7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Oy, what a week.  Usually the week after a holiday has some kind of new energy, but not so this time.  Instead, it was more like crawling into a warm bed and then getting dumped out 3 minutes later.  Is it a bad sign that, aware of a need but unable to articulate it more specifically, I just googled “alcohol cookies”?  These might be the winners right now, if only because I have all the stuff already.

— 2 —

Since there was no discernible cause for my week-long, extreme case of the Mondays, I decided to stop in at the church next door and go to Confession.  As if the sacrament itself wasn’t good enough, I got good advice from a good priest, and while I was there, the choir was rehearsing one of my all-time favorite pieces.  The whole experience was exactly what I needed.  After I did my penance I stayed in the pew for a while, tucked out of sight in the transept, and let the beautiful music surround me.  Veni Domine, veni Domine, veni Domine, et noli tardare.

— 3 —

Here’s the song, although I don’t think this video does it justice.  Do yourself a favor and download a good recording (this one seems like a good choice) for your Advent listening pleasure.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above
and let the clouds pour down righteousness:
let the earth open and bring forth the Savior.
Show us thy mercy, O Lord,
and grant us thy salvation:
come, O Lord, and do not delay. Alleluia.

— 4 —

One of my favorite pairs of shoes recently gave up the ghost, which was sad because a good Mary Jane is hard to find.

Nativity 009

I wanted to replace it with something decently high quality (because who has the time or desire to go sole-searching every six months?) and had the idea to check ebay rather than scouring Black Friday sales.  Lo and behold, ten minutes later I had found not just a similar replacement, but the exact same shoe, in my size, and ludicrously inexpensive.  We’re talking under $20, including shipping.  They arrived yesterday, and my change-resistant self is dancing (quietly, on the inside, because it’s an introvert too).

Nativity 007

Maybe someday I’ll feel like branching out a little bit, but not today.  Luckily, if these shoes last as long as the old pair, I have roughly 3 years to come up with plan B.

Nativity 008

— 5 —

Today is the Feast of St. Andrew, which means it’s time to start the annual St. Andrew Novena, which is traditionally prayed 15 times a day.  If the pressure to remember even one novena prayer a day puts you into a cold sweat, check out the Pious Sodality of Church Ladies’ desktop backgrounds.  Chances are, most of us look at our computer desktop at least 15 times a day, so getting in the habit of saying the (very brief) prayer whenever you click over shouldn’t be too difficult.  That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-o2ejF7GV_Rw/ULjIuuqOiZI/AAAAAAAAAMI/PqH_sieceKE/s912/Holy%2520Family%25201280x800.jpg

— 6 —

I’ve been procrastinating for a while on buying a copy of the Carmelite spiritual classic Divine Intimacy, which is lauded by everyone who owns it.  I had a gift card that would cover most of the cost, but I kept thinking that there were other things that it would be better spent on, things that I know I’m going to have to spend money on soon (see #4 above; I have at least one more pair of shoes to replace).  Last night in Confession, Father said something about not only needing to have a daily prayer time, but also deserving one.  That was the final kick in the pants I needed, and I ordered my copy last night.  Stay tuned; I think it’ll be highly quotable.  Incidentally, if you’re ever looking for beautiful, well-made books, I highly recommend Baronius Press.  The attention to quality and beauty makes their books worthwhile purchases (and great gifts).

— 7 —

Finally, a great photo of our 326-pound football player playing Santa (for charity, no less!).  Between him and Manti, how can you not cheer for Notre Dame this year?

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Small Business {Sad}urday

It’s a pleasure to support local businesses when they’re as delightful as my local yarn store.  I’ve only been there a few times, but mostly just because I knit really slowly.  Regardless, it was always delightful to go in and just look at the colors; 75 varieties of this on a shelf is just a totally different experience than shopping online (sidenote: Why, oh why, does wool give me hives? The Italian Plum shade fulfills all my hopes and dreams.).  You can imagine my disgust, then, at receiving a Black Friday sale email informing us that the Black Friday sale would also be a store closing sale due to the increased tax rates on small businesses beginning January 1.  The email mentioned that “Even if the shop grossed $200k a year, with the new tax increases I’d only clear about $4,000 after I pay taxes.”  I knew it was bad, but that’s outrageous.  Jokes about government-run yarn stores ensued (all acrylic, primary colors only).

Once I took a look at their hours, I realized that Saturday would be my only shot at making it in until next Saturday (and with the clearance prices, I wanted to get in early).  Unfortunately, I realized this when I was 2 hours away, and when it was 1 hour and 55 minutes from closing time.  I turned the wheel over to Johnny, who is better than me at driving fast.  Thanks to him, we made it with several minutes to spare – and don’t worry, I made sure to tell him how lucky I am to have a fiance who’s willing to push the speed limit to take me to a yarn store.  I snapped a picture of the sign on the door (above), and came out with the exact thing I needed (below). I would gladly have purchased more, but I only have one thing queued up right now.  Needless to say, I’m quite sad at having my friendly, local option taken away.  On the other hand, if anyone needs nice yarn in Michiana in the next couple weeks, I have a great recommendation!

What I Wore to Thanksgiving Dinner

Temporarily ignoring the fact that at least half of this blog’s readers were sitting at the dinner table with me today, I’m joining other stylish people in posting… (drumroll for anyone who missed the title of this post)… What I Wore to Thanksgiving Dinner.

Scarf: Farmers’ Market
Sweater: The Limited (hand-me-down)
Skirt: The Limited (super clearance)
Boots: Aerosoles outlet

Bonus: What He Wore

Shirt: Some store
Jeans: Maybe the same store
Drink: Hazelnut Baileys, fortified

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

You know what they say about idle hands and all that.

The advantage of making several Christmas gifts is that they’re (usually) cheaper and more meaningful.  The trade-off is all that pesky time that you have to spend on them, and you can’t even blog about them until January!  Every time I sit down to move pictures off my camera, I think of at least three more important things to do.  Rest assured that I’m doing magical things (I know you were worried), and that maybe I’ll even put pictures up eventually.

The Whimsical World of James Thurber

My family has several oddball favorite movies.  I’m not sure if it’s accurate to call them “cult classics,” because the cult only extends to – at most – the seven of us, but uttering only one line of any of them is enough to conjure up the entire plot and any number of inside jokes.  Among those movies is The Secret Life of Walter Mittywith it’s motif of “ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa.”  When I found out that it was based on a short story, I snatched up the volume from the library that day, but I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the source material had none of the comic intrigue and really, none of the plot (what else do you expect from a 12-page story?).  I needn’t have been disappointed, though, because that collection (My World and Welcome to It) turned out to be one of the most entertaining and humorous books I’ve ever read.

It’s a collection of short stories written by James Thurber for The New Yorker, and the advantage of having so many little pieces gathered together is that if one doesn’t grab your fancy, you’re no more than 10 pages from the next one.  Of course, you may well get through the entire book without hitting a dud.  I highly recommend it, especially if you’re looking for something easy to pick up and read in short spurts.

Between the portrait of the man whose job is to complicate phone numbers, and the story of the woman reading Macbeth like Agatha Christie, there’s a lot to like here.  From Death in the Zoo:

Perhaps the principal trouble with American zoos, as regards bears, is that the men in charge of them think that all female bears look alike to a male bear.  This conclusion, arrived at from the premise that all female bears look alike to the men in the zoo, is unfortunate to the point of being deadly.  To a male polar bear, female polar bears are as different as thumbprints to a G-man.  A male polar bear likes only about one female in every fifty he comes across in a day’s courting swim.  Some bears swim seventy-five miles along a bear-infested coast before they find a female cute enough to bother with.

Not knowing this, the Fleishhacker Zoo men brought Bill a mate one spring that he couldn’t abide.  She put starch into everything she washed and cheese into everything she cooked; what is more, she kept scratching constantly.  Bill swatted her out of existence one day as nonchalantly as if she had been a fly.

Success!

Well, there’s good news and bad news on the haircut front.  The good news is that it turned out alright.  The bad news is that it was good enough that he wants me to do it all the time.  Before (sporting the very professional and attractive garbage bag cape – his idea):

Aaand after (after about 40 minutes, repeated reassurances that “the worst that can happen is that it grows back,” the realization that “blending” is a lot more difficult than it sounds, and a brief interlude wherein he took the clippers and tried to fix it himself):

Really, it’s not too bad.  There’s definitely room for improvement, but it’ll do.  Oh, and I let him know that all the money he’s saving here is going into the “roses in exchange for mental anguish” jar.