Sunday, January 13, 2019

Alliterative Baby Names: A-H

It's been so long since I've written a post, I've almost forgotten how to do it. Oops! 

Over the last year I've written quite a bit, but almost entirely in an actual, physical notebook. Weird, I know. My plan is to write on here more this year. More personal posts, but also fun stuff, like, ahem... names?! Yes. Good. In the next few days I want to get some goals and resolutions up here, as well as bookish stuff. It's been so long since I've written anything about books, and I made the colossal mistake of not keeping a solid list of the books I read in 2018. 

So - more posts to come. But I thought I'd start with a fun one, first. To get my momentum going! :) 

Y'all know I'm a massive fan of all things name-related. And a lot of you do, too - the name posts are among the most popular on this site! With that in mind, a few months ago my friend (hey Liz, wassup?!) talked about how it might be fun to do name-game type of posts; challenges like "come up with matchy nature names for twins" or "come up with two names using characters in your favorite book" - that kind of stuff. (And if you find this as fun as I do, you should check out Swistle, Sancta Nomina, and Appellation Mountain! All three sites receive letters from expectant parents and offer advice on baby names, whether it's trying to find a name that sounds great with the siblings' names, or looking for names related to a specific holiday, or offering solutions to parents trying to name a baby after a family member with a less-than-ideal name.) 

Anyway! First game up is alliteration! Some folks avoid repeating initials, but I think there's something charming about alliterative names. Sometimes they just sound fantastic - it's also nice because, to my ear anyway, alliterative names give you the opportunity to merge two different styles. Buzz and Benjamin? Very different names - it'd be startling to meet brothers named Benjamin and Buzz. But put those names together, into a first and middle name? It suddenly works; I suppose the letters tying into each other will do that for a name. Alliteration can build bridges, it can work for any style, for any parents seeking any vibe. Some of these names have a Catholic flair, some have more of a (very slight) hipster vibe. Some have both. (Plus, a lot of old, vintage names are being used by parents of all ages and lifestyles.) And unisex names can work, too! (For names that I think fit particularly well into those categories, I'll mark them by using those colors!) To me, this can often be a really good solution if one parent likes boyish names for a daughter and the other likes frilly names - or if one likes a soft, worldly name for a son and the other prefers a harder, "strong" name. 

And truly, I think alliterative names are often just plain delightful to read and to say aloud.

So, that brings us to... a list of possible alliterative names for each letter of the alphabet! Today's list is A-H. I-O and P-Z will be posted over the next couple of days.  

A: Girl Names

Agatha Anne
Amalia Adelaide
Alice Antonia
Anastasia Adair 
Azelie Anne
Agnes Adele
Anna Aliz
Adeline Avery
Ava Abigail
Astrid Adelaide 

A: Boy Names

Adrian Augustine
Albert Ambrose
Arthur Abraham
Anthony Alistair
Anthony Aldo 
Andre Atticus
Alfred Aquinas
Arlo Alexander

B: Girl Names

Bronwen Briella
Beatrix Blair
Bernadette Bloom
Bridget Belphoebe 
Belen Blythe 
Beryl Brianne
Bo Beatrice
Bridget Bellamy 

B: Boy Names

Bennett Bryce
Barnaby Bram
Benedict Baz
Bruno Boyd
Benjamin Buzz
Beckett Blase
Basil Bernard
Bellamy Bruce

C: Girl Names

Caroline Claire
Catherine Cosima
Clara Clementine 
Cecily Cate
Constance Colette
Charlotte Claire 
Caris Cordelia
Cecilia Clare
Cleo Chiara
Cara Cornelia
Calliope Clair 
Catherine Cosette
Cora Christine
Cowen Clarice
Coralie Cate

C: Boy Names

Christopher Clark
Charles Cooper
Caleb Cassius 
Clement Cuthbert*
Christopher Cuthbert
Crosby Cole
Conrad Cornelius
Christopher Cowen
Cornelius Conrad
Cedric Cyprus
Cosmo Carrington 
Cary Calloway
Christopher Cosimo

D: Girl Names

Della Diane
Darcy Doreen
Daphne Dolores 
Darcy Delphine
Dara Delphine
Dorcas Diana 
Dorothy Day 

D: Boy Names

Daniel Dimitri
Desmond Diego
Damian Drew
Donovan Dax
David Dashiell
Dominic Dean
Dale Davis

E: Girl Names

Elizabeth Elwell
Evangeline Elle
Eleanor Eliza
Edith Ellery
Em Eloise
Elowen Elizabeth
Elisabeth Evangeline
Edith Evangelina
Eliza Elm
Elodie Emilia
Eleanor Elspeth
Esther Evangeline
Erin Esmeralda
Etta Elisabeth
Edie Estrella 
Everly Elizabeth
Evelyn Elizabeth
Emma Estelle 
Elizabeth Eve

E: Boy Names

Eric Ezekiel
Edward Elijah
Errol Elijah
Elliot Edmund
Eli Ephraim
Enzo Elijah
Everett Eli
Emerson Echo
Erwin Ezekiel
Enzo Elias
Elwyn Everett 
Edwin Emmanuel
Emmanuel Edward

F: Girl Names

Felicity Faye
Frances Felicity
Freya Faustine
Flannery Faye
Fiona Faye
Frances Fern
Finley Francine
Frankie Fiona
Florence Fiona
Flora Felicity

F: Boy Names

Frederick Fitzgerald
Francis Felix
Francis Finnegan
Franklin Flavio
Forest Ferdinand

G: Girl Names

Gemma Gianna
Gemma Genevieve
Georgia Grace
Gloria Gwen
Gwen Guadalupe
Greta Georgette
Gia Geraldine
Gabrielle Gwen
Gemma Grace

G: Boy Names

George Gerard
Gabriel Gilbert
Gregory Giles
Gideon George
Gus Grover
Gino Giuseppe
Gideon Good
Gil Gideon
Garrett Gregory
Gregory Gilbert
Gavin Gabriel 
Grayson George
Graham Gilbert
Garrett Gunther
George Gibson

H: Girl Names

Harriet Hildegard
Helen Henrietta
Harriet Harper
Helena Happy
Hazel Helaine 
Helga Henrietta
Hollis Harriet
Heidi Helena
Hattie Hildegard 
Holly Hester 
Hero Helene
Hillary Harper
Haley Helaine
Harley Heloise 
Hadley Harper

H: Boy Names

Hal Harrison
Henry Huck
Henry Harper
Henry Hunter
Hugo Harrison
Henry Hamish
Hector Hudson
Harry Hawthorne
Harvey Howard
Harvey Herbert
Harvey Hamish
Harrison Heath
Harold Hayes
Hugo Harper
Harley Hector
Hadley Hamish

And that's all for the A-H list... though I'm sure I missed some! I think my personal favorites here are Agatha Anne, Agnes Adele, Albert Ambrose, Bridget Bellamy, Barnaby Bram, Basil Bernard, Clara Clementine, Cecily Cate, Conrad Cornelius, Darcy Delphine, Desmond Diego, Eleanor Eliza, Edwin Emmanuel, Florence Fiona, Felicity Faye, Francis Felix, Gwen Guadalupe, Gregory Gilbert, Gideon George, Harriet Hildegard, Harvey Hamish, and Henry Harper.    

*While making this list I remembered that Cuthbert is a literary name via Anne of Green Gables and now I am obsessed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

God said to march

For months I have despaired. Years, maybe. My heart and my mind have almost ceased to work, absolutely pummeled by depression and suffering. I've struggled to to escape fear's grip on me, but to no avail. The depression spawned fear, and fear spawned hopelessness, which in turn spawned a sort of paralysis. The physical illnesses and financial struggles have not helped.

For quite a while now, scary thoughts have taken hold of me. When I drive, I pass telephone poles and trees and I think to myself, "I could do it. I've just got to take my seat belt off and I can do it, and then things wouldn't be so hard." Fortunately, I recognize these thoughts for what they are: twisted, sick, effects of depression and anxiety. And luckily, after talking with my doctor, we agreed that these thoughts don't make me suicidal. It's not "I want to kill myself," it's "I wish I wanted to kill myself." It's wanting an end of suffering, but not in that way. This is all hard to admit, especially because I grew up in a really bad situation, and I feel like I've become weak; back then I was able to tell myself things would get better, but now I feel like "things will get better" is just wishful thinking. But maybe I haven't gotten weaker - maybe the reason 15 year old Charlotte could feel hopeful was the fact that there was an endpoint: graduating and leaving for college. But me, now.. I have no such comfort. 

But what I actually want to focus on is the possibility of change. 

A couple of days ago I read Rome Sweet Home, a story of conversion to the Catholic Church by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. As I was reading, I was struck by how earnestly they both prayed - for guidance, for help, to give thanks. Now obviously I've prayed before. But, if I'm being honest with myself, I have never quite poured my heart out to our Lord. I've said plenty of Our Fathers, but I've never been very personal in prayer... and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I never gave God my full trust. I think this lack of trust likely stems from two decades of being let down (to put it very, very nicely) by parents, parent figures, and most adults I tried to trust as a child and again as a teen. Mind you, while this makes my lack of faith in God understandable, it doesn't make it justifiable. Going forward, this is going to be one of the three main tasks I've set for myself to get better. The other two: becoming physically healthy and in shape and; becoming mentally healthy and seeking more help. These three tasks were decided two days ago... after I prayed - really prayed - for guidance. 

I had finished reading the Hahn's conversion story, and I wondered why I had never prayed like them.. and I knew I wanted to. Both Dr. and Mrs. Hahn had described moments of "sensing" God's responses to their prayers. I know this isn't the proper or good way to react, but I was downright jealous. 

Several hours later (or maybe the next day), I found myself sitting on my bedroom floor, balling my eyes out. I was in the middle of sorting every single item I own and attempting to organize them in the little amount of available storage space. I was doing this because the clutter was overwhelming me, so much so that I couldn't write, couldn't read, couldn't paint. And I desperately needed to do those things; I've started a small (very small) business just so I can earn ten bucks here, ten bucks there. And I know creating things to sell would alleviate some of my depression symptoms. 

So there I was, unable to make anything to sell. All I could think was, "I could be making money. Not a lot, but when there's no food, $20 is a big deal." I felt pathetic. I was so angry at myself for letting a messy room stop me from doing something that could really help me. 

And if you've ever been depressed, you know that one bad thought leads to another, and soon you're unable to move, unable to do anything.

I just started crying. Crying and crying... and thinking about Rome Sweet Home, and feeling as though now was the moment, now I needed to trust (or tell myself I trust - fake it til you make it) and I needed to humble myself and earnestly pray. I said a lot of things in those moments, one of them along the lines of, "When the Hahns prayed for guidance, they sensed your response. Please, please let me sense your answer to just this one prayer. Just this one - I'm at my breaking point and don't know what to do."

And at first I felt nothing. My sobs had subsided, but that was it. I started wondering if I had done something wrong. Maybe I put too much emphasis on the Hahns? Maybe pleading for an outright answer was akin to trying to command God, which no man can do. And then I felt an all too familiar stabbing pain from my liver and lamented: I can't keep doing this. Hunched over and reaching for my bottle of ibuprofen, I had to pause and gather myself, because as suddenly as I felt that stab, I felt the word "march." Whoa. 

"Wait, wait."


"Wait! ...was that actually you?"

It wasn't as though I heard another voice other than my own. Morgan Freeman didn't narrate. Angels didn't appear, the heavens did not open, the earth did not shake. Really, I didn't hear the word "march" but I felt it. I felt it everywhere and I knew (and know) that it did not come from me.

Needless to say, I felt like a kid at Christmas. I was elated. I was giddy, overcome with joy. God had, however vaguely, answered.

For the last two days I have pondered this. I have spent nearly every waking moment wondering what was meant by this command to march. Part of me wished for more specific instructions. At the end of the day, though, I think he meant to say that I am not weak (how can I be, when I am baptized and he dwells in me and I in him?), and that I need to push forward. March into war, do battle with depression. March, continue to march, even when everything around me is broken, even when I am broken, like soldiers must do even when things seem bleak. March with my head held high, don't cower out of fear that others will think me fat, sickly, unattractive. March like Joan of Arc. March like the archangel Michael. March like Dorothy Day. 

I believe I was told to march in faith. Set goals, have dreams, and lean into Jesus to achieve them. Most importantly, continue marching forward, even when cloaked in misery. In the end, maybe the suffering will stop, maybe it won't. Maybe I'm living out my time in Purgatory while still here. Perhaps I'll reach old age and still be battling these demons. But if that's the case, I will remember the oft-evoked truth: joy cometh in the morning. So if I don't escape suffering in this life, I will find joy the moment I arrive in the next, as long as I'm steadfast in my convictions, marching toward the ultimate goal of joy: everlasting life with Jesus. 

Or maybe God meant something important will happen next March. Who knows? 


Thursday, May 17, 2018


I can't believe it's been over a year (well over a year!) since I last wrote a post. For shame! It feels like it's been an eternity... and also like it's been no time at all. Could have been yesterday, as far as my brain can tell. This last year has been hard. Really hard. I'd go so far as to say that the last 18 months or so have been the worst of my adult life. I've not felt the way I do lately since I was in high school, before I got away from home. But! I've taken a few steps over the last two or three weeks and I'm hoping (expecting) things to turn around soon. It'll take a lot of effort, but I'll do it. 

My birthday this year upset me, mostly because I couldn't stop muttering to myself, "You're 27 and have no life.." All. Day. Long. Dramatic, negative? Maybe. But also true. And due, at least partially, to my own actions... or inaction, truthfully. A lot of what I've experienced has been entirely out of my control, but sometimes what really defined the situations were my decisions and responses. Not always, but often enough that I believe my life could be different, better, had I been a stronger person who made smarter choices. And also if I had stronger antidepressants. 😂

I had intended to do a "new year" post for 2018, but then January turned into February and then who knows why but February ended, and March was upon us. And I thought March was too late for that post. But last week it occurred to me that birthdays are just as good a time for reflection and resolutions as January is - if not better! So here we are. 27. 

More that anything else, I want to resolve to fight more this year. Fight against my own demons, fight against any ailments rather than just sigh and accept every new limitation thrown my way by health issues, fight for my goals. I think I've done an okay job dealing with my circumstances... but only okay. I could and should do better for myself. When my GI met with me and told me the results of my biopsy - that my liver was damaged but that they couldn't figure out why - I did as I always do: made a joke, laughed, and thought "great, I'm never going to get better." Defensive mechanism, passivity. I think there were times when being passive was best, when the alternative would have been to despair. But now that I've been more mindful of my actions, or lack thereof, I want to change strategy, I want to be more active. 

Recently I've felt all of my negative emotions keenly. Instead of feeling a general depression or disinterest in life I've felt specifically lonely and sad. I've realized just how bad it has been for me to have no friends. (I have friends but they all live 12-15 hours away... somewhat difficult to see each other.) I've been absurdly lonely, and not only is that bad in itself, but it's caused me to make bad decisions; I've hung out with people I don't like... and who don't like me... just because they're there. I've let people walk on me over and over again because I've convinced myself that if I cut them out, I won't make other friends. Deep down I know that's not true. Which means I have to be smart and not hang around the wrong people. But it's so hard, and sometimes I feel like I can't handle doing anymore hard things. 

Beyond that, my plans for the year aren't too specific, because I really need to work on a few general areas. I need to somehow work on confidence (suggestions welcome!). I need to start having actual dreams again. I need to figure out what I'd like to do long-term. I hope to meet a man (contingent, probably, on having confidence and leaving the house 😑). There are some small, specific things I'd like to work on: weight, read more, write more, get outside more, do my hair and makeup. Oh! And there is a big one: money. I need to get better with money management. This will probably be hardest because I have no one to learn from; the adults in my family are not responsible with money, and I grew up poor, so it's not as though I'm surrounded by people who can teach me. I foresee a lot of trips to the library for this. 

Which reminds me (library -> books -> this), have started a small (nay, tiny) business, born first from a desire to create bookish things: book marks, framed quotes, literary themed paintings, etc. and grown into a desire to create in general. Refinished furniture, planters, candles, and more. I'm in the final prep stages and should be able to start selling things soon. I'm excited for a few reasons, some extra money for one, and hopefully some relief from depression, too (hobbies help). 

I'll be blogging often, both here and on Filthy Casket Book Reviews, so stay posted.   

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Harry Potter Books Ranked, 2017

Sorry it's been a little while since I've posted.. between then and now I needed an emergency surgery and have just been recovering. There are a lot of things I'd like to post about, but I'm easing myself back in with something light and fun - a ranking of the Harry Potter books. (Not counting The Cursed Child because I'll never consider that an actual part of the story.)

My friend Liz finally read the entire series as my 2016 reading challenge for her and so we've discussed the books quite a bit over the last few months. She is officially a Harry Potter nerd. Thank God. Well, with that and the plethora of HP-related articles floating around the internet, it was sort of inevitable to talk about which books are our favorites. I don't have kids but I imagine it's a bit like picking your favorite child. It's so hard, you love them all.

For me, it seems like I'm always ranking them in a slightly different order. Some are always in the top 3, but there's not a solid list - so I thought it'd be fun to rank them every year or so to see how my preferences have changed (especially since I tend to read each book at least twice a year).

"But how to rank you?"
And so, without further ado, let the sorting er, ranking begin!

7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

I hate to do this because it automatically feels like the books at the bottom are books I don't like and that's just not true - each and every one of the HP books are at the top of my all-time favorite lists, after only Jane Eyre. 

To be fair, I've read PoA less than I've read any of the other books in the series. I've actually been thinking I need to read this one as soon as I finish my current book (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte). Maybe that will be enough to bring it up a place or two or five in 2018's ranking? 

I do remember really enjoying reading how Harry spent his time in Diagon Alley at the end of summer holidays. And of course, I absolutely love Professor Lupin. And how Harry overcomes the dementors! So beautiful and significant to the whole series. Although... I also remember really hating the end of this book. I know Peter Pettigrew had to escape for the plot to go on, but... ah, I resent the end every. single. time. Had Sirius been a truly free man, he and Harry could have had such a different story! Dammit, Wormtail! DAMMIT, ROWLING!

6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This is another one I haven't read as often as I have books 1 and 4-7, so it's not completely fair. Of course, I still love CoS, just not as much as some of the others. Something I do love about it is the time we get to spend at the Burrow. The Weasleys are the best literary family, hands down. I will say that I think the first two movies (Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets) are the best in the franchise. 

5. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I like love stories, but I don't like love triangles. I also don't think Hermione and Ron make a good match. Between those two things, Half Blood Prince loses a little bit of its ~shine~ to me. (I also get generally annoyed because it's the one on tv most often and, like..... show the other movies, would ya?)

I do, of course, love the scenes between Harry and Dumbledore. Learning about Voldemort's past, seeing Harry and Dumbledore's relationship up close... love it. (I love the conversations between the two of them at the end of every book, so HBP is a treat.)

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

This story might not be as dense as the others, but it's the first one and it gets me every time. There's nothing better than rereading Harry's first time visiting Diagon Alley. The first is wonderful because we get to experience all the magic again.

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 

I know a lot of people think OotP is the "worst" of the Harry Potter books. I disagree.

Harry is definitely annoying in this book. No question about that. And he makes some dumb choices. But the book also includes glimpses into the way our favorite witches and wizards are organizing to resist Voldemort and his influence at the Ministry of Magic (sound real-life familiar, or...?) and that is awesome.

I read a book called How Harry Cast His Spell by John Granger and in it Granger observes that, of many of the people he's talked to about the books, introverts prefer PoA and OotP and enjoy the two better than most extroverts do. I tend to lean more introvert, so maybe that also affects my view of the book, who knows?

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I have read this book so many times that my copy is currently in two pieces, ripped down the spine. I probably should get on it and buy a new one...

This is what the book looked like a year ago when it was still managing to hang on by a single thread... wah
I love damn near everything about this book (don't even talk to me about the movies though... smh). So many of our questions are answered, everything makes sense, the whole story is tied together... I feel like you can't not like it, just for those reasons alone??

The mystery of the horcruxes is also intriguing, as of course is the question of whether or not the Hallows are real (and whether Voldemort knows about them). I like seeing the trio (especially Hermione and Harry) really come into their own, I like the warm, homey feeling we get during the birthday dinner for Harry at the Burrow. There's so much I like. (Though, like everyone else, the deaths are heavy in this one.)

My favorite part of this book is the end, of course. The symbolism, the ending Rowling feared readers would have guessed too early had she explicitly told us it was a Christian story. The best chapter there ever was: The Forest Again. Harry seeing his parents, Sirius, and Lupin - them giving him strength to sacrifice himself so that others may live.

There's not much more you can ask for from a book.

Neville cutting off the snake's head was cool, too.

And finally...

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This is usually the book I proclaim as my favorite of the series. It is perfection.

Sure, it's hard having to endure Ron and Harry's silent fight. But it's worth it because this book is meaty and magical and I don't know, think of another "m" adjective, would you?

I love that we're given some light fun - the Quidditch World Cup (pre-death-eater-parading-around-helpless-muggles, of course), the dance, the Burrow!!, the feasts, the boys getting caught up by the veela, on and on and on. It's got that same magical feeling we were given by the truckloads in Sorcerer's Stone, but the story is also intensifying. We're starting to see real struggle, character development, and obviously, more in-your-face good vs. evil.

Of course, the ending of this one is hard. I think I cry more at the end of this than any of the others, maybe. The moment that comes to mind is when Harry is in the hospital wing after he's returned with the cup and Cedric's body, and Mrs. Weasley (a hero, for real) tells him Cedric's death wasn't his fault. Harry then responds with something like, "I told him to take the cup with me," his eyes filling with tears. (And maybe mine too as I recall this...) And then she hugs him and, not for the first time in the series, he feels glad for it. It's so emotional. GoF, while the graveyard scene is terrifying and horribly sad, is a heck of a book. I love it because it's got fun and danger, it's really the pivotal moment in the series, it's dark but balanced with enough light. It never, ever gets old.

I think it'll still probably be my #1 next year, but I suppose only time will tell.

What do ya'll think?

Friday, January 20, 2017


I've been pretty quiet over the last week or two because... my friend Dana came to visit!!! We've been friends for about 11 years now - that picture up there is from Dana's Sweet 16 (I think? Dana?), we're the two sans glasses. We hated each other when we first met, then we became inseparable so much so that we were voted "Best Friends!" for our senior year superlatives, and then we had a little, um... break? for a hot minute in our college years and THEN we went back to being our old selves. But we hadn't seen each other in two years because I moved to North Carolina. (The worst part of getting sick and having to move here is that I honestly never see my friends, and I haven't made an attempt to make any new ones here, so... wah.)

We've been talking about a visit for a while, and the other day it quickly came together! She sent me a message saying something along the lines of, "Uh, how long do you want me in your house? Like is 10 days too much?" And I sent back an obvious and immediate NO! NOT TOO MUCH! And it was all set. She's a big doof and told me to pick her up at the wrong airport, but she realized it with enough time that I didn't drive out of my way, after all! I did have a good laugh about it, though. 

first time seeing each other in YEARS!!!!!
The first thing she said to me when we met at the airport and hugged was, "You're so skinny!!" which is objectively false BUT sealed her in my heart forever, because I have been working on my weight. She also told me my shoes were awesome, so she's a keeper of a friend if I've ever seen one. 

When we had talked online she told me that she hoped we'd just "be doing a lot of hanging out, doing absolutely nothing!" And between the weather (drizzly) and the fact that I'm still recovering from surgery, I definitely delivered on that request. We mostly just sat on the couch and watched movies (Ghostbusters forever!). 

I did manage to take her to see some of the scenes, though! We went through Pisgah Forest, and that's always a treat. Here are some pictures I'd like to keep on this blog - I love looking back at posts months/years later and remembering such fun things! 

Dana said she absolutely needs to come in the summer when the weather is nice enough to fully enjoy all the waterfalls here and I quite agree. I make fun of the south a lot, but the area I live in really is like a natural playground. So many mountains, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. 

Another highlight was a trip to the movies to see Hidden Figures; it was phenomenal. If money were no thing I'd go see it 10 more times. (Funny sidenote: we happened to go on a Tuesday, which is my beloved "discount day" when the tickets are lowered to $6! Because of that and the time we chose - 1:25 in the afternoon - it was packed with older people. It was kind of sweet though, seeing all those old couples and groups of girlfriends having a day out. But it was crazy because we were literally the youngest people there!) 

In a bit of role-reversal, *I* made *her* take a selfie of us this time because I was having my annual good hair day lmao

We went out for Mexican food, we rented about 5,000,000 movies over the course of ten days, we went to Applebees and lamented the menu changes, and I made her come to mass with me one day because she's an art person and the church I go to is incredibly beautiful, so I thought she'd appreciate it. It was a very chill, laid-back visit. She left yesterday and I'm already sitting here making a list of all the fun things we can do when she comes back in the summer!

There's nothing like good friends. :) 


Sunday, January 8, 2017

a mini-miracle

unrelated blurry selfie bc it's GAME DAY
Fair warning, this post is about endometriosis and talks about organs and medical stuff so if that's not your jam, tomorrow will hold a lighter, fun post - see you then. :)

I mentioned the other day that surgery revealed something a bit amazing. 

I talked to the doctor who operated on me when I woke up, but that conversation is a little blurry to me. I know I asked him about the possibility of kids in the future and he gave an enthusiastic "yes." It was a huge relief to hear. For a long time, my endometriosis was mostly on my non-reproductive organs. Weird, I know. It was problematic because it was on my intestines, but my original doctor wasn't worried (in 2015) about fertility much because my ovaries weren't covered at all. Then a couple of months ago one of the doctors said it was clear to him that things had progressed and that my ovaries were now "stuck up" with everything else. The theory was that everything - uterus, intestines, vagina, ovaries, rectum, ureters were sort of fused together and stuck to my peritoneum (I think), which is the lining of the abdominal cavity. 

Suddenly, I was really worried about any possibility of children. My surgeon happens to be a reproductive specialist and reassured me that in he'd look at certain things to get a better idea during surgery (but as always, there's no way of knowing until you're actively trying to conceive) and that we'd come up with plans if we needed to, plans that stayed within my comfort zone (aka Catholic teaching), etc... but I still worried often. 

When he told me post-op that I should be able to have kids I was, of course, happy. But the real amazement came four or five days later when I had a visit with my primary doctor who read the surgery notes and described the whole thing to me. Not only were the organs sort of fused together, but the endo growth was everywhere. Everywhere. The entire lining, within the intestines, just... everywhere. And the real weird part, the part that my primary kinda commented on with joy himself, since he knew how I felt about fertility? The only things that were spared from the growth were the parts of the fallopian tubes and the parts of the ovaries that produce eggs/"catch" eggs, etc. The only parts spared. They're such tiny areas, it's crazy that the endometriosis affected everything except the ends of the tubes and the ovaries. A lot of women who suffer infertility due to endo do so because it's covering those areas. Surgery can often fix that, but it's even better because I won't have scar tissue right where eggs go. 

I don't know where I'm going with this post so much as I know I felt I should write about this because it is just wild to me. It's like the endo went out of its way to not grow on these super important areas. 

Over the last couple of weeks and months I know a lot of folks have been praying for me (thank you!!), and I know one of those hopes and prayers was that endometriosis wouldn't affect my ability to have kids (because my friends all know how obnoxious I am about babies :). This is one of those things - I know it's not technically a "miracle," but it feels a little miraculous to me, you know? Too good not to write down. 

Anyway, happy Sunday! And let's go G-Men!

xo Charlotte    

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Reading Goals

You'll also see these goals listed later on Filthy Casket, the book review blog run by me and Liz. 

A few days ago I posted that behemoth of a post outlining my main goals for 2017. Today I want to focus specifically on my reading-related goals. There is nothing more exciting than coming up with books to read for a new year! I've broken this post up into two sections: broader reading goals I'd like to complete throughout the year and specific books I want to read in 2017. I read more books in 2016 than I've ever read in a year before, and while I fell just short of my goal of 60, I'm still pretty happy with my reading. Book Queen 2016.

First goal: Review the books you read, Charlotte!! Maybe not every one, but last year I only reviewed nine. NINE!!! That's shameful!!!!!!!! Liz and I are planning to set a minimum of reviewing one each per month, but I'd like to try and do more than that. We shall see.

#2, read 60 books. I came so close last year, I see no reason why I can't achieve the damn thing this year.

Thirdly, I'd like to read some more nonfiction. Biographies, social/political, etc. I love fiction, but I also enjoy reading nonfiction.. when I motivate myself to actually pick it up. It takes me so much longer, I'm always a little reluctant. But maybe if I read some light fiction alongside it??

For the love of all that is holy, my fourth goal: FINISH PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I kept putting this off last year, and then like I said, when the depression hit I intentionally picked books that I thought would help get me through, and Pride and Prejudice wasn't one of them. 2017 will be the year, dang it.

Cinco! And another repeat from last year: Read The Divine Comedy. I really wanted to read this during the Year of Mercy, but I couldn't find it!! My library never had it. Toward the end of the year I finally just purchased it, so all is now well.

Six: Finish the books I started toward the end. Sooo, those books I keep mentioning for depression? Catholic books, obviously. I've started Intro to the Devout Life, Orthodoxy, and Signs of Life... problem is that reading three books at once means I finished parts of each of them instead of finishing any completely. :)

Finally, I want to try and read the Bible. We'll see if I manage to get through the whole thing.

And on to part two, specific books I'd like to read! One year I made a whole reading schedule with 2-3 books per month and then I... didn't stick to it at all. Now that I know myself enough to know I'm gonna throw random choices I find at the library or at Barnes and Noble in whenever my heart desires, or that I'm going to love a book by an author and decide to read every book s/he has ever written, I know not to make a full schedule for myself. But I would like to make a rough list of 12-20 books I'd like to read, and ideas for when I'd like to read them (knowing I'll likely be flexible in reality).


Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Okay so for January I picked three... because I've got all of these books out from the library and my time is starting to run low! I started the Ender stories in December and am addicted. And The Handmaid's Tale! Ugh, it was one of the books I had to read as part of Liz's challenge for me and I totally failed. Ya'll I can't even tell you the number of times I went to both closest branches of my library only to find that the book was checked out!! It was SO frustrating. And when I finally did check it out, I didn't finish it. Le sigh.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King (borrowed this from someone a while ago and have yet to pick it up!)


Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery
Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte (I am dying to read this again, and tbh I'll probably do so sooner than March...)


Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom


Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
Star Wars: Dark Force Rising (^book 2)
Star Wars: The Last Command (^book 3)
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (asked for a book rec, got a book rec - throwing it in May because I expect it'll be good for my birthday and because I think the Star Wars books will fly by.)


The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist by Dorothy Day


The Autobiography of Malcolm X


The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (Dana suggested this to me and it sounds so good!)


Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Liz sent me this book as part of the autumn/Halloween book box we sent each other, telling me she gets a sort of magical fall feeling from it, but naturally I did not manage it to read it last fall. This October it is!)


Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

Should make for another excellent year of reading!