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Friday, 23 March 2012, Placeholder Quick Takes


1. There’s not much to these QTs. I’m just trying to not totally lose the thread of blogging – it’s been a long week, but none of it is blogable.

2. Please, if you read this and are moved to do so, pray for a special intention for a dear friend of mine.

3. Blogable – one “g” or two?

4. That first set of unidentified bulbs have revealed themselves to actually be bluebells. Sorry no pics.  I still don’t know what this other set is.

5. This week marks total derailment from Lent for me- it was kind of unavoidable. However, as much of this Lent as I’ve observed has been very fruitful. I hope to re-focus myself this weekend. Also, how is Easter only two weeks away?

6. Positives: a) It is supposed to hit 80 degrees today and has been muggy as all get out most of this week (welcome to DC), but I have a fabulous new linen dress. b) I am in love with my bicycle. Owning it is making my life manageable.

7. … And I’m out of words. God is good. Please pray for my friend. See you next week, I hope.

More Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.


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Monday, 9 January, 2012 Late Quick Takes

Illustrated* Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Quick Takes


*(Favorite Christmas ornaments)

Wooden star - Czech Republic

1. Well, here I am sneaking in just under the wire. Held up by needing to upload photos*, these Quick Takes are late, late, late. Merry and Blessed last day of Christmas Baptism of the Lord to one and all!  I’m a bit wiped out in the wake of The Christmas Season and the descent of the siblings, but am back at the helm of the blog now.  In fact, life-in-general continues to whomp me (lately with added Feast-Day Power®!) I look forward to the lack of holidays between now and Lent.

Christmas cracker ornament

2. This blog is meant to be a positive space, and I intend to keep it so. But, well, what with life, whomping, etc, I could use some prayers. If you read this, would you say a little prayer for me? Thanks!


Blue bulb from the drugstore

3. My mother gave a me a Kindle for Christmas.  I’m not ungrateful, but am not used to being this gadget-ridden. I really don’t know what to do with it. Thus far I have a) regarded it with deep suspicion and b) turned it on.

Straw star - Czech Republic

4. For whatever reason I’ve  never really done much in the way of New Year’s Resolutions. I can’t find or remember any from last year, so I’m thinking I didn’t make any. This year I have, but most are not for public consumption. However, I will share my newly-minted method for making resolutions, ’cause I’m proud of it.

Just as I was about to write down “get up earlier than 7:00 am every day during 2012,”  it occurred to me that this right here is what people mean when they say “setting yourself up for failure.” Getting up before 7:00 am everyday (for me) is contingent on having a normal energy level. Normal energy (for me) is contingent on not having some lingering health troubles that have dragged me down for the past year. Health troubles that are beyond my control. Or anyone’s.

I backtracked right there and decided that the first rule of resolutions is that they are actually accomplishable, by me, in this world (not a perfect world.) I ended up making resolutions by thinking of areas of my life that could use a little improvement or oomph and picking one, reasonably-sized, doable thing to do/habit to acquire for each area.

Gift from a teacher friend

5. Since I’m not sharing my resolutions, I’ll share the areas of life they pertain to: prayer, work/job, use of time, and  finances (ok, I’ll share this one- it’s an easy one, anyway: pay off  my nasty high-interest credit card and close it.)

Candy cane painted by a friend

6. Nothing further on my garden list has gotten done. The garden is so. neglected.




7. Picture du jour:

When you decorate the tree on Christmas Eve this is how fast you have to go:

Christmas tree whirl

Neighborhood pride

More – and better!! – Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

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Friday, 16 December, 2011 To Do

Advent/Christmas Preparation To Do list

1. Is it against the spirit of Quick Takes to make them a “To Do” list? I am going to do it anyway, realizing, of course that this is not going to be the most fascinating blog post evah!

There’s only one week left in Advent, and I am still unprepared for the coming Christmas season. I am wondering if I am trying to do too much or if it’s just that I’ve been under the weather and slightly out of commission for about 2 weeks of the last month. I’ve been trying to keep up with life, with preparations, but have been failing pretty badly. Oh well, such is life. It is difficult to keep with obligations when you are a single person and not well; there’s just no one to back you up or take some of the load off.

So, things I have not yet accomplished that really should be accomplished before the end of Advent:

2.  Christmas shopping. I am missing things for:

My family KK (Praise the Lord we decided to do KKs this year!)

My work KK

My parents & youngest brother

My housemates

That is actually not a terrible list and I should be able to get to it this weekend, I hope.

3. Baking. Last year I got in a time crunch, too, and decided to skip baking.  I am considering skipping this year as well. Ordinarily, I bake on the third or fourth Sunday of Advent. I didn’t bake last Sunday and there’s a party happening at my house this Sunday, so I’m guessing I may just need to skip it again this year.

4. Must, must, must call people. Especially friends who are students and coming back to the area for Christmas!

5. Confession. (Now that will get done.) Must take myself off and just do it over the weekend. It would be nice if I had time for a side of Adoration as well, but that’s less likely.

6. Need to actually determine where/in which state of this here country I will be for Christmas. The lack of planning is not my own doing.

7. I promised, independent of all this Christmas preparation, that I would crochet some head-warmers (I did not know these were an item to have!) for my youngest sister, who is going to school in upstate NY. Luckily, they don’t take long to actually make and I sat down and did a pattern for myself last night.

I’m participating in the Christmas Novena – my intention being to keep my sanity and get everything I need to get done, done.

Here’s hoping that reading this list makes some of you feel accomplished in comparison to me! May the rest of your Advent be blessed!

More Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary.


Friday, 2 December, 2011 Scattered Quick Takes

Scattered Quick Takes Friday

1. I had kind of hoped to do a follow-up post on the New Roman Missal, but I still haven’t experienced the full translation.  This week has been just a little crazy.

2. This is all the follow-up I’ve got: In this area, there’s a tradition at the Latin Novus Ordo to (inexplicably, IMO) say the little dialogue before the Gospel reading in English (although we literally say every other response, even the minor ones, in Latin.) So, on Sunday, we got to that point in the Mass and the priest said, “the Lord be with you” and every single one of us, without missing a beat said…. “and also with you.” D’oh. As that is literally the only dialogue we say in English, we blew our only chance. Me included. I think we’re going to need some persistent reminders, but I would lobby that we just say that dialogue in Latin too. That’s what we did in California.

3. I had a good Thanksgiving and hope you all did too. Running the 5k the morning of was actually one of my favorite parts of the day – I struggled, but still managed to whittle a few seconds off my previous 5k time. However:

4. My sister, the fourth of my six siblings, arrived at the race late. She got to the start line after the gun went off, and started the race at least 5 minutes behind everybody. She beat every single member of my family running the race, including all those that started before her. That would be 4 siblings and 2 significant others, guys and girls. She should run more races. But I think I hate her. (She told me, “I made sure you didn’t see me when I passed you.”)

5. I really have to do one more plug for Pray More Novenas.  I’m repeating myself, but novenas have never been a particular devotion of mine. However, the email reminders make praying them so easy, that I am praying my third novena since October and I’m finding that novenas are what I need at this point in time. The Immaculate Conception novena is in full swing right now: do join it, if you feel moved to do so.

6. Picture of the week:

Light frost this morning

It’s getting colder here.

7. Which means I really need to finish my fall garden to do list before the ground starts freezing. Gardening creates a strange a mind-set. I was raking up leaves for leaf collection weekend, and caught myself thinking, “why am I letting the city take all these good useful leaves?!” (That item “clear off the back porch” on my list has gotten a bit more necessary because of that mind set, since it has become the temporary home for my useful biological matter pile. I think I am in danger of straining my housemates’ tolerance.)

More Quick Takes at Conversion Diary


Friday, 25 November, 2011 New Missal Quick Takes

New Translation of the Roman Missal Quick Takes – Offending Everybody

1. For an English-speaking Catholic, I am not particularly emotionally engaged with the hullabaloo surrounding the new English translation of the Roman Missal. An acquaintance and occasional interlocutor (who was thoroughly mis-educated at CUA in the 80’s) asked me in total consternation a few months ago, “didn’t I feel that the Vatican was imposing this on the American Church?! Trying to control us?” Um. No.

2.  The new translation is, in my opinion, overall a better and more faithful translation of the Latin.  I cannot speak to the theological controversies surrounding some of the changes, but merely on the level of accuracy, the new translation greatly surpasses the old. The new translation also beats the old for poetry of language, but I think by less wide a margin*.

3. The reason for my disengagement is that for most of my life (and exclusively for all my formative years – from birth until my mid-twenties), I’ve attended parishes where the current Mass, the “Novus” Ordo Missae, is prayed in Latin. Yes, that’s unusual. But not as unusual as some denizens of the internets would have you believe. I’ve found such a Mass in various parts of California, in London UK, in Rome, in Germany, and in Washington DC, all without much effort.

4. As such, English is just not my primary language when it comes to the Mass.  I almost always have the Latin running in my head when I attend Mass in English (which I do the majority of the time these days) and I am not in anyway attached to any particular English translation of the prayers. So, the change is simply less of  a change for me. I do wonder (idly, because I haven’t bothered to research) whether this new translation will be more like the translation used in the UK, which I have also experienced.

5. My attachment to Latin does not mean that I would identify myself as a “traditionalist.” I most emphatically do not. And, honestly, I find the EF/Tridentine Mass wholly unconducive to prayer and prayerfullness.

6.  I am a big wuss, though, and fully intend to ride out Advent by only attending the Latin Pauline Mass. I just don’t want to deal with other people dealing with the change. Yup, wuss.

7. But maybe I should be a little braver. I actually got to hear/sing the new translation of the Gloria last Sunday and the changes were not drastic and conflicted less with the Latin in my head. I also heard the new Sanctus. That was less pleasant, but not because of the translation. Some benighted person thought it would be dandy to fit the new English text of the Sanctus to this Latin setting. Not right. Just not right**.

Quick Takes graciously hosted at Conversion Diary.


Warning: Here be geekery

*Poetry of language to me means poetry in and in the mode of the language of that translation. From what I have read of it, the new translation may be poetic, but it is not poetic in an especially English-y way; it seems to err on the side of translation-ese.

**I sure wish that Pope Paul VI (or his curial underlings) had not picked settings from the Mass for the Dead as a part of the “minimum chant repertoire” and the now-standard Latin chant settings. (We never sang the “Missa Jubilate Deo” growing up, so I only became familiar with them rather recently. We chanted a whole rotation of settings, many of which I forget the names of now (and I lost my Liber Usualis in a move, sob, sob), but which included Missa Orbis Factor and Missa de Angelis.  Thus it is, to my ear, a horrible clash when the priest-celebrant finishes chanting the Preface (not chanted in a somber, but a joyful Tone) and then *crash:* we are mourning the dead in the Sanctus.

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Tuesday, 8 November, 2011 Pray More Novenas!

Well, weird week here. First the blog falls behind for (*mumble) days, and now I’m going to do my first ever plug for another site.

As far as Catholic practice goes (not liturgy, but that’s another story), I’m not really one for what I’d call traditional American popular piety.  Specifically, in this case, I haven’t generally much interest or devotion to praying novenas – apart from before Pentecost.

However, once in a while I have an intention that I feel needs some focused intercessory prayer and then I have attempted to pray this novena or that and very rarely have I finished them; not because nine days is so long, but because I am forgetful.

I think I first saw Pray More Novenas on facebook and I was initially skeptical, but then I thought, “what the hey?!”

I have to say, I love it! I have prayed the novenas to St. Therese of Liseaux and St. Jude thanks to this site.

You sign up using email and you are emailed the prayers for the novena for each day (so nice, no more carrying around eight sheets of battered printer paper) and a reminder to say those prayers.  John-Paul, who runs Pray More Novenas, strikes just the right cheerful, encouraging, and not treacly pious, note in his reminder emails, as well.

There’s also a place on the site to post intentions, pray for others’ intentions, “share”, etc., but  I haven’t used that as much. There are no novenas currently being prayed at the moment, but as Advent approaches, I’m sure another will be started. Highly recommended for novena veterans and newbies alike.