Thursday, November 15, 2018

More holiday plans, Catholic Vitamins, and Preparing for Advent!

Happy mid-November to all of you! How are those holiday plans coming?!

😬

We're getting there, I promise. Let's do a quick round robin of the past week, and then talk Advent planning!

Last week we talked a bit about The Nutcracker in it's film adaptation, and although that doesn't replace a live performance, I was thinking about skipping that this year in the interest of time. However, Anne and I agree that it just wouldn't be the same without dressing up for our annual pilgrimage to the Center for the Arts here on campus to see a local production of The Nutcracker. So I'm procuring tickets for us later this week. These are special memories that I hope Anne treasures as much as I do!

Every Thanksgiving season, I look forward to the feast of St. Cecilia, and I talk about that for my November offering over at CatholicMom.com. I'd love for you to check it out and comment over there if you also have an interest in, or devotion to, this lovely saint! I think of her so fondly at this time of year.

In other Catholic news, I was on the Catholic Vitamins podcast this past week, along with Allison, talking with the positively delightful Deacon Tom Fox about the Stay Connected series of journals. Allison and I each also talk a bit about of faith journeys and some amusing anecdotes along the way. We'd love for you to give it a listen as we approach Advent!

OK, so Advent, the big news around here right now. ;-)  I received positive feedback on using my journal, Exploring the Catholic Classics, for our Advent Book Club, and I'm so excited about this! I'm thinking we'll work it like this:

Everybody procure their books in the next 1-2 weeks, and we'll start our posts the weeks after Thanksgiving. You can order on Amazon for $14.95 (eligible for Amazon Prime 2-day shipping), or via GraceWatch Media for $11.90 and free shipping with coupon code GRACE15.

Posts will be one per week, starting Thursday November 29. There are more chapters than there are weeks we'll be meeting, so what we can do is tackle 2 chapters per week, but let's keep it light. You can work through the journal at your own pace (which is what it's designed for!) but each week I'll post one of the excerpts from each of the 2 chapters, along with one of the reflection questions that speaks to each passage. We can all discuss our answers to the questions. :) Then you can go back to the rest of the content during the week, or another time altogether, your choice. Here's the schedule!


  • November 29th - Chapters 1 and 2
  • December 6th - Chapters 3 and 4
  • December 13th - Chapters 5 and 6
  • December 20th - Chapter 7


I think that this will keep us nice and grounded during Advent for a contemplative and serene experience. πŸ˜‡ Are you planning other devotional activities for your Advent this year? I'd love to hear about it!

ooo, P.S. I'm sort of feeling a fiction book club after Christmas, maybe a Winter Book Club installment? Lent doesn't start until March this year, so perhaps we could do something in January or February for this, inspirational or secular fiction is what I'm thinking. Thoughts? :)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"The Nutcracker and the Four Realms", and Advent Book Club plans!

Hello, and how are you all doing on this gloomy November day? ;-) I can't even believe how quick we are coming up to Thanksgiving! Mike mentioned that it's falling the earliest that it can this year, and I'm really feelin' it!

I'm moving along with Advent plans (which I'll come back to) and birthday stuff for Henry (he turned 13 yesterday *sob!*), and general November preparations, which include both hosting Thanksgiving dinner AND the fall hafla at my dance studio. Always an eclectic mix around here, to be sure. ;-)

As well, this is the time of year that I go into Nutcracker mode. If you do a search on this blog for "Nutcracker" you will find quite a few posts dealing with The Nutcracker ballet and my obsession with it. I go to see it performed live every year in November/December, and last year I procured several DVD's of various ballets around the country performing it so that I could have some variety in my Nutcracker viewing. 😎 I love it, I really do.

This year, my mom and I plotted to take the kids to see the new Disney film adaptation, "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms," and all of us being off for Election Day this week, we took advantage of discount day at the theater. Quick review follows, no spoilers!

Granted, I knew that this would be a more dramatic re-telling of the story, likely with some plot line embellishment, and little to no dancing, just given the format. And I was correct. :0 The film is lovely to behold. Visually, they can do so much more now with surreal settings like this, yes? I was quite taken with the aesthetic picture it painted, and wished I could be absorbed into that world for a time. I enjoyed the actors very much, and the cast was wonderfully diverse. What I didn't love was that the story seemed rushed at the outset - I want to linger at the Christmas Eve party and build up all that anticipation of the adventure Clara has to come! Once she enters the other realm, the story definitely differs from the ballet, but again, I expected that. With no dancing, you need to fill in the narrative with a bit of other drama. ;-) My mom kept saying:

"This is so strange."

But to be honest, The Nutcracker is a bit strange under all circumstances, right? πŸ˜‚

I truly enjoyed the experience, though it is no replacement for seeing The Nutcracker in ballet form performed live. I'd recommend it, though the villain scenes might be a little scary for young kids, it depends on the child.

This has me all in the holiday spirit, and as such, let's talk Advent!

πŸŽ‰

I'm planning to try and read the daily Mass readings throughout Advent, likely using Sacred Reading. I also enjoy our little Advent Book Club each year. Last year, for both Advent and Lent, we read fiction titles. I'm all about that, believe you me. Thinking this year we could try something different. How would you feel about working our way through a devotional journal for Advent? We wouldn't have to make it all onerous, but maybe plucking out 2ish reflection questions to answer together per week? I'm thinking about using one of the new Stay Connected journals that yours truly is a part of. Thoughts? If we used mine, it focuses on spiritual reading (in manageable bite-sized pieces!) which might be a lovely theme for Advent.


What do you think? We should plan over the next 1-2 weeks so that we're all set when Advent begins on December 2nd. We could maybe work through one of the others (themed on either the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or spiritual invitations) for Lent. I'm excited, and would love your opinion!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

I suppose that when you're a nerd, nerdiness extends to all areas of your life...

All!

*waves*

Happy week to you, I hope it's going well. I've been busy, as ever. Still teaching, which is at it's peak for the semester in terms of the grading load. But it's almost done! Our regular teaching wraps up this week. I may still be called upon to teach what we call "one shots" in other courses/seminars, but in terms of my more onerous regular teaching load, that will be done until late January. The break will be lovely!

At home, my kids are now at an age that they're actually developing social lives of their own, and this is resulting in yet more busyness. It is also resulting in yet another new season of our parenting journey, and thus is super stressful. 😬 Henry is trying out for the basketball team, and generally wanting to participate in more events with his friends at the school. He is in 8th grade (😭😭😭) and therefore this is completely normal. In fact, it should probably have happened years ago. But Henry is a reserved kid, just like I was, so I totally get it. He's maturing and coming out of his shell a bit, and I'm so pleased about it. But it's definitely a whole new slew of emotions and worries to manage.

*bites nails*

Anne is her usual sassy and social self, so nothing new there. ;-) We're all just generally in awe that the fall has moved along so quickly, and that somehow Thanksgiving is fast approaching!

As is usually the case this time of year, I get into high dance mode. Dancing, as you all know, is a strong part of my creative identity. And in the fall and winter, I usually have some solo/professional opportunities lined up that I am preparing for and my inspiration level is high. I have those opportunities in the spring and summer too, but with many of them being outside in the heat, it just makes for a completely different experience. I'm not looking to try out my ambitious and experimental new silk veil plans when it's 90 degrees out and all I can think about is not flinging sweat out into the audience.

😱

In the fall and winter, I can really focus and try out new things. I've got some plans for the winter that I'm really excited about (details to come), and it's really bringing out the bookish perpetual student vibe in me. Yes, I am a nerd. Apparently, one can even be a Belly Dance Nerd. This means:

(1) Scoping out books on the history of Middle Eastern dance on Amazon, and obsessively reading articles online.
(2) Curating playlists of both golden era and modern dancers to watch at lunch.
(3) Carefully watching aforementioned videos every day to soak up the movement quality via osmosis.
(4) Doing casual research on the proper elements of a Magency. Doesn't everybody wonder about such things?!

I am indeed a lifelong learner, and I'm hoping that this will keep my mind young. ;-)  I'm preparing a Magency piece for our fall hafla, and my troupe is going to be performing our Cairo-style Saidi piece at a workshop in Syracuse in early December. The workshop is on Turkish Roman dance, which I've never studied before.

*nerding out!*

I'm so excited. I have a 12 yard skirt in my Amazon cart because I'll need one to perform the Turkish choreography in the show after the workshop. No bare midriffs in this form of dance, so I'm coordinating with a sleeved top and hip scarf that I already own.

So much beaming. I'm hoping to adapt the Magency piece for something else next year, that's the thing I'll talk about later. It's all very exciting, rest assured. At least for me! :0

Do you enjoy still learning new things, and "going back to school", if you will, when you find something new that tickles your fancy? I'd love to hear all about it!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Adventures with sheep and wool, 2018 edition...

πŸ˜ƒ

I have returned from another year of adventures at the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in the beautiful Hudson Valley, and as ever, I had an inspiring time! I love being surrounded by a community of kind, creative people, with our fiber stimuli right at our fingertips. ;-) And being in Rhinebeck, NY in mid-October, is well...it's an inspiration unto itself:

*squees!*

The infamous Rhinebeck tree, which I photograph every year
This year, just like last year, it was VERY CROWDED on Saturday. I do struggle with claustrophobia when in enclosed spaces squeezed with lots of other people, so I did lots of removing of self from various outbuildings when the need struck. :0 Shopping is difficult with so many people wedged into the buildings and tents, but we made do. Yarn hunting brings out that survival instinct in us. ;-)

This year, I actually stumbled onto the animal parade! Can you handle the cuteness?!

Don't they look *so soft*?

They are also super regal :-) 
I just love the random "baaaaa!!!" that you hear throughout the fairgrounds as one makes their way from building to building. ;-) I peeked into the animal barns several times to admire cute noses moving to and fro as their owner munched on hay. And look at THIS CUTE GUY!

My new best friend 😍
The angora rabbits were AMAZING. I have literally never touched anything so soft in my life. They loved to be petted and held, and to munch on their food, pink noses twitching in the breeze. I LOVE THEM.

Rhinebeck provides project inspiration for me for the rest of the year, so I always make sure to photograph finished items that I love when I see them set up in a booth, as inevitably they have a tag indicating their pattern and yarn source. I photographed these 2 early on Saturday:

"Hogwarts Express" by Susan Ashcroft

"Silverleaf" by Lisa Hannes
It goes without saying that I purchased yarn in an owly colorway to make the Hogwarts shawlette. ;-)
In fact, here is that yarn, along with an autumnal variegated in sport weight that I simply could NOT pass over:

The colorway is called "Cider." I mean, for REAL.

By end of the day Saturday, I had accumulated quite a few other goodies as well:


A kit to make a beaded cowl is on the left. Alpaca socks for the kids, and fleece-lined glittens for myself are in the center. On the right are 2 hanks of a medium orange fingering weight yarn to make a leaf lace poncho, and a bottle of bourbon for Mike. πŸ˜‚Yes, there is a predominance of orange and brown in my choices. I am a true autumn girl. Speaking of orange:
My Rhinebeck hat!
I made the hat, along with the top I'm wearing. One of the best parts of Rhinebeck is the parade of handknits that is on display. Every single person (man, woman and child) is wearing handknit items. Sweaters and shawls dominate, but mittens and hats abound, scarves and cowls peek in there too, and you may even glimpse a handknit dress or skirt. It is one of the funnest aspects of this fiber festival, and I love joining in! It's wonderful to plan your annual Rhinebeck outerwear back in the spring. :)

This year, I was determined to partake of a few Rhinebeck traditions I had not tried yet, such as the falafel booth:

It was spectacular
...and the apple cider donuts. I waited 35 minutes to procure 4 apple cider donuts for my family and I, and I got off easy. Apparently, the line was an hour or longer at other parts of the weekend!

Most of all, I just enjoyed being a part of all of these wonderful moments:






Life is short, yes? And though we may not enjoy every moment, we can savor the really precious ones. And it was that in droves. Wonderful memories of shopping yarn, walking amongst the fall leaves, people-watching for the handknits, eating dinner with friends, and taking in the gorgeous Hudson Valley scenery on the drive over. Life really is beautiful.

How was your weekend, friends? I'd love to hear all about it!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Keeping the faith, and preparing for more frolicking with yarn...

Hi all! I have a big weekend coming up, and this week so far has been absolutely insane, with tons going on both at home and at work. But all is well! This weekend I am bound for Rhinebeck, NY, where I will attend the NY Sheep and Wool Festival for the second straight year, and I could NOT be more thrilled! I had such a wonderful time last year, and I feel blessed to be going again with my knitting group. Mid-October, in the Hudson Valley, amongst friends, food truck falafel, fiber-bearing animals, and reams and reams of gorgeous yarn. It is a dream come true, I tell you! I will report in next week with all of the yarny goodness. πŸ€—

In other news, we were at an open house this past weekend for the local Catholic boys high school that Henry would like to go to next year. The excellent, expensive, Catholic boys high school. 😬But it was a wonderful experience, and Henry handled himself so beautifully in a new situation, interacting with lots of people, both of which I know make him very nervous. I was so proud of him. πŸ’— The entrance exam is November 17th, and I would appreciate any prayers for focus and discernment that you could wing his way!

In the lead-up to the open house on Sunday, we all attended Mass together as a family. And it was the 8 am Mass. Remember what happened the last time the kids and I went to the 8 am Mass Henry was serving at? Yeah. It was a bit of a disaster. I was feeling so low, and our experience at that Mass only made things worse. Well, needless to say, I wasn't exactly looking forward to going back, but Henry was serving, so I steeled myself, and Mike came with us, which is always lovely. After Mass, this same person came up to talk to me, which I have to say is perplexing, because we don't know each other at all, but I'm a friendly sort. It was again a little strange, but there was a key difference: God allowed me to see something very important. This man doesn't have any ill intentions, he is simply a bit socially awkward. I felt a lot of peace afterwards. And it changed the way I look back and view the other situation as well. I'm feeling peaceful and grateful for this revelation. Sometimes these little things mean a lot, you know?

And in that same vein, attending Mass has become easier for me again. In my time of spiritual dryness, it was hard to go to Mass, but I went anyway. Now, I feel peaceful there again. I know that we don't *need* that feeling in order to go, but it does help, yes? And so here is the crowd sourcing part of our time together. ;-) My subscription with Magnificat is up this month. I have always loved Magnificat, and I still do. I just ordered Anne a subscription to MagnifiKid, in fact. But I thought before taking on another 2 year subscription, I would look at the other options just to see if I liked any of those better. A refreshening and reevaluation process. I spied with my little eye Word Among Us and their format of a small monthly magazine with the optional supplement of the daily Mass readings really appealed to me. Does anybody subscribe to either of these, and what are your feelings on what they have to offer? How about a regular old Sunday missal? One of the things I love the most about Magnificat is the beautiful artwork and the special Holy Week issue each year. Word Among Us seems to have uplifting articles to read throughout, appealing to a bookworm like me.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

How are those crafting obstacles coming along Tiffany? you reasonably ask...

Well.

😬

I suppose I shouldn't be so dramatic. Projects like these take time! AND, we do have some progress. Looky here!


I had finished Anne's Lighthouse Pullover over the summer, I think I reported in on this last time we broached this topic. Since then, I made both school uniform cardigans (for which I deserve a medal; navy blue garter stitch gets a wee bit boring after a spell :0) AND I made a Rhinebeck sweater. I will grant, NOT the sweater I was originally planning to make, but a sweater that I will wear at Rhinebeck nonetheless.

Look how cute my little pupil is in her new cardigan!

Pattern is "Sugar Maple" by Carina Spencer
So I'm making progress! I'm getting into holiday gift making season, so I did forget about at least half of the projects that are on this list. :0 But I'll get to them. It's a marathon, not a sprint, to be sure!

In other crafting news, there's been lots of excitement! I know I mentioned over the summer how I had gotten involved in Hogwarts at Ravelry, I waited excitedly on Platform 9 3/4, submitted a project in the Orientation thread, and was happily sorted into Gryffindor when the new term started. I did well, submitting projects to multiple classes and Weekly Challenges, and so logged in at the end of the rotation to submit my intention to stay on in Gryffindor House. Well.

*beams*

I had a message from the absolutely LOVELY Head of House in Gryffindor asking me to be the Prefect for the upcoming rotation. I was a little nervous about taking on a more active role so early on in my Hogwarts studies ;-), but I was also pretty excited. It's like my dream come true - I am Hermione!


So far, it's going positively swimmingly. I just check in every day and encourage my fellow Gryffindor Lions in their crafting goals. I adore the community there, and am enjoying myself tremendously! I also get to see our fellow Life of a Catholic Librarian community member Melanie, who is the ambassador to Platform 9 3/4 for Hufflepuff. She is also running one of the storylines this term (aka a class) and I really want to make something to submit over there!

πŸ˜ƒ

So much fun. It's all about community, yes? About fostering and nurturing healthy relationships with wonderful, kind people. God is so good to us!

What are you working on this week? Are you starting to plan out your holiday gifts? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

My book is actually IN PRINT!

I had planned a craft post for this week, and I *promise* that we'll do that next week, because there is lots of excitement in my crafting world right now. :0 However, my little mind was all diverted this week by book stuff. LOOKY WHAT CAME LAST NIGHT:


😍

It's all a little surreal that I have a book that actually exists in real life πŸ˜‚. I'm so excited to dive into these and use them for scripture study and journaling! That might make a good Advent and Lent project? Thoughts? I definitely want to do this with Deanna's and Allison's books, but I'm curious as to whether or not I'd be able to re-read my own like this, ha! While I was working on this book, every morning before I jumped into writing I would pray to the Holy Spirit to have it be His words and not mine, so maybe? I'll be curious to see. ;-)

Importantly, these are now available to order on Amazon. This means a couple of important things: for one, you can now get them with your Prime shipping if you are a member. Also, you can see interior previews of all 3 books, which I LOVE to do before adding things to my cart! For my book, you can now see the entire Introduction!

*streamers*

Finally, you can *add reviews once you've read the books* which we would so gratefully appreciate! Even if you did not purchase the book from Amazon (but ordered via the publisher, Gracewatch Media, or in the Indiegogo pre-order campaign) you can still leave a review on Amazon. This helps other readers to discover these books while they are searching and browsing for related titles. This is so crucial to the success of the series! Allison is hoping to add 3 more books to the series next year, and growing these initial 3 titles is a huge part of that.

Another tidbit: you *can* order via the publisher, Gracewatch Media, and the books are actually cheaper there. They retail for $15, are marked down to $14, and by using the code GRACE15, you will receive 15% off. This makes the books $11.90 each, and Gracewatch offers free shipping on orders of $10 and up. The disadvantage is that the shipping is not 2-day like Amazon Prime, but if you are not a Prime member, or you are not in a rush, you may be interested in this route. :)

These journals would make excellent holiday gifts, for sure. They're personal and relatable, and just lovely and inspiring to page through. I am so excited to be a part of this project, and I hope that you'll share in the excitement with me!

πŸŽ‰

Is anybody interested in using one of these during Advent and making a book club for it? Would love to hear from you!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

"What are *you* looking at? Haven't you ever seen a head piece made out of pom poms before?!" Adventures in workshop gala shows...

Well, I'm back from my little adventure in Toronto, and somehow dragging myself through the week despite getting only about 10 hours of sleep over the course of the entire weekend. :0 It was one of those stretches wherein you know that many years from now, when your grandkids ask you to tell them a fun story about adventurous things you did when you were young (or, ah hem, YOUNGER), this particular event will come to mind, because it is the type of situation wherein you build memories. This is wonderful. The only disadvantage is that when it's 5 am and you're wide awake in panic mode wondering if you remembered to pack all of the pieces of your costume, knowing that you have a 2 hour drive, 4 hours of workshops, and a 2 hour gala show that you're performing in, ahead of you, well...that kind of stinks. πŸ˜‚

Saturday, in particular, was a very long day, and about a quarter of the way through the second workshop (on Golden Era technique and styling 😍)I was beginning to wonder if I was going to in fact make it all the way through without falling asleep in a corner. The first technique workshop was AMAZING (and this dancer teaching the workshops, Shahrzad, an American dancer who lives in Cairo is *phenomenal*) and I was super jazzed, shimmying my little heart out. Then the second workshop hit, and I faded a bit, thinking: "it's ok, I can do it!" Then I realized that I could do it, but maybe not particularly WELL, I just had to try and stay awake and do what I could.

Later, back at the hotel, as the 4 of us readied for the gala show, the restroom was consumed by our makeup and hair rituals, false eyelashes being applied with much bravery. Brandy, Claire and I were performing as a trio in a Saidi piece. Saidi is a very specific style within Middle Eastern dance (Saidi is often referred to as a folkloric dance, but Shahrzad explained why she does *not* consider female dancers performing Saidi to be traditional folklore, and I learned so much from her!) and it has it's own distinctive movements and costuming. When Westerners hear the words "belly dance" they are expecting a certain thing, and Saidi is not that thing. However, belly dancers perform Saidi as part of their repertoire within Middle Eastern dance. See how much fascinating stuff there is to learn, and why I love it so much?! πŸ˜€

So we have this SUPER upbeat and fun Saidi choreography planned, and our costuming was created by Claire to emulate Cairo style Saidi. Here is the enormously talented Vanessa of Cairo (who is renowned for her Saidi dance) in a costume that ours was modeled on:


Saidi is usually performed in a long sleeved gown like Vanessa is wearing. And yes, this particular style within Saidi embellishes the costume with pom poms on the hips and head. :0

We of course wear coverups over our costumes when we are not performing, but let's just say that when the 4 of us walked down through the hotel lobby and then out onto the sidewalk to await our Uber driver...we received a lot of stares.


Without any sort of context of who we were and where we were going, the pom poms just made people think that we may have lost our minds. But I mean, really. This was downtown Toronto. They've never seen anything stranger than a gaggle of women in hot pink mumus and pom pom headbands? I ask you! πŸ˜‚

We got to our venue, and then waited. And waited. And waited, for the show to start. They were running behind, which we totally get, but exhaustion was definitely more than taking root at that point. We made it, however. Our Saidi went great (although I actually bounced one of my gigantic earrings right out of my ear while I danced :0), and I got a huge thrill out of seeing Shahrzad perform live. It was wonderful. But to say that we booked it back to our hotel so that we could leap into bed and get some much needed sleep was a huge understatement. πŸ˜‚

Sunday we had 2 more workshops, and then the drive back home. It was all worth it, but home sweet home! How was your weekend, dear reader? What's happening for you this fall? Next week, we're back to a little crafting!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Some weeks are just like this...

Have you ever had a week wherein you felt like you couldn't catch your breath, there was just so much going on? That's this week for me, and as I type this, it's only Tuesday! πŸ˜‚

Let's take a look at yesterday, shall we?

πŸš—

I teach 3 classes in a row, starting at 9 am, on Monday mornings. I got the kids' lunches all set, readied myself, and rushed into work. "Rushing" is always the theme of our day on Mondays, to be sure. Little Honda Fit and I pulled into the parking lot at 8:30. I took out my phone, and found a text from my boss (also my co-teacher for that 9 am slot) that she's at the classroom troubleshooting some issues with the online quiz we were set to administer that day. I let her know that I'll be there as soon as I can, and headed into the library with my gigantic Mary Poppins bag of crap.



via GIPHY

I stashed my stuff, quickly ran through my email, and headed out to the classroom. Upon my arrival, I started the frantic task of readying the classroom while she finished with the quiz. We finished in the nick of time, whew!

The 3 classes go fine, but this was the first time we've taught this particular lesson in this particular fashion, and there were some kinks to work out. I have really good groups of students on Monday, but by the end of the whole ordeal, I was downright grumpy. I grumpily groused back to my office, and entered my attendance. I went through new emails, and by this time I was hangry in a major way. I finally heated up my lunch, and tuned into the replay of the latest Facebook live sale with my local Lularoe consultant, Mindy. I'm sure most of you have heard of Lularoe, but it's clothing in limited edition prints. It can be hard to find a specific style/print in your size, because they only make so many of them. I had had Mindy keep an eye out for a specific top in my mom's size that I knew she had been hunting for, as I was looking for something special as a birthday gift to her. Mindy fortuitously received one in a shipment from the warehouse, and all was well.

So I'm watching the replay of the live sale, and I see that my mom had joined in on the video. I am hit with Sense of Foreboding Feeling #1 on the day. Although I knew she couldn't snag the exact top I had purchased for her, I knew that Mindy had also received similar tops in a few other sizes. I didn't want my mom to grab one of those, thus dampening the exciting nature of my birthday top coup.

Well, you guessed it. A top comes up in a size above hers that is VERY SIMILAR to the one I got for her, and boom. She claims it. I may have flared my nostrils. I may have gripped my sandwich in consternation. My mom is so hard to buy for!

I messaged Mindy, and we commiserate. We brainstormed, and I decided to try and pick something else out for my mom. This made me feel better, but it did add "stop at Mindy's" to my already packed to-do list on the week.

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing some grading and other workly maintenance. I left promptly so that I will have time to make dinner before my marathon of an evening. By which I mean a 3-tiered, 3 hour, stretch in which I had to attend the parent orientation for Anne's classroom, have a dance rehearsal for an upcoming performance, AND go to my regular Monday night Hipfit class.

😬

So the first thing I did was go home and make an egg souffle. πŸ˜‚ The doesn't really seem like the first thing most people would do in a frenzied state, but I am not most people, I suppose. I am much, much more scattered and ridiculous than most people, ha! I quickly made the souffle (while having a cocktail, I'm not going to lie) and it actually turns out OK and does not fall! Hey, I was as surprised as the rest of the family. I changed into my workout clothes, and realized that I would have to wear those to the parent orientation night.

😱

I popped a skirt on over my leggings as subterfuge. As I pulled away from the house, I realized that I forgot to ask Anne what her classroom number was. That really just fits with the day, does it not?

I arrived, parked Fit, headed in, and wandered around. Someone took pity on me and asked what room I was looking for, and they directed me to the 2nd grade area. Gratefully, I found familiar faces, and then honed in on the sign-up sheet for parent/teacher conferences. I wanted a prime 6 pm slot. I saw it available, snagged it,  and made a spectacle of myself taking a photo of the sign-up sheet with my phone to text to Mike so that he can mark it on our family calendar. This made me feel organized.

Feeling a bit more in control, I headed into the classroom. Here is where I'm faced with Sense of Foreboding Feeling #2 on the day. This happens to me a LOT if you couldn't tell already. I recognized the other parents. But this was not Anne's classroom. This was the *other* 2nd grade classroom.

😳

I slunk out of the room, frantically erased my name on the sign-up sheet to the amusement of parents texting others out in the hallway, and kept walking. I finally encountered Anne's 2nd grade classroom, signed up for a conference, and miserably sat down on her tiny little chair in the stifling hot classroom. I will say, they kept things moving efficiently, but this had been a LONG day (for everyone!) already. The instant we were done, I had to jet to the dance studio for the drum solo rehearsal (I was late, and joined in mid-dramatic walk on stage) followed by our regular Hipfit class. By the time I got home, you could have scraped me up off of the floor. I was all done in.

Today, I had 2 classes, more grading and attendance work (I have 250 students, ugh), I'm stopping at Mindy's, making broccoli cheese soup, and then rehearing for our OTHER dance performance, which is this weekend in Toronto. It's broiling hot outside, and we're having a dress rehearsal tonight in our non-breathable, long sleeved, Saidi gowns.

😭

It's mid-September, people! It's not supposed to still be humid and in the high 80's, at least not in my part of the world. At any rate, the rest of the week is exactly like this (I teach until 6 pm Wednesday, have Girl Scouts with Anne Thursday evening, and need to prepare for my trip to Toronto on Friday). I definitely feel flustered and overwhelmed. But life is good. It is! I just feel a weensy bit overwhelmed right now. ;-)

So we're performing this weekend plus taking 8 hours of dance workshops. Yikes! I just did the math on that one. πŸ˜‚ Am I too old for this?! Happily not, but I tell you, sometimes I wonder! I also have crafting stuff going on, and lots of family activities. Life is full, to be sure! Next week we can talk dance and crafts. And books. I have tons of ideas! I just need time to implement them. ;-) Have a great end of week, everybody! What's up with you this fall day?

*heart*

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fall teaching begins, and book club news!


Well, well, well, here we are at the start of my teaching for the fall semester, we're nearly done with the week, and I'm still alive, hooray!

πŸŽ‰

So far, so good. Our lesson on identifying and evaluating source types has gone over exceedingly well (I know it sounds dull, but trust me, we've spruced it up to be fun :0), my students have been angels, and I've felt meaningful poignancy after each class. There is no way that this will last for the entire semester. πŸ˜‚ But hey. I'll take it!

In other news, the fall CatholicMom.com book club has officially started, and I am SO honored to be a part of it all!


You all know that I am a huge proponent of a good book club. We're not having one here on the blog until Advent, so if you have a hankering for one before then, why not jump in on this one? The author interview is up, and there's definitely still time to download the book and wade in! It's very friendly and accessible reading for a non-fiction selection, so you'll be caught up in no time! If you'd like to participate, take a peek over at the main book club page, where you can find all the posts linked as they go up, and a there's also spot to sign up for email reminders on all book club posts! My post on chapters 1-5 goes up this Saturday.

*halo*

I really think you'll like this book. The author provides personal anecdotes that are incredibly relatable as she addresses 15 lessons she's learned in her relationship with God. For example:

"It's Going to be OK" - On the Power of Prayer, and
"No One Said it Would be Fair" - On Accepting our Crosses

I really enjoyed how she arranged the book. And this is my favorite style of non-fiction, with a personal narrative woven into larger spiritual wisdom. I enjoy taking on and trying out new things with the changing of the seasons, so maybe this will catch your fancy this fall!

Next week, I'll have a dance post for you as I'm headed to Toronto to take a workshop with a very well-known dancer, and perform in the gala show! My nerves are all atwitter!