Empty Chairs with a Bluegrass twist

I promised myself I would get more done tonight.  So after this, I’m out and off to plan some lessons.

But I had to post this first.  See why I keep checking Ramin Karimloo‘s tour dates?!

(I had to put my earphones on because the audio is kind of soft.)

It’s different, but I’m pretty sure I love it.


Things to do & Things I am doing

Things I should be doing

1. Laundry

2. Mopping my concrete floors

3. Working on the class I start teaching in 12 days

4. Looking over the Bible study training I’m helping present in 10 days

5. Grading papers

6. Exercising

7. Writing the meaningful blog post that’s in my head

8. Reading the book that was chosen for book club that meets in 8 days

9. Sleeping


Things I’m doing

1. Driving all the way over to World Market to take advantage of their Nutella sale (no joke. Nutella was 40% off there today) only to find out that they are sold out of Nutella.

2. Reading tweets

3. Checking Ramin Karimloo’s tour dates every other day to make sure he hasn’t snuck Nashville in there when I wasn’t looking

4. Eating ice cream

5. Listening to my lovely neighbor play the piano (this happens every other night and I love it.)

6. Watching this video on YouTube and laughing hysterically.  Why am I just now seeing this?

(You’re welcome.)

Happy Birthday, Pope Benedict!

I know, Pope Emertius.  But it still sounds weird to me.  And you all know I know he’s not Pope anymore.

Today is Pope Benedict’s 86th birthday!  So my friend Loretta and I went to eat German food to celebrate.  We toasted him with German beer.

And we ate schnitzel and spaetzle.


We tried the newest German/Austrian restaurant in town, Viener Fest, and frankly, I wasn’t overly impressed.  The food there was better than the other German restaurant in town, but it wasn’t as good as the Rathskellar in Indianapolis and not nearly as good as Cantina Tirolese in Rome.  The atmosphere was so-so and our waitress wasn’t superb.  But if I ever have a hankering for schnitzel, I’ll be back.  All in all, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I imagined when I looked at their menu.

I do love spaetzle, though, so it was a nice way to celebrate his birthday.  I wonder if he and Archbishop Ganswein had spaetzle tonight? Or a nice beer?  Or maybe just some Fanta.

Or maybe they just watched the evening news.


I love, love, love this picture.

And then I went to teach my bible study, where I asked the 60 people present to pray for him.  So that was probably better than toasting him with beer.


Come and have breakfast

We obeyed Jesus this morning and after Mass went out to breakfast.

One thing I love about my little parish is that it’s in a neighborhood.  There used to be a little coffee shop around the corner and I walked there after Mass a few times.  It has since closed, so I obviously should have walked there more often.  This morning I convinced my friends to try a new restaurant a few blocks from the church, and when one of my friends suggested walking, I gladly agreed.


It was a beautiful little walk.

The destination was Red Bicycle Coffee and Crepes. I had read mixed reviews about the place, but a friend had said their crepes were good, so we all decided it was worth the risk.  Their menu looked wonderful:

IMG_3748Tons of different crepes to choose from.  I got the Wake Up, which had cheese and eggs and onions and mushrooms and my choice of meat (I chose bacon).  I also split the Nutella crepe with my friend Darcy.  Because who can resist a Nutella crepe?

I had heard the service was slow, but that wasn’t the case this morning.  I don’t think we waited longer than ten or fifteen minutes for our crepes.

And while I’m not crepe connoisseur, these were good.

This is my friend's "Bacon" crepe. It had bacon, spinach, mozzarella, and balsamic.

This is Liza’s “Bacon” crepe. It had bacon, spinach, mozzarella, and balsamic.

They were stuffed.


My “Wake Up”

And so were we.  Well, not so stuffed that I couldn’t eat this:


The crepes themselves were a little tough, but it wasn’t something I noticed except when trying to cut the Nutella crepe.  They were yummy yummy.  I’m definitely up for a return trip.

Another return trip I’ll be making is to Fat Bottom Brewery.  My friend Manda and I had wanted to go because we had coupons for a free sampler of beer.  So last Thursday, I went to Compline at the Motherhouse with Manda and her boyfriend and we headed to Fat Bottom afterwards for dinner.

There’s another brewery in town that has a taproom, but it’s basically just that — a taproom.  I couldn’t imagine going there for dinner, unless a food truck was parked outside.  Fat Bottom, on the other hand, had a great menu and the ambiance of a restaurant.  I will definitely be going back for dinner again.

I liked it as soon as we walked into the back porch/biergarten area.  Dean Martin was singing — what’s there not to like with that as a first impression?  The inside was very trendy — concrete floors, wood everywhere, and those awesome Southern lights with antique bulbs that are everywhere these days.  It’s hard to explain the vibe — they played 40s music the whole time, which was awesome, and it was very laid back but classy at the same time.


The tables were awesome, but I couldn’t get a good shot of them — really neat rustic wood with benches.  And then there were these chairs at the hightop tables and the bar:


I kind of wanted to take one home. (I don’t know if you can tell, but there are no front legs until the very bottom. Really unique.)

We all got beer samplers.  I don’t think I have had their beer before. I liked it all, but liked Ruby the best.  She’s their American Red.


Those three all sort of look the same, but it’s just the picture. The one closest to the dark one (“Black Betty”) is the red.

John Michael and I both got burgers and Manda got a Reuben.  I think everyone was very pleased.  My burger had real lettuce (no Iceberg) and the tomato looked like it was out of someone’s garden. And the potato wedges?!  Were real.


sorry about the horrible quality of the pictures. blame the mood lighting.

Their beers are all named after girls, in an 40s pinup sort of way (hence the great soundtrack to our meal).    I was sad that Java Jane wasn’t in the sampler that night, because I think I like coffee porters.  My friend Paul informed me that it wasn’t coffee porter season anyway.  So I guess I’ll have to go back in the winter.


Looks like I’m back to posting about what I ate last! : )

Today’s Readings

If I was a bishop, my episcopal motto would be “Venite prandete.”

I’ve always loved this Gospel.  There are so many great parts, including God making breakfast.  I’ve always loved the fact that John specifically mentions that Jesus already has bread and fish prepared — and yet he asks Peter and the Apostles for some of their fish.

“When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there,
with fish lying on it, and bread.
Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.'”
(Jn 21:9-10)

I suppose there are a few different reasons for this.  But what I chose to reflect on is the fact that He doesn’t need us – yet he wants us.  He doesn’t need to let us cooperate with His work.  He can do just fine without us.  But He wants to use us and our gifts and talents.  At the same time, we also have to realize we wouldn’t have those gifts and talents if it wasn’t for Him.  And they can only be used with His help.  “I don’t need your fish.  But I want to feed you with your fish.  But guess what?  They’re not even your fish – you were only able to catch them with my help.”


The other part of the readings that prompted my reflection this weekend was from the first reading.  I had one of those “I’ve never heard that before,” moments when I read the reading from Acts.  Peter and John are before the Sanhedrin, getting called out because they’re preaching the Gospel of Jesus.  The high priest says something interesting, which I hadn’t noticed before-

“…you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” (Acts 5:28)

Yes, that’s exactly what the Apostles want to do.  Of course, the high priest doesn’t understand the power of his words (just like he didn’t in Jn 11:50).  We need the blood of Jesus on us.  We need to be baptized into his death so that we may be raised to new life with Him. (Romans 6:3)  We need to wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev 22:14)

The accusation against Peter and John is true, although the crowd doesn’t realize how true it is.  It reminded me of the crowd’s words in Mt 27:25, when Pilate wishes to wash his hands of the whole matter of Jesus.  The people respond, “His blood be on us and on our children!”


the Liebster

I realize that this post risks being both pedestrian and self-centered after the exciting events of the last few months.  My stats saw quite a spike, probably because I haven’t been talking about where I ate dinner last night.  So just when I was getting into the groove of blogging about things other than myself, here we go.  A post about me.

You can blame Martha, who “nominated” me for this “award.”  And my cousin Theresa, who thought about nominating me but spared the world. : )

How Liebster works:

Thank the person who nominated you and link your post to their blog.
List 11 facts about yourself then answer the 11 questions given to you.
Create 11 more questions for your 9 nominees, all of whom have 200 or less followers.
Comment on their blogs informing them of their Liebster Award nomination.

Thank you, Martha, for nominating me for this award.  🙂

Facts about myself:

1. I am shy in large social settings.  Torture for me is walking into a room where I don’t know anyone and everyone is standing around talking.  On the flip side, I can talk your ear off and I have no trouble teaching groups of 200+ adults.  I rarely even get nervous before talking in front of large groups anymore.  But small talk with no wing man?  Scared.to.death

2. Looking back over the first third of my life, one of the things for which I’m most grateful is the incredible people I’ve met.  Despite my fear of social situations, I have had the opportunity to meet and experience some amazing people, mostly in the Catholic world.  Some of them I’ve kept in touch with, some of them I haven’t, but all of them have made a difference in my life somehow.  I think if I could make a resume up of all the people I’ve encountered at some time or another, it’d be a very rich list.  And I know they’ve all been complete gifts.

3. My favorite color is orange.  Pretty much everyone who knows me knows this. What they might not know is that my friend Mary and I felt sorry for orange when we were in junior high because no one ever said orange was their favorite color, so we made it our favorite color.  And pity for it aside, I really do love it.  It’s so… happy.

4. I recently made the National Anthem of Vatican City my ringtone. It was partly because everyone seems to have the same iPhone ring (“old phone”) and so I never knew whether it was my phone or someone else’s.  I’ve yet to be in the grocery store and have someone else’s phone ring with the Pontifical Anthem. I actually got the idea from a story Lino Rulli told – his uncle is a papal nuncio for some country, and it’s his ringtone.  One day when he was meeting with Pope Benedict, his cell phone went off (how embarrassing!) and the Pope noted, “That should be my ringtone.” I don’t know if it’s a true story, but I thought it was hilarious.

5. I love to write and like to say things in eight words that could probably be said in four.  Which is why this Liebster thing is going to take me forever.  Let’s cut to the chase…

6. At various points in my life I’ve taken Spanish, Latin, German, and Italian.  I only know English.

7. That being said, if I could have knowledge of anything instantaneously infused into my brain, it would be languages.

8. My favorite current TV shows are White Collar and Person of Interest.

9. I can quote Win A Date With Tad Hamilton better than I’d like to admit.

10. If I could win a date with any single, straight actor, it would be Richard Armitage.

11. My confirmation saint is Clare.

Questions from Martha:

1. What was the last thing you ate?
A spinach salad.

2. List the three songs you are currently listening to the most.
This one is hard for me, because I’m doing a lot of Pandora listening lately, so it’s been a mix.

  1. The Vatican National Anthem… because it plays every time my phone rings (see #4 above)
  2. Anything by the Sheytoons (mostly Broken)
  3. My sister’s Michael Buble Pandora channel

3. What was your first concert?
I would like to say Tom Petty. Or the Everly Brothers.  Or Herman’s Hermits.  But sadly… I think it was Yanni.  Tom Petty was in high school, the other two were in junior high.  And Yanni was when I was in middle school.  My mother corrupted me early, apparently.  So I went from Yanni to Tom Petty.  What does that say?

4. Who is your favorite spiritual/faith figure?
Pope Benedict- for his writing, the way he celebrated the Mass, and the impact he’s had on my life.

5. Do you have a strange habit that you could divulge to the internet world?
I sleepwalk.  Is that strange enough?

6. Why did you begin blogging?
I originally started blogging under a pen name, thinking that my brilliance and insight would propel me to fame and then I could say, “Hey, it’s been me this whole time!”  That fantasy didn’t last long.  I really fell in love with blogging when I was in Rome, with my JoaninRome blog.  Returning to the States was bittersweet in so many ways, but one of the things I really missed was blogging.

7. Name a pet peeve.
Wow, there are so many.  If I had to just choose one, I’d say those people who fly past a long line of cars just to merge at the very end.  I used to have to deal with this every day on my commute.  We’d all be lined up to get on the interstate, and people would fly past us on the left just to want to merge at the very end.  I never let them in.  And I never felt guilty about it.  Do you think I’m not in a hurry, too?  Don’t you realize you’re making this insane back up even worse?

8. Your first car.
A blue Pontiac Grand Am.  I still miss her.

9. Where would you like to be on vacation right now?
Rome and Assisi

10. What do you do when you can’t fall asleep?
I can’t remember the last time I had trouble falling asleep.  But I usually pray the rosary or read.

11. What luxury do you wish you could indulge in on a regular basis?
Travel.  If I had a more flexible work schedule, I’d travel all the time.  My  to-do list is long.  (Ironically, I travel all over the state for work.)

My Turn

Here are my 11 questions:

1. If you could be a fictional character for a day, who would you be?

2. What is your favorite book of the Bible?

3. What is your favorite thing to cook or bake?

4. What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

5. Do you subscribe to any magazines?

6. Mac or PC?

7. What is your favorite city in the United States?

8. What is your go-to meal for Fridays in Lent?

9.  If you could spend the day with someone in history, what date in history would you spend with whom?

10. If you could have a superpower, what would you want and why?

11. Winter or Summer?

My disclaimers before nominating:

1) I’m sorry if any of you have over 200 followers and I’m insulting you by nominating you. It’s not intentional.

2) You don’t have to do this.  Really.  My nominator told me that, so I’m telling you that too.

3) I’m sorry if you’ve already been nominated and posted this and I somehow missed it.



Sarah D.






Sarah A.


Kentucky Adventures

“We’re on E! And the light is on!”

Yesterday saw my boss and I on a field trip to Lexington, KY to speak to their DREs and principals before launching our program there in the Fall. It’s a beautiful part of the country, and although it’s long day to go there and back, it’s not a bad drive.

On our way up, we were running tight on time, so we decided we would stop for gas on the way home.  We had half a tank, after all.

Somewhere between Elizabethtown and home, Sister noticed that we were on “E”.  Whoops.

“How long has the light been on?!” I asked, whipping out my phone to pull up iExit to see where the closest gas station was.

“I don’t know!  I think it just came on?!”

An exit appeared: Bonnieville.  “There aren’t any gas stations off the highway here,” I protested as she pulled off, looking at my handy iExit app.

But we decided there had to be a gas station nearby, right?  Where was Bonnieville, after all?

We drove down a country road, nothing but trees and fields on either side of us.  But very soon we came to a T with signs of life.  “Bonnieville is on the right,” I instructed, checking my map.

Sure enough, there was a big sign: “Gas and Food – 1/4 mile” with an arrow to the right.

We pulled up to the gas station, which seemed bustling with cars and a couple of motorcycles.  The two pumps at the station were the kind with the rolling numbers, so no credit card machines here.  Sister headed inside.  The woman inside asked her how much she wanted. “I don’t know, however much it takes!”  Sister responded, leaving her card with the lady and coming back out to pump.

She looked around to find the nozzle, but couldn’t find it.  The man on the other side of the pump took it out of his car and handed it to her.  “Here, ma’m.  I was using it.”  Sister joked that she wondered how she was going to get the gas in her car.

“It’s magic.  That’s the way things work here in Bonnieville,” the guy joked. Clearly these people knew we weren’t from around these parts.  He drove off without capping his tank, but realized it before pulling out of the parking lot.  He got out to cap it.  “I was distracted!” he joked to us.

Yeah, I bet you were.  So you’ve never seen a Sister in a full habit before?

Sister finished pumping and came to the car, reporting that they had soft serve ice cream.  We had been in search of ice cream earlier, and this seemed as good of an opportunity as any.  We headed into the market.

There was a man sitting on a stool at the food counter, next to a sign that advertised hamburgers, hot dogs, bologna, and other delicacies.  The prices were dirt cheap.

“Do you work the ice cream machine?” Sister asked.

“No, m’am.  She does,” he responded, gesturing to the woman working the cash register.  As soon as she was finished ringing up a few customers, she came over to get us our ice cream.

A man walked in the door and greeted the man on the stool by name.  It seems that the residents of Bonnieville all knew each other.  And we were clearly not residents of Bonnieville.

Maybe my red blazer and pencil skirt gave us away. Or maybe it would have, if the fully-habited “nun” hadn’t already given us away.

We got our ice cream and paid for our gas. Sister commented to the woman that she was busy, and asked if it had been a busy day today.

“Well, ma’m, we are the only store in town.”


As we left The Store, a man walking into The Store stopped dead in his tracks.  He watched us as we walked away, his eyes large as saucers.

“They’re probably looking out their windows at us,” Sister joked as we drove down the street.

It was a nice place.  Maybe we’ll go back sometime and visit the Bacon Creek Cafe next door.  If they don’t kick me out for being a yuppie.