Friday, September 27, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday {Take 14}


-1- It's a gorgeous fall morning here, which has heralded...sickness in our house. :( Anne and Henry were both coughing last night. Henry managed to fall asleep, but Anne required some tending. She startles a lot in her sleep, so I heard lots of "Mama!"'s throughout the evening and night, but if I still heard her after 30 seconds I went in to do a soothe. I have to say, I rather enjoyed it. :) She was *extremely* snuggly and for an active toddler who doesn't want to sit and cuddle anymore, I'm taking advantage of this to it's fullest. Henry is home from school today, having lots of coughing attacks this morning, poor babe, so I'll be doing some fussing later. It's what I do best.

-2- Also later, I have dance class, and our new troupe top and belt sets have arrived from Egypt. Claire has heralded the news on Facebook by reveling in the fact that the tops, after YEARS of our asking for this very thing, are *finally*, drum roll...DIFFERENT SIZES!!! We've had multiple costume designers, and this top problem is consistent with each one of them. Do women not have different sized breasts in Egypt? This is just confounding. But we have troupe members ranging in bra size from A to DD, and yet the tops never account for this, despite our sending the measurements. The larger cup ladies end up having to sew additional fabric into their tops for modesty, and the smaller cup ladies are tucking things that aren't supposed to be tucked and padding with desperation to try and assure that the tops don't gap open. It's not so easy to alter a heavily beaded and sequined fabric, as you can imagine.

Want to know what we did differently this time? Claire procured foam balls from the craft store, and we all measured them against our feminine charms, cutting and shaping them appropriately, and *sent them to Egypt* so that the male designer would have breast sized foam balls for each needed size. There was a bit of confusion in the English-Arabic translation on this one ("What are you sending me?! Models?!" God only knows what he *thought* was going to be in the box) but all is well that ends well. Class is going to be fun tonight. :)

-3- I have been hard at work on my Jesse Tree ornament assignment for the swap I'm in, which is the lamb.

*angels sing*

A LAMB!! I have the pleasure of making 32 lambs for the enjoyment of others this Advent. :)

-4- On that note, my first order of business was determining how I was going to make aforementioned lamb. I knew that I wanted to crochet them, but I obviously needed a pattern that would be quick and easy to make, while maintaining all possible cuteness. I found a pattern for a crocheted nativity set and loved the lamb in it, so I thought I'd experiment with that. The pattern calls for sport weight yarn, and in fact the ornaments need to be on the small side for ease of use and shipping, so this sounded perfect. An archeological dig through my stash revealed a *perfect* fuzzy alpaca blend in the very color of a sheep's body, but it is worsted weight. No matter, this was just an experiment to see how long the pattern would take me to bang out one lamb, so I used it. Over an episode of Breaking Bad, I made the body according to pattern:


Hum. Great nubby texture, and the halo nature of this nature is just awesome for sheep, but we're getting on the large side, are we not? I was planning to order some sport weight yarn, although it isn't available in this awesome fuzzy yarn, but still, I'm concerned. Once I stitched the head:

You can see the problem here. :) It's too large, yes, although a lot of that would be remedied in a sport weight version, but even just these 2 body parts took me an entire evening to crochet. That doesn't even account for ears, tails and legs. What is a girl to do?

-5- Consult her knitting group, that's what!! After much helpful consultation and lamb manipulation (no lambs were harmed in this experiment), we have:

TA DAAAAAA! Isn't he precious? All he needs is a string, and he's ready to go on your tree. :) This modification of the pattern means that I can still use the perfect fuzzy lamb yarn (ordering more today) and yet he turns out the perfect size. I can also crochet several of these lamb bodies in a single night, and will likely do all the legs and stuffing together at the end. He is small and soft and wonderful in all his lamby goodness. I knew I had a winner when Anne came up behind me making kissing noises and wanting to commandeer him as her own. As soon as my yarn order arrives, mass lamb production will commence. You will see updates as events transpire. :)

-6- Assuming the kids are feeling better, we're going apple and pumpkin picking this weekend. Have I mentioned how much I adore the fall? Gosh, I love it so much. We're aiming for a vigil Mass so that we can have our outing Sunday morning. We'll see if the children cooperate. But Anne is obsessed with pumpkins, so she's highly motivated to make this happen. Perhaps I could crochet her an amigurumi pumpkin. Wait, what am I thinking? MY CUP RUNNETH OVER WITH SEASONAL CRAFTING. Somebody stop me.

-7- If you have any prayer requests for me, just leave me a comment. So glad to have you here reading my humble blog. :)

And here's another lamb cavorting shot, just for good measure:


Have a blessed weekend! Head over to Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Catholic Book Club: The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality

This month I read The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality: A Drink Called Happiness, by Paul Murray OP. As a Third Order Dominican, this book had a lot of personal meaning to me. It was also recommended by the fabulous budding lay Dominican Cristina, and based on those two factors alone I knew I simply *must* read it!

Let me preface my discussion by saying that I'm definitely the type of gal that has difficulty reading spiritual classics and other what I would term "heavy" non-fiction. I do think that I still *need* to read those things sometimes regardless, but my preference is for books that put the material into an easier to digest, lighter style, while still imparting spiritual truth. And this book does that in abundance.

The author starts off by describing St. Dominic and Dominican spirituality, and this information is so fascinating even for non-Dominicans. I think most people associate Carmelites with prayer and contemplation, and Franciscans with simplicity and works of charity, but what do people associate with Dominicans? My impression is that Dominicans are sometimes seen in a harsher light, because they're known as preachers. But by "preachers" we don't mean IN YOUR FACE! thundering at the pulpit, or anything like that. Dominicans are also known for their charism to truth and to study, and I think that this paints us a bit as "old fashioned" nerds with our noses in books all of the time. So I appreciated his summary of Dominican thought right at the outset, and his emphasis on how Dominicans are as relevant today as 800 years ago, and how they are much more gentle in approach than one might assume. He also inserted some interesting little facts, like how the Dominican order has never fractured and split off into multiple groups like other major orders.

The author then addresses three themes that he believes permeate Dominican history and spirituality, which are (1) happiness, (2) study, and (3) immersion in the Gospel, drawing parallels between these themes and a feast of good food and wine. That's certainly a pleasing and relatable parallel, and as such I read this book much more quickly than I would have originally thought. He discusses a lot of Dominican saints and how they exemplified these three themes with their lives and writings, some of whom I hadn't heard of before. Others, of course, are well known to all us, including St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Martin de Porres.

One of the things that I really liked about this book was how accessible it made the saints feel to me. The author discusses their lives and their struggles, and it makes one realize that even saints didn't have an easy time of navigating their spiritual life. There are some endearing anecdotes included about many of them. At the end of the book, the author includes a short biography of each saint mentioned, which is an incredibly helpful reference to keep track of everybody and when they lived.

The author also does a very good job of discussing Dominican charisms in the context of the early days of the order, but emphasizing how these things are still so relevant today. For example, in a discussion of St. Thomas Aquinas and his immense love for studying, the author addresses how study can be a form of prayer, and as such an all consuming desire, a form of the Gospel mandate to pray without ceasing. The final chapter, "Dominicans Drinking" (don't you love that?) is my favorite, and the author really brings home the passion of the early Dominicans for the Word of God. "Holy drunkenness," we should all aspire for this!

I really loved this book, and I'm so glad that I read it. It's not as easy a read as a spiritual memoir, but it is incredibly approachable and accessible for such a topic. It was a pleasure to read.

Over our time together, I will certainly select other books on Dominican spirituality for Catholic Book Club (hint: I already have several downloaded to my Kindle :)), but if there are books on other religious orders/Catholic spiritual traditions that you wish to recommend to me for the club, please do leave a comment!

And so, for those that did read New Wine, have at it in the comments! Leave your thoughts on the book, I'd love to read them!

Next up for Catholic Book Club is Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese of Lisieux, by Heather King. I have this all downloaded by my Kindle, and will be reviewing it on Wednesday, October 23rd. You'll notice that I updated the right sidebar for Catholic Book Club to announce our December selection:  A Catholic Christmas, by Kathleen Carroll. This is available both in print and for Kindle (which is how I'll be reading it) and I'm so, so excited to read about the roots of our Christmas celebrations, other important feast days in December, and related traditions one can practice in their home. This is a shorter book (we're all busy in December!) and I modified our usual date from the fourth Wednesday of the month to the third Wednesday, because I'm doubting you'll all be reading this blog on Christmas Day!

I hope that you're all looking forward to reading these books as much as I am. :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In the home of the Catholic Librarian last night...

Mike: "Sweetie, is there any more chap stick?"

CL: "Oh! Yes, I have some, Honey. What flavor do you want?"

Mike: "Is this your fancy chap stick? Just something that doesn't look girly when I pull it out of my pocket during class."

"Fancy" is defined as any lip balm not totally devoid of flavor and not purchased at the checkout counter of the local Rite Aid.

CL: "Well, yes, it's natural lip balm made by my soap lady. It's so much nicer than what you usually use." *beams angelically*

Mike: "Do you have any unflavored?"

CL: *looks scandalized* "Um, no. I have one tube of Frozen Margarita and one of Cran-Grape."

*Mike examines the tubes* "The Cran-Grape is pink."

CL: "Sorry."

Mike: *long suffering sigh* "I'll take the Frozen Margarita."

Apparently green is an accepted color for a tube of lip balm.

He is so very cute.

Friday, September 20, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday {Take 13}

-1- I have become so excited about this potential Jesse Tree Ornament swap that I spent a good deal of mental energy this week obsessing over getting enough people involved to guarantee we can pull it off. I even tried to talk my younger sister into it since she is so talented at making jewelry, but since she also works full time outside of the home and is the mother of 11 month old twin boys, this shows you the depths to which I'm willing to sink to twist arms on this one. I guilted Cristina into it (hee hee ;-)) and she pulled some more people in via her blog. We need 32 people and by my count we're now up to around 11, so we're getting there! If you're interested, head to Liturgical Time and leave Michelle a comment!

-2- I know it's only September, but I'm getting so excited for Advent, it's just one of my favorite times of the year. Of course, I love Christmas (which as we know, is NOT a single day, it's a liturgical season lasting through early January *beams*) but I'm talking about *Advent*. The joyful anticipation of our Lord's birth beginning in late November/early December through Christmas Eve. It's just magical, and I adore finding new activities to add to my yearly Advent devotions with the kids. Advent doesn't start this year until December 2nd, but if you want to procure or make supplies like the Jesse Tree, an Advent calendar, Advent wreath, etc., you should consider ordering now since things tend to get backordered as the date draws near.

I was ordered last summer for Advent 2012, because my owner is a bit neurotic.



-3- Speaking of September, this month has been CRAZY with the volume of teaching I've had to do. Thankfully, the busiest of these weeks are coming to an end today. The classes I've had these past two weeks have all been the same, just with different students, and I'm pretty sick of hearing my own voice say the same things at this point.

"Didn't I already use that 'amusing' anecdote?! Oh well, who cares, I'm so tired I can't remember."

But I'm trying to remember what my dance teacher always says: no matter how many times you've done it before, it's fresh to THIS audience. So make your delivery fresh, sister.

-4- I have dance tonight, and we're working on our Isis wings choreography. I wasn't sure if I'd like Isis wings, it's like having giant butterfly wings strapped to your back. I'll try to get a picture of myself wearing them at some point, it's pretty entertaining. You end up spinning a lot to make them gain air and float, and while I like turning, I'm not really into multiple fast spins while I'm trying to make the wings on my back behave the way I want them too. I find the whole thing a bit stressful, but part of being in a troupe is trying new things and going along with the group, so I strap on my wings and do my best each week.

-5- I had dinner with my Catholic girlfriends last night, the ones I met when I moved back home after law school and was discerning my calling to a third order. We always end up talking a lot about kids, our cycles, and how we're aging against our will. Typical female stuff. I held a 10 week old baby and it was magnificent.

-6- I'm about to download Mater Eucharistiae from our friends the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. They are my very favorite religious order, and if I had felt called to be a nun, I would almost certainly have applied there. Anyway, their new album of sacred music has apparently been #1 on the Billboard charts of late, and it's available as an mp3 download at Amazon for $6.99! Check it out. If you order the physical CD (price around $12) you receive an mp3 copy as well for free.

-7- If you have any prayer requests, just leave me a comment. :) I value all of you, and don't think I haven't noticed that my little crowd of followers on the right sidebar has grown lately. *waves happily*

Link up over at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Catholic Nook: Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary (The Servite Rosary)

We recently passed the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which I've blogged about before, and so I thought it was a fitting time to mention the special rosary dedicated to this devotion.

So, sorrows. Yes I know, it's a bit of a downer.  But I think that this devotion can speak to us in so many different ways: for women in our role as mothers, whether that be a physical role or not, and for all of us as we navigate painful times in our lives.

In a nutshell, the seven sorrows of Mary are:

(1) The Prophecy of Simeon that Jesus would be instrumental in the resurrection of Isreal, and that Mary's heart would be pierced by a sword. (Lk 2:34-35)

(2) The Flight into Egypt when Herod ordered the slaughter of all baby boys. (Mt 2:73-74)

(3) The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Lk 2:43-45) 

(4) Meeting Jesus as He Carries His Cross. (Lk 23:26-27)

(5) The Crucifixion. (Jn 19:25-27)

(6) Taking Jesus' Body Down From the Cross. (Mt 27:57-59)

(7) Jesus' Burial. (Jn 19:40-42)

Her life was a bit...difficult, to be sure. And certainly these are some important moments for us to meditate on in the context of salvation history.

The Servite order adopted these seven sorrows into a special Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows, and it became an important devotion within their communities. The rosary consisted of seven groups of seven beads, each separated by a medal depicting one of the sorrows. In recitation of this rosary, each sorrow would be announced and meditated upon, followed by an Our Father and seven Hail Marys. The rosary is concluded with three Hail Marys with a request to model our life on the faith of Our Lady. The very bottom of the rosary features a medal Our Lady of Sorrows, her heart pierced by seven swords. The crucifixion scene often appears on the reverse side of this medal.

Eventually, this became a private devotion that laypeople prayed as well. The photo at the top of this post is a single segment chaplet for this devotion, similar to a one decade rosary, which you simply reuse again and again to make your way through all of the mysteries. You can see the front of the Our Lady of Sorrow medal on the far right, and it does in fact have the crucifixion scene on the other side. It was made by the lovely Carm at Unbreakable Rosaries

This is obviously a nice Lenten devotion, but now in the fall, with the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows fresh in our memory (Sept. 15th) and Advent approaching on the liturgical calendar, it's a good time to reflect on the suffering before the joyful anticipation. We have some powerful saint feast days approaching, which is another nice tie in to remembering with Our Lord did for us and dedicating our lives, in whatever way we can, to Him.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us and our special intentions.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Hum, Wisconsin has a "k" in it..." My adventures in Henry's classroom. :)

...yes, this would be on Hank's personalized map of the United States that he filled in and colored. He's almost 8, he's almost as tall as me, but dang it that kid is still CUTE.

I love going to Henry's school. I love seeing the crucifix in every room, and the abundant statues of Our Lady. I got to see the foam crosses that each child had decorated (Henry's had 2 coiled pythons on it and a monkey, apparently we had some holdovers from Noah's Ark making their way to the New Testament), and sit at his desk.

It was all quite precious. I met his teacher, who was very warm and kind, also very experienced. She summed Henry up spot on:

"Henry. Such a sweet boy. Very bright. Needs to work on his listening skills."

Yep, that's my son.

She talked about the curriculum, and that's one of the other things I love about this school. Very traditional. Mathematics, reading and language arts, science, social studies, religion, and yes, good old fashioned penmanship. She spoke of the third grade sacramental preparation for First Holy Communion with reverence, calling it the crown jewel of their religious education program. They have a culture element to the social studies curriculum that is themed for each month, and in December they are going to study Christmas around the world.

LOVE. I saw that she has a collection of books about careers, and included was a book about becoming a librarian.

*angels sing*

The classroom has a little library, and the school of course has a larger one. The children go weekly to get new books. They have frequent informal reading time and they can read whatever they like as long as it's chaptered.

I left feeling all warm and fuzzy, and carrying a new prayer book we each received. Life is good.

Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday {Take 12}

-1- I've been doing a lot of teaching for the start of this semester, and so far everything I have taught have been small group sections of a larger world civilizations course. So, it's the same material, the exact same assignment, for each of these, and I have *10* in total. I've taught 3 so far and I'm already sick of my own voice and my interspersed humorous anecdotes, so this does not bode well. But I'm hanging in there. I have more of these classes today and the end of next week, then thankfully I can move on to English Composition.

My goal is always to keep these sessions as interesting and lively as possible, but there is inevitably somebody in the back (usually wearing a hoodie, for whatever reason) who is on the brink of nodding off, especially if the class is at 9 am, which many of these are. I do what I can. :-\ But honestly, the large majority of students seem engaged, so one has to focus on the positive, right?

This is going to be a shorter than normal quick takes because I have two hours of teaching beginning at 9 am. Wish me luck!

-2- In crafting news, I'm making excellent progress with my Christmas gift list. We have another baby sweater:

I belong to Twin B
And I'm working on the coordinating hats. I'm enjoying picturing their little heads squeezing into them. I'm also working on some other gifts, but they are top secret, since the recipients read this blog. :) It's a good thing I've been able to cross things off of my crafting list since I have more yarn arriving today. Amount of guilt that I feel about this: ZERO. I am a good steward of my yarn, using it to bring joy to others.

*wide-eyed look of innocence*

-3- I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was thinking of taking a Flamenco dancing class. There is a local teacher who is setting up shop in the studio that I belly dance at, and she is the ONLY Flamenco teacher in this whole area. The class is Tuesday evenings, and I had to make a decision, since classes started this week. After a lot of soul searching, I decided not to do it. Mike teaches one night per week, Henry has Cub Scouts, and I belly dance every Friday night. We really don't need to add more to our family schedule right now.

As I was looking at the history of the dance, the costuming and techniques, I was thinking that I'd most likely love it. The problem with that is that I *already* love belly dance, and I'm very invested in it, with weekly classes, frequent performances, and 4 professional costumes. I don't need to add more time commitment and money into dance right now, when I do have something that I love. If I were single and without children, it would be totally different, but that is not the case.

So alas, no Flamenco for me, at least not now.

-4- However, speaking of belly dance, at our small student hafla last weekend, we sat around drinking wine and snacking and came up with ideas for class. Now, this is dangerous when we do this. :)

"Hey, let's practice improvising by dancing to *each other's* music/music we have never heard before!"

That sounds great after 2 glasses of wine, but when you're stone cold sober on a Friday night in front of your respected peers = not so much.

But Claire was there and she loved the idea (we shouldn't have given her that wine...), so in a few weeks we're putting a playlist on shuffle and improvising. I'm certain that some blog-worthy things will happen.

-5- But speaking of not wanting to over-schedule oneself, another reason why I turned down taking on an additional dance class is because parish activities are starting up again and I want to be free to volunteer. I'm not teaching for the Children's Liturgy of the Word program this year, but I'd still like to be more involved in the parish. So I'm scouring the bulletin each week for the right opportunity. I'm not certain exactly what I want to do, but I'm sure I'll be inspired by something. Here's hoping. If you all would pray for me on this intention, I would be most humbly grateful.

-6- This is in no way related to any of the above, but it's still an interesting little tidbit. About two weeks ago, Mike asked if I would watch a silent film with him that he's always wanted to see, and he could now record via the miracle of DVR. Did I mention that we now have DVR? We're one of the last people in the free world to acquire this, based on some of the reactions I have gotten. We're a little behind on technology (read: we're cheap). Anyway, he wanted to watch a silent film from 1927, Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog.

I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. Hitchcock did interesting work, but this was obviously one of his earlier pieces, and I didn't know if a silent film would hold my interest. It definitely did. In a nutshell, it's the story of a serial killer stalking young blonde women in London, and what happens when a mystery man checks into a local boarding house. The couple who own the house have a daughter living there who matches the age and description of the victims, and are obviously very nervous about this stranger taking an interest in her. Is he or isn't he?

It was really very good.

-7- This last item I am SUPER excited about! Michelle over at Liturgical Time is hosting a Jesse Tree ornament swap. She needs 32 participants to make ornaments (so you would make the same ornament for 32 people, and send them to Michelle), and in exchange you will receive a package of 32 different handmade ornaments to decorate your Jesse Tree for all of Advent. :) The ornaments all relate to the story of Jesus' ancestry and birth. Who else is a craft fiend (despite not being all that talented with them)?!?! Anybody with me?!

I think this would be beautiful, and I *adore* having items that are handmade by people I admire. It's why I collect rosaries and headcoverings with such abandon. hee hee! Do go read Michelle's post and leave her a comment if you're interested!

Ok, I'm off to teach. Check out other 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Just a "life" post...

Let's face it, we could all use a distraction today, so as I sit, limp as a wet noodle, in my office, I thought I'd provide one.

One of my responsibilities as a college librarian serving undergraduates is instruction. I was a little bit surprised by this when I first started library school. I thought becoming a librarian meant that I'd cavort amongst books all day and have an office cat.

Yeah. Not so.

The beginning of each semester is always the instruction crescendo where I'll get a bunch of requests lined up. So what I have to do is visit a class on a designated day to teach the students about library sources and services tailored to a specific assignment that they have.

I have a whole bunch of classes this semester from a world civilizations course, and a few English composition. I had the first two today.

They went great, but I tell you, it wears me out to do them. I suppose because:

(1) I'm an introvert. Being in front of people does not come naturally to me. I know, I know, this coming from the belly dancer, but there you have it.

(2) I'm an introvert. Being "ON!" so that I can present a professional and pleasant persona in front of a group physically drains my energy.

(3) Did I mention that I was an introvert? I like to talk to books. Strangers, not so much.

(4) Last night I was awoken in the middle of the night by the following: "MOMMY! I COME SLEEP IN YOUR BED!"

All of these things mean that I am absolutely exhausted and plan to do nothing tonight besides knit, drink hard spirits, and watch Breaking Bad with Mike. It's been a few episodes, so I'm certain it's time for yet another drug dealer to meet violent death.

Never a dull moment, I tell you.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Catholic Nook: Chaplet to Our Lady Star of the Sea (Stella Maris)


This is one of my very favorite Marian devotions, and this day is quickly becoming icky poo, so I desperately needed a soothing distraction. :)

I've blogged about my discovery of Our Lady under the title of "Star of the Sea/Stella Maris" here before, which was an interesting tale about a book that I read and a chaplet that I spotted in my favorite online rosary shop. For some reason, the title just evokes serene images to me, Our Lady dressed in blue, calming rough waters and coming to our aid, we all need that, right? So I thought I'd write about this devotion again and flesh it out a bit more, since it's been awhile since I've discussed it.

Our Lady Star of the Sea is traditionally the patroness of those who are seafarers. She is also, however, the patroness of all those needing guidance "on the sea of life" which is certainly all of us when we're going through a tough time. I think that's a lovely way of looking at things. The water of our life is going to always be a mixture of rough and calm, but it's a matter of finding a way to ride out the rough waters. We can ask for Our Lady's intercession for these intentions under this title.

Carm put together this page with information on the chaplet itself, and in an update since I wrote the post I linked to above a few years ago, I acquired a Stella Maris chaplet. I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that I acquire as many rosaries and chaplets as is humanly possible, because I love them so much:

I am lovely.
Here I am posing with it, because I am a nerd.




This chaplet has a Stella Maris medal on which you say a special prayer asking for Our Lady's intercession, and there are three beads on the "drop" prior to the chaplet center. On these three beads you recite an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be for the intentions of the pope, your bishop, and your parish priest. Moving past the center, we now have 12 beads which represent the 12 stars of Mary's crown. On each of these beads, you pray a Hail Mary, ending each with:

"Our Lady Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands."

It doesn't take long to pray this chaplet, and I always feel SO much better after doing so. I'm planning to pray one on my way home from work, so if you'd like me to add your intention, just leave me a comment. :)

My beautiful chaplet was a gift from my knitting friends, who purchased it from Carm's shop. She doesn't have any Stella Maris chaplets listed now, but if she does, they will appear in the chaplets section, and you can always request a custom order from her if you would like your own. I just love the blue/green and dark blue sparkly beads on mine, very water-inspired.

This is one of my favorite chaplets. Perhaps it will become one of yours too!

Friday, September 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday {Take 11}

-1- Ok, so remember how I was talking about how I thought that I would escape unscathed from my week of being on jury duty summons? How my number was decently high for a 4 day week (#406) and how each day they were only calling a small number of jurors (75 on the first day, just under 50 on the next) and so I probably wouldn't have to report?

Yes. Dear reader, one would think that I would have learned this life lesson long before now:

COCKY ASSUMPTIONS WHEN CALLING IN ABOUT JURY DUTY GOETH BEFORE A FALL.

*beep!* "Thank you for calling the Commissioner of Jurors office! If you are calling to see whether your juror id number is needed to report tomorrow, please press 1."

*Tiffany presses 1*

"Please listen to the entire recording. (*gentle snort*) For jurors with the term date beginning September 3rd, the following juror id numbers need to report tomorrow morning at 9am: #122..."

*Tiffany clears her throat confidently*

"...through and including #406."



*Tiffany drops the phone in shock and anger*

"Wait, WHAT?! They're suddenly calling almost *300* people tomorrow?! CAN THEY DO THAT?!"

Of course they can. I was just lashing out unreasonably. And my number being the literal last number called in for Thursday? That was just salt in the wound.

So, yesterday I reported to jury duty for the first time. For the sake of this being a "quick take" and this story being not so quick, I won't go into a lot of detail. But I went, we filled out a bunch of forms and had to watch an orientation video that made me think that Marvin Candle from the Dharma Initiative was going to appear onscreen at any moment. Then I waited and waited, and knit and knit. A fellow juror leaned over to tell me that I shouldn't have been allowed to bring in my knitting needles because "they could be dangerous weapons" to which I replied by giving her the stink eye. Clearly she has never picked up a knitting needle a day in her life.

Eventually they started calling back groups of people to question and I never got called. Around lunchtime they told the remaining people, including me, that they didn't need anybody else today and that we were excused. We're out of the system for 7 years now.

*angelic beam*

I don't want anybody to think I'm a bad citizen, I'm just SUCH a creature of habit. I long for my routine and being off of it is very disconcerting to me. I think in the future I would enjoy being on a jury. This being the beginning of the semester, with me having classes scheduled that no one can cover for me, just wasn't the best time.

-2- Also yesterday, the following exchange made my week:

*Mike and Tiffany approach cashier with Anne in tow along with house liquor update*

"Are both of you over 30?"

*Tiffany pounces on her with glee*

"Did you just ask if we were over 30?! Oh thank you, thank you!!"

"Um, I asked if you both *had id*."

"Oh, that's actually even better, THANK YOU AGAIN, I just wish I wasn't old enough to be clearly losing my hearing."

:-\

-3- After the liquor store, we took the kids to the adjacent gourmet store, which is one of their favorite places on the planet. We window shop the expensive appliances and imported tea while Henry scales the entire place looking for free samples, and he always succeeds. Yesterday, he scored some sort of fancy Cheetoh-looking crunchy stick, and some squares of Asiago cheese. He shared one with Anne, who loved it so much that she refused to eat it and harbored it in her hand for so long that upon our arrival home the entire car smelled like feet. Just a typical evening in the life of your Catholic Librarian.

-4- In other news, I've been working on a dance solo for our little student only hafla tomorrow evening. We're supposed to perform something that is challenging for us since it's not a public audience, so that we can work on it, and I chose a veil since that is my toughest prop. Or would that be a cane? Do read that link if you want to be amused by a woman 8 months pregnant belly dancing with a cane. But anyway, I digress.

I have come to love improvising when I solo, but I found that improvising with a prop that you're not totally comfortable with is not so easy. So I came up with a very loose choreography and that's working well. Being versed in improvisation is nice in that if I forget my choreography (and the chances of that are fairly good, see quick take #2 above on other age-related deficiencies) I can just improvise something for that section without fretting about it and putting on The Panic Face. I'm not *relying upon* my choreography to the expense of forgetting how to dance if I forget my choreography (which is what I used to do when I was new to soloing) but it's providing me with the structure I need to showcase the veil well. We'll see how this goes. The piece is good, it is. Just over 3 minutes long, it's very cute, lots of veil swirlys with some nice dancing. I just hope I don't slip on the veil, because that *has* happened.

*shudders*

I'll update you on Monday.

-5- Henry started third grade yesterday, and it seemed to go well. I mean, it's hard to tell when the answer to every question you ask him is: "it was fine," but my significant Mommy Body Language Powers of Analysis tell me that he was comfortable and happy. He came home with the cutest Catholic child's day planner that they gave all the kids with the Mass responses printed in it as well as major prayers and the rosary. LOVE.

-6- Bath & Body Works and Yankee Candle have their fall fragrances out, which I wait for all year. I also see that B&BW now has a better sale going on than when I placed my order for fall soaps and fragrance plugins less than 24 hours ago. *glares*

So go and buy your stuff now. YOU'RE WELCOME.

-7- Don't forget to send me your prayer requests! I love having specific people and things to pray for. Just leave me a comment, and away I go. :)

All right, have a great weekend everybody! And head over to Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Just a day in the life...

Your resident potential juror is once again happily ensconced in her office so I thought I would check in. It's not looking like I will have to report this week based on my juror number, but I need to call back tonight and check. In the meantime, I've been working on some work-related book reviews. I review books for Catholic Library World. Coming up in early 2014, you'll see reviews by me of:

Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration, by Melanie Rigney;

Mind Your Body, Work Your Soul, by Clare Strockbine; and

Toddler Christmas: Activities, Games and Stories for Excited Toddlers, by Kate Saunders.

I'm kind of excited, especially for the toddler Christmas book. And speaking of toddlers, Anne has been amusing us of late by her ability to break into song.

"Splish, splash, Anne was taking a baff!"

...is now a regular part of her musical repertoire. And see how she inserts herself into the song? Very cute. When we get to...

"rub a dub, just re-waxin' in the tub!" She brings in some saucy shoulder moves.

I get the feeling we're going to have a hard time with her when she gets older.

Other than that, I've just been cooking, knitting, and watching Breaking Bad with Mike in the evenings. It's a strange thing to say, given the very premise of that show, but it seems to me that the episodes are getting even *darker* which doesn't seem possible. At any rate, it makes for good conversation fodder, to say the least.

I have a ton of instruction to plan for here at work starting next week, but do you think that any of the Teaching Assistants could get back to me with their syllabus/assignment sheet? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

*taps foot impatiently*

So that's why I'm working on the book reviews instead of lesson plans. I'll be happy in a few weeks when all of these classes are behind me. I've got a library school student coming to observe me for a few of them which isn't exactly easing the pressure at all.

We'll get there. Send me your prayer intentions! I've been including everyone who has asked me to pray for them every morning and evening when I do the intercessory prayer section in the Magnificat. This spot could also be yours. :)