Category Archives: 7 Quick Takes Friday

7QT on My Writing Life, Amazing Tech, Gratitude, and Being Spiritual

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

— 1 —

This makes two weeks of 7QT in a row! And I started catching up on Booking Through Thursday! It just occurred to me as I was drafting this that November 1 started National Blog Posting Month (a.k.a. NaBloPoMo). I haven’t been up for any blogging challenges this year, but I’ve been trying to find more margin in my life, so maybe that is a good thing. On the other hand, I have enjoyed posting more, too. Balance is an ongoing task.

So I’m not officially doing NaBloPoMo, and I’m not unofficially doing 30 posts in 30 days or even 7 in 7, but I posted a bit more than usual this week. Take that as you wish.

— 2 —

As I mentioned in this month’s Currently, I picked up a little side hustle writing for my diocesan Catholic newspaper, the Catholic Spirit. My post is now available online in plain text. I tried to include enough to make it interesting even if you have no kids to send to our Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference. It was a great opportunity to stretch my writing muscles (and gain some extra income; let’s be real).

— 3 —

I am a happy subscriber to Organized Audrey’s weekly Productivity Pointer e-newsletter. Prepare to have your mind blown by this little tip from a few weeks ago.

That made my mouth drop open! Like literally, physically, my mouth fell open. I had absolutely no idea you could change subject lines in Outlook emails so easily. I don’t think I’ll be doing that since I’ve got a good workflow right now, but think of the possibilities!

Furthermore, I think I knew you could copy a file’s address/location in Windows Explorer somehow, but I had forgotten how. Now I know. And you thought signing up for email newsletters was a waste of time. Nope! It drops some knowledge bombs on you.

— 4 —

When I last updated my Dropbox iOS app, I noticed that some of my recent photos had a button next to them that said “Save as Scan.”

In the process of gradually purging my physical files, I’d come across some old receipts that I still wanted to save: for my wireless router, a bookshelf, and my TV. It’s been years and years since I bought them, so they’re not under warranty, but if I had a break-in or fire and needed to prove their value, I could do that with the receipts. So I took some photos with my phone and tossed the fading originals. (PSA: Receipt ink doesn’t last forever. It fades over time. After enough years, all you have left is a blank piece of receipt paper!)

Curious, I tapped the button. Almost like magic, Dropbox converted my color photos into black-and-white PDFs! I had no idea the app could do that! I’m aware that there are dedicated scanner apps for this sort of thing, but I try to use as few apps as possible. This is almost as amazing as it was scanning all my books into Goodreads in minutes.

— 5 —

Another newsletter I love is Laura Vanderkam’s. She has two: the monthly “Just a Minute” and the weekly “A Week’s Worth.” I get both. In this month’s “Just a Minute,” she drew the interesting conclusion that gratitude can be forward-focused as well as reflecting backwards.

I’ve seen numerous rounds of “30 days of thankfulness” on Facebook (not this year, though), and I’m familiar with everyone’s take on gratitude journaling. None of them struck me as especially genuine or helpful until I read Vanderkam’s take.

When you know that you will need to dig up one or three things to be thankful for, you can use that to create an opportunity in your day. Do something that you know you can be thankful for later, “consciously injecting joy into an otherwise normal day.” Don’t feel bad for stopping in your busy night to gaze at a beautiful full moon. Just do it, so that you can express gratitude for it later. Revolutionary!

— 6 —

Fr. Mike Schmitz has a Q&A column over at Bulldog Catholic. He used one from the end of last school year to discuss being spiritual but not religious. He makes an excellent argument, of course, but his explanation also contains this money quote:

Can I find a true balance between justice (there is a right way to live and a wrong way to live) and mercy (being willing to forgive people when they live the wrong way)?

I’ve been working on my understanding of justice and mercy, and that helps a lot. Does it help you?

— 7 —

Thanks to Pinterest, I always think of this when I hear people discussing being spiritual:

Dudes be like, "I'm spiritual." I be like, "Demons are spirits, too. Be more specific."


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7 Quick Takes on #ThatCatholicGirl, Nonfiction, and Dissenting Teachers

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

— 1 —

I am way late to the party on this one, but I still want to comment on #ThatCatholicGirl. I use Twitter, and I follow a number of Catholic Twitter accounts. Some people refer to the popular ones as “Catholic Twitter,” but they mean the same Twitter that Pope Francis and Taylor Swift are using. It’s not a separate alternative platform, like a Catholic newspaper is.

In September, the popular anonymous account @ThatCatholicGirl was suddenly deleted. I’m pretty sure I followed it. The account owner had never revealed her real name, and she used an image of Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast animated movie as her avatar, so we didn’t even know what she really looked like. Twitter has a variety of anonymous accounts like that; I follow a few. They’re mostly vehicles for humor and outlandish social commentary—the kinds of things you’d only say anonymously.

After the account was deleted, a separate Catholic Twitter user revealed the backstory: he had been catfished by @ThatCatholicGirl. When she was discovered, she deleted her account. It became a hashtag, as Twitter controversies tend to do, and it sent a ripple through the community. We’d thought we were immune to such things because we love Jesus! Not so, Catholic Twitter; not so.

— 2 —

I had the sort-of privilege of seeing the documentary Catfish before the term “catfishing” entered popular culture. It was a disturbing film, but it was worth watching. Sadly, there are plenty of examples now, so you don’t need to watch the original film to get it.

The concept is based on the practice of catfish (the actual fish that swim in the sea) being used to keep sea-shipped cod fish active in their tanks during the live shipping process. With a suspicious presence in their midst, they keep swimming, and their muscles/meaty parts stay strong.

When a person “catfishes” another, he or she is the suspicious presence in the social media tank, forcing alertness on everyone else. The “catfish” pretends to be a different person, establishing a relationship (often romantic) with someone under a rich false identity. Sometimes the people who appear to be interacting with the catfish (liking posts, tagging the catfish, etc.) are false accounts also run by the catfish. The concept is now so common (and sad) that MTV created a whole TV show about real people who have been catfished, Glee did a storyline about transgender catfishing, and you probably remember Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o’s catfishing dead girlfriend.

— 3 —

In this case, @ThatCatholicGirl presented herself as a single, early twenty-something undergrad student. The other user (an actual college student) considered @ThatCatholicGirl his girlfriend, although they had never met in person. Every time they planned to meet, she had some sort of emergency: an illness, unexpected travel, her sister’s divorce, her own parents’ divorce. To the young man, he was in a long-distance relationship. But he really wasn’t. His “girlfriend” wasn’t real.

It's pretty bad when one anonymous account justifiably calls out another anonymous account.

It’s pretty bad when one anonymous account justifiably calls out another anonymous account.

The truth is that @ThatCatholicGirl is thirty years old, not a student, and married. I don’t know exactly how she was exposed, but the account is gone, and the shame spread. Catholic Twitter erupted into shock, anger, and confused prayers for @ThatCatholicGirl, her “boyfriend,” and her husband.

The Internet never forgets.

— 4 —

I set a goal to be reading four non-religious non-fiction books per year by 2025. I unintentionally met that goal for this year all the way back in September. Hooray for me!

The books were Living Forward, Making It All Work, 168 Hours, and The 12 Week Year. Seems appropriate that making time for those books helped me reach a goal!

— 5 —

That is a parent who has mastered GTD! I can’t even get my coworkers to use my inbox. I even physically labeled it “to do” and “inbox,” but I find documents in my chair or laying across my keyboard pretty regularly. You win some; you lose some.

— 6 —

The U.S. legal system regularly tries to force Catholic schools and churches to let people contradict Church teachings and also stay employed. It’s bewildering. When I taught Catholic school, I was required to sign a contract that specified that, because I identified as a Catholic (which I was not required to do or be for my role as an English teacher), I could be fired for publicly dissenting from Church teaching. That was not a secret.

So I was delighted to read that the European Court of Human Rights actually defended the Church in a recent appeal, ruling that a religion teacher who was divorced and civilly remarried was justifiably prevented from teaching religion. It should not be a surprise that a religion teacher who publicly fails to follow that religion will not be allowed to teach that religion anymore. Why was that such a surprise that it went all the way to an international court?

— 7 —

I love dancing West Coast Swing, and although it is tricky, I have never found it especially difficult. I actually have more trouble with turns in progressive dances like Two-Step. Something about simultaneously moving forward and along a curved line is hard for me to balance.

I have to admit that the reasons WCS is hard that Brian B. listed on his website are convincing, though. Those are all legitimate, and they’re much clearer than just “WCS is so hard!”


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7 Quick Takes on Jeopardy!, Co-Signer Release, Mary, and Martha

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

— 1 —

Well, heeeeeey, 7QT! Haven’t seen you around these parts in a while. I have been building up material for ages but never posting, so let’s see if I can sneak a few in here this week.

— 2 —

Jeopardy! has been surprising, delightful, and surprisingly delightful. For the first time since I started taking the online contestant test in 2009, they offered the test more than once this year. I took it in January, which is how I got my audition. I was stunned to receive an announcement email for another test this fall.

Nothing to lose

This Could Be Your Year!

Yes, that’s two different emails. I got the invitation twice, which shows that (a) the system had a bit of a problem, and (b) they do not remove you from test invitation emails even while you’re ineligible to take the test. I auditioned, so I’m not currently eligible.

In other news, recent J!6 questions (the “online version” of Jeopardy!) have been amazing, and I have been getting a lot of perfect scores. Here are some of my favorites:

It's a religious observance that occurs over a 3-day period. What is a triduum?

 This mother of St. Augustine and patron saint of wives has a city named for her in southern California. Who is St. Monica?

The majority of U.S. military personnel are stationed in this souther prefecture. What is Okinawa?

 In 2015, Silento urged, "Now watch me whip, now watch me" do this dance move. What is nae nae?

— 3 —

I read a blog post a couple of weeks ago (which I will not be linking to because one of the suggestions is scandalous) about ways to treat yourself without spending money or eating anything. That’s always been a struggle for me. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is a treat. A new hair clip is a treat. Staying up late is a treat. All of those things thwart my goals, though. They’re tricks and treats rolled into one. I needed real treats.

So I tried one of the tips: I took a nap. You guys, it was the best idea. I don’t get enough sleep anyway, so it was useful, and it felt like a treat because I needed it (see: lack of sleep) and didn’t need it (see: treat).

— 4 —

Read chronologically bottom to top.

Read chronologically bottom to top.

Hey, I’m almost Twitter famous! I seriously had no idea that the David Allen Co. saw Wunderlist as a legitimate tool for GTD. It’s quite an exciting revelation. The guide is available now, but I haven’t bought it yet. Part of me wants to see if I can swing a review copy. Another part of me is proud of my homegrown implementation and doesn’t want to be influenced by the official suggestions. Stay tuned.

— 5 —

I’ve been struggling with my Eucharistic adoration group for a while. It doesn’t help that we were attempting to have discussion via email that are always faster, easier, and better in person. Then my Spanish daily Gospel email brought the story of Mary & Martha right in front of my face.

It started to seem like a Mary & Martha situation to me. I felt like Martha, so burdened with serving that she wasn’t sitting at the feet of the Lord like Mary, even though that was better. According to Scripture, asking Mary to help with the serving wasn’t the right response. So I guess the right response is for me to stop working so hard and just sit. If no one gets to eat dinner because I’m not making it, I guess that’s how it has to be.

— 6 —

There is a special kind of joy in completing a long-delayed project. I love to play Nertz, a Solitaire-based multiplayer game that requires one deck of cards per player. Thus, I own something like eight decks of cards. Most of my decks don’t have boxes, so I used to slap a rubber band on and shove them into the box for Catchphrase. But that looked messy, and the rubber bands kept drying out.

After a little Googling, I discovered that travel soap dishes are great for storing playing cards. I grabbed a few at Target for just under a dollar each, found an appropriately-sized larger plastic box to store all the little boxes, and created this:

playing card storage

I forgot to take a “before” photo, but maybe that’s for the best. Between that and my tickler file, my sloppy piles are now more effective and more grown-up looking. Win and win.

— 7 —

I have student loans. They have a co-signer: my mom. I have been paying diligently for over five years, but I had never even heard of co-signer release until about three weeks ago. A run-of-the-mill post to the YNAB blog clued me in that, if you have a co-signer on your loans, and the co-signer dies, your loan becomes payable in full immediately or goes into default. Your on-time and consistent payment history means nothing. It is based on the co-signer’s credit, not yours, so if that person dies, it’s based on nothing. My mom is in good health, but what if my grandma had been my co-signer? What if my mom died suddenly? Half a decade of work would go out the window.

I panicked slightly when I realized that (a) that’s a huge risk, and (b) I had literally never heard about this possibility. I did a little Googling (all the way to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), consulted my actual lenders, and had the applications for co-signer release in my hands in a matter of days.

I’m trying to dodge a bullet. Yes, gathering and sending paperwork takes time and money. But it’s worth the privilege of not being handed bills for thousands of dollars when I’m already going through a tough time.


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

7 Quick Takes on My Grandma, Praying for 1,275 Days, and AutoHotKey

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

— 1 —

If you missed my previous 7QT, my grandmother went missing from her home in Maryland on August 5. On August 28, her car and body were located in Pennsylvania. We won’t be able to hold her funeral for several more weeks. It is a small comfort to at least know that she’s not missing anymore.

— 2 —

My grandma’s birthday was at the beginning of the month. Mine was at the end. I celebrated very quietly, by just having dinner with a local friend. I received an unfortunate combination of birth-dolence messages, but I am thankful to have so many people wishing me well in such a tough time. I’m trying to find my joy again.

— 3 —

As I mentioned in my last Sunday Style post, I have a short list of hymns I won’t sing. (Are they still “hymns” if they’re terrible?) I was first inspired to create such a list by Tommy Tighe’s call for hymns to ban over at The Catholic Hipster. Most of his list are songs that I will sing, but only begrudgingly. Occasionally, I try to sing them, but I can’t because I start laughing at how inane the lyrics are. No church song should make me think, “Wait, is this actually about God at all, or are we just singing to each other?” Yes, that is an actual thought I’ve had during Mass.

While we’re on the subject, if I die suddenly, and you allow “On Eagle’s Wings” to be played at my funeral, I will haunt you. The Church has no official teaching on the existence or nonexistence of ghosts, and that is not a song about death. I would prefer “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” and “Lord of All Hopefulness.”

— 4 —

One of my Labor Day mini-projects was to set up my new laptop to type en and em dashes. I use them exactly as much as you would expect from someone with two English degrees. My old laptop was pretty wide, so it had space for an entire 10-key number pad. This new one doesn’t. There was no way I was going to copy and paste a dash or open the Character Map every time I needed one. So I installed AutoHotKey, I found very simple instructions via Google (better-looking code here, and differentiating between each dash here, but with an annoying pop-up), and I am back in business.

— 5 —

I like to marathon episodes of Catholic Bytes while I straighten my hair on Sundays. I listened to the episode on the Anointing of the Sick this week and heard an excellent explanation of what the effects of the sacrament are supposed to be. Sometimes it leads to physical healing, but not always. So what’s the point? It’s like a spiritual life vest, giving us the grace to resist temptation and fight against struggles at a time when we are already suffering and more likely to fall into despair. That makes sense, and it’s much more comforting than the general idea of “maybe it will heal you; maybe it won’t.”

— 6 —

As of last night, I have prayed Night Prayer for at least 1,275 consecutive days. I can’t remember when I actually started my daily streak, but I know I haven’t skipped a day since I went to Belize. That was March 10, 2013. I used to let myself skip it when I was too tired, when I was running late for bed, or when I just forgot. Now, it’s as much of a reflex as something like eating. (You’re probably on a decades-long streak of eating daily. Laura Vanderkam pointed that out as she mentioned researching her article about multi-year habit streaks; auto-play video at the end.)

— 7 —

I like this image because of its message, but also because it reminds me of me and Mr. Man. I don’t really need to see people who look like me in order to relate to ad images, but it’s sure nice when I do.

"May married couples, encouraged by Our Lady's example, give witness to faith and love through their marriages." —9 Days for Life


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7 Quick Takes Ending My Radio Silence

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

— 1 —

It’s been quiet around the blog lately.

I have had an exceptionally difficult August. My first instinct in times of stress is to turn my usual action-oriented personality way up. I just Get Stuff Done. My second instinct is to flip out and keep my head down, to stay docile and quiet. That first instinct got me pretty far. I even managed my post for ATX Catholic. After that, I just tried to make it through my days as quietly as possible.

Things have eased up a little bit now, so I’m ready to try to regain my regular life.

— 2 —

My grandmother disappeared three weeks ago today. She lives near my parents back home in Maryland. My mom talks to her mom every day, so they are in near-constant contact. My grandma left her senior apartment complex to run a midmorning errand on August 4, and that’s the last time anyone saw her.

About a week later, Mr. Man alerted me to a local news story about my grandmother’s disappearance. I was reluctant to share our crisis at first. I wanted to ask for prayer, but I didn’t want to open up my grief. I still don’t. But I did, and I am, if only to increase our prayer support.

— 3 —

On August 8, I was suddenly slammed at work. I have been in the same role for two years, but I have never had the volume of work I experienced over the last three weeks. All of my energy went toward maintaining my day-to-day outside of work and managing my at-work workload.

— 4 —

Around August 9, I discovered that I had two simultaneous bacterial infections. (I thought it was just one at first, but I also thought it might be bedbugs. It was two. Neither was bedbugs.) They are clearing with the use of antibiotics, but it added insult to injury (or perhaps injury to injury), particularly because they are in the same area as my recently-diagnosed but as-yet-undisclosed-on-the-blog health condition. At least I already had an appointment with my doctor on August 16, and the diagnosis and treatment weren’t difficult. That helped ease the stress a little.

— 5 —

My stress increased, however, when Mr. Man’s family experienced their own tough times. It is not mine to share, but trust me, it’s a big deal.

— 6 —

In comparison to the rest of the month, this past week was excellent. In comparison to my regular life, it was pretty meh. My workload has returned to normal levels. I’m slowly getting back some of the mental space I lost when everything started happening all at once. I took two dance classes last night instead of my usual one, which made me feel invigorated and also tired.

— 7 —

I want to end on a cheerful note. I did some reading aloud at Spirit & Truth this week. One of our members complimented my lectoring skills. I pointed out that I have no athletic talent, so I consider lectoring my make-up skill. “Ah, so you have ath-lectoring talent,” she replied.


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7 Quick Takes on My High-Tech Radio, NFP Week, and Love Languages

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

— 1 —

My stereo was good to me. It was a gift from my mom. She is a master shopper; sometimes I request things when I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for, and she always delivers. This particular stereo had a radio tuner, a CD player, an iPhone connector (play and charge), and a remote. It was perfect. I even got a 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter specifically so I could keep using it after I upgraded my phone to one with the newer connector.

I guess it started dying fairly early on. The first thing to go was the alarm. I switched to using my phone as an alarm clock, which turned out to be nice because then I hear the same sound that means “wake up” even when I’m traveling or napping. (I also hear that sound when it’s time to check my laundry, but still.) The next thing was the remote. It was a pain to have to walk across the room to change the radio station, but I got over it.

Then the radio started to go last week. For some reason, memory station #2 just would not stick. I tried scanning by hand to get back to the right station (96.7, which of course takes forever to reach no matter which end of the range you start from) and resetting the memory, but I failed twice in a row. That was the last straw. I need radio.

— 2 —

My solution deserves its own take. One of my roommates gave me an adorable Bluetooth speaker for Christmas. I don’t usually exchange Christmas gifts with friends, but it’s her love language, so we work it out. I have used the speaker with my current iPhone several times. It’s great for Pandora, but podcasts skip like CDs for reasons beyond my technical knowledge, so I just don’t use it that way.

I also have my old iPhone 4. I dug it out of my tech storage box, charged it (plugging in a 30-pin connector was so bizarre!), and am now using it like an iPod touch. It gets wi-fi, so I can play local radio stations live from their websites. (I guess I could also pick up stations from back home. I’ll have to try that next.) With my old phone paired with the Bluetooth speaker, I have a radio again!

Old stereo meets my new one: old iPhone and a Bluetooth speaker.

Old stereo, meet new stereo.

It’s not as easy to switch stations, but I only ever do that when I have time to spare anyway (i.e. not weekday mornings). It doesn’t play and charge, but Bluetooth allows me to play while charging at a distance. I need to take more advantage of that. It doesn’t play CDs, which encourages me to finally rip all my physical CDs so I can stream them in-house.

Finally, I updated to iOS 7.1 (the last one available for that device) for security purposes and because I couldn’t stand looking at iOS 5 anymore. Can I request that we never go back to keys that don’t visually switch between capitals and lowercase again? How did we live like that? #throwback

— 3 —

On the way back from visiting Mr. Man in Houston, I stopped for gas in Katy. I’ve done cross-country drives before and always done okay choosing a random gas station. (I usually pick one that is also near food so I don’t have to make a separate food stop.)

The random gas station I picked was super sketchy. I’m a little bit paranoid in general, but I felt so uncomfortable there that I just got right back in my car and kept driving down the service road.

The next station (seriously, the very next one I passed) was so much better. It was bigger and cleaner, and I felt much more safe. I went inside, and when I got the register with my soda, a man ran back in from outside to switch his pump number. The cashier looked up and saw me standing there. He was visibly startled and said, “I was not expecting to look up and see such a beautiful woman!” A lovely lagniappe for my day.

— 4 —

Last week was NFP Awareness Week. I have been aware of NFP for a while now (at least since I started going to church; imagine that), so I don’t usually see anything new in the posts and articles that emerge each year. I did notice that this year’s image has a couple at their wedding:

NFP Week 2016

Honestly, promoting NFP by using pictures of women with babies is probably not the smartest marketing move. This is a nice change.

This year, I want to highlight a brilliant post by the lovely Britt Leigh at Proverbial Girlfriend. She is a newlywed expecting her first child. Although that is not what most of the world thinks when they picture “someone who makes this NFP thing sound like a viable alternative to standard birth control,” I encourage you to read her post. She does a great job of linking it with weddings (our Not Alone Series topic for the month of July), sharing the reality and hopefulness of the NFP life, and neither sugarcoating nor sounding bitter or didactic.

I should read more blogs by writers. We are awesome.

— 5 —

Wrapping back around to love languages, Verily posted an article this week about how to speak your man’s love language when it is Physical Touch (besides that). That is not Mr. Man’s love language (we have the same one, Quality Time), but I read it anyway. I was delighted to find that the tips the (male!) writer gives are applicable to learning to speak every love language. Especially if your snuggle bunny’s love language is not the same as yours. Even if your snuggle bunny’s love language is the same as yours.

The same word can have multiple meanings and various connotations in a single language. “I’m fine” means very different things when you (a) have just fallen into a literal deep hole and are physically unhurt but unable to reach the surface, (b) are a woman responding to an inquiry from your main man, and (c) want a store employee to leave you alone. So it’s important to approach speaking someone’s love language with an open mind and a heart ready to learn. The words of affirmation you say are not necessarily the words he wants to hear.

— 6 —

Speaking of women and stores, I heard a profound insight some time ago: Men don’t go shopping. They go hunting.

— 7 —

I was wrong about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: it actually did raise a lot of money, and it actually did make a difference. I maintain that I saw too many videos framing the challenge as “donate or dump ice water over your head,” as if the bucket were a way to get out of donating, but the money came in somehow and was put to good use. I can get behind that.


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

7 Quick Takes on Scorpions, Peace, and Quality Time

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

— 1 —

A scorpion came to get me last week. As I got to my desk at work, I saw something moving on the carpet right outside of my cube. It’s standard office carpet, so it’s hard to see things on it, but not when they are gross and terrible bugs. So instead of “good morning” (or my usual nothing at all), I said, “Who’s going to kill this scorpion for me?” The nice intern in the next cube came to the rescue with his giant boots. Crisis averted.

— 2 —

I got a diagnosis for that health problem I mentioned last week. I am very glad to finally know what it is. It’s not contagious, and I’m not dying (which I knew), but it’s also not exactly good. I’ll write more soon. I haven’t quite had the time to find just the right words, and you all know how I love words.

— 3 —

I read some more about inbox zero at Asian Efficiency last week, which inspired me to post about it on Facebook. Curiously, I attracted comments mostly from my guy friends. The mysterious algorithm knows that men like tech, I guess. I was also inspired to finally press publish on my latest Wunderlist and GTD post. You might find it useful even if you’re not a GTD-er or a Wunderlister.

— 4 —

This week was full of work and fajitas. We have a monthly billing cycle, so the last 2 weeks of the month are always a flurry of paperwork. This month felt distinctly heavier than usual. We half-jokingly call that “job security.” On the bright side, it’s bell pepper season, so I bought way more than strictly necessary and enjoyed every delicious bite. I might try my hand at freezing what I can’t eat before they start to wilt. All the slicing takes forever, but that delectable crunch cannot be beat.

— 5 —

My blessing of the week was getting to have several catch-up conversations this weekend and not feel drained by them. I’ve become an extrovert since grad school, but I slip back into introversion pretty easily, so I still feel drained when I have to be “on” for too long. It helped that two of the conversations (BFF Sarah and my mom) were by phone, one (Mr. Man) was via Skype, and one (local lovely Britt) was in person. As the NYT article I recommended concludes, quality time can’t be scheduled or manufactured, but when it happens, it is glorious and so, so necessary.

— 6 —

Our country and our world desperately need peace. If you weren’t praying for peace already, now is the time to start. I have my qualms about the National Black Catholic Congress, but their suggestion to offer this prayer for peace is one I jumped on board with very quickly:

O God, who gave one origin to all peoples
and willed to gather from them one family for yourself,
fill all hearts, we pray, with the fire of your love
and kindle in them a desire
for the just advancement of their neighbor,
that, through the good things which you richly bestow upon all,
each human person may be brought to perfection,
every division may be removed,
and equity and justice may be established in human society.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

—Collect, Votive Mass for the Progress of Peoples, from the Roman Missal

— 7 —

I got to visit Mr. Man again this weekend. It is always so good to see him in person. Details will follow in this week’s Sunday Style.


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