Answer Me This . . . and all the recent feasting!

It's been a Week of Feasts at Casa Tierney.

Wednesday was the Optional Memorial of St. Bridget:

You say "Optional Memorial," I hear "Excuse to Par-tay, Swedish-style." Or, I should say, my personal made-up Swedish-style. Since I am not Swedish and don't actually know anything about how Swedes do anything, except that my mother in law (also not Swedish) makes a mean Swedish meatball.

How'd we do?

Then we had the Feast of St. James, the Greater, which is the husband and father-in-law's nameday (because, is anyone named for St. James, the Less?).

And the Memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and nameday of my grandmother and daughter, both Anita, me, middle name Anne, and my mother-in-law's confirmation name, so she can come, too.

Sarah said we were supposed to have lobster. Who am I to argue with that?

I took the three youngest to the grocery store to get them. It was like a visit to the aquarium. Only you get to pick something from the tank and they'll steam it for you and you can eat it. So . . . also different from the aquarium. But they were about $10 each, which, for a special occasion, was doable for us. And I didn't have to cook them!

Other recent feasts that we celebrated by having dessert and talking about the saint over dinner were:

St. Mary Magdalene:

St. Kateri Tekakwitha:

And Our Lady of Mt. Carmel:

Now for this week's questions . . .

1. What’s your favorite thing on YouTube?

I like a lot of stuff on YouTube. Blythe's video is on there. The swimming pool submarine and leaf-blower hovercraft that my dad made with the kids are on there. I'm even on there.

But it's not even close. This is my favorite thing on YouTube:

Punch that cougar in the face!

What's that in the weeds? It's a baby. Awesome.

2. Who taught you to drive?

My beloved grandfather gave me my first lessons. And then my dad put the finishing touches on. He thought I should know how to drive a stick shift, so my first car was a manual transmission.

not my exact car, but it was a silver Ford Festiva
Learning to drive a stick shift was SO frustrating! In the middle there, I was utterly convinced that it was impossible and could never be done. I remember stalling over and over again trying to get over the little hump in the driveway at my parents' house and finally just leaving the car there sticking out into the street and storming into the house in tears. I threw the keys at my dad and ran into my room. Instead of pointing out how unpleasant and unreasonable that was, he gently talked me back into the car and I was eventually able to get it into the garage. And, somehow, after that, it was pretty easy.

There's a lesson in there somewhere. Perseverance? The forest for the trees? Picking your parenting battles?

It's a Choose Your Own Adventure lesson. You get to pick.

3. What’s your favorite thing to cook?

My favorite thing is what I like to call "Pantry Challenge," where I haven't planned ahead and I stand there in front of the pantry and fridge and come up with something crazy for dinner. I do like a challenge.

But my favorite recipe is probably my grandfather Pop's (the same grandfather as the above driving lessons) German potato dumpling soup. We call it Spatzen Kartoffel Zuppa. But I'm sure Sophie can tell us whether that is actually German. Probably it's not.

I have such fond memories of cutting the little chunks of spazele dough into the soup with him as a little girl. Every time I make it now I flash right back to the kitchen at my grandparents' house.

I don't even have the recipe written down anywhere, but it goes something like this . . .

Dosé Family Spatzen Kartoffel Zuppa:

Into a 4 quart Dutch Oven or stock pot half-full of salted water, put a stick of butter, 2-3 medium onions cut into medium sized chunks, and 4-6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Make spatzele dough:
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2cup water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper
Put dough, one dollop (a cup or so) at a time onto a floured wooden cutting board with a handle, and cut off a little chunk at a time, with a wooden spatula, into the boiling soup. It cooks the dough and the extra flour thickens it.

It is super duper tasty comfort food.

4. Are you a hugger or a non-hugger? Why?

I am reflexivly a hugger. When I meet someone, usually I lean in for a hug. I hope I haven't been weirding everyone out.

5. Where do you pray best?

I pray best first thing in the morning and while moving. I have tried and tried to be a good prayer while sitting quietly, but I still have a lot of trouble staying focused in that situation. I do love sitting before the Blessed Sacrament, and there I have a little more luck with not letting my mind wander.

But I do my best praying on a run, out in God's creation. Even though I'm thinking of a thousand different things, somehow, in that environment, it feels like a conversation with God, and I'm always able to bring it back to my petitions and intentions and thanksgivings.

6. When is the last time you saw/spoke to your grandparents?

When I wrote this question, I meant it as, "Hey when did you last pick up the phone and call your grandmother?," since Saturday was the Feast of St. Anne, Grandmother of Our Lord.

But since many of us, me included, have lost most of our grandparents, this question could be a lot more intense. Please feel free to just skip it if it's too much. . . .

I called my grandmother on Saturday to wish her a Happy Feast Day, since she is the Anita after which my Anita is named.

My mom and I took baby Lulu out to Memphis to meet her just a couple weeks ago.

My other three grandparents have passed away. The only last memory that comes to mind is Pop (my dad's dad). He was in hospice care at his home (which was such a beautiful thing) at the end of his life. I was in high school, and I would come over sometimes and read to him. Books, but mostly my essays from school. He would ask me to read them to him, it didn't seem odd at the time. I don't think he was just humoring me. He really did have a great interest in pretty much everything.

I had been there the day before we got the call that he had died, and the immediate family went over to the house. I remember being grateful that I was able to see him again, and be together with the family, even if I had missed his actual death. I guess it was like an Irish wake, but I had never heard of one of those.

But it just seemed like the natural thing to do.

I've tried to allow death to be a part of my kids' lives, at least a little bit. I wrote about it here:


Okay, sorry, back to happy, back to happy!

For next week I'm tagging two more of my fellow Blessed Is She writers:

Anna at knit one, yarn over. Post to check out:

And Patty at A Modern Grace. Post to check out:

Next week's questions for Anna and Patty and you are . . .

1. When driving, are you more likely to listen to the radio, to CDs or an iPod, or nothing at all?

2. Do you prefer window or aisle?

3. Do you fall asleep on your side, back, or stomach? What position are you in when you wake up?

4. When is the last time you attended a zoo, circus, carnival, county fair, or parade?

5. Do you have a favorite quote or inspirational saying?

6. What's the best thing about summer?

Next week's installment will go live at 10pm Pacific Saturday night, and will be open until 10pm Wednesday night.

So, please, answer this week's questions for yourself in the comments. If you have a blog, answer the questions there, link back to this post, and link your blog post up below. For bonus points, you can even tag a couple other bloggers so THEY can play along too! So fun.

But always remember, in Answer Me This . . . there are no rules, and the points don't matter.