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We are hoping to move locally -- looking for a garage and a neighborhood with more kids. So this week I've been trying to do some packing; we're going to put some of our books and furniture in storage so the house shows better.


The storage guys are coming tomorrow. Am I ready? Not quite.


I am feeling like I'm about ready to snap, though.


Hambet is on Spring Break. He wants SO MUCH to help. He wants to help by packing.


So why won't he pack his toys? Cheez Louise! "Put your K'nex into that box." "Make a display with your Legos." How does that translate into "tilt your parents' bookshelf forward to empty it into a Medium packing box and then tape the box up mummy-style"?


And now my husband is balking at the packing and the storage because he doesn't want the house to "look stagey."


It will all work out. It will all work out. It will all work out....

Bibliomania Bonus: Book crate count = around 16 or 17. I'm estimating another four or five will be needed for downstairs.

Peony's seven quick takes

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Yes, I went to the grocery store yesterday -- I'd lose my DC-Metro cred if I didn't -- and yes, it was a madhouse. It took twenty minutes just to find a parking spot, and inside the carts were almost gridlocked. One of the staff mentioned that it was "worse than Christmas" and that it had been like that since 7:00 AM.

There was plenty of milk, bread, and T.P. -- the holy trinity of pre-snow panic -- but there were some other items that were completely cleaned out:

  • bulk garlic

  • bulk red potatoes

  • packaged white mushrooms

  • packaged cremini mushrooms

  • any andouille sausage costing less than $16.99/ lb

Seriously, what is up with the garlic?!


What a mean Mommy I am! I made Hambet study all his spelling words as if he would have his spelling test on Friday before I told him that school would be out.


We've been having wet fluffy snow for around six hours now. The real monster snow is supposed to be starting shortly....


Hambet and I started The Horse and His Boy this afternoon. Although I'd read the Narnia books when I was a child, for some reason only a couple of them "stuck" in my mind, so now I'm getting to enjoy with Hambet the one-more-chapter-pleeease! thrill of reading them for the first time.


Is anybody else watching the new version of Emma that's been on Masterpiece Theater? The conclusion is this Sunday. This version's Emma is growing on me -- I like her liveliness -- and Harriet is very good, but I am sorry to say that I am disappointed by Miss Bates.


I've been invited to be part of a new group blog! Feminine Geniuses launches this weekend. So far, I've only contributed some coding and a little collection of feminine-genius readings, but I hope to have a real post up soon.

Peony's seven quick takes

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1. Got to talk to Pansy today. She's holding up.

2. Note to self:

3. Baking adventure this week: a Weight Watchers recipe for biscotti. Not a success.

4. Highlight of the day (besides going to Adoration and talking to Pansy): getting a new trash can for the kitchen.

5. Rosie O'Donnell is pretty controversial, what with her keen insight into metallurgy and all. If she wanted to buy into an NFL team, would she be allowed?

6. Dan Snyder reminds me of a kid who plants a bean and then digs it up every day to see if it's growing, plants it again in a different place, fertilizes it, and gives it a gallon of water.

7. Started a novena today for Pansy that I found at Adoro Te Devote: a novena to Our Lady, the Undoer of Knots.


Peony's seven quick takes

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Is it bad to be fond of shopping when it's for someone else's benefit? Our parish is a little lacking in attractive platters and bowls for receptions and other social events. So I've started trolling thrift stores and online auctions, and have gotten a little carried away in the cheap silverplate department. But I really, really love china and silver and all those pretty things, and since I don't need anything for myself, it's so gratifying to be able to take advantage of these bargains for a good cause.


Why yes, I do subscribe to Victoria magazine, why do you ask?


His Serene Overlordship has a post that somehow wandered off into coarse language and when and whether it's sinful. My own thought on this (and of course you want to hear it) is that letting loose with the Anglo-Saxon four-letter words can be a sin against charity. I made a very conscious effort to break the habit of four-letter words of any kind when I was doing bedside nursing. An orderly happened to come in the med room when I had my back to the door, concentrating on something; I was startled and burst out, "Oh my --" and managed to shut my mouth. The orderly just shook his head and said, "I know what you were going to say."

Well, I was embarrassed, and I started working hard to root "Oh my God" and the four-letter words out of my personal promptorium, just as a matter of professionalism; having an "oh s#!t" slide out when you drop something or see something inconvenient on the telemetry screen doesn't do much for the nurse-patient relationship. Losing the habit has served me well. And if I sound like a prude when I come out with Dagnabbit! or That stinks, well, so be it; it's easier than constantly watching my mouth and worrying about exactly when four-letter words and saying "Oh my God!" when surprised becomes sinful.


Clone Wars! I like Bane's hat and that long duster thing he wears. My husband likes Asoka about as much as he likes Hermione in the Harry Potter movies -- not much -- and predicts that the Admiral is going to turn.


Jen notes that Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition 4th Edition">Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition is out in the 4th edition! I see Amazon is cross-promoting it with Optivite. I was doing Optivite for a while but I had real trouble gagging down those horse pills; maybe I should try it again. Virginians might be able to order Optivite and all those other super-vitamins from the DMC Pharmacy.


Can I do only six quick takes and still have it count?


If you can spare a couple of prayers tonight, please send one up for Pansy's intentions (because I'm thinking of her) and for the soul of my paternal grandmother, God rest her querulous but well-meaning soul. October 2 is my grandmother's birthday. The first holy card I ever owned was a gift from my grandmother; I was attracted to the pretty flowers on the card and Grandma was extra happy to give it to me because St Therese was her patron saint.

Peony's Seven Quick Takes

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Thanks to all those who send me kind words after my car accident. Looks like I'll be driving that loaner for a few more weeks. Wondering what good God wants to bring out of this.


As I write, Hambet is trying to assemble some kind of Bionicle-type creature and is starting to pitch a fit. I am doing my best to ignore the fit.


On the President's press conference: I tuned in just in time to hear his comments on tonsillectomies, red pills, and blue pills. My take: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?! Mr President, if you don't understand the problem, please don't take it upon yourself to fix it.


I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last Saturday with my pal Iris. Slughorn (and his hourglass!) were great. Ron? TOO. FUNNY. Severe lack of Snape, though! I liked the way they set up the Sectumsempra scene but they should have shown the aftermath. I wish they'd done more with The Book and how Harry grew so fond of "the clever boy who had helped him so much.". And with the ROR -- how in the world is Harry going to find the diadem in movie 8?!


Google Chrome: It loads SO QUICKLY. Love it.


Crockpot happiness continues to elude me. I'd love to have crockpot Tuesday, but Tuesdays used to be chicken, and all the chicken recipes I've tried have been disappointing. The crockpot meal everyone loves is chili, and the tomatoes seem kind of repetitious after our usual Monday night spaghetti. Seems like everything I like best in the crockpot is either very time-consuming to prep, involves tomatoes, or both. Maybe I'll try bean soup next Tuesday.


Funny how every hour of Adoration seems to go more and more quickly.

7 Quick Takes from Peony

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1. Michael Jackson: even his own funeral was a performance of sorts. And how did Rev. Sharpton get involved?

Anyway, MJ needed Christ and he needed a good psychotherapist. I hope he found at least One at the last minute.

2. Sarah Palin: OODA: "You have to decode the environment before [your opponent] does, act decisively, and then capitalize on his initial confusion by confusing him some more."

And what is intelligence, anyway?

"...I saw more stupid people in graduate school and three decades in academia than I ever did who ran 100 acres without going broke-and more of the latter whom I’d trust not to bankrupt the country and let down our defenses than of the former."

3. Caritas in Veritate: Haven't read it. Don't know when I'm going to read it, since I still haven't read the first two encyclicals.

4. My "books to read" stack is approaching 48 linear inches. I need... an intervention? Something.

5. Delightful: This podcast from Greg and Jennifer "The Catholics Next Door" Willits. Parents of "Star Wars" obsessed little boys will understand why I was laughing out loud.

6. Only a couple more weeks till the next Harry Potter movie! Though how they're going to manage the adaptation after omitting from the last movie that somewhat important part about (spoiler) Snape being a spy for the Order of the Phoenix -- seeing as Snape is one of the two TITLE CHARACTERS and all -- I do not know.

7. I made this the other night, with grilled peaches and grilled mushrooms. So at least with my husband, my stock is high.

Something I Needed

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Elena at My Domestic Church talks about Saving Advent. I swear she wrote this just for me. I started my Advent out with the best of intentions, with our wreath, I put together daily Bible readings and pictures to put on the Jesse Tree every night with the kids, I had planned to faithfully start O Antiphons on 12/17. But somehow I got mired down in being pregnant and exhausted, and in complete panic that again, due to either pregnancy or a new baby, I just wasn't prepared enough for Christmas, or too tired to put all my little Jesse Tree drawings up. So I thank Elena for this practical advice because I am feeling quite like the Grinch who stole Advent lately. And that's not the Mom I wanted to be.

1. Go to daily mass. Maybe not daily, but even if you get one extra mass in a week it will make you feel like you have taken a step in the right direction!

2. Get to confession. Nothing says "clean slate" better than... well a clean slate! So get to confession and make a fresh start from there!

3. Pick an online Advent Calendar, breeze through the days you missed and start off with renewed commitment tomorrow! Here's a nice one to follow.

4. Analyze your Christmas preparations. Maybe you've done enough already. Remember the first Christmas was in a barren, cold cave. Maybe you have enough decorations, maybe you've bought enough gifts. Remember, the gifts that matter the most are ones that come from the heart, not the pocketbook!

So my post total's been in the tank since I moved a couple of years ago. Some of it's because of Real Life Going at High Velocity; some of it is because I've been making a concerted effort to Not Spend So Much Darn Time on the Internet; some of it's because Hambet knows that when I'm at the computer, I'm concentrating -- and he's got a chance to raid the ice cream before he gets caught.

And a lot of it is fear. I've made some good friends here, good Catholic women, but this is Virginia and they're tech savvy. They read blogs. They read Catholic mom blogs. They know who else reads blogs. And they're clever! What if I blog something about, oh, I don't know, what flavor gum I got at Target and I'm found out?

Eight facts about Peony

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I've been tagged by Mama T!

Here are the rules: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. The outfit I bought last weekend is the first (non-khaki) brown clothing I've owned in at least 15 years.

2. I have a bad habit of forgetting to water plants. I start off with great intentions but then I get distracted and....

3. I have been bitten by the photography bug and am saving up for a new camera.

4. I love coffee.

5. I have been working part-time at a long-term temp job since January, and might go on staff if they can keep up with the flexible hours and let me work just one day a week over the summer.

6. I have pre-ordered a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

7. I have a secret cache of Hershey's Kisses.

8. I am going to break the rules of this meme and not tag eight people.

9. I'm on the same wavelength as MamaT concerning housework: don't like the cleaning part, do like the clean house part, trying to work on my attitude, tapping ideas from Flylady. At this moment I am almost completely caught up with the laundry. Yay!

10. I have just started listening to podcasts in the past couple of weeks.

Pansy, you're up! And anyone else who wants to play, consider yourself tagged.


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I'm terza rima, and I talk and smile.
Where others lock their rhymes and thoughts away
I let mine out, and chatter all the while.

I'm rarely on my own - a wasted day
Is any day that's spent without a friend,
With nothing much to do or hear or say.

I like to be with people, and depend
On company for being entertained;
Which seems a good solution, in the end.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Which is the perfect lead in to this:


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a snapshot

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Snow. Sleet. Ice. Sniffles and sore throats and a solid week off school. Toilets overflowing and soaking the basement floor (with clean water, thank God.) Stomach flu. A sixth birthday for Hambet. Work (a temp agency found me a copacetic assignment -- part time work during school hours only.) And a resolution to give up aimless Web reading for Lent. So probably not much even less blogging from me.

boxes, boxes, boxes

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Well, we did it! On May 31 we settled on our old house and our new house without bloodshed (though the people who bought our old house annoyed the settlement attorney so much, she held back the bottle of champagne she'd brought for them and only gave a bottle to us. Ha!)

We're almost unpacked; only a few more boxes to go. "Unpacked" doesn't mean "put away" though. I have a lot of weird family room type stuff -- media, craft supplies, toys -- to figure out how to shelve. I wish the Container Store would accomodate me by putting the elfa shelving on sale this week -- I don't feel like waiting till January!

FYI: If you are even thinking about moving to Virginia, do yourself a favor and make sure you have an official copy of your birth certificate (and your marriage license, if you changed your name when you married) or your naturalization papers. Your old driver's license isn't enough anymore. I found this out the hard way last night after a gruesome trip to the DMV. So, on the agenda today: a trip to the notary to certify my identity to the State of California so they can certify MY identity to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Crazy, isn't it?

Di Fattura Caslinga: Pansy's Etsy Shop
The Sleepy Mommy Shoppe: Stuff we Like
(Disclaimer: We aren't being compensated to like this stuff.
Any loose change in referral fees goes to the Feed Pansy's Ravenous Teens Fund.)

Pansy and Peony: The Two Sleepy Mommies