Friday, March 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes {Take 36} Swinging chandeliers, French food and out of control cardigans edition...

This is a real crazy eclectic collection of topics this week. Generally, my Quick Takes are like that (although this week a bit more than usual) because that is what it looks like to be inside my head. ;-) And it's funny because when I was younger my life wasn't nearly this interesting. :0 When I was in my 20's, I lived with my parents and for fun went to law school. If I have to be pushing 40, I'd rather be a belly dancing librarian who makes her kids eat hidden vegetables and swears like a truck driver at cashmere cardigans. Continue on, gentle reader, for this week's adventures!

-1- "What is that thing and why is it green?!" The 10 Day Real Food Pledge...

I've been blogging about my new foray into cutting out processed food from my diet (here, with some intensive grocery shopping there, and some trauma to the children over there). The 10 days officially ends tomorrow, so I thought I'd post my experience and thoughts. The verdict is in, and it is: extremely positive.

I feel great. The entire family is eating homemade, *real* food. Butter, meat, dark chocolate, oh my!  My lunches have never been so exciting. The kids are (reluctantly) trying new things and we're all expanding our palate to new and interesting foods. I'm in the kitchen a lot more cooking and baking, and I'm enjoying it. I also lost 2 and a half pounds in a week. :0 I know that that pace won't continue, but I can't help thinking that my body is happy with my non-highly processed efforts. I'm only 2 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight (a mere 3 years later, victory is ALMOST MINE!). Feeling super thrilled.

I plan to continue our efforts. I'm eating probably 95% non-processed foods and I think that 90% and above is very manageable. The kids do eat more processed foods than I do, but they've been cut way back. I'm pleased.

-2- Really into this "French thing" lately...

One of the books I read recently relating to food is French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters, by Karen Le Billon.

I finished it a few days ago, and LOVED IT. I highly recommend the read if you have children who are fussy eaters. And really, what parent doesn't?! This book read like a memoir, which explains why I loved it so much. We journey with this family from Vancouver to a small village in France where we experience all of the cultural shocks and faux pas along with the author. Her daughter refusing to eat the school lunches. Tantrums thrown over a denial of snacks. Public embarrassment at dinner parties. I read. I related. I loved.

This book has got me jonesing for Mireille Guiliano's books, such as French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, which was much bandied about when it first came out, and French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasure. I managed to snag the first one from the public library today, which I'll come back to down in take #7. :) I've got all kinds of related new cookbooks now on my Amazon wish list.

Catholic Librarian's nutritional status: Feeling all inspired.

-3- "Uh oh, looks like someone ventured too far to the side!"

Speaking of inspiration, we're officially entering spring and summer performance season with dance, and I couldn't be more excited. I have SO much fun with my troupe whenever we perform, it's always an adventure. Tomorrow evening we're slated to dance at a spring party that will benefit the council for the arts in our county. It's taking place at a local restaurant with a new banquet room, which is where we'll be dancing. One of our newer choreographies involves Wings of Isis, and the banquet room is nice and big with plenty of space for our wings to unfurl. Fun, right?

Well, yes, if there are no hanging light fixtures.

We have this problem in the studio, and you can tell if someone moved just a hair too far out of the formation by whether the lights are swaying when we go to leave. And apparently one of the new additions to the banquet room are chandeliers. Fantastic.

We now have to modify our choreography, so this should be interesting. Hopefully no glass will be shattered at this event. I will report in on Monday. :)

-4- "Remind me again of why I EVER pick Syracuse to win ANYTHING?!"

I think this take can be summed up as: every year I get suckered into filling out a bracket for the March Madness college basketball tournament because Mike organizes a pool. Do I watch college basketball the rest of the year, you reasonably ask, gentle reader? Why no, I don't. I pay $10 for this privilege, and then I never, ever win. Mike and I have been married for almost 10 years. Yep, truckin' along all that time, and no winnings to show for it. And yet every year I *look forward* to this. I eagerly watch the games and root for my picks, only for my bracket to go up in flames every single time. It's like some sort of self-flagellation ritual. This year, the two teams I picked to go to the championship game were out of the tournament by the end of the first weekend. I mean, that's a seriously a NEW LOW.

Sucks the joy out of watching the games I tell you. :0

-5- April Craziness

Next month I have all kinds of dance rehearsals for events we have in late April and early May. Mike has been cast in a play with the local theater group. :0 It's very exciting! They're doing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. So he's got lots of rehearsals coming up. Henry wants to play soccer in a new Catholic school league, and his First Communion is coming up - the day of my spring hafla and one of Mike's show nights. When it rains it pours! It's all good stuff, so we're just creating a schedule and organizing it as best we can. It should be a very fun spring and summer.

-6- "Wow, that actually looks like a seam!" Adventures in knitting...

Apparently, Navy Blue Cardigan read my scathing declaration of hatred the other day, and has decided that cooperating with me is in his best interests. After watching a helpful YouTube video, I now have set in sleeves and side seams that I'm shockingly pleased with. I still need to seam the inside of the sleeves, do something with the horrifyingly deformed neckline, weave in a million FREAKING ends from the seams and sew on buttons. But overall things are going a bit better. I feel a bit of hope in my heart this this thing will turn out to actually be a wearable sweater. If things don't go well this weekend with the aforementioned, expect a post on Monday entitled:

The Death of the Navy Blue Cardigan: Apparently cashmere is quite flammable...

-7- The librarian is in the building...

A foray to the public library yesterday morning with Mike and Anne has me feeling very happy. Is there a greater feeling than having new books on your "to be read" shelf? If you don't have a  "to be read" shelf, dear reader, I'm afraid you have no idea what you are missing. :0 I love the anticipation, the quiet expectation of new and interesting things, that comes with having books stacked up on my nightstand. I thought I would share my new selections with you. We have:

Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet, by Jenifer Ringer, a retired principal dancer with the New York City Ballet:

I love reading about any form of dance, but ballet is very close to my heart. That was always my favorite when I took dance lessons as a child, and I considered picking it back up as an adult. But that's when I discovered Middle Eastern dance the rest is history. Ballet is, however, my foundation for the way that I dance now, and people notice and ask me about it. There is nothing more sublime than watching a beautifully executed ballet performance to me, but there are obviously dark sides to ballet. Pressure, eating disorders, injuries, all of that. I just started this, and am dying to get back to it tonight!

French Women Don't Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano.

As I mentioned above, I've been reading a lot about eating whole foods and cutting out processed food. This books looks quite charming, and the French author talks about her year of studying in the United States and the effect the American diet had on her figure. Returning to France, she educated herself on why she never struggled with her weight previously, and how to get back to that simple, but delicious, style of eating.

I'm currently reading on my Kindle (the omnipresent Amish fiction):

A Season of Love (Kauffman Amish Bakery Series), by Amy Clipston.

 I love Amish fiction, I've got about 20 selections queued up on my Kindle at any one time. It's just so sweet and soothing to read. I'm enjoying this book, but one thing about it is really bugging me - the father of the main character. I'm certain he's supposed to simply be acting as an obstacle to our hero and heroine developing a forbidden romance (between an Amish woman and a Mennonite man), but the way he is portrayed is actually emotionally and verbally abusive to his daughter, in my opinion. I'm having a difficult time getting past that. He could have acted as a foil without going to this extreme. So we'll see how this one turns out.

All right, everyone, I need to get back to work! I'll be reporting in on Monday with knitting and dancing updates, and possibly more books. :) Talk to you all then!

Check in with Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes!


  1. I absolutely love all of your book recommendations. Keep 'em coming! :)

  2. (Law school, huh?) The adventures with "real" food sound as if they're paying off! And that photo of the dancing is beautiful. You're right, I think April is going to be one crazy month for many of us. Best of luck!

  3. I've now added "French Kids Eat Everything" to my Amazon Wish list. My kids do pretty well, but they could always do better. And I love how Navy Blue Cardigan has taken on a bit of a persona now. ;)


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