not home alone at all

I’m playing in Lisa Hendey’s sandbox at today! Do go read my serious response to the Great Christmas Tree Chainsaw Massacre.

Check it out here.

7 Quick Takes Friday: Quickly

Check out the collection of other 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, hosted at Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary


Classes started this week. I’m exhausted.


Thus, this.



I’m restarting The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. Because I thought The Lord of the Rings was too long, so the concept of like 13 books, and another dozen or so prequels isn’t daunting at all.

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I have discovered a love of chicken and dumplings. I’m sure I was exposed to this delectable food when I was a kid, and just thought it looked like cat vomit or something and rejected it for the next 40-something years.

Oh, how I wish I had come up with a better comparison….


I am making an effort to drink more water. I’m mostly successful, thanks to a fancy schmancy grown-up sippy cup.

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Took my lunch to work all week and congratulated myself for being a good girl. Celebrated with a Snickers candy bar.


I’ve decided to dust off my 35 mm camera and go back to taking fun pictures. It’s a shame to let all those lenses and filters and cool gadgets sit in a bag, unused. I wonder if I can remember how to load film?

7 Quick Takes Friday: A Return to Normal

Check out the collection of other 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, hosted at Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary


And by normal, I mean chaos. Classes begin tomorrow. I’m still tweaking an online class that goes live at midnight. It’s pretty much been hell week with advisement and registration, and such a spike in enrollment that we were hiring — and thus I was training — new adjuncts right up until I left yesterday. Monday is gonna be fun.


I thought I’d throw this in here because it makes me happy. That is all.



This week I learned a little something about myself, sort of. There was another resurgence of introvert/extrovert themes running around Facebook. I dismiss them all, mostly. I don’t fit neatly into either category so I just think it’s a bunch of bunk. Either I’m a highly social introvert, or an extrovert with sociopathic tendencies because I hate people. Well, I don’t really hate people — I can manage hundreds of them, actually, although I prefer to deal with folks one at a time.

I think that makes me an ambivert. Because I need more wishy-washiness in my life 🙂


I tried my hand at some gardening this summer. By that I mean my husband haphazardly planted all kinds of things in random places. To date, I killed a raspberry bush, exploded roses all over the place (this is a good thing) and am sorely disappointed in a rainy summer so intense that all my melons, watermelons and cantaloups, have exploded, split, or rotted. We’ve been in a drought for so many years I dare not complain too loudly, but we haven’t had any summer at all, except in very brief little snatches of sun.

photo-1 copy


I’m doing yet another round of de-cluttering. I really feel like a fail in this endeavor, and yet, I’ve seen some real progress over time. I dare not stop.


Went shopping at Target. Didn’t buy what I wanted. Left with greeting cards. I love greeting cards. I love buying them. I love sending them. I love getting them. Ha. 


After a week of every kind of noisy noise, I rested here a while. Soothing. And a pretty view.



this love unites us

Yesterday, my grandmother, Emilia, would have been 100 years old. I remember when she passed away. The news came from Cuba to the eldest child, my Tia Libe, who couldn’t get a hold of my mother and called me to deliver the news.It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

This morning my dad forwarded an email from my Tio Emilio, a bishop in the diocese where the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity is situated. No doubt he has been very busy this past week in preparation for the celebrations surrounding this Jubilee year, the 400th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance to the Cuban people.

No doubt he has been reflecting on the story of our Blessed Mother. No doubt the memory of his own beloved mother, my grandmother, was tugging at his heartstrings.

He sent a message to his sisters, my mother and aunts in the U.S., and by extension to his nieces and nephews — a message I’ll relate here, in abbreviated form because of its intimacy and beauty.

Tio Emi celebrated a private Mass last night for all of us on the centenary celebration of Emilia’s birth, noting that this makes it a jubilee year for the family as well. He noted some similarities in our family history to Mary’s experience, a story of two mothers, our spiritual mother and our family matriarch…

They both came across the ocean with a child in arms, and established a home to stay with us on our journeys.

One was from Nazareth, the other from Mutiloa.

One with Joseph, the other with Daniel.

One in exile because of Herod, the other in exile because of Franco.

Because of that, they called one Child the Nazarene, and the others they called Gallegos.

Then he lit two candles for Daniel and Emilia, because through them, love also unites us as a family, a beautiful allusion to the theme of this year’s Jubilee, Charity unites us. I was moved by the gesture and his relating of that story… this piece of my story… a story to pass on to my children, because it speaks to the greatest gift within our family, not in a literal comparison to the story of salvation, but to the human condition of it.

  • That we learn love and sacrifice within the family.  
  • That we are first loved by God, and we love because we know love.

It’s kind of a conundrum, this cycle of love, but our family story seems to be wrapped around this mantle of love, even as generations have moved from exile to exile. We are never alone, have never been alone, even in our deepest loneliness and separation. And we can look forward to the glorious happy day when we are all reunited before the Author of this story.

Review: Catholic Family Fun Book

The empty nest is getting closer and closer for me, and let me say, it’s something that I am surprised to be embracing in this season of my life.

A typical evening at home looks something like this:

Me: What do you want for dinner.

Honey: Oh, you’ve had a long day…let’s go out for a bite.

Nice, isn’t it? The rest of the evening might play out with us having a nice, quiet conversation on the porch. You know, about stuff that doesn’t involve a schedule, or somebody’s grades, or the orthodontist.

Rewind ten or fifteen years and the scene was very different. Dinner was a disorganized affair, with conversations that escalated into louder and louder expressions with everyone happily talking over each other. Perhaps it’s not the ideal dinner time for many of you, but in our home, it was the chaos that we enjoyed. The louder the laughter, the better.

How I wish we’d had Sarah Reinhard’s Catholic Family Fun in those days. Its subtitle, A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless pretty much describes my state of affairs when it came to managing three kids close in age, a household, a traveling husband, and the myriad after school activities that had me jumping through hoops.

The section on Traveling Food was the first thing I looked at. After so many stressful drive-thru meals, it’s a relief to see instructions for something that’s relaxing and enjoyable.

With my  youngest finishing his second year of college, I wondered,  as I was reading the book, if any of this was relevant to a middle-aged mom a little shell-shocked from the sudden silence.

The answer is YES. And it comes from an unlikely place.

You see, I thought I’d be putting the book on my shelf, using it when my nieces and nephews come to visit, or [gulp] saving it for someday with grandchildren.

What I forgot is that my husband and I are still very much a family. In fact, we were a family first, before the kiddoes came along, and now that they are scattering, we’re back to where we started, so to speak — with each other.

And we can benefit from many of the ideas in this book, too.

Each activity has a Faith Angle, and frankly, that’s the best part of the book for me. As adults we often fall into a routine (that’s good) for morning prayer or devotionals, and this provides many creative ways to explore the richness of our faith by shaking it up a little.

The next section, Making It Your Own, gives us the “permission” to adapt it to our needs. It’s perfect because of its versatility.

Pick up a copy and play…you’ll find something that works for whatever your family dynamic happens to be at the moment.

And remember to have fun!

another 7 Quick Takes Friday


Check out the collection of other 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, hosted at Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary


John and I celebrated 26 years of marriage on Wednesday.



And that love produced these goobers.


Who needs the other 5 takes this week?