In which you should not interrupt the chocolate.

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St. Edward the Confessor

I have exactly ten minutes to blog before I have to go get changed for my after-work yoga class (Related: I do not understand how my body can hurt like I just spent a whole weekend dancing after only one hour of yoga), so I thought I’d share a little niece-cute with you.

wpid-cam00497.jpgThis is Little Bug, completely flummoxed by me trying to get her to smile for the camera when she is clearly engaged in far more important things, namely eating chocolate dirt cake.  Seriously, who interrupts chocolate eating just because they want you to smile?  Who does that?

Um, well, apparently I do.  But I won’t do it ever again, Little Bug, I swear!

In which I join the choir.

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The Holy Archangels

One of my favorite things about the parish I attend is their choir.  They sing both enthusiastically and well (two things that do not always go together).  Plus, they sing really good music, throwing in pieces from The Messiah, or a little something by Bach, you know, just for kicks and giggles.  I inquired about joining the choir back when I first started going to St. Anthony’s, but gave it up when I found out they rehearsed on Wednesday nights.  At the time Wednesday nights were sacred to swing dancing, and doing anything else was unthinkable.  But things change.  The unthinkable happened, and I found myself staying home on Wednesday nights more than I went dancing.  Still for a long time I wasn’t willing to completely give up the idea of going dancing, which would be implied if I actually signed up for another commitment on the same night.

Then last October I suddenly found myself in a hospital bed getting a blood transfusion and contemplating what was to be the first of two surgeries.  I decided then that when (not if) I got better, I was going to join the choir.  It took me a little longer to get there than I had hoped, but one Sunday in August after 10am Mass, I made my way up the windy stairs to the choir loft, and informed the choir director that I wanted to be one of them.  She told me that was lovely, rehearsals started the first Wednesday after Labor Day, and she would see me then. She did see me then, and every Wednesday since.

I’ve been singing with the choir for three Sundays now, and I absolutely love it.  Everyone else has been in the choir for approximately forever.  The lady I sat next to my first day told me she had been in the choir for 34 years, and had been in the youth choir before that.  She moved to another city about half an hour away, but she’s still in choir.  Because everyone has been there for so long, the issue of where you sit and what hymnal you use is a Very Big Deal.  Right now I am allowed to sit in the front row because the lady who usually occupies that seat is out sick for a while.  She’s expected back any Sunday now, and then I will have to move to a seat in the 2nd row, which is open because its previous occupant is now dead (this or extreme ill health seem to be the only way that anyone ever leaves the choir).  The hymnal I use has the initials MAI on it.  I was given to understand that it was ok for me to use that book on a regular basis, since MAI has retired from the choir.  However, if she ever comes back to sing with the choir for a special occasion, it’s her hymnal, and she gets it back.  I find all of this rather hilarious, and I kinda hope she does come back, just so I can meet the woman who really owns my hymnal.  I wonder where she sits?

Since the choir has been singing together for so long, they have a huge repertoire of songs under their belt.  So rehearsal for them is usually not so much about learning the songs as refreshing everyone’s memory.  At our first rehearsal, they passed out a piece by Bach.  We breezed through it a couple of times, the choir director corrected a couple of little things, and then announced that we would be performing that one on Sunday.  We did, handed the sheet music back in, and haven’t seen it since.  There are a few things we see more than once, usually the pieces by modern composers who are overly enamored of throwing extra sharps in every once in a while just to make sure the choir is still awake (we give their names on the cover narrow-eyed looks, like a sort of choir loft voodoo).  All this means is that I’m sight-reading about 90% of the time, especially on the basic hymns, which we usually don’t rehearse at all.  After all, we’ve all sung them 1000 times, right?  Except this is the choir version, which has parts you’ve never seen before, and you’re expected to sing that, not the melody you could sing in your sleep.  This is when belonging to a family who thinks Happy Birthday should be sung in 10 or 11 part harmony comes in really, really handy.  So I do apologize for butchering the alto part the first time through I Am The Bread Of Life last Sunday – it took me a run through or two to get it down.

So, you know, I’m having the time of my life.  And it’s going to get better.  Last week I got an email from the choir director asking me if I might perhaps have any interest in cantoring.  And, well, yeah!  The schedule is already set between now and December, so it won’t be for a while.  But when it comes, it will be awesome.

Today I am praying for Lydia Simon.

In which there are 7 Fun Things for Friday

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Sts. Cosmas & Damian

— 1 —

V8930What I’m Working On This Week

Remember how last year I was all, “I need a new coat!  Let’s go fabric shopping!”  Then I saw the design above, fleece fabric went on sale at Fabric Mart, and suddenly I was the proud owner of lots of fleece and a new pattern.  A weekend or so later I cut out lots of patterns at once, hoping to shove them through in the manner of a high-efficiency sewer or similar.  (I know.  You can stop laughing now.) The pieces were folded on one of my dining room chairs for a while, then tied into a bundle and shoved into a corner of the sewing room.  After a while the bundle got taken upstairs to my bedroom (I think I thought I would work on it while I was sick), and tossed from place to place whenever it was getting in the way.  Every once in a while a sleeve or coat front would try to make its escape, and I would shove it ruthlessly back into the bundle.  And that’s how it stayed for quite a while.

However, cold weather can be quite motivating.  Last week I untied the bundle for the first time in a year, and looked over the directions.  That was when I realized how truly criminally easy this would be to put together.  Sunday evening I sat down with my sewing machine, sewed the thing up, and tried it on. Lo and behold, it is really excessively cute.  I should have taken a picture (because you need more badly lit pictures of me in my dining room).  It still needs pockets, a little seam finishing, and a way to keep it closed (I’m thinking a couple of really big snaps), and then I will have a new light winter coat.  Hurrah!

— 2 —

Something Useful: Confidence Builder

Turns out that if you pose as if you are super confident, you will feel more confident.  Which is pretty cool.

— 3 —

The Breakfast AutocratI Am My Own Boswell

The other day, I saw this really cute vintage kitchen print titled The Breakfast Autocrat, which led me to looking up the essay by Oliver Wendell Holmes that it’s referencing.  The subtitle of the piece is “Every Man His Own Boswell,” and Holmes quotes himself as saying, “It is a capital plan to carry a tablet with you, and, when you find yourself felicitous, take notes of your own conversation.”  I kinda love that.  It makes me want to start another blog called I Am My Own Boswell, or maybe just My Own Boswell.  Maybe one day….

— 4 —

Food Inspiration

52 Foods posted a list 15 Hors D’oeuvres For Fall, and now I’m thinking about how fun it would be to throw a Dinner Party again.  The Crispy Spice Brined Pecans look especially good. (Also brining nuts?  Who knew!)  So do the Chevre Devils, though God knows I’m a sucker for anything with goat cheese.  I might have to dust off the good china and start writing a guest list.

— 5 —

I’m Too Pretty To Work Today

So the other day I was chatting with a friend, and we agreed that the weather was way too gorgeous outside to be inside working.  We decided that there should be an official It’s Too Pretty Outside To Work Day, a discretionary holiday where you could call in one day a year, no questions asked.  Justification would be a print out of the weather report.

Then we decided that the companion holiday should be the I’m Too Pretty To Work Day, for those really, really good hair days when you know your gorgeousness would be wasted at the office.  It would also be a discretionary holiday, maybe only one every two years.  The only requirement would be that you have to come in and take a new badge picture that day.  So if your hair really wasn’t all that good, you just have to live with the consequences.

— 6 —

Reading List

One of my favorite books in the world is Bellwether by Connie Willis.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  Just this last week I found myself describing it to a friend like this:

It’s like this cross between sci-fi that’s actually about science and mad cap screwball comedy, with a shot of romance.  It’s all about trends and chaos theory and how fashions get started and how to survive acronym ridden corporate culture. It also features the worst administrative assistant in the world named Flip.

This is why I was super excited when I saw that Happy Catholic had reviewed it.  Go read the review, and then go read the book.  You won’t be sorry!

— 7 —

What, My Eyes Are Sweating

Now that’s a good dad.

Today I am praying for Yana Bukar.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

In which there are the prettiest radishes you ever did see.

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Sts. Zachary & Elizabeth

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Every Saturday morning I go down to the Farmers Market that’s taken over what used to be the Dayton train station. This is not the train station for people (which is now an expanse of crumbling asphalt under a highway overpass), but the one where freight came and went. It’s a long, narrow building with market stalls tucked into what used to be cargo bays.  It has one long aisle down the center where shoppers duck and squeeze their way through, trying to avoid getting clobbered by one person’s massive arm load of flowers while dodging the wide eyed newbies who have decided that right in the middle of the aisle is a fantastic place to contemplate the breakfast menu at the South American/ Lebanese stall, sliding past the suburban family with their double wide stroller, and if they’re lucky, still arriving at the dairy stall before they sell out of Greek yogurt. It’s a great way to start off a weekend, especially since,  though the dairy man may sell out of his rich, non-homogenized milk awfully fast, Caffeine Carl never runs out of coffee.

And then sometimes you find ridiculously beautiful things, like this little bunch of radishes I picked up from Mile Creek Farms, one of my favorite vendors. They were on top of a whole pile of radishes that were just the same, all gleaming in the morning sun as if such pink and white prettiness was just the way radishes always look. (What, this old thing? I only wear it when I don’t care how I look!)

So of course I had to bring a bunch home with me, and take some pictures. Then I ate them for lunch, with Amish butter on rye pumpkin seed bread and a scatter of kosher salt. It was all from the Farmers Market, and all of it was good.

Today I am praying for Deborah Amos.

7 Fun Things For Friday

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St. Mariade de Cerevellon

Because I haven’t put together a longer blog post in a while, here’s a few quick things to tide you over:

— 1 —

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This is what I’ve been working on.  It’s the sleeves for a new work shirt.  It started out life as a quite large button-down men’s shirt.  I brought it home from the thrift store, and have been revamping it.  The standard pointed collar is now a Mandarin collar edged with rick rack.  The back has been brought in with box pleats, which I repeated at the front.  It’s all done except the sleeves.  I re-cut them to be more of a petal shape, and have been edging them with rick rack before reattaching them.  For some reason I decided to do all this work by hand, so it’s been taking forever.  It’s going to be a lovely shirt – now I just have to be able to wear it while it’s still weather appropriate.  And don’t worry – the orange and blue marks are washable marker to remind me where the sleeves overlap.

— 2 —

I love doing the Liturgy of the Hours, partly because there are these amazing prayers hidden in there.  It blows my mind that people all over the world are saying these prayers every day, but no one notices.  My favorite lately is this little gem:

We pray for cheerfulness and a generous heart;
  may we bring joy to our homes, to our work, and to all whom we meet.
– Father, give us your strength.
We pray for all who are working today;
  be with them at home and in the city, in the factory and in the fields.
– Father, give us your strength.
We pray for those who have no work;
  we pray for the disabled and the sick, for those who cannot find work, and for those who are retired.
– Father, give us your strength.
Lauds – September 17, 2014

— 3 —

Every fall I suddenly decide to wear lipstick.  I think this is partly because I look really good in a lot of the dark berry colors that get put out about this time.  It usually lasts about two weeks.  I get lots of compliments on it, and I enjoy it while it lasts.  But finding the time to put on makeup in the morning (strong lipstick looks odd without at least a little something on my eyes too) gets to be a hassle, or I get tired of washing lipstick marks off my glasses and cups, and after a little while, I start forgetting to put it on again.  But it’s fun while it lasts.  This fall, my go-to lip colors have been Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Fig, and Maybelline 14-hour Lipstick in Enduring Ruby.

— 4 —

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I really want this t-shirt.

— 5 —

There’s something about fall that makes me start casting wistful glances towards the nice, big cast iron pans at the store.  Of course, this article might have something to do with it too.

— 6 —

Lately The Duchess has been teaching Little Bug about emotions, and the faces that people make to express them.  This means that Little Bug’s latest party trick is making faces.  You say, “Ok, do happy!” and she stretches her face into a wide, fake smile.  Then you say, “Do mad!” and she gives you the most adorable, grim glare you’ve ever seen on a two year old.  It’s excessively cute.  I don’t have pictures (yet), but for more toddler cuteness, you can check out Honest Toddler on twitter.  It’s kinda awesome too.

— 7 —

No matter how much sewing I get done, there’s always more I want to do.  My latest ambition is to make myself a new raincoat.  I haven’t had any rain gear in a while, and I am really feeling the lack.  My excuse for a long time was that I didn’t have the right, water-resistant fabric to make it from.  However, earlier this month I scored 4 yards of water resistant canvas in a cute cobalt & white herringbone print from FabricMart, so I no longer have any excuse.  So now I’m trying to figure out what kind of rain gear I want to make.  It’s a toss-up between a gorgeous princess-line coat:

Or maybe a rain cape would be better:

I’ll probably end up with a hybrid kinda like this:

Except should I be worried that it’s actually a tutorial for a child’s cape?

Nah.

Today I am praying for Ruth Amos.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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