with the clothes I need for taping and then the clothes I Need for a week in LA, plus things for the beach and Disneyland (and all that). I'm generally a pretty minimalistic packer--I can do a 3 day trip with just my Vera Bradley Large Duffel bag and my backpack. But this time it's proving sort of challenging. When you're going to be on TV in front of the entire country, it can inspire the Overpacking Tendency! I'm trying to rebel against that 

Reading::

The Contemplative Hunger, Little House in the Big Woods (because why not), and my LA/SoCal travel books .

Fitness:

I have gone to TWO Barre3 classes! My first one was last Thursday, and I was very sore for the next day or two.  My second was yesterday and that was a lot better--I mean, it was still hard, but I can walk today. :) I have my third class on Thursday. There is a Barre3 studio in Santa Barbara, where we're planning on taking a day trip, but I think I'll just "be on vacation"--and I'm sure to get enough physical activity in during this next week. The great thing about this workout is the modifications. I can't hold a regular plank for two minutes--but I can if I'm doing it at the barre instead of on the floor. (The skin graft on the wrist really cut down on the flexibility and strength in my hand and wrist area.) Modifications are awesome, as the instructor said yesterday--and I'm not the only one who takes them. Even better. 

I have to fight against the tendency I have to not want to do things I'm not good at. Math is a prime example of this. I'm terrible at math. But Dad would tell me there were some areas, like algebra, where I really wasn't bad. Part of it was I just didn't want to learn--and the other part is, my brain doesn't work that way. But in this case, I have to realize that anyone who starts anything is not perfect in the beginning. It's that way with sports, art, writing, music--whatever. So I'm trying to be nicer to myself instead of demanding PERFECTION immediately. 

Potential Travel Ideas: 

This is what we've worked out so far: 

Sunday: Mass, the Getty, LA Farmers' Market

Monday: Hollywood 

Wednesday: Disneyland!

Friday: Santa Barbara Day Trip

I'm so excited to be going, and the weather looks perfect--low 70s. No jacket, no sweating like crazy. Win!

Writing:

I think I've reached the end of revisions on my 2014 NaNo novel. Now I have to go back and put a solid ending on my 2015 NaNo novel. And fill in parts of the 2013 NaNo novel. 
And I'm still shopping the memoir manuscript. So, I'm not lacking for things to write, over here!

 

Have you been to LA/SoCal? Any places we shouldn't miss? 

What do you pack in your carryon when you fly? 

Daybook No. 117--Birthday week!

Daybook, booksEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window::

Sunny! Bright! Yay! 

In the CD player::

Audrey Assad's various CDs

Reading:: 

I finished At Home in Mitford last night, and I liked it, notwithstanding the incorrect stuff about transplants (no, an organ cannot come form anywhere in the world......we aren't that speedy yet!). I've started The Light In the Window (the second one in the series). For church reading, I've started The Contemplative Hunger, and I'm already underlining bunches of things, so that's a good sign. 

Hearing::


The dishwasher clank and churn. 

Wearing::

jeans, a scoopneck long-sleeved t-shirt. Nothing exciting. It's still cold here, which isn't a surprise to me; the day I was born, Columbus had a blizzard. So really, April can either be really hot, or really cold, or wildly swing between two extremes in the course of a few hours!

Around the house::

Just the general stuff, but the tail end of spring cleaning, too--the fridge and freezer. Whee!

Pondering:

Birthdays. I love birthdays. I always have--and not just mine. I like getting older. I mean, I might not like all the gray hairs I find, but even those, I enjoy because I'm around to have them--and then I pull them out. 

Guys, really, birthdays are awesome. You should like them, and celebrate them. 

this week's kitchen table flowers

this week's kitchen table flowers

From the kitchen:

I made this for dinner last night. It's amazing. I use mild cheddar and totally add the goat cheese at the end. It makes the soup so much better. Yeah, it's April, but it's still soup weather--see above!

For the rest of this week:

Curry with applies

Meatloaf

Shrimp in some incarnation. 

Out on Saturday for my birthday. :) (Saturday is my actual birthday)

Also, Saturday is......OUTLANDER DAY!!!!!! It's back! Season 2, huzzah! A most excellent birthday gift. 

(If you haven't read Outlander yet.....do it. Really. It's good!) 

Planning::

For California. There's a lot of logistical details still to be decided, including the ever-important questions of "What will I wear?!" and "How many books can I pack?!" 

Clothes? What are these  clothes  you speak of? 

Clothes? What are these clothes you speak of? 

The answer to the last question is probably "not many", because I'm going to need to pack beach stuff, and walking around for long periods of time stuff, plus the Jeopardy stuff (and a garment back), and etc. Sigh. I do have an iPad but I like real books for reading by the pool and the beach. I'm sure I'll figure something out. This is a good problem to have, right? I'd much rather pack for the beach and LA than for a hospital stay!

How was your Easter and the week after? Is it Spring where you are? 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Octave Daybook

DaybookEmily DeArdoComment

(been awhile since we had one of these!)

Outside my window: 

Cloudy and cold! It's only in the 40s, but it was in the 70s yesterday. It was a really beautiful Easter. 

Listening to: 

The clanking of my blinds over the heating vent. They make this odd noise that scares new people to my house but at this point I'm used to it. 

Wearing::

A green elbow-length sleeve top, light green, and a skirt. I thought it was going to be warmer today!

Reading::

Now that the Lenten book buying fast is over...I bought two new books today. So I'm reading Life from Our Land, The Contemplative Hunger, With God In Russia (church library book)and Girl Meets God (re-read).  My birthday is in less than two weeks, so I didn't buy a ton of books, since I usually get books in abundance on my birthday. 

Good Friday at my parish. 

Good Friday at my parish. 

Writing::

I'm going to be writing up my triduum notes over the next few days--sharing some good things I gleaned from the liturgies and the reading/ prayer time I had. Hopefully someone will find it enlightening or useful, but I always like to write up my triduum notes, anyway. I'm also working on a new short story, and yes, Catholic 101 will continue. As will knitting. :) Because I know you all want to see me knit something other than a washcloth. Or a scarf. 

I'm also going to be writing a piece about how sin is like a washcloth. Really. (Stick with me, here.) 

From the kitchen::

I'm really trying to crack down on what I eat and go back to making a lot more of my meals. Today I made meatloaf meatballs (basically big fat meatballs with meatloaf seasonings) and I'm waiting for them to come out of the oven, so I'll have to report back on how they taste. Later this week I'm making walleye, pork chops with Swiss Chard, and a curried chicken with apples. The last one I've made a few times and it's a definite winner. 

Around the house::

I did a lot of Spring Cleaning over Holy Week (at least, the first three days), and I'm pleased with the results so far. There are still areas that need attention, like my end tables and the Shelf of Cookbooks, so I'll be attacking those this week. 

In the CD player::

Audrey Assad's Inheritance, and the Benedictines of Ephesus CD Easter at Ephesus. 

 

California Trip::

Yes, it's happening at the end of April. That means I have to start thinking about Fun Things To Do and What To Pack. Yeeeeeeeehaw! 

Picture from this week::

Spring flowers for my table and tea tray. 

Spring flowers for my table and tea tray. 

 

How was your Holy Week/ Easter? Share in the comments! 

 

 

Daybook No. 114

Daybook, books, goal setting, Tidying Up, Sketchbook SkoolEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Outside my window::

cloudy, but I saw dandelions the other day. DANDELIONS! In December! probably because our weather has been a lot more like spring than winter, lately--we've had a few deep frosts but it hasn't snowed yet, which is weird. Normally we've had at least one snow here by December. 

Wearing::

Jeans and a scoop neck "dark cherry" colored top, my St. Dominic medal, and my watch. Bare feet, which is appropriate because I'm watching a movie about St. Francis as I write this. 

Reading::

All the Advent books, and Communion with Chris: according to St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. I also read Rosemary, a book about the Kennedy's oldest daughter, who had intellectual disabilities, and who was lobotomized by her father in the 1940s. The book was pretty well -written (I had quibbles with the author's "explanations" of some Catholic things, but that's par for the course...), and you can't help by feel sorry for her and the rest of her family, who didn't know what had happened to Rosemary until it was done. 

Listening to:

The Hamilton CDs (again)--and some of my Advent CDs. I might have to put in Messiah for today and tomorrow, since tomorrow is the Immaculate Conception (a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics), and the first part of Messiah is perfect for this. 

Goal setting:: 

Last week I did a lot if Powesheets work--goal setting for the New Year, and I'm pleased with what I've done so far. This is always an illuminating process for me. I'm on the actual goal setting steps now and I'm working on that part pretty slowly because I want to make sure that I'm setting the right goals. 

In one of the Advent books I'm reading, Come, Lord Jesus, Mother Mary Francis talks about the "dream the Lord has of [you.]" I want my goals to reflect that dream. 

 

 

working on the Powersheets last week!

working on the Powersheets last week!

Tyding Up::

This is hard because everything is so topsy-turvy with the Christmas decorations being out, and moving things around.  But I'm hoping I'm on the last "purge" of books and DVDs, and that I can have a whole post about the process in early 2016. 

Creativity::

I'm on the fourth week of my Sketchbook Skool Seeing class. I have to tell you, last week was hard. We were talking about continual line drawing and I was terrible at it when I first started. But by the end, I think I managed to do some decent work: 

lemon, pear, and bottle of olive oil. 

lemon, pear, and bottle of olive oil. 

This week, it's nature drawing, with is hard because it's December and there's not a lot of "nature" around. :) But I'll try to catch some of the squirrels and draw them for this week's assignment. 

From the kitchen::

Tonight I'm trying a new Nigella recipe--a chicken "tray bake" (meaning it's baked on a tray--clever, eh? :-P), with fennel and a citrus marinade. Tomorrow I'm making stew, because YUMMMM, and it's a feast day, so winner right there! 

Plans for the week::
ENT appointment today (I actually like seeing him, he's a great doctor.) Sunday is jam packed with CCD, our catechist meeting (we have one quarterly), and our Lay Dominican meeting, where a few members will make their life promises! (I did that last December) It's always exciting when that happens. 

 

Daybook No. 113

Daybook, books, Catholic 101, current projects, fiction, holidays, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment

 

Outside my window::

Grey and cloudy. This is helped by my tree, which is glowing in the corner, and the Joy candle I have lit on my counter. I don't mind rainy days and this is a good day to get things done after the holiday weekend. SO much goodness happened, which I'll be writing about below--but suffice to say, I don't mind a rainy day today!

Wearing::

a Pure Barre sweatshirt, Athleta workout capris, and....flats. Yeah. This outfit is AWESOME, right? :) I'm going to be working out shortly, and since I'm hanging out around the house, does it matter what I wear? Well, OK, probably. But  don't care. :) 

In the CD player::

Renee Fleming's Christmas in New York, alternating with Part I of Messiah. And yes, Adele 25 is sitting on my counter, waiting to be heard.

Reading::

Cinder (again), and my crazy stack of Advent devotionals: 

Come, Lord Jesus is my FAVORITE devotional for this time of year. SO much wisdom, so much to pray about. 

Writing::

NaNo is over and I'm not even going to ouch Tempest until January. It is, though, tentatively the first book of a trilogy, so I've done some note taking and brief preliminary planning about those two books. I'm not pressuring myself to write anything substantial in those for awhile, and I'm sort of afraid to until I do Tempest edits. Suffice to say I have a vague idea of the content of those books, but that's all it is right now--a vague idea.

Also working on the new Catholicism series I talked about yesterday.  While I teach first graders, don't think I'm going to use first grade vocabulary and write like you are first graders, lovely readers. We'll use "big people" words and concepts. 

 

Tidying Up: 

I think I have just about reached the "click point" the book talk about--where you know how much of a thing you need. and you enjoy having. There are a few more books and movies that can go (this is like the fourth round of purging in that area), but I think I'm at the point of saturation. Yay! I didn't think I'd get here when I first started, to be honest. 

The second part of the book talks about finding places for everything. This is another hard thing for me because I have things that I need (like, Duct Tape), but where does it go? (It's too big for the junk drawer, it doesn't fit in the tool box, etc.) So that's what I'll be working on next. 

Since I've decorated for Christmas, there is some chaos around here, because I have to move furniture to put up my tree. But it's all good. 

 

Thanksgiving::

I had a great holiday. Did you? I hope you did. Thanksgiving day was in the high sixties here, so we got to hang out on the deck and enjoy the warmth before dinner!

And yes, that's my sister, who came up from Houston to surprise me! She's here until tomorrow. We've had a LOT of fun while she's been here--she helped me decorate my tree, we went to the Penguins/Jackets game with our brother, and we all (us siblings) had a great meal last night at The Barn, one of our favorite local restaurants. Since Mel lives in Texas now, I don't get to see her nearly as often as I used to, and it's always fun when she comes up! 

I also had a great day with my friend Sarah (who made that GORGEOUS wreath two photos up). We had lunch and talked on a rainy Saturday while her husband watched the OSU/Michigan game with some of our friends. She's another friend I almost never get to see, and not nearly as much as I'd like. 

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving Weekend? 

 

 

Daybook No. 112

behind the scenes, books, Catholicism, current events, current projects, Daybook, Dominicans, fiction, knitting, links, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window::

Cloudy, a marked contrast from yesterday's blue skies and sun, but since It's going to be in the 60s, I'll take it. Especially since....gulp.....snow might in the future! 

Wearing::

My PJs--I just got up (it's 8 AM as I'm writing this) 

Reading::

North and South, Mockingjay, Rising Strong,  and The Betrothed. I really like North and South--Margaret Hale is a great character. I'm late to the Rising Strong party, but better late than never, and I also have Daring Greatly to read.

In the CD player::

Fun Home and Hamilton. No Christmas music until at least after Thanksgiving!

Living the Liturgy::

Today is Lucy Pevensie's feast day! And since she's my Dominican patron, I get to party all day. 

 

Around the House::

Doing the deep cleaning to get ready for decorating> I don't have much to do--the tree, a few baubles, and my Fontanini creche (one of the best Christmas gifts I have ever received, ever). The Baby Jesus doesn't go in the creche until Christmas Eve, and the Magi make their way into the set proper by Epiphany. If you're looking for a Nativity set, I highly recommend this one. The figures are made of a type of plastic that means kids can chew on them, play with them, etc., and they won't break!

Speaking of Catholic households, this is a good article from Our Sunday Visitor that's worth a ponder. 

I'm also in the last stages of Tidying Up. I took three bags of books to Half Price books yesterday, so I'm still looking for the book/CD/DVD "click point" that Kondo talks about. I'm sure I'll find it--eventually. :) Until then, I just keep taking books to HPB. 


Creativity::

I have "won" NaNo--but the book's not done. Oh no. I'm going to write a sequel. (I can't believe it either!) Nothing about this book has gone the way I thought it would, but it's been in a great way. My friend Andrea says the "muse has inhabited me", and while that may or may not be true, it sure is fun. I will officially "win" NaNo on the 20th, when you can start verifying word counts. 

So I have to put an ending on this guy (a cliff-hanger, of course), and then start the new document for book two, maybe do some outlining--and then touch nothing until January. This is what usually happens with my NaNo books--I finish them in November and then don't touch them until January. That gives them, and me, a nice break before I begin revising/editing. 

And I can purl! You'll see the proof tomorrow in the Yarn Along. 

 

Pondering::

In light of the attacks on Paris, this is an excellent read. It's long, but it's well-worth the time it takes. 

There are so many problems in our world that are new, and all colliding at once--fighting a war against an enemy we can't see (as Judi Dench said in Skyfall), the Syrian refugees, elections, earthquakes in Mexico and Japan....

The only solution I can see to it is to pray more intensely. 

 

Plans for the week::

Not much, which is nice. CCD on Sunday, when we'll talk about Jesus' birthday (we talked about Advent last week). And then it's Thanksgiving week, and then we're into December! Holy cow!

 

This Week's Question: How do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your family? 

 

 

 

 

 

Daybook No. 111

Daybook, current projects, writing, books, fiction, Tidying UpEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window::

Gray and rainy, sort of windy. The last few leaves are clinging to the trees and it really feels like fall out there. Not that I mind. I'm ready for it, because I do love my sweaters, tea, books, and blankets. As long as it's not snowing (heaven forbid), I'm fine. 

(It's actually not my window. I'm at Starbucks, writing and getting lots of stuff done with a Peppermint Mocha to hand.) 

Wearing::

jeans, navy blue flats, fake diamond studs, and a sweater from Lands End that's "vicuna" (that's what they call this sort of creamy khaki color) and black stripped. It's super cozy and perfect for today. 

Reading::

North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell; The Betrothed for Facebook Catholic Ladies' Book Club; The Fiery Cross (again). I've also got one more Neapolitan novel to read, but I think I'm going to wait to pick that one up. It's the last one, so savoring is appropriate. I'm also re-dedicating myself to finishing City of God sometime in the near future. It's just sitting on my "to read" pile and mocking me. 

Writing::

So, NaNoWriMo is still off and running, and man, I am writing fast, but the book has changed a lot from my initial conception. I've changed the title, I've changed the plot--basically, the characters have told me that they want this story. Forgiveness is a major theme. I'm wondering if this should even be--gasp--a series. Because it might be too long for just one book. I can certainly write them as two. 

Julie (My protagonist) is a fascinating character to write, because she's really not like me, and that's a first. Most of my protagonists, up until now, have had some basis in myself. But not Julie. This is also a YA novel, and I've never purposefully written one of those before. 

I'm really excited about this project, which is funny, because at first I wasn't sure if I was going to Do NaNo at all--but now I've got characters that are really clicking, and a long-winding plot that might go for two books. I should hit the "winning" total- 50K- by the end of this week. 

Creativity In Other Areas::

My friend Sarah is going to help me master the art of knitting and purling in the same project! So we're going to hopefully have a yarn along update for you guys tomorrow! I'm also working on a bunch of new blog post ideas, including the return of the Food Stories posts. 

Quick Movie Review::

spectre-poster-black-white.jpg

I saw Spectre with my brother last night, and it was better than I thought it would be. I don't know if it was as good as Skyfall, but it's really close, in my opinion. I love how the writers drew all of the Daniel Craig Bond plots together into a cohesive web. I don't know if we needed the car chase through Rome, but "reason not the need", as Lear says. Daniel Craig is great as Bond, and I love Ralph Fiennes as M (although I miss Judi Dench!). 

The ending was a bit abrupt and left me wondering what the next movie will be like. Speculation on the Interwebs is saying that movie will be out in 2017, so I guess I don't have too long to wait. 

(Although, one thing--can we stop with the efforts to dismantle the 00 Program, please? I mean, how many movies do we need before the British Government realizes that it's a very bad idea to do away with Bond and his ilk? Come on, guys!) 

(I also now feel the urge to watch all the Craig Bonds in succession. Maybe I'll do that after I finish writing today.) 

Tidying Up::

I have just about reached the end of the categories! The next step in the book is "finding a place for everything", and that might take some time. I'm going to re-read that section and try to get an idea of a game plan. 

Kondo talks about a "click point"--as in, you'll know when you're reached the optimal number of things you need in a category. I don't think I've hit it yet with my books or DVDs, so I'm going to keep culling. 

Listening To: