Showing posts from August, 2015

A Year Yesterday


In honor of National Dog Day...

Here's a little scripture (Douay-Rheims translation) for your enjoyment:


Before: After:

Yes, most of those are double-stacked.  And please ignore the fact that there are still 7 or 8 boxes of books left to be unpacked!

Shelf Spotlight: The Watson Chronicles

How many books are on your "I've been meaning to read that" list?  This one has been at the top of my list for at least a year, and it took me until this week.  Luckily, I'd packed it in my emergency reading kit!

The Watson Chroniclesby Ann Lewis
"Holmes turned the platter, inspecting the plum pudding as he would a cadaver at a crime scene."

It's challenge enough for a writer to find his or her own voice; it's even harder for an author to match her voice to another's.  Especially when you get into the nerdy world of Sherlock Holmes fans, which is a cult with an obsession rivaling that of Trekkies.

In The Watson Chronicles, sequel to her earlier work Murder in the Vatican, Ann succeeds in matching style and voice to Arthur Conan Doyle's originals, while bringing a fresh perspective to the beloved character of Watson.

Perhaps my best part of The Watson Chronicles is Ann's ability to reach past Sherlock's veneer of misogyny and misanthr…

Life Update

Hello!  Sorry for the long silence over here.  It's been a crazy week, between funeral prep, packing, a trip to the State Fair, visiting my grandma, attending the funeral, driving to Michigan, and settling in at my new apartment and job.  So yeah, I've been growing up with a vengeance in the last few days.

There's been ups and downs, all lessons learned for the future.

Sunday, after driving up, I attempted to iron a blouse for my first day of work.  It melted in 0.75 seconds.  So now I can't use the iron because it has very interesting blue melted gunk on the soleplate.  Thanks, polyester.

And I wore the wrong shoes to work the first day.  See, my office building is about a mile long, and the chapel is at the other end.  I didn't expect that the walk to noon Mass was going to be quite so...penitential.

I keep getting lost on the way to and from work, although I'm rather proud of myself because I keep finding my way back.  I'm telling myself that I'm a…

Shelf Spotlight: Audiobooks

Hello y'all! I thought I'd still do a quick shelf spotlight, even though this weekend has been insane.
Since I'll be living in Ann Arbor, I've started to find ways to cope with the long drives home to Indy. On a test run down to my grandmother's house this week, I discovered to my surprise that audio books do indeed have a place in my life. I've been resistant to the idea for a long time, because I could never find an occasion where I wanted to listen to a book rather than just sit there and read it myself.  But while I'm used to driving now, I just get bored in the car.  After a while my own head gets dull, the radio is irritating, and music only keeps me functioning for so long. Hence, audio books! Thank heavens for a tablet and Martha's multimedia port. I'm picking lighter reads so I don't risk distraction, so at the moment I'm working my way through a set of children's stories by Terry Pratchett.  Next up is the Chronicles of Narni…

New Apartment

Hi, y'all!  Pop on over to The Starving Inspired for a video tour of our new apartment in this foreign country called Ann Arbor.

Facts I have picked up recently - it's not blue and gold/yellow, it's "maize", and it's EVERYWHERE.  Also, the town is colloquially known as A2, there are college students everywhere, I plan to stay indoors on home game days.  And I'm pretty sure I won't be able to find a good tenderloin.  I'm telling you, this is a whole new world, y'all.

Small Success Thursday: Indiana State Fair

We're not Vulcans but we bleed green.  I'm a fourth-generation, 10 year 4-H member, and only by one generation did I escape going to the state fair at 6:30 AM to take care of show cattle.  Minus cows, besides the ones we eat for lunch, the Indiana State Fair is an annual summer tradition for my family.

I'm convinced Indiana has the best state fair ever.  There's always so much going on, but it's still got the old-fashioned down-home feel of a real 4-H-based fair.  We usually go during the week, to avoid the weekend crowds, and this year we landed a double-header of half-off tickets plus absolutely perfect weather.  It was cheerfully sunny and not too hot, with just enough of a cool breeze to keep us from sweating like the proverbial hogs, whose barn we skipped anyway.  
As a thank you to my dad for all the sweat and mileage he's put into moving us around this summer, and as a birthday gift for my mom, my sister and I took them to the fair instead of the other w…

Requiescat in Pace

Vince Gatto was the grandfather I'd never had.  We got to know him when my family and his wife started the Spaghetti and Spirituality program at Holy Rosary - he'd spend the whole day in the church kitchen cooking the pasta sauce.  An old radio would play on the table while he'd tell us stories.  
For his whole life, he lived behind Holy Rosary - Mother Superior at the Latin school would knock on his bedroom door when she needed a server for morning Mass.  As a young man in Korea, he was shot and left for dead, barely escaping with his life when the enemy soldiers nearly finished him off as he lay on the ground.  He was one of the first members of the Indianapolis police diving team.  That man had so many crazy tales to tell, it's a wonder he'd survived to be as old as he was!
He'd always greet me with a smile, lighting up when I came over, with a gruff "Hey, sweetie!"  He'd kiss me on the cheek and hold my hand while he asked how I was doing.  A…

How I Think I Write...


Shelf Spotlight: Death Note

Welcome to this week's Shelf Spotlight!  This is a drastic genre switch from my last few posts, but that means you're getting a good feel of what's on my bookshelves.  (Of which I need more.)

This week, I'm working my way through a manga series.  I'm not usually the biggest fan of manga, but if I find one that I like, I'm not opposed to it.  A good friend lent me his complete collector's edition set of Death Note, a mystery-thriller manga that seems to be one of the most popular, at least in the United States.  I'm trying to finish the books before I move, and I'm smack in the middle of one of the most complicated murder-mystery plots I've discovered yet.

When an highly intelligent, bored young man receives the power of the death gods...what will it do to him?

There are a few drawbacks because as usually happens with manga, Death Note was originally published as a serial or at least as a dozen smaller manga, so the plot structure gets a little…


Sometimes at adoration, I pray by writing to Jesus. It helps me focus on speaking to him rather than trying to control my thoughts as they wander all over creation.  I thought I'd share with you what I wrote this First Friday - it's just stream of consciousness but sort of the Ignatian method, where you put yourself into the Gospel scene and try to imagine it and talk to Jesus.  Here goes:"Could you not watch one hour with me?"I'm kneeling beside him in the garden, watching him wracked with grief and pain. His body tense, shaking, next to me. Tears from my so - powerful king. And the sweat of blood - it scares me, but I dare not interrupt his thoughts to ask if he's alright, if he needs anything.  "Father..." the cry of a son, full of love and pain and pleading. Father...I cry out too, begging that he be saved from whatever is tormenting him so terribly. The wind rustles the trees but the night is still. I dare not leave him to wake John or one of t…

Small Successes: Baby Steps

Linking up with CatholicMom again today!

Moving out is quite the challenge.  For some silly reason, I expected the process to be basically like going back to college.  Not so much...there are ties being severed in a way I haven't experienced before.  It will be a very difficult transition, but I think I can make it.

A few small successes this week as I get ready to move - just baby steps, but they're helping the list get a little shorter.

Martha (my new-to-me VW station wagon) got blessed this week!  The old blessing has some lovely phrases in it.  It mentions the holy angels surrounding and accompanying the car, and asks that "just as by Your deacon Philip You gave faith and grace to the man of Ethiopia as he sat in his chariot reading the Sacred Word, so, point out to Your servants the way of salvation."  And maybe it's all psychological, but I have felt better driving Martha now that she's blessed.  Driving solo in a new vehicle, which was very difficult…

Emergency Reading Kit

Remember those awful conversation-starters like "If you were alone on a desert island, what three books would you want to have with you?"  Here's a new one:
If you were facing the most challenging transition of your life so far...what books would you want in your Emergency Reading Kit?

I've included practical books, spiritual reading favorites, a little Shakespeare, fiction favorites and newbies, fairytales and poetry:

I chose books that I knew I would want to be readily accessible, no matter what else I unpacked.  They're essentials for the mind, heart, and soul, to keep me sane through the first few weeks of this life-shift.  As I'm thinking about it, there are more I should have included, but this will be a good start for now.  Here's a breakdown of my Emergency Reading Kit.
Practical books: Betty Crocker's Cookbook is a family favorite, with all the essential, basic recipes I could ask for.  There's a lot of love in this book - it was a gift from …



Life Update

Just a quick update for those of you keeping tabs on me here!  In a week, with the help of St. Joseph and my parents and numerous other kind people, I managed to get a car, a roommate, and an apartment.  The apartment process was agonizing, but luckily we had a lovely saleswoman helping us.  My roomie and I are excited about our little two-bedroom flat in Ann Arbor, and I'm trying not to go nuts with all the college dorm sales at Bed, Bath & Beyond and all the other shops!  I have to keep reminding myself that a lot of things can wait until after the first couple of paychecks.At final count, I packed up twenty-three boxes of books.  Yes, 23.  Somehow Arabic numerals seem more innocuous?  Pretty sure I could build an emergency shelter out of the fiction alone.  I'll post soon about my Survival Kit, books that I've set aside to help me keep my sanity during the first month or so.The other major project on my plate right now is wedding planning for my dear friends, Brian …

Shelf Spotlight: Corinna Turner

Welcome to this week's Shelf Spotlight!  I've had the fun of reading a series by a brand-new British author, Corinna TurnerChesterton Press had me proofreading the American editions, which was a lovely privilege.  When she gave me the first one, I meant to finish it by the end of the week deadline.  As it happened, I was a bit of an insomniac that night, couldn't put the book down, and stayed up until 4 in the morning to finish the proof! 
The books are somewhat comparable to a Catholic take on the dystopian world of The Hunger Games and a young adult thriller version of Robert Hugh Benson's Lord of the World.  The characters are compelling and the story gripping; the stream-of-consciousness style is occasionally off-putting but easy to ignore once the plot begins to move quickly.  I have to admit, I've always had a love for the Elizabethan Catholic recusants.  Corinna's books draw heavily on that heritage, and do so well. 
I Am Margaret is still my favorite …