Monthly Archives: November, 2013

7 Quick Takes on Motown, More Football, and Squeaky Wheels

— 1 —

It’s video time! My actual favorite from this past week was Episode 16 of Emma Approved. I don’t know much about the story, but it’s finally starting to get good. It’s like the part of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries when Jane finally goes to visit Bing Lee.

If you don’t know The LBD or EA, I’m sorry and you’re welcome.

Otherwise, here’s my real favorite: a “Motown” cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” (I know Motown well enough to know that there are different styles within it.) Check out the tambourine guy! If church tambourines were more like this, I might not dislike them so much.

— 2 —

My Thanksgiving was pretty good. I haven’t been able to go home for it since I left the great state of Maryland, but my roommates brought me leftovers and a pie, so that was delicious and made me feel loved. I also picked up some temp work at the UT vs. Texas Tech game greeting on the club level. It was odd being a few hundred yards from the actual game and only seeing it on TV, but the people were great. One even thanked me for working on Thanksgiving. I really appreciated that. It’s easy to forget that every time you go somewhere or buy something on a holiday, that’s because someone had to work.

I have spent today in true holiday fashion: sleeping in, eating a lot, and sitting on the couch watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (or, as I started thinking of it, Harry Potter and the Desperate Need for a Haircut.)

— 3 —

The Novena to the Immaculate Conception starts today. I’ve prayed this one every year since undergrad. I don’t have any special intentions this time; I just want to see what God and the BVM have in store for me.

— 4 —

I went to Target on Tuesday night for some necessities and some groceries. (That’s not to say that groceries aren’t essential, but that I wasn’t about to go to HEB that close to Thanksgiving.) I usually go when I only need a few things, so I get a handheld basket every single time. When I need a bunch of stuff, I just carry a heavy basket.

This time, I got a cart. Big mistake. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever had a full-sized cart at Target, and mine had the squeakiest wheel I’ve ever heard! I’m a true basket carrier now.

— 5 —

And that’s all I have for this week. I will try to be more exciting in the future.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Booking Through Thursday: Christmas Books

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Do you have a reading equivalent of holiday Christmas music to get you in the mood for the holiday Christmas season? Any books you make a point of reading this time of year?

Yes, I did it. It’s my blog and I say “Christmas” here.

I actually have three playlists for December through January: Advent and Winter, Christmas and Winter, and Winter. I think “Candlelight” is on the winter playlist. Hanukkah fell early this year, but it has felt like winter over these last few weeks, so I think I’m in the clear there.

I don’t have any Christmas books, though. Harry Potter always has Christmas in it (and usually Easter, while we’re on the topic), but I don’t think that counts. A Walk to Remember, the book, has the “spring play” from the movie as “The Christmas Angel;” that was nice. I tend to gather books more by genre than by time of year.

Top Ten Tuesday: Things I’m Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday

I almost didn’t post today, but when I saw this week’s TTT topic, I knew I had to. I can get all ten this week!

Top Ten Things I’m Thankful For

  1. I’m thankful for Thanksgiving. I haven’t been able to make it home in five years, but this is my first honest-to-goodness don’t-have-to-go-to-work paid holiday since New Year’s Day. I was temping on Labor Day, so a day off meant a day of not getting paid.
  2. I’m thankful for hope. I’m in a down phase at the moment, but I know that things will turn upward again eventually. They always do. Sometimes it’s not as far up as I’d like, but I’m never stuck in the depths. Hope is my favorite Christian virtue.
  3. I’m thankful for my roommates. They left me flowers and an apple pie today. Best Thanksgiving presents ever! They’re also a huge part of the reason I could stay in Austin, because I cut my expenses significantly by moving in with them, and they welcomed me right as my old lease was ending. They gave me a new home. How could I not appreciate that?
  4. I’m thankful for Austin CNM. They invited me to join them as a book review blogger, which led me to do more reading than I had in years and to get free books. How can I not love anyone or anything that comes with free books?
  5. I’m thankful for the Austin Public Library, because what I review that I don’t get from friends or publishers I get from them! The last book I bought was Walking with God, and that was only to get it signed by Jeff Cavins in person. I don’t know what I’d do without the library.
  6. I’m thankful for my unusual level of patience. I get impatient, of course, but I can handle the long drive to my job through ridiculously unpredictable Austin traffic because I have such great patience. I’ll get there eventually, I will hopefully be safe on the way, and there’s not a whole lot I can do besides. Being patient is a wonderful method of relieving stress.
  7. I’m thankful that J.K. Rowling successfully completed the Harry Potter series without being hit by a bus. (This is a book meme at its core.) I was genuinely afraid that something terrible would happen to her before she finished all seven books. I would have been crushed had anything happened. But she was and is fine, and the series is complete, and Ron ended up with Hermione just like I’d known for years. All is well.
  8. I’m thankful for employment. I work in private industry now, so I don’t generally say where, but I am very glad to have a job again after being unemployed for so long.
  9. I’m thankful for my health. I was living without health insurance for a while, and I am blessed to have not had any illness or accidents during that time. It would have taken money I just didn’t have to pay for insurance or to pay for care. That gamble doesn’t always turn out well.
  10. I’m thankful for shelter. Not having much money has made me more thankful than usual to have a home and money for electricity and gas/heat in my car. It would only take a few changes in my circumstances to leave me out in the cold, literally.

Furthermore, I’m thankful for the humility to share that the things I’m thankful for are so basic and simple. This turned out to be a much tougher year than I anticipated, but I’m still standing. I’m glad to still be on my feet.

What are you thankful for? Have you found joy in simple things this season?

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 58

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Remember that time I posted confidently on Instagram that my WIWS would be up on Monday? About that….

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You’ll notice that, as with last week, purple gets a featured role. Unlike last week, I am covered neck to tiptoes! Fall has come to Austin, Texas. It actually got down to freezing over the weekend, and it has stayed cold since this cool snap set in. I relished in the opportunity to break out my favorite sweater and a non-summer appropriate skirt. (It also helped that neither needs ironing, and I didn’t have time to iron.)

The sweater is from Target. It’s the only argyle thing I own besides some pastel knee socks I bought when I was having a moment. The skirt is from Old Navy years and years ago. As you can see in the inset (click for full size), it has a shiny stripe down the side; it’s called a tuxedo skirt. I just like that it’s fancy. The tights are from Target; the shoes are from Payless. I went with my work wedges (I wear them to work) to carry the fancy right down to my toes.

After not “feeling it” last week, I definitely “felt it” again this week, and I expressed my thanks to God for that. Thanksgiving isn’t just for this Thursday or the month of November; it’s for every day. My friends and I even managed to get into our usual spot with enough time to remove coats. It’s that time of year again. Although our priest kept insisting that it was the last day of the Church year (it wasn’t; it was the last Sunday), he spoke about Jesus as king and about the Crucifxion, too. It wasn’t much about what the king does or about his kingdom, but I don’t get what I want every week and I am better off for it.

I am also very excited that tomorrow is my last day of regular work for the week. I’m so grateful to have paid holidays again!

Booking Through Thursday: Otherwise

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I missed posting yesterday because I was having a delightful evening in and mini Buffy-thon with one of my roommates. I am satisfied with that decision.

Outside of books, what’s your favorite thing to read: newspapers, magazines, blogs, fanfiction, specific websites?

I do follow a lot of blogs. Since I started using Feedly, and after that horrible moment where I had to read everything or lose it all, I’ve been a bit better about actually reading them instead of just subscribing. My favorites by people I don’t know outside of their blogs are Seraphic Singles and Smart, Pretty, and Awkward (the latter of which I found through an old Top Ten Tuesday home post). I love all the blogs by people I know in real life (or via real keyboard).

I don’t read fanfiction anymore, but I used to. Those were the days! I still remember the night I discovered Cassandra Claire’s Draco Trilogy. I also remember that she broke my heart when she got rid of it all to go legit for her book deal. (That plagiarism debacle wasn’t great, either.) I’m glad she found success, but I still feel betrayed. Wasn’t changing the spelling of her pseudonymous last name enough? Did she have to send us all to illictly-shared PDFs to ever see her stories again?

Recently, I realized that I do still actually read low-tech media! I read The Catholic Spirit, the diocesan newspaper, but that’s the only physical one. The rest of my news comes via the radio or what trickles down through Facebook. My alumni magazines come to my door for free, so I read them. It’s a good chance to reminisce and see what’s new at the same time.

I should probably have been reading my regular books today, though, instead of watching Bones. Hmm. I think I’m still satisfied with that decision, too!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Recommend

Top Ten Tuesday

I forgot how much I enjoy book blogging. I know, I write for Austin CNM, but not all book blogging is about reviewing.

Top Books I Would Recommend, To Whom, and Why

1. If you liked Harry Potter, try Witch Week, and the rest of the Chrestomanci series. I happened upon a reissue of Witch Week when I was a kid. That was back before the Internet, when I decided what books to read based on book order leaflets, libraries, and bookstore serendipity. Witch Week is also about kids who do magic in a British boarding school. The world is much bigger than just that, though. It reminds me of the Chronicles of Narnia in that the book I read first isn’t the first chronologically. It was published in the 70’s, so it’s a little dated, but so is Harry Potter. (The Wizarding Wireless Network isn’t for cell phones.)

2. If you liked Captivating (or Wild at Heart), try Style, Sex, and Substance. I mostly covered the sheer superiority of the latter in my review at Austin CNM, but the gist of it is that Christian women’s spirituality has to be informed by realism, not just predefined boxes. There has to be room for joy as well as a healthy understanding of men’s spirituality. If only men read books about men’s spirituality so there was a market for a men’s counterpart to SS&S!

3. If you liked The Princess Diaries, try Avalon High. I read All-American Girl because I liked Meg Cabot’s style, but I could not put Avalon High down. It’s based on Arthurian legend, of course, but I think you also have to like YA fiction to get into it. If you do, please read it! You’ll love it!

4. If you liked Brave New World, try Unwind. I read both of these for the first time last year. Unwind was another case of bookstore serendipity, actually. (At least I think so. I can’t remember whether I went in for it, but I did buy it offline.) Both deal with reproductive and other life issues. Both offer a bleak future with a glimpse of hope. Unwind is faster-paced, though. You’ll be turning pages out of sheer adrenaline.

That’s all I’ve got. These days, I tend to stick with authors or go out on a limb. Is there anything else I should try based on what I like?

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 57

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It’s Sunday, friends! It’s time to show off what I wore and recap my church experience.

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I’ve worn this Converse for Target dress many times before. I realized recently that I don’t actually own very many dresses, but I manage a good rotation through what I do have. I usually wear this dress with a white undershirt, though, and without the skinny belt. This belt has become my new favorite accessory. I like it even more than my hair clips! Wearing a different shirt (this one’s from Old Navy) and adding the belt (from my beloved Target) made it feel like I had a new outfit even though I didn’t.

I would be remiss if I didn’t add a note about the weather. Note that for the last two weeks I’ve been wearing tights. This week, I went bare-legged. This dress is not too short for me, not at all, but it felt like it was because I haven’t seen my knees in weeks! It was 87 degrees when I left for church. I’m a little unsure it’s halfway through November.

I got a real homily this week! I was struggling to “feel it” today, but I offered that struggle to God. Only my attendance is required, and I wanted to worship even if I wasn’t doing it very well. Fr. Two First Names spoke about how we naturally care what others think about us, but the only person whose opinion should matter is God. He will judge us in the end, so if everyone else hates us, but God loves us, we will have won. No one said being a Christian would be easy.

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