Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Christmas

On the Ninth Day of Christmas....

family, journalEmily DeArdoComment
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Hi everyone! Happy New Year!

It’s STILL CHRISTMAS! Do not take down the tree! RESIST! (Unless you have a real one, which has become a fire hazard. Then, of course, get rid of it. But there are advantages to having a fake one, like my $20 Target tree….)

The ninth day of Christmas was always my favorite as a kid, because in the song it’s “Nine ladies dancing” and that just gave me a nice image. Also, my mom’s Christmas china has the twelve days of Christmas illustrated on the dessert plates, and “Nine Ladies Dancing” is the prettiest, so I always wanted that one. My mom, being a piper (she played bagpipes in high school!), is partial to the 11 pipers piping, obviously.

(I need to take pictures of the plates so you can see them! They really are gorgeous. I have 12 days of Christmas ornaments, but not the whole set yet—Hallmark is releasing them one a year, and they’re only up to ‘8 maids a-milking’.)

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Anyway, how is your Christmas season going? Did you do anything fun? Are you enjoying wallowing in the Christmas books you got, like me? :) (Seriously, SO MANY this year, it’s an overflow of riches.)

Coming up here on the blog is a yarn along post about blocking (I know that thrills the non yarn people among you, but guys, it makes a HUGE difference, so it’s for the fabric-oriented), goals for 2019, and some writing updates…..but I just wanted to pop in and say hi with this entry.

And share this little guy’s picture, because he’s adorable. Did you have breakfast with Cookie Monster last week?

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Advent pondering: At the service of His plan

Catholicism, inspirationEmily DeArdoComment

I was reading my Advent devotional this morning and came across an essay that I dearly love to re-read every year. It’s so rich in pondering that I thought I’d share some of it with you, in the hope that we can bring this mindset into our Christmas and new year.

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The Service of His Plan

Those who place their lives at the service of [God’s] plan never have any reason to be afraid…Every day [Mary] placed her life at the service of his plan.

When we are really placing our life at the service of his plan at the general work, then, yes, by our manner of behavior there, by the sweetness that we bring, the patience, the humility, we could rightly say, “This is the Word of the Lord.” These virtues are his ‘words”, and he is being made manifest by them….

Things were always better where [Mary] was. Things we always sweeter and calmer at the well when she was standing in line…She was the one who said, “Yes, I’ll wait. I will not add another irritable word. I will bring the loving, calming word. I will be the one who sees something extra to do, not wondering why someone takes so long at her turn, but seeing if I can help her.” She was no less placing her life at the service of the Divine plan when she waited her turn at the well, than at any other time. …

We should make the word a little less unutterable, a little more recognizable by the way we live and serve and love. …

God has a great plan also in what we call the unexpected. It isn’t unexpected to God. He planned it from eternity…There is nothing unexpected in all of creation…nothing should ever take us by surprise, except the wonder of God’s plan…

God..is saying exactly this to us…”I don’t reveal all the details of those plans because I cannot deprive you of faith. I cannot deprive you of hope. I cannot deprive you of the glory of trusting in me. I cannot deprive you of the wonder of seeing my plan as it unfolds.”…

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We want to be come very intimate with him as the great mystics were in very simple, humble ways, saying, “Dear God, I don’t get this at all, but I’m so glad that you do. And I know that you have a plan and I only want to be at the service of your plan.”…

In our personal lives there is a wonder unfolding. It is wonderful to keep going forward. Even our Lady did not know the last page…let us determine in all the events of each day to place our lives at the service of his plan. This is the happiest way that a person can live.

—Mother Mary Francis, PCC, Come Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting

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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. :) 

 

 

My Favorite Christmas Movies

moviesEmily DeArdoComment

I've shared with you some of my favorite Christmas songs, and Christmas books, and now it's time for Christmas Movies!!! Few things say Christmas more to me than certain films. 

In no particular order, here are my favorite Christmas movies (or cartoons): 

** Mickey's Christmas Carol: This is from the 80s and features some dynamite Disney animators in their early stages; names like Glenn Keane and John Lasseter are in the credits. It's not entirely authentic to Dickens' tale, but it's a great introduction to the story, with beautifully animated characters and a pitch-perfect Scrooge McDuck. And how can you not love the Ghost of Christmas Present? 

Candied fruits with spiced sugar cakes! 

Candied fruits with spiced sugar cakes! 

** The Santa Clause: Kids today will be blown away by the size of the cordless phone....but the movie holds up well. Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) finds a fallen Santa Claus in his front yard on Christmas Eve, puts on the Santa suit, and becomes...Santa Claus. Only he doesn't believe it. But when he starts gaining weight by the ton and growing an impressive Santa beard right after shaving.....maybe there's something going on after all. A great family movie that will probably make you want cocoa. 

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) tries a cocoa recipe 1500 years in the making at the North Pole. 

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) tries a cocoa recipe 1500 years in the making at the North Pole. 

**'Twas the Night Before Christmas: This is an OLD Rankin-Bass cartoon. The town of Junctionville, NY has annoyed Santa because someone wrote a letter calling him a "fraudulent myth". How can the town get Santa to forgive them? 

**How The Grinch Stole Christmas: (both of them) Of course, the animated version cannot be beat. But the live-action one has its charms, especially in some of the dialogue. 

**A Charlie Brown Christmas: Right? I mean, you just have to watch it. 

 

** Muppet Christmas Carol: I LOVE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. I usually watch it at least twice. If you haven't seen it, you must, because it's the most faithful movie version I've found, with the narrator (Gonzo) actually reading parts of the prose as the narration. Michael Caine is Scrooge, Kermit is Bob Cratchit, and Miss Piggy is his wife, Emily. Rizzo the rat is Gonzo's sidekick. The whole gang is here, with great music, too. 

Michael Caine and the muppets 

Michael Caine and the muppets 

**The Family Man: This is sort of a take on It's a Wonderful Life. High-flying financier Jack Campbell has the perfect life: a penthouse in Manhattan, a fancy car, and a huge salary. But one Christmas Eve he gets the chance to see what would've happened if he'd chosen to marry his college girlfriend, Kate (Tea Leoni)--and he wakes up the next morning in suburban New Jersey, with a wife, two kids, and a job at a tire store. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Jack, in his alternative life, is given the chance to have the job he has back in "real" life. He tells Kate, "we could have a life that other people envy!"

"Oh, Jack," Kate says. "They already do envy us."

**The Holiday: A sweet movie wherein two women--Kate Winslet in England, and Cameron Diaz in LA--decided to switch homes over the holidays as they try to escape their lives. The movie really is sweet (meaning touching) and features great performances by Jude Law and Jack Black as the men in the women's lives. 

**The only "Old" movie on this list: Meet Me In St. Louis. I love it mostly for Judy Garland, and the movie gave us the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Which, of course, Judy slays. 

 

**And finally, the coupe de grace of all Christmas movies: A Christmas Story. In my family, we could probably recite this guy. If you haven't seen the tale of Ralphie and his Red-Ryder BB gun (with this thing that tells time!), you are missing out. FIX IT. 

The Parker Clan of Cleveland Street: L-R: Mom, the "Old Man", Randy, and Ralphie. 

The Parker Clan of Cleveland Street: L-R: Mom, the "Old Man", Randy, and Ralphie. 

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!

Some of my favorite Christmas books for grown-ups

booksEmily DeArdo4 Comments

Around this time of year there are lots of lists of good Christmas books--for kids. But I don't really see good lists of Christmas books for adults! And there are some great ones. So I thought I'd give you my list. 

The criteria for it being a "Christmas book" is sort of self-explanatory--the action revolves around Christmas, or Christmas is involved in the book, somehow. This is not all-encompassing, it's just some of my favorites. And yes, there are some "kids" books in here. 

  • The Christmas Box, by Richard Paul Evans (and its sequels, Timepiece and The Letter): Isn't the Title sort of self-explanatory? Well, OK. But I read this when I was in seventh grade (I got it from the book order!) and it's just an amazing little book. Many of Evans' novels revolve around Christmas, so once you've read this, there are many more in his oeuvre to read. 
     
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott: "Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without any presents." The book starts at Christmas, and the holiday comes in and out through the narrative, usually with large-ish plot points--Mr. March's return from the war, Beth getting the piano, etc. 
     
  • The Handmaid and the Carpenter, by Elizabeth Berg: A re-telling of Mary and Joseph's story. Is it Biblically accurate? Well, probably not. But it's good anyway. 
     
  • The 24 Days Before Christmas, by Madeline L'Engle: This is part of the Austin family series. It's a short, beautifully illustrated book that talks about Vicky and her family on the eve of her brother Rob's Christmas birth. It's cute, for kids and adults for who are L'Engle fans. 
     
  • A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens: Obviously. But if you've never read it, do. There's a lot more to it than figures into most movie adaptations. (I have this version, which I adore.) 
     
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis: Probably the best known Narnia book, Christmas plays a huge role in the novel--the arrival of Father Christmas means that "Aslan is on the move" and breaks the White Witch's cycle of "always winter, never Christmas." The movie is great, too. 

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? 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 101

7 Quick Takes, writing, theater, holidays, behind the scenesEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

First an addition to the Daybook from earlier this week. I don't know what happened to the text, but I'd written a bunch about Hamilton that inexplicably disappeared after I hit 'publish'. So, I'm rewriting it here. :) 

 

Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Alexander Hamilton), and Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schulyer Church) in a scene from  Hamilton . 

Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Alexander Hamilton), and Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schulyer Church) in a scene from Hamilton

This musical has been getting a lot of positive press, and at first I was skeptical, because: rap? hip-hop? Whaaaa. No. Emily doesn't like that sort of music. But surprisingly, it works really well here, to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton. Most of us know Hamilton because of one of three things: he died in a duel with Aaron Burr; he's on the $10 bill, or he wrote a lot of the Federalist Papers. But he did a lot more than that. He found the New York Post, was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and served with George Washington during the Revolutionary War. 

The musical is sung-through (I think) and covers his life from his arrival in America as a young man, his graduation from Princeton, involvement in the Revolution, marriage to Eliza Schuyler, birth of his son, rise in Washington's administration, and then his political downfall and death. The musical was written and composed by its star, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Some of my favorite tracks are "Helpless", "Burn", "My Shot", "The Room Where It Happens", "You'll Be Back" (a hilarious song for King George III, played by Jonathan Groff), and "It's Quiet Uptown". 

Anyway, all this to say--give it a whirl. It's probably going to kill it at the Tonys and there's even talk of a Pulitzer Prize win. 

II.

I won NaNo! Yes, it's only the second week of November, but I'm over 50K, and I think there might be a sequel to this novel, because I don't think I can do the story justice in one setting. How crazy is that? These characters haven't stuck with the plan at all, but I've never written anything so fast, and as long as what the characters want works with the plot, then I'm fine with them dictating things to me. 

Right now I'm imagining them as YA novels. But of course anyone can read them. 

III. 

The Confirmation last weekend went well. I was proud of my cousin, and glad she picked a real saint--some of the kids just picked their middle names or something. (I know this because I asked one kid who her saint was--I'd never heard of this--and she said "it's my middle name." Eyeroll. Now, I'm sure there is a saint with that name, but come on, guys!)

IV. 

My Christmas cards are  done! Yay! I always love doing the Christmas cards. I usually start sending them out the first week in December, because some of my friends are in school and go home for the holidays, and I want them to get it before that happens. And I also love sending real mail to people. 

V.

I also binge watched Starz's Flesh and Bone this week. I wish the ending would've been more concrete, since the series isn't being renewed, but I guess it was probably shot before that decision was made? I love anything that has to do with ballet, so this series, which focuses on a fictional ballet company, was something that's like catnip to me. There were several great plot lines. (And also several tired plot lines--crazy artistic director, back-stabbing catty corps dancers, etc. )

VI. 

I'm moving on in Sketchbook Skool, too. Right now we're doing continuous line drawing ,which is something that I definitely need to work on, because my drawings looks crazy right now. Our assignment is to do one, two, and three objects this way, and then do one three object drawing and watercolor it. I'm a little afraid of that assignment. 

VII.

How are you guys doing on your holiday shopping/preparation? When do you put up your decorations? I Usually start the day of the OSU-Michigan game, which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving.