Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling upon One Day

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At once a Son is promised her, and gone;
Gabriel gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, she’s in orbity,
At once receiver and the legacy.
All this, and all between, this day hath shown,
The abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one
(As in plain maps, the furthest west is east)
Of the Angel’s Ave and Consummatum est.

Excerpt from Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling upon One Day
1608, John Donne

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Home Altar: Christmas 2014

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Happy almost-end of Christmas!  A little late, here’s a peek at how our home altar is dressed up this season.  Advent candles are put away and the wreath is now a backdrop.  I’m nervous about the candles near the dry pine needles, so we still haven’t lit them.  The garland over our Madonna is from last year, and I’m not sure it packed well; next year, I’m going to consider something fresh.

The white frontal was purchased and sewn just in the nick of time on Christmas Eve, and once it was up, Johnny and I both agreed that gold would be a better choice.  I had looked and not seen any ideal gold fabrics, and the fabric store employees were literally waiting for me to leave so that they could close early, so I went with white.  There’s nothing wrong with it, really – it just makes for a very monochrome area.  It’s up for a good portion of the year (now till Candlemas, then all of Easter), so I’d like to find something we both really like.

As a wedding gift from a seminarian friend, we got a copy of Dear Newlyweds, a compilation of Pope Pius XII’s addresses to newlywed couples.  I’ve been working through it slowly, mostly just on Sunday mornings before Mass while Johnny is rehearsing with the schola.  Yesterday, I got to the chapter on making a home, and it’s my favorite section by far (which is saying something).  Among the excerpts I highlighted for later sharing:

“See to it that from the very first day your home is manifestly Christian – that the Sacred Heart of Jesus is its King, that the image of the Crucified Savior and of the Most Gracious Virgin Mary have the place of honor there.” (Nov. 8, 1939)

Our Sacred Heart prayer card from Cardinal Burke is back out, and with that, our devotional trifecta is complete.  I’m always on the hunt for a slightly bigger print of that same image, but for now, it’s complete.
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7 Quick Takes after a looooong hiatus

— 1 —

So, what brings me back to the ol’ blog after many moons away?  Getting married couldn’t do it, apparently, but this recipe can.  I picked up Feast on a recent library trip, and among the many recipes I bookmarked were these Baci di Ricotta (Kisses of Ricotta).  I usually shy away from deep frying anything at home, but I figured that if not on the Fourth of July, when?  Total time from pulling the bowl out to turning off the stove was about 15 minutes; it really couldn’t have been easier.  And the results – oh the results.  They were every bit as good as you’d think.  We’ll definitely be making these again.

 Italian/American

— 2 —

Lumen Fidei

Thanks to having to work today, I’m halfway through the hot-off-the-presses encyclical.  My Facebook feed has been full of quotes posted by other people, so I’m looking forward to getting to the second half.  I’ve underlined large portions, but here’s one thing that I particularly liked:

Faith by it’s very nature demands renouncing the immediate possession which sight would appear to offer; it is an invitation to turn to the source of the light, while respecting the mystery of a countenance which will unveil itself personally in it’s own good time. (13)

— 3 —

After getting my first order from Twice, I’m totally sold.  It’s like someone was paid to curate a collection of clothes from my favorite stores, and then marked them down 80%.  I got this skirt, and after the “$10 off first order” offer (click above to get it) plus a 20% off code that I found via google, I paid considerably less than the price on the page (including shipping).  I may never buy new clothes again.

— 4 —

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On a whim, I drove downtown tonight to catch some fireworks.  After many years of trying, I finally figured out how to take decent firework photos.  Unfortunately, I didn’t end up with a great view (hence the tree in the foreground), and the show itself ended up being kind of lame.  That photo above is what they passed off as the grand finale.  Color me unimpressed.

— 5 —

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Our local grocery store has been undergoing renovations for the last several months, which is probably long overdue but meant that for a long time, I literally had to go down every aisle to find what I need.  One of the big changes is the addition of bulk bins (probably in response to our new Whole Foods and its Wall of Lentils).  Chocolate covered banana chips?  Yes please.  Ginger candy for $5 a pound?  I’m there.  Of course, this is just in time for us to move across the country, but you better believe I’m stocking up before we leave.

— 6 —

Tomorrow we’re celebrating the Fourth (transferred) by hosting friends from out-of-town.  I’m looking forward to grilling, finally wearing a swimsuit I’ve owned for a full year and never worn, and relaxing a little bit.  Also, I might make another batch of ricotta mini doughnuts.  America.

— 7 —

Gratuitous wedding photo for filler!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Quote of the Day: Fragmented Days

I just read the following quote (provided by Elizabeth Foss), and it seems so fitting for just about every day lately.  I should find the context and see what else Edith Stein had to say.

“And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him.” — Edith Stein

Eddying blasts and a hobbit’s evening

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After a relatively mild winter, today was our first real snowstorm to date.  I signed up to take a fitness class, and the first meeting was tonight.  I realized early in the day that I had left my gym bag at home, so I decided to try going home for it and coming back in time.  The roads were not suitable for unnecessary travel, and by the time I got home I didn’t feel like turning around and going out again.  Instead, I made dinner (this soup recipe, but without an immersion blender.  It would have been better blended.) and sat down with Lord of the Rings.  As it turned out, I was at a very fitting passage: the Fellowship’s failed crossing of the mountain.

“I don’t like this at all,” panted Sam just behind.  “Snow’s all right on a fine morning, but I like to be in bed while it’s falling.  I wish this lot would go off to Hobbiton! Folk might welcome it there.”…

The Company now gathered together as close to the cliff as they could.  It faced southwards, and near the bottom it leaned out a little, so that they hoped it would give them some protection from the northerly wind and from the falling stones.  But eddying blasts swirled round them from every side, and the snow flowed down in ever denser clouds…. If they had had no larger companions the hobbits would soon have been entirely buried.

For my part, I’m glad to be nestled inside with warm food, listening to the sounds of snowplows scraping by outside.

Stay tuned for tomorrow exciting installment: “How Much Wool Can She Wear?”

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.