Thursday, March 27, 2014

Happy 2014! (Several months late...)

Happy 2014! I suppose it's never crossed my mind to post; the more interesting my life gets, the more I  forget to write...

7 Quick Takes:

1) I'm a godmother again! Welcome to the world, little Miss Ava Rose Gaunt! The godfather, my sweet friend Jacob, and I road-tripped over the mountains for the baptism. What a sweet, holy weekend that was! (Made all the sweeter when the Hawks qualified for the Super Bowl!)

2) I'm a bridesmaid for the first time! My sweet friend Emily is getting married in August! In honor of the wedding, most of us bridesmaids are on Run Keeper trying to get in shape; I haven't been running in a week, but I've worked my way back up to 5K again. Here's hoping for longer, more frequent runs; alas, the temptations for wine, bacon, and naps frequently distract me from my fitness goals...

3) St. Luke's: my job is going really well, but not without stress. It's a long story, but my partner has quit, and I am currently in charge of the whole music department. On the plus side, working with the 3rd-8th graders has been very affirming. I just started a new choir with the adults; between that and multiple kids signing up for voice lessons with "Miss Molly," I do feel very affirmed in my vocation as a music minister!

4) New digs: While I was in between jobs, I had to move back in with my parents. Not an excellent development, but I do feel quite safe here. But now that my partner has departed and i'm more than half-time, I may be able to negotiate my way into a 30-40 per week job. If I get that, i'll move back out just after Easter, and i;ll be a thoroughly modern woman again!

5) "Je ne parle pas francais": Since I've been speking Spanish for nigh a decade, I decided it's time to learn a third language. Ergo, I have purchased Rosetta Stone au francais; I plan to install it tomorrow and start learning!

6) 10k: If I can run 10K in time for Emily's wedding, I will consider myself accomplished!

7) I recently tweeted: ""What's this loose feeling in my shoulders?" "I think you're happy." "Oh, no wonder I'm confused." After almost a year of unemployment or underemployment, even though I'm only at 26 hours per week, my intuition truly tells me that this is where I belong. But even with the uncertainty, I love my job. i love my friends. Singlehood doesn't hurt as much as it used to. My family is feeling/recovering well. I may take an honest-to-God trip this year to Asia. I feel, for the first time in over a year, happy. That's worth a toast, and a big kiss.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Back to Blogging

Why, hello, blogosphere!

My apologies for my long absence.

Much has changed in my life since my last post, (indeed, in the past couple of years!), but now that I’ve endured such a shakeup, I decided it was time to return to writing. (Full disclosure: I hope to generate a little extra scratch via my blog. I hope I prove equal to the task.)

Seeing as there have been many recent (and not-so-recent) changes in the life of this blogger, I shall dedicate a post to each change before getting on with blogging about life, issues, et cetera, et cetera.

I hope to post two or three times per week. Here’s to new resolutions as a writer!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Last night I did something I was convinced I wouldn't be able to commit to: I deactivated my Facebook account.

There was a time when I had such incredible (or so it seems now) discipline that I could log onto Facebook, catch up quickly on my friends and family and their social lives, and then click right back over to my homework or research. For the past few months, I found myself "checking in" and then staying for a shamefully long time. (Especially right before bed. And I was wondering why I kept going to be so late!)

And then, though I never would have thought it could happen, that lax discipline bled over into other area of my screen time. I'm still having trouble prying myself away from Netflix when I know I need to go to the gym. Or do my laundry. Or clean my apartment. Or, for heaven's sake, shower.

At any rate, my screen time was killing my time management. And since my various attempts to cut it down were fruitless-- I tried a timer; I tried a limit of two visits to Facebook per day; I purposefully did not get a Roku so that I would have to watch Netflix in an uncomfortable position, which (I reasoned) would ensure that I wouldn't spend too long on it-- I decided to quit cold turkey.

I am sure I'll go back to it in a week or two, but I'm considering this a "cleansing ritual" so that I can refocus my attention on things that matter a little more. Once I've regained enough discipline to be able to control myself, I think I'll go back to Facebook-land for the occasional visit.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Il dolce far niente

Now that all of the Holy Week craziness has settled down, I am allowed a few days of comp time-- that is, I took my normal two days off, and since I've earned about five more (between the whole days off that I had to work, plus the extra hours that I worked), I'm taking the week off until Saturday. Then next week, I'll work all week and then go on retreat over the weekend, and I will have (hopefully) fully recovered from the craziness of Lent.

But here's the thing-- after spending Easter and Easter Monday with my family, I retreated home for some sleep and relaxation. Which I think I'm entitled to do. But there's this nagging guilt that I must be productive during this time off-- I must run x miles each day of vacation, I must read at least three novels, I must do this, I must do that... and then I get disappointed in myself for not accomplishing all of it.

But what is this guilt for? I worked like a crazy person all through Triduum and Easter morning; I need a break! And since I've more than earned my time off, I shouldn't feel badly that I don't feel like running every day, or if I just want to listen to music, or cook, or watch a movie, or knit... and if I feel too overwhelmed from the past month, I shouldn't push myself during my down time.

So, at least for these couple of days, I'm trying to embrace 
il dolce far niente; or "pleasant idleness." I'll be back to work on Saturday, and back for real next Wednesday, but until then intend to just relax and enjoy a bubble bath, some dinner, a movie, and whatever else I happen to want until my little mini-vacation is over.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Irish cupcakes. You're welcome.

·         1 cup stout (Guinness or other Irish full-bodied beer)
·         1 cup butter (2 sticks)
·         ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
·         2 cups flour
·         2 cups sugar
·         1½ tsp baking soda
·         ¾ tsp salt
·         2 large eggs
·         ⅔ cup sour cream
Ganache Filling
·         8 oz bittersweet chocolate
·         ⅔ cup heavy cream
·         2 tbsp butter, room temperature
·         1-2 tbsp of Irish whiskey
·         3-4 cups confectioners sugar
·         ½ cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
·         4 oz (2 nips) of Bailey's Irish Cream or other Irish cream liqueur
Special Equipment
·         cupcake tins
·         cupcake liners
·         cake piping

Bake Cupcakes
1.     Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners
2.     Bring stout and 1 cup of butter to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly
3.     In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and ¾ tsp of salt to blend
4.     In a large bowl beat eggs and sour cream to blend. Add the stout chocolate mixture and beat to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on a slow speed. Using a spatula, fold batter until completely combined
5.     Divide batter and bake until tester comes out clean or about 17 minutes
Make Ganache Filling
1.     Chop up the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl
2.     Heat the cream in a saucepan until it is simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let this sit for a minute and stir until smooth
3.     Add the butter and whiskey, stir to combine. Let this cool until thick. (You can refrigerate it so that it’s nice and thick)
4.     Once your cupcakes are cool enough, poke each cupcake in center to create a well. Pipe ganache into these wells
Make Frosting
1.     Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer for several minutes
2.     Slowly add powdered sugar and combine. Mix in Bailey's
3.     Pipe frosting onto cupcakes

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Just now, I made the executive decision to delete my previous post. If I have ever posted something more asinine, I don't know what it was. 

To be fair, I wasn't at my best-- it was very late, I had taken some medication for my still-painful foot, I was writing for the sake of writing, and the combination of a lack of sleep and medication led to the poor judgement on my part to click "publish" at the bottom of the Blogger text box.

I will write about recent happenings later-- right now I have to make sure work won't go to hell in a hand basket during my absence this weekend. How sweet it is...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

I’m back!

Wow, has it really been so extraordinarily long since I blogged? Don’t take it to mean I don’t love all of my readers; there has just been a LOT going on since I last posted. I’m going to have to catch you all up in “7 Quick Takes” style, even if there aren't seven bullet points.

Presenting: The Last Four Months of My Life

1)  I got an apartment! As I pointed out in my last post, driving forty miles round trip every day was starting to get to me. (Even as I type that, I realize how wimpy it sounds. There was a time in my life when I commuted to Seattle at 6 every morning and didn’t drive back until 8pm. Even so, the stress of traffic and the time that I felt I was wasting made me look for an alternative.) Around the second week of October I moved into a one-bedroom place about a mile and a half from the parish where I work. It is much easier to get to early morning masses and stay for late evening meetings when my commute is only five minutes long. When the weather gets nicer, I will probably start riding my bike to work.

2)  I was going to dedicate a whole post to this, but even written as humorous satire, it was too long and tiring to read the whole thing. (To give you an idea, it was entitled, “The Ballad of Molly’s Left Foot".)

Remember that fall I took way back in June? It turns out that I did more than just sprain my ankle; I broke my foot. And, if you had any contact with me at all during the following four months, you know that I had no idea that it was broken. I thought I was developing a bone spur from all the running. (To answer your question: yes, it was broken during the hike on the Appalachian Trail. And it was broken on every long run I took myself on, both in Camden/Philadelphia and in Everett. Even I was impressed with myself.)

My mom gently suggested that I go see my doctor, and I made an appointment only because I wanted official confirmation that nothing was really wrong. About an hour after getting x-rayed, and about four and a half months after the original injury the doctor’s nurse called me and said, “Your foot is, in fact, broken. You need to stop bearing weight and start using crutches immediately.” (I was standing in a movie theatre lobby.)

They put a cast on my leg and I began to use one of those undignified scooters (which are a HUGE improvement over crutches!). It was quite an ironic twist of fate: I finally got my own place on the third story of an apartment building, and within two weeks of moving in I couldn’t even walk up the stairs without help. After a month in the cast, another x-ray revealed that the bone hadn’t really healed; the space between the fracture bones was filling in with scar tissue. After a couple of scheduling snafus, I met with a surgeon yesterday.

They’re going to operate a week from today, and depending upon what they find I should be all recovered and good as new somewhere between two and six weeks after that.

Please keep me in your prayers, but don’t be worried because I’m not worried. My surgeon is one of the best in this field, and I am just so ready to get this injury taken care of. By the time I am totally recovered from surgery, it will have been nine months since that steamy, sultry day in June when I tripped and fell.

3) Living life: Because of the aforementioned injury, a lot of my plans to settle into this new phase of my life have fallen by the wayside. For example: my bedroom still looks like someone just moved into it, I only bought honest-to-goodness dishes a month ago, and I still haven’t eaten a single meal off of my dining room table (which leads me to believe I should invest in a desk...) Also haven’t bought a car yet—I’m still driving Elliot, my parents’ trusty little Honda hatchback. My time will come, but that goal is definitely on hold for now. It would silly to buy a car (especially a manual, which is what I prefer to drive) and not be able to drive it because my foot is injured.

The new place looks a little homier now, although it’s going to be a while before I can acquire the furniture I need to truly make it “home.” For instance, my one bookcase is packed to the brim, and there are piles of other books just lying around the apartment. I may need to wait until I have a more permanent residence to make any such investments, though.

4) The holidays at Saint Brendan’s are a crazy time! Thanksgiving started us off with a bang: I had had my cast removed the day before Thanksgiving, so I was quite wobbly on my feet while trying to conduct the choir and get Mass going. That surprise snowstorm didn’t do us any favors, either; my pianist and half of my liturgical ministers were snowbound at home! Yet, at least 75 people showed up for mass, and mass ALWAYS goes on, even under funny circumstances. Mass is always a prayer of thanksgiving in and of itself, but on Thanksgiving Day, it is that much more appropriate to celebrate!

The Christmas liturgies are a white, hot blur in my memory: so much to do, such HUGE congregations, so little time! I was actually extremely pleased with the way the liturgies turned out—and very little of it had anything to do with me! We have some great choirs and volunteers around here. I was just pleased to be a part of it all.

The whole of December was exhausting for me; between the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (a VERY big deal in our Hispanic community), Simbang Gabi (a big deal in our Filipino community), and funerals coming out of our ears (more on that later…), and five huge Christmas masses, I worked 26 full days in a row, some of them for 10-14 hours a day. I was VERY tired by the end of it, and worse, I didn’t get to see very much of my family during the holidays. I hope I can find a way to at least visit with the extended family at my aunt’s house next Christmas Eve. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s (Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God) are all days that I must be present at work, and then work in the festivities later.

5) Funerals: There must be something about the wintertime; very many of our elderly and terminally ill parishioners (many of whom were homebound before I ever got here) have passed away since mid-October. We are well into the double digits are far as funerals go this winter. One thing you get used to fast in this ministry is how routine funerals really are (to those of us who work here—obviously, they aren’t so familiar to the families we serve. And thank God for that!). Perhaps that’s a good thing—we handle the preparations and the liturgy itself so smoothly that the families have very little to worry about.

Still, after twenty-odd funerals, you start to get a little sad about it all.

6) Tender shepherd, you forgot to count your sheep: I developed some pretty bad habits as far as my going to/ getting out of bed schedule is concerned. I realized last week that I habitually went to bed at about one in the morning, and then tried to get up, eat, shower, dry my hair, and be at daily mass by 8:30am. Somehow, I wasn’t pulling this off very well. ;)

So lately I’ve been making some deliberate changes in my resting and rising routine. I sleep with the window partially open, both to keep the room cooler (ever notice how hard it is to jump out of bed in the morning if you’re overly warm?) and because the sound of the rain lulls me to sleep at night. For the first time since about the fifth grade, I have a bedtime. (It feels disciplined, yet sounds so undignified. Bedtime…) And I have a morning routine now, too. I think I avoided having one for a while because for so long in my life, my morning routine was built around when and for how long my roommates used the bathroom that we share. Since I didn’t have anyone else to worry about, I figured I didn’t really need an established routine. But one week into this new plan, it’s working quite well. It also helps that I put a clock in my bathroom.

I’m also looking into a dawn simulation alarm clock. I’ve always been sensitive to light when I sleep (not noise, just light), and I’ve come to learn that that’s how our bodies are supposed to operate. We were made to slowly awaken with the gradual light of the dawn, and slowly shut down by the gradual setting of the sun. Yet the traditional way of waking up involves sleeping in as dark a room as possible, and a loud blasting the sleeper awake. This is not how our bodies were made to operate! (But it makes perfect sense—if we all woke up with the sun in the Pacific Northwest, especially in December, we wouldn’t get out of bed for weeks at a time…)

A dawn simulator alarm clock begins to light up gradually, just the way the morning light does. After one hour, it reaches its full wattage and the alarm rings. It should be much easier to wake up because my body will have been awakening for the whole hour, not just at the moment that the alarm rang.

That’s about all I can think of to blog about for now. Look for more posts on a much more regular basis—once I’m laid up, I’ll have little to do but write!

Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Quick Takes

Until I was working as often as I am, I didn’t quite get how valuable Quick Takes are! Here’s a brief take on the past couple of weeks:

Fitness: I am this close (holds up two fingers about an inch apart) to belonging to a gym again! I found a fitness center very near the apartment that I plan to move into, and it’s a great place to work out. After going a year without a gym in Camden, it’s nice to have a place to go to blow off some steam.

I made a bit of a mistake on my first day though. I’ve always had a problem with timing my meals well—it’s been an issue since high school. Some days I might skip breakfast and then not eat until 1 or 2pm (hell, sometimes in college I didn’t eat my first meal of the day until 4pm!) I’ve always needed to get better at it, but I figured that as long as I could hang tight, fighting hunger and still being functional, I’d be fine. That may work when you have an office job and spend most of your day sitting down. A workout with a trainer is a whole new matter.

I tell you all of this by way of explaining how I fainted in the gym on Wednesday! Full-on, dizzy head, clammy skin, churning stomach fainted. My trainer was freaked out, and I felt really, really stupid. This mortification may have cured me of my meal-skipping habit.

My new trainer is trying to murder me: Having recently found a gym, I’ve been working with a trainer to target some problem areas in my workouts. (Once you’re a member, this gym gives you three free training sessions per month. It’s a great deal.) My trainer is a great guy, and he’s awesome at what he does.

However, I believe he is hell-bent on committing the longest, most drawn-out homicide in the history of the American legal system. Read: I’m so sore, I think I’m gonna die…

I’m kidding. If I’m this sore, it means that he’s doing his job well. (And that I need to whip my butt into shape!)

Car shopping: Any friend of mine from college knows that I am the queen of bumming rides because I never had my own car. Well, folks, the time has come: I can’t get a long in my daily life now without a car, so I may as well buy one. I’m leaning toward a Honda Fit. (You may puzzle, “Why is she getting a new car?” The answer is, simply, that I may as well. If I buy a used one, I might have to make up the difference in the buying price in repair and maintenance. I don’t want to do that. If I take really good care of this car, I can hang on to it for 10-15 years.) Consumer reports, safety features, and price range all taken into consideration, it’s the smartest car for me. Now I need to go on test drives, figure out insurance, and talk financing. With any luck, I should have it all figured out before the holidays.

Work: Work is going really well. Our parish celebrated our annual picnic last Sunday, and before the festivities we held an all-parish Mass to kick off the theme of this year (it’s Micah 6:8. Beautiful passage.) I’m still on a steep learning curve, but I love the people and am having a great time! We are blessed in this parish to have an awesome pastor, Father Jim, and just yesterday, a priest from Malawi arrived to help take on the duties of the parish, while attending classes at Seattle University.

Having a life: The issue with learning a new job and commuting 40 miles per day (round trip) is that your personal life falls by the wayside. I resolve to remedy that as soon as possible: tonight I’m headed to the Christ the King for their fall festival to hang out with Lilly and Lauren—before heading back here early tomorrow for baptisms, retreats and weddings! I spent last Saturday night with friends, as well, so I’m not too starved socially. I’m just still trying to find a balance.

On that note, anyone out there up for dinner some weekend? I work Wednesday-Sunday, but if you’re up for Sunday dinner or something on a Monday, call or email me!

30 Rock and Glee: I know that one day when I have a husband and children, I will not have the time or emotional energy to get excited about something as insignificant as a television show. I’m relatively new to getting excited about TV—there were no shows that I just had to watch in high school or college, with a few exceptions. But now that I have fewer places to place my energy and attention, I feel OK getting excited about a half hour or hour of comedy once a week. It’s a nice way to stay sane. No wonder so many Americans enjoy it. ;)

Owie: Have I mentioned how sore I am? Sitting at my desk is torture. Slouching? Painful. Sitting up straight? A lot of work for tired muscles. Today I keep weighing whether or not I really need to stand up from my desk, because straitening my hip flexors is so excruciating. (Dear blogosphere, I promise to stop complaining about my workouts soon…)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Much-delayed, long-awaited... HIKE PHOTOS!!!

It is worth pointing out that I did not take a single picture from August 2009 until August 2010 (post hike) because EVERYONE ELSE AROUND ME was taking so many pictures that I didn't have to worry about it. I give all my photo credits to: Miss Rachelle Arciaga, Miss Katie Tsubota, Miss Karen Olinchak, and Miss Amber Rose Yakkel.. :)

Sprawling view of the Appalachian Mountains. And guess what?!? We hiked through part of that!
The four ladies of Camdilly who wound up in my group. (Team Realistic Expectations)
This was when we realized we had to go straight up a rock face to get where we were going. It looked a lot steeper from down below.
Like I said, it was steep!
Finding clearings like this one was pretty rare. The view of the Appalachians (pictured above) was to our left in that field.

Looking oh-so Pacific Northwestern in my forest green rain poncho and canvas backpack. 

The bag in my right hand was the potty bag. That's right, I suffered the indignity of carrying the trowel and toilet paper for the first shift. (Then again, maybe that was a smart move... more hygienic that way...). I'm just kidding. We carried it in shifts.

Pretending to fall into the creek. An hour later, I fell for real.

Hi-ho, hi-ho! It's off to Southern PA, we go!

Me, trekking along.

Lunch on the first day.

Lunch on the second day.

The terrain on the second day was pretty rocky.

Me and Katie Tsubota, my sister of another mother.

Miss Brenda German, of JVC Boston. Brenda was such a trooper along the trail.

This was the campsite we slept in after the first day of hiking. You can see my elbow, and trust me when I tell you it was a lot more swollen than this picture shows! That's a tube of Icy Hot in my hand, and this was snapped just seconds after I rubbed it all over my elbow, hoping it would soothe the pain. Seconds after the photo was taken, I read on the label that Icy Hot shouldn't be applied to open wounds, and I rushed to the nearest faucet to clean it. Whoops.
We wanted to prove to our granchildren that, yes, we did once hike on the Appalachian Trail.

This was the entire group of hikers, marching along Buena Vista Road to the retreat center. We finally made it!

JVC East, 2009-2010