Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teeth & confession updates (oh joy) and Divine Mercy novena!

Hello! Happy Holy Thursday. :) I have to work the evening reference shift tonight, which I'm bummed about because it means that I can't attend Mass, but I'm persevering. It's going to be a LONG day to be sure.

However, it *is* the beginning of the Triduum, and I'm terribly excited. If the reference desk isn't busy, I may try and stream EWTN coverage of the pope's Mass or something, we'll see. :) And lots of good news to share! Let's see...

*settles in with tea*

Well, first, in secular news, I had one of two periodontal followups to check on my post-operative state. It went well. The tissue graft is looking awesome apparently, although I have to wait another 2 weeks to have any stitches that don't dissolve on their own clipped off. The roof of my mouth, however, is "looking sore," which I of course already knew, since it had been hurting like a *%$! :0 This roof wound was definitely tougher this time around. It is, though, healing, and yesterday for the first time I didn't wake up with it already bothering me and needing to take some ibuprofen. Today as well. I can feel definite improvement. They prescribed this special mouth rinse that will help the wound to heal faster. My honey is picking that up for me today, God bless him. I go back in 2 weeks, but I'm on the mend. The exterior bruising is also nearly completely faded.

So, that's that. After I finished with my appointment, I sped right over to confession. I could tell right away that my chances were good upon entering the church, because only a few other ladies were there. They were all waiting in a line, so I stepped behind them. We didn't move for a few minutes. I suddenly noticed a green light on above a confessional on the other side of the church. The lady ahead of me turns around:

"There's a confessional open over there. It's *just the screen* though."

She said that like it was a bad thing. :0 I much prefer using the screen rather than face-to-face, which is what they were all waiting for. I thanked her and hurried over, in and out of my screened confessional in a few minutes. I prayed for a spell and then got up to go. Those other ladies still hadn't moved. :0 That's the line I was in yesterday that didn't move. Must be a very detailed priest.

Pleased, I hustled out to my car so that I could drop off my prescription before going home for dinner, and I made it in plenty of time. Whew!

Before I go, I wanted to mention the next novena from Pray More Novenas.
http://www.praymorenovenas.com/divine-mercy-novena/

I am *super* excited. I prayed this novena last year, and loved it. And this year it is leading up to the canonizations of John Paul II and John XXIII! What a beautiful day that will be. As you know, John Paul II is a personal and much beloved favorite of mine. So I will begin praying along tomorrow. If you sign up with Pray More Novenas, you will receive an email each morning with the prayers, and it is extremely convenient. I also like knowing that I'm praying along with others worldwide.

So, join in! All right everyone, back to work for me. I won't be blogging Good Friday or Easter Monday, but I will return to you Tuesday of the First Week of Easter bright eyed and ready to relay my Easter adventures. Until then!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Confession adventures as we approach the Triduum...

Happy Wednesday of Holy Week, everyone. :) Mine is going along swimmingly, how is yours? Well, swimmingly in that I feel very spiritually happy and content, although I did have a bit of a snafu attempting to get to confession late yesterday afternoon. Let us chronicle, no?

#Catholicproblems

I've been wanting to get to confession for AGES, and just kept putting it off. I've talked about my spiritual dryness on this blog of late, and that was a big part of the problem. I didn't feel right about going if I was really forcing myself to go. I didn't feel a true *desire* for the sacrament, you know? Since Palm Sunday, I have been feeling worlds better, and yesterday, for the first time in months, I truly desired to visit the sacrament. The parish affiliated with Henry's school has confession on Tuesday afternoons at 4 pm (I know, random, right?) and thus I made plans to leave work early so that I could go.

I park, head toward the church, and plot a few minutes of prayer in front of the tabernacle before I actually head to the confessional. I step inside the vestibule. Apparently, Holy Week brings out a blitz in the desire to seek confession, because at least a dozen people turned my way. This gave me pause. What were they all doing there?!

*gentle snort*

Usually, you can hear crickets chirping anytime you go to your parish for the weekly scheduled confession slot. At least at my parish. Not this time. I dipped my fingers into the holy water font and headed to a pew to pray, also figuring I could use the time to sort out my approach. Most of the others present were clumped up on one side of the church nearest to the confessional usually put to use by the pastor. I see him approach the confessional, go inside, and turn on the green light. Someone hustles over to get inside and immediately a huge line forms.

Ugh.

I was hoping this was going to be a quick affair, because yesterday night I was scheduled to make chili for dinner. Mike has play rehearsal every evening during the week, and the chili takes about an hour and a half to make. I needed to get it started to assure that we could eat, clean up, and take care of everything that needed doing before he had to leave. I was on a time crunch.

As I'm contemplating my next move, another priest enters the sanctuary. Huzzah! He goes into a confessional on the opposite side of the church, nearer to where I was praying. I feel triumphant. As I stand up, however, several older men from the other line start to zip over to shorten their wait time. And by "zip over" I mean they hobbled with their canes as fast as their legs would carry them. It just felt wrong to rush over and get ahead of them. So I waited until they made their way over toward confessional #2. Another lady slips into line as I walk over.

As I step into line behind her, something happens that has never happened in all of my Catholic years. Someone was in the face-to-face side of the confessional, and hence the red light was on. One of the zipping older men apparently does not notice this and swings open the door to the screened side. The lady ahead of me calls out a warning to him, which he also does not hear. He closes the door and apparently gets comfortable in there. :0

We all stand there, not really knowing what to do. A few moments later, the well-intentioned interloper emerges, clued in by the priest, assumedly. He waits *right outside* the confessional door. The rest of us wait in line awkwardly.

By this point of the action, I'm getting antsy. I'm worried about getting dinner started on time, and there are now 3 people ahead of me, plus the person currently in the confessional. I glance at the other line. They have moved a tad, but the line still snakes like a leviathan. Penitents seem to have multiplied exponentially over on that side of the church. I glance up at the clock. It's now nearly 4:15, and face-to-face guy is apparently having a lengthy and intense conversation with the priest. We haven't moved an inch.

I wait about 5 more minutes, and make the difficult decision to step out of line. Confession just wasn't happening yesterday, as much as I would have liked it to. I hurried home to get the chili going, and we were able to get everyone fed and cleaned up before Mike had to leave, but we didn't exactly have any down time in there. I made the right decision.

When I called that church yesterday to make sure the confession time was the same, the parish secretary told me that they were also offering confession today from 4-6. I have an appointment with the periodontist at 3:30, so I'm hoping to stop on my way home (again :)). Mike is home on Wednesdays and is making dinner for us tonight, so I won't have the time crunch situation. Here's hoping.

Has anyone else gone to confession this Holy Week? Leave me a comment. *beams*

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First Communion fesitivities preparation, and I can never resist Easter chocolate...

Morning all! Happy Tuesday of Holy Week. *beams* I've been very into my special Holy Week issue of Magnificat and it's lending a prayerful and serene feeling to my week.

My thoughts have been turning quite a bit this Holy Week to Henry's First Communion, scheduled for May 3rd. I have been excited for this for YEARS and it's hard to believe that the day is nearly upon us. You know how I am about planning events, which is to say fairly manic, and we have so much else going on that same day, with my hafla that evening as well as one of Mike's play performances. It's going to be a big day, for certain. And so how do I handle such things?

Well, poorly, to be sure. But more importantly, with lists! What do I need to do? I need to:

(1) Take Henry to adoration and have discussion about the Eucharist. A heavy hitter, to start off the list. I know that he's receiving religious instruction at his school, but it's my responsibility to assure that he fully understands his faith. This endeavor will have to be on one of the 2 weekends remaining before the big day.

(2) Invite guests to the post-Communion shindig at our house. Checked off yesterday. *halo*

(3) Plan menu for post-Communion shindig at our house. Partially done.

(4) Order cake.

(5) Buy Henry special occasion wear. He won't like this, but it has to be done.

(6) Procure glue to finish First Communion banner. Just haven't made it to the craft store yet, and I don't know when I will. :-\

(7) Order gift. Checked off yesterday. *angels sing!*

I was scratching my head over that one since I got him a very nice rosary for his First Reconciliation, he already has a missal, and I wasn't sure that he would regularly wear a scapular or necklace of any kind for a pertinent saint medal or crucifix. I did a little online shopping yesterday, and picked out a very nice St. Benedict style wall crucifix for his room, from The Catholic Company:

I'm quite thrilled and can't wait for it to get here. He's been asking lately about St. Benedict when we read our saint stories in the evenings, so this one struck me as soon as I saw it. The St. Benedict medal is rife with symbolism, and it seemed to me this would be a good thing to have in your room or on your person. We could all use to battle less evil, no? :)

So, I'm getting there. We're planning to take Henry out to the department stores this weekend in an attempt to outfit him for this thing, and we'll firm up the menu. It'll be lunchtime, so I'd like to do some tasty dips, finger foods, and cake. We're planning a peach salsa and some shrimp cocktail. We need to fill in the other gaps. :)

Yesterday while Mike was teaching, I took the kids to a local and quite beloved chocolate and gift store to admire the Easter selections. I can never resist this sort of thing, despite having already ordered a good amount of chocolate from Henry's school for their spring fundraiser. Since the kids already saw that chocolate, and they've been nibbling it for desserts, it wouldn't be a surprise for their baskets, kwim? So they wandered around while I managed to spend nearly $50 in jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. I mean, how does this happen?! This place has the *best* chocolate though, with more variety than just milk and dark, although I do so love milk chocolate. They offer peanut butter, orange (this is a regional thing I believe, and while most people wrinkle eyebrows in confusion at this one, I LOVE orange chocolate), cherry cheesecake and white chocolate. They even make a *dark orange* chocolate. *swoons* We had a good time.

During our escapades at the chocolate store, I made the unfortunate discovery, however, that Anne is entering that stage (seems to be the later 2's) wherein children develop fears of things, and previously established happy routines are shot all to abysmal pieces. Like, you know, sleeping in their own bed without freaking out, or going pee pee in the toilet. Suddenly, she is terrified of the sound of the toilet flushing, and is afraid that something is going to rise up out of the bowl and attack her while she pees. I'm sure you can picture the scene:

*Anne crosses legs*

"Anne, do you have to go potty, Honey?"

"Yes." *looks miserable*

"Ok Honey, here is the bathroom. We'll just..."

*Anne peeks inside*

"NO! No, I don't have to go, Mommy."

*Anne crosses legs*

Repeat from the top until you think you may lose your mind.

I will say, it *is* a very sweet stage, filled with lots of need for hugs and snuggles to reassure nervous toddlers. Precious.

All right, everyone. Wednesday of Holy Week tomorrow! I will report in then. How is your Holy Week going? Leave me a comment!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A blessed Palm Sunday...

Happy Monday all! I'm back at work and feeling pretty good. Quick health update so we can move on to less gross matters: *delicately clears throat* :0 I'm doing well. My mouth is still very sore, much more so than last time. But it's healing, and so far so good. On the up side, my face is a lot less banged up looking than last time. I'm sporting a yellow bruise with a few broken capillaries on the left side of my jaw, but it's much smaller than last time. That helps a lot, especially when I want to go out in public. :) I have a follow up appointment on Wednesday afternoon, so we'll see where things stand then.

So that's that, and I'm real happy to be back with you! I had a nice stretch at home, but if I'm being honest (and I always am, for better or for worse on here, ha!) the kids were very challenging this weekend. There are times in your parenting journey in which you feel like your soul has been sucked out with the latest round of a kicking and screaming child on the floor, kwim? There are times when they are angels with each other, and then times whey they deliberately strategize their every movement around the discomfort and annoyance of the other.

Related tangent (stay with me here, and yes, I promise to circle back to Palm Sunday, not that I've even talked about it at all yet, but you know what I mean, dear reader ;-)): Mike and I watched "Gravity" this weekend. I don't know that I loved it (not necessarily my cup of tea) but it was certainly a good movie and very thought provoking. In one scene, one character asks another:

"What is your favorite thing about being in space?"

and she answers...

"The silence."

BOOM. Yes, yes, I agree. Despite my vocation to marriage and motherhood, I love and crave silence. Obviously, silence is not the norm when you have children in your house. I do my best with it, but sometimes things can simply seem overwhelming. I'm certain all of you parents know and appreciate what I mean. :) It doesn't mean you would change anything about your situation, it just means that we are human and struggle sometimes. And so that was Friday and Saturday, to be sure.

Sunday, I was determined to have a better day. I told myself that even if the children were as challenging as they have ever been, I would be patient with them. And it was an absolutely lovely day.

I took both kids to Mass while Mike went to his play rehearsal. Getting coats and shoes on is always a chore, and so we were running a bit behind, but I tried not to fret about it. It was a gorgeous day, and it was Palm Sunday. I was determined to make Mass enjoyable again for myself, despite being a referee for two very active children.

Henry fetched palms for us as Anne and I got settled in a pew. As expected, Anne was delighted to be given a palm, and she did hold it lovingly and wave it a bit, but not in a way that threatened anybody's eyes, so I can live with that. Both children were actually *very* well behaved and didn't try to annoy the other, for a change. There was a brother and sister pair in the pew ahead of us clandestinely poking each other with their palms behind their mother's back. Picture this as my Palm Sunday in a years time, for sure.

Henry was being very cute, following along in his missal. I was thrilled to be using the special Holy Week issue of Magnificat, and loving every minute. Anne was a very good girl, enjoying the palm blessing ritual and putting our envelope into the collection basket. It was refreshing.

Now, I'm buckling down for Holy Week and really trying to do small things to stay focused on what we are remembering this week. I read Morning Prayer today in Magnificat and felt very grateful to have access to such lovely things that can help to guide my mind to God and my faith. I also prayed my rosary this morning with more concentration than I've felt in a long time.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

I plan to blog each day this Holy Week aside from Good Friday, when I'm taking the day off to attend the 3 pm service. Let's all share the spiritual nuggets that we glean this week with each other. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adventures in Periodontology, take 2...

Hello all! Reporting in from the sick bay. :) I'm doing very well though. Much better than last time. There's certainly something to be said for having experience.

Yesterday, I didn't freak out or take Vallium, both of which I did last time. :0 I arrived at the office in a good mood, and chatted chirpily with the dental assistant while she got me ready. Soon, the periodontist was at my service, and we were underway. Since I didn't have the relaxant this time, I was much more aware of everything he was doing. Translation: when you're a squeamish person, this isn't such a good thing. :0

Tiffany's Thought Bubble:

"What's that he has? Oh. OH. That looks sharp. Oh yuck, there's blood on his gloves. I think something just fell from the roof of my mouth? Oh. Oh God."

I will say that it passed the time quickly. :0

Pretty soon, he was stitching me up, but my Novocaine was beginning to wear off. This happened to me last time too, but last time I was loopy so I didn't care. He had already been stitching for some time, and it was only 2 teeth. How long much longer could it take? I'm tough, I told myself, I can take it. I'll just stay real, real still.

Well, see, this is what happens when you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. *gentle snort* Eventually, I made some sort of involuntary whimpering noise, and the doctor was horrified that I was in pain and he didn't realize it. He's just the nicest person, I tell you. Several more shots of Novocaine later, I was feeling fantastic and the stitching continued. Soon, I was all done and on my way.

I could tell right away that I was swollen, but what's a girl to do? It looks rather amusing because it's only on one half of my jaw this time, the other half is totally normal, lol. But I was fastidious with my ice, applying in 10 minute intervals throughout the day. And as of this morning, my face doesn't look nearly so "punched!" as last time. There's obviously a little swelling there, but I've mitigated it nicely. The jury is still out on bruising. Last time, I didn't develop that until the third day, so I suppose we'll see where we're at tomorrow. I've been applying my emu oil lotion, which is a natural anti-inflammatory, so here's hopin'!

The only other thing different this time is the wound on the top of my mouth, where the grafting tissue came from. Instead of being closer to the center of my mouth, it's way back behind my upper teeth, and it's deeper. (aren't you so glad you read this blog, for disgusting details just such as these?!) The dental assistant put what she called a "dressing" on it, which turned out to be a putty-like substance, to cover the wound and protect it. Well.

For one thing, it tasted terrible. *wrinkles nose* And secondly, I'm a bit of a, um...bad patient. I instantly hated the dressing and wanted it gone. It was lifting off at the corners and feeling all gooey, GROSS! I was instructed to eat soft foods on the other side of my mouth only. With such an instruction, who in their right mind would think it's a good idea to eat QUINOA for lunch?

Yes, your resident spacey librarian.

I slip a bit carefully into the right side of my mouth. As is so often the case, my mind immediately wanders, and next thing I know, tiny grains of quinoa are spread throughout my mouth, including stuck right into that slimy dressing. *gags* I tried to remedy the situation as best I could, but soon the dressing was totally dislodged and covering my teeth rather than the wound. Let's just say the removal was quite unpleasant.

*faints*

That was the only hiccup. The wound is fine this morning, and is already starting to heal.

I've been taking it easy, but being as active as I can be. I'm off from work until Monday. If I'm feeling up to it, I plan to go to dance class tomorrow. Don't yell at me, I can't help it! I told you, I"m a bad patient. :)

Ok all, off to swish more warm salt water. I doubt I'll blog tomorrow. Mike and I are planning to take Anne out for lunch and go for a walk in one of our favorite neighborhoods in this area. It should be lovely, and so I don't know that I'll be online much. Aside from to send out some ridiculous Tweets periodically throughout the day. ;-)

Rest assured, I'll be back Monday! I'll update you on my condition :), and likely on some dance stuff. Since I have new skirts. And they are FABULOUS! Talk to you then!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Adventures with First Communion preparation...

My little Henry is 8 now, can you believe it?! Seems like just yesterday that he was born and I nearly became comatose from all of the sleep deprivation. Come to think, thank God he's 8 now. :0 And he's in *third* grade, and about to make his First Holy Communion May 3rd. My precious pumpkin!

Since he is enrolled in a Catholic school, Henry gets religious instruction every day. I have quizzed him on his understanding of the Eucharist, can't take these things for granted. :) He's excited about finally being able to come forward and receive, after so many years of waiting. Henry is very tall for his age, and a few times Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have tried to give him communion, since he looks old enough to receive. I started encouraging him to wait for me back in the pew while I go forward to smooth out this problem. :) After all this time, he's very happy to move to the next step.

We read saint stories every night before he goes to bed, and many of them were devoted to the Eucharist. I always try to drive that point home when I read, especially if the featured saint was a child when they died. I'd like to take him to Adoration with me one day before the First Communion Mass, I think it would really solidify for him exactly what we believe about this sacrament.

And so, as the day draws closer, I knew there was one thing left to tackle: The First Communion banner.

*long suffering sigh*

I am not crafty. I can knit and crochet, but glue and felt are not my friends. And one of the things that the coordinator of religious education at Henry's school asks the children to do is create one of these banners, an artistic rendering by the child of their faith and the sacrament.

All I can say is thank God I have this blog and whine on it regularly, prompting the miraculous comment by the fabulous Cristina that there are kits out there that will come to my rescue. KITS. The religious education lady did not mention kits, gentle reader. She simply gave us a raggedy piece of burlap with photocopied sheets of letters and faith symbols that we could use to sketch and cut out our own shapes. I was petrified. I mean, can you *imagine* the mangled chalices and grape vines that would have resulted from this endeavor? And that would be from MY efforts, let alone Henry's, who has every POSSIBLE genetic scheme working against him with regard to artistic ability.

And so I ordered one of these aforementioned and blessed kits. The felt shapes are all cut out for you, you can just pick which ones you want to use and arrange them however you like.

Glory.

And so Henry and I got to work Sunday afternoon. He got really into it, excitedly going through the symbols and choosing which ones to use. He arranged them all by himself, and even added some embellishments in the form of glitter glue, which did make things interesting at the kitchen table for a time:

"Why is there gold glitter in your hair? Oh. You guys are working on the banner."

"Yes! Doesn't it look good?" *angelic beam*

"It looks great. What's that...on the host?"

"A cross. Doesn't it look like a cross?!"

*amused eyebrow arch*

And so, da da DAH!!! This is the result of our efforts:



We just need to glue down the other side of those top pieces so that it can be hung. But I'm real proud of him, I think he did a great job.

We still need to get him a special outfit to wear for the big day, and I need to plan a little party for him. And a gift. He already has a rosary, that I gave him for his First Reconciliation. Other ideas?

All right everyone, I'm off from blogging tomorrow due to part 2 of my dental surgery. :( I will report in sometime on Thursday. But in the mean time, I'm sure I'll be on Twitter, acting all pathetic. Talk to you all then. Yay?

:)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fifth Sunday of Lent and battles with spiritual dryness...

Lent is absolutely flying by, no? This Lent has been different for me in that my spiritual dryness (mentioned previously here) really hasn't abated, and the sticking to my Lenten resolutions has seemed to go more poorly than usual. :0 I do, however, at this stage of my life, have confidence in the method of just plugging ahead. Things always turn around, they just do. Whether it be that the situation actually changes or just that your response to it does. I have experienced this in many arenas of my life, including the spiritual realm. It's all good.

So I've been plugging ahead in my Lent, recognizing that a huge component of this is seeking out the sacrament of reconciliation. It's not like I have something major to confess, but I haven't been in many months, and that always takes a toll, whether you see it or not. And I don't even know WHY I'm procrastinating on this. I have this weird love/hate relationship with confession. I always dread it, despite how fantastic I feel after going. This seems to be a common struggle for Catholics.

And so going to Mass lately hasn't brought me the spiritual serenity it used to. Like I mentioned though, I persist, because it's the right thing to do. Plus, I need to set the right example for my children, despite their being the reason why I often don't get as much out of Mass as I'd like to. :0 It's hard to focus on Mass when you have these little people demanding your attention all of the time. Exhibit A, which occurs weekly:

*innocently reads missal*

"Mommy. Mommy. MOMMY. I have to use the potty!"

"You have a diaper on sweetie, you can just go."

"What?!" *scandalized look* "No, Anne can't. I have to use the big potty, Mommy! I have to GO PEE!"

Naturally, none of this takes place as quietly as I'd like it to.

However, I'm pleased to report that yesterday morning, I woke up excited to go to Mass. It's not that I've been dreading Mass, I just dread the exhaustion the children can bring to the experience. But yesterday, something was different. Nothing was at all different in terms of my responsibilities at Mass itself. Infighting during the coat and shoe putting-on process, a whiny ride in the car, Anne "needing" to use the potty the instant the opening hymn fades away, Henry annoying Anne, Anne annoying Henry, Anne wanting to dance out in the aisle, Anne loudly dropping her sippy cup...All of that still happened. But suddenly I felt soothed and happy to be at Mass again, despite all of these distractions. I felt excited to bust out my Magnificat to follow along, even though I knew the chances of it staying out with Anne in my charge were unlikely.

The sun was out during our drive, the wind finally didn't hold the bite of this past winter. Henry read cutely along in his own missal for the readings. Anne was well behaved. After Mass, Henry asked to light a candle, and I gave him the go ahead to get one of the big guns (i.e. the large size that will burn for 7 days) to pray for his intentions with his First Communion coming up in exactly one month.

It was lovely. And I was thinking that even at this late date in Lent, with Holy Week slated to begin next Sunday, it's not too late to get back on the horse. If you've stopped doing one of your resolutions, pick it back up now. It will make for a really meaningful Holy Week

Later Sunday afternoon, Hank and I broke out the kit to make his First Communion banner, a requirement of his religious education class. For someone who regularly hot glues her fingers together, this was sure to be a challenge. How did it go? Tune back in tomorrow. :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

7 Quick Takes {Take 37} More scary dental work, music selection assistance, and book recommendations galore edition...

-1- Adventures in Periodontics

I know what you're thinking: "She just *had* to lead off with this one, didn't she?! I'm trying to EAT here!!" Sorry. I discussed this back in January, and unfortunately this is a two part operation. I'm scheduled to have the remainder of the tissue grafting done next Wednesday. It shouldn't be as onerous this time. The area that needs to be done is smaller, and I'm not taking anything beforehand that will allegedly "relax me." *gentle snort* Hence, I should be able to cooperate more with positioning my mouth and thus (*crosses fingers*) have less swelling and bruising. I'm a lot less anxious about it this time, happily. It really wasn't nearly so bad as I feared last time.

So, what this means for you is that I won't be blogging on Wednesday. :) I should be able to check in on Thursday, so whether you want them or not, you'll be getting all of the disgusting details. But on a happier note...

-2- Need your help!

I have a hafla coming up in exactly one month, and I have not selected music to dance to yet. This is an informal showcase event, but I always take it very seriously. I love to dance, and I like to put my best foot forward. Here are my choices, and I need you to vote. :)

(a) A drum solo. These are my favorite songs to dance to. I love the precision of matching movements to drum beats. I would have to choreograph a piece, since although you can certainly improvise to a drum (and you *have* to if you are dancing with live music) with recorded music I prefer to have a routine that matches the music perfectly and captures all the accents. So this would be a bit more time consuming, although the result would be pleasing and meaningful.

(b) Upbeat instrumental or pop song. I also love dancing to this type of music. It's very fun and the audience often gets into it. I could easily improvise amongst a few loosely choreographed highlighted sections. Definitely less preparation time.

(c) Slow, lyrical instrumental. I don't often dance to this type of music, but it's beautiful, and I can bust out my ballet arms and lines. It's lovely and you can get very creative. I would prefer to choreograph this type of piece, but I could easily mix in some improvisational sections to save time. I could incorporate a veil or balancing, which is always a crowd pleaser.

So, what should I do? I can't decide. What I've done at the 4 more recent haflas, in reverse chronological order are: (1) upbeat instrumental, (2) slower instrumental with sword balancing, (3) drum solo, (4) pop music. I do like to keep things different, and not use the same type of music again and again. Please leave your vote in the comments!

-3- Finally, I can knit for myself again...

Sounds selfish, I know, but after a long round of gift knitting, I'm always happy to go back to something that I can screw up to my heart's content and it doesn't matter, because I'm not giving it to anyone. :0 After finally finishing the Navy Blue Cardigan of Doom, I am back to knitting myself a pullover. It's an autumn-hued tweed yarn, which isn't exactly seasonal for spring, but I don't care. I'm sure spring knitting fever will hit me soon, and I will only want to knit pastel baby hats, but for the time being I'm content. *sighs happily*

-4- Recipes!

I'm continuing to enjoy my foray into non-processed food. I made a few notable dinners this week that I had time to do even on a weeknight, and that everyone liked, including the kids! We have:

Super Easy Alfredo Sauce. I made this whole spaghetti and it was a hit. Super easy, super fast, and would be perfect for a Friday in Lent. Another great meatless dish is Carrot Fritters with Yogurt Sauce. Although the kids didn't like these, Mike and I loved them, and they provided fantastic lunch leftovers.

Chicken Marsala. Made this with mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus and carrots (since the children have declared war on asparagus, but I love it, so I can compromise on this one). A little bit more time consuming, but manageable, and *worth it*. It was delicious, and the leftovers have provided multiple additional meals.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets. This is on the menu for the weekend, along with Sweet Potatoes and Apples.

-5- Books, books, books! I can recommend...

This week I finished Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet, by Jenifer Ringer:


Although a decent sized memoir, I read this in just a few days, which is always the heartiest recommendation I can give a book. I LOVED it. So, so interesting. She talks about growing up in the dance world, the support of her family, moving to New York to dance at the renowned School of American Ballet and then being asked to be a member of the New York City Ballet. She also discusses the pressures and demanding schedule imposed by a professional career in dance, and the battle she endured with an eating disorder. Fascinating read for those interested in dance.

-6- In progress...

I have started More Catholic Than the Pope: An Inside Look at Extreme Traditionalism, by Patrick Madrid and Pete Vere for April's installment of the Catholic Book Club on April 23rd.


It's going quickly so far. I have a more difficult time reading spiritual books that aren't a memoir or a "story" if you will, but I'll provide all of my thoughts on the 23rd. :) Check out May and June's selections on the right sidebar if you'd like to read along with the books coming up!

-7- On request from the public library...

Next up on my list is a book I've requested from our public library, which is Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, by Misty Copeland.

Have I mentioned that I love memoirs? And this one is about the only African American soloist in the American Ballet Theatre, a prestigious company based in New York. Sounds fascinating, no? It should be at my library branch waiting for me early next week, and I can't wait to start it.

All right everyone, have a great weekend! I'll be back with you on Monday. Check our more 7 Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A morning with the Catholic Librarian...

Before we get started, have you been following along with Cristina's April A-Z Challenge over at Filling my Prayer Closet? If you haven't, you should be. :) She's blogging every day this month (except for Sundays) working her way through the alphabet on all Catholic topics. Today is C for Confession. Go check out her eloquent and delightful take on all of these topics. :)

Ok, where was I? Yes, my morning. *long suffering sigh* I arrive to my office rushy rushy around 8:30 am because I have a meeting at 9, and I am chair of the committee. I need to look composed and like I know what I am doing by that point. No easy feat.


I log into my computer real quick-like. I want to check my email, get the paperwork together that I need for the meeting, reply to a text message from a friend, make tea, and check in on other important stuff (i.e. Facebook). When my computer is done doing whatever it has to do every morning to get ready, which seems to take FOREVER, I open my email and quickly deal with everything that is waiting in there. I open up a browser window, feeling virtuous.

Facebook is pretty quiet, so I head to my favorite social media spot, Twitter. I see that I have a new follower, and the username sounds just a hair questionable as to their motives. I click to open up their profile and see what's the what. Suddenly, I am immobile. My mouse has died.

I do the technical troubleshooting that we all do when a piece of equipment suddenly fails us: I pick the device up and pound it back down on my mousepad several times in a forceful manner. I I examine it carefully, making a scrunched up face while I do so. After another round of pounding goes without response, I send a curse word it's way. And then I remember to check and make sure that the mouse is solidly plugged into my computer tower (located underneath my desk). :0 It is, but it's still not working.

Resigned to my fate, I dial up library IT. I cannot do anything with what is open on my screen, and TweetDeck is looming over me ominously. Fantastic.

One of our sweet and wonderful IT staff answer my call.

"I think my mouse has given up the ghost."

"Did you check to make sure it's plugged in?"

"Yes." *halo*

"Did you unplug it and then plug it back in?"

"Oh. No. Should I?"

"Yes. Sometimes that works."

"Ok, let me just...OW! I'm ok, just banged my knee getting down here. All right, here it is, it's kind of crowded under here. I'll just..."

"Is there a light on underneath?"

"No, but I can still see ok. I got it unplugged and then back in. OW! I'm ok, that was just my head."

"Oh, sorry. No, I meant is there a red light on on the bottom of the mouse itself?"

"Oh." *feels ridiculous* "Let me check...Nope, no red light. I do see a blue light on top though. But...it's still not working."

"Can I remote in?"

I knew this was going to happen.

"Sure." *offers nonsensical reason as to how Twitter is related to my meeting preparation*

She remotes in. My mouse still isn't working.

"You need a new mouse. Can I bring one over?"

"That would be fantastic! Oh, but I have a meeting in...oh good heavens, 5 minutes!"

After working out another mouse exchange time, I hurriedly grab my notepad and papers and head downstairs. Every bit of dust preexisting on my office floor is now on my pants. My head is aching from where I banged it on the keyboard attachment. I have abandoned all hope of caffeine consumption. And now for the next hour, I need to lead a discussion on information literacy standards and proposed curricular changes.

*delicately flares nostrils*

I made it. And I have a new working mouse. AND I'm busily planning my 7 Quick Takes for tomorrow. Here's a teaser, let's see...we'll have more dental talk, so beware. Some new knitting projects. Some book and recipe recommendations. Oh oh! And I need help deciding on a dance solo for my next hafla. I need you to vote on music selection! So if you're a dance fan, make sure to check back tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I tame the beast, and adventures with flying insects...

And so, my friends, we have the culmination of blood, sweat, tears, and a public declaration of hatred, we have the Navy Blue Cardigan:

I'm acting all innocent, but I caused my knitter great anxiety... *halo*
It is DONE. And it FITS. I am THRILLED. Nothing more need be said.

But that's never stopped me before. :0 The neckline caused me some consternation, but I think my improvised finishing did the trick. It looks very cute on Mike. He wore it all day yesterday, to teach and then to rehearsal for his play. He said he got compliments on it all day. *beams* I can finally move on with my life and knit something else.

*angels sing*

And so last night, Mike was at rehearsal, and I was managing the children. I was dreaming of watching "Center Stage" and having a nice adult beverage after they went to bed. I don't often get the television to myself, so anytime that happens I pounce and put on something involving dance, or people wearing habits. But that time was not yet upon us.

I was reading Anne "Franklin and Harriet," her current favorite story, and Henry was upstairs supposedly starting his bath. I hear no sounds of running water. Suddenly...hark!

"Mommy, I need you to come up here!!"

"WHY?!" No reason to actually get up when you can just shout.

"There's a fly in my room!"

*pause as I consider why this is a problem*

"It's just a fly, Hank, don't worry about it."

"MOMMY." *Henry materializes in front of me, real quick-like* "It's IN MY ROOM. And it's BUZZING."

"Flies don't sting, Hank. Just leave it alone. It'll fly away."

I still have to finish Anne's story, clean up the mess in the living room, wrangle her into her pj's and into brushing her teeth (never an easy feat these days), get her some water, and get her settled in her crib, which usually takes a solid 10 minutes of ritualistic kissing and placement of blankets and stuffed animals. I then have to shower, get into comfy clothes, tame my hair, get Henry his nightly asthma medication, entertain him until it's his own bedtime, and read him saint stories. All before I can relax. I don't have the patience for a fly right now.

"Mommy, I CAN'T. It's acting all weird, just buzzing on the floor and stuff. You have to come do something. I can't get ready for my bath with it...IN MY ROOM LIKE THAT."

UUUGGGHHHHHH. I can tell based on the description, in addition to the date and weather, that this is one of those odd off-season flies that is:

(a) inexlicably, and freakishly, large,

(b) REALLY loud and low flying, and

(c) stationary, not moving very far or fast.

Which means that it will not simply fly out of Henry's room and blissfully head to the basement, never to be seen or heard from again. I'm going to have to kill it. And I hate killing insects. It's not all warm and fuzzy, I just hate dealing with the squished body afterward. *wrinkles nose*

Anne has been commissioned into going up and "seeing the fly" by her brother, so I have no choice but to trudge upstairs. Both children are gathered in the doorway of Henry's bedroom. Loud buzzing is coming from inside.

"It's on the windowsill, Mommy." Henry is tracking the fly's every movement.

"Ok Honey, I'll take care of it."

"DON'T GO IN THERE MOMMY!!"

This is from Anne, who is real fearful these days of things happening to people. She clearly sees the fly as a dangerous threat.

"Don't worry, Honey, flies can't hurt us."

"Anne's not scared Mommy!!" This is what she says whenever she is in fact scared. I dispatch her to fetch a tissue for body cleanup purposes as a distraction.

 I spot the fly, exactly as described above, lingering on one of the windows. I splat him easily with one of Henry's nearby books. The tissue is immediately put into use for cleanup.

"There. Fly all gone. Henry, go take your bath. Anne, we need to get you into your sleeper."

"Anne's not scared of the fly, Mommy!!"

We hear about the fly for the rest of the evening, as well as a full recounting of the dangerous tale for Mike's benefit first thing this morning.

It's always an adventure with toddlers. And I got through most of my movie later and was feeling happy when Mike got home to chat about his rehearsal. Life is grand.