Friday, October 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes {Take 57} Librarian identity crisis, lots of upcoming & amusing dance performances, and crafty updates galore! edition...


-1- "I know you just spent 30 minutes showing me how, but...how do I find a scholarly article?!"

I have two English Composition classes to teach today, and these are the last classes I have scheduled for this fall semester. It's entirely possible I may get more, but for the time being I'll be done. I've been feeling kind of "eh!" about my librarian identity this semester. I've been a librarian now for 10 years, and like anything in life, it ebbs and flows. I like being a librarian, I really do. I think it suits me, and for the most part I enjoy it. Also, as a state employee, I have a pretty good gig here in terms of benefits and all that. I'm very blessed. But every once in a while I go through these phases whereby I just feel like what I do isn't all that important, you know? And it can rather get a girl down. You get some snotty kid at the reference desk, or clueless soul in a class you just poured forth a lot of effort into, and you feel like "why am I doing this? Am I really helping anybody?" Man, this take is a downer. :0 But I always snap out of it, and I'm certain that this time is no exception. With my semester of teaching wrapping up, I can think about what I'd like to focus on for the next few months, and I have some fun ideas that would be very meaningful to me. So here's hoping. :)

-2- Rosary bracelets for everybody!!

Thankfully, it is the harkening of the weekend, and for that I am grateful. This was a short work week, but an intense one. I'm looking forward to spending time over the next few days with Mike and the kids, and working more on my holiday crafts. I have beading that I'd like to get to, *rubs hands together gleefully* and that is one craft that is difficult to squeeze in. Let's just say that part of the aging process (at least for me) is gradual eyesight deterioration. And we all know how I feel about THAT. *nostrils flare* By the time I get home in the evenings, it's almost dark and my eyes are tired, and I have to put on my *glasses* to try and see small beads, and ugh. I don't feel like wrestling with beads and wire at the dining room table under those conditions. :) So I really only have the opportunity to try and make jewelry on the weekends, when Anne is napping. If Anne were awake, that would cause a WHOLE 'nother set of problems. So, as you can see, my beading opportunities are limited. I'm hoping to make a dent this weekend.

-3- Friday evening also means dance practice - amusement will ensue

I haven't been to dance in 2 weeks, and I'm absolutely chomping at the bit to get back to it. We have this new Shaabi choreography that is "just ok" for me :0 since it's not my favorite style, but it's still very fun. Whenever Claire tells us that Shaabi is "very cheeky!" I know I make a doe-eyed face (ha!) because, well...Tiffany is not cheeky. :) Part of being in a troupe is expanding your horizons beyond your own comfort zone, so this is just part of it. I do think audiences will like the number, because, like I mentioned, it is super fun. We're getting it perfected for the fashion show performance on All Saints Day, and then our winter hafla is November 22nd. Lots to prepare for. Such as not falling off a runway while dancing :0 And somehow coming up with a solo when you have no notion of what you want to do. Should be interesting. Will keep you posted. :)

-4- The promised crafty pictures...

I can't remember what I've posted pictures of already, because you know, AGING BRAIN CELLS. So I'll just toss in some of the items I mentioned in yesterday's post. Here we have Henry's super eye searing confetti socks:

These are the Finding Nemo socks that Anne inherited from Henry:


I love knitting for the kids, it is true. But now you're stuck with my crappy phone selfies of my own knitted items. :0 New cowl in what I call "fall football colors":


And new brown and cream hat to coordinate:


We should all be toasty warm this coming winter. :)

-5- My happy new podcast situation...

I mentioned at some point this week that I have finally come into the 21st century and downloaded an app so that I can keep my podcasts on my smartphone, rather than relying solely on iTunes when I may not be able to synch my iPod with any convenience. I tried a few free ones out, and I really like the one that I ended up keeping, which is BeyondPod. There is an option for a paid version if you want to check for new episodes in one fell swoop, but I'm finding that the free version is really quite good. If you have an Android device, it's worth checking out. I found every feed that I wanted, and you can categorize them  (they obviously love librarians :0). I have mine all in folders. And I download them when I'm on WIFI and then listen to them at my leisure. I have my settings such that the downloads will delete after I listen so that they won't take up too much space. Loving!

-6- Current fiction on my Kindle...

I'm currently reading the October installment in the Big Sky Centennial series put out by Love Inspired, His Montana Bride:

I have, however, become quite obsessed with this "Witness Protection" series from Love Inspired Suspense, which I've mentioned in previous weeks. I had the first 3 books in the series, and now I'm positively *dying* to download book 4, which is Top Secret Identity, by Sharon Dunn:


This one involves a witness hiding on an Iowa farm, and apparently her family has Amish roots, which just pushes all of my happy fiction buttons. :) As soon as I finish His Montana Bride I'm downloading this book!

-7- Book Club next Wednesday!

Wednesday October 22nd is the fourth Wednesday of the month, and thus, our Catholic Book Club day! This month we're reading Sacred Fire: Practicing Devotion to the Heart of Jesus, by Philip Michael Bulman:


This is well timed, since yesterday was the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. This is a book that would be perfect to tote along with you to Adoration, and couldn't we all use to do *that* more often, yes? It's a $9.99 Kindle download, which is a great price for such a heavily researched source with such great fodder in it. Check it out, and you'll see my review here on Wednesday. :)

Ok all, back to my crazy schedule for the day. Monday and Tuesday are also sort of...

*consults calendar*

*emits heavy sigh*

...busy. :-\ But I do plan to squeeze short posts in if I can. I will endeavor! You can encourage me by leaving your insightful comments about how your autumn is going. :) Until then, dear reader!

Check out more 7 Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Christmas crafting in October - oh yes I am!!

Good morning everyone! My mind has been very distracted this week with work tasks, but I always like to still blog because it's such a creative outlet for me. Unless something comes up or I'm on vacation, I try to write at least something short each day Monday through Friday. And so here I am with you, during a quiet stretch on the reference desk. :)

So yay! On to the topic at hand. I wrote several months ago about my annual Christmas in July craziness, and since I didn't have anything else in mind to write about today, I thought it was a good day to revisit my plans and see how everything is going. Because I've been knitting. A LOT.

*halo*

I'm going to duplicate the list I proposed back in July, with updates noted in red. #TypeA

________________________________________

"Mike - Socks. He picked out some brown tweed yarn (men, I tell you, no boldness when it comes to color) and we're good to go. No sweaters this year. AMEN."

Ok, sooooooo. Poor Mike doesn't have any socks yet. :0 The brown tweed just isn't exactly exciting, and I haven't been motivated enough to get to them yet, because they'll be a bit of a grind to knit. They are, however, for my sweetheart, so that certainly provides a lot of impetus. Going to try and knit these in November. And I've decided that he has been so thoughtful and wonderful of late (not that he usually isn't, he's just really stepped up his husbandly game when I needed it the most, he earns much gold star-age here) that he's getting a new sweater next year. I know that knitting a men's sweater will inevitably lead to swearing and gnashing of teeth, but I'm forging ahead anyway and shopping for the yarn this coming Cyber Monday. I'm very excited. :0

"Henry - Colorful socks (good boy). Chocolate brown scarf that I have the yarn for in my stash. Score."

Socks are done, and adorn Henry's feet weekly the instant they're out of the wash. He earns child bonus points for this one. Chocolate brown scarf? I'm not sure about this anymore. :) I've used some of the yarn for another project, and I just don't think he'll wear a scarf with any regularity. This may get excised.

"Anne - Finding Nemo socks (leftover yarn from when I made Henry the same socks). Colorful cardigan made from stash yarn, I make her one every year. Special request for watermelon mittens. I also have the yarn for those."

Henry outgrew his Nemo socks and they're still in good shape, so voila! I transferred them to Anne's sock drawer, and thus those are done. :0 #genius I also knit her the cardigan, which she refuses to wear, saying it's "itchy," for which she gets child bonus points *deducted*. I made her not only watermelon mittens but also a matching hat, and she seems to dig them, so hopefully she'll wear them once the weather changes. 

*glares* 

"Mother-in-law - Dishcloths. 2 or 3?"

Just started a batch of Christmas dishcloths/pot holders, so these are currently in the works.

"Assorted Christmas Eve gifts for relatives we see on that day - 6 dishcloths."

See above. :)

"Cristina - Item detail withheld to protect a surprise. :)"

I've changed the surprise, since the chances of my original idea getting crafted prior to Christmas was hovering near 0%. :0 I tend to be a bit overambitious. I did come up with a fabulous alternative though, and supplies are in and I will begin this weekend. *beams*
_________________________________________

I think it's worth mentioning that after I posted this list, it was added to, and I have completed all of those projects.

*angels sing*

Shauna'h requested mittens and boot toppers, both of which I made and delivered to her in Maine this past weekend. I made hats for my twin nephews, and gave those to them as well. I also made a few new winter accessories for myself, since my old ones were looking a bit worn. So I have a new cowl and hat. I do have to also craft a Secret Santa gift for someone in my knitting group, and that is also in progress, so seriously? I think I am doing pretty darn well with my list.

*sniffs happily*

 I do feel a bit like I can't skip an evening of knitting lest I fall behind, but besides that (*snorts*) I think things are going well and I will finish everything that I want to prior to Christmas. I like the way I approached things this year, which is that I planned projects back in June, started knitting and crocheting in July, and kept the goals manageable. I'm not going to knock out multiple sweaters even in 6 months, you know? Just not happening.

So, that's that. Does anyone else have holiday crafting plans? If so, please do detail in the comments. :)

I'll post some pictures of the completed projects I mentioned above in 7 Quick Takes tomorrow. I have a bit of a miserable day at work tomorrow, *feels sorry for self* but I am committed to squeezing this post in between classes and meetings. It might not be as detailed as usual, but I'll do what I can. Talk to you all then!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Making our way through the autumn...

Morning all! It's nice to be back to my regular routine. I'm having a quiet moment on the reference desk after just dealing with a highly annoying patron (in a very polite fashion I might add, *angelic librarian beam*), so I figured I deserved the blogging respite. :) I was listening to "The Catholics Next Door" podcast on my way into work this morning, and contemplating what to write about today. As I did so, I drove by the sugar maple that you see pictured here at left and stopped just to take a picture of it. It's just down the street from Henry's school, within minutes of our house, and I think it's the prettiest tree I've seen so far this autumn.

Thus, it seemed to me that a quick reflective post on the progress of the autumn was timely, and that's what I decided to do. So, what's happening?

This fall semester has progressed very rapidly. Due to Mike's intense teaching schedule, plus my trip this past weekend, we haven't gotten to all of the family autumn-related activities that we wanted to. We still have some time, so we're hopeful we can squeeze at least one more outing in, but we'll see. The fall is clearly winding down here in Western New York to that gray November place, you know? It gets dark early, clouds and wind seem omnipresent, the foliage is falling rapidly. I don't mind that time of year; it's cozy, plus it means that the holidays are coming, but it does signal the beginning of the end of the gorgeous, colorful autumn.

Henry's year in school so far (4th grade this year), while good, has been a lot more work for both him and us. :0 This is a year in which his school administers state testing, and the workload has been much increased from last year. He's persevering, but our evenings certainly include a lot more homework than they used to.

Anne is growing in leaps and bounds, and is becoming quite the nurturing little lady. :) She talks a mile a minute and carries around a purse with all of her "necessities" so that she can be like the big girls. Necessities in Anne's world being things like rocks, plastic Easter eggs, and random small stuffed creatures. She's looking taller every day, taking after her brother. Mike and I seem to produce these very tall children. :)

Speaking of Mike, he has the worst fall cold EVER, poor thing. And in the midst of all of this teaching too, wherein he really needs his voice and the ability to speak without coughing every few moments. Mike has this gorgeous deep voice *happy lift of eyebrows* and I hate to see him struggling to get through a day of teaching. His cough has been so bad at night that he's been sleeping downstairs to spare me the poor night of sleep that he is certain to have, and the miserable look on his face as he gathers his pillow to go down there just breaks your heart. We rarely sleep apart, and I miss him so much when he's not there. I do, however, plead guilty though to reveling in the quiet interior of our bedroom sans coughing, and immediately pouncing on our small television, flipping to The Hallmark Channel, and setting the sleep timer to 2 full hours of "The Golden Girls" soothing goodness.

ahhhhhhhhhh..... :)

I slept well. :0

He seemed a bit better this morning, and said that once he did manage to fall asleep, he stayed asleep until about 6 am, which is a very good sign. Hopefully, he's on the mend.

As for me, I'm progressing happily through my 54 day rosary novena. I've missed a few days of getting through a complete rosary, but if I've learned anything in the spiritual life it's to keep going, even when I screw up. Which I do. Frequently. :0 So, I persevere, and it's going well. I've been busy at work, October is always like that. I have a few classes to teach on Friday, and I'm catching up a bit still from my trip, but it's going fine. Things should slow down in a few weeks. I've also been knitting and crocheting like a mad woman, working on gifts and other fall-themed items. I will post pictures in this week's 7 Quick Takes, where much fun will await you. ;-)

And how is YOUR fall going, dear reader? Leave me a comment. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'm back from my trip, and alive. :)

Hi all! I survived my air travel, as you have surmised. And I did fine. :) Very well in fact. I didn't whine once.

*halo*

I think I've discovered what makes me so ill at ease about flying - I don't like the sensation of taking off. After that, I was totally fine, small spaces and everything. Taking off just feels so precarious and unnatural to me, although I know that that absolutely isn't true. But overall, this was the best I've ever done in terms of my anxiety when traveling by air. And I think I deserve a gold star. *beams*

(the drink coupons also certainly didn't hurt, but sssshhhhhhhhh! ;-))

On the flight down, I did LOTS of knitting, I was just really feeling the Trick or Treat yarn:

Self-striping yarn is just so exciting. :0 One of the flight attendants stopped to ask me what I was working on, she was so intrigued by my yarn. I also listened to podcasts. I left my beloved iPod, John Paul, at home, and just brought my phone, so I did my homework by finding an app for Android where I can download and store podcasts completely separate from my iTunes account. I don't imagine that I'll move to this model full time just yet, but it's nice to have an option for my podcasts when I don't have my iPod with me/cannot synch to my iTunes library. I'm so reliant upon my podcasts for weekly entertainment that I'm thrilled to have more ways to listen to them depending upon my situation in any given week. So I listened to those and knitted on the way down.

I was traveling with both Henry and my mom, and Henry was just so excited by EVERYTHING. Including the air travel:

"Mommy, who is that, is that the pilot? Why is he doing that? What's this switch for, Mommy? Who's that guy out there, what is he doing with those bags? What's this switch here? Can I press it? Why not? Will they give us any food on here? Why is it taking so long for everyone to get on the plane, Mommy? How come we're not moving yet?"

:0

Then we arrived and the frivolity began in earnest. I was so excited to see my precious nephews, and I got to squeeze them tons (well, they didn't love it, but I did it anyway, ha! "Andrew, COME HERE MUFFIN, Aunt Tiffy wants to hold and kiss you..." "DOWN, DOWN!" :0), but they don't get to see me that often, and so they were mighty suspicious of this new interloper. When we do video chat, they sometimes think I'm Shauna'h, because we look a bit alike, but in person, THE JIG IS UP, my friends. The looks on their faces just scream:

"YOU'RE NOT MOMMY! PUT ME DOWN!!"

But my mom, on the other hand? SO INTO NANA.

"MORE NANA! MORE NANA!"

They see my mom a lot more often, and know her very well, so they were just beside themselves with excitement to have her there. So I tortured them a bit with the repeated squeezing and kissing, but hey! I'm unapologetic about the whole thing. ;-) And they got more used to me as each day passed.

Saturday was their second birthday party, and Henry loved cavorting with his dog cousin, Roscoe:

He's *really* hoping that something falls off of that plate
Such mutual adoration there. I was very happy to squeeze toddlers where I possibly could, help out with party stuff, and sip wine. Boxed Chardonnay? I'm there.

Self portrait with wine glass
I also snuggled my cat nephew, Molson:

This is the life, to be sure
He's a lovey. And of course, the highlight of the day:

Aren't they precious?
Cake and little twin faces, does life get any better? There were 2 sets of twins present, including my nephews. :) On Sunday, we went to Mass and watched football.

#sublime

And then yesterday, of course, we traveled home. Wherein I once again did an admirable job of holding it together while traveling by air. The approach in and out of Portland, Maine has to be one of the prettiest in the entire country, I'm thinking. I was sad to leave, but SO happy to get home to Mike and Anne. Whereupon, my passing through security and towards a beaming Anne earned me:

"NANA!!!!"

*she rushes into my mom's arms*

Everybody loves Nana. :)  Although my greeting wasn't nearly as dramatic, Anne was in fact very happy to see me, and showed this by clinging to me for the rest of the evening in a very emotional fashion, and waking up at 3 am to demand that I hold her. Good times, I felt cherished.

:0

All right everyone, it was tough to eke this post out with the work schedule I had today, but I really wanted to make it happen, and I managed it, don't you feel loved? I will return to you tomorrow, to talk about God knows what, but I'm sure inspiration will strike in the morning. ;-) Until then! How was your weekend? I won't wake you up in the middle of the night to demand an answer, but I'd love it if you would leave a comment. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Catholic Librarian travels by air - prepare yourselves for the posts to follow :0

At least, that's the hope, since the possibility of there being no posts next week is my greatest fear when flying. Yep - DEATH!!!! We're off to an uplifting start, no? ;-) I actually went to confession this week for this very reason. :0

#CrazyCatholic

Although, now that I think about it, I don't think death is actually my greatest fear with regard to flying. I think my greatest fear is being trapped on a full airplane (ironically, while it's still on the ground :0) for hours on end with no working bathrooms, and no way to get out. I have *this thing* about bathrooms. They must...exist. And be easily accessible, with lots of privacy. The optimal situation would be for no one to ever know that I even used the bathroom, but I'm digressing, aren't I? So, a possible lack of working restrooms plus a touch of claustrophobia, those two things. When I'm on an airplane, I feel like I have no personal space to even, you know, *breathe*, and it makes me so skittish. Let's not even combine all of these wacky fears plus my introverted personality and talk about the anxiety it causes me to have to ASK the person squashed next to me to GET UP and MOVE so that I can go to the bathroom.

*shudder!*

It's so, so awful. This is why I usually sit on the aisle. Although, frankly, my clear inability to function normally in society :0 has made it so that I pretty much have eliminated this situation from happening, because I demand a bladder of STEEL from my body, and it has obeyed my demands. Believe me it's much better than the alternative - the conversation I mentioned above. Good heavens.

Somewhat thwarting my efforts in this regard these days though are the drink coupons that printed out with my boarding passes. BOOYAH!! Any anxious traveler knows how indispensable these babies are. One per leg, yes sir. And my flights are less than an hour each, not to mention in the middle of the afternoon. *delicately clears throat* Indeed, I know how ridiculous I am, but please humor the Nervous Nelly.

I will also have my Kindle with me, loaded up with all sorts of soothing inspirational fiction, and my knitting. Behold - the magnificence of the Trick or Treat Halloween sock yarn:

I wound it last night and, throwing caution and all of my other pressing holiday gift crafting aside, cast on:

I wanted a solid start, so it wouldn't be all fiddly when I was in the airport, and ta da! It's so, so cute. So, should I start to feel anxious, me and my self-patterning sock yarn will go to my happy place.

Travel aside, I *am* looking forward to seeing my sister and squeezing my precious nephews, so I'll have lots to write about next week. You won't see any posts until next Tuesday since I'm traveling both Friday and Monday, but I promise a post on Tuesday afternoon with all the details. Until then my friends, I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend. I'll still be tweeting, so if you follow me on Twitter, you can be a part of all the fun, ha! I'll try to get a selfie of Henry and I in the airport. And wing up a prayer for us, if you would. ;-) Much appreciated!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Favorite saints: baptismal & confirmation namesakes, whimsical patronages? :)

Morning all! *weak smile* I'm soldiering on through my week. Due to the lost keys catastrophe of yesterday, I popped a keyring from my car keys onto my temporary office keys featuring two of our recent popes. I figure a pope keyring *has* to provide the good mojo such that I won't lose them again.

As I browsed Catholic keyrings yesterday, I got to thinking about how much devotion to the intercession of the saints means to me, and how I have worked to instill that in my children. The kids really seem to gravitate toward stories of the saints and the wacky things they encountered in their lifetime. :) St. George battling a dragon, anyone?

So I thought I'd make a list of the saints that are important in my life, and find out which are important in yours. :) It's always good to learn about new saints, in my opinion, or learn more about someone you never paid much attention to. I'm a big fan of lists, so let's get all organized here, I'll break out my librarian ways.

*adjusts bun*

Baptismal saint: None, really. :( My mom used to iron her hair straight on an ironing board and wear bell bottoms, so this gives you a sense of when my parents grew up, and the cultural influence. :0 I read in a Catholic baby naming book that Tiffany is derived from Epiphana, and so I take St. Epiphana (an early martyr) as my patron and celebrate my feast day on the Epiphany. *halo*

Confirmation saint: St. Cecilia. I'll be honest: I picked her because I thought the name was pretty, and I never really loved my given name. :0 In fact, I was a bit annoyed when another girl in my confirmation class who was directly before me in the line to present ourselves to the bishop also chose Cecilia, and so I finally had my moment to choose a name for myself, and it was the exact same as the person I followed. *snort* Pretty superficial, but I was rather nostril-flarey about the whole thing. ;-) However, in time, St. Cecilia came to play a significant part in my adult reversion back to the faith, and I feel very close to her now, especially in November each year near her feast day. I feel like she looks out for me, and I'm very grateful to her and her witness.

Dominican name: Our Blessed Mother, which all Dominicans take as part of their name due to the order's devotion to her and the rosary, and St. Gianna Beretta Molla. She's not a Dominican, but her witness to the sanctity of human life is so inspiring to me, and fits with Dominican spirituality so well, that I wanted to honor her in this way.

Saints I have grown close to in my adult reversion years: This is quite a lengthy list, so I'll subdivide. #TypeA

St. Therese. Her "Little Way" really appeals to me as something easily applied to the everyday life of ordinary Catholics, whether they be religious or laypeople. She also comes into play again below, with regard to Anne. :)

Pope St. John Paul II. I adore this man. I've written about him in the past, and how his pontificate shaped my life and young adulthood. He was the only pope I knew for most of my life. *sniffles*

St. Kateri Tekakwitha. She is very key in my family's faith story. I've been to her shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, NY, and I hope to go back and bring the kids with me.

Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. This is a recent one, due to the rosary that captured my imagination of late. I've been praying with that rosary for a week, and thinking about the fact that we have power in prayer over spiritual dryness and darkness.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. I found her in my late 20's via some philosophers in my Catechism study group. This is the type of feminism I can really get behind. :)

St. Faustina Kowalska. I adore the Divine Mercy devotion and chaplet. It doesn't take very long to recite, and boy does it pack a punch.

St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. Mike and I watched "The Tudors" several years back, and ever since then these two guys, and their courage in faith, have a firm place in my heart.

St. Monica. Have a fallen away Catholic in your life? St. Monica is your gal. :)

Mike's namesakes: St. Michael the Archangel and St. Patrick. It seems to me that these are two strong saints to have on your side. :) St. Michael is also Mike's confirmation patron.

Henry's namesakes: St. Henry II, and the Biblical figure David (also my dad's name). Technically, Henry wasn't named specifically for St. Henry II, but I still count him as his patron. Mike had always wanted to name a son Henry, and so long as it was a saint name, I was cool with it. That's my rule: any child of mine *must* have a saint name. :0 This comes from the trauma of my own lack thereof, see above. ;-)

Anne's namesakes: St. Anne, mother of Our Lady, and also my mom's middle name. And St. Therese. Mike and I love the simplicity of Anne's name, and what a wonderful patron. I wanted her middle name to be Kateri, but Mike loved Therese, and how could I argue with that? :) I recently ordered her a St. Therese Saint Softie for her St. Nicholas feast day gift:


Saints I have come to know via my children:

St. Maximillian Kolbe. I think he is Henry's absolute favorite. We acquired yet another children's biography of St. Maximilian for our nighttime reading pile, and Henry just never tires of the bravery in his story.

St. Isidore the Farmer. I think it's the part about the angels plowing the field in his stead while he attended Mass that draws Henry to him so much. :) And he is Henry's gift for the feast of St. Nicholas this year:


St. Dominic Savio. This is a perfect role model saint for young boys. Henry loves reading about a saint close in age to his own.

St. Nicholas of Myra. Last year we started celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas, leaving the kids' shoes by the hearth, and we all loved it. I like emphasizing to them that *this* is really what Santa Claus is all about.

St. Lucy. Eyes being gouged out makes the story pretty fascinating. :) And the feast day thing with the crown of candles. This appeals to my belly dancer fire balancing sensibilities. :0

So, that's my list. Who is on your list? Expound to your heart's desire in the comments. :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dear St. Anthony, please come around...

Well, well, well. I'm coming off of a difficult stretch here, and although I feel a lot better than I did yesterday, when it rains, it pours, you know? :)

I walked from my car into the library this morning finishing up an episode of Catholic Vitamins. They were playing a clip from an Audrey Assad song, and it was just heavenly. I love her music. My step felt a bit lighter.

Then I got off the staff elevator and reached for my keys to let myself into the break room and stash my lunch in the refrigerator. They weren't there.

:0

At first, I didn't panic. At first. ;-) I emptied my purse and looked through all the hidey holes they could have slipped into from their usual spot in the designated key pocket with my car keys. Nothing. I searched them all again in the hopes that I had simply missed them the first go round. That didn't seem very likely, but I wasn't exactly in the mood to be rational. No keys.

I heave a big sigh and call Mike from my cell, who is still at home. Were the keys on the counter near where my purse rests when I'm not using it? He checks, and nope. He also helpfully walks out to the garage to see if I dropped them in there, no dice.

At this point, I was starting to worry a bit, but was hoping that when I left my office on Friday, I simply locked them inside. I do this REGULARLY. I try so, so hard, dear reader, but despite my best thinking cap efforts, I still leave them behind in my office a few times a year before shutting the door. Which automatically locks behind me. This is a nuisance, but there is in fact a solution. One of our facilities staff has a set of keys to everything in the library. I pray that he's in, and head down to his office.

Thankfully, I espy him. Unfortunately, someone else has borrowed one of his key rings, on which lies the key box key where the key to my office is. This is getting complicated, isn't it? He directs me to where he thinks the key borrower is, and I have to hunt for her in a God forsaken corner of the basement that is being cleared out. But I find her, and she assures me that she'll meet me up in front of my office with the keys in just a few minutes. Glory Be.

There was a minor snafu wherein we thought she had the key to my office, but she actually didn't, and had to make another trip down to the key box. But finally, we harken my office. I scurry to my desk. No keys.

*long suffering sigh*

I really thought they'd be in there. We hunt around on the floor a bit, nothing. She tries to help me come up with some ideas for action items. Call Lost and Found for one. I think of my car, where my purse could have tipped over, spilling out the keys and maybe sliding them under a seat. I resolve to check both places, and she secures a temporary key for my office. My key ring also included keys for the break room and the reference office (which is where the tea water lives), and there are no temporaries available for those, sob!

I head out to my car cautiously optimistic. Someone begins stalking me and I have to tell them that I'm not leaving, so they can't have my parking space, :0 I open the passenger side door in hopeful expectation...and I'm sure you're not surprised by this point to learn that the keys weren't there. I had said a St. Anthony prayer and everything, but the man can't work miracles, we have to help him out a bit and I'm just hopeless. I hunted really good, and then headed back in to the library. I also called Lost and Found, who had no keys turned in. I was officially out of options.

I called our assistant to ask her to order a new set of keys for me, but things move at the speed of glacial melt over here, so I'm not optimistic that this will be anytime soon. In the mean time, I do have the temporary key to my individual office, but I'm at the mercy of others to get into the break room with the refrigerator and microwave, and the reference office with our mailboxes and bottled water supply. I'm feeling very sorry for myself over this fact. :-\

While I await the new keys, I started browsing Etsy for a new key ring since I *clearly* need help keeping track of my keys. A few months back, I bought a St. Kateri key ring from Mary's Prayers for my house key and I love it. I'm thinking a St. Anthony key ring might be in order. :0 But I had to laugh when I saw this:

Appropriate, yes? Apparently this can be made into a key ring as well. :0 My Guardian Angel must be so exhausted, poor thing.

All right, I'm heading down to heat my tomato soup and get hot water for tea and pray that the reference office is open. *pitiful sniffle* How are you today, dear reader? Any good St. Anthony stories to share?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sometimes, you just have to get through things :) - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hi all! This is not going to be a very long post. I am home sick today, and this is a rarity for me (I thought blogging might perk me up, so here you are :)). I almost never use my sick time unless I've just had surgery and/or a baby, which makes me sound a bit martyrish, but the reality is much different - what I am is TYPE A and ANAL. :0 I don't like my routine disturbed, and I don't like to miss things. I'm insane, you see. But this weekend? I had a horrible weekend. I'm not going to discuss it on the blog, because it's personal, but it relates to something in my extended family, and it has disturbed my soul quite deeply. Mike and the kids have been sublime, thank God for them. See the flowers at the top of this post? They're from Mike, and there wasn't an occasion that he bought them for. I just came home on Wednesday, October 2nd, the day after the feast of St. Therese, and found them in a vase on our dining room table. He didn't know I had prayed the novena, he just got them because he thought I'd like them. And that's the kind of guy he is - I am so very lucky and blessed.

So, this weekend, a bit more generally. It was a rough one, and the second reading this week at Mass really lifted my spirits. It's from Philippians, chapter 4, and it's one that I'm very familiar with because of its soothing nature:

"...Have no anxiety, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Very lovely. It helped a lot, especially since my daughter chose to test me a bit at Mass. :0 Henry was being angelic out in the pew (not that he always is, but you know, he's almost 9, so he can control himself a bit better, lol) and Anne made 2 requests to use the potty. She had just gone at home, but I took her anyway. I will say that she did pee. :) This was at the beginning of Mass. Then right before the Eucharistic Prayer, we get another request.

"Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom."

"We already went, Honey. Can't you wait until we get home?"

"No Mommy!" *grabs crotch*

When the public crotch grabbing and dancing begins, obviously I have no choice. To the bathroom we go. Everything goes fine. Then we exit the bathroom. We're back in the sacristy.

"Mommy I don't want you to carry me."

"Ok Honey, just hold my hand until we get back to the pew."

Setting Anne loose in public never works out well.

"NO!"

Well. This isn't going to end well, is it?

We spent 5 full minutes during the Consecration back there, her deliberately not looking at me and occasionally shouting "NO!", me debating my choices. Set her loose to avoid public scene? Grab her and hope she calms down quickly? Drag her out to the car in disgrace? None of these seem like good options. I choose bribery. That works.

:0

And the rest of Mass went fine, with Anne, clearly tired, resting her head on my shoulder. I set Henry loose (because he can be trusted :)) to get us a candle to light after Mass, and that was very lovely. Our Lady Undoer of Knots, please pray for my intention. :)

All right, back to the couch with tea for me. I'm feeling a lot better, but I'm not often home sick, so I secure "Golden Girls" marathons wherever I can. :0  I should be back to my normal routine tomorrow. And thank God for that.

How was your weekend, dear reader?

Friday, October 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes {Take 56} Fall frenzy before my big trip edition...

-1-  The leaves are falling...

Somehow, this fall is speeding right along, and I'm not ready yet for the foliage to be peaking! :0 I want beautiful leaves year round! I suppose then it wouldn't be nearly so special, but every year I cling to fall and try to make it last as long as possible before the chaos of the holidays sets in. This weekend, we're hoping to get the kids to a local attraction called Pumpkinville, about an hour south of where we live. We went last year, and everyone loved it. Corn mazes, tractor rides, a pumpkin patch, all that good stuff. Next thing you know, our car is loaded up with pumpkins, Anne is sipping apple cider out of a special leaf-shaped cup, and Henry is shooting corn stalks out of a canon. We really get into the autumn spirit. ;-)

-2- Will be flying the friendly skies this time next week :-\

No 7 Quick Takes for me next week, because next Friday Henry and I are traveling to Maine to visit with my sister, brother-in-law and twin nephews. We couldn't afford for the whole family to go, so Mike and Anne are staying behind, and I'm super sad about this. :( I'm also a freakish flyer, you'll hear more about that next week, believe you me. I've been gearing myself up mentally as best I can, and I'll try not to embarrass myself too badly while in flight. :-\ Henry is so excited though, and I know I'll have a great time once I'm there. Lots of amusing blog fodder will surely follow.

-3- Current fiction selection on my Kindle...

I've been pleasantly distracted from my flying anxiety by my current reads, one of which is book 2 in the Witness Protection series, The Baby Rescue, by Margaret Daley:

Really enjoying this so far, and I'm about half done. Well written, and great suspense as the characters try to stop a baby smuggling ring. The hero and heroine are a U.S. Marshal and an FBI agent, respectively. I'm liking it.

Next up is the 4th installment in the Big Sky Centennial series, His Montana Bride, by Brenda Minton:

This is a very sweet series set around the six months-long centennial celebrations of a small town. Small town settings are always my favorites.

-4-  My crochet hook is practically smoking...

Also distracting me lately is my crafts, and I'm making tremendous progress on my holiday projects. This week, I finished up a pair of boot toppers for my sister:

I had never made boot toppers before, these were new for me. They tuck into the top of your winter boots and act as a barrier to keep your pants warm and dry. I hadn't thought about it before, but when you live in a place that gets heavy snowfall for you to tromp through, these would be handy. And Shauna'h lives in Maine. So there you have it. :0

-5- Crafty Secret Santa? I live for this stuff! *squeals*

Also on my crafting agenda is the Secret Santa assignment I received from my knitting group. We do this every year, where we draw names, secretly handcraft a gift for the recipient, and reveal all during a Christmas party. Super fun. This year we went all contemporary and did our drawing online using Elfster. I mean, did you ever? I practically peed my pants in excitement when I got the email that I had been paired up, and got to click the button to reveal my assignment. I am now happily planning away, and couldn't be more thrilled with my mission.

-6- But Halloween self-striping yarn. Hello!! A MUST PURCHASE!!

I'm not totally selfless though. I've been thinking about a project to bring with me on my trip, and this involves some prep work since such a project has to be portable and not require color changes, as I can't bring scissors with me on the plane. Socks! Yes, socks. That's the ticket. Mike has asked me to make him a pair of plain brown socks, which have got to be the most boring thing to knit in the history of the universe, but I will do it anyway. ALL FOR LOVE.

#martyr!

So I thought I'd take those. But then I saw this:

Trick-or-treat self-striping Halloween sock yarn from the talented Abi Grasso of Artistic Yarn by Abi. When she gets in-stock yarn in her store, watch out!! Rabid knitters descend and pounce like a cat on a helpless baby mouse. It'll be gone within the hour. I happened to see her Facebook post on this one evening after work (because I stalk her store :0) and the internal debate with myself about this was embarrassingly short. Soon, one of the hanks was in my cart and then in the "sold" column. It's on it's way to me now. :0 And will be here in plenty of time for me to wind it and pack it up to cast on at the airport. #bliss I'll still make Mike the brown socks, but that can wait for a time when I need far less distractions. The tweed neps in the brown tweed colorway he chose just aren't going to be enough for a trip involving flying. *snorts*

-7- A klutzy belly dancer. A rickety fashion runway. What could go wrong?

My dance troupe has a performance coming up, on the feast of All Saints, actually. It's part of a fashion show event, and we'll be dancing on the runway. This should be interesting. :0 We start rehearsing tonight and formation changes are always fascinating in such situations. Look for amusing updates to follow.

All right, I'm off! Have a wonderful fall weekend everyone! I won't be here next Friday, but I will blog the other days next week, so talk to you then. *beams*

Read other 7 Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Month of the rosary, and feast of the Guardian Angels!

There's my new rosary, in action. *heart* I've been praying with it both morning and evening as I embark on the 54 day rosary novena. And in fact October is the month of the rosary, very lovely, yes? What I love about the rosary is the way it helps me to focus on specific events from our faith as I pray. I also love the use of a physical aid in prayer. As a person who likes structure and crossing off items on a to-do list, there is something incredibly satisfying about moving the beads through my fingers toward a definite goal.

This morning, I was thinking about the fact that it's the feast of the Guardian Angels, and Magnificat had a lovely little tidbit to introduce the memorial:

"Popular piety encompasses many forms of devotion to the Guardian Angels. St. Basil the Great taught that 'each and every member of the faithful has a Guardian Angel to protect, guard, and guide them through life.' This ancient teaching was consolidated by biblical and patristic sources and lies behind many forms of piety. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was a great master and a notable promoter of devotion to the Guardian Angels. For him, they were proof 'that heaven denies us nothing that assists us,' and hence, 'these celestial spirits have been placed at our sides to protect us, instruct us, and to guide us.'"

Very comforting, especially as I woke up in a state of some anxiety. I'll spare you the details, but I have a few things on my week this week, and I didn't sleep well because I was thinking about them. Don't you hate that? At 2 am, even the simplest things take on an insurmountable quality that will quickly overwhelm the mind of your resident Nervous Nelly. Mike didn't sleep well either:

"I'm worried about getting all the grading and prep work done between now and Columbus Day."

So I'm not alone, I married a kindred worrying spirit (and a super cute one, at that). :) And praying the rosary helps when I'm trying to figure out ways of coping with larger concerns, you know? The familiar and the repetitive bring so much solace in such situations.

On the other hand, short, quick prayers are best when faced with these situations:

"MOMMY. What you doing?!"

"Just coming to check on you, Honey."

"Don't look in here!!" *closes toilet lid with a bang*

Oh sigh.

I own so many rosaries at this point, that I have one tucked into every coat pocket and conceivably useful spot to grab when the urge to pray occurs. I keep several in the car, that's a favorite prayer spot of mine. I keep one on my bedside table, one in the kitchen. One in Henry's room, to pray with him if we say a decade together. Pockets are also popular, and many a rosary has gotten an unexpected and rigorous washing when I've forgotten to take it out before the item went into the laundry. It's soothing to have them always so available, as a reminder that we are never alone.

One day at a time, you know? God never gives us more than we can handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much, as said by a very wise Blessed who adorns my current favorite rosary. :0