Emily M. DeArdo

writer

creativity

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. 112

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

Outside my window::

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

Wearing::

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

Reading::

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

In the CD player::

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

Living the Liturgy::

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

 

Around the House::

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

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

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


Creativity::

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

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

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

 

Pondering::

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

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

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

 

Plans for the week::

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Daybook No. 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. 97

Daybook, transplant, travelEmily DeArdo2 Comments

(it's back!)

daybook tag

Outside my window::

Sunny through thin white clouds. It's not going to be very warm today--well, warm for June--so swimming is probably out, but that's OK!

Wearing::

Jeans, a bright blue v-neck t-shirt, and flats.

Reading::

Working on Northanger Abbey. I finished Prodigal Summer yesterday, and man, I wish Barbara Kingsolver would write a sequel. It's that kind of novel where you want to stay with the characters for a long time, even after the book is finished. I'm reading The One Thing is Three for my spiritual reading. The rest of the fiction pile includes The Forsyte Saga and A God In Ruins, and then I've got What Matters In Jane Austen and Jane Austen's England. So a variety of things on the reading pile!

In the CD player::

The Light in the Piazza, celebrating Kelli O'Hara's Tony win.

Writing::

This week I'm doing something different with LA--I'm going back to doing the link-ups/weekly features that I've sort of been neglecting amidst the new writing plan. So tomorrow is the Yarn Along, Thursday I'm talking about Sketchbook Skool, and then Friday we'll have Quick Takes. I'm also going to get some things pre-written because I'll be in Pittsburgh until Tuesday.

The Dominican section of the memoir continues apace. It's sort of a complex section to write but the goal here is to get it down into a physical form on "paper" (or, in a Pages document). Then I can revise it. I'm hoping to have the section done by the end of the month so that in July, when I'm back from Charleston, I can start sending out queries and book proposals. (EEEEEK)

Creativity::

You'll have to come back tomorrow and Thursday to read about that. :) But really, it's been really interesting in this area lately.

Health stuff::

So yesterday was my Annual Clinic Day of Testing for Transplant Guys. :) Basically, all the yearly tests we do, I did yesterday. That involved lots of blood-letting, full PFTs (Pulmonary Function Tests--"full" meaning more than just the basic test I do every visit. We checked gas diffusions in my lungs and some other fun things), a CT scan of my lungs, bone density scan, and an abdominal ultrasound, which looks at my spleen, liver, kidneys, all that sort of stuff.

I lost five pounds "officially" in clinic (I told the dietician that I had lost 10 lbs at one point, but the loss doesn't want to stay there, sadly), and the PFTs went up four points. So win to that correlation. Everyone's happy with that. I haven't gotten the results back yet from the other tests. (Other than things like my regular chest X-ray, which looked fine and dandy--we saw that in clinic.)

Today I'm going to see my ENT so he can check out my sinuses. I see him about every six months, and about every two years, we do the sinus surgery. This is because even though my lungs don't have CF, the rest of my body does, so we still have to keep the sinuses happy. They tend to fill with the CF-quality mucus and that can be a huge breeding ground for infection. Fortunately, I don't have nearly as many sinus issues as some other CF folks I know.

Pondering::

I normally don't talk to many--if any--other patients when I'm at Children's. Part of that is because I don't really talk in waiting rooms, at all, and partially because a lot of the time, I'm alone. In clinic, I'm in my own room, and in radiology, the transplant/cancer patients sit in the radiology hallway itself, not in the general waiting room, because of concerns about sick people.

I'm really familiar with the radiology hallway. It used to be main radiology for the entire hospital, so I've come here as an ER patient, as a CF outpatient, and in the days after transplant, at 6 AM, before the hospital was really "up", so I the chances of me running into a sick person (or anyone else) were really slim. I know all the radiology techs really well, and know some of them by name.

There are three chairs set up outside the main waiting room door for transplant/oncology patients. Sometimes it's me and other transplant patients who are being seen that day (we all have the same routine--blood work, x-rays, clinic), but mostly it's just me.

Yesterday there was a small family: a boy, a girl, and the mother. The kids looked to be in high school. I knew the boy was a transplant patient because 1) he was wearing a Dash for Donation shirt (it's the annual Lifeline of Ohio race), and 2) he had a mask on. Most of us wear masks in the hospital. I hate wearing them so I generally don't. (yeah, I'm a rebel.)

But the boy looked so sick. I couldn't tell if he was pre or post-transplant. He was so thin I could see the ligaments in his legs around his knees, the tendons popping out. His shirt hung on his, and he was in a wheelchair. He didn't really look anywhere, other than vaguely at his lap. His sister was plugging away at Facebook on her phone, but he just sat there, vaguely thinking about something.

I knew that look. I'd been there. It's the look of not really having the brain power to do anything else but tend to the function of your body. Breathe, sit up. Breathe.

He went back for X-rays, and I talked briefly to his sister--small things, about the waiting area, her sparkly phone cover. Her brother came back quickly and they were gone, heading up to clinic.

The radiology technician called me to a room. "He's rejecting," she told me.

"How far out is he?"

"Five years."

Ah, five years. Five is a magical number. About half make it to five years--it's a little less than that, for girls. UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) doesn't even have 10 year stats on their website, yet, for lung transplant patients. At hitting 10 years, I'm sort of a statistical anomaly. Five years is becoming more common, but 10 is still out there, and the people I know who are 15+ years have had two transplants.

I am extremely, extremely lucky. And it could all change, but right now, the fact that I'm this far out, and that I'll be celebrating my 10 year mark in a month, is incredibly fortunate. am incredibly fortunate.

Plans for the Week::

I have a Summa Theologica class at church on Wednesday--this just started last week--which means I have to read Question 2 of Part 1 today so I'm ready to talk about it tomorrow. :) On Friday I have another doctor appointment and then I leave for Pittsburgh on Saturday!

(note: that lovely photo of bluebells? Elizabeth Foss took that. :) I hope she doesn't mind that I borrowed it from her website! It's just so gorgeous.)