Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Crafty Tuesday: Of unexpectedly angry birds, and sock yarn obsessions...

Well, look at me go, two Crafty Tuesday posts in a row. I go in fits and spurts though, kwim? Whatever is bouncing around in my little head at any given point in time is what I write about here on this blog. Right now, that's crafty stuff. And so here we are!

Based upon my holiday crafting post from last Tuesday, I set up my Ravelry gallery with all the projects queued up, plus other fall/winter knits that I'd like to get to.

#overlyambitious

YEAH, there are a lot of projects in the queue. Plus I added a few more (my sister asked for a shawl for Christmas, I mean, all for love!). As I took stock of this wall of to-be-completed projects, I decided that I'd try to finish a few things quickly, to give me confidence. So that my spirit would not falter. ;-)

Thus, this weekend I worked quite a bit on my Abbey Pullover. I'm on the yoke, this girl is nearly finished. The yoke is lace, so it's slower going, but it's going. The precious little churches in the cloister lace are nearly all formed!


Smoke was nearly coming from my needles this weekend, I was working so studiously. Then I ran out of yarn.

*panics*

Don't panic! ;-) I have another skein, I just didn't have it with me, whew! It's in my, ah hem, *work stash*. That would be the drawer in my office filing cabinet that is filled with yarn rather than papers. Why are you looking at me like that, doesn't everybody do this?!

*adjusts glasses angelically*

ANYWAY, I had to pause until I could grab that last skein of yarn, but I'm near the top of the lace chart. A gold star goes on my assignment sheet.

So then I took a look at the projects in my queue. If I can whip a few small ones out quickly, that will decrease my incomplete number quickly (which is now hovering around 20, eeks!) and soothe me a bit. So I decided to crochet the baby bird Anne has been asking for.

I love crocheting animals, very enjoyable and cute. I don't love *knitting* animals as much. There are parlor cats who will not be named that are a direct result of this situation. But crochet is all good. So I found a free pattern from one of my favorite designers, Teri Crews, and set to work yesterday. 

I was finished in under two hours. Teri's bird is blue, but Anne wanted a red bird. And this is the result:


So, YEAH. He's cute, right? BUT decidedly more Angry Birds than I was going for. When I gave him to Anne, who has never seen an Angry Bird a day in her life, she took him, kissed his beak, named him Bugaboo, and then examined her new baby very carefully:

"Mommy. How come he looks so...mad?"

"He's just a very serious birdie, sweetie."

"Is he sad?"

"No, he's happy! He's just worried about things. It isn't easy being a bird. He has to worry about flying south come fall."

She seemed to accept this explanation and worked diligently to introduce him to her other animals so that he would feel included. ;-)

One project down!

Later Sunday evening, I was sitting beside Mike casting on for a new hat while we watched TV. I was getting gauge but not real happy with the fabric, and contemplating dropping down a needle size, when he asked me about sock yarn in fall colors.

Hark! My darling is asking not only about yarn, but sock yarn that is not plain black or navy blue?

*swoons*

"Yeah, just for around the house. Kind of like retro 70's colors? That would be kind of fun. Do you have any yarn like that?"

"No, but I SHOULD!!!"

*spends the next 30 minutes in frantic search on my phone "for research"*

"You don't have to worry about it if it's too..."

"WHAT?! No, no, I love this. I mean...I REALLY LOVE THIS."

He asks me about sock yarn and then says I don't have to actually do anything about it? Silly man!

I will conquer this particular self-striping quest, I know I will. I have found a few contenders and have a consult scheduled with Mike for tonight. ;-) The only problem is...

...this adds one more project to my queue.

Oh. Right. Sigh.

What are you working on this week, friends? Trying to finish some projects up before starting your holiday crafting for the year? Do tell me all about it in the comments. *beams*

Friday, June 26, 2015

7 Quick Takes {Take 84} Fab Amish mysteries, summer dancing update, alert: tears ahead! and EXCITING news, edition...

We're at a nice point of the summer, yes? School is out, the 4th of July is on the horizon, and everything is feeling pretty laid back at work. So, what's going on with me this week, you ask? Lots of summery activities. Reading, dancing, writing, and only one thing made me cry this week. ;-) What's this all about? Read on!

-1- My baby!

I won't keep you in suspense. The teary thing is that we received a letter confirming Anne's placement in our district's universal Pre-K program, with her school assignment, start date and time, and supply list. It made me a little...*emotional*, as such things are wont to do. She's my baby, and dropping her off for the first day in September is going to be a bit rough. You might want to consider skipping the inevitable hysterical weepy post that is coming for *that* particular day.

*sniffle*

Thus, I've been trying to distract myself from thinking about this coming fall with other things. What are those, you ask? Read on!

-2- Distraction #1 - "Maybe if I try moving it a little closer to my neck...OW!"

So, I've been dancing. :) Practicing for the festivals, and I decided to go with balancing rather than drum. I just wasn't feeling the drum. If I'm bored by my own dancing, I hardly think anybody is going to want to watch me. So I pulled out my old buddy, my sword. Sword and I go way back. :) We like each other, we usually dance well together. Occasionally he gives me a heart-stopping moment during performances when I go to balance him on my head, but for the most part he is predictable and stable. I want to add shoulder balancing to my repertoire, so Sword and I have been practicing a bit. It's going well, albeit a bit ouchy. But I'm excited to be feeling good about the music and style that I chose, and it's invigorating to have a new challenge to work on.

-3- Speaking of dance...

If you haven't watched already, my past two video posts (Tea Time episodes 4 and 5) encompass a short series of my journey in Middle Eastern dance. I had a lot of fun recording them, and I manage to tie everything into a Catholic angle with accompanying patron saints. :0 Go check them out and leave me your thoughts!

-4- Distraction #2 - "Mom, why do all the books you read have people wearing bonnets on the cover?"

It's true, I love Amish fiction. And this summer I'm reading a series that I am *really* enjoying. There are currently four titles in the series, and they weave in romance, family dynamics, and mystery. LOVE. They are the Appleseed Creek Mysteries, by Amanda Flower. The first book is A Plain Death:



I'm currently on the third book, and because the characters all carry over from story to story, I am very heavily invested in the characters. The titles often go on discounted prices for Kindle, so keep an eye on them, or see if your library has them. I definitely recommend.

-5- And I've also been reading...

Unleashed, as part of the Catholic Mom Summer Book Club:

I'm on chapter three. I've been keeping pace with the weekly chapter posts, but this week the chapter is longer and I haven't finished yet. :0 But I'm trying! It's nice to have a longer span to read a deeper spiritual book such as this one. I've been leaving comments after each post over at Catholic Mom, and there is lots of chatter each week. Come join in!

-6- Distraction #3 - "I need a better word here than 'flexible.' Resilient? Maybe. Let me check the Thesaurus...Buoyant or supple? Um, no." The EXCITING news!

I've been doing a lot of writing lately. Other, non-blog writing. Well, to be precise, I took several old pieces that did appear at one time on this blog, and completely re-worked and edited them. And the reason that I did that is because those pieces are going to be posted somewhere else, and I thought the writing style could use a boost and an update, and to incorporate less emoticons. ;-) Where are these pieces going to appear, you ask? Read on!

-7- There is a theme, right? I'm a new contributor at Catholic Mom!

*streamers*

I am VERY EXCITED. :0 I'm going to be contributing one article a month over there, and I even have my own little author page and everything, soon to collect my writing as it appears. My first piece will come out the week of July 13th, and I will be sure and link to it from here if you'd like to read! I truly appreciate your support!

On that vein, I've been getting more comments and interaction over here on this humble blog, and I wanted to take an opportunity to say thank you to you all. Knowing that people read what I write, and care enough to respond to me, well...that's why I do this. I do love to write, but I don't think I'd continue if I didn't have anyone to share it with. And for that...THANK YOU. So much.

I'll talk to you all next week. But in the mean time, check other 7 Quick Takes over at This Ain't the Lyceum!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany Episode 5 - Dance performing, and how this is teaching us a larger lesson about God :)

Happy Thursday everybody! Today I'm wrapping up my dance story in another episode of:


Today I focused on performing, and my move up to dancing in a troupe. Are there spiritual lessons to be learned from performing? Yes, there are! Listen to find out what those are. :)


Items mentioned during this episode:
Are you a performer of any kind? Do you think that performing regularly helps to convey larger life lessons about control and humility? :) Do write in! Also, do you have any suggestions for other topics I could cover in this video series? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Catholic Book Club: Praying in Rome

Happy Wednesday everybody, and welcome to June's installment of the Catholic Book Club! I'm looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this enjoyable book, but I have to admit that I'm a little tired this morning, so you can see the full extent of my commitment to you via my heroic efforts to still type coherent thoughts. ;-) Last night, Mike and I were settling into bed when we heard a very foreign sound:

"Wait. What's that?" *I look up from my knitting humor book* (Stephanie Pearl Mcphee's Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter, for anyone who is interested, and it is FABULOUS)

"I'm not sure. Could it be crying?"

"Nah! It can't be. It must be those cats fighting outside again."

Our kids are 9 and 4. They, thankfully, no longer wake us up by crying and demanding to nurse.

"I still hear it."

*Mike goes to the door to investigate*

"It's crying. It's Anne."

"Who?"

See? This is a very odd thing for parents who have slept through the night for several years in a row. We've repressed all of those other, ugly memories.

So we had to deal with that. Twice. And we all didn't sleep well the night before due to a large thunderstorm system that moved through around 3 am. Tired, so tired.

At any rate, Praying in Rome: Reflections on the Conclave and Electing Pope Francis, by our very own Cardinal Timothy Dolan! I first heard of Cardinal Dolan back when he was Monsignor Dolan and was the rector at the North American College in Rome, via my reading of The New Men: Inside the Vatican's Elite School for American Priests, by Brian Murphy. That is also a great book, with very touching and personal stories of seminarians preparing for the priesthood. The then Monsignor Dolan's role as their mentor and guide through their studies and spiritual preparation, and his humorous and down-to-earth approach to these things, always stayed with me. I remember his appointment as Bishop and return to the United States, and I was thrilled when he was named the Archbishop of New York.

Praying in Rome is Cardinal Dolan's short reflections on his experience learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI back in 2013. His writing style is just as I expected based upon what I knew of his personality, which is to say very personable, friendly, and relatable. It's written in an informal, conversational fashion, as if he was talking to you over a cup of coffee and you asked him what happened when he learned that Benedict XVI had resigned. He would say:

"Well, I was going about my usual weekday routine. So, I got up early, because I like to pray before I get down to my New Year's resolution of running on the treadmill each day, but then my phone rang..."

This is a quick read. I read it in just a few sittings. And at $1.99 for Kindle, it's well worth it. He makes you feel as if you are there with him, caught up in the excitement and rush of energy that came with this big announcement, and the expectation of the Conclave. Once he gets to Rome, obviously he cannot reveal any details about what happened behind the closed doors of the Conclave. While I am a nosy little thing and was *dying* for more details, I understood why he had to be careful about what he wrote in that section. But the details that he did provide were very sweet and personal. For example, he writes about the first time he met Jorge Bergoglio during the pre-Conclave meetings between the Cardinals, and his impression of him.

I really liked this book! It had a journal-like feel to me, as we journey along with Cardinal Dolan for this exciting blur in time. I definitely recommend it, especially at that price. OK, who else has read this, and what did you think?!

For July, I'm focusing on the Catholic Mom Unleashed Book Club, and so far we are only through two chapters, so still plenty of time to join in if you like! There is tons of chatter in the comments as each weekly post comes out, and I've really been enjoying it. You can also sign up for reminder emails when the chapter posts come out each week, which I took advantage of. Come take a look!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Crafty Tuesday: Is that holiday knitting I feel in the air?!

It happens every year. And it's always right around this time, late June/early July. I get drawn in by schmaltzy Hallmark Channel commercials for their Christmas in July movies. The temperatures are getting warmer, yet I start thinking about how I need to finish up my current projects so that I can start working on hats and mittens for the fall. Knit Picks has their summer yarn sale. All of this translates to me getting crafty fever for holiday knitting and crocheting. Big time.

I had been going through a bit of a crafting slump. I've been so enamored of other things lately: some writing projects, festival dance practices, summer activities with my family. And thus my craft projects seemed a bit...lackluster. I'm working on a sock that I started during the CNMC, and it's true, I do love it:

The colorway is called "Rustic Cabin" which I sort of adore. But it's pretty mindless knitting. I am looking forward to wearing these socks in the fall, but the project isn't exactly scintillating. I'm also finishing up a sweater that I've had on the needles for what feels like at least a decade, so also lacking a bit of excitement in Sweaterland. I'm on the yoke, and I have to say, that's the best part of this pattern. The section features cloister lace:

See the little churches forming? It's not possible for a pattern to be more perfect for me, yes?! The only issue was that the rest of the sweater is plain stockinette fabric and I nearly died of boredom slaving away to get to this point. I hope the sweater appreciates that. ;-) The sleeves nearly finished me, such was the nature of their monotony, and it may have been LAST summer that I was diligently hard at work on those.

*halo*

So, FINALLY, I am nearing the finish line, and the lace has been more interesting, definitely. But given the long term nature of the project, it just doesn't have that fresh, new feel anymore.

Cue the summer yarn sale and me sniffing the air:

"Hark. That's humidity. And consequently, my hair is an absolute disaster. Yes, that's right, I must order yarn right away and make a list!!"

If that statement makes sense to anybody else besides me, then you must be as delusional as I am.

But there is a method to my madness. June 25th (just a mere two days away, I might point out) marks exactly 6 months until Christmas Day. For knitters and crocheters out there, you know that this means that it is the perfect time to plan out and begin holiday gift crafting.

Suddenly, I am all inspired. :0 Yarn order over the weekend, check! Including some TO-DIE-FOR organic cotton hand dyed to stripe like a watermelon. I know that this all likely sounds like gibberish right now, but trust me, the resulting kitchen accessories are going to be *smashing*. I tried to keep the new yarn acquisition down (snort!) to things I needed for my gift list that weren't already in my stash. My husband likely isn't going to see my actions as anything resembling restraint, but he isn't a knitter, he doesn't understand our yarn hoarding ways. ;-)

And so, *drum roll* here is my list for 2015, and I think it's pretty darn reasonable:

Mike - Sweater. I procured the yarn for this during Knit Picks' big Thanksgiving week sale, which was an approved Mike color (translation: brown, gray, OR navy blue; God forbid anything should be multi-colored), and it was a fantastic deal. It's a gorgeous cabled pattern. If I start July 1st, I'm optimistic that I can finish this by Christmas. Hope, after all, does spring eternal.

Henry - Gingerbread socks. Fancy dancy, self-patterning sock yarn procured, these are easy. He's been asking for them and loves handknit socks. He is so obviously my offspring.

Anne - Yellow blanket. Naturally, she chose this particular occasion to want something to be only one color, and I only have one skein of yellow sport weight in my stash. Need more yellow, but otherwise this shouldn't be too bad. I will crochet it (so much faster), because the thought of knitting a whole blanket makes me twitchy.

Mother-in-law, grandmother, various aunts - Watermelon-themed dishcloths and potholders.

Of course, I have a bunch of other projects that I'd like to get done as well, such as some winter wear for myself, and hats for any nephew who asks. Oh, and some shawls. I love shawls, have I mentioned that. SO MANY SHAWLS. I made project pages for everything in my Ravelry gallery, and I now have...

*counts*

...18 projects in-progress or in the wings.

*gulps*

I can do this!!

*rallying cheer!*

If you're a friend or relation, and would like a handknit for the fall or winter, let me know now so that I can add you to the list! :0

Ok crafters: let me see your list! Leave it in the comments. ;-)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lots of summer busyness, parish changes, and the joy of Ordinary Time...

This is kind of a crazy, all-over-the-place title, but I think it's apropos given how things are going for me this month. It's all good, truly, but SO BUSY. I took Friday off from both work and blogging for this very reason. There were plenty of things I could have gotten done, but...sometimes you just need to step back from all that, you know? Recharge and refresh. And so here I am, all refreshed and ready to chat with you. ;-)

On Friday, Mike and I took the kids strawberry picking. We live in Western New York, so as you can imagine, there are some pretty rural areas not far from us. Thus, on Friday off we frolicked to a farm to pick strawberries:

"Henry, DON'T DO THAT!!"

"Anne's STARING at me!!"

Right. A pretty painful experience. Well, the car ride was. The strawberry fetching in and of itself was actually very lovely. It was overcast and cool and Friday, as well as being uncrowded, so it was ideal picking conditions. We filled three quarts full of strawberries to take home with us. That is to say, Mike and I did. The kids mostly chased each other, but a good time was had by all. I didn't even have to threaten the children again until we got back in the car to drive home.

Saturday and Sunday were much more humid, but we persevered. I started officially working on my festival dance solo, more to come on that later this week. And yesterday, we spent some happy time after Mass chatting with our young friend Kendra and Fr. Joe. I just adore both of them. AND, big changes coming in the parish.

*ominous musical score starts up*

I mean, parish change is fine with me, but it most certainly is not with other people in the congregation. Coming in the new liturgical year are changes to the religious education schedule to accommodate a downsizing in space from the selling of our old school building, plus most crucially, a change in the Mass schedule. We're going to be moving from a vigil and three Sunday Masses down to a vigil and two Sunday Masses. Given the attendance at these Masses, I'm not surprised.  Instead of 8 am, 10 am, and noon, there will be Masses on Sunday at 8 am and 11 am, with religious education classes in-between. I'm not certain how this is going to go over, but it is certainly a needed change. I will miss the 10 am time slot, I really love it, but an hour difference isn't going to kill us. So we'll see how this goes.

But as we sat chatting with Fr. Joe following Mass, he in his bright green vestments for Ordinary Time, I got to thinking about the summer liturgical calendar. Although July is usually my least favorite month of the year weather-wise (this year though, I am embracing all non-snowy months, so July and I have a new understanding...), it is one of my favorites in terms of saint feast days.

Although it is not a special liturgical season, the summer of Ordinary Time has it's own charm. In July, we have the feasts of Bl. Juniperro Serra (soon to be canonized during Pope Francis's fall trip to America!), St. Maria Goretti, St. Benedict, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. July also houses the feasts for both of my children's patrons, St. Henry and St. Anne. I'd like to plan something special for each this year, although I have zero ideas, so if you have any, please do write in. :)

It's a quiet time of year, as it's still a long way off to Advent and there is this lull in the Church calendar, but I love enjoying each of these feast days. I try to remember and pick up my Magnificat each day to read that saint's synopsis in the daily Mass section, and my Divine Office app also has a Saint of the Day feature. Sublime!

Come June/July each year, I also start to think ahead to Advent and Christmas planning, but that's a whole 'nother post, which I'm going to save for tomorrow. And I have lots of posts planned this week! Crafty Tuesday, Catholic Book Club Wednesday, likely a video post on Thursday picking back up with dance, and then 7 Quick Takes on Friday. Yay?!

How was your weekend?! And do you have feast day celebrations for any of the saints that I mentioned above? Do write in, if you please!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany Episode 4 - Yes, you can still take dance lessons when you are an adult!

Can I tell you how much I enjoy these video posts? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. ;-) It's somehow already Thursday, and that means it's time for another installment of:


It's summertime, right?! Summer is dancing festival season, thus today I wanted to talk about how I got started in Middle Eastern dance at the ripe old age of 32, and how dancing as an adult has been even more inspiring to me than my childhood years of dancing.


OK, so I got to the "beginnings" part, but I didn't have time to talk about where I am now with dance, in my troupe, etc., and I can talk about performing as well. I will plan part 2 of this dance sub-video series, coming soon! 

Ideas mentioned during this episode:
  • Your municipality's community education program! Grab their catalog and see what's in there. You may see a class that you'd like to take.
  • If dance is your thing, check for local dance studios. You don't have to perform if you don't want to! Don't let that be the reason that you shy away.
  • St. Therese - don't lose your childlike joy for the things that inspire you.
What is your creative outlet? I would LOVE to hear about it, drop me a line!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

This is why I sometimes drink before we even have dinner...

In the home of the Catholic Librarian yesterday evening:

"Hi, I'm home!"

*nobody greets me*

Well, within a minute Mike does, as he comes down from upstairs, but the kids are watching TV together, and you know, PRIORITIES.

I give each of them a squeeze, but return to the kitchen to chat with Mike as we begin dinner preparations. Shortly thereafter:

*argument breaks out in the living room*

"Stop it, HENRY!"

"I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything!"

Denial is Henry's favorite pastime.

"Guys, if you can't get along, the TV is going off."

"We're not doing anything!"

*sigh*

*one minute elapses*

"HENRY!! STOP STARING AT ME!"

"I didn't do anything!"

"Henry, whatever you are doing STOP IT! Anne, stop screaming! And stop yelling 'stop it!'"

Which I, you know, yelled into the living room. Always setting a good example.

*one minute elapses*

*another argument breaks out*

"Anne, Mom told you to STOP SAYING STOP IT!!"

This time Mike intervenes, and the TV goes off. As he turns to come back into the kitchen, I can see Anne's mutinous face in the background, looking like something straight out of The Exorcist. I expected pea soup to shoot out of her orifices at any moment.

*angry whispering commences in the background*

"Stop getting me in trouble!"

"Stop it, HENRY!"

Chardonnay, wherefore art thou? I don't know if it's their ages or what (9 and 4, for the record) but the arguing and general back sassing of the other person has been excruciating lately. Anybody out there with any words of parenting wisdom or commiseration? :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer book club news, & exciting new projects!

Happy Monday everybody! Despite it being a Monday morning, I am in an inordinately good mood. Why is that, you ask? Well, I've been doing a lot of project planning, both personal and professional (and even a mixture thereof!) and I'm very excited about everything. Isn't it a wonderful feeling to experience a creative boost of energy? I just love when that happens.

*happy sigh*

Ok, so! Thing #1 is that I was thinking about summer reading and the Catholic Book Club. Next week is our scheduled June installment, which is Praying in Rome: Reflections on the Conclave and Electing Pope Francis by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. This is a quick and light read, and at $1.99 for Kindle, you can't go wrong. I read this before my trip, and have all my notes ready to go for the review post on June 24th. Definitely join me then! After that, I have two more books scheduled in the Book Club queue, but then do you want to know what happened?

Of course you do, that's why you're still reading my excited gibberish. ;-) Ok, so, a happy God thing happened. Godincidence? Is that what such a phenomena is called? If it's not, that's what it *should* be called. At any rate, I saw a summer book club announcement over at CatholicMom.com. I mean, doesn't that just have a lovely ring to it, summer book club? I think it's my deep seated librarian sensibilities. I adore seasonal projects, and plus, it's the summer, so YOU SHOULD BE READING.

*the librarian adjusts her bun*

By the beach or pool, if you'd like, but the summer is a FANTASTIC time to start a new book. The pace is slower, you have longer evening light, go sit on your porch with a book. ;-) But I digress, as I am so wont to do. Catholic Mom, summer book club, Godincidence, back on track, check! So I saw that announcement, and it immediately perked my interest because not only do I love book clubs, but I own the book already. In fact, I was randomly drawn to win a copy from the darling Deacon Tom and his lovely wife Dee over at the Catholic Vitamins podcast.

http://www.amazon.com/Unleashed-Receive-Everything-Spirit-Wants/dp/1594715998/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434384668&sr=1-1&keywords=unleashed

Random? Well sure, but God is always behind such things. When I received the book, I thought to myself:

"I really need to read this, I could benefit from some deeper spiritual reading right now."

Then I admired the cover and tucked it onto my book shelf, with full intentions to read it. At some point. But you know how those things go.

So when I saw the Unleashed Book Club announcement, I slipped my copy off the shelf. And you see the subtitle there? "How to Receive Everything the Holy Spirit Wants to Give You." Remember my joyfully teary video from last week following the CNMC? When I talked about the Holy Spirit? Yep, it all comes together right here.

So I'm going to be reading this book and participating in the book club over at CatholicMom.com. With books like this, I sometimes don't include them in my own Catholic Book Club because it's too much for me to get through in a single month. The setup over at Catholic Mom is perfect. A chapter a week for eight weeks, and week 1 was just posted. That gives a participant time to savor each chapter and reflect on it fully. I can see that the comments section is hopping, and I'm looking forward to learning from everybody else who is interacting with these posts.

I'm super excited about this, and thus Unleashed is going to be my spiritual reading for the rest of June and July. You'll see that I have this noted in the Catholic Book Club Reading List sidebar on the right side of the blog. When the Unleashed Book Club is complete, I may post my own review over here, we'll see. But in August, we'll pick back up with traditional Catholic Book Club posts over here on a Catholic YA title that I'm anxiously anticipating.

So, do you want to jump on board? I'd love it if you would, and please let me know if you decide to participate by leaving a comment. Unleashed is available for instant download via Kindle, or in paperback form both from Amazon (so if you have Prime, 2 day shipping!) and Ave Maria Press (if you read the initial announcement post and author interview over at Catholic Mom, there is a coupon code!).

That is what is most on my heart this morning, and I have my copy of Unleashed by my side ready to crack open tonight. In other new project news, my new web cam arrived this weekend, and...

*angels harmonize!*

I love it. :) It took some time for me to get it all figured out and get the software installed, but it's all a go and the quality is VASTLY superior to what I have been getting with my phone. Plus, I have so much more space and options with it. I plan to record my next Tea Time post with it later this week, so you can all check it out. One of the impetuses (spelling? impeti? ;-)) for me getting this is that I'm going to be participating in a weekly Google Hangout session with some new CNMC friends, in which we're going to brainstorm with each other about new project ideas, and help critique each others' work. I feel like I'm repeating myself a lot lately in this regard, but you know, I'm EXCITED about this. :)

In regards to aforementioned new projects...there are several, and they all involve writing. A few are work related (translation: boring ;-)) but a few are of extreme personal meaning to me and are tied into my writing responsibilities as a faculty librarian. Or at least, I'm hoping to make a case that they are in fact tied together. :) At any rate, I love to write. And for the first time in a long time, I feel inspired to try new venues for my writing. I'm being a little vague, yes I know, but that is by design. ;-) I will keep you posted when I have concrete things to report. Right now, everything is still in the planning stages and still very much a dream. You will know as soon as I know anything for realz!

All right, I have rambled long enough for today, but I do so enjoy doing that with you all. Are any of you interested in the Unleashed Book Club? What are your summer project plans, anything new and exciting that you'd like to report? Please do chime in and let me know!

Friday, June 12, 2015

7 Quick Takes {Take 83} of things that are making me smile this week...


I have the post-CNMC blues, it is true. I feel like my 4 year old Anne expressing my emotions:

"I am sad. I miss my friends."

It's really quite simple, nothing more to say. I love and miss you all.

*sniffle!*

But let's not get the water works going again.

*the world breathes a collective sigh of relief*

I also feel excited and energized this week. And what's that all about, you reasonably ask?

-1- You like me, you really like me!

My CNMC reflection post has accumulated some beautiful comments, and each one has made me inordinately happy. I have responded to each and every one of you. This is a small time blog here at Life of a Catholic Librarian, I don't get a ton of regular comments. And that's ok! I know you're out there, reading. But I do love getting comments, and responding to you personally. So, you know...if you want to, please get on the comment train.

No pressure. ;-)

-2- VERY happy nostalgia with the absolutely lovely Allison Gingras...

Yesterday, on her radio show A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras, Allison was recapping the CNMC. Never one to keep my nose out of *anything* when it's something I care about, yours truly called in. I mean,

:0

...this is kind of a big deal for me, I NEVER do things like that. But I love Allison, and I love the CNMC, so HELLO THERE! And so here is my big radio debut, if you'd care to listen. I appear somewhere around the 12 minute mark. 

-3- *streamers!*

Allison asked me to be on A Seeking Heart again as a guest to talk about books and blogging, so you know, I got all tongue tied and blushy. :) But I am THRILLED! That will be later this year, I'll keep you posted on the date.

One interesting little tidbit from my conversation with Allison yesterday was that she asked me what I write about here on this humble blog. And do you want to know what I said?

"I like to make people laugh."

I didn't even think before I spoke, I just said whatever came into my heart and mind. And you know, that is so, so true. I write about books a lot, I write about Catholic stuff a lot, and about my family, but what holds all of that together is that I like to write humorous stories that make all of us feel a little lighter as we navigate this journey of life together. That was very eye opening for me. I feel a renewed energy for my writing, and I'm so glad that you are all here with me along for the ride.

-4- Because wine with friends is fun 100% of the time...

Someone else that I met up with at the CNMC is the funny and perfectly delightful Maria Johnson, AND in two weeks she's going to be right here in my home town for another conference! You know what this means:

*wine for everybody!*

Seriously. If you're ever going to be in Western New York, please let me know, because I will buy you a drink. I MEAN IT. EMAIL ME.

Ok, but back to Maria. :0 I just have to pop her upcoming book in here, because it has the best title EVER:

http://www.amazon.com/My-Badass-Book-Saints-Courageous/dp/1594716323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434123320&sr=8-1&keywords=my+badass+book+of+saints

Is it any wonder why I love her so much?! Her book title has the word "badass" in it. No more needs to be said to prove her awesomeness.

-5- Cacophony of drum beats emanates from Tiffany's ipod...

I have dance rehearsal with my troupe tonight, and nothing warms my heart more than getting together with those ladies every Friday night. We talk, we laugh, we dance. I am SO blessed to be a part of it all. And with summer festivals right around the corner, our efforts are imparting more hilarity than ever. I'm trying to pick my solo music, which is something that causes me no end of angst:

"Too slow."

"Too fast!"

"What's up with that taxim right in the middle, that seems terribly odd?! Next!"

It's a labor of love, to be sure. But love it I do, so all of this practicing will be my summer workout.

-6- A very large order is currently sitting in my Amazon cart *bites nails*

Speaking of fun projects, I have been a busy bee researching new media equipment. I really need a decent web cam for a number of different projects, including the Tea Time series, since my phone has limited space for such uses. I also need an audio recorder for the chaplet recordings I want to do, and plus when I go to visit Cristina, well... We want to record ourselves for fun and posterity. :) SO, this will be use up my entertainment budget for the month of June, no doubt about it, but I see it as an investment in my future happiness, so we're all good. :)

-7- My husband

Last but not least, I am happy this week because of my Mike. We've been married for 10 years, and he's more adorable, and I am more in love with him, than ever. He is ever helpful and industrious, ever supportive of whatever crazy project I decide that I am now obsessed with doing, and I really do not deserve him. *heart*

This has been a really outstanding week. Here's to many, many more. *raises glass*

*but not really because I'm still at work* ;-)

I'll talk to you all next week! And don't forget...more 7 Quick Takes over at This Ain't the Lyceum!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summertime dancing & new Facebook friends, because we need a lighter post around here... :)

"I read your CNMC post and watched the video. You must be exhausted."

"Why yes, yes I am."

:0

That would be my lovely sister Shauna'h, Introvert Candidate Of The Century #2, and thus she understands the toll such emotional socializing and chronicling has on a person. You could have knocked me right over with a feather Tuesday evening, and that's why I took yesterday off from writing.

In the meantime, I was fielding all sorts of new Facebook friend requests from people I met this past weekend, and I had a thought.

*trumpets blare!*

Yes, occasionally I am away from my children and thus have coherent, uninterrupted thoughts. ;-) The thing is this: on Twitter, I'm somewhat anonymous. I do not use my last name on there, although I now know a good deal of people in real life that I interact with on Twitter. And Twitter is my faith community. My handle is @CatholicTiffany for a reason. I feel free to be as Catholic as I like on Twitter.

On Facebook I am very much NOT anonymous. For a very long time, the only people I was friends with on Facebook were family and close, real life friends. Most of my activity on that particular platform surrounds the sharing of photos. Then a few people with whom I was very interactive on Twitter found me on Facebook, and I was good with that. But now I officially have been found by a lot of other people, whom I met in real life, and feel very connected to, HOWEVER...

They met me this weekend, and we chatted and bonded. But they may or may not know my very not so closely guarded secret, which is very apparent on Facebook. And that is...

...THAT I AM A BELLY DANCER!

*look of innocence* ;-)

I usually say "Middle Eastern Dance" rather than the 'b' word, but let's just be frank. In American parlance, we call it belly dancing. And on Facebook, I get tagged in tons of photos in which I'm wearing an eye searingly bright dance costume and belly dancing with my fabulous troupe. On a stage, in the equally bright dance studio, in parks, at outdoor festivals - battling fierce wind conditions, attracting bumble bees, and dragging leaves that get caught in beading in our wake - dance on we do.

And just given that I met these people at a Catholic conference, and they know me as Catholic Tiffany from Twitter, I always worry about them being a bit surprised by this part of my identity. :) But you know what? I'm 40 now, and do you know what this means?

*drum roll*

I don't fret so much about such things. Being 40 means that your new life motto is:

"Would it be better if I cared more? Too late!"

I hope they're cool with it, and just based upon their personalities over giant glasses of alcoholic beverages, I'm thinking they will be. But regardless, if they're not cool with it, they can always unfriend me. So I accepted their friend requests. And so far nobody has unfriended me. ;-) After all, my cover photo is a shot of me dancing at a hafla in a bright green costume complete with silk veil fluttering behind me, so I think they're on to me. And I think that they will accept me for who I am, alternate dance persona and all. This is why I love them.

Dance has been on my mind anyway, because we have three festival performances in July, and I need to ready a solo. I'm actually thinking of choreographing it, since I'd like to dance to a drum, and drum pieces are much more difficult to improvise to. I do so love to improvise, it feels very natural to me. But in this instance, choreography is better, so I'm plotting about that a bit, choosing a song and all that fun stuff. A coming Tea Time with Tiffany video post will be devoted to dance in the spirit of summer. Fun, yes?! :)

I'm certain that there will be amusing updates on this little project, and as ever, I will share them. Dancing at outdoor venues brings a multitude of unique disasters that can befall us, and Always In Firm Control Tiffany does not like aforementioned possibilities. But we press on.

Do you have any fun summer plans, dear reader? Please write in and let me know. I will ooooh and aaahh and joyfully share the excitement with you. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

CNMC 2015 - Affirmation & Friendship. And apparently tears...

Wow. I don't even know where to begin. Well, I'm BACK, there's that, and I had a fantastic time. It was, gosh. It was wonderful. I met so many kind people, and I received so much inspiration from my time there. But I have no idea how to fully encapsulate the depth of my experience. I think what I'm going to do is this: I'm going to chronicle my time in Atlanta chronologically to the best of my ability. At the end, I'm including a short video that I recorded this morning. I'm going to warn you - I cry during it. A LOT. :0 It's a pretty vulnerable piece. But I'm putting it out there because it's genuine emotion and I don't see sharing that with you as a bad thing at all. So here we go!

I arrived in Atlanta on Saturday all hyped up on coffee and adrenaline. I didn't even need any alcohol on my flight, which is a pretty surprising thing right there, given my feelings about flying. ;-) I met up with my lovely roommate Sarah, and we dropped our stuff at the hotel before making a beeline for the Georgia International Convention Center, and the SQPN booth set up in the Exhibit Hall as part of the Eucharistic Congress taking place there this weekend as well:

We immediately began our socialization efforts, and I spent the weekend forcing people to take ridiculous selfies with me, like this one:

That would be Fr. Cory Sticha (@FrCorySticha), Fr. Darryl Millette (@frdarryl), and Sarah (@mssarahkp).
There are a bunch more of my photos on my Twitter timeline if you want to take a peek, and a special Tagboard for the conference with all of the mentions compiled in one spot using the hashtag #CNMC15. Sweet, right? 

From that point on, I took stock of my personality: reserved, quiet, can be kind of a dud. What I wanted from this weekend was: fun! frivolity! fantastic! So I made the decision to really push myself to be as social as possible. I wanted to meet people, and I wanted to enjoy their company. This means that I would have to TALK to them. That doesn't necessarily come naturally to me, so my social switch had to be set to: "MEGAWATT!" Annndddddd...I think it worked. :)

I met a LOT of people. Wonderful, funny, kind people. Saturday before dinner I hung out in the hotel bar and introduced myself to people. I forced them to take yet more choppy photos with me:

Dee Fox from "Catholic Vitamins!" And Stephanie Zimmer (@angelsteph), and Marika (@oneeyedsmiley)
Over drinks, yay! with Allison Gingras (@reconciledtoyou)
We then went to dinner Saturday night to commemorate the 10th Jubilee anniversary of SQPN. I forced my camera on people again:

...and it was rather an emotional night. That is a theme, right there. ;-) During his short speech at dinner, Greg Willits (one of the founders of SQPN) made me tear up. The problem with my sensitive personality is that I very much absorb the emotional reactions of others and feel them keenly. Then I desperately want to soothe them and make them feel better. So when I see someone else cry, I get all:

*gulp!* "You are crying?! NOW I AM CRYING! We are crying together!! Is this making you feel any better, I can't imagine that it would?! How do we stop now??"

So that happened. Twice. But it was a lovely night and I talked to a TON of great people. I was so tired by the end of the night (early flight + Megawatt Social Tiffany = exhaustion) I could hardly keep my eyes open. And then I didn't even sleep all that well, because I am freakish and never sleep well when I'm away from home. And hello, MASS AT 8 AM! How nice to see you. ;-) So I was tired the next day too.

However, it was so worth it. Mass, conference sessions, more socializing and networking. I taught Stephanie how to knit socks during lunch, because isn't that what everyone aspires to do, knit during conferences? If you don't, then you don't know what you're missing. ;-)

I learned some things about recording audio, and about writing, and about team building. Greg Willits made me cry again, and so did Lisa Hendey, and Fr. Roderick's video keynote speech.

Two of the guilty tear-inducing parties featured in this hilarious photo
I learned a lot. But more importantly, I learned FROM the people that I met. The people who absolutely touched my heart and made me feel welcome and included.

Sunday evening I went to dinner with a bunch of my new friends. And then had drinks in the hotel bar with some others, one of whom is an absolute dear friend, Capt. Jeff:


...and he is also one of my *very* favorite SQPNer's, but SHHHH! Don't tell him. ;-)

By the end of the night, I was absolutely exhausted, but at the same time couldn't have been more content. Good things are coming from this, I just know it. And the friendships that were cultivated just make me smile every time I think back on our time together.

Whenever I come back from an event like this, I feel blue. I was so glad to get home to my family, but I miss the fellowship with my friends, and I don't know when I'll see them in person again. But I hold on to the warm feelings, and the prayers, and all of the support that I'll continue to get from them online, deep in my heart.

And so, this morning, I recorded this video. To say thank you. If you were there with me at the CNMC, I'm speaking directly to you. If you weren't, but read this blog, I'm speaking to you too. We are all a community in the Body of Christ, and you all matter to me. So much. I'm going to warn you that I cry in this video. Quite a bit. :0 So if emotional things like that bother you, skip this one. But I hope you'll watch it. Because we're all in this journey of life together, good times and bad, joy and sorrow. There's no sorrow coming out of this weekend, only joy, but sometimes joy causes tears too.


So. What did you think? Got any new ideas regarding ministry and evangelization, collaboration and creativity? I hope you'll write to me. *hug*

Friday, June 5, 2015

7 Quick Takes {Take 82} On a jet plane to the CNMC! edition...


Well, away I'm about to go, and I'm all atwitter with excitement and nervous energy. How has my trip preparation process been going, you ask?

-1- My video post yesterday really put me in a happily excited place...

I purposely waited until Thursday this week to record my video post so that I could capture my in-the-moment feelings of joy and nervousness about my trip. I really enjoyed recording this week's post, and each week I can see myself growing more and more comfortable with this new use of media. Loving it! The video really made my trip seem real and HERE. Subsequently, I moved into full-on packing and preparation mode. But then...

-2- I promptly forgot to do a bunch of things :0

My memory, always somewhat overloaded because I'm an introvert and have lots of conversations with myself in my own head, is even worse than usual. I was so preoccupied with my packing list that I forgot to bring in honey for my work tea cabinet for the fifth time this week (as an aside, Mike always snorts when he sees "WORK HONEY" on the grocery list), and also to check-in with the airline this morning to retrieve my boarding pass.

#typical

-3- But I did pack a bag! Mostly

Last night while Anne "helped," I stuffed some clothes and other necessities into my cute new orange carry-on bag. It all fit! Kinda. It's not like I need a lot of stuff, but I like to have outfit options depending upon the weather and other factors. It's complicated! Other women will understand this phenomenon. ;-) But I was encouraged that everything was able to be maneuvered into my new bag. I just have to manage to not forget the things that I still need to use until I leave. #challengeoftheday

-4- Of key importance whenever I travel by air...

Kindle. Knitting. Phone loaded with podcasts. That's all I need right there, and I'm a happy girl. I can't use two of these items (Kindle and knitting) when I travel by car because I get motion sickness. Lovely, aren't you glad that you know that? But one of (the few ;-)) perks in my mind of traveling by air is that I do not experience motion sickness. Usually. As long as the plane is big enough it doesn't seem to bother me. And so long as I have those distractions I am content. And we can all breathe a sigh of relief when THAT happens.

-5- But alcohol also helps...

...and it doesn't matter what time of the day it is. I'm just SAYING. I'm a nervous flyer, and even if it should be 9 in the morning, a little Bailey's in the coffee never hurt anybody. I defy you to find fault with this logic. ;-)

-6- I am going to miss my babies. :-\

Anne in particular has been very emotional about me going away.

"Mommy, I don't want you to leave!! Can't I come too?!"

You know, real tear-your-heart-out stuff. I always feel terrible leaving, but I do it so rarely, I know I shouldn't feel guilty. And of course, I always assure about how I'm coming right back. But it doesn't make the heart sickness any easier.

Henry is pretty laid back about such things, but he's 9 now, so that's to be expected. And he's such a reserved kid (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...) that his idea of showing how much he'll miss me is to wave from safely across the room. He'll be fine. But I worry about Anne, since she's so much littler.

*sniffles*

-7- But all that aside, I'm planning on reveling in the joy and fellowship, and just having a GREAT time!

If you're going to be in Atlanta this weekend, I cannot WAIT to meet you! What a wonderful opportunity for friendship and spiritual nourishment we have, and I plan to not waste a second of it. Much revelry to come!

I will write up a full recap early next week, I promise. I'm not getting back until Monday, so I won't talk to the rest of you until Tuesday, but I'll be burning up Twitter with my chatter, I'm sure, so follow me on there if you want all of the minute details. ;-) Otherwise, I'll talk to you Tuesday! May God bless you!

Check out more 7 Quick Takes over at This Ain't the Lyceum. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tea Time with Tiffany Episode 3 - New media & a sense of community!

Hi all, it's that time again!


Today I'm talking about community of the new media variety - so blogs, podcasts, friendships via social media, all that good stuff. My own initiation into this sphere was via SQPN and Catholic podcasts, so I talk about that, as well as my amusement-inducing first experience at a Catholic New Media Conference, and how I'm headed to my second installment this weekend! Join me!


Links mentioned in this week's episode:

Star Quest Production Network (SQPN)
Catholic New Media Conference (CNMC)
My first experience at the CNMC in 2013 (shy nerd alert!)
Sacred Heart Novena
Follow me on Twitter at @CatholicTiffany

If you've been to a CNMC, or are going *squeals!* do write in and let me know! Also, what are your thoughts regarding online community? Is it as meaningful to you as it is to me? Looking forward to hearing from you. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Catholic Nook: Sacred Heart Devotion & Chaplet

Good morning all! Since today is the first day of the Sacred Heart novena, I thought it was perfect timing to discuss devotion to the Sacred Heart as part of my Catholic Nook series. If you'd like to pray along with the novena, click on the link above to join in!

But the Sacred Heart is a devotion that I've always been curious about. As a cradle Catholic, I've heard the concept bandied about for most of my life, and been somewhat familiar with what it means, but nothing official. Then a few years ago, I heard Channing talk about it on her "This Catholic Life" podcast (it's no longer available, as she's a cloistered Carmelite nun, miss her!) and she mentioned that it was her very favorite devotion, which intrigued me even further. So, what is devotion to the Sacred Heart exactly?

In a nutshell, it's based (mostly) upon visions experienced by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the seventeenth century. St. Margaret Mary was a French nun who described Jesus appearing to her and giving her this message:

My Sacred Heart is so intense in its love for men, and for you in particular, that not being able to contain within it the flames of its ardent charity, they must be transmitted through all means.

During the vision, Jesus showed her a human heart, aflame as if with love. He told her that he would be present with devotees to his Sacred Heart in a special way, and that their devotion would lead to peace in families, conversion of sinners, and perseverance when death was near.

The First Friday tradition that you may have heard of amongst Catholics is also tied to devotion to the Sacred Heart. Specifically, Jesus asked the following of St. Margaret Mary:

  • Frequent reception of the Eucharist
  • On the First Friday of each month for nine consecutive months, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.
  • Attend Eucharistic Adoration for one hour on Thursdays.
  • Celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart (this year, it's June 12th). This feast will always be on a Friday, and will follow the second Sunday after Pentecost each year.

There is a lot of information about this devotion in a book that I reviewed last year, Sacred Fire by Phillip Michael Bulman, if you're interested to read more, as well as at the Salt and Light TV blog.

There is also a chaplet that can also be prayed in honor of this devotion.* The Sacred Heart Chaplet has 5 large beads, and then 33 beads that representing the years of Christ's earthly life.

http://michelis.shopinas.com/product/view/seed-chaplet-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus-b--michelis-8807/

To begin the chaplet, pray:

Soul of Jesus Christ, sactify me.
Heart of Jesus, inflame me with love.
Body of Jesus Christ, save me.
Blood of Jesus Christ, inebriate me.
Water out of the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me. Within Thy Wounds, hide me. Let me not be separated from Thee. Defend me from the malignant enemy. At the hour of death, call me, and bid me to come unto Thee, that with the saints, I may praise Thee for all eternity.
Amen.

Before each large bead, pray:

Jesus most meek, make my heart like unto thine. We adore Thee, O Jesus, who has been afflicted in the Garden of Gethsemani, and who still in our time are outraged in the Blessed Sacrament by the impious conduct of men. O most amiable Saviour, we recognize that Thou alone art Holy, Thou alone art Lord, Thou alone art Most High.

One each small bead (3 on the drop, and then in groups of 6), pray:

I adore Thee, O most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Inflame my heart with the divine love with which thine own is all on fire.

At the conclusion of the chaplet, when you reach the Sacred Heart centerpiece, pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the following prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, who by an ineffable miracle of love, hast deigned to give Thy Heart to men to serve as their nourishment, in order thereby to gain their hearts, graciously hear our humble prayers, and pardon us for the sins of which we confess ourselves guilty before Thee. Cast an eye of compassion and mercy upon those towards whom Thou dost condescend to direct the affections of Thine amiable Heart. And since we desire to honor Thee in the adorable Mystery of the Altar to the utmost of our power and to render Thee most pleasing Homage and for that intention, weep for and detest from the bottom of our hearts all the outrages, contempt, mockery, sacrileges, and other acts of impiety which ungrateful men in every part of the world have committed against Thee, enkindle therefore in our hearts this divine love which Thine Own is inflamed, and inspire us with sentiments like unto Thine, in order that we may be able worthily to praise for all praise for all eternity the love which which this Sacred Heart burns for us. This our prayer to Thee who lives and reigns with the Father, in unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

I'd like to get one of these chaplets and add it to my collection, as well as make a recording of the prayers so that we could pray together. Add that to the list!

#check :)

Does anyone else have a devotion to the Sacred Heart? Do write in a comment!

*Found in Devotion to the Sacred Heart, by Fr. John Croiset

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Packing insanity & other amusing tales...

What on earth is in the photo attached to this post, you reasonably ask? Well, dear reader, that would be a patented Tiffany To-Do List, complete with indecipherable chicken scratch, question marks, and random notes. I've actually expanded the list to now include things that I need to pack, with emphasis given to my Kindle, hair straightener, and knitting paraphernalia.

#priorities

I've had little butterflies in the pit of my stomach since last weekend, which is both good and bad. It's good in that it indicates that I'm very excited about my trip this weekend to Atlanta for the Catholic New Media Conference. I don't go on trips very often, and trips by myself are practically unheard of, so this is a wonderful opportunity for spiritual refreshment and fellowship. So what's the bad? Well. :) I'm not sleeping very well because I'm all anxious about the things that I want to complete before I leave (hence the list), and I'm slowly turning into The Funnel Cloud of Tornadoing Tiffany Energy in my efforts to make mincement of the things I want to get done.

I had the inevitable moment over the weekend that lead to the creation of The List:

"I need to mail Irena's birthday gift. Oh. And I have that voucher for NY & Co. that is good only this week and I can use to get a cute new outfit for my trip. And I need to go to Target to get a new suitcase, since our current ones are crap. And I need to look into the parking situation at the airport. And..."

*panics*

So I made a list. Because lists always make me feel better and more in control.

#boom

And it's going well. I've been crossing things off like a very eager little bunny, and Mike (who is home with Anne during the day for this short intercession between spring and summer semesters) has been aiding me as well.

Yesterday, I excitedly ordered a new bag, because we desperately needed one. I wanted a rolling bag that any of us could use for a trip (translation: not fuchsia or bright purple, which is what I would pick for myself ;-)) that would meet all of the carry-on specifications for any airline. Yes, I am one of *those* people. :0 I would much rather have my little collection of stuff right with me, where it can't get lost on a short trip. For a longer trip, obviously it's different, but for a weekend, I'd rather be sure that my motley assortment of prized yarn and cheap drug store makeup won't go missing when I need it.

So I did a little research, and as ever, Amazon to the rescue! Cute orange rolling carry-on bag on it's way to me, due at our house on Wednesday evening. Perfect.

I've been assembling things next to the radiator in our bedroom as I think of them that I want to pack. And then each day tackling other things on my list that need to get done. We're getting there!

Getting back to the butterflies, the other thing that they indicate is that I am so *nervous*. :) I'll talk about this a bit more in the video post coming this week, but when I meet people in real life that I previously only knew online/via a podcast, it stresses me out a little bit. ;-) I can't help it, I'm a Nervous Nelly; I want people to like me! And I feel like I can really put my best foot forward in an online environment. In real life? All kinds of crazy stuff could happen. I could trip and fall and make a spectacle of myself. I could get something stuck in my teeth. I could develop a fever rash at a very inopportune time. :0 And thus, perhaps the worst case scenario could happen: PEOPLE MAY THINK THAT I AM WEIRD. It's the fear of every introvert, right there. 

But yes, all that aside, I am SO excited. I leave Saturday morning, and get back next Monday afternoon. I plan tons of fun socializing and learning of new things that will translate into exciting projects right here on this blog. I'll definitely post a full recap next week, and this Thursday I'm planning a video post talking about my previous experience with the CNMC, SQPN and generally feeling a part of an online Catholic community.

How are you doing this week, dear reader?