Friday, June 22, 2012

7 Quickish Takes, Volume 47


We spent a wonderful Father's Day at my in-laws' in Williamsburg.  Did you know that my mother-in-law is the gardening queen?  When Joe was growing up they ate fresh vegetables from their garden every summer.  (This is why he won't touch beets today.  He had too many of them when he was a kid).  When Joe and I met, Queen MIL (aka "Grandma B") had a pretty extensive herb garden, which is somewhat scaled back these days.  But her flowers--wow.  Recently her housing development hosted its own Garden Week tours, and hers was one of the featured gardens.  Here's why:

And we played several rounds of Cornhole, (Otherwise known as Beanbag Toss.  Did you know there is an official Cornhole Association, and that they have an annual tournament in Nashville?) and I ended up beating the pants off everybody most of the time.  I declared myself the Cornhole Queen. Hmm, I haven't been to Nashville in a long time...

(For more photos of Grandma B's garden, click here.)


I'm still figuring out how to use my new DROID 4 phone, and a few of things I discovered this past week about the camera feature are 1. There is a forward-facing option.  Sweet!  I did not know this when I bought it. 2.  There are different settings on it, like for taking black-and white photos and giving them a negative effect (I haven't tried these yet). 3.  I had my flash turned off for the first two weeks that I had my new phone.  DOH!!  Had I known, well, THIS...

...could have been an AWESOME picture of Gavin DeGraw.  SIGH... Ah, well.  Next time, Gavin... next time.

(For more blurry pictures of Gavin, click here.)


Not long ago I made Gavin DeGraw's song "Chariot" my phone's ringtone (for my old phone AND my new one), and I even set it to be my alarm when I wake up in the morning.  Well, after seeing Gavin in concert I had such a case of Gavin Fever that I even put up a photo of his Sweeter album cover as my wallpaper.  

On a recent morning when I went to check my messages and such, I heard myself say, "Good morning, Gavin."  That was when I decided it was time for new wallpaper.  Now I have this:

And guess what?  I like it better.  I think I'm slowly returning to normal.   (I still have my "Chariot" ringtone.  I think I'll keep that one for a while.)

(YouTube must randomly pick stills from videos when you embed them in your post.  This shot of Gavin is even worse than my too-dark one from Take #2.)


In an earlier post, I posted this photo of a mama bird sitting on her nest, right above our front door.  

Last week, here's what we found:

I haven't seen any activity since I climbed up on a stepladder to take that photo; I hope I didn't scare the mother away from her babies.  Other critters I've seen recently in my yard:

(This cat was trying real hard to get me to like it.)

(I know some of you don't like spiders; I think they're fascinating, as long as they're OUTSIDE.)


Today is the feast day of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, and that means...Let the Fortnight for Freedom Begin!!  Hooray for the United States bishops for speaking out for religious liberty.  I honestly don't think many people realize that our rights as Americans to practice our faith in our daily lives is threatened, and that if we don't do something about it, it's only going to get worse.  When President Obama and Secretary Sebelius stuck their fingers in our faces and told us that EVERYONE would have to pay for other people's birth control pills and morning-after pills because THEY SAID SO, to hell with your Church's teaching, that woke a lot of people up, I think.  Now Catholic institutions are in danger of either providing something that violates Church teaching or be forced to shut down (or only hire and serve practicing Catholics--which ALSO goes against Church principles).  The government thinks it knows right for us better than we do.  If people want to use contraceptives, fine, but don't make us pay for them.  Next they will be forcing Catholic institutions to recognize and endorse same-sex marriage, or to provide and pay for abortions (we're already paying for them anyway, as long as we keep throwing money at Planned Parenthood).  Who is to say America won't go the way of China and enforce a one- or two-child policy?  Freedom of religion means the freedom to follow the teachings of our religion.  This is what we must fight for.

Last night our parish kicked off Fortnight for Freedom with a holy hour and prayed the Liturgy of the Hours.  There was a Mass at the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore (which I forgot to record, dang it), and at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, there will be a concluding Mass on July 4.  (I want to go to this.  Joe wants to go to the Nationals game.  Or we might just stay home and relax with friends and family like we usually do on the Fourth of July.  I'll let you know where we end up.)  Our parish will pray a novena for religious liberty starting next week.  As for me I'm going to try to attend at least some daily Masses (missed it today), pray the Rosary and read scripture every day; and I hope to check out lots of resources online about life issues and religious freedom and Church teaching, and maybe share some of them with you and with my Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  I want to try and be more Christ-like, to look for opportunities to serve others and to love my neighbor.  This is a good opportunity for us to fast and pray for our country and for each other, and to give ourselves for the good of others.

If you want to know how your parish and your diocese is participating in the Fortnight for Freedom, and for lots of prayer and study resources, click here.


You know I have another blog, right?  It's called Cooking Nick's Books.  Hardly anyone reads it.  That's all right, because I have a lot of fun preparing dishes from Nicholas Sparks' bestselling novels; plus it gives me an excuse to read his books over and over.  I've posted some fabulous recipes there: most recently, a DELICIOUS molasses oatmeal bread that Joe's mom used to make for him, and when we married it was REQUIRED that I learned to make it; plus a yummy custard-style ice cream that I've never tried before but turned out amazing.  Inspired by Nicholas' book The Lucky One; I'm sure you've heard of it since it's a movie and know, the one with Zac Efron... Head on over and check it out, you won't regret it. *SMILE*

Oh, and last week, I published a "7 Quick Takes" there that involves mussels, ribs, and Dancing With the Stars.  (Yes, Gavin too, but only slightly;  AND, a certain race car driver who can dance the quickstep like nobody's business.)  You can take a peek at that one too, if you want... *wink-wink*


Because I seem to have a knack for remembering dates, especially birthdays (Gavin's is February 4, in case you were wondering...You weren't?  Oh.), I can't leave without mentioning that the racing legend Dan Wheldon would have turned thirty-four today.  Dan will forever be thirty-three; he was tragically killed in a horrible racing accident in Las Vegas last October 16 (John Mayer's birthday; and ironically, the day I published this silly birthday post, and the day we cooked these shrimp kebobs).  I can't imagine what his family must be feeling right now; instead of celebrating his birthday, they're mourning his death.  I posted some photos and thoughts and memories about racing and about Dan the night after he died; you can find that post here.

Dan smiled at me once...sort of.

We miss you, Dan.  Happy Birthday.

Have a wonderful weekend, and be sure to visit Jen's Conversion Diary blog for more Quick Takes!

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