Friday, May 29, 2015

7 Quick Takes {Take 81} Summer critters, crafting, and packing?! edition...


Summer is a time of new life, yes? Lots of cute baby animals and new flowers, plant life, etc. Well, theoretically. Last night I offered to water the garden, since Henry wanted Mike to toss the Frisbee with him, and I got a concerned look for my efforts:

"What's wrong?"

"Well...don't give them too much water."

"I won't! I'll be careful."

*skeptical pause ensues*

"I mean it!"

"Try not to kill them."

"I won't!"

I don't exactly have a green thumb, so I'm not taking this personally. :0 But speaking of new life...

-1- "Mommy, look at that birdie! HI BIRDIE!!"

 I step to the kitchen window to look at the birds with Anne, and espy a Robin, a European Starling and a mysterious brown bird. I inspect it for a moment, then I realize:

"Oh! That bird is a fledgling, a baby. See how he keeps tweeting and going over to the black bird for food? That's his mommy."

"A baby bird?!"

Anne is transfixed.

"HI BABY BIRDIE!! He's so cute Mommy!"

"Yeah, he's pretty big though, just about as big as his mother." :0

Life is tough when you're a bird, you need to grow fast.

"What is he doing Mommy?"

"Well, his mother is trying to gather food, but he's being awfully loud and interrupting her a lot. I can tell he's really distracting her, but see how she just popped something into his mouth? There she goes to try and find more, and gosh, he's right there isn't he, being all shrill and demanding and following her every move. Come to think, that poor beleaguered mommy bird."

Apparently, certain characteristics amongst young carry over between species. ;-)

Speaking of cute critters...

-2- The lamb now has ears...

*drum roll*

I'm sure he's grateful. :0 I will grant, he still needs a body, but we're getting there!

-3- Video series is going great!

I am loving recording a video each week. I have a bit of a big mouth apparently, so before I know it, I glance at the timer and see that I've been yapping on for over 8 minutes, and I'm going to work on that. :0 I also need to work on my equipment set up, which right now consists of a dictionary, a thesaurus, and my copy of Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light stacked up to act as a stand, and a tape dispenser and stapler to prop the phone up. But besides those things, it's going great. ;-) I loved talking to you yesterday about why I became a librarian and how my responsibilities are about to shift to include a ton more teaching over the next year. Do tune in with a cup of tea or coffee to sip if such things interest you, and also don't forget to leave me your suggestions for chaplets that I can make audio recordings of!

-4- What's that you ask? Packing for my trip? *look of innocence*

So. I'm leaving for my trip to Atlanta for the CNMC in one week. Someone asked me if I had started packing yet, to which I snorted in response. That would be a NO. I'm definitely a last minute type of a packer. I DO have a gigantic to-do list of small headachey things, like little diddies I need at the store to update my travel toiletry bag, acquiring a new piece of luggage because we badly need it, and checking the TSA website for whether various Important Items (like my hair straightener :0) can be tucked into my carry-on bag. We're getting there. I'm very nervously excited. But speaking of things to pack...

-5- Thinking of upgrading my Kindle...

I have the newest Kindle Basic, and I adore it. Henry has a much older version, and it's really on the fritz. I'm thinking of giving him this Kindle and upgrading to the Kindle Paperwhite so that I'll have the built-in light. What do you all think? If you have a Paperwhite, how often do you use the light? I didn't originally get the Paperwhite because I have a bedside lamp that I use to read at night, but I'm now thinking that there could be other occasions on which the built-in light would come in handy, especially while on a trip. Thoughts? :)

-6- My current read...

Yes, it's a very secular romance, judge away. ;-) But I love romantic suspense, and every once in awhile I indulge in a title from the Harlequin Intrigue line. This one is KCPD Protector, by Julie Miller:


I'm just about a quarter of the way through, but so far the mystery has grabbed my interest, although I can tell that this is a part of a larger series that I have not dipped into previously. It's set during a Kansas City summer heatwave, so seasonally it feels like the perfect time to read it. I love it when that happens. :)

-7- June book club!

In June, I'm going to be reading Cardinal Timothy Dolan's Praying in Rome: Reflections on the Conclave and Electing Pope Francis:


This is a quick read, and only $1.99 for Kindle, so scoop it up if you'd like to join in!

All right, I have to jet! I hope that you all have a beautiful last weekend in May, and I'll talk to you next week. Head over to This Aint' the Lyceum for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany Episode 2 - Reference librarianship, and changes on the way?

Hi all! This week, my librarian identity is very much on my mind, and that is the focus of this week's installment of:


Yay! I so love making these videos, although I will admit that the scrutiny I put myself through is a bit painful:

"Why does my face look so weird? Should I redo this one? Oh wait, there is a PIECE OF FUZZ IN MY HAIR, that's it, RE-RECORD!"

So, I haven't exactly gotten this down to a quick-like process just yet. ;-) But we're getting there. This week, I focus on why I became a librarian, and how my role within academic librarianship is changing. Tune in to find out more!


 
Links mentioned in this week's episode:
 Don't forget to leave a comment if you have any thoughts on being a librarian, and/or if you have suggestions for chaplets to add to my list for future recording!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Catholic Book Club: Into the Clouds

Hi all! It's Catholic Book Club day, and today we have an installment in a series, this being the Berdie Elliott Mysteries, and I've talked about these books before. I absolutely adore the setting and concept, which is that of a new vicar and his wife in a small English village. This particular segment in the series is set around an Ascension day procession, and I simply could not resist the tie-in to the liturgical calendar. Here is the description:
Ascension Sunday balloons are not the only things disappearing in the English village of Aidan Kirkwood. When the villagers celebrate the first Ascension Sunday Processional in fifty years, someone goes missing. A well-off widow who was amongst the crowd has vanished into thin air. And she's not the only one who's nowhere to be found.

Berdie Elliott, the local vicar's wife, goes into sleuth mode as eccentric cat lovers, a secretive informant, Portuguese holidays, an enigmatic "tree" house, and tangled family dynamics all add to the perplexing affair.
 During the course of the story, following the Ascension procession, the vicar talks a lot about his preparation for Whitsum, and I thought to myself:

"What on earth is he talking about?"

...and so I used the handy dandy dictionary tool available on my Kindle. Turns out Whitsum is actually Pentecost, as used in British English. Brilliant! As ever, I loved the setting, and I followed along with the characters and the mystery quite avidly. I will say that in terms of the more minor characters, I felt like there were a lot of them in this book and I had a difficult time keeping them straight. That's the one thing on my Kindle that I still struggle with. I don't find it as easy to flip back and forth between portions of the book to refresh my memory. I also found the plot in this book a bit more convoluted as compared to other volumes in the series. There were two mysteries, really, and we had Berdie pursing one and her best pal Lillie pursuing the other, and I didn't find Lillie's quick jump onto that mystery, and her subsequent unexpected and unexplained trip to Portugal in that regard, all that believable. That plot point, tying into a disagreement she is having with her beau, seemed a bit contrived to me.

Those points notwithstanding, I enjoyed this book. I like the characters, I'm very happy checking back in with them to see what has happened in their lives, and I adore sinking into their beautiful village setting. This book came out in the fall of 2014, and I'm hoping that the author is planning to keep writing new adventures in this series.

Has anybody else read this book or others in the series? What did you think?

:)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A busy, crafty bee this happy Memorial Day weekend...

Good day all! I'm coming off of an absolutely lovely Memorial Day weekend. Usually, I don't do anything special on Memorial Day. Parades? Too many people, potentially too hot. And it means leaving the house. And you all know how I feel about THAT. :0 But this year I wanted to go because our parish was hosting a float (Fr. Joe claimed he was "going to be riding on the Popemobile" :0), and so we went. I have to say, I'm so glad that we did. We ended up having to leave prior to seeing Fr. Joe *sob!* because Mike and Henry had plans to see the new Avengers movie and we were cutting it close to the time, but we had been there for an hour and a half, so we got to see plenty. We socialized with our grass neighbors, and I felt all community-spirit-like. Anne befriended a dog, all was good.


I also did a lot of knitting and crocheting this weekend. Henry has been requesting an alien stuffed animal for some time, and I finally got around to it. I have a photo. Brace yourselves. :0

His name is Zork :0
He's very...bright. The yarn is actually neon green. I mean, it's perfect for an alien, right? It's just so...loud. And his eyeballs are just so...large. He keeps toppling over from the sheer weight of his own head. That ruffle at the bottom is supposed to be the same color at his body, but I ran out of green, so he got white:

*Tiffany crochets happily*

"Honey, do you think this white ruffle makes it look like the alien is wearing a skirt? Should I take it off?"

*Mike glances over dubiously*

"No I don't think so."

Meanwhile, the next morning, I come downstairs to find the finished alien in Henry's arms while he watches television.

"Do you like your alien, Sweetie?"

"Oh yes. But could you take off this white thing? It kind of looks like he's a ballerina."

I didn't want to say I TOLD YOU SO, but I thought in my head. ;-) So I took the ruffle off. But the head issue has gotten worse now that Henry has started tucking the thing under his arm to sleep. His neck is super wobbly. I need to come up with a solution for this. Suggestions?

I also started knitting a lamb for my desk, because I've wanted to do that for some time, and who doesn't need a desk lamb? I ask you. I have his body done, but his face is truly spectacular:

His name is Shaun ;-)
I mean, did you ever? I know he doesn't have any ears yet, and his body isn't attached, so the whole severed head thing is a bit creepy, but he's coming right along!

So that was my weekend. :) Lots of gardening, crafting and drinking of tea. It was wonderful. How was your weekend, dear reader?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany Episode 1 - Feedback & creative inspiration!

Hi all, and welcome to the very first official installment of:


YAY! I was so excited to record another video post this week. I wanted to mention each and every one of you who sent me feedback last week (so go listen for your name :0) and some of the ideas you suggested that I'm planning on developing. I just re-watched the video, and I am super excited and animated in this one, moving my hands around a lot and talking real fast. :) I'm really looking forward to what is to come with these posts, and other projects I have planned here on the blog coming up. Queue up the video for details!

**Apologizing in advance for the sheer volume of sniffling that goes on in this post. It's the evil allergies!



Links mentioned in this week's episode:
If you have ideas for future topics, please just leave a comment to let me know! I'll blog again after Memorial Day, but until next Tuesday, enjoy your holiday weekend, and God bless!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I finally don't look like Death, Pentecost novena update, and a new podcast in my queue!

AHHHHHHH... I'm back at work, and finally feeling like myself again. Which is to say that my hair is brushed AND straightened, and I have actual, real clothes on! As opposed to my sick uniform of yoga pants and old tee shirt, that is. We all slept well last night too, which goes a long way, friends.

I had Anne at the pediatrician yesterday, and do you want to know what he said after he had a look at her? And remember, this is the hacking, vomiting, irritable child of the past 4 days:

"She has seasonal allergies."

"ARE YOU SURE?!"

That would be me, tactfully replying. We had both just been so incredibly miserable it seemed to me that a diagnosis of seasonal allergies would make me feel like a total wuss.

"Yeah, it's the worst I've ever seen it this year. It has to do with the bitter winter we had. The grass and tree pollen all started at the same time, rather than being staggered throughout the spring like usual."

*glares!*

We can blame this bitter winter of 2015 for yet one more indignity to my life. He prescribed some allergy medication for Anne, and I popped a Zyrtec when I got home. And well...

SO MUCH BETTER. I mean, I had the fever rash and everything, I was pretty convinced that I had the Plague. I still got a few throat tickles in the middle of the night:

*Tiffany awakens with a start*

*coughs all over Mike*

...but all in all, it was MUCH better than it's been. Well, for me anyway. ;-) We postponed our family birthday dinner for Anne until we were both feeling better, and that's tonight, so I'm excited!

In the mean time, I've been hard at prayer with the Pentecost novena, which we're on day 6 of:

...and it's been a really nice one so far. How's it going for you? I will talk about this more in my next video post, which I hope to have out tomorrow!

Finally, I wanted to mention a new podcast that I starting subscribing to, as I did a lot of podcast listening during my two days off this week as well. Remember when I wrote back in the fall about how much I loved Serial? Well, I now subscribe to Serial's cousin, Undisclosed. Most of the podcasts I listen to are Catholic, but I like to mix it up with some of the secular persuasion as well. :) I used to listen to This American Life, and that is a *great* podcast, to be sure, but the experience was so varied for me each week. Some weeks I was gripped by the content, others were very good and educational, some were "just ok" for me, and yet others I didn't like at all. And my podcast queue is pretty full, so I just don't have room for something that isn't right on target for me each week. Serial and Undisclosed are different from This American Life in that they are both solely true crime/legal podcasts, and I *always* find those fascinating. If you've never listened to either of these, and would like to start, I would suggest going back and listening to all of the season 1 Serial episodes first, since Undisclosed really assumes that you have done so. I think the content would be very confusing if you haven't. This is my third week of listening, and I'm glad that I picked it up. It's a nice balance to the other podcasts that I listen to. Does anyone else listen to Undisclosed? What do you think of it?

All right, that's it for this Wednesday. I hope to see you all tomorrow in my video post. Talk to you then!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Librarian sick day quarantine: day 2...

Hello all.

*weak smile*

After another difficult night of coughing for both Anne and I (SO MUCH HACKING) I awoke this morning with a miserable sinus headache and feeling like Death Warmed Over. There wasn't really much of a decision to make: I had to stay home from work. I was scheduled on the reference desk today, and I hardly think anybody would appreciate the librarian coughing uncontrollably and blowing her nose for two straight hours. Plus, Anne's cough is still very tight. She's bound for the pediatrician this afternoon and I wanted to be able to take her.

So, here we are. It's unusual for me to use sick days at work, I'm a bit of a martyr about such things. ;-) But it's necessary. I'm feeling a lot better than I did this morning, and I'm hopeful that I'm now on the mend. I do still get that dreaded tickle in my throat, followed by unattractive coughing spasms, but my sinus situation is (Alert: this is the TMI portion of our time together today) clearly draining, so that's good. My rash is also a lot better today, so...

#winning!

I've been doing lots of lounging on the couch watching The Golden Girls, and so my precious husband (who is home with us all day since he's between semesters of teaching) keeps walking into the living room with a cup of tea for me, the strains of "Thank You For Being a Friend" heralding his arrival. He's handling the whole thing pretty well, I'd say. ;-)

I'm resting up for my trip to the doctor with Anne in a few hours, which means I've also been spending lots of quality time with my Kindle. Currently underway is another Amish fiction title:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Finds-You-Sugarcreek-Ohio-ebook/dp/B006VCMBJY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1432053385

A mysterious outsider casts a long shadow in Ohio's Amish coutnry. When a stranger and his young son show up on her aunts' doorstep, Rachel Troyer is suspicious. Will she be able to uncover Joe's secrets despite her aunts'--and her own--growing affection for him?

Yay. :) I love this stuff. I'm being very good and reading books that I downloaded ages ago because they were on sale, but have been languishing on my device for months, or even years. I have a few new books in mind that I'd like to download for my trip to Atlanta in a few weeks, and to justify this, I'm trying to get through as many other books before then as I can. My Kindle is indispensable when I fly, it's the perfect distraction. I will grant, I act like I'm taking a trans-Atlantic trip, rather than a barely 2 hour one, but hey, I'm a nervous flyer, ;-)

How are you all doing this week?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Anne's 4th birthday, & "Golden Girls" marathons, because isn't that what everybody does when they're sick?

Hi all! I'm reporting in from the sick wing today, as I'm home from work with a vicious cold. I'll come back to that, as it involves a story, naturally, but I thought I'd start with the happier news of Anne's birthday party this past Saturday. Oh gosh, in fact, it's just after 1 pm here, EDT, and exactly 4 years ago, I was about to deliver precious Anne.

#aw!

Or: #gross! #TooMuchInformationTiffany! depending upon how you look at it, I suppose. But at any rate, we celebrated her miracle of life on Saturday with a family birthday party, complete with Frozen everything. Here we have the birthday girl:

Trying to pretend that she's shy...
...and posing with her birthday balloons:

Looking decidedly *less* shy...

Her ultimate Frozen cake:


Notice the Elsa and Anna plates and napkins in the foreground? My mother would be responsible for those. :0

And the requisite shot of her blowing out the candles:

A lovely time was had by all. Unfortunately, Anne started a light cough on Saturday.

*ominous music cues up*

Overnight on Saturday we had some more coughing to contend with, and I administered a midnight soothe involving application of Vicks Vaporub, fetching of water cup, and reading of "Little House" story. Yesterday, she was definitely not 100%, and we had to contend with quite a few overtired and sickly temper tantrums. I also started to cough, and heading into the overnight Sunday, I was feeling decidedly nervous that we would not get a good night of sleep.

*Tiffany turns her bedside light off and begins to drift to sleep...*

2 minutes elapse...

*Tiffany's throat is seized by horrible, hacking cough*

Needless to say, I was not happy. I tossed and turned a bit, hoping that my throat would soothe. Mike was also being super soothing, trying to help me get comfortable, when IT happened.

*horrible hacking cough emanates from Anne's room*

Between her and me, there was NO WAY I was going to sleep. Mike promised to check on Anne, and I headed downstairs to the guest room, since I knew I would keep him up if I stayed in our room. I hacked down there with my Kindle for a time, and even from all the way downstairs, I could still hear Anne coughing sporadically. Eventually, I gave up. I figured I'd just bring her downstairs with me, and we could watch The Golden Girls while propped up on the couch. I trudged up to her room and opened her door. Hark. What is that smell?

This is that point that all parents ultimately come to, wherein we go into vast detail about some sort of vile body fluid oozing out of our children. Right. In this instance, it would be vomit. I hurried over and quickly discerned that from the chest up, Anne was covered with real mucousy vomit, which must have made it's appearance sometime after Mike had checked on her. I quickly got her up and out of bed, and mopped down. Mike blessedly manifested to strip the bed and begin the fumigation process. I got her all changed while Mike got her room back in order. But I knew she wouldn't be able to sleep right away. That's what The Golden Girls are for.

I adore The Golden Girls. It's my favorite late night TV guilty pleasure from my young adulthood when I could actually stay up past 11 pm,  and whenever I'm up in the middle of the night, I check the Hallmark Channel and it's usually on. Sure enough, Hallmark Channel to the rescue. A Golden Girls marathon, on until well past 1 am, after which time Frazier picks up the slack. Hot damn.

I got her propped up with me and watched no fewer than 4 episodes, all while Anne elbowed me in the ribs and stuck her feet into my vital organs into an attempt to get comfortable. Ah right, *that's* what it feels like to be pregnant again, check. We watched the episode wherein the girls hire a housekeeper named Marguerite, whom they fear has put a curse on them. The one where they are robbed, Rose gets all upset and paranoid, and Blanche says a police officer called her an "oldster." (that one is a personal favorite). Oh, oh, the one where Blanche meets this young stud named Dirk at a Jazzercise class, and then tries to transform herself into looking 30 again when he asks her out?

#bliss

And BY THE WAY. Let me check the calendar...right, it's mid-May. I'll just have you know that The Hallmark Channel is advertising a week long marathon of Christmas movies, to premiere on July 3rd. We've moved Christmas anticipation back to May now? Good gracious.

Eventually, I coaxed Anne back to bed, since the two of us sleeping on the couch thing just wasn't going to end comfortably for either of us. Neither of us was coughing anymore, and I was confident we could get through the night at that point. I re-tucked her in and she went right to sleep. As did I, after a few more tosses and turns for good measure.

The only negative marring this touching scene is that she woke up this morning in a vicious mood and threw a 30 minute screaming tantrum about having to have a bath to wash the vomit out of her hair. Good times, right there. We watched more Golden Girls while I sipped at a full bottle of water to soothe my re-tickly throat (I own the entire series on DVD, so no worries on ever running out of episodes :0) and Mike showed the true nature of unconditional love and sacramental marriage by fixing lunch and sitting down with us to watch the episode wherein the girls are accidentally arrested for prostitution.

"I lost Butter Queen, haven't I suffered enough?!"

He even laughed at appropriate times, ensuring the accumulation of lots of Husbandly Bonus Points.

So, that's my day. :0 As I curled up into the fetal position, attempting to doze off earlier in the morning, I felt Mike approach:

"Oh. You're getting that fever rash on your neck again."

I already had to dance in public with that rash on my neck, haven't I suffered enough?!

So, YEAH, I'm looking a little rough today. Very feverish eyed and rashy, with curly, out-of-control hair. Hence, no video posts until this remedies itself. :0

I'm hoping I'll be well enough to go to work tomorrow, but who knows. How are you faring this Monday, dear reader?

Friday, May 15, 2015

7 Quick Takes {Take 80} Book club & video series news, lots of fiction recommendations, & somebody's turning 4?! *sob!* edition...


On a springtime morning in WNY (a few graduation ceremonies here on campus today; I remembered to park closer to the exit so as to avoid a near occasion of sin when I leave later :0), I'm in good spirits and thinking about what's coming up this weekend and for the rest of May. And what would those things be? Read on, dear friend. :)

-1- *sniffle*

My littlest button's birthday is Monday, and we're having a party for her tomorrow. She's going to be 4.

*insert any number of hormone-induced emoticons here*

My little babe. :-\ She's getting decidedly not-so-little. She's seeming quite tall and lanky these days. And sassy, have I mentioned that? Her party has a Frozen theme, complete with Elsa dress and cake with Olaf's face on it. She's terribly excited and adorable about the whole thing.

-2- Who can resist this face?

And here's the birthday girl, in all her sassiness:

She is precious, isn't she?

-3- What's on my Kindle?

Lots of book talk again this Friday. And what's on my Kindle? *unladylike snort* A LOT of books.  But what I'm currently reading is An Amish Gathering: Life in Lancaster County, which is a compilation of novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Barbara Cameron.


You all know how much I love Amish fiction. Here's the description:
Three heartwarming tales of old friends and new beginnings that span one year in an Amish community.
A Change of Heart by Beth Wiseman
Leah is no good at cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening―the skills that young women need to make a proper Amish wife. All she wants to do is write stories, but she's sincerely tired of being a disappointment. Will she ever find someone who accepts her just as she is? And can an almost-Amish angel in red polka dots help her find her way?

A Place of His Own by Kathleen Fuller
When Josiah left Paradise the first time, he didn't even say good-bye. Now he's back, ten years later, and he's changed. Why is he so distant and bitter? Where is the boy who used to be Amanda's best friend? Amanda is learning that there are things even a capable Amish girl can't fix. But can she stand there and watch him walk away . . . again?

When Winter Comes by Barbara Cameron
It's been too long since Rebecca has done what she loves―put on her skates and fly across the ice. Five years have passed since a winter accident took her twin Lizzie and left Rebecca heartbroken. And Ben has waited for her all that time. At last she's starting to heal. But has too much time passed for their hearts to reconnect?
I'm still on the first story, and it's excellent so far. Beth Wiseman is a favorite of mine, to be sure. The premise is different from other Amish books I've read. I'm digging it!

-4- Lots more fiction coming your way...

Speaking of my current read, I have been on a real fiction kick lately. I've been going through more books that I've downloaded and been saving up, and I have plans to download some more that I'm coveting for my trip to Atlanta next month. So, I'm thinking that at least for the summer, the Catholic Book Club will incorporate in more fiction (with a religious bent, certainly). It's just the mood that I'm in, so why not, right? If you enjoy religious fiction, be sure to stay tuned for upcoming titles that we can read together.

-5- May book club coming up soon!

Indeed, our May date for the Catholic Book Club is near at hand, May 27th, and on that day we'll be discussing Into the Clouds: A Berdie Elliott Ascension Mystery, by Marilyn Leach:


I couldn't resist the feast of the Ascension tie-in. I reviewed the Advent book in this series, and really enjoyed it, so I thought this installment was perfect for May. I just finished reading it a few days ago, and am looking forward to talking to you about it. If you'd like to join in, the book is only $3.99 for Kindle!

-6- And now on to dance-related frivolities...

Summer festival season is just about upon us, and my troupe is booked for several dates in July and August. This means lots of rehearsing for the rest of May and all of June. Excitingly, our sets are fairly long for these, so there are solo opportunities. Given the sheer volume of how much I sweat before I dance solo, one wouldn't think I'd be clamoring for the opportunity. One wouldn't *think*. ;-) But soloing is an opportunity to really grow as a dancer, and gain valuable experience. Thus, I am slated to solo. I'm pretty nervous, but excited all the same. Much obsessing about music and costuming to come, stay tuned. ;-)

-7- Have I mentioned how excited I am about the video series I'm starting?

Yes, clearly. :0 But I can't help it, I'M SO EXCITED! If you haven't joined in the fun yet, my very first video post ever is linked here, and I'm looking forward to recording another installment next week. These will be called "Tea Time with Tiffany" and we can kibbutz together each week over tea or coffee. I'm figuring out my topics for the next few weeks, and I have also received some suggestions, so I'm keeping a list of everything!

#TypeA

As a preview, some things on the list are: my identity within academic librarianship, and will I continue to have a role as an old fashioned reference librarian? How do I integrate my Catholic faith into my marriage?  How did I discover Catholic podcasting?...and my experiences, as a Class A Introvert ;-), at my very first Catholic New Media Conference. How did I get started taking classes in Middle Eastern dance? I'll talk about the feedback that I've received a bit more on next week's edition of the show, I promise, because there are some really fascinating suggestions in there. Yay? YAY!

All right everyone, talk to you next week. Have a beautiful weekend, and please come back to join me afterward for some fun conversation and fellowship. Until then, don't forget to check out more 7 Quick Takes over at This Ain't the Lyceum!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Really excited about my new video series, & Pentecost novena starts tomorrow!

Hi all! My week has gone very well, and thus I am in good spirits. I am SUPER excited about the video post I did, and plan to do again in the weeks to come, but let me circle back to that. First, I wanted to say that I'll be praying the Pentecost novena, which starts TOMORROW:

*Holy Spirit descends!*

...and I created a page with a link to the prayers if you'd like to join in. Please consider doing so! This novena will run today through next Saturday, May 23rd, the vigil of Pentecost Sunday. I love praying novenas that lead right up to the specific feast. Makes me feel all liturgical and nerdily Catholic.

*adjusts glasses*

So I hope that you're praying along with me! In other news, the video post series is suddenly all I can think about. I really, *really* enjoyed doing that, and I have gotten a boatload of positive feedback on it, both here in the comments and elsewhere in the social media sphere. So my goal is definitely weekly video posts! I'm certain weeks will come up wherein I won't be able to do them, but aim high, right? The only rub is a pleasing recording time/setting. If I'm at home, we have:

"MOMMY! Henry's *bothering me* again! And...oh, what are you doing, Mommy? Are you taking a picture? CAN I BE IN THE PICTURE MOMMY?!"

That would be cute exactly one time. After that, it would just be exhausting. For everybody.

The other option is at work, and that is fantabulous (that's another Tiffany word, right there *officially coined!*) except when my office neighbors are also there. We are lucky enough to have private offices here, but I've met note cards that were thicker than the walls in here. And I don't think you want to hear all about the doctor appointments and other various and sundry things I learn about my office neighbors any more than I do. So, the location piece of the puzzle is still to be worked out. But I *will* work it out. And for this reason they will almost certainly not be posted on the same day every week. I'll just make them when I have the right environment in which to do them.

But I DO have a few things finalized with regard to the video series. I do have a title. And a graphic.

*squeals!*

And so, via the talented Cristina over at Faithfully Social, ta DA!


Did you ever?! I LOVE IT.  So whenever you see that, you know that a video post will follow. What I'm thinking is that these will be short conversations between you and I, while I have morning tea. And you have your tea, or coffee, or whatever your beverage of choice is. Time wise, they will always be under 10 minutes (I will shoot for 5-7 minutes). And the topics will vary each week, just as they always do on this blog, but I'll always let you know the topic up front. It'll be whatever is on my mind that particular week. Could be faith stuff, librarian stuff, amusing dance stories, books, or a current event in the news. And I'll include a saint or other devotion at the end, whatever I'm feeling that week as especially inspiring. Sound good?

Excitement abounds, yes? How is your week going?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My first ever video post - blog identity crisis resolved :)

Ok, SO. After my post from yesterday, I did a lot of thinking. It also helps to actually *ask* God for direction, does it not? I know that sometimes the answer isn't so clear, but I realized that I hadn't really asked Him at all. I tend to go on my merry way:

"LA LA LA! I'm happy go lucky over here! Everything is good, I don't need any help with anything!"

SNORT.

So I asked, real casual-like, and I woke up this morning thinking about it. As I was listening to Catholic Weekend on my commute in, I thought to myself:

"That video post thing I mentioned...I should just do that. My hair isn't too wild this morning, it would be a good day for it."

Because, you know, PRIORITIES.

And so here you have it, the first of hopefully a recurring series of video posts. In this installment, I talk about what I decided with regard to the future of this blog, and briefly touch upon how Our Lady Star of the Sea helped me out in my discernment process. I want these to be very short, 5 minutes or less, but I'm going fess up that I went over a bit on this introductory one. It's about 7 and a half minutes, I'll try to shorten them in the future. But I have to say it...apparently I like to talk! See, this is the thing about being an introvert. I DO enjoy talking to the people that I LIKE, and that's YOU! I'm definitely giving the podcast thing a lot of consideration at this point, because that may really scratch a creative itch for me. Stay tuned!


So, what did you think?! What would you like me to talk about in the future? Please do write to me. :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spiritual dryness &...I'll just say it: general emotional crises :0

Good morning to you all! It's Monday, and I usually write posts about the previous Sunday's liturgy and my experience at Mass. And, well, as you can see, I'm not doing that today. Nor did I bother to snap an image that would work perfectly (I hope?!) with my post for today. Today I just felt like writing, and indeed writing about what is on my mind. So I am. And here you are. :)

Last month I started the path to Marian consecration via 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley. I LOVE this book, the entries are so relatable and interesting. And my consecration day is now nearly upon me, this coming Wednesday, May 13th, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. And what this has to do with the topic of this post is that I'm rather wondering if the struggles I've been experiencing lately have to do with the closeness of this holy commitment. Evil one lurking?

*ominous music plays*

:)

At any rate, I've felt all out of sorts. Yesterday was Mother's Day, and I was in tears practically the entire day. I just didn't feel like myself. And can I just say that Mother's Day is frequently like this for me? Bad Mother's Day mojo, man. I've clearly pissed off the Mother's Day Official Party Police or what have you. My very first Mother's Day after I had Henry?

*Tiffany walks bleary-eyed into restaurant for brunch*

"Hi Honey!"

It's my parents.

*Tiffany immediately bursts into tears*

"Oh no, what's wrong?!"

"I forgot your card! I'm such a horrible person! And I'm just so...TIRED!"

Not sleeping through an entire night for a *year* will really turn a person into a whimpering shell of their former selves, can I get an Amen?

A-freaking-MEN, friends!

All righty then, back to the diatribe on my fragile mental state. ;-) Prayer feels incredibly dry lately, like I'm just talking to a wall. I feel rather anxious and easily upset. As if I need to be even *more* sensitive than I already am by God-given personality?!

Good heavens.

I don't know what the heck is going on. We'll just blame hormones, that seems fairly convenient. Anne's 4th birthday is exactly one week away, THAT MUST BE IT! Ladies, let's all grab pitch forks and protest our fate of the Reign Of Estrogen in our lives! :0

Just keeping it real, as I always strive to do. I'm certain that it will pass, but in the mean time I've been doing a lot of thinking. My little mind has been all aswirl (spell check is telling me that this isn't a word, but I'm pointedly ignoring it) about my creative life and what I want out of it. Obviously, I want to feel fulfilled. I want to enjoy how I spend my creative time. I do enjoy writing, and I've always loved keeping this blog. Lately though, I've felt a bit like I'm spinning my wheels. I have all of these different things that I like to write about (faith, marriage and parenthood, dance, librarianship) and is that even working anymore? I've been doing this now for nearly 7 years, and is it time for a change? I don't know the answer to that question, but the fact that I'm thinking about it is somewhat telling, I suppose.

When I wrote that post last week about thinking on some new ideas and awaiting inspiration, Melanie responded with something that really meant a lot to me. Melanie, I hope you don't mind me singling you out like this, but your comment just about brought tears to my eyes, and making the librarian cry means you get singled out. :0

Melanie said that although she originally found and read my blog for the posts on Catholic books and librarianship, she has stayed and reads all of my posts, even on other topics because: "...you make everyday events interesting." That just...really made my day, thank you. :)

Because that is all I have ever wanted to do, and that is what I personally like to read. Everyday events, made interesting. I hardly think a cameraman following me around all day as I went about straightening my hair and readying for work, reading Amish fiction while I eat my morning yogurt, sitting in my office, sitting at the reference desk, driving home and listening to podcasts, and then yelling "STOP IT!" towards my children as they fight while I cook dinner, would find my life particularly scintillating. But when you write, you can flesh out the funny little things that we can all relate to. That's really why I started this blog.

So, all of this to say that I don't know where I'm going from here. Maybe I just need a fresh blog redesign? Who knows. I'll still be here, and I'll keep you informed. Perhaps I'll experiment with some new types of posts (a video post every week?) or otherwise try out new ideas. I feel a little stale. And just an fyi: I think I'm going to move to a 3-4 post per week model, rather than 5 like I've been doing. I think I've been pushing myself a little too much to come up with content. I think we can all agree that feeling pressured is a real mood killer. :)

But excitingly, with the Catholic New Media Conference coming up in *gulp!* less than a month, I am in hopeful expectation of new inspiration soon. Oh, cute anecdote: Mike could tell I was down yesterday, and disappeared into his office while I brought Anne upstairs for her nap. When I came back downstairs, he solemnly handed me a sheet of paper that he had typed up. It was entitled:

"Ideas for a Belly Dance Mystery"

And he had a full plot summary on there of murdered belly dancers and their crime solving troupemates. I mean...SO SWEET. Could the man be more adorable? Seriously. He knew that I was struggling with how to sort out my creative energies and wanted to provide some new ideas and inspiration for me.

And a final cute anecdote: Anne and I went to Mass by ourselves yesterday because Henry was under the weather. A major bummer on Mother's Day, to be sure. Anne was very concerned about leaving Henry behind, and did not like this aberration from our routine.

"Mommy, could I say a St. Anthony prayer for Henry to get better?"

She has the St. Anthony prayer memorized, since we need to implement it so often to find lost toys. ;-)

"Oh. Well sure, Honey, that's very sweet of you."

"Dear St. Anthony, please come around. Henry's tummy... is not lost, but it is hurting. Please help his tummy to feel better."

PRECIOUS.

Friday, May 8, 2015

7 Quick Takes {Take 79} New hair straighteners, sassy little girls, sale Kindles, and more cozy fiction! edition...


It's been a bit of a long week, my friends, but you know what? God is good, and I have such fabulous family and friends to rely on. And I love sharing it all with you, I really do. So here we are, and what's been going on with me this week?

-1- "No Mommy, I do not WANT to wear THAT!"

My daughter is sassy. Good heavens, has she been a handful of late. Back in the winter, she wanted to wear sleeveless dresses when it was apocalyptic outside, and now in the spring and at nearly 80 degrees, she wants to wear pants, long sleeved tops, socks and the same pair of blue Frozen shoes. Every.Morning. A battle. Every.morning. I should offer this up and get a soul out of purgatory or something, right?

:0

-2- But SPRING! There are ACTUAL GREEN THINGS GROWING!

Wait for it, wait for it...


One segment of our street has trees with those white buds at the exact same time each spring. Glorious.

-3- "Are you frying a cat in the bathroom, what is that hideous stench?!"

Aaaannnndddd this would be the hair straightener portion of our discussion. My poor long suffering husband has been saying for some time that my hair straightener (which I use every single day, you really *don't* want to see what my hair looks like if I don't use it) has been giving off a terrible burning odor. See, I hadn't even really noticed it. I've been straightening my hair for approximately the past 20 years, and I consider bad smelling hair-related appliances to just be the price we ladies pay for beauty. ;-) Ironically, when I was a teenager, I used to curl my hair, but let's not flash back to those early 90's hair years, shall we?

*shudders*

I like my out of control rat's nest naturally wavy hair to be straight, and so I live with the fumes that the straighteners puff out. I don't put anything in my hair except shampoo and conditioner, no gels etc., but our hair has natural oils, and that can buildup on the surface of the straightener over time and contribute to the burning smell. I did what I could to clean mine, all to no avail. It still smelled like someone left the oven on.

It had been three years, so I figured it was time for a new one, and I chose this one. So far so good. It's not odor free, but not nearly so asphyxiating. And it straightens nicely. I need good hair for my upcoming summer trips. ;-)

-4- Kindles are on sale!

I use any and all opportunities to talk about e-readers since I love mine so much. I have the newest Kindle Basic, and bought it when it was on sale, and it is on sale again, I'm assuming until Mother's Day. So if you are in the market for one, scoop it while it's $59! That's a steal. As well, the Kindle Paperwhite is also on sale for $99, that's the one with the built in light. Those are both major bargains for the price.

-5- Time for cozy book talk!

Speaking of e-readers, I've been doing a lot of happy reading lately. I've really been in a cozy fiction mood, and during the week I finished the Cat in the Stacks mystery I got from the library. Loved! I can't wait to read the other books in the series. My newly discovered obsession is the Bibliophile Mystery series by Kate Carlisle:


And she also apparently has a Fixer Upper Mystery series:


Ohhhh baby. I cannot WAIT to dive into these series! The only problem is...

-6- I have way too many books. :0

I own some print books, most of which I've read, but still a good number of unread titles sitting on my bookcase. But my Kindle? Smoke is practically coming out of him, there are so many unread ebooks on there. So I've decided that for any new book I want to download, I have to first read two books that are already purchased and sitting on my Kindle. So far so good, and I'm discovering that I have good taste in books, there is some good stuff on there. :)

-7- But *you* should buy more ebooks!

Why should you have to suffer, right? I noticed a few titles on sale today that are on my wish list. An Amish Cradle, a collection of novellas, is currently $2.99 for Kindle, down from $9.99:

The description from Amazon is quite lovely:
Tiny fingers,
Tiny toes,
And lives that will never be the same.
Journey with four families as their lives are about to change forever.

In His Father’s Arms by Beth Wiseman
Ruth Anne has been dreaming about motherhood her entire life. Now she is doubly excited that she and her best friend are due with their children the same week. But when Ruth Anne’s baby is born with Down syndrome, she and her husband struggle to understand God’s plan.

A Son for Always by Amy Clipston
Carolyn and Joshua are thrilled to be pregnant with their first child together. Carolyn was just a teenager when she had her son, Benjamin, and she still feels solely responsible to secure his future. As Joshua watches Carolyn struggle to accept his support, he knows he has to find some way to convince her that she—and Ben—will always be taken care of.

A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller
Ellie’s mother hasn’t stopped meddling in her personal life since Ellie lost her sight—and she’s taken it up a notch now that Ellie’s pregnant. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in to care for them. But when her mother’s behavior becomes unbearable, Ellie is forced to take a stand . . . and finally find out why Mamm can’t let go.

An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman
At 42, Etta thought she was finished having children, but she’s pregnant again. After a frightening labor, Etta finally gives birth, but her constant worry over her estranged grown son, David, haunts her still. As a new mother again, Etta must hold tightly to the promise that God will watch over her children—and that one day David will return.
And another is Murder Simply Brewed (Am Amish Village Mystery), by Vanetta Chapman, on sale for $1.99!

Description:
When the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury’s Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join together to solve the mystery.
Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright is optimistic about the growing profit from her collection of Amish shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a solitary hole in the front window and the store manager lying next to the espresso machine, dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register.
When Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah Troyer, to take over the shop’s duties, the two women become fast friends—as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death is a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t convinced.
Clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and a blossoming romance—all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to solve a mystery that will once again reveal the depth of God’s grace.
I reviewed the second title in this series, Murder Tightly Knit, and enjoyed it. Check it out!

All right, I'm off. Have a great weekend everybody, talk to you on Monday. And head to This Ain't the Lyceum for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Praying on summer inspiration, as I brainstorm in organized librarian mode...

Good afternoon to you all! It's an absolutely gorgeous day here. I was once again able to walk out of the house wearing only a cardigan over my sleeveless shell, and no jacket. Shazzam! And open toe shoes too?

*swoons*

Spring is here to stay, it seems. And thank God for that.

Speaking of Him, ;-) I've been doing a lot of thinking this week about...stuff. As in: what am I going to do with the rest of my life? Is this a mid-life crisis? :0

I mean, there are major things that will remain unchanged. I am a wife and mother, that is my vocation. I am a librarian, that is my job, and I have a tenured position with outstanding benefits. Hence, that too will remain the same. Not only are those constants, I am happy in all of those respects. But in terms of my time outside of those roles, what would I like to do?

Man. I don't know. :0 See, that's the problem right there. The first things that come to my mind are these:

(1) I need to pray about this. Well, I have prayed, but have I listened? I don't think so. Which is to say NO. So I need to do that, and then await what happens. Because something will happen, I need to trust in that.

(2)  Writing. I love to write, that's why I started this blog. And this actually applies in my job as well, because writing for professional publication is highly encouraged here. The summer is a perfect time to tackle such projects, since I don't have any teaching responsibilities until the fall. So I think that's a yes, I should try and write an article. Check, will try to get started on that. But back to...

(3) Fun writing. :) Outside of work, what would I like to write? Well, I enjoy this blog. I don't think it's going anywhere, anytime soon. But could I write somewhere else? I'd like to, on life and faith-related topics. But where? Online? A book? No clue. Awaiting inspiration!

(4) Dance. I love Middle Eastern dance, I 'm sure you can tell. If I'm being honest, I don't write about it as much on this blog as I'd like to, because I'm not always sure how people will react. And perhaps, given the title of my blog, this type of content is unexpected and not appealing to all readers. So maybe I should have somewhere else that I can feel free to write about dance to my heart's content. Another blog? That sounds fun, but rather exhausting to maintain two. Maybe I could write a short ebook of my dance experiences over the past seven years? Is that of interest to anybody? I would really love your feedback on this one. This is definitely what I consider a "life blog," so pretty much anything that goes on in my life is fair game, you've been warned. ;-) But maybe I would enjoy a different model, I'm not sure.

(5) Podcasting and/or video blog posts. The podcasting thing...I just need to learn how to do it. :) Hopefully, soon. And my interest in that lies in faith topics. Video blog posts, I think this is actually doable, like, right away. :) Have you seen any of Cristina's video posts? They're fabulous. Personable, funny, you feel like you're right there with her. I've always wanted to try that. And I know how to do it, technology-wise. Will they be any good? Don't know. :) But I should try. The only problem with both of these ideas is that it involves hearing my own voice, which I really don't like, but there you have it.

That's all I got so far. ;-) I'm in brainstorm mode, which I genuinely enjoy. I love coming up with new, fresh and creative ideas. I feel a little bit adrift right now, as if I'm not so certain anymore of where my energies should lie creatively, and even whether or not what I am doing is the perfect fit for both me and anybody who reads my work.

So, I really, really mean it: Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts. :) I value that you read what I write, and I want what I write to be meaningful to both you and to me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Spring concerts and a Mother's Day rosary giveaway!

That's me and my Henry, at our mother/son bowling gig last weekend. Terrible photo quality, I know, but we only got a print, so I didn't have a lot to work with. ;-) And Henry's body language is just priceless, is it not?

"I'm only posing for this picture because they are making me."

"They" being the Organizer Lady taking all of the photos, and Me squeezing him to my side. He genuinely seemed to enjoy bowling with me, he's just so shy about being photographed or generally doing anything in front of other people. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...although I *have* gotten better about this as an adult, I suppose, given that I belly dance in public on a regular basis. But as a kid? Just like Henry. He reminds me a lot of myself as a child.

That certainly applied yesterday evening too as we headed out to the spring concert at his school. It was held in the church, I love that, as the school doesn't have an auditorium, and Henry looked all nervous and cute in his dress clothes. When his class passed by on their way to perform, he squirted past as fast as his legs could carry him, God forbid he should make eye contact. :0 He's very precious.

And I have to say, his class sounded GREAT. They played their recorders, and I was seriously impressed with the new music teacher. He was very warm and friendly with the kids, but had an excellent command of their attention with his direction. And there was NO squeaking of the recorders. In past concerts, that has not been the case. ;-) They did a fantastic job.

When we left the church, a spring rain was falling, and it felt rather idyllic. In just over a year, we'll have two concerts to attend each year, since Anne will be in school, and she will perform in a separate concert from Henry given that they're grouped by age. So we'll attend both the Christmas and the spring concerts. Sweet!

Anne, by the way, acquired an admirer during the course of the concert. A 2-year old little boy in our pew really took a shine to her, and kept coming over and handing her hymnals with a very serious and devoted expression on his face. Adorable.

In other news, with Mother's Day approaching, a quick and applicable giveaway to bring to your attention! Allison, one of my very favorite rosary artisans, is hosting a giveaway at her blog of a custom Swarovski pocket rosary. Head over to enter for yourself or your mom!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Eyeball searing costumes & musical mishaps...spring dancing 2015!

Morning all! A lovely spring day for a dance recap. And speaking of the season and of the arts, Henry's spring concert is tonight. His class is playing the recorder. Cute! Beforehand, we are having tacos for Cinco de Mayo. Well, really that's just an excuse to have tacos. I put them on the menu nearly every Tuesday lately. ;-)

But for today, let's circle back to Saturday, and the big spring hafla at my dance studio. I love it when we have haflas, and we usually have two per year, one in early winter, and one in early spring. The spring is my favorite of the two, it just feels so festive and fun, and it usually kicks off our summer performance season.

I'm always nervous when I perform, and Saturday was no exception. It certainly has gotten better over the years as I've done it more, but the general nerves issue remains. Can't help it, it's part of my Nervous Nelly personality. ;-) Mike and both kids, plus my mom, were to be in attendance, so I really wanted to do a good job. I practiced my little heart out and hoped for the best.

I arrived at the studio in good spirits. We had three sets planned, and I was dancing in all of them. Four group numbers, plus my solo in the third set as well. I nervously got ready and chatted with my troupemates. There was wine in the dressing room, but I abstained. I don't drink and dance. ;-) I save that for afterward!

We opened the first set with an older pop number from our repertoire, combined with a newer drum solo. I did my best to think non-sweating thoughts. :)


And you can see why. :0 It went well. I love our drum piece, it's my very favorite number, and when you love your music it certainly helps your performance. So, that was cake. Aside from when I almost forgot the choreography, but quickly moving on...

:0

The second set contained our new Shaabi number with the glow in the dark paisley gowns. They glowed dutifully, and that number actually went great.  It's newer to us, so more room for error, but it went fabulous. And those gowns! It's like dancing in comfy jammies. :0 Oh my, if only all of our costumes were so comfortable!

Once that number was done, the panic set in. ;-) The third set contained both my solo and the dreaded new gigantic veil wrap choreography. I assembled myself in my bright orange and brown costume and awaited my fate.

My solo was the first piece in the set, so I had to be in Go For Broke mode, and I was. When my music started, it wasn't audible for a few beats while our sound guy fixed the volume, and by the time he fixed it, some of the opening strands of the song had come and gone. I made the split second decision not to ask him to start it over, and just shot out of the back curtain like a cannon instead, hitting the third accent in a running slide of a hip bump. :0 I beamed for good measure.

And it went well, it really did. I was still nervous, but overall it was the most relaxed I've ever felt when dancing solo. I think all of my work in improving my "face awareness/smileyness" factor bore fruit. ;-) I hit my accents as best I could, and really tried to keep my mind on smiling and looking out at my audience, rather than becoming absorbed in my movements and what I would do next.

When my final beat sounded, I felt happy with how I'd done; which is to say, I did the best I could, and we can't ask more than that from ourselves, no? :) I was relieved that it was over, to be sure, but I was happy. I curtsied and glided backstage to discover that the 4 minutes had taken their toll. To say that I was sweaty would be the understatement of the spring. :0 And I had the veil wrap situation upcoming, with fabric that shows any hint of moisture. This was not a good sign.

I did the best I could to resume my non-sweating thoughts, but it was far too late by that point. ;-) After a few other solos, it was time for Amy and I to twirl into our veil cocoon. Once we began the choreography and twirled out, the veil was a bit worse for the wear, but we disguised it well. :) Here we are, in post-twirling mode:

That's me in the orange, because who else would wear that color?! :0
On the whole, it went good. Amy and I have to lift the veil aloft for other dancers to pass underneath, and our third set of passers dawdled a bit and the veil nearly took one of them out :0 so I grabbed the slack to get it taut again, and that worked. Mostly. ;-)

This piece was a trial run for summer festival season where we'll have much more room with it. But then we'll also be outside and there will be wind, so things could get interesting. We'll see how it goes!

So, another hafla done. They make me so very happy. Anybody else have a dance performance/recital coming up for themselves or somebody they know?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Doughnuts & sunshine, on the 5th Sunday of Easter...

Morning all! It's a beautiful Monday here, and although I had a fantastic weekend, I'm feeling a bit blue this morning. This would be on account of my daughter, who woke up with The Crab Face, and escalated things from there:

"Anne, you need a bath this morning, Sweetheart."

"NO! I do NOT WANT a bath!"

"Why don't we..."

"NO!!!"

*yanks face away from attempted kiss*

Later, she was contrite and snuggled with me over an episode of "Peter Rabbit." Then, she and Mike drove me to work, since he's taking my car for new tires today. When I got out of the car and kissed them goodbye, Anne broke out The I'm About To Cry Face, complete with quivery lip and rapidly filling eyes:

"Mommy, I WANT TO COME WITH YOU!"

*bursts into tears*

It was heartbreaking. I did my best to soothe, but she was having none of it. I had to close the door and walk away while she cried and it was awful. Awful, I tell you.

:(

So I'm super emotional and vulnerable right now. Don't you wish you were hangin' out with me? ;-) Oh wait, YOU ARE!

So let's talk about Sunday, and tomorrow I'll circle back to the hafla on Saturday, which was incredibly fun, can't wait for that one. But for now, the 5th Sunday of Easter.

It was a beautiful day. People, WE CAN GO OUTSIDE NOW! There's grass and stuff growing out there. :0 Flowers, like you see above. Those may actually be weeds, who knows, they came with the house and grow along the fence line, but they're pretty, so I don't kill them. And we have a tulip!  Life is grand.

The kids and I headed to Mass at 10 am, and afterwards was scheduled the first monthly coffee hour with our new pastor. We were suitably excited.

Mass had barely started before we had a request for a restroom run, complete with crotch grab and dance out in the aisle, so it's not like I had a choice in the matter. We made it back to the pew before the Gloria was finished so that she could make it to Children's Liturgy of the Word, which was good. Everything proceeded fine from that point on, our altar Easter flowers looking a bit peaked but still holding up.

Afterward, the kids watched with excitement as a table with doughnuts and other treats, plus coffee and juice, was revealed in the back. We milled about and chatted with some friendly faces, including Fr. Joe. I'm very glad that they're going to be having this each month now. Sadly, I will miss the June installment, as I'll be out of town (CNMC though :0 *squeals*) but lots of other opportunities for fellowship.

We ended up chatting with a very nice lady who coordinates the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and she invited me to consider getting involved in that if I wanted to, such as by bringing the Eucharist to a homebound parishoner. That's a lovely idea for the future. I met this same lady before at the Worship Committee meeting ("It's so nice to have young people involved!") and I pretty much love her now. ;-) She told me yesterday, in a discussion about age, that being in her 40's was her favorite decade, so her fate is sealed now as My Very Favorite Person At The Parish. 

And how was your Sunday, dear reader? Come back tomorrow for a fun dance post!

Friday, May 1, 2015

7 Quick Takes {Take 78} Cozy summer mysteries & loud dance costumes edition...

I'm wearing open toe shoes, you know what this means, don't you? It means that I'm anticipating the weather staying seasonal, and thus I am tempting fate for record May snowfall, but I care not. My feet long to be free! Can we please say goodbye to socks for a few months, I don't think that's a lot to ask?! It remains to be seen, but on this fine spring day, I'm thinking about books and dancing, as I am wont to do. Let's detail!

-1- A cat in the stacks? Yes please!

Last weekend, Mike and I took the kids to a nearby branch of our public library system. I was mostly there to corral Anne, as Mike was picking up specific books and needed his hands free, but guess what I glimpsed when I happened past the fiction paperbacks?

http://www.amazon.com/Silence-Library-Cat-Stacks-Mystery/dp/0425257282/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1430401748&sr=8-4&keywords=cat+in+the+stacks

*feline angels sing!*

I was immediately drawn to the cover, and couldn't resist checking it out when I read the back blurb:
Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. He’s returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but a celebrated author’s visit draws an unruly swarm of fanatic mystery buffs…and one devious killer.

It’s National Library Week, and the Athena Public Library is planning an exhibit to honor the centenary of famous novelist Electra Barnes Cartwright—creator of the beloved Veronica Thane series.

Charlie has a soft spot for Cartwright’s girl detective stories (not to mention an extensive collection of her books!). When the author agrees to make a rare public appearance, the news of her whereabouts goes viral overnight, and series devotees and book collectors converge on Athena.

After all, it’s rumored that Cartwright penned Veronica Thane stories that remain under wraps, and one rabid fan will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get hold of the rare books…
Love. And then I discovered...

-2- THAT IT'S A WHOLE SERIES!

Dude. I was really excited when I learned this. :0 A Cat in the Stacks Mysteries, by Miranda James. There are 6 books so far, the most recent of which came out earlier this year, Arsenic and Old Books. I mean...I am beside myself with how tickled I am by these books. I immediately set to work on The Silence of the Library, but quickly made an alarming discovery...

-3- "Why do they make the print so small these days?! I think it's a conspiracy!"

Right. So, I haven't read a traditional book in quite some time. I read on my Kindle. And of course, I've adjusted the font size such that it is comfortable for my delicately aging eyes. So all of a sudden, I'm diving into the first mass market paperback my eyes have seen in some time, and they're all like:

"What are you *reading* girlfriend, do you think we're 18 or some such nonsense?!"

I was in bed last night, moving the book gradually closer and then further away from my nose, and complaining to Mike the whole while that THEY MAKE THE PRINT IN THESE THINGS TOO DARN SMALL!

"Maybe you should go get your glasses."

Time stopped. I think the earth ceased rotating. Such was my shock and horror at his suggestion. I frowned:

"But I don't *want* to have to wear my glasses in bed. It's bad enough that I have to wear them at work all day to look at the computer screen."

I flared my nostrils for good measure. But I went and got the glasses and it did make it much better, damn them. But I have to say, going back to my precious Kindle, that I officially prefer reading on there. Dozing off and having your glasses biting into your face isn't exactly an enjoyable thing. I really want to read the rest of the series, and I may suck it up and buy the others on Kindle to avoid this new little problem I'm having.

-4- A yarn retreat? That would be another yes!

Now that I'm shaken off my righteous indignation, I can move onto the second book I checked out at the library. Which is called Yarn to Go:


This is also part of a larger Yarn Retreat Mystery series, and come to find out, the author also writes Crochet Mysteries! Great Googly Moogly, this is a jackpot. I'm very excited to explore these books more as well.

-5- And speaking of crafty mysteries...

One of my favorite cozy mystery series has a new release slated for May 5th, which is the Seaside Knitters, by Sally Goldenbaum. That would be A Finely Knit Murder:


She usually has a new release each May, and it's a fun spring treat to look forward to. It looks like this year there will be a holiday release as well! Excited. :)

-6- But in dance costume news, who needs solid fabric when a wild and crazy one will do?

Our new troupe Beledi gowns are in, and may I say that they are fabulous? This is the fabric:


Yes, that is bright blue and lime green paisley, and it is fantastic. We dyed coordinating, super loud silk veils to use as hip wraps, and we're ready for Saturday. Exhibit A:

I appear to even glow in the dark!
And tomorrow is the...

-7- Hafla! *nervous*

I've practiced my little heart out, and Saturday kicks off the start of our spring/summer performing season. Mike and the kids will be there, as will my mom. I'm looking forward to it, and I hope it goes well. :) As in:

"I hope I don't look stupid!" or

"I hope I don't accidentally drag my veil through somebody's plate of hummus!"

Because that's always a distinct possibility at these events, trust me. I will report in early next week! Talk to you all then!

In the mean time, check out more 7 Quick Takes over at This Ain't the Lyceum!