Showing posts with label Thursday's List. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thursday's List. Show all posts

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday's List (Thanksgiving Day)

WHAT I'M THANKFUL FOR: For so many things. My family, obviously -- my husband, Meelyn and Aisling, but also for everyone else, including Carol and Uncle Graham and Lilly and John and Susie and Doug and my parents and brother and sister-in-law and nephews and niece... For good books to read and good food to eat. For my circle of friends, who let me cry on their shoulders during a recent disappointment and were all that is comforting and supportive.

But most of all, and as always, that God in His wisdom and grace, brought me to the Catholic faith. I will never understand why. Surely, there must have been a Bible scholar somewhere out there who would have had a greater appreciation of the Old Testament foreshadowings of Jesus Christ, the Eucharist and Mary, and especially the covenant relationship that God has arranged with those who call Him Father. Surely there was someone holier and more deserving of receiving the sacraments, which are the birthright of all Christian people, but still so sadly unappreciated.

But He chose me. And my family. That is what I am the most grateful for, every single year.

READING: I'm reading another Maeve Binchy and have decided that I must be in the mood for engrossing stories about people and their lives. I've been on a Binchy binge lately. Although I've also been reading a lot of Dean Koontz -- I love that Catholic man -- and more Marian Keyes. These three authors, it seems that their books never grow tiresome to me. Last summer, I immersed myself in British chick lit, as you may or may not remember, and I grew weary of that in just over a month. But Koontz's suspense novels (where good always wins) and Binchy's and Keyes' tales of ordinary lives and the ups and downs along the way are always interesting.

Anyway, the Binchy novel I'm reading right now is titled Quentins and is about a Dublin restaurant of that name, the people who run it, the people who eat there, and all their worlds.

LISTENING TO: Blissful quiet.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: I think perhaps it may be Martha Stewart's Classic Stuffing recipe, with the optional pecans. I think I'd like it with the optional dried cherries, but I didn't add those for fear that the family would protest. I added two eggs and four extra tablespoons of butter to her ingredients and it turned out very well. It came out of the serving dish in satisfying dense slabs and tasted great with turkey and gravy.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: This is our second day of Thanksgiving break. Ordinarily, we'd be around the table, suffering through math and listening to Meelyn howl about the unfairness of her life and how wicked miserable she's been ever since Jody Baxter and Flag entered her life. I am to be spared this misery, just another thing to be thankful for.

SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: I went to bed at 11:30, which is surely a reasonable time, and then my eyes popped open some time later and I was wide awake and refreshed. I figured that it must be around 6:30, which is when I seem to wake up naturally. So I bounced out of bed, looking at the clock as I did so.

It was 1:10 a.m. It took me for-freakin'-ever to fall back to sleep.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: I have to do some HISTO today, tomorrow and Sunday, even though I am technically on vacation. I wouldn't have had to do this if I weren't such a disgusting procrastinator, but waa-a-a-a-ah anyway.

THE CAUSE OF MY JOY: Christmas lights going up outside tomorrow! At least that's what I'm hoping. The girls and I are also going to Hobby Lobby today to get the paper we need to make our big Advent wreath on our picture window that looks out onto the street in front of our house. This window is about twelve feet long and ten feet tall, so as you can imagine, it is a b-i-g display and it looks very nice from outside. We use sheets of paper cut into "fir" shapes for the wreath along the bottom of the window and then place sheets of paper four high for the candles -- three purple candles and one pink. We make little slips of black paper as "wicks" and attach a paper flame when that particular week's candle is "lit." We keep this up all through Advent and then tear it off the window on Christmas Eve to reveal the full glory of our magnificent 10-foot Christmas tree to the wonder of the pedestrians, neighbors and motorists on our street.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: The season of Advent, a time of beautiful hoping and waiting. I honestly don't know how Christmas meant much of anything before we became Catholic. Wait a of the reasons why I started reading about the Catholic faith all those many years ago was because I was searching for a way to make Christmas more meaningful for my family.

Meelyn and Aisling were only four and two back then, and when I started researching "Advent" on the internet, I didn't know that:

1) I was reading about a tradition that people still celebrated; I honestly thought that Advent was something that had died out hundreds of years ago and had no meaning for people's lives today. As I was searching and reading through different websites, I started out by praying that God would lead me to something that could bring light to me so that I could share it with other people. How was I, a presumptuous Christian to be sure, to know then that other people would end up bringing that light to me?


2) that Advent had not only never died out, but that it was being celebrated in much the same way that it had been celebrated for hundreds and hundreds of years, a chain unbroken through century after century, through pope after pope, from Jerusalem to Rome to Indiana. Learning that fact not only changed the way my family views Christmas, it also changed the rest of our lives that don't occur from the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day until January 6, Epiphany Day. Now, we truly celebrate the Christ Mass.

PRAYING FOR: My poor little grandpa, who is having a terrible struggle with an infection near his ankle bone that may end up taking his leg.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes. Marian Keyes is an Irish novelist that reminds me of a younger, hipper Maeve Binchy. If you love Maeve Binchy like I do, you may well enjoy the books of Marian Keyes. Her books make me laugh out loud and frequently make me sniffle and use the hem of my top to wipe my eyes. My favorite Marian Keyes book is Rachel's Holiday, but it is a happy-ending yet grueling read about the protagonist's struggles to overcome her drug addiction. I know that sounds wretched, but it really is a funny, moving book in spite of the subject matter.

LISTENING TO: A little talk radio.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: A couple of Shakespeare books that I don't have. Imagine! I am excitedly waiting for Christmas money to come along so that I can buy them.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Today is the volleyball awards banquet. Wooooooot!!!

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: I slept for four hours, and then happened to wake up because I had a bad dream about a vampire and a can of Chunky clam chowder. Then when I got up to get a drink, my mind whirled into action about the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival trip I'm in the midst of planning with a travel agent, and I immediately got so excited, I could NOY fall back to sleep. So I got up and stayed up until 7:00, then, because we have had the nicest day today of not having to go anywhere until this evening, I went back to bed until 10:30. It was lovely.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: The Thanksgiving dinner given by the staff of my grandparents' assisted living center -- which, by the way, is FREE -- is tonight, of all nights. The night of our volleyball banquet. My brother and his family can't go because my older nephew has a basketball game; my cousin and her family can't go because my teenage cousin has a basketball game. I can't believe the rotten timing. We're all meeting next week at my brother's house, but my grandpa is having so much trouble with his foot and leg. I'm worried that he won't be able to come. Ugh.

THE CAUSE OF MY JOY: My husband, my soul mate, who is just a funny, loving, affectionate person. He also seems to have a slight case of OCD when it comes to bagging groceries, painting walls and putting up Christmas lights, but I can bear those things, considering that it means that I don't have to bag groceries, paint walls or put up Christmas lights.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Thanksgiving, which I wish were two weeks away, but since it isn't...SHOW ME THE TURKEY!!!!!

PRAYING FOR: All of us, that we'll count our many blessings. This is especially important for me, because I am a big, grouchy pessimistic hypochondriac doomsayer. If you would, pray for me to get over myself. You may need the help of St. Jude for this one.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: The Summons by John Grisham. I've read it before, but it's been a long time. I really like Grisham's writing. Legal thrillers are always a lot of fun, and very informative, actually. I learned a heck of a lot about offshore banking from reading The Firm all those years ago. I don't know if Kayte's husband, Mark (the fancy lawyer), has such an exciting time of it as John Grisham's characters do, but those books are fun to read. My favorite Grisham novel of all, though, is A Painted House and doesn't happen to be about lawyers at all.

LISTENING TO: I hear a train's whistle from far up the street, drifting down to us on the clear, chilly night air. The traffic that usually streams by is gone for the day; the only real traffic that passes right now are the trucks from the dairy, on their way to make deliveries at markets, groceries, schools, hospitals and restaurants and the hush outside is as soft as velvet.

Train whistles in the night are deeply embedded in my consciousness with a sense of peaceful well-being. My childhood home in Mt. Summit, Indiana was near a train track and I used to lie in my little bed under the eaves (the same bed my father slept in as a little boy, in the same house) and listen to the train whistles in the night, knowing that their sound meant that all was right with the world.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: The boutique a stone's throw from our house is having a special sale tomorrow on Webkins -- BUY ONE PET, GET ONE PET FREEEEEEEE!!! Could I be more excited? Heck no! Will I throw down any little kid who stands between me and a plushy new friend? Heck yes! Are Meelyn and Aisling coming with me? They'd better be on the front porch, ready to head down that sidewalk at zero-niner-five-eight hours tomorrow, is all I know.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: My warm, snuggly lavender fleecy sweatshirt. It could not be more comfortable and toasty warm. I wish it weren't so ugly. But my husband won't let me wear it out of the house.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Lots! I cuddled up under several blankets and put my feet on my husband and dropped off like a rock. I think it might have something to do with circadian rhythms, but I honestly have no idea what that even means.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: Round 2 of HISTO Ancient Greece is a month away and it will be upon me before I know it. I have some of the eighty questions written, but not all. Time to get it squared away this weekend.

THE CAUSE OF MY JOY: My spring semester Shakespeare Workshop is all filled up and I am really thrilled about that. Most of the members of the class are returning students, but I have quite a few newbies, which is always exciting.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: My second nephew's birthday party this weekend. He'll be seven. But I'm not looking forward to the menu he's chosen: hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and chili. It is to barf. I am totally rethinking this whole idea of allowing the birthday child to choose his own meal until he is old enough to choose prime rib and twice-baked potatoes.

PRAYING FOR: My Aunt Cynthia, who is very, very old and in the hospital, nearing the end of her life.

+Eternal Father, I offer You the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Thine only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.+

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Another Dean Koontz book, titled The Good Guy. The story is a suspense tale about a man who is, well, a good guy, who is trying to prevent a stranger from being murdered by a hit man. It is very good and, as with all Dean Koontz characters, it is impossible not to like his characters. Well, except for the psycho sadistic hit man, of course. Him I could do without. This book is a little edgier that what I usually read, which means that I've been staying up late, shivering like a giant chihuahua as I turn the pages, my eyes out on stalks.

LISTENING TO: One of my favorite DVDs, Michael Woods' wonderful treat for the eyes and ears, In Search of Shakespeare. I just watched the third episode, "The Duty of Poets", and it was so good, I watched it all over again when it was done. (My husband and the girls are all at the last volleyball practice of the season.)

FAVORITE NEW FIND: A new handbag, a gorgeous, big black leather hobo-style bag at my favorite accessories boutique, Goodwill. I think, from the looks and the feel of it, from the suppleness of the leather and the tight, flat seaming, it must have been a $60-$80 bag, and I got it for a whole $2.99.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Today is All Saints Day, one of the best holy days of the year. Followed closely by tomorrow's holy day, All Souls.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Not nearly enough. Because I've been up reading, as I said. In fact, I logged so little sleep last night, Hershey, Wimzie and I took a two hour nap on the sofa this afternoon, all of us blissfully covered up with blankets, snoring in a happy heap. This means that I'll be fresh and alert at 11:30 p.m., ready to finish my novel and spend all day tomorrow staggering around in a stupor. I hope no one at tomorrow's volleyball game thinks I've taken to strong drink.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: This Dean Koontz book is skeeeeeeery! And then there's the fact that it has been weeks since I have written anything here. I am a very bad blogger as it turns out. Which disappoints. I really want this to serve as a record of our school year and how is it going to do that if I never sit down here and type? My only feeble excuse is that we are busy. And we are, really and truly. Things are different when homeschooling two middler schoolers. We also go lots of places. Maybe it will help now that volleyball season is ending.

THE CAUSE OF MY JOY: I am planning the next Shakespeare Workshop for 2008 - we're going to be studying The Taming of the Shrew. And. And!!!! We're also going to be seeing this play is STRATFORD, ONTARIO. Woooooooooooot!!!! This is a long-time dream of mine, to lead a group tour on a fantastic expedition like this. I am very excited. I'm going to be waiting by the phone tomorrow to hear from the travel agent, who will be giving me the package prices for students and adults.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: [in an Oprah Winfrey full-belly shout] THANKSGIVIIIING!!!!!

PRAYING FOR: Dearest Anne.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday's List (on Friday)

READING: Florian's Gate by T. Davis Bunn, which is either one of the world's most memorable names for an author, or one of the most ridiculous. I sincerely hope it's a nom de plume.

At any rate, the book is very intriguing. It's really just a pleasure novel, but somehow TDB has managed to include a lot of information about the antiques world of buying and selling and how collectors work. He even took me to an auction at Christie's, which was very interesting. The other side of the novel is a mysterious story about life in Poland after WWII and life in East Germany just before and just after the Berlin Wall came down. The main character, Jeffrey, has ties to both places through an elderly second cousin (whose antiques business he manages) and his lady love (who is studying the German and Polish languages at the University of London.)

LISTENING TO: Rain pattering down on the sidewalk outside the window. I love it.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: I don't have it quite yet, but I'm hoping to get a new cell phone to replace the one I LOST. I LOST MY STUPID CELL PHONE AFTER ONLY NINE DAYS WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME WHY AM I SUCH AN IDIOT IDIOT IDIOT!!!


Excuse me. Every now and then, I have to lie down on the floor and thrash around like a horse with colic and scream a little bit whenever I think of that phone.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Today was the first day of HISTO Ancient Greece. It went really well and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. One of my favorite things was hearing four or five students say, "I had such a good time today!" Yay! And you learned some history too, you little curtain climber. How's that for a great deal?

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: I am in a really, really bad cycle of insomnia. It's just awwwwwwwwwful. If I were a drinker, I'd being doing tequila shots right now, lining them up on the kitchen counter and knocking them straight back, attempting to at least make myself pass out. At least. Of course, then I'd freak myself out with the worry that I'd be unconscious and choke on my own vomit if I got sick, which I undoubtedly would, so then to keep myself awake, I'd go outside to revive myself in the cool air and probably attempt to sing "Fernando," that old song by Abba and get arrested for public drunkeness and I don't think our local jail has Wi-Fi.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: I want to go to sleep, but can't. I want to go to sleep, but can't. I want to go to slee-... As I got out of bed at 12:30 (I am typing this at 2:30 a.m.) my husband said groggily, "Honey, make yourself stay in bed. Just resolve to lie here and be still until you drop off."

I sighed. "You know, that's just like torture to me, right? Just lying there, staring at the ceiling? If I try to do that, my mind starts going a mile a minute and I have thoughts going around inside my brain like stock cars at Talledega. I can't just lie there and manufacture resolve."

"Ah, well, there's your problem," he said with the air of a man who has just solved a major problem in the universe. "You think to much. Way too much. You need to train yourself to be completely thoughtless."

"I did just lose my cell phone, nine days old. That was thoughtless."

"Okay! Now we're getting somewhere! You lie there in the dark, trying to fall asleep and leaving me alone and you think about what you did with your cell phone and where you might have put it."

"Thanks. You are such a big help. Huge."

"You're welcome. Good night. I love you. Stop talking to me, I mean, like, now. Go downstairs and play with your Webkins."

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Saturday, when my husband runs the Indy Marathon, halfway only, 13.1 miles.

Here's a song the girls and I made up for him a few years ago, when he signed up for his first 5K run. It is sung to the tune of "On Broadway." I sing the lead and the girls do backup. We are freaking awesome.

They say that I won't last too long in 5K
I'll pack my running shoes and leave, they all say
But they're dead wrong, I know they are
'Cause I can pass this speeding car
I'm gonna make the front-page Star for 5K
for 5K....
for 5K...

PRAYING FOR: My friend Jane and her family.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Brother and Sister by Joanna Trollope, another fine one by this author, although I didn't find the end nearly as satisfying as I do most of her books. This one was about what happens when two siblings, both of whom were adopted from different birth parents, decide to find their "real" mothers.

LISTENING TO: The sound of two girls bickering. Constantly. They were so bad on Tuesday, I threatened them with my "Homeschooling is a Privilege" speech, this time adding that I would not only send them off to public school, but I'd also make sure to find one with drug pushers and pimps lurking around outside.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: After about a month of dealing with an old cell phone with a dead battery, I finally got a new cell phone the other day. It is super-cute and the girls tell me that I can take pictures with it -- Pictures! With a telephone! -- but I don't know how to do that yet.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Today is October 4, which is not only my father's birthday (Happy Birthday, Poppy!), but also the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, which means that the girls and I are going to load up the stinky ones in the van and drive them over to the church for the Blessing of the Animals.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Only six, which turned out to be not quite enough, considering that I only had about four the night before.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: Shakespeare and HISTO are ganging up on me.

THE CAUSE OF MY JOY: I love my little Webkins, a Chinese pug. You have no idea how restful and cheering it is to come downstairs and go to Webkins World when I can't sleep. It's so much better than coming downstairs and morosely answering emails.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Still looking forward to the Fishers Renaissance Faire on October 6 and 7. As it turns out, some of the people on the volleyball team are also cast members at the Faire. I am anticipating a good time, although I hope they'll have more to offer in the way of food than a hunk of slightly rancid cinnamon-spiced mutton served on a trencher of bread. Although I wouldn't say no to mead.

PRAYING FOR: Peace in our homes and peace in the world.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Brother Odd by Dean Koontz. I liked Odd Thomas so much, I decided to go back to the library and find the second book about Odd, although it turns out that it was really the third. Somewhere along the line, I missed the first book in the series, titled Odd Fellow, but oh well. Just something to read later, right? Brother Odd is set in a monastery and very Catholic are its themes. The monastery is peopled with a number of delightful characters, including a Mother Superior of the nearby convent who was so real, I could nearly see her. Plus, the explanation of the three portraits on her office wall (George Washington, Flannery O'Connor and Harper Lee) made me cry. It's a great book, but I would definitely recommend reading the other books in the series first, so you'll understand the back story.

LISTENING TO: The sound of schoolwork going on around me.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: Insight's combination digital cable with DVR, telephone service and broadband internet, which will cost less than we're currently paying with our phone and DSL service through a well-known provider and Insight digital cable all by it's lonesome. Plus, it will cut us down one more bill per month.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Going to the scrapbooking workshop today! Yippee!!!!

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: I've been sleeping really well in the past week, which is very, very good. I've been drinking water or milk at dinner instead of a diet soda, hoping that a little less caffeine in my system would break that annoying cycle of insomnia I was experiencing last week.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: I somehow, in a manner unbeknownst to me, became the person who is organizing the volleyball sports banquet in mid-November.

THE CAUSE OF MY JOY: The Hamlet Workshop is nearly over -- all we have left to complete is seeing the production at IRT and then the "wrap party" one week later and it's all done. I think it has gone really well and I'm proud of how has turned out. I have an enormous sense of accomplishment. And boy, will I ever be relieved to be done with the work! Each class is three hours long and requires at least four hours of preparation each week, if not more. I am exhausted and see Hamlet, Gertrude and Claudius in my dreams with alarming frequency. (The other night I dreamed that I was trying to haul Ophelia out of the pool at our swim club while screaming for a lifeguard to come save her - she was so heavy and I couldn't get her out of the water because, naturally, she was dressed in the clothing of the twelfth century instead of a bathing suit.)

But the good news is, if I ever teach this particular workshop again, I'll have it all right from the start.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: The Fishers Renaissance Faire on October 6 and 7. My friend Gloria is playing the role of a Spanish Infanta and I can hardly wait to see her. She's not allowed to break character, so that's going to seem strange, but how cool is it that she's part of the cast?

PRAYING FOR: Paul, Barb and their family, who gave us an enormous blessing recently.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Father Melancholy's Daughter by Gail Godwin. I just finished this book yesterday and closed the cover with a feeling of admiration for what the author accomplished, accompanied by a strange feeling of ambivalence. This book is the story of a girl, Margaret, growing up in Virginia, the daughter of an Episcopal clergyman and his much-younger wife. Margaret's father is inclined toward depressions, which he likens to a trip "behind the Black Curtain," and her mother, an artistic soul, begins to realize that these "trips" are bordering on the self-indulgent. When a woman friend from her boarding school days comes to the rectory for a flying visit, Margaret's mother goes off on a few days' "vacation," with Father Melancholy robustly encouraging this bold move (this was taking place in the early 1970s - I'm just glad that the lady went off on a trip to New York and I was spared some screechy, ranting bra-burning scene.)

The story unfolds as the "vacation" stretches from two weeks into a month, from a month into three months. Margaret, who was six, struggles with her mother's abandonment, especially when her mother and the friend go on a trip to England a year after the initial departure and Margaret's mother is killed in an accident while driving on the wrong side of the road.

Margaret and her father shore one another up: He raises her and she takes her mother's unenviable place in coddling her dad through his Black Curtain periods, finding peace and even joy in doing their duty to one another.

It was a good book, possibly even brilliant in parts. But the theology expressed in the book was just so annoying. I find it very hard to be patient with people who find it difficult to accept the inscrutable simplicity of a relationship with Jesus and instead bother their heads with questions like the one Father Melancholy asked a fellow priest: "The resurrection as it applies to each of us means coming up through what you were born into, then understanding objectively the people your parents were and how they influenced you. Then finding out who you yourself are, in terms of how you carry forward what they put in you and how your circumstances have shaped you. And then...and here's the hard part! You have to go on to find out what you are in the human drama, or body of God. The what beyond the who, so to speak."

Whatever happened to finding out who your yourself are in terms of how you carry forward the new life birthed into your soul through, say, the sacrament of baptism? Who are you in -- just as a for instance -- Jesus Christ? How does a daily relationship with Him form your personhood, your conscience and your soul, combined with the circumstances of the way you were raised, the home life you experienced, the education you received?


LISTENING TO: A little Chopin, from one of those CDs that tickles me with a ridiculous title: Chopin's Greatest Hits. Could Chopin: Unplugged or Chopin: Live at Leeds be far behind?

FAVORITE NEW FIND: Webkinz World! Aisling was finally successful in registering at the Webkinz site and oh. My. Gosh. Webkinz World is, like, the most fun place ever. I am completely over my initial fury and now wish to own a Webkinz plush pet of my own, so that I can make a little virtual house for it, with a virtual piano and a virtual canopy bed and a virtual back yard with a virtual water feature. I have my eye on a Chinese pug at our neighborhood gift shop. I would like to name her Martha Jean and she will be my very own.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: This is the first day this week that we have not been moving at the speed of light. It is lovely to have a day of hanging around the house. Tomorrow it all starts back up again and continues on until next Wednesday. Aaaaahhhh.....

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST WEEK: I feel CHEATED AND BETRAYED by the fact that I have taken a Benadryl three times this week and still have had trouble falling (and staying) asleep. Is my box of Benadryl....expired? Dreadful thought. Must go to upstairs medicine cabinet and check the date stamped on the little flap.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: Last few weeks of the Shakespeare Workshop are wrapping up, which is not a bad stress. It's been a wonderful class. However, earlier this week, I thought to send out (in my weekly email to the Shakespeare Moms) a note about the adult tickets I had ordered, asking them to check the list and make sure I had things right. Well, it is a DARNED GOOD THING I did that, because I had completely forgotten all about ordering one extra student ticket and two adult tickets. I had been somewhat uneasily feeling that I had too much Shakespeare money left - now I know why. I got those tickets ordered just under the deadline. Can you imagine how much those mothers would have wanted to administer a beatdown to me if they showed up at the theater for the Hamlet performance and I'd stammered out, "Uhhhmmm....errrrr....It seems I forgot to order your ticket, Mrs. Pleasedon'tleavevisiblebruises."

PRAYING FOR: Baby Lily is home! Young Peter is home! Baby Lily's G-tube surgery is healed of the staph infection she contracted in the hospital (!) and she is now presumably surrounded by a swarm of older brothers and wearing lots of pink. Young Peter's proton radiation therapy is over - now it's just the waiting to see if the radiation successfully annihilates the cancer. He is home, surrounded by a swarm of older (and younger) sisters and wearing whatever little boys wear when they spend late-summer days outside playing. His mother reports that his appetite and his energy level are both very good. Deo gratias!

Also praying for the S. and the C. families, because they are so faithful to pray for us.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock, which was a really interesting murder mystery. I enjoyed it, except for the two main characters. They were sisters, Morgan and Blair, and they were so irritating that I was looking for them to be the next victims. The book was worth the read because of Sadie and Cade, although Cade spent a lot of time hoping to break through Blair's shell of brusqueness. He was laboring under some misguided notion that, like a crab, she was all shell and claws on the outside, yet sweet on the inside. Men are so adorable that way. I wanted to stick my head through the pages and say, "Cade. Honey. Give it up. She is not sweet. She hasn't had one sweet thought through this entire book. Myself, I keep hoping for someone to shoot her."

LISTENING TO: Late afternoon traffic slipping by outside the window. The temperature is a lovely 76 degrees and all the windows are open. Someone just stopped for the stoplight with Norah Jones playing on the stereo. If I had a glass of chardonnay here on the desk beside me, it would just be perfect.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: My mother brought me a magazine with an article featuring an old friend from my early twenties who grew up to write a New York Times #1 bestseller. We lost touch long ago as we both moved on from our apartment in Muncie, Indiana to get real jobs (way back when, I was a substitute teacher and she was a waitress) and get married and have kids of our own, but it was nice to see her face and read about her success.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: I'm not sure how this worked out in the grand scheme of things, but I just inherited two chandeliers that belonged to my great-great-grandmother. They were originally powered by lamp oil, but were converted to electricity somewhere early on in the last century. One is perfect for my dining room. The other may go in my bedroom. With our high ceilings and no ladder, I wonder how long it will take me to convince my husband to install them both? They're so beautiful, one done in light blue with handpainted flowers and the other in cranberry glass with cut glass dangles. I can hardly wait to see them on my ceilings. I've known them since forever.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST WEEK: Couple of dodgy nights around Sunday and Monday, but pretty good the past few nights.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: School. School, school, school.

PRAYING FOR: Baby Lily and her family -- the g-tube surgery went well; the trach placement has healed. Young Peter and his family will be traveling home soon from the proton radiation treatments in California soon. Pray with me.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I've never read anything by Dean Koontz before, but a friend told me that he writes a good, slightly skeery suspense novel with no blood, guts and gore and no horror factor that makes you still wake up in the night wishing you hadn't read Salem's Lot, like, twenty-five years ago. I love this book. I love Odd Thomas, the main character. I love Stormy, his destiny. I love Dean Koontz's Catholic themes in the book. I hope all his novels are as good as this one.

LISTENING TO: Sean Hannity's talk radio show. Sean is so full of bombast that I'd like to tweak his nose every now and then, but I was interested in hearing what he and his callers had to say about the Republican debate last night on FoxNews.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: A Subway sandwich shop near Aisling's piano teacher's house that has nice decor, comfortable tables and chairs, "oldies" music (from the 70s and 80s, natch) playing on the sound system and an atmosphere redolent of baking bread. N-i-i-i-ice!

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Hearing "Close to You" while sitting at Subway, a song I used to sing to the girls when they were babies. Heaven knows I try not to get tears in my eyes when hearing Karen Carpenter's beautiful voice, but it's very difficult.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Not nearly enough. I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. reading, apparently under the impression that I was still basking in the lazy days of summer and could remain snuggled up in my pillows until 9:00 or so. When the alarm went off at 6:30, I wanted to smite myself. And the clock.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: Nothing. As I said a couple of weeks ago, this makes me nervouse. Surely I should be worried about something? But we have the assignment sheets for the entire first semester printed out and dated; I'm ahead of the game in the Hamlet Workshop and HISTO; I have no overdue library books. Oh, wait...I forgot to call my parents on their anniversary last Saturday and I feel like a selfish pig. Yup, that did it. Stress.

PRAYING FOR: A good year of homeschooling and other various needs and wants. Plus, Carol and Uncle Graham are flying out west tomorrow for a weeks' vacation - they plan to go to Sunday Mass at an old mission church near San Diego. I hope they'll have safe travels and a wonderful time. And Susie's younger French-named daughter took off on a plane across the sea a few days ago for the start of a semester abroad in France through Pepperdine's exchange program.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy. I really like this Irish author and her gentle storytelling, her interesting characters. This is the second book I've read by her, the first being an older one titled Light a Penny Candle.

LISTENING TO: some sort of silly football game thingie, with one team wearing really smashing purple and yellow-gold uniforms and the other team wearing white with blue. It seems to be a college game. On Thursday night?

FAVORITE NEW FIND: CVS brand saline nasal spray. I'll explain why tomorrow.

HAPPY TO SAY: The first, four-hour session of the Shakespeare Workshop went so incredibly well, in spite of the fact that I was so nervous, I was afraid I'd throw up in front of the students.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Hershey jumping up on the bed with me this morning and snuggling up next to me, his beady little eyes brimming over with love. He is so ugly and not very smart, but he sure is a sweetheart.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Not nearly enough for the past three nights. It is affecting my temper. Maybe I don't have PMS after all? Maybe I am just a sour, rotten, sleepless old hag.

SCRAPBOOK PAGES THIS WEEK: None! I am scrapbook-free until late September.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: This has been a bad month for money, very bad. Unfortunately, the utilities people don't seem to have much appreciation for a spunky phone call where I say, "Hey, listen! You know that $178.47 we owe you? Well, is there a possibility I could work that off by coming down and making coffee for y'all for the next eighty mornings? No? Well, shoot. I think we have a problem, then."

I remind myself during these times that the balance in our checking/savings accounts reflects our choice to homeschool the girls. Any time we decide that keeping up with this choice is too difficult, we can do something different and I can get a job teaching other people's children instead of my own. But somehow, we never get around to deciding that. It's a sacrifice, and sacrifices aren't really sacrificial unless they're hard. Things are hard right now. But next month may well be completely different.

PRAYING FOR: Tom, Sue and the kids. Peter and his family. Lily and her family. Please pray with me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Next of Kin by Joanna Trollope, which could probably be one of the most beautiful novels I've ever read. It's unusual subject matter and not for every taste, but it's one of those books that changed me, made me....stronger, maybe? I don't know.

LISTENING TO: Aisling playing Vince Guaraldi's moody, evocative version of What Child is This on the piano, bookended by a rollicking rendition of Linus & Lucy and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: Standing in the pool while reading, see below. I can hardly wait to get back in tomorrow.

HAPPY TO SAY: All the HISTO and Shakespeare Workshop binders are assembled and ready to move out the door. All Hamlet books and study notes (complete with an ink pen and a highlighter marker) are rubber-banded together. I just have to print out the handouts and I'm ready for Tuesday. Feels soooooooooo goooooooooood!!!! I've been working all summer to accomplish this gargantuan task and I got it finished before deadline.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: I just had a really long drink of water, water of the perfect degree of coldness. It tasted so good, better than champagne.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: I got a lot of sleep last night because I took a Benadryl to help me get there. I've had four nights in a row of sleeplessness, the combination of a couple of good library books, excitement about Shakespeare and my regular cycle of insomnia.

SCRAPBOOK PAGES THIS WEEK: None, and I don't plan to do any until the girls and I go back to our 4-H scrapbooking workshop at the end of September. We have a lot of prints to sort through and plans to make for upcoming pages. We'll be too busy getting our school year off to a start to be fiddling around with the scrapbooks, although they do beguile us from their honored spot on the coffee table.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: I feel too good about all those binders being filled (forty-two total, nine of them with a sixteen page book inside that I copied off on our printer. In color.) So I don't really feel much stress, other than I have to attend a homeschool group board of directors meeting tonight, which I definitely don't want to do. Oh, I enjoy seeing the other board members, but I wish we could be seeing one another for pleasure instead of business. Urk. Board meetings are very, very dull -- I hate meetings of any sort -- so how I ended up as a board member of two different boards (homeschool group and volleyball league) is beyond my knowing.

PRAYING FOR: Young Peter, who's out in California with his family, receiving the proton radiation therapy for a viciously malignant tumor on his spine. It isn't going well. The tumor is badly placed, wrapped around his optic nerve, so that destroying the cancer may well mean destroying his vision. Everyone is praying firmly and fervently for complete restoration of his health -- a miracle. St. Peregrine, please pray. Join me in an Our Father for Peter, if you would.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. As it turns out, this is one of those books that everyone in the world knows about except me. Brede is about a group of Benedictine nuns living in cloister in the late 1950s. It is truly one of the best books I've ever read and I hate putting it down, hate that it is finite and that I'm almost finished. Rumer Godden did a remarkable job of explaining the hows and whys of cloistered life, and also of making each nun, so anonymous in their black and white habits, come to life with vivid characterization.

LISTENING TO: The beautiful sound of a vaccuum cleaner that I am not pushing: The girls and I are doing a little cleaning. Our housekeeping gets very lax over the summer.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: There is a bee-yoo-tee school in my city that offers a full range of services, from hair styling (yay!) to Brazilian waxes (eek!) for lovely low prices. The students are all supervised closely and everyone is so nice. Meelyn got her hair cut yesterday and it looks amazing. Naughtily, I told her that I wanted to wait to see how her hair came out before I scheduled an appointment for myself. She's thinking about getting a pink streak; I'm thinking about getting a manicure. Aisling is thinking that any lapses in grooming can be attended to by an extra squirt of mango-papaya body mist. We all grow at different rates.

HAPPY TO SAY: Hamlet tickets are ordered and our reservation confirmed and the first day of the workshop is less than two weeks away. I am terribly excited. It kind of feels like waiting for Christmas. Also feeling terribly pleased about our homeschool group's upcoming tours at the Indianapolis Museum of Art - I'm working with a person there and hoping to get something a little bit new for this year. And art! Art classes are working out perfectly for our schedule, plus we have the excitement of Speech Club starting up in our other homeschool group. I was a bit surprised to find out how much the girls are looking forward to this. Hm.

I also went to confession last night with the family, right before the Mass honoring Mary's assumption into heaven and that's always a good, good feeling, no matter how much I hate the idea of being held accountable for my stupidity and how much I dislike the notion of humbling myself. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful," wrote St. James. It seems that he knew what he was talking about.

"Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . . On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure," wrote the author of the Didache in AD 70 (4:14, 14:1). It is a good to know that the four of us are doing something that has been happening since the earliest days of the Church, following the ancient pathway of Christians.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: The girls had volleyball practice for three hours this afternoon and I had that time to myself. I think back on that vacation week without them and I shudder, but having three hours every now and then is a blissful thing.


SCRAPBOOK PAGES THIS WEEK: None! I'm enjoying not worrying about it. If it gets done, it gets done. If not, the world won't stop spinning. Truth be told, there's not that much going on in these declining weeks of summer that needs to be documented anyway.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: Strangely enough, for anyone wound as tightly as I am, I don't seem to feel stressed about anything right now. I think it's because all of our homeschool stuff for the next year is falling into place with gratifying simplicity. Why is that? It makes me very nervous when I'm not....concerned....about something. There! I did it! Now I feel stressed!

PRAYING FOR: A good homeschool year for us, our seventh.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Thursday's List

POOLSIDE READING: The Last Juror by John Grisham. I do love John Grisham for a nice, entertaining read.

LISTENING TO: The phone ringing. Oh, my! It's Kayte, calling all the way from Carmel to tell me that she can't go to bed until I post my Thursday's List. Nag, nag, nag....

FAVORITE NEW FIND: My older nephew's new beagle puppy, Louie. Cuter than bee spit, he is.

HAPPY TO SAY: The Hamlet tickets are ordered and HISTO Round One is headed off to be printed tomorrow.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: I re-wrote the story of Daedalus and Icarus for the HISTO study binders and I think it turned out very well.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Not quite enough. I am so sleepy and grouchy right now. Not a good combination.

SCRAPBOOK PAGES THIS WEEK: None again. HISTO, Hamlet, Meelyn's optometrist appointment, the ARCHES kick-off open house, Moms' Night Out, an appointment to get my blood drawn, getting the new license plates, two volleyball practices, ordering all the books for the new year, Aisling resuming piano lessons...what a week.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: Getting ready to leave to out of town for a night. I am already being teased for being Mrs. Fussy McPackalot. But they'll all change their tune when they realize that I did not forget to bring a serving plate for the cheese as well as a bottle opener for the Coronas. And the lime wedges that go in the neck of the bottle. So there.

PRAYING FOR: My friends Patricia and Robin, and Meelyn's volleyball coach's wife, Karen. For peace, for healing, for a change for the better. Please join me.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: The Catholicism of Shakespeare's Plays by Peter Milward SJ. This is such a great book, very helpful as a research tool in nailing down all the Catholic themes and "shadow plot" in Hamlet.

POOLSIDE READING: In a Dark Wood Wandering: A Novel of the Middle Ages by Hella S. Haasse, translated from the original Dutch by Lewis C. Kaplan. Valois, Orleans, Berry, Bourbon -- all those famous dukes, plus a little bit of Brittania provided by the nasty Richard II and valiant John IV during the period of the Hundred Years War. This book was first published in the Netherlands in 1949 and has never been out of print. I can see why.

LISTENING TO: my new MP3 player - love!

FAVORITE NEW FIND: I stumbled across a little site called that has a daily meditation called 3-Minute Retreat. I've done this little "retreat" for the past couple of days and they've both been so good, I decided to add their button to this blog. You can click on it over there to your left. If you're at work, turn down your speakers, because there is music. It is really beautiful music, but still.

HAPPY TO SAY: I have Hamlet nearly all planned out for the entire workshop and am nearly ready to start on the Round 2 questions for HISTO, which won't need to be given out until October, so I am way ahead of the game and feeling very, very good about that. In one week, I'll be ordering the Hamlet tickets!

FAVORITE THING TODAY: went out to breakfast by myself (my husband had to be at work early, so he wasn't available for company) and had a very nice time

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Seven, the longest amount all week.

SCRAPBOOK PAGES THIS WEEK: None again. Too busy with HISTO and Hamlet and the pool and generally enjoying myself. But I did design the cover art for the HISTO binders and I used many scrapbooking techniques for that, so that probably ought to count for something.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: Missing the girls with every fiber of my being, but loving this solitude with every fiber of my being.

PRAYING FOR: All the people involved in the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Film footage the news networks are playing over and over again is just horrifying. I finally turned off the television at about 7:30 this morning because I can't stand the media's eager slavering over tragedy and the way they shove microphones into people's faces and say, "How did you feel when you realized your husband was probably traveling across the bridge?" Sickening. Please join me in a short prayer.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thusday's List

READING: Lord, Open My Lips: The Liturgy of the Hours as Daily Prayer by Seth H. Murray. I've actually been praying the Divine Office at Lauds (morning) and Vespers (evening) prayer for a couple of years, but there's never any harm in learning more about how and why. This little book is really well done and very simple to understand. It helps make sense of all the flipping back and forth during Lent and Advent, which can sometimes flummox even the most seasoned pray-er. The only two people I've ever seen who had complete command of the Christian Prayer book are Sister Shirley from St. Anne's and Patricia, the president of our St. John of the Cross Carmelite group. They serenely go from page to page to page while I continue, after two years, to fumble like an amateur. I hope this book will help - it does have a couple of pages on how to logically arrange the markers.

POOLSIDE READING: Boo by Rene Gutteridge. This is another book from my mother's church's library and it's a fun story about a horror writer (think handsome, single guy who writes Stephen King-type books) who comes to know Christ and throws the town he lives in, which has become a major tourist attraction due to him, into a tailspin. Do the residents want him to achieve heaven at the expense of their town's economic collapse? Because "Boo" (short for Wolfe Boone, the horror novelist) isn't sure he wants to keep on writing in this devils-and-demons genre. Some people are happy for his newfound faith, while others will do anything to get him back to the banshees.

LISTENING TO: Some landscape design show on HGTV. Meelyn is watching it. And, oh! A National Weather Service alert. Thunderstorms a-comin'!

SAINT IN HEAVEN I'D LIKE TO MEET: St. Dominic, to whom the Blessed Mother gave the rosary.

HAPPY TO SAY: That I got my new flash drive installed on the computer and have backed up about a jillion files, all without having to call my brother even once.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: Whole wheat pasta. Much healthier, being whole grain. Doesn't spike the blood sugar like regular white semolina flour pasta, thus making it a good carbohydrate. Tastes good, too. I've known it existed for years but had never bought any before. I've tried several different brands, some expensive (organic) and some cheap (store brand) but they all work equally well.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Picked up Aisling's new glasses at the optometrist and found out that the frames of her old glasses, which broke when I attempted to give her the clumsiest high five in the history of the world and accidentally snapped the earpiece right off her head, can be replaced FREE. They were still under warranty.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Seven! A real treat after three nights of being awakened by thoughts of Shakespeare.

SCRAPBOOK PAGES THIS WEEK: None. Too busy with the fair and other stuff.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: The girls leave for a week's vacation on Sunday and prodigious amounts of laundry need to be washed, dried and folded, plus I have to supervise their packing and aaaaaahhhhh....

PRAYING FOR: Tom, Terri and their children; Jeff, Kari and Gracie; Tom, Sue and the kids; Peter and his family - all families that are hurting due to illness, injury, or unexpected death. Also for the repose of the soul of my internet friend, Kathy Hansen, who died unexpectedly after leaving Adoration one evening in early June. Grant unto her eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. Amen.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Still reading The Lover and the Beloved: The Writings of St. John of the Cross, edited by E. Allison Peers. This poetry is not anything you can speed through. Not that you'd want to. "O Living Flame of Love, that tenderly wounds my soul," writes San Juan de la Cruz. Beautiful....

POOLSIDE READING: Size 14 Isn't Fat Either by Meg Cabot. This is a light-hearted mystery story about a college residence hall supervisor-cum-sleuth who was considerably startled to find the head of a cheerleader simmering in a pot on the dining services' stove. Yeah, I know. It really isn't, is it? They haven't found the rest of her yet. But anyway. Truth be told, this book is not that good, so don't bother. The only reason I'm continuing to slog through it is because my parents brought me up not to be a quitter. Once again, this is a book by the author of The Princess Diaries, which I thought was brilliant. Love! Cabot is from Bloomington, by the way. I think she'd do best to stick to young adult fiction. Like glue. Like tree sap. Like....anything really, really sticky.

LISTENING TO: Schubert's Trio in One Movement in B-Flat; lilting, sparkling piano. At this time of day, it's either Schubert, Debussy or neat scotch.

SAINT IN HEAVEN I'D LIKE TO MEET: St. Elizabeth Anne Seton, a fellow convert and mother

HAPPY TO SAY: Even though I've already said it. 4-H!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woooooooooooooooot!!!!!!

FAVORITE NEW FIND: Nature Valley Sweet & Salty chewy granola bars with almonds. Okay, these are just good.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Seeing the girls' happy faces as they posed for the camera by their projects.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Four. My eyes feel like boiled onions. There is a word I could use to describe how I feel, but if I did, my mother would wash my mouth out with soap and then beat me around the face and neck with the bar, possibly dropping it into one of my dad's socks first.

SCRAPBOOK PAGES THIS WEEK: Four. Our anniversary page and my husband's poison ivy-in-the-emergency room pages, plus Aisling's birthday pages are complete

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: We've got to attend a volleyball team board of directors meeting tomorrow night -- Friday! -- at 7:00 p.m., which may possibly be the worst time ever thought up to schedule a meeting. How about Saturday morning at 5:30? Or Monday night at 11:30 p.m.? Sheeeeeesh....

PRAYING FOR: Our young friend Peter and his family, headed out to Loma Linda, California for an exclusive radiation therapy for his rather aggressive cancer. Peter, who is five years old, had a brain tumor that was discovered when he was four. He underwent months of chemotherapy with people all over the map praying for his healing. He beat that cancer and was declared clean. But not long thereafter, at an MRI checkup, it was found that cancer had returned in tumors that are all along his spine. Peter's mom and dad are solid rocks of faith who have not wavered, but trusted in God for His will to be done, despite the bitter circumstances. He also has five sisters, four older and one younger, who are going with him and Mom and Dad to California. Would you please join me in praying for his complete healing, as well as for safe travel for them all? His treatments start on Monday, July 23 at 9:00 a.m. (California time).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: The Lover and the Beloved: The Writings of St. John of the Cross, edited by E. Allison Peers. Beautiful, ethereal poetry about the goodness and tenderness of Jesus. Nearly five hundred years old, but full of the timelessness of truth.

POOLSIDE READING: No Legal Grounds by Christian author James Scott Bell. This is a Grisham-esque legal thriller featuring a born again Christian civil lawyer whose family is being stalked by a sociopath. It is a really good story. Definitely a keeper for Mom's church library. Woo!

LISTENING TO: Traffic whisking by on the street outside my open dining room window. I am loving this low-temp, low-humidity weather we've had for the past two days. I miss hearing the birds and the cars and the church bells when the house is all closed up.

SAINT IN HEAVEN I'D LIKE TO MEET: St. Teresa of Avila, whom I always think of as "Auntie Tess."

SORRY TO SAY: The azalea Kayte bought me in May is now -- *gulp* -- dead. I found a gardening website that told me how to take care of it and I planted it in a bigger pot and gave it a little sunshine but not too much. And Miracle-Gro. And water! But my withered thumb has asserted itself again.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: Terra Tints lip balm in "Bloom" by Alba. I found this lip balm at Meijer, over in the cosmetics section with the other lip balms. It's more expensive at $3.99, but I use it as a lip gloss. It has cosmetic-grade mica as a colorant, plus a touch of peppermint oil to give it a little kick. The color I got is called "Bloom," as I mentioned and it is a nice, neutral pink. The other shade is a neutral peachy-pink. SFP 18, too!

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Just got home from spending four hours at the pool. It was a PERFECT day. Perfect. I ate some really top quality french fries from the snack bar. Also M&M's. Feeling a little bit guilty about that.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: About five and a half. Ugh.


THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: 4-H projects due on Sunday. If you ask me why I am stressed out over the girls' 4-H projects, I will tell you to shut up. I just am.

PRAYING FOR: Tom, husband of an internet friend, with an aggressive cancer on most of his internal organs. Their first request for prayer, of course, is complete healing a restoration of his health, so that's what I'm doing. Please say a prayer for Tom and his wife, Sue. They are twenty-somethings with two small kids.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Where is That in the Bible? and Why is That in Tradition? both edited and compiled by Patrick Madrid. I've actually had these two slim little companion volumes for about five years or so, but I get them off the shelf and re-read them fairly frequently. They contain a lot of useful knowledge about Catholic dogma and doctrine. I bought the first book long before I became Catholic and devoured it with my Bible by my side, reading and flipping pages and making notes and then going to the internet to read further. The second book followed the first very closely. Despite their small size, they provided what I needed to know about concepts such as purgatory, Mary's perpetual virginity and other areas of Catholic belief that were making me say, "Huh?"

POOLSIDE READING: Second Honeymoon by British author Joanna Trollope. I really like the way this woman writes. It is a departure from my regular summer fare of chick lit, but she's sooo good. This one is about a mother learning to let go and embrace the empty nest; her husband's bid to get his wife back after twenty-two years of child rearing; and the grown children's propensity to coming back home after leaving. It is a very thoughtful book, very moving.

LISTENING TO: Hannah Montana on the television, heaven help me.

THINKING ABOUT: eating a bowl of refrigerator-chilled tangerine sections with a banana cut up in them. Also about the Shakespeare Workshop coming up in late August - I am elbow deep in lesson plans and am alternately delighted and worried that I may have TOO MUCH MATERIAL for five three hour classes. It's better to have too much than not enough, obviously, but I don't want to leave anything out.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: Aisling's and Meelyn's new frames for their glasses -- they are just too cute, also their new swimsuits

FAVORITE THING TODAY: looking forward to sitting out on the front porch this evening with my husband, just talking over the day's events and drinking iced tea

WISH I HAD: that cute knock-off Coach bag I saw at Target this morning - just adorable

PRAYING FOR: people, places and things - lots of suffering out there

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. First of all, I had to giggle at the idea of anyone with a solid Scots surname like "Campbell" writing a book sympathetic to the Irish and their potatoes. I got this in the young people's department, so it isn't a weighty tome, but rather an extremely readable -- and horrendously sad -- account of the Potato Famine that brought some of my ancestors (and my husband's) to the United States, courtesy of Ellis Island.

POOLSIDE READING: Size Twelve Isn't Fat by Megan Cabot, the same woman who wrote the book and the screenplay for The Princess Diaries. The Princess Diaries are for girls, but they're so funny and cute that I've enjoyed them too. But this book, I'm afraid, doesn't quite measure up. It's a light murder mystery and so far, I'm having trouble caring about whodiddit.

LISTENING TO: Paul Simon's Graceland

THINKING ABOUT: throwing a little balsamic vinaigrette on the chicken breasts that I did manage to unthaw for dinner tonight and calling it a marinade

HAPPY TO SEE: the landscaping project in the driveway continuing to take shape

FAVORITE NEW FIND: this new stuff called "rain" -- it comes down from the sky and it's really, really wet! I know! Our grass looks better too!

FAVORITE THING TODAY: three hours of peace 'n quiet during the hours of volleyball camp

WISH I HAD: blonde highlights in my hair

SCRAPBOOK PAGES THIS WEEK: zero, because I am still freaked out

PRAYING FOR: all the people in Texas who are getting too much rain; a little boy from our homeschool group who has a very aggressive cancer; a safe trip to Italy for Kayte's Matthew, who is going to Italy to sing