Category Archives: Memes & Link-ups

7 Quick Takes on Teacher Mode, Twitter, and Chainsaws

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

Faculty orientation has begun. I’m slowly getting my teacher vocabulary back (for example, “vertical curriculum alignment”), preparing for the new perspective of younger students (I am moving down to middle school from high school), and trying to navigate my new school.

Some of that is almost literally navigating, via mental map-building; the school has a complex floor plan! I haven’t gotten lost yet, but I’m sure the time is coming. I forgot about that feeling of walking through a new door into a familiar room, feeling like I’ve slipped through a wormhole.

I must say that I love my new commute, though. It’s much shorter and easier, and it gives me just the right amount of time to switch from Teacher Mode to Regular Mode.

— 2 —

I used to listen to music when I got ready for the day. Podcasts were reserved for my exhausting commute, and I only read books. Lately, I’ve been trying audio books. It’s a very different experience, both in the sense of needing to pay attention as I do my hair and makeup and in the sense of listening to a book instead of looking at it. My most recently completed audio book was a huge letdown. It was a good lesson in being discerning about the books I choose. I can only read (and listen to) so many!

Laura Vanderkam left me mildly terrified when she pointed out that our available time to read books is as limited as our time on the planet. I am not sure I’ll be able to keep up my reading pace when school starts. (Audio books will probably help.) At best, I’ll probably only read her approximated 1250 books before I die. That includes books that I don’t wind up liking very much!

That number also makes me think about books that I recommend. Is the book I’m pushing good enough to be one of my friends’ 1250? Is it really a “must-read” when the number of “can-read” books is so few?

— 3 —

“Study: Less sex education leads to less sex.” Yeah, that caught my eye when I saw it, too! The article is worth reading (it ends at the bolded headline, “Is opposition…?”), but the main point is that, across England, when huge budget cuts came for a government program designed to prevent teen pregnancy, the rates of teen pregnancy actually went down, region by region, with the biggest declines in areas with the largest budget cuts. Even the researchers were surprised.

I’m not sure I’m surprised. Is it any wonder that providing less information and birth control to teens makes them less likely to take the risk of pregnancy? If you push information that makes it sound as if they can have sex without babies basically forever, I can see how that might open the door to risky behavior for teens who might otherwise be turned away by the risk of pregnancy.

— 4 —

I have a new level of sympathy for people who work on weekends or in retail. I frequently come to the defense of such workers when other people complain that a store is closed when they wanted to shop (do you want to work on Sundays; if not, why should someone else work, and work late, so that you can shop at 8 p.m.?) and been polite to people in less-skilled jobs. I’m no saint, but I try to keep that point of view in mind and be grateful for the opportunities I have.

But now, I’ve been there, for a little while. I’ve felt the need to cling to my identity (and job) as a teacher when people think of me as “just” a cook. I’ve worked until 9 p.m. Saturday night and then gotten up early on Sunday to go to Mass before working another full 8-hour shift. I’ve been unable to see Mr. Man as much as I had before because we worked on opposite schedules.

I always hesitate to wish or pray for greater perspective because I’ll wind up with a hard-learned lesson. I didn’t even ask for this one, and I got it anyway.

— 5 —

I started getting space warnings on my phone, so I deleted Instagram. It wasn’t a social media self-assessment, like the one that led me to delete Facebook; it was really just about the space. Then the weirdness began.

Instagram started sending me emails. It let me know how many of my friends had posted. It suggested accounts for me to follow. (I will not follow Kim Kardashian unless she’s leading me to emergency supplies or shelter.) It took a while for me to realize that was all triggered when I deleted the app! And then it got even weirder:

I still haven’t reinstalled the app, but I did log in from my browser when I got some likes. Gotta block and report those spammers! Now I think I’m permanently weirded out by how closely these computers are watching me (she says, recounting the whole thing on her blog).

— 6 —

In other Twitter news, I started some legit discussion with this tweet:

True story. That was inspired by my actual experience. Some spaces are still sacred! My desire to not have my restroom behavior transmitted via phone trumps your desire to make that call right then. What could you possibly need to talk about with someone so desperately that you must have that phone conversation while in the restroom?

— 7 —

And for a final social media moment, I shared this post from Goodreads on Facebook and got so many awesome responses! What’s yours?


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Sunday Style: Short and Sweet

By “short and sweet,” I don’t mean to suggest that I wore a short skirt, or that I thought this outfit was particularly sweet. Neither are true. I mean the homily.

Sunday Style for August 6

Dress and undershirt: Target
Shoes: Payless
Earrings: Renaissance festival
Necklace: holy medals

My outfit selection process was brief. We’re having a cool snap in Louisville, such that temperatures are hovering in the 70’s. This is cool after weeks of days in the 90’s. I took the opportunity to wear one of my warm-but-not-too-warm outfits. I’m not sure I think these shoes match anymore, though. Chocolate brown isn’t completely neutral, after all. They were good enough for this purpose.

Fr. F began his reflection on the Transfiguration (after a baseball stat diversion) by saying that the Transfiguration shows us and the disciples who Jesus really is and what he’s all about. Many of Jesus’ followers were interested in him because they could tell he was gaining power. They were hangers-on hoping for some power of their own. By showing Peter, James, and John his true nature as the son of God, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, Jesus clarifies the source of his power and his ultimate goal.

He also noted that some of us today want to reach out and grasp at Jesus the way Peter wanted to settle in on the mountain. He wanted to be close to Jesus. We also want to be close to him, but we might forget that we are already as close as we can be this side of heaven when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. He comes to rest in our tabernacles; he comes to transform our hearts. How could we be any closer?

It was a brief homily; I take notes as it’s being given each week, and what I’ve shared here is the bulk of my notes. It contained more than one sweet note, though, and that works for me.


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

Currently: August 2017

Currently at Lindsay Loves

So much for that “first Wednesdays” thing. Posting before the second Wednesday counts for me, even if it means I completely missed the link-up.

Here’s what I am currently…

Snacking (on): Protein! I went hard for cheese cubes for a while, but these days, I am all about soy protein. I found a store-brand protein bar that is very tasty, and I discovered that the same store’s “carb conscious” yogurt is full of protein and low in sugar. They’ve been great reminders that, when I’m hungry, I need protein to fight off hunger, not just carbs to fill my belly.

Anticipating: The start of school. Faculty orientation is this week, so I’ve dialed back my hours at the grocery store. My manager was sad to see me leave. It feels good to be wanted!

Borrowing: Audiobooks from the library. I caught up on all my podcasts and wasn’t in the mood to veg out with the radio, so I decided to try “reading” with my ears. My first selection was World War Z, which I highly recommend. The premise lends itself to a full cast recording, and the story is so compelling. It’s graphic, so don’t listen with kids around. My second selection was a standard YA novel. It has three narrators for the three main characters, but it’s not nearly as good. I might stick to listening to books I’ve already read with my eyes.

Admiring: My grocery store coworkers. It’s not an easy job. I have a new respect for people who make part-time, minimum-wage jobs work for their real lives. I understand how you could be working 40 hours a week and not be able to make ends meet. I’ve seen what great and lousy work ethic looks like in a labor-intensive job. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work this job, one that I’m “overqualified” for, because it helped pay the bills.

Purchasing: A teeny bit more now that I’m under contract with my school (and therefore have increased my income). I’m not going crazy, but I can finally get my hair done to start off the year without split ends.

Recapping: July

  • I got to meet some of Mr. Man’s college friends.
  • We saw a professional production of Julius Caesar in Central Park.
  • I got a gift card for my two-month work anniversary, so I took my man to the Cheesecake Factory.

So what’s new with you? What are you anticipating currently?


Currently is hosted on the first Wednesday of each month by Anne of In Residence. This month’s guest co-host is Shea of Shea Lennon. Won’t you join us?

Sunday Style: Do the Parish-Hall Shuffle

Technically, I have not been in any parish halls yet. I don’t think Mr. Man’s parish has an official “hall.” I just couldn’t resist the 80’s reference! I am still bouncing around parishes as my summer schedule melts toward the school year, so here’s what I wore for the last two Sundays of July:

July 22

Sunday Style for July 22

Top: Target
Skirt: Old Navy
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: Target
Earrings: Renaissance festival

It was hot, but not super hot. I first tried this outfit combination last summer in Austin, so I knew I’d be fine here in Louisville. I like the way it balances the lightness of the skirt with the relative heaviness of the top, black with white, and short with long(-ish 3/4 sleeves). I went to Mass solo, so I took the opportunity to wear my least practical shoes. The photos don’t quite show it, but they are cork wedges, so I have to walk very carefully in them, and I can’t drive comfortably in them. Mr. Man graciously accommodates my adjusted gait when I wear my fancy shoes, but I can tell that he would prefer I lean toward more practical styles more often. But he wasn’t with me, so fancy shoes were a go!

I went to what has now officially become my parish. I don’t recognize the priests by sight yet, so I’m not 100% sure who gave the homily. He started by listing some of the more common heresies, along with brief but accurate definitions. In particular, he focused on dualism since dualists are big fan’s of the day’s Gospel. It seems to support the (heretical) idea that the existence of evil means there’s an evil creator and that part of creation itself is evil. That means there should be no sacraments, no marriage, no kids, and “no fun.” That view is wrong.

On the contrary, especially paired with the strong message of monotheism and the goodness of the one God in the first reading, the Gospel supports God as the Church teaches him to be. The priest made a comparison to The Silmarillion, a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, in which God sings the universe into existence. Evil is a discordant note that enters the song. Rather than halting the song or the discordant note, God mercifully rearranges the other voices so that the evil note becomes complementary.

So this priest was a big nerd, but he was among my favorite kind of nerds.

July 30

Sunday Style for July 30

Top and skirt: Target
Shoes: Payless
Necklace and earrings: Charming Charlie

This week, what I had in mind was how much I missed the way I used to dress. This is the kind of outfit I wore to work when I had my old job (with more practical shoes, of course). I haven’t worked at that job in months, though, and my current job requires a uniform, so I was out of touch with my sense of style. It was nice to feel dressed like myself again.

Due to that current job, I needed to go to Mass on Sunday morning, so I zipped over to Mr. Man’s parish (but again, without him). One of the priests made a plea at the beginning of his homily for us to work to increase the parish. This made me feel super awkward because, well, I’d already joined another one! They are always welcoming, however, and that’s a grace I don’t take for granted.

The obvious theme of the day’s readings was to determine what’s important to you and be willing to sacrifice to get it. For example, the priest’s brother had spent $1000 on his home prayer corner during a house remodel not to show off, but because God was important enough to drop that kind of cash. He reminded us to seek to be free from attachment to anything besides God. I could have used some more practical suggestions, but I appreciated such a clear message.


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

7 Quick Takes on My GTD Anniversary, Pizza Scissors, and the African American Dream

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

My emotions these days are a bit of a throwback: I’m eager for school to start as well as anxious. I’ve been out of the classroom for a long time, but I’m glad to be getting back into it. I’m glad to have a career again, but I’ll miss the aspects of my life that I felt like I could only have because I had just a job. It’ll be an interesting ride.

— 2 —

As of June 27 (these takes have been a long time coming), I have been using GTD for three years. It’s been amazing, and I can’t stop recommending aspects of the method to everyone. It has changed my life in so many ways, and I am so thankful.

— 3 —

I don’t generally get involved in politics, but I read a feature-length political article by Anthony Walton in an old issue of Notre Dame Magazine. It spoke to me in particular in its discussion of the Black Lives Matter movement and the legacy (positive and negative, real and perceived) of President Obama. Here’s my favorite part:

There is an irony, both tragic and celebratory, at the heart of our society: young people of color grow up hearing about the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and they believe it. They want to hold the nation to its promises, they want to belong and be Americans, free and equal, as they understand those terms. And every generation understands the promises of our founding documents a little more intensely and insists a little more on the full implementation of those promises.

This is, I think, what lies behind Black Lives Matter and many of the other protests enacted around the nation. In another country, one which has not made such promises, there would not necessarily be such a sense of failure. Black Lives Matter protestors are expressing a belief in the system; framed this way, the question becomes: Can the system live up to that belief?

This is why looking at Obama as an individual, whatever one might think of him as a politician (and setting aside, for the moment, the irrationally partisan and race-driven attacks upon him, there are dissatisfactions a reasonable person may have with his performance), is worth our while. In my view, in many ways Obama is the most important black man in history, beyond Martin Luther King, beyond Nelson Mandela. This is not because of his celebrity, accomplishments or lack of them while in office, but rather because of the way he matter-of-factly mastered and rose through the tests and trials of U.S. society. To put it simply, he won the highest political prize of our nation through playing by the rules. He battled and prevailed in many different arenas: academia, law, publishing, politics. He learned how things worked, how achievement is accomplished in the secular world — an important point because so much previous outsize black accomplishment had been based in religious institutions. He showed a path.

Obama’s life and career is a model for blacks and people of color on how to progress to the highest reaches of our society: work hard, get educated, get qualified, learn how to contest the career and workplace circumstances you find yourself in and, with a little timing, a little luck, who knows what might happen? He mastered the politics of Harvard Law School, the politics of Chicago, the politics of the Democratic Party and the politics of national elections by learning the traditions and rules of each context. His was, for want of a better term, a “secular” triumph, the next step in African-American progress in society, following on black athletes and business executives, stating his case to the electorate and receiving their endorsement.

One would think that whites, whether they agreed with his politics or not, would see his career and achievement as something to be celebrated, something to be pointed at, not because of any “Kumbaya” racial fellow feeling but because it encouraged millions of young blacks and other folks of color to believe they had a chance in our society. That the way for them to advance their hopes and dreams was in the library and at the ballot box, not in the streets.

— 4 —

Duolingo understands religious life!

"La profesion" is illustrated as a religious profession of vows!

That picture is not helpful if you are (a) trying to learn Spanish just using Duolingo and (b) not familiar with Catholicism, but it made me laugh.

— 5 —

In other strange things spotted online, pizza scissors are apparently a thing. I know cutting a pizza at home can be tricky, but it should be done by grown-ups, and grown-ups ought to know how to use a cutting board and a knife.

— 6 —

Being a Marylander living outside her state for years now, I’ve gotten good at spotting Maryland license plates on cars. I saw one a few weeks ago with a totally new standard design, and it’s so pretty!

"MD PROUD" license plate

I never liked the lame War of 1812 plate, and the original (from my lifetime) was very plain. The new one is perfect.

— 7 —

I liked a lot of the items in a recent Verily post about dating in your thirties. Happily, I don’t relate to all of them, but some ring very true. (I also note with amusement the reader comment from someone who complains about how irrelevant Verily is to her. She’s reading it, isn’t she?)


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Booking Through Thursday: Format

bookingthroughthursday

All other things (like weight, cost, and so on) being equal, what’s your favorite format for a book? Hardcover? Paperback? Old? New? First edition? Digital? Audio?

“All other things being equal”? Weight makes a big difference! I remember going on long trips as a kid and agonizing over packing CDs. My CD wallet could only fit so many discs. Did I need the booklets? (I never actually needed them, but I always felt like I would if I didn’t pack them anyway.) Would I need extra batteries? These days, I just have to remember to add my Advent, Christmas, and Winter playlists to my phone (or remove them, per the season) and to charge the thing.

On the book front, weight still matters a lot. I’m not about to carry around the later Harry Potter books. Even those paperbacks are fat. If I’m nearing the end of any book, I don’t want to take it on a flight, because I might finish it mid-trip, and then what am I supposed to do? Packing two huge library copies is asking too much, and I prefer not to read e-books on planes because I want to save my battery power for my boarding pass, GPS, and texting.

So I don’t think this is a fair question, but I kind of like that. It’s unfair because we live in a world where audiobooks can be downloaded in minutes even though hardcovers don’t fit in purses. I like that world.


For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Sunday Style: Are You Rich Soil for the Word?

We returned to Mr. Man’s parish this past weekend. This week’s homily didn’t shoot straight to my heart like last week’s, but Jesus game, so Mass was good. Here’s what I wore:

Sunday Style for July 15

Dress: Marshall’s, from forever ago
Shirt: Target
Shoes: same sandals from Target I’ve been wearing constantly this summer
Necklace: holy medals
Earrings: gift

I originally bought these sandals because they were (a) cute, (b) available in the store in my size, which is a rare occurrence since I have large feet in proportion with my height, and (c) not flip-flops. My friend Sabrina posted an Instagram photo of herself trying on some shoes several years ago now, captioning it with a comment that being an adult means less wearing of flip-flops and more wearing of real shoes. I took that to heart, so my $5 Old Navy flip-flops became inside shoes only.

Upon reflection, I’m not sure she really meant to make a jab at flip-flops. I think she was just (or also?) acknowledging that cheap shoes are best for younger feet! My grocery store job requires special shoes. Mine happen to have memory foam and be designed for food service work (i.e. standing for several hours nonstop). I can really feel the difference when I come home and change to much less supportive shoes.

It’s particularly significant because I have to wear shoes or slippers all the time (including around the house) due to chronic knee problems. I should probably put in some time in the coming months to buy better shoes.

This is supposed to be about church, though, not about adulting. Deacon P gave the homily at Mr. Man’s parish. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, his attempt to make the readings “relevant” did not pierce me the way Fr. J’s did, but I appreciated his comments on Scripture. That is to say, in discussing the parable of the sower, he reminded us not to take the Word of God for granted. We hear it proclaimed every Sunday, but do we provide God with rich soil for the seeds of his Word? Do we barely let him onto the path of our lives, or do we fill up our hearts with so many other concerns that they’re like thorns choking him out?


For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

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