Halfway There?

Here we are, at (a little past) the halfway point of this year!  Today I’m going back over my New Years Resolutions to see where things stand six months (and one baby) later.  Since I conveniently made seven resolutions, I’m linking up with 7 Quick Takes as well.

1 – Have a baby

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As predicted, this one happened.  It wasn’t even so bad!

2 – Establish a good housekeeping routine

As it turns out, I was right to have very low standards for this one.  I’m just starting to get back into a post-baby routine, and it’s true that getting one room tidied, plus making dinner, is about enough for one day.

3 – Read at least 15 books

I have a whopping 13 books on my 2015 Goodreads shelf, but some of them were started long ago, and others have been abandoned permanently.  Of those 13, I’m counting 9, plus 2 that are still in progress.  I don’t think I’ll have any trouble getting to 15.

4 – Go to Confession at least once a month

I think I’m on track with this one, but I have to admit that I don’t remember much of March and only a little more of April, so I may have missed.  Of course, if I don’t remember what happened, am I really culpable for anything that happened?  (I kid, I kid)

5 – Improve my food photography skills

This one took an unexpected hit, because I didn’t consider the fact that to have food photography, one must first make food.  Maddy has thrown a bit of a wrench into my ability to plan, make, serve, and eat dinner without someone crying (sometimes, it’s even her!).  We’re also stuck in a bit of a rut, and while there’s dinner on the table every night, it’s the same rotation of five meals (and one of those five may rhyme with Schmostco Schmizza).

In any case, when I do take photos, I’m being a little more deliberate with the setup, and pretty pleased with the results.  I’m hoping to step up my game in the second half of the year.

Look forward to more wins like this rice.

Look forward to more wins like this rice.

6 – Run a 5K

Being too cold is no longer a concern.

Being too cold is no longer a concern.

Well…we’re still running, Maddy and me.  I don’t know that we’re making swift progress, but there’s a long time between now and Turkey Trots.  We’ve been getting out 2 or 3 times a week to run, but it’s harder to find a good time as it gets hotter.  I’ve been saving my podcasts for run-time listening.  Thanks for keeping me company Fountains of Carrots and This American Life (and the last couple weeks, Little House Mothering)!  It’s like running with smart, interesting friends who don’t expect me to answer when I’m out of breath.

7 – Write at least 50 blog posts

If I’m counting correctly, this post makes #28, so gosh, I’m right on schedule!  A baby really does make the best content fodder.

Visit Kelly for more Quick Takes – her summer bucket list is positively ambitious compared to mine!

Housekeeping Announcement: The Virtual Recipe Box

 

I've added a permanent page to the sidebar (to the left, under my photo) called The Recipe Box. It's mostly just for my own reference, a place to keep track of recipes that I find myself googling constantly. I haven't done individual posts about them, but everything on the page is a go-to recipe for me (made as written). Anyway, I don't expect this to be a heavily-trafficed page for anyone else, but if you find yourself asking, “What is Holly's favorite brownie recipe?”, you now have a place to find it. (The answer would be these, by the way)

 

7 Quick Takes: A Slice of Life

— 1 —

Last night as Johnny and I got home from dinner, we were talking about our respective commutes (I win in the “Longer and More Complicated” category; feel free to ship a trophy).  He must have referenced “my law firm,” because as we were walking up the outside steps to our apartment, our neighbors – who were sitting on their porch smoking [hopefully tobacco] – said, “Hey, are you a lawyer?”  I don’t think we’ve formally met these neighbors yet, but there was no point in pretending that we hadn’t heard.  Johnny acknowledged that he was, in fact, a lawyer (or most of a lawyer, in any case).  “Oh…so do you do, like, criminal stuff?”  Well.  I’m kind of curious about what crimes have been committed, but the conversation pretty much stopped there since Johnny does not do “criminal stuff” and just referred them to his firm.

— 2 —

IMG_0003I’m almost done editing photos from the wedding I shot last month.  Hopefully the long weekend will give me the last big block of editing time I need, and then I can have them out in the mail to the lovely couple.  “Unfortunately,” my editing computer will be tied up tomorrow afternoon while it serves as our TV to watch…

— 3 —

Notre Dame football!  I have to admit that the off-season was a necessary recovery period after the beyond-heartbreaking Championship game, but I’m ready to get back to my fall Saturday rituals.

— 4 —

To go back to the subject of wedding photos: ours arrived the day before our cross-country move, so I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and get acquainted with them.  I did manage to get a Facebook album put together last weekend, but I haven’t ordered any prints yet.  That won’t stop me from shamelessly padding my post with photos.

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— 5 —

For as I’ve known him, Johnny has pretty much lived off of pasta (he would literally eat it for every meal if he could).  Given that he’s genetically disposed to celiac disease, all of our friends and family (and I, most of all) have made a running joke about him being a ticking timebomb of gluten-intolerance.

Irony of ironies, last week it was me who was suddenly laid low by the very suggestion of gluten.  Yesterday I ate five animal crackers before I realized what I was doing, and that was a mistake that haunted me.  I’m hoping it’s just a temporary fluke, but in the meantime, our usual meal planning has been turned on its head.  My last grocery trip involved a lot “his and hers” groceries: flour tortillas for him, corn for me (blech); regular pasta for him, gluten-free (pictured above) for me.  Johnny was immensely skeptical of my gluten-free pasta, but once it was cooked, even he agreed that it was virtually indistinguishable from regular.  It’s nice to know there’s an acceptable option if he ever needs it, but at $3 for 12 oz, we’d have to re-work our budget on a long-term basis.

— 6 —

Johnny has been spending every evening blogging, and then I spend every morning before work editing his posts.  Last week, in honor of the wildfire burning at Yosemite, he posted a hilarious retelling of our fateful visit last summer.  One part that he didn’t mention: there was one point when we weren’t in danger of falling off a mountain, and decided to stop and walk through a meadow.  Unfortunately, Johnny brought our excursion to a quick end when he squinted into the distance and said, “Hey, is that a mountain lion?”

Still inconclusive.

Still inconclusive.

What, you can’t see it?  It’s that little blip in the very middle of the photo (maybe click to enlarge?  Or maybe we were just delusional by that point).  He tried to get me to follow him, saying, “Come on – let’s check it out!  It’s probably just a tree.”  My response was a very reasonable and definitely not-shrieking, “For the love of God, are you crazy?!  Think about how that story would look in the newspaper!”  So this photo is about as close to nature as we got that day.

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Never ever going back.

— 7 —

What’s that?  More wedding photos, you demand?  Never let it be said I left you wanting more…

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For more Quick Takes, visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes: A little photography

— 1 —

Earlier this week, I finally got around to putting up an About Me page on ye olde blog.  I’ve never done one before, so while I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, it’ll probably be in a state of constant tweaking for at least a little while.

— 2 —

The other day, I saw some really beautiful black and white photos – they were clearly very deliberately considered and just lovely. It made me realize that it’s been a long time since I took any black-and-whites, so I added it to the list of New Years resolutions that’s floating around in my head but to which I never actually formally committed. I had my nice camera at work this morning anyway, so I snapped some photos and actually spent some time on them. There’s just a difference in mindset when you approach a scene knowing that it’s going to end up grayscale, as opposed to shooting first and considering later. Without further ado, I present: BFA meets Limited Range of Scenery.

— 3 —

Okay, first a side note: I was the worst at coming up with names for my projects in college.  Other people could take a picture of a grape and call it “The Sublimity of Raw Beauty” or “Body of a Woman” or something, but I just couldn’t do it.  I was okay at BSing some kind of meaning into the work itself, but when it came to names, I would usually draw a blank and resort to the totally literal – “Photo of Shoe and Grass” – or the cop-out – “Untitled #4.”

— 4 —

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— 5 —

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Man, if this doesn’t inspire you to go out and buy a new camera, I don’t know what will.

— 6 —

My boss asked me to take a “management training” course this semester, and the first session was yesterday.  By the way, I feel the need to mention that this is like AP Management, not a remedial thing.  Anyway, this first session was far less of a time-waster than I expected, and I’m actually looking forward to the rest of the sessions.  This doesn’t change the fact that I hate small-group discussions, and I really hate being put on the spot.  That didn’t stop a disgustingly morning person-type from – how to put it charitably? – really getting into things (FYI, the less charitable version includes the word “brown-noser.”).  He appointed himself leader of our table and just kept calling me out to talk.  In fact, I thought it was a little weird how he kept insisting on getting my opinion while ignoring everyone else.  As the morning progressed, though, I started to wonder if he was trying to prove how non-sexist he was.

In any case, this led to an afternoon of bitter reflections about how extroverts often make introverts a “project” and try to get them to talk more.  If we flipped the situation around, it would be like the introverts telling the extroverts to just shut up for once.  Both are equally ineffective.

— 7 —

Due to a scheduling snafu, I’m going to be working all weekend.  Super excited about that.  Really, though, it’s going to be extremely quiet and I’ll probably end up getting a lot of knitting and reading done.  One of the things I didn’t finish on last year’s reading list was Lord of the Rings, so I’m actually going to do it this time.  I read it for a class sophomore year, but that was four years ago now (yikes!).  I’m really excited to get into it again.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary

A Little Updating

Well, I finally got around to updating the blogroll on my sidebar (I can call it an “update” even though I didn’t even have one until now, right?).  As I went through my blog subscriptions, I realized that they more or less fit into a few categories:

Catholic Girls

As a Catholic girl myself, I guess everything I read has some appeal for Catholic girls.  However, there are good blogs, and then there are If-I-see-a-new-post-I-must-stop-and-read-it-no-matter-how-late-it’ll-make-me blogs.  If I had to pick out three blogs to recommend universally and without reservation to Catholic girls, I’d pick these these three.  Betty Beguiles has style advice for everyone, and her posts give me hope that feminine class isn’t dead.  Seraphic Singles can’t be beat when it comes to dealing with boys; it’s the advice your mother should’ve  given you (or did, and you didn’t listen, but somehow it’s easier to take when it comes from a stranger).  And the Pious Sodality will help you with all of your domestic church needs.

Catholics in General

This is a list that I’ve been cultivating for years.  Promising blogs go on, annoying blogs come off – my answer to “What Catholic blogs should I read?” will be different in two months than it is now.  How awesome that there are so many choices!

Crafty Blogs

This is a fun category, and one that really resonates with the BFA in me.  The blogs I’ve listed here are guaranteed to inspire you, no question.  All the bright colors of the craft blogs make a great pick-me-up during the bleak midwinter.