Category Archives: 7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes on Cable, Pocket, and “Happy Holidays”

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— 1 —

It’s only been a few days since my last 7QT, so forgive me if I don’t have much to report.

I’ve made my annual trip home for Christmas. Just when On Demand cable got me hooked, we lost power for about two hours this afternoon. It was almost a disaster except that the gas-powered fireplace still worked, we had battery-powered lights, and it was only a few hours. Huddled under a big blanket, I prayed a couple of rosaries I missed during the week, which kept me from being forced to converse with my family, like cavemen. (Just kidding. My dad would have just napped even if we had power. My sister was on her phone, and everyone else was out of the house.)

Now that the cable is back, we’ll be okay.

— 2 —

When I first started using Pocket, I did a ton of reading online about best practices for using it (most of which I read using Pocket; so meta). One of the blog posts I read was a surprised response by a reader who received a year-end email that he was in the top 5% of Pocket readers. Now I’ve had the same reaction, because I got the same email.

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If only I could count all of that toward my sadly uncompleted Goodreads Challenge!

— 3 —

Based on my status, most of the people who save things to Pocket don’t actually ever watch or read them.

I read in Pocket pretty frequently. It helps me spend less time wandering down internally-linked rabbit holes. Once a month, I delete items I haven’t marked as favorites as part of my computer maintenance. That breaks the Highlights feature of the Pocket iOS app, but I have already self-curated before I put anything into Pocket, so I don’t mind.

Pocket must still keep statistics beyond what stays in the app, though, because it has a keen sense of the topics I like to read about.

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You’ll notice that’s a decent list of the topics I blog about, too. I have decided not to be weirded out by this. Too much paranoia makes it hard to sleep at night.

— 4 —

I am not a fan of three things about this time of year. I wrote for the Not Alone Series about Christmas music before it’s Christmas. The other two are “Advent is a penitential season” and “Happy Holidays.” I will try to keep my inner Grinch contained here, but no promises!

— 5 —

Kendra went viral with her post about why she doesn’t mind “Happy Holidays.” She makes a lot of valid points. It is about business, absolutely, and it is more inclusive of whatever celebration someone might be observing. I actually do refer to holidays throughout the year as “the holiday.”

On the other hand, some of her points are reaching. I would love to think about the Immaculate Conception as one of the holidays of which I am being offered a happy experience by store clerks and company cards, but that seems like wearing rose-colored glasses. People say “Happy Holidays” because they’re afraid of offending someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas by wishing them a merry one. Buying for Christmas is still popular, traveling for Christmas is a thing, but identifying Christmas as the reason has fallen out of favor due to PC-ness and fear. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

The thing is, I don’t think there are as many people actually offended by “Merry Christmas” as people with money and power think. Like Kendra, I send cards with Christmas greetings even to people who aren’t Christian. I send them to people who, like my own family, celebrate only a secular Christmas. (I celebrate it religiously; they don’t.) I usually send them during Advent. In my experience, people who are actually offended by something say so.

For the record, when people wish me “Happy Holidays,” I just say “thank you” and smile. It’s a genuine smile. I like smiling. But I don’t return the greeting. And when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me, I say “You have a Merry Christmas, too,” which satisfies my affinity for Advent. No bullying. Real kindness shared. Done.

— 6 —

I gave a presentation at Spirit & Truth this past Monday about the O Antiphons. (I put my handout in Dropbox if you’re interested.) They are such a critical part of Advent that I took the opportunity to share some of my favorite Advent songs and raise an issue that’s been nagging at me for a few years now.

Advent is not a penitential season. Lent is a penitential season. It has specific ways of doing penance that do not apply any other time of year: the only two fast days in the entire year, required abstinence on Fridays and Ash Wednesday, no alleluias in the liturgy. It is long and has a static time period (because Easter is always on a Sunday).

Advent has some things in common with Lent. We are encouraged to go to confession, but not as heavily as during Lent. The Gloria is omitted in liturgy, but we keep the alleluia. Giving is encouraged, but it’s not central to Advent (especially because we give at Christmas, which isn’t Advent anymore). … That’s about it. No fasting or abstinence. It’s rarely four full weeks because Christmas moves through the week. Advent is about preparation. We’re preparing for the birth of Christ, supernaturally, but we’re preparing for the actual return of Christ. That’s going to literally happen someday, and you don’t know when. Prepare now, and stop “giving up something for Advent” (unless it’s a sin you should have given up sooner anyway).

— 7 —

That said, I hope you have all gotten your life in order for both of the Lord’s comings, that your Panic Saturday (the last day before Christmas) was productive and injury-free, and that you have a very Merry Christmas and/or a wonderful day.

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

7 Quick Takes on Friends and Christmas Cards

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— 1 —

See? I swore I wasn’t blogging every day of December, and I upheld that commitment.

Truthfully, although I knew I was going to have a busy week, I underestimated my ability to prepare for this week last week. Between Pure Fashion, the Immaculate Conception, a parish speaker, my company party, and preparations for my trip home, blogging was not a priority. And after I struggled so much to get my What I Wore Sunday post for last week just right, I was burned out. Even my simplest link-up, Booking Through Thursday, hasn’t been posted since Thanksgiving.

You’re welcome for the break?

— 2 —

Many of my local friends are married, so I see them less often than I did before their weddings. I knew that would happen; it always does. I have a special relationship with one couple. I see them at church almost every week, and even though our parish’s young adult group is no more, they still sit with me. They invited me and a few other friends over for dinner on Saturday night. I got to try out my garlic parmesan green beans recipe on a subject other than myself, and the husband’s sausage risotto was delicious.

My favorite thing about this couple, though, is that they never make me feel like a third wheel. It’s no secret that I’m in a season where I am unhappy about being single, and they know that, but they always make me feel appreciated for exactly who I am.

I’m going to write that on their Christmas card.

— 3 —

Speaking of Christmas cards, I found a design I love on Minted. It’s like Threadless for paper goods, and it comes recommended by the lovely Kathryn Whitaker. I’m not interested in sending photos of myself (which would basically be one wedding and all my What I Wore Sunday selfies), so I send cards with pictures of baby Jesus, peace doves, etc. I even saved so aggressively with YNAB that I can afford to order fancy printed cards rather than just hand-writing in the cheap ones from Target.

The problem is that I only got around to shopping for cards this past weekend. I don’t really want to mail them from my Maryland home, so I’ve decided to wait until I get back. (Hopefully, I can catch an after-Christmas sale, too!) That means they won’t go out earlier than December 29. For the Christians on my list, I will be celebrating the real Christmas season. For the secular people, I sending authentic greetings from Austin. That works, right?

— 4 —

Further speaking of Christmas cards, I found the perfect way to display mine. All of mine so far have been flat cards, photo paper cards, and landscape fold. None of those will show well on top of my bookshelf. Saggy cards do not spread Christmas cheer.

I turned to Pinterest, thinking, “There’s got to be a better way!” I am not about to sand anything or buy a bunch of ribbon, but I have office supplies! Pinterest win!

Pinterest win! Finally found the perfect way to display my Christmas cards, especially the flat ones. Binder clips!

A photo posted by Lindsay Wilcox (@whatlindsayloves) on

— 5 —

In other “dinner with friends” news, I was able to invite one of my other (single) friends over for dinner a few Fridays ago. I don’t see her often, especially since the young adult group we met through is no more, but she lives nearby. I cooked, so there was no potluck pressure (you know that’s a thing). We talked, ate, and had a fantastic evening.

I don’t take advantage of that often enough: living in a house, I have space to invite people over. I don’t have to wait for a large-party occasion to be a joyful hostess.

— 6 —

Let’s just make it five takes this week, shall we?

— 7 —

Until next time!

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

7 Quick Takes Full of Life Tips and Baby Reindeer

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— 1 —

Although I have posted at least once a day for the month of December, I still swear I am not doing NaBloPoMo again. I just enjoy the other effects of posting frequently, as I noted yesterday. I now have a #1 blogging rule to go with my #1 lectoring rule: post often and do link-ups. Can’t argue with hard data.

— 2 —

Outside of blogging, things have been quiet. I reached out to a friend to see if we could meet up this week because my calendar was bare. Letting her choose the day was probably a mistake, because she didn’t pick one.

That’s what I get for not following Get-It-Done Guy’s meeting scheduling rule: propose at least one time and place. It gets the ball rolling.

This is a bad meeting invitation:

Let’s meet to talk about the new job description. What time works for you?

This is much, much better:

Let’s meet to talk about the new job description. How about Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. or 2 p.m. in my office? If that doesn’t work, I am free on Thursday morning and Friday morning.

Your invitees will either accept one of your specific times or offer an alternative that fits your other availability. They’ll frequently reply:

Tuesday at 2 works. See you then.

Done. NNTR.

— 3 —

I fell off the Pocket wagon for a while. As I was catching up on my reading, I discovered a summary of a homily by Pope Francis about scandal. I always explain the Church meaning of “scandal” when I argue against cohabitation, so I was overjoyed to hear Pope Francis talking about it, too. That’s down-to-Earth pastoring right there.

In a nutshell, scandal is caused when you say you are a Christian but don’t live like one. Christians go to church. Christians forgive. Christians live by faith to resolve their imperfections. If you are a Christian (or you at least say you are), but you don’t live like a Christian, that is a sin. Stop it.

— 4 —

What’s cuter: photos of babies dressed as reindeer or photos of actual baby reindeer?

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Photo by Ben Shepherd.

— 5 —

Upon seeing that I am using 12% of my Google account space, I embarked on a mission to reduce that by deleting emails I archived but no longer need. A sample of these emails:

  • purchase and shipping confirmations
  • chat records (which I hate that Google automatically keeps)
  • newsletters
  • listserv unsubscribe messages
  • random records from 2007 that I didn’t need before now and therefore don’t ever

I found three items I needed to revisit, so I put them on my to-do list:

  • a question I sent to Jimmy Akin (he didn’t answer it on his blog)
  • newsletters from Invisible Monastery (I’m supposed to be getting them quarterly)
  • a prayer my old roommate Britt sent me (I pinned it, of course)



I also noticed a depressing number of emails I sent to people that never received a reply. I don’t send letter-style emails anymore (although I do send real letters), and I guess no one replies to them anymore. Sad times.

I’ll let everything up for deletion sit in the trash for a while and then see how much space I gained.

— 6 —

A coworker helped me realize recently that my freakish organization and constant neatness are the result of two personality characteristics. I build systems and I persevere. I achieve Inbox Zero regularly because I have a system for emptying my inboxes and I stick to the system. My spaces are always clean because I put things where they belong immediately. (I dust and vacuum and such, but I don’t think that’s the kind of room cleaning most people talk about.) I never lose my keys because they only go one place. The mail doesn’t pile up because I throw away the junk immediately, open mine and figure out what to do it with immediately, and leave my roommates’ mail in a designated area.

I am convinced that establishing systems/processes and following them makes my life better.

— 7 —

I have been flossing every night for about a week now. It feels awesome: psychologically, because I’m doing something I know I ought to be doing for my health; and physically, because I can literally feel the difference.


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum, our new weekly host!

7 Quick Takes on Catholic Calendars, a Wedding, and Discussions on Twitter

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— 1 —

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Well, NaBloPoMo is almost over. I think I did pretty well with my modified goal, but trying not to fail brings you this third post today(-ish, since it’s after midnight). You’re welcome.

— 2 —

My second post today was critical, though. I’ve always gotten a ridiculous amount of traffic to my Catholic Calendar posts. Since Wunderlist has helped me stay on top of long-term to-do items, I realized that today was the perfect day to post it. People are focused on year-end holidays now, and I imagine calendars are already available in stores. The least I can do is a little data dump to aid the Catholic masses.

I used a different set of instructions for this year’s post. If you try it and it doesn’t work, please let me know: in the comments, using the contact form, or via Twitter. Thanks, and enjoy!

— 3 —

My Thanksgiving was uneventful, as my Not Alone Series Thanksgiving post indicated. I ate some turkey chili I’d made the night before because it felt un-American to not eat turkey at all on Thanksgiving Day. Then, I went off to work at the UT vs. TCU game. I spent most of the day on my feet and kind of cold (due to the required attire), but I had some good conversations and made some extra money.

I’ve been on the lookout for good side hustles since I started my financial revolution. I think it was a wise way to spend the way if not the warmest (relationally or environmentally!)

— 4 —

I went to a delightful wedding last weekend. It was my first Friday evening wedding, although I was in one on a Sunday morning, so I’ve done non-Saturdays before.

My original plan was to leave work early so I could change clothes and beat traffic. I don’t have many meetings for my job, but I had one scheduled midday, so I couldn’t take the whole day off. The day before, though, when I went to confirm the meeting with the organizer, I discovered that I had somehow fabricated the whole thing! I’m so glad I thought to double-check. My supervisor kindly let me take the rest of Friday off.

That turned out to be a double blessing, because the weather was awful. It was another of those rare rainy days in Austin, and I was grateful to not have to drive across town to work and then back for the wedding. I even managed not to let my surprise free time get away from me, and I arrived on time for Mass.

The wedding was beautiful. The couple nailed their memorized vows. That’s a plus for using the standard Catholic vows: they’re so short that they’re easy to memorize. The reception was forest-themed and held in a venue with actual trees inside it (all the time, not just for the wedding). The food was honestly delicious. I don’t usually eat meat on Fridays, so I substituted another penance earlier and was free to indulge. A friend of mine pointed out that drinking wine freely at a wedding is very Scriptural. That fit my sentiments and behavior. I danced basically the whole time. I didn’t even feel as glum about being single as usual. It was a great night!

— 5 —

Kudos to Verily magazine for responding to the “Computer Engineer” Barbie by pointing out that whether girls can work in STEM fields is missing the question. Perhaps that was a terrible book, but if we don’t let women actually pursue any occupation they want, we’re still holding them/us back. I won’t be able to call myself a feminist until choosing to stay home and care for children full-time is just as empowering and acceptable as working outside the home. You can feel forced into full-time childcare, but you can feel forced into the workplace, too.

— 6 —

If you’re into novenas, tomorrow (Saturday) is the day to begin your Immaculate Conception novena. I especially like this one because nine days corresponds nicely with nine months of pregnancy.

If you’d like a reminder, Pray More Novenas was inspired by this novena. Their version isn’t the one I usually pray, but in this case, which prayer you offer is less important than offering any prayer at all.

— 7 —

I got involved in an unexpectedly long discussion with a reader of my Austin CNM post this week. (At least I think he read it; he might have just read the title in the automatic tweet!) It made me realize, primarily, that Twitter is not a good venue for the kind of discussions I like to have. It’s too dependent on immediate responses, as though I don’t have a life beyond screens. The messages have to be so short that you can never quite get your point across. It’s too far removed from the original material.

I like Twitter, but blog comment areas are still my favorite. I’ve been blogging since before blog posts had comment sections or even titles, so I’ll stick with my old-school ways, thanks.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes on Getting Stuff Done, Egg Freezing, and Zombie Science

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— 1 —

I have been on a quest to make better use of my Saturdays, so this is the first time I have sat down at the computer for anything besides Hulu. So far, I managed to drop off my library books, go grocery shopping, cut my nails, and get most of my laundry done, so I’m going to call that a win.

— 2 —

I promise to stop talking about Pocket every week. Eventually. This week is a compliment, though, instead of a complaint. I use Feedly to keep track of the many, many blogs I follow (98 at the moment, although not all of them are actively publishing). Not all of them publish full-text feeds, though. Some might not be able to control whether they do or not (Super Swell Times, I’m looking at you), but I’m pretty sure others are trying to drive up page views (like the CatholicMatch Institute.

Pocket conquers both of those. When I add an item to Pocket, it pulls in the full text from the link. It’s not 100% accurate; it doesn’t always pick up footnotes, and it sometimes ends before the end of the post. It saves me from needing to go all the way to the main blog, though, which is ideal because I am sometimes doing my reading on my work computer. I know they could track everything and possibly already are, but I like to live in my bubble where I’m not that interesting anyway.

— 3 —

I’m sure you heard about Google and Facebook offering to freeze female employees’ eggs for free. Were you horrified, too, at the implications? Don’t let having a baby get in the way of working for us just as hard as ever! Freeze your eggs! We’ll pay for it! No guarantees that it will work, though. Ugh.

We’re unfortunately living in an age where what used to be a slippery slope argument is just news. The Onion took the egg-freezing offer to its extreme conclusion (possible objectionable content in other articles there). But how long will it be before that isn’t so ridiculous?

— 4 —

I had my last salsa lesson on Sunday, so it’s back to coming straight home from church. I’m hoping that this means I will get more items crossed off my to-do list, but I make no promises there. I’m going to miss it, though. I had so much fun! The group has plans to go out social dancing in the future, but nothing has been decided yet. It was nice to not feel awkward about being single for a little while, to be in a place where coming alone was actually a benefit and not mildly pathetic. That was a good feeling.

— 5 —

I bought my plane ticket home for Christmas. It was much less expensive than last year’s last-minute ticket. I had saved so aggressively, though, that I am sitting on top of a huge pile of cash (in the bank; please don’t try to show up at my house and rob me) even after making that purchase.

I can pay for Christmas in cash this year. The plane ticket, gifts, and cards. I skipped cards last year for the first time since middle school. My financial life has turned around so much, and it is all thanks to YNAB [referral link]. More on that on Monday.

— 6 —

Coming up this week, I have a mall shopping trip with Pure Fashion, an in-person meeting with the Austin CNM team, a Friday evening wedding, and my next hair appointment. It will be a much busier week but hopefully not a less productive one.

— 7 —

Here’s a TED educational video of the science behind zombies. Even if you’re sick of the zombie fad, this is pretty cool. Enjoy! Learn something!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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