Wednesday, September 30, 2009


-Wonderful, loving comments from friends and family on facebook in response to pictures of lovely Gianna.

-A hilarious and very timely line in Julia Child's My Life in France.

-Kept up by restless jetlag, I went to my computer after midnight to check my email and looked out the window to see a single bright star twinkling in the cold, dark twilight.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Gianna Marie Patranella, my new niece, was born today in a very succinct and stylish way! I'll put pictures up soon, but the grace in this day is overwhelming. Talking to my sister minutes before It Was Time, running to the cafeteria to make sure Clay was there in time, realizing that Natalie's blessed with the joy of having a sister, having her look into my eyes, Natalie being a trooper and keeping us laughing in the middle of it all...and so much more. What an amazing day. I'm so glad I was here for it all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hello everybody,
I'm in sunny Texas this week because my sister's having a baby! I'm doing a lot of sleeping, cooking, eating, catching up, babysitting and maybe a wee bit of painting too. I may blog when I can, but if you don't hear from me this week, that's why.

Have a great week!
Whit :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

signs of the season

-Hello my dear autumnal friend...butternut squash! I was so happy to find you at St. George's Market. Fall is in the air, the cold has changed to a different type of cold and I'm ready for butternut squash risotto.

-Finding a birthday present for a friend. I love trying to find things that suit someone's personality. I've also been doing a lot of collage lately and had tons of fun paper to wrap it in.

-Forgetting that one of my errands for today was to get my favorite coffee from the Oxfam fair-trade shop, only to have Catherine suggest stopping by and jar my memory.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


-Contemporary dance class starting for another term. As I went in, the teacher (who is a dead ringer for Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music) said, "Oh, hi, Whitney! Welcome back!" There was a mini-reunion in the hallway as we classmates all shed our shoes and socks to go into the dance space. I remembered the feeling of first coming to the class last January and not knowing anyone. Now, I've made some wonderful friends through it, and the teacher even put me in the front of the class because I'm a returning student. The fact that we're learning a technique all about falling motions and counterbalance and that our new piece is to a Rufus Wainwright song is just icing on the cake.

-A woman stooping down in front of me on the sidewalk to pick up a bright yellow autumn leaf and then waving it at me with an apologetic smile. I love the warm-cold air of autumn.

-Laundry day. This would be a glimpse of grace in itself for my mother, but for me it means no clean jeans and wearing my funky vintage pink and black damask print dress instead. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

berry chic

-Finding a quirky little boutique that had these lovely coats with amazing brooches on them. I really was more after the brooch, and it turns out they sold them separately (for just 3 pounds!). Now Audrey goes with me lots of places...

-Heavenly, gloriously sunny and warm weather. Ri and I made the most of it by walking up Cavehill, the hill that overlooks Belfast. It made my chacos very happy.

-Picking sun-ripened blackberries along the path up the hill and popping them into my mouth, savoring their sweet, warm, earthy flavor. I ate as many as I could and then kept the rest. Tomorrow, I think I'll make a peach and blackberry pie to do them justice. Have a good recipe? Please do share!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


My wonderful friends Kirsten and Jennifer came for a visit and we had the best time catching up and touring Northern Ireland.

-Looking through CIFs* for a call after my next year here and having them say, "yep!", "oh no, you don't want to go there..." "this one sounds like you!" etc. They brought so much wisdom and experience to the exercise that it was kinda fun wading through CIFland.
* Church Information Forms on PCUSA's Church Leadership Connection website.

-Making a new friend, a hilarious Church of Ireland priest named Louise.

-Love in all its forms.

-Feeling really supported, understood and encouraged.

-Taking a bite of cheese and all saying aloud "oh, wow."

-Lovely green hills, complicated divided cities, sunny days driving in a convertable and rainy days wearing a scarf, and other paradoxes of life.

-Walking through hills high above the seaside and munching on blackberries along the trail.

-Stumbling across a wee alley that contained both an icon workshop and a woman's pottery studio. Her pottery has polka dots all over it. When we commented on their originality, she said, "Well, it's mostly men who make pottery, and they don't take the time to go to this detail. A woman does."

-Making funny "vogue" poses at landmarks.

-A thoughtful and inspiring card (see the picture -->)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

storm on

-Going to Stormont (Northern Ireland's Parliament) to meet my buddy Neil for lunch. Neil works there, and so gave us the royal treatment of a fancy lunch in the Brasserie and a wee tour. It was fun to see him at work and discover a whole other side of him.

-This island loves rain so much that it doesn't even wait for the sun to stop shining before it descends. I think rain through sunshine is beautiful, like little diamonds glittering everywhere.
-Wearing really comfortable shoes.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

run or shine

-The sun shining through green, leafy trees to warm my walk to work. It hasn't lasted, but I'm glad it made an appearance.

-Watching a mud-caked dog run energetically under trees and across grassy hills of the park with wild abandon and joy. It looked like so much fun.

-The passion that comes from talking about something I really care about.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

eat, meet, blob

-Meet Blob. My Nana likes to call my blog my "blob" and I told my friend Ri about it. Well, on Sunday at church she presented me with what can really only be described as a little blue, smiling blob. Blob is now the official mascot of my blog/blob. So, welcome, Blob. I love your smiling face and yellow fluff hair. You might just see Blob peeping into blog pictures every now and then.

-Making a new collage/painting for my kitchen. As you can see, it says "eat." My housemate wants me to make one for the bathroom that says "go", but I think it'll be a "loo" one (or maybe "Lou"). I really enjoy making these paintings and experimenting with colors and patterns. Plus, they really brighten up a room!

-Realizing that a person I need to meet for work is actually a person I've been meaning to catch up with for a while: Lori's friend Sharon. Gotta love tiny Norn Iron.