Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Seven Quick takes

Seven Quick Takes--The First Draft Exists!

7 Quick Takes, Catholic 101, current projects, hearing loss, Seven Quick Takes, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

I.

The FIRST DRAFT EXISTS!

Yay!

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When I first got the contract information, the fact that Ave Maria wanted a first draft by June 1 was daunting to some people I talked to. “Can you do it in two months?”

HELL YES I CAN.

II.

Why was I so confident?

Because I have journalism training. And political training.

And when you have both of those, you learn to write quickly, on ridiculous deadlines.

Deadlines? WHAT DEADLINES.

So, thank you to Professor Kelly Messinger in college for all the Chimes Wednesday nights where we ate Chipotle and wrote into the wee hours! And edited! And wrote! And edited!

III.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy, because sometimes….


But then I apply my Maxim: You cannot edit a blank page.

Get anything on the page. Anything. Let it sit there and then come back later and edit it. You never know what can happen.

Chapter 10, for example? WENT OFF THE RAILS. I had no idea where I was going with that one, and we went somewhere I had not anticipated. But there it is!

(It might not stay the way it is. LOL.)

IV.

Speaking of writing—my ebook, Catholic 101, is now $5!

That’s it. Five bucks, y’all.

Go get it!


V.

I also promise to have the Denver travel posts up next week. This week was just nuts, with getting the first draft done….oh, and getting a new CI processor!!!!!!!

VI.

So, if you want more on the CI, you can visit my series here. Basically I was glad to have hearing, but the processor I had had shortcomings. I couldn’t use the phone.

Now….I might be able to use the phone! I mean, what?!

I can listen to my voicemails and understand them!

So far, this new processor is a game changer.


VII.

Oh, one more thing about the draft—a question I’ve been getting a lot is, “Well, didn’t you have to write the book before you submitted it?”

Short answer: No. Most places, for non-fiction, want a proposal, with a chapter sample, but not the whole book. I’ll talk more about the parts of the process later (especially in my newsletter!). But, no. I had to write the book to the proposal specs.




Seven Quick Takes--manuscript work, mammogram redux, and sketching!

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo1 Comment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

-1-

First off, if you missed it, earlier this week I wrote about how you can’t snap out of depression.
I
f you think you can do that, please read that post.

If you don’t think you can do that, please read that post.
Mental health is so important, and we, as a society, need to realize that it’s just as real as any other illness.

-2-

I know I promised y’all a Denver/Colorado travel write up. It’s COMING. I swear. I’m in the weeds on the manuscript because I need to have it all written by next Friday for my editor. There are only two more chapters to draft! YAY!!!!!

So once all that goes to my editor extraordinaire, then we edit, edit, edit, and polish, for two weeks, before we send it to the publisher.

-3-

In OTHER book news, I will have a pub date by the end of the month!


If you are a blog subscriber, you will get the news first. Everyone else will hear AFTER YOU.

So, if you want all book news first, plus the chance to have access to fun book things (yet to be determined, but totally fun), then sign up for the mailing list.


-4-

In the last edition I wrote about my first mammogram. Wellllllll…..

We had to do it again. Because there was something in the picture that the radiologist thought was me moving, although both the tech and I were like, there was no moving.

Anyway. Went back yesterday to take the pictures again, and this time, they are fine, both in quality and in terms of what’s there. So, normal! Yay!

All that to say, again: Ladies. Get your mammograms when you need to. Whether that’s 40, which is the normal recommendation, or earlier (if you have family history of breast cancer), do it.


-5-

Some of you may remember that I dabble in sketchbook keeping. Well, I’m back to that! Yay! I’m really glad because I enjoyed it, and I just haven’t had time to do it. I really kickstarted myself during the trip to Colorado, and now I’ve been working pretty steadily on filling books. Most of my work isn’t amazing, but you know, I’m happy with it. And it’s fun, which is important.

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I’m also working on some long-buried knitting projects, like a linen kerchief I started years ago when I was first learning to knit. Guys: DO NOT START WITH LINEN! Seriously! It’s fine now because I’ve had years of practice, but man, what was I thinking?!?!

-7-

Anddddd also!

If you’re looking for a scripture study for this summer, or maybe a summer bible study for you and your friends, may I suggest Take Up & Read’s new book, Better Together?



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This book is about hospitality, and summer is such a great time for that! Have people over! Embrace community! All the good things!

Anyway, more about this book is coming, but you can order it now! It has all the lovely features you expect from our studies: daily readings, Scripture memorization, Selah days on the weekends, and recipes!

Seven Quick Takes--Colorado, Mother's Day, and Mammograms

7 Quick Takes, travel, current projects, health, the bookEmily DeArdo4 Comments
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Linking up with Kelly!

-1-

I was in Colorado last week (hence why no blog posting!) for my sister’s bachelorette weekend. I’d never been to Colorado before!

One of the floral butterflies in Downtown Denver

One of the floral butterflies in Downtown Denver

The Collegiate Peaks in Buena Vista

The Collegiate Peaks in Buena Vista

Mel and I at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.

Mel and I at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.


—II—

I’ll write more about Denver next week, but here’s what I learned, in short, about going to altitude:

Drink a lot of water. Like, insane amounts.
Bring saline nasal spray. My nose was SO dry!
Bring a portable charger, because altitude seems to drain phone batteries faster
SUNSCREEN. ALL THE SUNSCREEN.

—III—

Our trip included Denver (my sister lives in Littleton) and Buena Vista, where the cabin weekend was held. I didn’t realize it was sort of desert-y down there. I should’ve expected it, but some how, I didn’t. I had never been in that sort of environment before, so it was definitely a new experience. I learned that I like green!

—IV—
Anyway, more on CO next week. It’s been awhile since I’ve done some travel posts, so it’ll be fun!

—V—

Amy Welborn wrote a great piece about Mother’s Day and parishes, and I’d encourage you to read it.
Mother’s Day is, to put it nicely, fraught. I really don’t think it should be celebrated as part of the Mass. Mass is for the worship of God, not for the worship of ourselves. If parishes want to do something for mothers (or graduates, or whatever), then they can do it after Mass. Blessings, etc.? After Mass.

I know so many people who are struggling with infertility. I, myself, will never have children. Let’s also think about people who have lost their mothers, or have not-great relationships with their mothers, or have other issues with their moms. Let’s realize this. Sure, mothers are important! (Love you, Mom! :) )

But do we need to make it such a big part of the Mass?

Same thing with Father’s Day. And also, I don’t think we do Father’s day nearly as much as we do mother’s day.

Celebrate your mom, but parishes, please do this after Mass.

And for the love of the Lord, do not make people hug their mothers at Mass! (see the comments in the article for that one.)

(And yes, I love my mother. :) This isn’t about not loving Mom!)

—V—

And because it’s my blog, I’ll expound a little more. One of the comments at the bottom of Amy’s post was all about “celebrating” at Mass. Having visitors stand up, or graduates be recognized, or birthday people be recognized.

I got one word for this:

NOPE.

People. Mass is not the time for this.

Mass is for THE WORSHIP OF GOD.

If you want to recognize birthdays, do it in a bulletin.

You want to recognize the grads? Have a reception in June after a Mass.

I CRINGE at the thought of making visitors stand up. I hate this. Why do you think a visitor would want to be recognized?! And what does that have to do with Mass? (This visitor never wants to be recognized. Ever. Just let me come to Mass.)

Yes, I realize I’m an old and cranky person here.

But I think it was Benedict XVI who said something like, if we’re applauding during Mass, we’ve completely lost the plot. (I’m paraphrasing, obviously)

Mass is not about us.

If you want to celebrate community things, that’s great. Do it after Mass.

—VI—

Well, that felt good. LOL. .

Writing of the book is going well. My next newsletter for subscribers should be sent out next week, so if you’re not a subscriber, do it now!

I’m 2/3 of the way done with the manuscript. This week has been some hard sledding but you know, the important thing is to get words on a page. So that’s been happening. You can edit words on a page. You can’t edit a blank one.

—VII—

I also had my first mammogram this week. My mom had breast cancer at age 47, so I had to get my baseline done 10 years before her diagnosis—hence, at 37. Since I turned 37 last month, it was time.

I was nervous about it—I’d heard horror stories about it hurting, especially with transplant scars (this might be TMI, but—for my transplant, the incisions are about where a bra underwire is).

But I had a great, careful tech, who made sure that nothing was pinching, and it wasn’t really bad at all. Yeah, the skin is being squished, but that didn’t really hurt.

Ladies—you need to get a mammogram at age 40. You might have to do it earlier, if you’re like me and have family history. Please, please, please check your own screening requirements and set this up.

(And finally, if you missed it, there was a yarn along on Wednesday!)




Seven Quick Takes In a Deluge

7 Quick Takes, current projects, Seven Quick Takes, Orchard House, hockeyEmily DeArdoComment
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Linking up with Kelly!

I.

OK, so, first, I’m thrilled to tell you that the talk I recorded for Kelly’s conference has been accepted! Yay! I’m part of the speaker’s library that attendees will have access to!

What is this conference, you might ask? Kelly has created a conference for Catholic parents of kids with special needs, called “Accepting the Gift.” You can attend in person, OR (and I love this part), you can attend virtually! How cool is that? So if you can’t make it to New Jersey, you can still attend!

Here is the conference page, so check it out! And do attend!


II.

This is also the first talk I’ve done as an adult—I did a witness talk at my parish mission when I was sixteen—but I really do like my talk, all things considered. :) It’s called “Joy Anyway”, and it’s about living life with a chronic illness, because, a lot of the time, we hear from the parents of people like me, but not the actual people who have the illness, and so I’m thrilled that Kelly asked me to contribute my thoughts, because I do care about this quite passionately, as you all know. :)

And of course I love the parents! Parents are awesome! But it’s important to get the perspective from the person with “the thing” as well, in my book. So, thanks Kelly for asking me! (And accepting the talk!)


III.

OK so yeah, it’s deluging here right now. Lots and lots and lots of rain being dumped on Orchard House at the moment. I overslept this morning and this is probably why, because it’s really dark outside. Not that I mind—I generally like rainy days.


IV.

Today is part of the editing process in the writing of the book. My editor has sent me chapters back, and now I go through and play with them and see what I can do to make them better. Some of the changes I just accepted on the first go round because they were easy (like, adapting to the press’s style guide) or just made sense. Bigger changes require more thought and distance, so that’s what I’m doing today.


V.

My birthday was on Tuesday, so I’m thirty-seven now! And it was a gorgeous day, which is rare in central Ohio in early April—it snowed on my birthday (as in the day I was born). But yesterday it was 82 and kids were in the pool, which made me shiver just seeing them in there, because that water was going to be cold!

ANYWAY (digression over!), it was a good birthday with sun and good food.

No, Emily did not eat all this cake. Emily did not come  close  to eating all this cake. We shared it. :)

No, Emily did not eat all this cake. Emily did not come close to eating all this cake. We shared it. :)


VI.

I also think that everyone should like their birthday. Because birthdays mean you survived another trip around the sun! Yay!!!!!! Birthdays are great! I mean, yeah, I’m thirty-seven, but to me, that’s sort of awesome. I wasn’t supposed to hit thirty-three. I wouldn’t have seen twenty-seven without Suzanne, my donor. So, yeah. Birthdays rock.

VII.

It’s hockey playoff time, and Dad and I are going to see the Jackets play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday! This has been a bucket list item for me for awhile—seeing an NHL playoff game. The nice thing is that since the Jackets are playing Tampa, I can unreservedly root for them. When they play the Penguins in the playoffs (as they’ve done before), I can’t do that, I’m torn! But now, I can root for them all the way. It’s going to be great! The Jackets have all sorts of things planned—there’s a big plaza in front of the arena so there will be activities, and the arena opens up earlier than usual so people can head in and start the party. I hope the Jackets win! (They won the first game on Wednesday in Tampa in an amazing comeback. They play tonight. Pens are down one game to none against the Islanders. If you don’t care about hockey, I’m sorry this take was all hockey. :) )

Seven Ways To Bring Joy To Your Day

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

So after my last post, I thought it might be helpful to give you some concrete ways to bring joy to your days when that might REALLY be lacking. So, here we go!

I.

Iris Murdoch said that, “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” So, that’s how we’re looking at this. Small treats!

The first one: Eat your favorite meal. Do the comfort food thing. One meal (and I do mean one) isn’t going to send everything into a tailspin. For me, it’s usually Chuy’s or pasta carbonara. Eat something you enjoy. And enjoy it, while you eat it.

II.

Take a lunch break. When I was working full-time, a lot of my days were…rough. So I would go to Barnes and Noble on my lunch break. Even if I didn’t buy anything, just getting out of the office and into a place that I loved was a great way to reset my day and give me energy to get through the rest of the day.

III.

Go to Eucharistic Adoration. Just sit with Jesus. You don’t have to do anything. Just be there and rest in his presence.

IV.

If you’re not near a chapel, then take some time to pray—a decade of the rosary, reading the Bible, whatever works for you.

V.

Read your favorite book or watch your favorite movie. Say, “tonight is movie night. I’m going to go home and watch my favorite movie and eat popcorn and it’ll be great.”

VI.

Have something to look forward to. Schedule lunch with a friend, make a date to see a movie (even if the date is with yourself, there is nothing wrong with that!), but get something on your calendar that makes you happy, even if it’s something small.

VII.

This doesn’t always work for me, but it might work for some of you—do something physical. That can mean working out, but for me it can also mean playing the piano or singing or even knitting. Do something that moves your body and makes you focus on something else. Sometimes just saying to myself, I can work on that knitting project, or I can do yoga class on Friday, is really helpful.


These are just a few suggestions of things that work for me. I hope they help you!





Seven Quick Takes from the New Place

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

linking up with Kelly!

I.

Recent posts from these parts:

Meet Orchard House
The contract came!

II.

This video is right on, in all ways:

“That’s compassion!”

“That’s eugenics.”

III.

New desk here. For your Home Town fans: quarter sawn white oak, yo!!!

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IV.

There are two more boxes that need unpacked, but everything has been sort of a blur this week so I’m sort of delaying that. A bit. Maybe. :)

V.

I had clinic on Monday and things are pretty good. lung function is stable. My A1c (a measure of sugar in your blood, over time, to put it really basically) is trending upward, though, so that means I’m going back to checking my blood sugar a few times a day, and we’re going to tweak the diet. Yay. My enthusiasm is noted. Essentially, the last three months were stress-tastic so there was stress eating and all sorts of other not-great health decisions, so I have to be much more disciplined in this area.

Well, it is Lent. So being penitential is cool right now. So, into the gym and into a stricter diet I go….

VI.

I re-read the Ramona Quimby books this week, because Ramona is good comfort reading, right? :) She’s also good quick reading.

VII.

I lived in my old place for about 14 years, so one of the things I have to get used to now is new traffic patterns/timing. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get places anymore, because new traffic over here! So that’s been a little stressful since I had two doctor’s appointments this week (the above mentioned clinic and my dermatologist). But I know I’ll figure it out…eventually.



Seven Quick Takes--Bits and Pieces

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo4 Comments
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

—1—

So the month of February has been STRESS CITY and I’m glad it’s over and I’m back to sleeping properly. :) I had to record a talk, which I was nervous about, and then I had book proposal stuff to do, and then I have MOVE stuff to do, and while all this stuff is good stuff, it’s also a lot, so whew. But things have calmed down a bit and I’m back to being stressed but not insanely so.

—2—

The book proposal is going to the publisher groups today for them to look over. Please pray for it?

—3—

One of the reasons I think I was stressed is that I couldn’t knit! I was waiting for a special order of yarn to come in so I could get back to my knitting project, and now that it has, I can knit again!

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It looks sort of messy because of all the little tails, but it’ll be fine. :) This is the Feile shawl, which uses a variegated yarn and a solid color. It’s a really easy pattern and already I’m thinking about the variations I can do on this theme.

The yarn is INCREDIBLY yummy—it’s Frabjous Fibers Wonderland Yarns, Mad Hatter base (sport, which is a little heavier than the fingering yarn that’s called for). The speckled is in Victorian China, and the blue is Muchness. It’s a gorgeous blue, really sort of blue violet, bluebell-y color, and I adore it. I could wear this color all the time! So I have a feeling this shawl is going to get a lot of wear.

—4—

Moving is rapidly coming up and I’m in the stage where I want to throw out everything except books and yarn and tea and just start again. :-P (Well, and my bed. ETc.) There are boxes and bags everywhere, it’s definitely chaotic around here!

—5—

I’m really late to the party but I’ve been watching Best Picture nominees (Green Book won, if you missed that). I’ve seen Black Panther and A Star Is Born so far, and Roma is next.

Black Panther was….good, but not Best Picture good, in my opinion. I’m not really a Marvel comic book person so watching the movie I had to infer a lot, which I generally don’t like, but I understand I’m not the target audience. I loved the costumes and the sibling relationship was the best part. But the actual action seemed….slow, to me. I know, again, I’m not the target audience. But not good.

—6—

I did, however, really like A Star Is Born, and I didn’t think I would, because I am loyal to the Judy Garland Version, and it’s still a better version because, hello, “The Man That Got Away” and freaking Judy Garland. BUT—this version was good. Good pacing, I surprisingly liked the music, and the acting was solid, even remarkable at times.

Yes, there was too much swearing.

BUT, I really did like this movie. Last scene? Total goosebumps.

—7—

Do you have Hosanna for Lent yet? Go get it!


Seven Quick Takes--Groundhog, Give Me Spring

7 Quick Takes, goal setting, Seven Quick Takes, writingEmily DeArdoComment
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inking up with Kelly!

—1—

There is no way I will complain about 100 degrees this summer. Nope. No way, no how.

—2—

(Athough, extreme heat does make it hard for me to breathe…..but so does extreme cold. But it’s EASIER in the heat, to do things like take out trash. :) And get the mail. I can just go out and do it quickly. In the winter, it means boots, hat, gloves, scarf, big coat…..it’s a production, similar to:


—3—

Should we talk about February goals? Sure, let’s do that. I’m still doing the contentment challenge, (the first month went well! I am proud of myself!), I sent out the book proposal (SQUEEEEE), I saved money for my emergency fund, went to confession, and I did pretty well getting into my Bible every day! I only missed FIVE DAYS all month, which is pretty awesome, guys. I’m happy about that.

—4—

For this month:

Monthly goals: Contentment Challenge month two; more to emergency fund, finish Kon Mari-ing the house (I’m almost there! In the komono category right now, which is basically everything in the house that isn’t clothes, books, papers, or sentimental items. It’s a lot, to put it mildly), go to confession, and attend the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference!

—5—

Weekly goals:

Contentment Challenge devotional reading; meal plan; blog; artist date (part of The Artist’s Way—going out once a week to do something fun, that fills the creative well in you—it’s been hard with this weather but I”m trying!), and a holy hour.

—6—

Daily goals:

Examen before bed (basically examination of conscience), exercise (I just signed up for YogaGlo again. I did that last year and it was REALLY helpful for me, so back we go!), keep a food journal, and reconcile my checkbook every morning (I use the Every Dollar program for this).

—7—

And finally, some cute Corgis and Harry Potter (thanks to my friend, Abby, for showing me this!)


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Seven Quick Takes--Stories from the Loony Bin

health, 7 Quick Takes, transplantEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile. Today’s a good day to do it, because this week, New York State passed the most incredible abortion “rights” law—a baby can be aborted essentially any time up to birth. If the mother wants that to happen.

Any time. We’re not talking about babies that aren’t viable here. We’re talking about babies that could be a week away from delivery.

(And be sure to read that post for the definition of “health of the mother” that the law used. It’s….interesting.)

Anyway. I am mad about this, of course. But at the same time, I feel like I need to write something funny to counteract this insanity that caused the state of New York to light up One World Trade Center pink to “celebrate” this law passing.

Look, my life hasn’t been a picnic. But at the same time, sometimes plain funny things have happened because of it. So, I present, tales from the loony bin.

(c) Erica Kay Photography. This year’s Christmas card photo.  L-R: Me, my mom, Sarah (new SIL) , Bryan (my brother), Dad, Melanie (my sister), Jason (her fiance)

(c) Erica Kay Photography. This year’s Christmas card photo. L-R: Me, my mom, Sarah (new SIL) , Bryan (my brother), Dad, Melanie (my sister), Jason (her fiance)

(Just a note before we start: some of the medical technology has changed. So you know, don’t go that’s not how these things work!)


-1-

Back in the day, I did a lot of home IVs. Basically, it’s IV meds you give at home, so I didn’t have to be stuck in the hospital for 2-3 weeks and could go to school and have a life. But that also meant that sometimes, there was a learning curve.

IVs have to be kept sterile—you can’t get them wet, you have to protect them. Now, when I first did home IVs, I would climb trees with an IV, but you know, I was young! :)
Anyway one time, the cap—the thing that protects the end of the IV line—got stuck. We couldn’t get it unattached, and this was bad, because then we couldn’t give the meds I needed.

So dad decided the best way to fix this was….with a pair of pliers. From his tool box. Grimy, gritty, dirty pliers. On a sterile IV line.

He came into my room with the pliers and I backed myself into a corner like a freaked out animal. “GET AWAY FROM ME!”
”What? We have to get the cap off!”
”At least clean them first! Use the alcohol wipes!”
(Fortunately, we could replace the tubing bit. We didn’t have to resort to the pliers.)


—2—

The night before my algebra II final my junior year, I woke up in the middle of the night. No, not because of Law of Cosine nightmares. I felt something wet.
I rolled over and saw that the sleeve of the t-shirt I slept in was bloody. Like, soaking with blood.

At the time, I had a PICC line in (peripherally inserted central catheter—basically a line that wasn’t under my skin, like my port is now, but went into a deep vein, so if we had problems with this, they became large problems.)

I ran into mom and dad’s room. “I’m bleeding.” Mom grabbed a towel and we went back to my room, applying pressure. Dad stumbled in with the cordless phone (this was 1999).

We called the direct line to Children’s and were put on hold while we waited for someone to answer our question. Were we going to have to go to the hospital? Was this really bad?

It’s around 2 AM, the lights are on in the hallway, and my brother and sister are standing in the doorway. Mom and Dad are arguing—what should we do? Should we do this? Should we do that?

At some point, Mom calls my dad something not nice.

And then we hear, “hello?”

We hadn’t muted the phone. The person on the other end had heard the entire argument.


—3—

Sometimes, though, it was a little funnier. Like the time Mel and I decided to use unused saline (salt water) syringes as squirt guns and pelt my brother with them. “Stop it! You’re going to kill me! What is that stuff?!”

“It’s water.”

“Oh.”


—4—

You know that you’ve passed the point of a normal family when going to the ER in the middle of the Super Bowl—which your favorite team is in—isn’t really cause for angst. The Steelers were playing the Packers in Super Bowl 45, and I started to get the lovely feeling of heart arrythmia.

“We have to go to the hospital,” I told my mom during the first quarter.

At halftime, we went. We went to the special area of the ER, doctors buzzing around me, the normal stuff happening. Dad is on his phone checking the score.

“We’re going to lose,” he mutters from the corner.

We did lose. But we got to watch the Puppy Bowl in the ICU!

—5—

Right before my transplant, my doctors were pulling every medical rabbit out of the hat to keep me alive. We were trying every drug we could think of, anything to keep me stable. Forget about improvement, we just didn’t want to get worse.
One of those drugs (another IV med) had to be constituted by us, meaning that it came as a powder, and we had to add the saline. This was rather difficult for some reason, because the force needed to get the saline out of the bottle, into the syringe, and then the saline IN to the med, was quite a bit. WE had jerry rigged some contraption onto the kitchen cabinets to try to give my dad and brother more leverage, because they were the only ones that could do this.

So I came home from work (granted, work was mostly just sitting at my desk—I really couldn’t do a whole lot at this point) and find my brother mixing the 3:00 med dose. I put down my bag

CRASSSSSHHHHH!!!!! SHATTER!!!!!!!!!

I look up. Bryan is holding the syringe, dumbfounded. The glass bottle had exploded all over the floor from the force of the saline trying to go into it.

All I could do was laugh.


—6—

This one has entered family lore:

I had pancreatitis—well, I had pancreatitis a lot. It wasn’t one of those things where I had to get to the ER toute de suite, but I was in a lot of pain.
Dad and I were in the car and stopped at the stoplight at the end of our road. One car was in front of us. We wanted to turn right, but this guy either wanted to go straight or was waiting for an invitation to turn (you know those people).

Dad revs the engine, and jumps the curb. Seriously. Drove the car right over the curb, scraping the bottom of the Accord, a tremendous nails on the blackboard sound.

Now whenever we’re behind someone in that situation, I always tell dad that he can feel free to jump the curb.


—7—

OK this last story is me.

The Resort (my normal hospital) is a teaching hospital. So sometimes when you get admitted from the ER, you have to go through the special hell of having some resident take your history. I don’t know what this resident had done to get me, but whatever. Poor guy.

Anyway, I was tired, I was drugged up, and I really didn’t want to be doing this. Plus, when I’m sick, my hearing goes out the window. I can’t concentrate. So I was just nodded and “yup”ing and all sorts of things to get this guy out of here.

Dad, of course, couldn’t be present for this because you know, I might talk about sex. So he was in the hall with his free coffee.

The medical student asked me a question. I said, yup. He said, how often. I said, oh, twice a day. I mean, I thought he was asking about meds.

He looks at me, shocked. Deer in the headlights.

“I’m sorry, what did you ask me?”

He turns bright red and mutters, “I was asking if you were sexually active.”

OH.

“Well, then, um, nope. Sorry. Never. Wow. Yeah.”


I figure that’s a good way to end, don’t you? :)




Seven Quick Takes No. 131: A Royal Friday!

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

Happy Sapphire Jubilee to Queen Elizabeth II!

(Portrait of the Queen taken in 2014)

A sapphire jubilee is 65 years on the throne, which Queen Elizabeth reached on Monday, the 6th. No other British monarch has ever reigned so long!. 

The sapphires she's wearing in the portrait  were a wedding gift from her father, George VI. (We'll talk about her wedding in a bit!)

This may be my favorite current (ish) portrait of the queen. She looks regal but also like she's about to smile or laugh. 

II. 

Victoria, currently on PBS, is about Elizabeth's great-great-great grandmother. And while I love Queen Victoria, who is the second longest reigning monarch after her descendant Elizabeth, I'm not a huge fan of the series, because of the liberties that are being taken with the facts. 

I know that in these types of things, some liberties must be taken because 1) there isn't enough money to cast everyone who really existed; 2) we have limited time, and 3) there has to be a good storyline to hook viewers. I know all that, and I'm still annoyed by Victoria. 

Here are some of the bigger points that are being fudged: 

III. 

Prince Albert around the time of his marriage to Victoria. 

Prince Albert around the time of his marriage to Victoria. 

Albert was not nearly so whiny. He didn't want a title when he married Victoria; he wrote that "It would almost be a step downwards, for as a Duke of Saxony, I feel myself much higher than a Duke of York or Kent."  He did become an HRH before he was married to the queen (His Royal Highness) and in 1857 Victoria named him prince consort. He knew when he married Victoria that he wouldn't be king, and he couldn't be a peer, and that did lead to the problem of finding things to do. In a letter written in May 1840, he said," I am very happy and contented; but the difficulty in filling my place with the proper dignity is that I am only the husband, not the master in the house." (This is a problem that Philip Mountbatten would have with his queen wife, as well.) However, once Victoria became pregnant, he began to take a much larger public role. 

It is true that Lehzen and Albert didn't like each other, which culminated in a brouhaha a few years after the wedding. 

As far as Albert's allowance, it is true that Prince Leopold, the last person to marry an heiress presumptive, received £50,000 pounds. Albert received £30,000 (Not "half as much" as the series contends.) (In comparison, Prince Philip receives a whopping £395,000. Wow!) Part of the problem was that Leopold spent his allowance on mistresses after Charlotte died, so yes, Albert was probably being punished for his predecessor's profligacy. 

But anyway, the point is, Albert was not nearly as whiny as the series makes him out to be. He knew what he was getting into; he was well-prepared by Leopold and Baron Stockmar (whom I'm very sad is missing, since he was a key advisor to both Victoria and Albert.). 

IV. 

Leopold painted as King of the Belgians. 

Leopold painted as King of the Belgians. 

Speaking of Leopold: Victoria and her uncle were quite close. She considered him her "best and kindest adviser", as she wrote in her journal in 1835. There was none of this coldness and stiffness that the series gives us. 

V. 

Honorable William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne 

Honorable William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne 

Also, Victoria never had romantic feelings for Lord Melbourne. Ever. Full stop. Melbourne was 63 when Victoria ascended to the throne! She did say that he was like a father to her, and the press did call her Mrs. Melbourne, but that was mostly cattiness about her closeness to her prime minister. Remember that Victoria's father died when she was a baby, and Lord Conroy, her mother's "advisor", was not someone she trusted at all. She didn't have a lot of strong male role models in her life, or people who treated her like an adult (Her mother slept with her every night and she was forbidden from walking down a staircase without holding someone's hand!), other than Leopold and Stockmar, but they weren't with Victoria all the time, obviously. 

So, essentially: fact-check while you watch. :) Or, if you're not like me and just don't care, ignore all this. :-P

So now that that's cleared up, let's talk about fun stuff: Weddings!

VI. 

Victoria and Albert's wedding in the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace, February 10, 1840. 

Victoria and Albert's wedding in the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace, February 10, 1840. 

Victoria did start the fashion of white dresses for brides. Prior to that, most women married in their "best" dress, no matter what the color. Most of them didn't have the money for a totally new dress that would only be worn once, and in such an impractical color at that! But Victoria did. 

The dress was made of heavy silk satin and Honiton lace (Honiton being city in Devon, England). The dress's satin was woven in England and had an 18 foot train! She did wear a diamond necklace, and sapphire brooch that Albert had given her the night before the wedding. (Not seen here in the painting.)

(And the Chapel Royal is essential a room, not a grand church, like the series showed us.) 

VII. 

When her great-great-great-granddaughter married Philip Mountbatten on November 20, 1947 (a few years before she became queen), Elizabeth's dress was made of Chinese silk and English satin . The royal couple was married in Westminster Abbey. (A grand church indeed!) 

Since wartime rationing was still in effect, Princess Elizabeth had to save clothing ration cards to buy the material for her dress. The government did grant her 200 extra coupons, probably thinking that the investment in the heiress presumptive's wedding gown was worth it. The dress had a 13 foot long train, and was embellished with crystals and pearls. 

The Princess was just as radiant on her wedding day as her august ancestor. 

Princess Elizabeth and Philip on their wedding day. 

Princess Elizabeth and Philip on their wedding day. 

Here's Queen Elizabeth in her coronation gown, which was designed by Norman Hartnell, who also designed her wedding dress. 

 

This dress took eight months to research, design, and make. She also wore this necklace, which Victoria also wore. 

As gorgeous as these photos are, this is a much cozier one. The portrait was taken by Annie Leibovitz to celebrate the Queen's ninetieth birthday. 

Isn't this sweet? 

From L-R: James, Viscount Severn (8 YO) and his sister, Lady Louise (12 YO--they're the youngest of the queen's eight grandchildren and are the children of Prince Edward); Mia Tindall, age two, holds the queen's handbag; Princess Charlotte, as the youngest great-grandchild (11 months, here) is on the queen's lap, with her brother George (2 YO) next to her. The other two girls are Savannah and Isla Phillips (5 and 3 YO, respectively). 

Mia is the daughter of Zara and Mark Tindall (Zara is Princess Anne's daughter), and the Phillips girls are the daughters of Peter Phillips, who is Princess Anne's son. I love Mia with the handbag! (And James is so insouciant in his eight year old way.) 

So there you have it--enter your weekend with history, jewels, and queens! :) 

Seven Quick Takes 130: Seven Books I'll Read in 2017

books, 7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment

OK, let's get real. I'll read a LOT more than seven books in 2017. But here are ones currently on my "to read" list: 

I & II

The God of the Hive and The Pirate King, both by Laurie R. King: these are volumes 10 and 11, respectively, in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series that I've been devouring since I read the first one in October. Book number 12 is coming in the mail but hasn't arrived yet. So I guess that'll be book eight! 

III

Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett: I love Ann's writing, and I'm excited to dive into this one since I've heard such good things. 

IV

The Alexander Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow that everyone is apparently reading. Also a Christmas gift. 

V

Kim, by Rudyard Kipling. A book I haven't read, but am curious about. In that same vein...

VI

The Forsythe Saga, by John Galsworthy. My friends have raved about this one and I keep trying to start it but this year I'm gonna do it. :) I feel like, as a person who majored in English literature with a concentration in Brit Lit, that I should be well-versed in All of the Oxford World Classic Brit Lit novels. So, this one is getting read. 

VII

Finally Fortune's Rocks, by Anita Shreve. Got it for a steal at one of my favorite independent bookstores, and it keeps sitting on the to-read pile. So I'll recuse it! 

What about you? Any good books on your lists? 

 

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

7 Quick Takes, CatholicismEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I. 

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

You Get What You Get

Hail Mary

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

This post about her as my Confirmation Saint

II. 

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

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

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

III. 

Reason Number 1: SILENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

---1 Kings 19:11-13

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

IV. 

Second: TOTAL focus on God

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

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

V. 

Third: New perspectives

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

VI.

Fourth: Refreshment

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

VII.

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

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

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

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

7 Quick Takes, booksEmily DeArdo5 Comments

I. 

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

Summer Reading: July

Let's Communicate

II. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

III.

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

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

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

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

IV. 

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

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

V. 

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

VI. 

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

 

I mean, just that picture. Holy cow. 

VII. 

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

Molly Weasley is also the Bomb. 

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