Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Jeopardy

Saturday Miscellany

books, behind the scenes, current projects, Jeopardy, knitting, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Normally, as you know, I don't do a blog post on Saturdays, but I had a stomach bug on Friday, which derailed my plans to do one then, so, here we are: Saturday! (Stomach's fine now.)

First, the winner of the Cultivate Book: Cristina! Yay! I'll get this book out to you in the next week!

Second: Next week marks a year since my appearance on Jeopardy!, which you can read all about here. The Tour de France, people! :-P (If you don't get that, read the posts....or try to find my episode online. I wish Jeopardy re-runs ran around here....)

Third: Take a look at this!

 

I'm kind of a fan. Do you like it? Let me know! I took the photo at the Franciscans of the Holy Land Monastery in D.C. a few years ago and I thought it was a good choice for the cover. 

And finally, in the knitting area: here's the second Christmas gift in progress. 

Yes, it's the same pattern as the first scarf. But man, I love this yarn too! This is called Sugar Cookie--same yarn as the last one, too. 

So, that's my miscellany for this Saturday! Hope you have a great weekend! 

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. 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! 

 

 

The Jeopardy! experience

JeopardyEmily DeArdo1 Comment

So, assuming you all watched last night, you know what happened. :) 

I was actually really freaked out all day yesterday. Even though, obviously, I knew what was going to happen, no on else did--and I felt like I was going to let people down. Is that weird? It might be weird. 

I think everyone expects you to go out there and just smoke the competition. And that would've been nice....but, you know, that doesn't always happen. 

But I got money, and I had a great time. And I'm really glad I got the Final Jeopardy question right. At the end of the episode, when we were "chatting", Alex said he'd never seen anyone write so quickly. EVER! So that's my claim to fame. I knew what the answer was before he was done reading the question, so I was ready with my writing device! 

The website from Monday morning. 

The website from Monday morning. 

Both the people I played with were great people. Ellen and I had been in the Monday group together and we'd gotten to talk a bit, so I was glad that, if anyone was going to beat me, it was someone nice. Hans was a real gentleman, although, at over six feet, it was hard to get him, Ellen, and I in the same frame on the camera! There are squares you stand on that will go up to make you taller--but nothing to make you shorter! 

Alex was nice to us, which surprised some people. I mean, I've seen him be sort of snarky to people on TV, but he was nice to all the contestants I saw tape. And he was very patient when answering the audience questions, which he must have answered five bazillion times . 

In terms of questions-I'm mad I missed Franz Liszt. I'm pretty sure my grandma groaned when I missed that. But I was thinking of Hans, and.....yeah. I also new all the Dickens questions, but I only got in for one. And I knew that last one, but I didn't want to be wrong at that point in the game. I had to read Hard Times in college, and it's super didactic and very much not my favorite Dickens. Alas! 

It's easy to beat yourself up for the questions you missed. I'm trying too hard not to do that. :) Overall, it was a great experience and I had a lot of fun. Out of 100,000 people who take the online test annually (it's only offered once a year!), only about 400 make it on the show. So that, in and of itself, is something to be proud of, no matter how I did.

I will have more tidbits to share in the coming days! 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 118: Transplant Celebration and Jeopardy reminder!!

7 Quick Takes, JeopardyEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

OK , first of all--

Jeopardy on Monday. 

Check your local listings and all that. :-p 

II. 

Second: 

I'll be on Jen Fulwiler's radio show on the Sirius XM Catholic Channel on Monday! 

If you have Sirius, tune in. If you don't, there might be an iTunes link. I will try to post. 

III. 

On Sunday, my parents took me out to celebrate The Anniversary. We wanted to go to Fado, the place where we had eaten dinner right before I got my call, but it's an Irish pub that shows European Soccer, and there was a huge game on. So we went to PF Chang's instead, which is just as delightful.  

After that, my parents surprised me with a super-duper treat. 

Chocolate fondue, people. 

Sadly, I have no pictures of the Gloriousness that was Chocolate Caramel Toffee fondue, with magical pieces of fruit, a blondie, rice krispy treats, pound cake, and a brownie. Yes, all of that, per person. You got a lovely little tray of items to dip in the bubbling, magical chocolate. 

Guys, I would've married that fondue. Or at least licked the bowl if it wasn't so crazy hot. I didn't feel like burning my tongue. 

But it was so delightful. Right now, writing about it, I'm salivating. I want more! MOREEEE! 

IV. 

And if you're not an organ donor, and you have an iPhone, you can sign up RIGHT FROM THE PHONE, people! RIGHT FROM YOUR PHONE! You don't even have to go to a pesky website!

Do it. Really. Sign up. 

Oh, you want to know why? 

Well, if not knowing me isn't cool enough.....here's a list of some of the things I've done post transplant. 

V. 

Gone to California; gone to Boston; gone to NYC and Chicago; discovered the epic-ness that is the Outer Banks; been in a ton of theater; tried tofu; been on Jeopardy!; been to Disneyland; eaten in Beverly Hills; started pin collecting; gotten my own apartment; had several jobs; left the job to be a freelancer; written a few novels and a memoir (that eventually someone will want to publish....) 

VI. 

Seen my godson graduate from high school; seen my sister graduate from high school and college; seen my brother graduate from college and become a Steeler sportswriter; Penguin Stanley Cups!; been my cousin Paige's confirmation sponsor; pinned my sister at her graduation from nursing school; seen multiple small children be born that I never would've seen other wise (and that would have made the guy below SAD)

No transplant, no meeting Justin. He's only seven. 

No transplant, no meeting Justin. He's only seven. 

Been in my other cousin Justin's wedding, and met his adorable kids....

 

Been in a million OTHER weddings, including this couple's....

These people rock my world. A lot. 

These people rock my world. A lot. 

Met hundreds of people I wouldn't have met otherwise; been to Edel with awesome, awesome people; become a Lay Dominican; read the Outlander books (this would've made my life so sad, people....to not know Jamie and Claire!).....and about a thousand others....seen the resurgence of the Pirates into a good baseball team!....

VII. 

Organ donation doesn't just save one person. It saves families. It saves friends. It saves entire networks of people. I mean, not that I'm all that or anything, but I do have friends and family that would miss me (I hope!). I would've missed so much without these 11 extra years

Guys. Be an organ donor. Save lives. Give people joy and grace. 

Seven Quick Takes No. 115--Not to go all Boromir on you....

7 Quick Takes, health, JeopardyEmily DeArdo1 Comment

 

linking up with Kelly and the gang. 

I. 
There is logic in that title. Really. :) 

So last week I was watching Army Wives on Netflix (Yes, sometimes I watch soap-ish TV. DO NOT JUDGE.) There was a kid with CF who was brought into the ER with a collapsed lung.

Now, to treat a collapsed lung, an interventional radiologist (so no, not just anyone) has to insert a chest tube, in order to reinflate the lung. It requires cutting. It requires stitches. It requires boxes. It basically sucks. It's my second-least favorite thing to have done, medically. 

(What's first? A pH probe. Seriously. Don't ask. 

Oh, you asked?  OK. 

A pH probe involves sticking a tube up your nose, down your throat, and into your stomach. And the tube sticks to your face and dangles outside of your body because it's attached to a stupid meter. It sucks. A lot. And it hurts. A lot. Basically, it's a tool left over from the Inquisition.)

So anyway, while watching the show--the kid had no tube left in. It was basically, we stick in a tube! The lung reinflates! Let's go home tomorrow! 

Um, no. 

Hence, the below photo, which I created to express my displeasure. 

 

One does not simply not keep a chest tube in. Sorry. And to remove it also requires an interventional radiologist. Yeah. Stitches, remember.

II.

So, please make the above meme a thing. I think it's awesome and the Internet needs it! 

III.

I have a clinic appointment on Monday, so I'll report back with the results when I get them. Oh what joy, oh what rapture. :) The nice thing about clinic visits in the summer is that the rush hour traffic is significantly better. 

IV.

The recap from this week, in case you missed it: 

Summer scribbles: A taste of summer (My strawberry salad recipe) 

Postcard: Chicago

Catholic 101: Apostolic Succession

V.

Also, I got a picture with this guy:

You know, some random Canadian. ;-) 

The dress is from Shabby Apple. It looks a bit better on TV. I think. Since the photos are taken during one of the commercial breaks, you don't really have time to primp. 

VI. 

The show airs on July 18th! 

I will also be on Jen Fulwiler's Radio Show that day, to tease the episode. :) If you have Sirius, be sure to tune in! I'll have more info as we get closer.

VII. 

Another thing about that photo? The microphone pack is attached to my bra strap. Really. They have a guy who attaches all the microphones. He asks before he attaches it. And he's very professional about it. But that's where the microphone pack is. They remove it before they shoot the "let's all talk at the end of the show" thing, so you won't see it. :) 

 

Back from the West Coast

travel, JeopardyEmily DeArdoComment
The Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica Beach

The Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica Beach

So, I'm back--and with a computer that has a period key that doesn't work!

So no, I'm not experimenting with new fun forms of punctuation--I'm going to get it fixed soon--but I wanted to pop in here and say that I'm back and I can't wait to share my adventures and California thoughts with all of you!

Obviously, I can't say what happened during my Jeopardy adventure, but I can tell you that the episode will air July 18 (That's a Monday)--so write it down now! :) 

As I've done in previous travelogues, I'll take you through each day, and I'll have a final post with everything we did and my recommendations, if you're traveling to the LA/SoCal area and want to know what I thought was a good bet for food/fun/etc

One thing that was definitely a good bet, though? 

Oh, I was dazzled, Olaf--totally!

 

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? 

This person is taking a trip to California in January to be on TV!

JeopardyEmily DeArdoComment

Answer: WHO IS ME!!!!!!!!!

Yes, guys, I am SO excited to tell you that after my Boston audition, I am going to be a real live Jeopardy contestant!!!

I got the call last night. After I got out of Mass, I saw I had messages on my phone, and one of them was labeled "Culver City." I knew then what it was about. (Jeopardy! is filmed in Culver City, California.) 

So I flew over to my parents so that Dad could help me with phone translation, and, after I told the lady on the phone that no, I'm not running for political office; no, I haven't committed a felony in the last two months (since they last asked me that), and no, I haven't done anything else nefarious--I got the news , officially!

All I know right now is that the taping is January 26/27. California in January sounds nice. I will, of course, share more news as I get it! But right now I'm just basically TOTALLY EXCITED. I've also never been to California so this is a "nice little holiday treat!" (as they say on The Family Man.) 

Seven Quick Takes No. 89

7 Quick Takes, travelEmily DeArdo1 Comment

I. 

So, a few more pieces of Boston ephemera for you. 

Did you know they have a state and city children's book? It's Make Way for Ducklings, and the book is everywhere in Boston--in every shop, for sure.

My Duckling sketch. 

My Duckling sketch. 

II. 

Also, the Boston Tea Party ships have names. I know, right, why don't we learn this stuff in school? They're the Beaver, the Dartmouth, and the Eleanor. And yes, that was a million dollar question on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? --so now you know the answer! The Beaver and Dartmouth were whalers, and the Eleanor was a "full rigged" ship, whatever that means. I don't speak boat. 

III. 

In the Jeopardy! try out, one of the big things you learn is how to use the buzzer, or the "Signaling Device", as it's officially known. This is hard to get used to, because you want to buzz in right away. But you have to wait for the yellow lights on the side of the game board (these aren't visible to the TV audience) to light up--then you can buzz in. If you buzz in before this, you're locked out for a few seconds, which isn't that long in most places, but it's a long time on the show.  

IV.

You're also supposed to keep pressing the button once the lights are on, in case the first person misses the question. So there's a lot of frantic pushing. 

V. 

There are five episodes of the show taped a day--so basically, a week's worth, in one day. Your brain has to be tired by the end of that, right? But it's probably the most efficient way to do it. 

VI. 

This--and theater--are the two places where I don't need to be told to be loud. Some people SHOUT, and that's really annoying. Don't shout, guys. You're going to kill your voice. Project! as Eleanor says in Brave. But DO NOT SHOUT. Geezy pete. There is a difference between projecting and shouting. I know, it's a fine distinction. :) But it's there. (Ask Italians. "We're not arguing! We're talking!")

VII. 

I'm going on a retreat this weekend--got any prayer requests? Leave 'em in the combox! 

Daybook No. 107: Back from Boston

books, Daybook, drawing, memoir, Tidying Up, travelEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Outside my window::

Sunny, a few clouds. It's going to be beautiful today--in the low 70s. Yay!

Wearing::

jeans and a dark cherry colored elbow length t-shirt. Keeping it casual today. 

Reading::

The Story of a New NameDaring Greatly, and the new Rick Riordan book, Magnus Chase--which takes place in Boston. :) If we'd stayed a few more hours I could've gone to the author's book signing! Drat! Since I did so much walking in Boston, my shins are not pleased with me--I get shin splints really easily. So today I'll be reading and putting some ice on the cranky body parts. But it's totally worth it. 

In Boston, I read Bird by Bird and Big Magic--both of which were excellent. I might have to re-read them both before NaNo kicks off. I especially enjoyed the parts that talk about publishing--and how getting rejection letters doesn't mean your work sucks! That's helpful, as I look at the following....

Writing::

The Manuscript is being delivered TODAY!!!!! Eekkk! Then the three month counter kicks off. (That's about how long they say it takes for them to evaluate a manuscript.) NaNo starts next month, so I'm thinking about what I want this year's novel to be about. So far, nothing is hitting me yet, except last year's NaNo novel, that I had to abandon, because it wasn't working. I think this year I might have a way of making it work, but it may require starting from scratch, which would work for NaNo15! 

 

Boston::

OK, so I don't want to do all Boston Palooza on you here--I'm going to spread it out over the week. So we can have Pretty Funny Happy Real Boston Edition, and then some Seven Quick Takes, Boston edition. However, I will talk about Jeopardy, here, because that's what we all care about right? :) 

Boston harbor, as seen from our hotel room 

Boston harbor, as seen from our hotel room 

 

The audition works like this: You go in, you get a polaroid taken, and then you are called into the audition room. In Boston, they divided us up into two groups--in NYC, we all went in as one group. You are instructed in the ways of the contestant pool--how you got picked, what's going to happen today, and what's going to happen after. We're in the contestant pool for 18 months, so until April 4, 2017. About 100,000 people take the online test, and from that, about 1000-3000 are selected for the second round of auditions. From there, 400 people are called to be contestants on the show. We were reminded many times to be loud and enthusiastic--two things I never have trouble with, ever. 

From there, we had a 50 question test--50 questions flashed on a screen, and you had eight seconds to answer each question (you wrote the answer down on a lined answer sheet). On the online test, you have 30 seconds to answer each question. After that, the tests are collected and graded, and then three people are called up at a time to play a practice round and be interviewed. The practice rounds and interviews are videotaped. 

I was in the first group called up. So we played a "round"--the game board was on a screen and we got to pick categories and everything, just like on the show, and we used the buzzers (more about those later this week, and How Crazy They Are). After that, you are interviewed, and I was interviewed second. Yes, you are interviewed in front of everyone. We were asked what we would use the money we won for, what we did, etc. Nothing really difficult--it was mostly for personality purposes. 

No, you do not find out how you did on the audition. But you just might get a random call summoning you to LA for taping. 

 

For today::

Happy Feast Day, St. Bruno! And since she's the Gospel reading for today: St. Martha and the Dragons.  Let's give Martha some love, guys!

 

Tidying Up::

The paper will be finished this week--my insurance stuff and tax materials are stored downstairs, and those have been sorted already, and are good to go. In the office are my other sorts of papers that I probably don't need and can toss. 

After paper comes the category of "Komodo", which is a Japanese term for miscellany, and in Kondo's book, it means: 

  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Toiletries
  • makeup
  • accessories (non clothes)
  • valuables
  • electronics and appliances
  • household items and supplies 
  • kitchen goods/food
  • and Other: hobbies and such, so for me that's knitting, my music books, board games etc. 

You can see this is a BIG category and will probably take awhile. But after this there are only three more categories: Small change, sentimental items, and photos. 

I've already done the CDs, because those went with the Books to Half-Price, and I've done a lot of the DVDs, for the same reason, but I'm sure there are still some I can put in the sell/donate pile. 

This week::

Like I said, here on the blog we'll have several Boston reports, so you can look forward to that. In other news, I have a dentist appointment, the first BalletMet performance of the season (yay!), the Pirates Wild Card game against the Cubs  tomorrow, and a Lay Dominican retreat all weekend! Whew! 

 

Daybook No. 104: A pleasant surprise!

Daybook, travel, booksEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Outside my window::

Sunny and blue skies; definitely a nice thing to wake up to.

Wearing::

I'm going to the gym shortly, so Athleta relay capris in a  bright orange red, and one of Athleta's tops--a gray t-shirt. 

In the CD player::

Audrey Assad's Fortunate Fall

Reading:: 

MiddlemarchA Right to be Merry (about cloistered Poor Clares), and I'm picking up the latest Michael Vey installment today, because I love Richard Paul Evans. I've also got A Spool of Blue Thread in my Library Book Pile. 

Kondo update: 

(I call it "Kondo" update, because the book I'm using, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, was written by Marie Kondo. You can read about it here, if you're new to the whole thing.) 

So, the clothes are gone. Well, I mean I'm done with sorting my clothes. Ten bags, including one full of shoes. For my old job, I needed lots of "work clothes", including heels, pants, etc.--things I hate to wear in general. Well now, they are off to be used by someone else! 

The second group of items Marie has you work on are books. As one of my friends said, "You are getting rid of books?!" Yes, I am. I generally do this fairly regularly, but this is a big purge. I'm getting rid of all the books I don't love. That means there's probably about 75 books in several small piles in my main room. There are more books to be sorted in the book room, but I'm already thinking there will be four or five bags (Not trash bags, but like tote bags) of books taken to Half Price Books. That doesn't count the DVDs and CDs that are going to be sorted later, and that I'll also take there. 

So this week, I'll be finishing the books, and maybe moving on to the papers (her third category). 

The big surprise!::

Yes, I sort of hid it down here. I'm crafty like that!

So in 2013, I was invited to the second round of Jeopardy! auditions.  Basically--and you can read more about it at the link--the way it works is you take the test, and then you can't take the online test (the first part of getting on the show) for about two years. 

In January, I could take the test again, and so I did. I didn't think I did that well, and I promptly forgot about it. So I was pretty surprised when I found an email in my inbox Friday night saying that I'd been invited to the second round of auditions in Boston!

The audition is October 4 at 9:00 A.M. It takes about two hours. So dad and I will be spending a few days in Boston! I've never been to Massachusetts, so it'll be my second new state this year, and Boston will feed a lot of my history geek urges. I wish we could get to Concord to se Orchard House, but that's not going to happen. Oh well!

October is just crazy. There's Jeopardy!, then my Third Order retreat, then  a friend who's getting married in Indiana. So at least I'll be really good at packing, if I'm not already, by the end of that month! 

Health/Fitness::

Last week I had two really great workouts back to back, and that excited me. It also re-ignited my desire to reach new milestones in what my body can do. I might not ever like working out, but I do love the way I feel after a great workout. So today I'm hitting the gym (the last two were outside workouts, because the weather was perfect--upper 60s/low 70s. When it's in the 80s, like it will be today, working out outside isn't such a great thing for me.). I've also been paying more attention to strength training.  I have a doctor's appointment on Monday, so, yes, that's also part of the motivation. 

From the kitchen::

More Jamie Oliver recipes this week. I've got a steak today, and then a chicken recipe where the chicken is wrapped in proscuitto. YUM, right?