Popcorn that looks and tastes exactly like Cap't Crunch.

7QT: [Of course I clicked "Publish" without putting in a title]

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I’m over at Real Housekeeping today, doing the Clean-Up Link-Up and showing off my mad painting/office rearranging skillz.

Everyone’s welcome!  Clean your house with us, one little task at a time.

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Speaking of Real Housekeeping… I am looking for contributions of the quality kind.  Read this and this and, if it interests you, shoot me a post/inquiry at editor “at” realhousekeeping “dot” com.

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Hope is on Spring Break, so Jared, with all his free time (ha), took us all on a little mini vaycay Monday and Tuesday.  Destination?  The Great White North…


…a.k.a. Traverse City, Michigan.

Jared found a super-duper great deal on a nice hotel (because what crackpot people go NORTH for Spring Break? I ask you) and so we went.  We paid cash for everything, too!  Dave Ramsey would be proud of us.

Old Mission Lighthouse, and the 45th Parallel.  The 45th also runs just north of my parents' house, but it's a bit warmer there in OR than it is in Traverse City.

Old Mission Lighthouse, and the 45th Parallel. The 45th also runs just north of my parents’ house, but it’s a bit warmer in OR than it is in Traverse City.



Interesting buildings downtown.

Interesting buildings downtown.

Popcorn that looks and tastes exactly like Cap't Crunch.

Popcorn that looks and tastes exactly like Captain Crunch.

We asked a friend from Traverse City what we should do and see.  She then queried her TC Facebook friends.  Top must-see tourist attraction?  The Germ Tree at the mall.

I think they were joking.

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I’ve read that writers should keep track of their work time as a means of increasing productivity and word counts.  I’m not one to keep up an Excel sheet, but being a happy Ubuntu end-user, I went in search of a (free) timer program in the Ubuntu Software Center.  I found this.

Yesterday I had both the early morning and the morning to work (woohoo!). I tracked my time for each task, then sorted from greatest to least.


Interesting, no?  At least it’s interesting to me.  The “Household” time was spent doing taxes.  That I only spent 20 minutes wasting time is, I think, a HUGE accomplishment.  That I spent zero time reading blogs (not quite true, but close) and working on the novel (very true) is telling.  Makes me want to flip those numbers around.

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Added to my design portfolio (click image to enlarge):

FINAL_motherwithgrace_concept5_vertical_nohalo_BLACK FINAL_motherwithgrace_concept5_vertical_nohalo_GREENThe fine ladies requesting this logo wanted something Marian in feeling, with a rose.  Last I heard, however, they hadn’t decided between green or no green in the type, so I include them both here for your viewing pleasure.

Another logo:

Benedict-Medal-S-color Benedict-Medal-S-bw (1)

This one was for my husband, who wanted something very specific for a new project of his.

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Last week I mentioned the possibility of doing April’s Camp NaNo.

The jury’s still out on whether or not I will, in fact, do it.  I’ve got a “feeling” that maybe I shouldn’t.  I wasn’t going to set an outrageously high goal for myself, but… still.  Gut feeling.

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I wanted to share some videos with you, but I’m already 22 minutes over my allotted time for 7QTs.  Next week, then!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Baby goats!

7QT: Of Lambs, Goats, and Sardines

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Quick Takes.  Here we go…

We I (what is up with my co-dependent self, always writing in the third person first person plural I-wrote-this-very-early-in-the-morning?) have a lot going on right now.  My to-do list is unbelievably long, plus I’ve had some personal circumstances crop up that require my tending.  I’ve been tackling that list in order to clear space for the more important things: family, yes, AND…

…the novel.

I hate it when I don’t work on it for weeks at a time.  So much so, that I’m thinking of doing this:

The beautiful thing about Camp NaNoWriMo, as opposed to regular NaNoWriMo, is that participants are allowed to set their own word counts and project types—novel, short story, screenplay, even nonfiction.

I’d love to bring my rewrite to the April Camp, with a goal of making it to the midpoint.  That’s a reasonable goal for me, and it would give me the impetus I need to finish Draft #2 by sometime this summer—perhaps during the July Camp?

Of course, I have to clear the to-do list if I really want to be able to do this.  It’s feasible, but only if I get some more pressing tasks done first.

Anyone else up for a month of writing?  Even if it’s only the minimum 10K?  My username is rcmfo—request me and I’ll request you back.  Cabin buddies! Continue reading


7QT: Housekeeping, Knitting, and Digging Lent

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Lent is here.  If you haven’t already gathered by now, we Ortizes dig Lent.  Perhaps it’s because we’re natural melancholics, but we gravitate to fasting and purging and all that.

I’m not sure how many people there are who jump up and down, yelling, “Yippee!” when Ash Wednesday rolls around, but we’re among them.

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Want to see our newest purchase?  The latest and greatest gizmo in our house?

I know you do.

Continue reading

Day 7 of 7 (okay, 8): On Paying Attention… Wait, What Was That?

I failed on Day 7.  Today is Day 8.


Oh well.


Yesterday our priest preached a simple message we’ve all heard: Learning to pay attention… learning to not worry about this-and-that… learning to turn off the smart phone/computer/social media and being present to the here and now… learning to listen to God and others… learning to stop trying to do eight things at once…

You know that feeling you get when the congregation is “with” him?  As if a pin could drop?  Father wasn’t preaching anything we didn’t already know, nor was he delivering it in any way other than his usual gentle manner.  But he had us.  Or, rather, the Holy Spirit had us.

We were riveted.

Continue reading

7QT: Vegetables, F-Bombs, and the In-Crowd

Hanging out with everyone else over at Conversion Diary.

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Does anyone else ever get the, “I’m sad because I’m not part of the In-Crowd,” blues?

Well, I had them yesterday.  An itty-bitty trigger released the squirrel in my head from his cage, and round and round he ran!

I’ve come to realize how dangerous little Squirrel Nutkin can be when I let him rummage for too long.  In situations like this I need an outside opinion.  A reality check.  Preferably from someone who understands rodents.

So I called Colleen. Continue reading

One Big Happy Allergy Family

Like all good stories, multiple plot lines form the structure of the Ortiz Allergy Saga.

Let’s start with Ben, our first protagonist.

Today was Ben’s doctor’s appointment.  The good news:  We (and by “we,” I mean, “I”) can turn down the PANIC!!!!! knob a bit.

The bad news:  He has allergies. Continue reading

Small Success Thursday: We Survived Coldmageddon


Joining the lovely ladies over at CatholicMom.com.

1.  We survived the cold blast.  Two straight days with the kids in the house was a bit interesting.  But we managed. Continue reading

Because They Ask For Concrete Things


Those who work in ministry can sometimes suffer from pastoral fatigue.  It is usually an effect (and symptom) of inconstancy and spiritual apathy.  Doing justice by God’s faithful people means being ever constant in pastoral ministry.  It means responding eagerly to people’s sometimes tiring requests to be anointed (touched) by God at any moment—through blessings, words, and sacraments. It’s curious but true: the faithful wear us out because they ask for concrete things… The pastoral work in our parishes has nothing of fantasy; it is very concrete.  It demands reflection, intellectual effort, and prayer, but the greatest amount of time must be spent basically in doing “works of charity.”

–Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis), Open Mind, Faithful Heart, Ch. 4

Children demand concrete things.  Parents provide them.  That’s what parents do. Continue reading

7QT: We Are Deceptively Delicious

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Yes, it’s Sunday, not Friday.  Doesn’t matter, I says.

I love link-ups, but I am resolved to never do a link-up with a blog that I do not read.  I used to write link-ups for blogs that I didn’t read (or didn’t like – not naming names, but there are plenty of super-boring blogs written by SEO experts).  I felt dishonest doing so.  Conversion Diary is the only blog that I read that also does a link-up.  Plus, I love the seven-blatherings-of-random-association format.  Therefore, etc.

But Jennifer hosts 7QTs on Friday.  Fridays are bad.   Fridays are my no-internet/pay attention to my  kids/clean the house day.  But Sundays are good, and the link-up is still open.

I could write my 7QT on Thursday, stay up reaaaaaaaaaaally late, and post my link as soon as her post publishes, early Friday morning.  Being #1 on the list = lots and lots of traffic, and, vain as I am, I love lots and lots of traffic.  But that would require being efficient and and willing to forego sleep and stuff.   Sloth trumps vanity.  Sunday it is. Continue reading