Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #37 - PiYo power, podcasting updates, & dance request no-no's...

Hi all! An updatey sort of episode today on the newest installment of:

It's a week of updates, to be sure. Lent. New Year's resolutions/workout foibles and fun. A podcasting update with an exciting new purchase on it's way to me as I type. And what NOT to do when looking to book a Middle Eastern dancer for a party.


 **To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice. 

Items mentioned in this episode:
  • Upcoming St. Joseph novena, his feast is March 19th. Want to join in?
  • My very pleasant surprise with PiYo. I love this review here, written by a woman close in age to myself. She's using a DVD set rather than in-person instruction, but I think the sentiment applies to both. 
  • Super duper exciting podcasting adventures coming your way prior to Easter! :0
  • I know that you all already know that belly dancing is family friendly and never to be portrayed in a scandalous fashion. It's just too bad that not everyone has received this memo. 
  • Next week we'll be chatting about living out our faith in the workplace. Bookmark your thoughts and experiences for next week's comments!
How is your Lent going, dear reader? Do you have any suggestions for Easter basket gifts? Any new workout adventures relating to New Year's resolutions? Recommendations for things you'd like us to talk about in the upcoming podcast project? Do write in and let me know!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Catholic Book Club: When You Suffer

Happy Wednesday to all of you readers out there, and today we have a special Lenten edition of the Catholic Book Club! Just after Ash Wednesday, I embarked on Jeff Cavins' When You Suffer: Biblical Keys for Hope and Understanding, and I delightedly made my way through it quickly on my Kindle. This is an ideal book for Lent not only because of the topic, but because it is a quick read and you still have plenty of time to fortify yourself before Easter.

Here is the excerpt from the back cover, so that you can get a sense of what is covered therein:
To be human is to suffer—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In addition to our own suffering, we also encounter the suffering of those around us. While the world of medicine attempts to relieve suffering and the media tries to sell us on a life without pain, only the Church offers the perspective that suffering has meaning. St. John Paul II  said that suffering without meaning can lead to despair, but if we can attach meaning to our suffering, we are capable of going through anything.

When You Suffer is a refreshing look at the mystery of pain and suffering and how to find meaning and even joy in the midst of it. Jeff Cavins discusses why we suffer and how our suffering can draw us closer to God. He explains that suffering is the greatest opportunity to love as Christ loves and how, by “offering up” our suffering, we join in Christ’s mission to redeem the world.
When Mike and I settled in to read prior to going to sleep the first night I picked this up, he hoisted over the hardcover time travel mystery he picked up from the library, and I had When You Suffer opened on my Kindle. He looked over at my very serious reading face:

"Wha'cha reading?"

"A book about suffering. It's for Lent."

"Oh.That sounds kind of...intense."

He gave me a sympathetic pat on the shoulder before turning back to his happy fiction tale. ;-) This whole exchange was very cute, but in fact this book was not depressing nor burdensome to read at all.

The author begins with a chapter entitled "Your Ideal Life," and he writes in a very down-to-earth, conversational way about his idea of a perfect day. For everyone this would be different, but for him it involves slipping out of the house on a beautiful morning for a hot beverage at his favorite coffee shop, which he would quietly sip while doing his devotional reading. Later, after spending some time with his wife and children, he would go for a long motorcycle ride in the country. For me? Gosh. I suppose it would involve lots of quiet time. I am indeed an introverted person who cherishes SILENCE. Quiet time to knit in front of a crackling fire. Quiet time to read outside while listening to birdsong. I'd incorporate some uninterrupted dance practice that didn't involve twirling awkwardly around our small kitchen and accidentally stubbing my toe on the microwave cart. Then I'd want to go out to dinner with Mike and the kids, during which both children would have halos on their heads the entire time and not fight, and we'd enjoy excellent food and conversation.

This is all well and good, but the point that the author is making is that our life is never like this. Some days may include one of these items, and part of another, but they will also include many unexpected and challenging things. We all deal with obvious instances of profound suffering, such as death of a loved one or a difficult medical diagnosis, but we all also deal with small sufferings in our daily lives related to tasks at work that we do not particularly enjoy, or interactions with people we may find unpleasant. Suffering is something that we all face, and it's likely only going to become more frequent as our lives wear on.

Not exactly an uplifting thought, but there is safely in numbers, yes? It really helps to recognize that we're all in the same boat on this one. And I really like how the author does this in this book, using a writing style that makes it feel as though you are having a discussion about this with him over a drink. Indeed, such books are *always* my favorites in terms of non-fiction.

He goes on to discuss a handful of different aspects of suffering, such as attributing meaning to our suffering, redemptive suffering, a historical look at suffering through the scriptures, offering up our suffering, and participating in the suffering of Christ. He concludes with a practical chapter that I *really* enjoyed that includes ten suggestions for coping with suffering:

You know me, I love the practicalities. I am already a huge fan of the rosary, but his suggestion to physically carry it with you when you're going through a difficult time really resonated with me. It was an important reminder not to allow the rosary to become rote and routine in our lives. He also mentions Saint John Paul II and his very public approach to managing suffering, and well. You all know how I feel about him.*heart* Going to confession when encountering suffering? I hadn't connected those two things in the past, but it makes perfect sense to me now.

This is a small book that is chock full of excellent information, and I highly recommend it for Lenten reading or when otherwise going through a challenging time. I got a lot out of reading it, for which I am most grateful. Have any of you read this book? Do you have any thoughts on handling suffering, large or small? How is your other Lenten reading going? I would love for you to write in. :)

If you'd like to continue to read with me, my next foray into spiritual reading is Marcus Grodi's Life From Our Land (which I'm aiming to review in March before Easter), and my current secular selection is Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. This is a re-read, and it's one of my favorites! We just watched the newish film "Everest," which is why the topic is on my mind again. I have the illustrated edition, and it's positively *gripping*.

Let me hear from you, dear readers! I am looking forward to your comments. :-)

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Birthday MONTH continues, because why not?

Right? Who's with me?!


Given that birthdays lose a bit of their luster after one turns 21, I think that we should refuse to be constrained to a single day. At the very least, birthdays should be celebrated for an entire weekend, but I'm proposing a full month. I plan to keep dredging all of this up until March, so brace yourselves now. ;-)

And indeed, my weekend was filled with lovely birthday festivities. Thursday evening after our Tea Time together, Mike and I went out for dinner. I put on a new dress, and off we headed to the martini bar, where martinis and Italian food were enjoyed by everybody. I opened some more presents when we got back home, and I felt very spoiled and grateful.

Friday featured a few amusing dance anecdotes that perhaps I'll talk about in this week's Tea Time. One involves a professional gig request that is the epitome of what NOT to do, ugh. Yes, that is better conveyed over a soothing cup of tea, I'm thinking. In other dance news, Sword is super thrilled to be taken to class with me each week for our new troupe choreography, and it looks like he and I will be doing a short balanced floorwork segment at the end that he is VERY excited about. He'd better behave himself, that's all I've got to say. He did well in class on Friday, probably because he knew it was my birthday weekend. ;-)

And birthday weekend indeed, as Anne was invited to her very first classmate birthday party on Saturday, which took place at our local science museum. Birthdays for everybody! She was SO cute, running around with the other kids as they made bubbles and ice cream. Oh, the sugar highs that were managed that late afternoon and evening. Anne was absolutely in her element and thrilled to be a part of my things. My dumpling! She's getting so big. *sniffle*

Speaking of Anne's increased maturity, she has decided of late that she would like to get up out of bed and get dressed in the mornings ALL BY THE SELF. This in fact saves me quite a bit of time, I will grant, but the problem has become the following: at 6:30 am this past Saturday, we hear Anne's little sing song voice as she talked to herself while getting dressed, and then the dreaded: CLICK! of her door opening, with that sinking sensation that there is now a LOOSE CHILD IN THE HOUSE.

Can I tell you how many years it has been since I truly got to sleep in, my friends? Many, many years.

So we came up with the ingenious solution of getting Anne a digital clock for her room, and instructing her on not getting out of bed unless the first number was at least a 7:

"There's a 7, Mommy! See it?"

"No, no, darling, that's 6:27, the 7 is at the end. Remember, it has to be the *first* number? The number closest to your little doll of Our Lady."

Saint dolls doing double duty, right there.


"It would be *even better* if that first number was an 8."

Glory be. If only I had thought to do a little creative "daylight savings time" on her clock for the weekends. Clearly, I have lost too many brain cells in this decade-long lack of sleep program.

Naturally, the first time she has stayed in her room past 7 am on the nose was Monday morning when it was time to go back to school. Naturally.

But no need to dwell on the sleepy. Sunday featured the second weekend of Lent, and lots of announcements in our parish bulletin about upcoming instances of Stations of the Cross, Evening Prayer, and a St. Joseph's Table. Catholic Nerd heaven, right there. And later on Sunday, we journeyed north to my absolute favorite family restaurant, Swiss Chalet. You all know how I feel about Swiss Chalet.


We met my parents there and enjoyed our usual fare of rotisserie chicken and homemade french fries. I usually avoid french fries in restaurants, but at Swiss Chalet I indulge, because, you know, THE CHALET SAUCE. You can dip the french fries in there, and that my friends, is a slice of the afterlife. Mike, trying to make us all look bad, ordered the vegetables instead. ;-) But he doesn't like cauliflower, so he offered those to me. I speared one, and paused.

"You're not going to dip that in the chalet sauce, are you?"

He knows me so well. :0

For the record, I didn't. But I thought about it, I won't lie. ;-)

How was your late February weekend, dear reader? Are you thinking spring yet? I'm not *quite* yet, but I can feel the transition approaching in the air. I have a book review coming tomorrow (check the sidebar for deets!) and then I'm going to start the new Marcus Grodi book, Life From Our Land, which discusses spirituality and simple living. Want to join in?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #36 - Guess what day is today?

A Lenten weekday. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. ;-) But want the skinny? Do tune in for today's episode of:

Today I talk about Lent, adventures in painful Pilates/yoga classes, and why today is special. Well, more to the point, why birthdays don't have to suck just because you keep getting older. ;-)

 **To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice.

Items mentioned in this episode:

  • Bullseye! *squeals*

So dear listener, how is your Lent going?! ;-) Have any thoughts on birthdays? I'd love to hear from you. :-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

On snow days, knitting is always the best medicine...

Well, happy Wednesday to you all! I hope that you are well. For my part, I am back at work after my snow day yesterday. I am feeling decidedly sleepy and wishing that I was back at home sipping tea and watching Team Umizoomi with Anne rather than preparing for a reference shift. As well, every muscle in my body is aching for my foray into a Hipfit class on Monday night.


It was incredibly fun though. I do need to be CAREFUL, however, because that muscle in my left leg is feeling a bit sore again. This is the one respect in which I hate not being 20. It's so much easier to injure yourself the older you get. And by "injure yourself" I mean that when you're 20, you may injure yourself playing rugby or having a trampoline jumping competition. When you're 40, you injure yourself by stepping the wrong way when you walk down the stairs. Not fun. And with all of the dancing and fitness stuff that I enjoy, when you injure yourself by walking down the stairs, you can very easily aggravate things via a spin sequence or jumping around too much. Oh the woe.

Thus, it was nice to take it easy yesterday. Although granted, I did go outside to help Mike shovel snow because I wanted "to get steps in" on my Fitbit. I am ridiculous, I tell you. But I drank lots of tea and coffee, and I did lots of knitting.

So, my Downton Abbey mystery craft-along progress is going slowly but surely. I wish I was keeping up with the speed at which the clues came out each Sunday, but I realize now that by taking on both the knit-along AND the crochet-along there was no way that was going to happen. Hindsight is indeed 20/20. And in a sense it's good, because in many of the weekly clues updates were made after they were published, and I got the benefit of not having to be confused and rip out rows due to minor errors in the original clue. So, we'll take it.

I've put the crochet version aside for now to just finish up the knit clue, and then will go back to the crochet shawl when I'm finished. I can tell that I have more momentum when I just stick with one version, and I *really* want to get these girls finished. I'm enjoying working on them, but I have other things in the queue that I'm anxious to get to.

And so here is my weekly accountability report. ;-) I finished clue 4 of the MKAL, and here she is:

More Detroit Red Wing comparisons, yes I know
That's the center back motif, plus a single side wing. I also started clue 5 yesterday, and we've picked up some reserved stitches along the other side of the motif, and have re-begun the lace pattern for the second wing. Clue 6 is the decrease section for the second wing, and then clues 7 and 8 are still a mystery to me. We're getting there! I started my second skein of yarn, so I do feel like I'm making good progress.

I'm also working on some gift knitting, a hat and a pair of socks, and I really want to get those done too. THEN I can move onto new projects, and there's a few things in there that I am over-the-top excited about. They come along with extremely exciting crafting news. Stay tuned! :0

How are your Downton Abbey shawls going? Are you working on any other winter craft projects? I'd love to hear all about them!

Tomorrow, we'll have tea time. Next week I'll indeed have a Lenten book review, which will be of Jeff Cavins' When You Suffer: Biblical Keys For Hope and Understanding. If you're reading this book too, I hope you'll join in!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Of cold snaps and Adoration seeking adventures...

Hi all! I am with you today from my snowy home in Western New York. Technically, the library I work at is open (it takes a LOT for schools and businesses around here to close due to the weather). That being said, however, we've gotten about a foot of snow, and the driving conditions at the morning commute were pretty treacherous. So I used a comp day to stay home. Ironic that I took this photo on Friday:

...and it looks pretty much the same outside right now. :0 The snow is still going strong, which is another reason I didn't want to drive in to work today. It's only going to get worse.

So that's been the story over here for the past several days. We've had an incredibly mild winter here, but February is always dicey, and true to form, we had our first cold spell beginning on Friday. Temperatures hovering around 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and some fresh accumulating snowfall. Dance was even cancelled due to the poor road conditions, which is always a bummer.

And this ties into my Saturday morning Lenten adventures with young Henry. ;-) We woke up all excited for our Mommy/son date to go to breakfast and Adoration.We bundled up and headed out onto the freshly plowed roads. It was a clear and beautifully sunny winter day.

Our first stop was the local IHOP, where Henry and I sampled ridiculously dessert-like pancakes and chose extravagant omelets. I powered up on coffee, Henry on juice, and then we trudged back out into the tundra to drive to the perpetual Adoration chapel. It was just really cold out, no other negative weather conditions.

I was excited to get Henry to this particular Adoration chapel because I tried to take him once before, last Christmas Eve. But when we arrived at the church, we found a sign tacked up saying that the Adoration chapel was closed between Christmas and New Years. Not so perpetual. ;-) But I imagine it's difficult to keep their regular schedule of adorers around the holiday travel season.

So Saturday, Henry and I pull up. We grab our rosaries and devotionals and hop out. I'm explaining to him the logistics and reasoning behind genuflecting (since he's very forgetful in this realm), when we get up to the door, and wham!

"Adoration Chapel closed due to severe cold."


I didn't see this one coming. It was indeed very cold, but I was surprised. I imagine, though, that many of their scheduled adorers are elderly, and the cold is very difficult for them to come out in.

Henry and I trudged back to the car, discussing the one other perpetual Adoration chapel in our area, but that one would be more of a drive. Henry had the excellent suggestion of stopping off at his school parish since they have a small chapel that is open during the day. It's not for Adoration specifically, but it would do! And it's quite close to our house. So off we drove.

When we arrived, we found a hearse and assorted other cars in front of the chapel.


BUT, the main church was open, and we know what's in there, right? The tabernacle! So we went in there and prayed for about 15 minutes. All was well with the world. But I STILL want to get Henry to that Adoration chapel! We're going to try again in two weeks, and hope springs eternal that it's actually open.

And with that, I must sign off to attend to my chat reference shift. Yay? No, not exactly, but a librarian's work is never done! And such pleasing ambiance over here at home, with me in front of the desktop, and the kids fighting in the other room as I should "STOP IT!" every few minutes. Such joy. ;-)

I'll be back tomorrow with likely a crafty post. Snowy days cause me to knit a lot. I think I'll be able to post a Lenten book review next Wednesday, check the side bar for details!

I'm off to heat the kettle. How is your Lent going? Does anyone else have a Lenten resolution to go to Adoration? Any other Lenten details you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #35 - Assorted Lenten & fitness updates, plus "You want to write your paper on *what now*?!"

Ooohh, it's Thursday, which is quickly becoming my favorite day over here on this blog. :)

Today I have a Lenten update, a fitness update, and a tale from my Library Research Methods course, which you would think would be boring, wouldn't you? ;-)

 **To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice.

Items mentioned in this episode:
Do you have books to add to the Lenten reading list? Please do list below! Also, how is your Lent going? The campus minister here during Mass yesterday made that the point of his homily - that we should try and remember the faces we glimpse at Mass, so that when we see one another around campus, we can ask, "Hey, how's your Lent going?" :)

I covet your comments, and as ever, I'm looking forward to talking to you again next week!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Is that a knitted Amoeba?" Adventures with mystery shawls on Ash Wednesday...

Good morning to you all, and a very blessed Ash Wednesday to you. I am all discombobulated today in terms of Lent beginning. I've been excited about it all week, did tons of Lenten-related retweeting all day yesterday, pulled out the book at the top of the Catholic Book Club list for spiritual reading during the season, and then...this morning I woke up all punchy. I felt rather down and beleaguered and didn't want to get out of bed. My hair would not straighten properly and looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical outlet, and I forgot to pack my Kindle so that I could begin my reading over lunch. I also forgot my print copy of the Magnificat Lenten Companion and didn't think at all about the Lenten fast while I packed my lunch, which thankfully by complete coincidence does not include meat. I am just all sixes and sevens over here. But I'm hanging in there.

I'm on the reference desk this morning, and then I am planning to go to a noon Mass with ash distribution here on campus. I'm rather looking forward to that, and hope springs eternal that it improves my disposition. I mean, if it's any indication, I just kicked a student out of the reference desk chair, which had been moved AGAIN overnight, as that has become a huge pet peeve of mine. Ordinarily I would have sat in one of the other, less comfortable chairs and said nothing. Not today. This is what we're working with here. :0



I did do it nicely. *nostril flare*  And things in my crafting world are not going much better. Granted, they are not going *terrible*, but they are moving along at a glacial pace that is making me antsy. After nearly a freaking month, I finished clue 3 of the Downton Abbey mystery knit-along. Here is what we have:

Let's not even get into the specifics of the many inappropriate things we could say this looks like, because there are too many to count. I think that where we're headed is that the center motif (which is currently all misshapen for reasons that are not its own) will become more prominent, and we'll add on a second wing on the other side. I've started clue 4, and we're decreasing, so this wing is coming to an end.

The lace is now going seamlessly, so no troubles there. I do like the center motif, but while I don't hate the lace on the wing, I'm not in love with it either. I think that with these mystery shawls it can be hard to gauge your feelings on the design until the end, because things are just so underdeveloped for so long.

And speaking of underdeveloped, here is our crochet cousin, who is a little bit further along in the process, at the completion of clue 4:

Terrible picture, sorry
This guy now has two full wings, so it's not looking quite so fetal. I've peeked at spoilers for this shawl, and I will say that clues 5 and 6 make it absolutely GORGEOUS, with layers of scallops along the border. Right now, he's looking a bit mesh-y and like he's not quite sure where he's going in life, but I am optimistic that things will improve for him. The colors in this variegated yarn are definitely pooling, as I knew they would, but given that I love the autumn colors, I'm happy with it.

Overall, given that they are lace, both shawls will benefit tremendously from blocking when they are complete, which will stretch out the design and show it to its full potential. I hope.

So, that's the progress update. How are your shawls going? I'd love to hear. :)  And let me know how your Ash Wednesday is going so far! All the details, pretty please. And we have Tea Time tomorrow, yay! I always look forward to that time with you. ;-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Super Bowl feasting leading up to the Ash Wednesday fast, a pre-Lenen check-in!

Hello ALL, how are you this Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time, also known as the day before Ash Wednesday? Anybody going to a Mardi Gras party? :) For my part, I actually went to daily Mass today, since it was being offered for Mike's grandma who recently passed away. It struck me that this was my last Mass prior to Lent, which makes it significant in multiple ways. I will talk about this more during Tea Time this week. In fact, I have LOTS to talk about during Tea Time this week, prepare yourselves for a full 15 minutes. There's a Zumba update, a Lenten resolutions update, and some amusing teaching adventures. Life is never dull for this librarian, to be sure.

Before we get started, I promised a link to my newest Catholic Mom piece, and it's up!

More Lent talk, indeed. But it's the season, yes? I would LOVE for you to head over there and leave me a comment with your Lenten ideas!

All right, so let's get into this past weekend. It was Super Bowl Sunday, and we had friends over for food, feasting and frivolity. I look forward to the Super Bowl every year, although I do think the event rather makes a mockery of a traditional football game. Why can't it just be on a Sunday afternoon and not include a spectacle of a halftime show? We never watch the halftime show anyway, so I really shouldn't complain. ;-) But the Super Bowl just has a strange vibe about it, and not in a good way. What I enjoy is having friends and family to watch it with. Good company and conversation, always.

At any rate, this is my pre-party get up:

Super comfortable Randy baseball tee by LuLaRoe. I kind of love this clothing company, have you heard of them? :0
...and we prepared lots of delicious chip and dip combinations, meatballs in the crock pot, and crab melts. Deliciousness. Our friends arrived, and we ate, drank, and were merry. I worked on my Downton Abbey mystery shawls, and although I'm still President of the Way Behind In The Craft-Along Club, I *am* making steady progress on both, and I'll post photos tomorrow.

It was a good day. A good weekend, in fact. And then this week started.


I knew it was coming, but it hasn't been an easy week. Just super busy and crazy, and I can barely catch my breath. And my mom is having knee surgery today. Right now, in fact. Would you ever so kindly wing up a prayer for her?

So, I'm hanging in there. And to add insult to injury, I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get ashes tomorrow. The morning Masses are out because I'm on 9 am reference duty and the ash distribution always takes a decent amount of time, so there was no way I'd make it in time. The lunchtime offerings are tough because I can't drive anywhere here in the middle of the day. Why, you reasonably ask? Well, because it would mean relinquishing my parking space, and if I do that, I might as well not bother coming back because there's no way I'll get another one unless I invent a spot on the grass, and that NEVER ends well. And I have plans to meet friends for dinner Wednesday evening that were set weeks ago (before I realized it was Ash Wednesday, oops. But vegetarian offerings on the menu). What is a nerdy ash-seeking Catholic girl to do? Well, happily the Newman Center here is offering ashes in the Student Union at noon, and I can walk to that, so whew! I just discovered that little gem yesterday, much to my great relief.

So I'll have my ashes tomorrow. And I believe they're holding a Mass as well, so shazam. Perfect. I'm looking forward to embarking on our Lenten journey, and I have tons of great stuff to update you all on in this regard on Thursday.

What are your plans for Ash Wednesday, dear reader? What time are you getting your ashes? I'd love to hear from you. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #34 - Calling all people with Lenten ideas!

Happy Thursday everyone! And I'm pleased as punch to be with you for another installment of:

Today I'm talking about LENT! It's pretty close on our heels, somehow. I discuss what I'd like to do for Lent, and solicit your ideas. I also weave in family and general life anecdotes as I often do, so please do come join me!

**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe on Feedburner to your podcatcher of choice.

Items mentioned in this episode:
  • The ongoing Our Lady of Lourdes novena. Did I mention this? If I didn't, I should have. ;-)
  • My next Catholic Mom piece, also about Lent, is coming out on Monday. Link coming then!
So. What are YOUR plans for Lent, dear reader/listener/viewer? You have so many roles in my life these days. ;-) And you know, this weekend is the home of Super Bowl Sunday. We're party people, so we're having a party. :0 How about you?!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Novenas always make me feel better...

Hi all!


Our overnights are getting better, but we're still dealing with some early morning coughing that is heralding the start of my day WELL before 6 am, so I'm a bit tired. And I have the evening reference shift tonight, so I'm stuck here until 8 pm. I couldn't come in later today to compensate, due to the nefarious parking situation that I will not go into further lest I start having to strike out profanity.


So it's going to be a long day. I will almost certainly be very tired tomorrow at this very same time as well. But we'll get there.

I was thinking this morning as I drove in, using my winter-themed Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Bernadette rosary to pray, that I love having a novena going. It really does help to settle my mind about many things. And novenas are especially meaningful to me when I pray them leading up to the actual feast day. I mean, there's nothing saying we can't pray an Our Lady of Lourdes novena in the middle of July if we really wanted to. And sometimes, if I have a petition related to a specific saint's patronage, I do just that. But when I'm in tune with the liturgical calendar everything jives even more in my soul, know what I mean? I just love it.

And yes, I am a total Rosary Nerd and I own rosaries that are themed around seasons as well as different saints. I keep 3-4 tucked into a holding spot on the driver's side door of my car that I rotate out every seasonal quarter. That way I can pick an appropriate one each morning as I drive. Right now I have St. Francis de Sales, the Our Lady of Lourdes that you see pictured above, and the Holy Family. Come March, I'll switch to spring rosaries like the one with a Divine Mercy centerpiece, and St. Dymphna. Maybe I'll add Pope Francis in as a spring rosary too, since he was elected to the papacy in the spring. ;-) LOVE IT.

What are your rosary and novena habits, dear reader? Do you have specific rosaries that you pray with at different times of the year? When do you pray the rosary? Do write in and tell me all about it. :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Of well-behaved swords and lack of sleep...

Well hello there, dear reader! I'm not wild about this new schedule yet, as it feels like a long time between Thursday and Tuesday, but it can't be helped. Mondays...


I do have Zumba on Mondays, which is going *splendidly* and delights my whole afternoon. This week, I didn't bump into anybody nor did I get hideously tangled in my own feet by losing track of the combination. I call that a Zumba Win!

But the rest of Mondays? Yeah, no time to blog. So for now, Tuesday through Thursday it is. 

In other news, today is the first day of the Our Lady of Lourdes novena! Head to the link to pray along and get the prayers emailed to you daily. I love it when we pray together!

So, let's see, the weekend. On Friday afternoon I received a call from my ophthalmologist's office that my new reading glasses were in, so I stopped to pick them up. Ta DA!

I like them. And they're not *ah hem* bifocals. I don't like those. And my distance vision isn't poor enough yet for them to make a big difference for me. So, reading glasses it was, and the frames are purple. A match made in heaven.

Friday evening found me back at dance troupe rehearsal, and I felt a lot less rusty this week. We continued our sword choreography, and that too went better this week. Can I even tell you how excited Sword is to be tucked into my trunk each week to accompany me to dance class? He is just pleased as punch. And then he gets a starring role in our choreography, doing lots of dramatic swooping and scooping. Pretty soon we'll get to the balancing part and then he'll *really* get into it. ;-) Right now, we're still working out the logistics of doing a group number with eight women all wielding swords:

"All right, now we all bend inward, swords towards the center...Oh. Brandy's sword is right above my right eyeball, we need to change this part."


Hopefully, by festival season we'll be good to go. No lost limbs or eyeballs.

So then, I get home from dance. I'm all energized and flitting around the house in a good mood. I drink a glass of wine with Mike. Then I hear:

"Mom?" *crying!*

That's not good. I hurry upstairs.The needy party is this one:

Showing off her new Valentine leggings in happier times
Who, when I enter her room, continues to cry, but refuses to tell me what is wrong. Mike and I both work to soothe her for some time. She's had a cold, so I figured it was some discomfort related to that, but it's hard to find a remedy without really knowing what you're dealing with.

Lots of sobbing. So much sobbing. Eventually, we ascertain that her head hurts, and so we administer some ibuprofen. We give her water. Some Vicks on her chest for her cough. Fresh blankets and snuggles. Then we tiptoe back to our room. Ten minutes later:

"Mom?!" *crying!*

*long suffering sigh*

I go back in. More head shaking and crying, zero information parsed out. She simply would not calm down, and so I ended up sleeping in her room. Which means me sleeping on *the floor*, which means every muscle in my body aching the next morning. When you're twenty, you can sleep on floors pretty easily. When you're *delicately clears throat* older than twenty, you cannot.

As if to add insult to injury, in the morning, as I kept my eyes shut and willed sleep that came so rarely over that night, I hear soft whispering start up in the bed above me. An invasion of The Others? Nope, just Anne starting her day. NOW, she wants to talk. I pretend to sleep. Then I feel a not-so-gentle tapping on my shoulder.


"How are you feeling, dear?" *bleary*

"I feel great! I slept good! My head doesn't hurt anymore, Mommy!"

Joy. All joy.

She did sleep without interruption the next night, but last night I woke to coughing at around 4:30 am. More water, more Vicks. Ugghhhhh... This winter season of illnesses seems like it will NEVER end. Someone has been coughing in my house for the past six months it seems. Perhaps pestilence is about to sweep through out land next.

All right, how was your weekend? Did you remember your novena prayers today? :-) Tomorrow, I will talk about...hum, I'm not sure. But I'll think of something! And Tea Time on Thursday, I got better at the audio last week, right?! What do you want me to talk about this week? Write in!