East and Back

This past weekend, Johnny and I made a slightly last-minute trip to Massachusetts for a job interview.  The interview had actually been scheduled a while in advance; the last-minute aspect was that the company offered to fly me out as well.  I hadn’t been planning to go, but my boss heard about the opportunity and practically shooed me out the door.  So, away we went.

Our flight out was pretty uneventful.  The most interesting thing that happened was that while we were sitting at the gate, a man walked by with a mullet, track suit, Hello Kitty duffel bag, and pink iphone cover.  Accessories notwithstanding, he looked rather Russian-mafia-esque, and we got several opportunities to observe him as he walked by our gate multiple times…always going in the same direction.  We were in a dead-end terminal, so I have no idea how that happened.

We made it to our destination with no problems, and were picked up by my sister and brother-in-law, with whom we were staying.  Their hospitality was hard to beat – for example: coffee in bed the next morning.

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Don’t those colors just make you happy?

I drove Johnny to his interview that morning and did not get lost thankyouverymuch.  We paid a ridiculous fee to park in the lot next to the office building (hello, East Coast!) because we were cutting it close on time and didn’t have time to drive around and find something cheaper.  I went in and spent a few minutes chatting with the first interviewer, and then my part in the whole process was over and I went home to write Christmas cards.

Johnny called me when he was done, and after I picked him up, we did a little exploring around downtown.  The interview had gone really well, so he was in the mood to walk around the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden for a bit.

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Litigation with the Lorax

We also parked at the nearby Cathedral, though we weren’t expecting to find it open. Somewhat to our surprise, the first door we tried was unlocked because it led to the chapel, where a 40 Hours devotion was taking place.  Unexpected chance to pop into Adoration?  Score.  The main church was also open, because the sacristan was inside decorating for the next night’s Advent Lessons and Carols.  It was too dark to take any good pictures, but it was a lovely church.

After dinner, we went to a fun little bakery where all the cookies were named after religious orders (DominicanasBenedettos, etc.).  I had a pistachio tart that I enjoyed too much to remember take a picture of.

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That’s his “sophisticated espresso drinker” face, not a half-blink. Promise.

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The Dominican cookie. Black and white – get it?

The next day involved sleeping in, eating crepes, and a trip to the mall.  We wanted to see that part of the area anyway, and Johnny decided that he should probably get a shirt to wear to lunch and Mass the next day.  He was excited to find a suit to wear for the wedding.  The Suit Department guy seemed less than amused at our reaction to this display.

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One (slightly delayed) flight to Chicago later, we got directions from the Google Maps app lady (highly recommended, you iPhone users) and met friends for dinner.  We had been planning to get Chicago-style pizza, but when we arrived at the restaurant, the hostess informed us that their oven was broken.  Nix the pizza idea.  We ended up at a Mexican restaurant across the street, which was a very good choice; the margarita went a long way towards helping my travel exhaustion.

We stayed with friends in the city, and the next morning went to Mass at St. John Cantius.  It was lovely – as always – though I have to say I was a little distracted by the mom in front of us who caged her kids into the pew behind her with Spiderman coloring books, so that she had to make a full 180-degree turn to shush them every minute or two.  Call me crazy, but when a kid is old enough to receive Communion, I think they should be able to required to pay attention too.  But I digress.

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“Man, when you go there, you really feel like you’ve gone to Mass,” said Johnny.

Then it was home again, for a few days at least, until I head off again for Christmas.  Thanks to all of our hosts from this weekend (especially K & G!).

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7 Quick Takes: projects I need to finish

Between Christmas, the wedding, and my general attitude of “why pay for something I can just make?”, I’ve got a lot of ongoing and upcoming projects.  Here, as proof of my potential insanity, I present 7 of them.

— 1 —

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I never know what to expect when someone comes up to me after Mass and whispers, “Can you come back to the sacristy?  We have a problem that only a pious woman can solve.”  In the past, this has involved anything from wine-stained linens to incense spilled on the carpet (the vacuum cleaner smelled awesome for weeks, in case you were wondering).

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This beauty is currently hanging on my bedroom closet door, waiting for the clasp at the top to be resewn.  I have the thread and all the pieces, and the fix itself should only take 20 minutes or so.

— 2 —

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This may be cheating, because it’s done, but I just finished a shawl to give as an early birthday present.  I was really happy with how it turned out, and more importantly, so was the recipient (cotton yarn FTW!).

— 3 —

This freed me up to start the hat and scarf I want to make out of the Yarn of Bitterness (which is so very squooshy).  I had a false start or two on the hat, although I would’ve been set if I wanted to make a mobius hat.  It’s been ridiculously warm here so far this winter, but I know I’m going to want something more protective soon.

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— 4 —

Moving on to things I haven’t really started yet.  I’m not set on carrying a particular kind of flower for the wedding,  but I am motivated to get as many things as possible done as early as possible.  Enter the DIY fabric bouquet.  I’m hopeful that a few hours of cutting and melting should get me all the flowers I need, and then I’ll just need to figure out how to arrange them in a realistic fashion.  No sweat, right?photo 3

— 5 —

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My one and only Cyber Monday purchase was this yarn from Knit Picks.  If I haven’t mentioned my love affair with Knit Picks yet, suffice it to say that I can’t visit their website without finding something I want/need to buy (see also, Take #2).  Exhibit 2: Look at all the colors they offer in just one line:

Thanks for the link, Emily! This will definitely be my desktop background when the weather gets more dreary.

I’m going to use it on one of these for the back of the couch (in case I wasn’t convinced I was crazy before).

— 6 —

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What, you can’t tell what those two quarter yards of fabric are going to be?  It’s a queen-sized quilt, dummy.  I was merrily clicking things onto our registry when I realized that there are no good bedspreads in the world.  Everything at the Dreaded Registry Store looked like a hotel reject, and everything I found at cuter stores cost something uncomfortably close to four figures.  Self, I said, This is ridiculous.  You could do this for a fraction of the cost.  You made a quilt once.  Never mind that it was only twin sized and happened well before you dreamed of having a job.  

I found a pattern I like as well as a palette, and am currently in the fabric-gathering stage.

 

— 7 —

Christmas card 2012

Old hymn text + rustic colors + border thingys = instant Christmas

Finally, Christmas cards.  Last year I was too ambitious and never actually sent anything.  This year, I took the easy way out and designed them in Photoshop.  Now they’re actually all printed and just need a note inside (and for some people, a print of an engagement photo).  I even have the stamps already!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

“Divine Intimacy:” first impressions

I mentioned on Friday that I had ordered a copy of Divine Intimacy, in the hopes of jump starting more of a spiritual routine.  It arrived on Monday, which was great since the Amazon delivery estimate was between the 6th and 21st.  The book is a little bigger than I expected, so it’s not exactly purse-sized.  Just fine for the nightstand, though.

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Quarter for scale. Not included with purchase.

The end papers are, as expected, lovely.  It’s a treat to have use a book that has been made with such an eye for detail.

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And then, of course, there’s the content, which some would say is more important than the end papers.  It starts on the First Sunday of Advent, so when it arrived on Monday I was only one day behind.  There are two meditations given for each day, as well as a colloquy (a prayer addressed directly to God; see below).  So far, I’m extremely pleased with the tone used in the book; it’s simple and kind, but still manages to provide a kick in the pants every day.  For example, the first meditation I read included the following passage:

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“If I do not become a saint, it is entirely my own fault.”  Yikes.  Unsurprisingly, that’s stuck with me.  There’s no set formula for when to use the meditations, but since there are two each day, I’ve been reading one first thing in the morning.  Each day so far, there has been something that has just stuck with me through the whole day.  The second – with colloquy – I’ve been reading right before bed.  I can’t wait to keep going, and will be sure to post any particular gems here.

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Just the standard note that Baronius Press has no idea who I am or that I’m reviewing this book.  I just like it a lot.