Category Archives: 7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes with Business Baby, Beats Per Minute, and Being Next to the Lake

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— 1 —

This week, I did a happy dance because I have my computer backed up 100% for the first time in ages. (99.9% is just not good enough!)

Crashplan at 100%

If you’re not using CrashPlan or something similar to back up your files offsite, regularly, and preferably automatically, you should be. Think of it as computer insurance. You have insurance for your car being stolen, your house burning down, and your leg getting broken. Offsite backup is insurance for your computer dying (or also being stolen): you hate having to pay for it when you don’t need it, but you are so grateful when you need it.

— 2 —

Somehow this got over 50,000 retweets + favorites, but I missed it until Audrey Assad retweeted it this week. I almost stopped following her (her tweets got too political for me). This has convinced me that not unfollowing was a fantastic decision.

— 3 —

Business Baby calls in Bob the Builder.

I saw a few Business Baby memes recently. A coworker led me to this one. It’s particularly hilarious because I am in construction, and I work with a guy named Bob. Coincidentally, we are a highly qualified general contractor, and we can build for Business Baby or for you. #truestory #noreally #thisismyjob

— 4 —

Dance is still going well. I usually practice to music when I’m spinning around in my kitchen, which means I play YouTube videos from my phone. Until recently, I stuck to suggestions I found online and songs I’ve heard in class, but that got repetitive, and some of them were really fast.

I eventually stumbled across two tools that have expanded my song lists considerably. Using this handy little BPM web app, you can tap out the beat of any song you hear and get calculation of beats per minute. It even works on smartphones!

The goldmine was the search function at BPM Database. I started with the slow end of West Coast Swing music (80–90 bpm) and went through the list song by song at 80, 81, and 82 bpm. It was a beautiful, nostalgic journey, and now I can practice to “Fly Away,” “Umbrella,” and even “Sabotage.” Much more fun. I know the songs, so I’m not distracted guessing where breaks and bridges will be, and the beat is slow enough that I don’t get tired just from the pace.

I made a private YouTube playlist to keep track of my songs. I set it to shuffle, find the beat, and happily dance away.

— 5 —

Even though I have lived in Austin for almost five years, I have never been on the lake. I’m from the East Coast, so we are generally beach people more than lake people. Personally, I am pool kind of girl. Feeling all that nature under my toes is disconcerting. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually been in a lake, but I’ve been next to one.

Last weekend, a friend of mine invited me out to Lake Travis. We’re still in a drought, but this summer’s crazy rain has filled up our lakes a little bit. Her mom was in town from Louisiana and had rented a beautiful condo near the lake. The view was incredible. I didn’t have much time to spare (Saturday is chore day), so I couldn’t join them on their pontoon boat trip. We went to the pool instead.

Sunrise on the pier in Belize.

This is not Lake Travis. This is Belize. Just to clarify.

I can swim, but I haven’t been since our mission trip to Belize. It was a little strange to be next to the lake instead of on it (or in it, I guess). Having the opportunity to talk to my friend, smartphone free and uninterrupted, was worth the weirdness. We had the whole pool to ourselves. The lake view was even beautiful from my vantage point in the pool! Good times.

— 6 —

I got a nonspecific shout-out at Mass last Sunday. It was a surprising reminder that people sometimes actually listen when I’m talking. Fr. Associate Pastor took my comment about waxing and waning Mass attendance to heart, and I’m interested to see if other people agree. Read my full reflection at the end of this week’s What I Wore Sunday post.

— 7 —

My phone freaked out last week and briefly seemed to have deleted all my text messages. First, I panicked. Then, I thought about embracing my loss in a spirit of detachment from the world. Then I restarted my phone, and they all came back. I’m secretly glad that I didn’t have to actually do that detachment I was thinking about. Also, this phone is much lower quality than my previous one (I had an iPhone 4 for three years, then I got the 5c). Maybe that’s why it was cheaper. Lesson learned.


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

7 Quick Takes on Spanish, Not Checking My Inbox, and Online Discipleship

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— 1 —

Since Apple doesn’t seem to appreciate free Internet radio anymore, my short love affair with their stations is over. I have gone back to my college sweetheart, Pandora. I have not used my account since 2007, but my Switchfoot station was still seeded perfectly. I set up another one with “A Dios le Pido” by Juanes. My college roommate referred to him as “the Latin Justin Timberlake,” and I have been practicing my Spanish with the Bible lately, so that seemed appropriate.

The verdict?

— 2 —

Back in June, I signed up for Stever Robbins’s “Taming Your Tasks and To-Do’s” webinar. It was tricky to watch during my lunch break, especially because it went over time, but I enjoyed it so much that I rewatched the whole thing later to make sure I’d absorbed it all. And I took notes. You can watch the replay, too, at that link, in exchange for your email address. The live discussion window was also archived. Watch for my comments!

Absolutely the best takeway was building a habit of checking my to-do list first. Like many people, I once lived in my inbox. When I was ready for a new task, I would check my Facebook notifications or Gmail and work from there. Bad idea. Now, I check my to-do list first. By focusing on tasks I’ve already identified, clarified, and usually scheduled, I make sure that I’m not just putting out fires all day. I still get to Inbox Zero, and I complete more of the tasks on my list. Win-win!

— 3 —

Participating in the Not Alone Series and putting my blog URL on my Christmas cards has made me highly cognizant of the amount of personal information I share online. I don’t have kids to worry about embarrassing when they’re older. I don’t have a husband who’s involved in my blog-worthy stories. (Or non-blog-worthy stories. It’s the husband part that’s missing. Point of clarification.)

I read a post at No Sidebar about being yourself online, and it underscores my philosophy quite well for a blog I just discovered this month. On the one hand, if I don’t share my heart and my loves (hence the title) with you, I’m not really letting you get to know me at all. On the other hand, there are parts of my life I would never blog about. Some of them have a significant effect on my life and relationships, and if I know you in real life, I’ll tell you about them offline. Here, though, is a vast space. The Internet never forgets.

Blog with discretion, but don’t be afraid to share who you really are.

— 4 —

I had a color-finding appointment with my Mary Kay consultant last Saturday. Since Pure Fashion, I’ve made it a goal to learn to wear makeup like a grown woman. This is a good candidate my One True Red Lipstick. If only I’d had a fancier place to wear it than the grocery store.

Yeah, I'm going out for groceries, but first—let me take a #selfie. 😘😉 #nofilter #marykay

A photo posted by Lindsay Wilcox (@whatlindsayloves) on

— 5 —

I went to Theology on Tap this month mostly to support Cris as a longtime Austin CNM contributor. He and another Chris spoke about digital discipleship. Having been a blogger for over ten years, on Facebook since 2005, and slowly learning how to best use Instagram and Twitter, I was interested in they strategies they would offer about how to live my faith online.

Their main point was that the Christian life is all about relationships: God’s with us, and ours with others who are also beloved by God and hopefully loving God in return. Thus, sometimes our best response to something online is to take it offline. If you don’t know someone well enough to see them in person (or even text them), maybe you don’t know them well enough to “defend the faith” to them or “call them out” on something. At the end of the day, you want everyone to know that even if you disagree with them, you still love them. Christ loves us even when we least deserve it (which is basically always).

— 6 —

That is all that’s on my mind right now, so perhaps there are really only five takes today. This balances out my usual not-so-quick takes, right?

— 7 —

See you next time!


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

7 Quick Takes on Marriage and Reading Super Old Links

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— 1 —

Even though I wrote about the Humanum colloquium for Austin CNM last fall, right after #Synod14 ended, I didn’t get around to watching the video series until last week. It seemed like the right time.

Wow! I was pleasantly stunned. They are all made with extremely high production value, beautiful cinematography, and with an eye to showing the cultural, religious, and geographical diversity of one man–one woman marriage supporters. Not every cause has a reach that wide. I was thrown a bit by needing to use the subtitles; the spoken languages are English, Spanish, and French. I don’t speak French, but everything else seemed to be translated accurately.

My favorites were Part 4, A Hidden Sweetness: The Power of Marriage Amid Hardship and Part 5, Challenge & Hope for a New Generation. Hope is my favorite virtue. I highly recommend the entire series. Watch the trailer below and learn more at the Humanum website.

— 2 —

I try to stay out of politics most of the time. This is one of those other times. If you’re feeling bummed about the political shift on marriage finally making it to the whole U.S., consider these points:

  • It was inevitable. Civil marriage does not have to be intended for a lifetime or open to children, so the progression of logic means it does not have to be restricted to one man and one woman. That’s not the truth about marriage, but it’s completely consistent with the State’s trajectory.
  • Supreme Court decisions have been overturned in the past. Without Brown vs. Board of Education, we’d still be living under Plessy v. Ferguson, and many of you reading this might not even know me.
  • Roe v. Wade was handed down over forty years ago, and the pro-life protest movement against that has not stopped. Abortion is legal, but plenty of people don’t like that and continue to speak out against it publicly.
  • Scripture warned us that this would happen: “Because zeal for your house consumes me, I am scorned by those who scorn you.” (Psalm 69:9) Also, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10–12)

— 3 —

On to lighter content! As a blogger, teacher, and writer in general, I think a lot about copyright and fair use. Images are critically important to blogging today, but you can’t just display anything you can right-click and download. Teachers have a wider rein, but there are limits. I wouldn’t want my writing to be misused or passed off as someone else’s, but every blogger loves being linked to and quoted. As I watch dance videos, I get frustrated by the ones that have been muted due to copyright claims. That goes as far as having the instructional/educational portions with no music silenced so as to be unusable. There is much to think about.

The grammar-loving part of my heart led me to subscribe to the Chicago Manual of Style’s monthly newsletter answering up-to-the-minute, real-life questions. They also do a style- or writing-related interview each month. This month’s was all about copyright law and what “fair use” actually means. It’s one of the most intelligent, realistic discussions of copyright I’ve ever seen. If you’re a blogger or you’ve ever posted a YouTube video with music you didn’t create yourself, you need to read it.

— 4 —

One of my projects for the year is to resolve my Internet bookmark storage problem. I’m much more likely to just search for something when I need it, but when I find gems (or need to store a link I keep forgetting), I want to have that accessible everywhere. Thus, browser-based bookmarks are a no-go. When Delicious started being passed around from owner to owner, I jumped ship to Google Bookmarks. I don’t use them much, and I already use a ton of Google apps anyway, so it seemed like a solid choice.

After Google Reader’s demise, though, I get wary of using any product that isn’t being actively developed. I switched from Google Tasks to Wunderlist, and that went spectacularly well. (No sarcasm; it was legitimately life-changing.) I was considering Pinboard until they switched to an annual fee. I don’t know if I’m willing to pay annually for something I don’t use very often anyway. We shall see.

— 5 —

In the meantime, I don’t want to bother exporting links I don’t need, or tags that aren’t useful (my technique in the past was pretty scattershot), or dead links. So I made a plan to go through them all systematically.

I bookmarked with Delicious really actively when I was in college and then almost not at all after that. That means I’m sifting through links today that I saved when I was in my teens. Some are bewildering. “Why did I even bookmark that?” is a common mental refrain right now. A lot of them are dead, so that makes weeding easier.

I’ve found more than one link to sites hosted at GeoCities. I had a site at GeoCities way back before Yahoo! bought it; that’s how long I’ve been online, so to speak. GeoCities shut down in 2009, yet I still had links to it. Yikes!

— 6 —

Dance class last night was delightful. I accidentally made eye contact with my instructor when he was looking for a demo partner, so of course he picked me. Rookie mistake! I’m a teacher; I know better. Never make eye contact if you don’t want to be called on. I managed not to get too tangled up, although either I stepped on his foot or I put mine in the wrong place and he stepped on me. There was stepping-on. But no falling—win!

I also noticed that I’m starting to recognize people in my class. I’m pretty recognizable, though, so maybe it’s just me. It is still weird having almost no interaction with the women, but none of them lead, and neither do I. I struck up a decent quick chat before class. Baby steps.

— 7 —

I get a bunch of Notre Dame Alumni Association newsletters, which I skim. One of them this week had an announcement of a research project connecting science and virtue that just won a huge grant. Science gets connected to ethics and philosophy all the time, but virtue is a completely new angle. I’m excited to hear what they come up with!


For more Quick Takes this week, visit A Knotted Life.

7 Quick Takes on Freedom, Trees, Dance, and Friends

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— 1 —

Happy Independence Day! I did all of my celebrating yesterday. I went to Vespers at a nearby parish followed by a patriotic concert at the same parish. Chanting the Liturgy of the Hours to organ accompaniment made me very appreciative of the organ but tired from needing to sing loud enough to hear myself over it. I have pitch but no volume. The concert was full of toe-tapping goodness, and then we went out to eat and to a friend’s house to watch Independence Day.

I’m going to call that the vigil of Independence Day. I celebrated freedom today by praying Morning Prayer (because I don’t have to hide my faith), buying groceries (because I have a job and money), and cleaning the house (and not someone else’s).

— 2 —

We made it through the recent bout of thunderstorms with almost no damage. I have to say “almost,” because this happened:

Pretty sure that branch was higher up yesterday. #atxweather

A photo posted by Lindsay Wilcox (@whatlindsayloves) on

It wasn’t even raining that day! Now I am really glad we got the dead top trimmed off our other tall tree. The drought got that one; the rain got this one. We can’t win for losing here.

— 3 —

I’m still working on that goal of having a grown-up bedtime. I got a little lax with it last week and could feel the different in my workdays and late nights. I’m going to try a paper “don’t break the chain” calendar to see if that helps. Conveniently, the right column starts with the first Sunday of July. That timing works nicely.

I’ve only had my memory to go on so far in tracking my success with actually going to bed when I need to, so I’m hoping that collecting some data will help. I don’t have a weekend bedtime, so it won’t be a continuous chain by definition, but I’m shooting for those five X’s a week. Awareness helped so much with my budget that I’m hoping to do the same here.

— 4 —

I had the week off from dance class due to the holiday weekend and my studio’s annual showcase. I miss it! I got in some solid kitchen practice sessions, but it’s not the same, especially without a partner. I think this means that I’m developing a real appreciation for dance. It also means I need a partner. #singlegirlproblems

— 5 —

I spent most of my day off from work yesterday watching West Coast Swing videos on YouTube. It’s so easy to just click and watch, click and watch, and then realize that an hour has gone by!

In the process, I noticed an announcement from my studio about preparations for the International West Coast Swing Flash Mob in September. It sounds like so much fun, but I don’t know if I’m ready. The routine looks awesome! It also looks like it’s more advanced than what I can currently do. Learning a routine takes out the unpredictability of social dancing (although I have liked learning to do that so far). You can check it out below; it has shortcuts to skip to the performances:

— 6 —

I finally got the next installment of my series answering the questions from last fall’s synod published. I am very confident I will finish it before the next synod starts (this fall), and that is absolutely the only thing I am certain of. I’ll have to think and write like crazy to work my way through the questions for the upcoming synod before it starts, so I might have to re-think that plan.

— 7 —

I had a great text conversation with my godson’s mom this week. I would have preferred a real conversation, but since she has a job, a husband, and two small children, I give her the reins on when we talk and how attentive she needs to be. That seems like a fair compromise.


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

7 Quick Takes on Dance Clothes, Books, and Mass in Latin

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— 1 —

Before Easter, I did not exercise. At all. I know, I know. I had already taken baby steps to improve my health by eating fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and flossing. My struggles with spending my time/life wisely always made me think I just didn’t have time to exercise. And I didn’t have any exercise clothes anyway.

Of course, I am now hooked on the form of covert exercise that is social dancing. Wearing regular shoes to class and socials (because I don’t have dance shoes yet) is bad enough. It was time to invest in some proper exercise clothes. A sale came along for the Old Navy Active line, so I bought a few tops and wore one to class last night. Worked like a charm!

I’m still searching for modest bottoms since I just can’t justify wearing yoga pants or leggings (without a skirt over them), but I think I have tops covered. This whole concept of regularly breaking a sweat is new to me, but at least it’s more comfortable now.

— 2 —

Story of my life.

— 3 —

“In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”
—Mortimer Adler

from the Catholic Education Resource Center newsletter

— 4 —

I had the joy of attending an Ordinary Form Mass in Latin at St. William Parish this week. If not for Cris’s post at Austin CNM, I would have missed it completely. I hadn’t been to one since college, so it was great to dust off my chant and pronunciation muscles.

Even in Latin, the Ordinary Form (a.k.a. Novus Ordo) is what most people think of when they picture a Catholic Mass. The Ordinary Form in Latin is just like going to Mass in Portuguese, Russian, or any other language one doesn’t speak. The one with different parts and the priest facing the altar is properly called the Extraordinary Form, and it is only in Latin.

I don’t like to call that second one the “Traditional Latin Mass” or even “Latin Mass” for three reasons:

  1. I don’t use the word “traditional” that way. It’s too political and vague.
  2. The Ordinary Form has been around for 50 years. Something that happens basically every day for half a century sounds pretty “traditional” to me.
  3. You can celebrate the Ordinary Form in Latin. This is what St. William did this week.

— 5 —

Personally, I didn’t have much trouble with the language. I speak Spanish, so Latin is recognizable. It was the same form of Mass I usually attend, so even when I got lost in various phrases, I could pick out key words and movements to use as anchors. It was very similar to going to Mass in Spanish, actually.

My only linguistic surprise was when Mass turned out to be not in just two languages, but three! The Liturgy of the Word (minus the Creed) was all in English, which I appreciated. I was still startled when Fr. Uche began speaking Spanish during his homily! St. William has a huge Spanish-speaking congregation, but I forgot that Fr. Uche speaks Spanish.

I had the same assessment that I always do when something is presented bilingually: the Spanish always seems more direct. Latin does, too. English can be wishy-washy.

— 6 —

About that Creed: whoa. I have never even attempted to chant the Creed in Latin. Of course it was the Nicene Creed; go big or go home. It was exhausting! The music took up more than two pages of the worship aid. We all survived, though.

— 7 —

The hardest part for me (and probably most attendees) was the sheer volume of Latin chant. There was very little Latin speaking for the congregation to do. The parish wisely provided a complete worship aid, although the music was in chant notation. Many people don’t read music; fewer people read chant notation.

Before that chant Mass back in undergrad, we had several weeks of (optional) practice of the Gloria, Sanctus, and Mystery of Faith. That was in modern notation, though. We always ended our weekly group holy hour with the Salve Regina, so I had seen chant notation before, and I had done a little research. I also read music. Yet I still struggle with chant.

My parish in Montgomery only ever chanted the Gloria in Latin and a cappella, so that was almost second nature. It’s long, though, so I need to read along every time. That was no problem this week.

Most regular Massgoers can sing the simple tone of the Agnus Dei; it’s commonly used during Lent for greater solemnity. On Wednesday, we used the solemn (read: fancy) tones for everything. Tough going, but the Creed was toughest!

In the midst of all that chanting, I learned an important lesson about chant: if you miss the beginning of a syllable, it is very easy to get lost. In solemn tones, one syllable can last for several notes. Imagine Mariah Carey stretching “oh” for three or four beats of music, and you have an idea of what chant syllables are like.

Overall, it was so much fun. I adored our recessional song, “O With Thy Benediction” (PDF link), because it was packed with theological goodness and to the same tune as “O God, Beyond All Praising.” Going to Mass in any language besides English is great because I am forced to pay attention. If I don’t follow each word and action, I’ll get lost, and then I’m not really praying, am I? Yet even when I don’t know any of the words, the foundational prayer of the Mass is the same. That is the beauty of a universal, catholic church.


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

7 Quick Takes on Blogging, Still More Dancing, and GTD

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— 1 —

I keep an editorial calendar for my blog. The usual purpose of an editorial calendar is to plan out a schedule of future posts, but that doesn’t work well for me, so I use it more as an easy, month-at-a-glance view of my past posts. I update it when my plan didn’t match what actually happened, which I also do with my regular life calendar.

In looking at my editorial calendar this week, I realized that I publish about one essay-style (non-linkup, non-series) post per month. I don’t have stats from before I started keeping the calendar, of course, but that unintentional rhythm seems to be working really well for me. It sparks the part of my heart that misses writing for English class, knowing that someone would read it. Thank you all for reading.

— 2 —

Incidentally, my essay-style post about why “single life” is not a vocation has been blowing up! I’m really encouraged by the positive feedback I’ve been getting. I was hesitant to post it, especially since I’d been sitting on that draft for a while, but it was still true and timely.

I didn’t mention it in the post, but I was inspired to finally press publish by a similar recent post by Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington (my home diocese). He agrees with my thesis, yet he takes a broader and deeper theological perspective. He does have a (vowed) vocation, though, so I think I’m still contributing a valuable voice to the discussion.

— 3 —

In other blog posting news, I’ve been posting What I Wore Sunday mostly on days that are not Sunday since, um, April (yikes!), but I’m also getting more sleep. I get a slightly better start on the work week. That seems to have been a good tradeoff on all fronts. My friend and reader Dan was right: getting enough sleep is so important that it will throw off the rest of your life.

If only I could get things done and get more sleep. Anyone want to loan me a Time-Turner?

— 4 —

So far, I am only taking group classes in West Coast Swing. My budget doesn’t have room for private lessons just yet, but it will eventually. (It needs room for proper shoes first.) Until then, I stick with focusing on my instructor’s teaching and kitchen practice.

There is no substitute for a real dance floor and real dance shoes, but I’ve found a decent approximation: kitchen practice. I put on my soft-bottomed kitty slippers, cue up a song on my iPhone, mentally mark the ends of the slot in the space between my kitchen island and the window, and dance. I have not yet accidentally fallen through the window, so that’s a win. (Not quite the win I asked for, but I’ll take it).

The long, narrow-ish space helps keep me in the slot. I struggle to stay in it otherwise. The leader is supposed to be in charge of moving the slot, so I think that’s a problem I can work on later.

I don’t have a leader, though. That’s one of the reasons I started taking classes in the first place: to have access to a bunch of willing, generally capable leaders. (So far, they have been at least as capable as I am. Some are far better than I am, but we work it out.) Practicing without a partner is tricky, yet it has helped me develop a new appreciation for how hard it is to lead. It’s a whole different level of work to lead yourself without a partner while working on how you’re following. Whew!

— 5 —

The GTD podcast has finally rebooted! It’s produced by the real David Allen Company, and it’s free. I attempted to listen to Episode 3, the guided mind sweep, while driving to work this morning. This was a mistake because (a) generating to-do items when you can’t capture them is extremely frustrating, and (b) it started with a warning not to listen unless you were prepared to capture. It all worked out in the end, though, because my phone started freaking out and randomly restarting, so I had to stop listening anyway. #fail converted to #winning.

— 6 —

If that song weren’t so great for dancing West Coast Swing, I would never listen to it. But it is. I settle for not practicing to it so as not to increase the YouTube stats. So there!

— 7 —

It was a quiet week, so I’ll leave it at six takes. Until next time!


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

7 Quick Takes on Harry Potter, Bedtime, Dance, and More Dance

7qt_lyceum

— 1 —

A friend and I watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone this week. She is a mild movie talker, as am I, so it was delightful commenting on bits and pieces as we watched. The good conversation made up for the hit parade of bad child acting.

I mentioned that I follow the Harry Potter feed on Buzzfeed to nourish my need for ongoing fandom. When I said that, though, I realized that I am really behind on all my feeds, so I hopped in to check it out.

In a list of Marauders headcanon (unofficial/fan ideas about the lives of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs), I came across this gem:

http://dailyvituperation.tumblr.com/post/70659975683/malallory-do-you-ever-think-about-how-remus

Does that not break your Harry Potter-loving heart? (With a little commandment-breaking, but still.)

— 2 —

In other life news, I broke a nail last night. I know, “I broke a nail” is the epitome of vapid things that vapid girls say, but I broke mine making up my bed (jammed it on the wooden frame of my box spring), and it really hurt.

🎶 One of these things is not like the others. 🎶 The good news: my bed is made. The bad news: ouch!

A photo posted by Lindsay Wilcox (@whatlindsayloves) on

The occasion inspired my first ever use of emoji. I think I get it now. Those little musical notes were just what I needed. Sesame Street for life!

— 3 —

I have been working hard this month to establish a bedtime. In the past, it has been really difficult for me to go to bed on time. I feel like a middle schooler when I go to bed before I’m good and ready. (For comparison, my last high school started at 9:30 a.m.) It’s a blessing that I have no trouble at all falling asleep or staying asleep, but I struggled with getting to “head to pillow” at the time I wanted (let alone the time I should be there).

A few specific things have been helpful:

  • I made note of how long it takes me to get from “time to get ready for bed” to “head to pillow.” Right now, I’m not working on speeding that up. The key is acknowledging the actual time it takes instead of how long I wish it took.
  • I picked the time I wanted to be in bed based on a realistic number. Incremental changes seem to work best for me.
  • I set a bedtime alarm. I use Google Calendar and sync it with my phone, so when it’s bedtime, my browser gets hijacked and I hear the chime. It forces me to acknowledge what time it is and that, if I stay up any longer, I’m only hurting Morning Lindsay.
  • I obey my bedtime alarm.

That last thing is the new one. I have had my bedtime alarm for months, but I was treating it like a guideline instead of an actual rule. I noticed that, when I obey it, I can actually reach “head to pillow” a little bit early. When I snooze it, so to speak, I have to rush. I hate being rushed.

I’ve noticed that my body is getting the hint because I start to feel sleepy as my alarm time approaches. Now if only I can get it to stop feeling sleepy when I need to get up, I’ll be golden.

— 4 —

Back in my first month of social dance classes, I spotted someone I know from trivia in the studio. She was having a private lesson when I was on my way to my group class. I didn’t want to interrupt, so I just smiled to myself and kept going.

Last night, she finally spotted me back. Unfortunately, I was running later than usual and had already missed the beginning of the warm-up dance, so I couldn’t stop to chat. It is a lovely thing when worlds collide.

— 5 —

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am taking West Coast Swing classes. This is my third month. I think I chose well because everything I see, read, and experience proves that WCS is one of the hardest partner dances to learn; i.e. it’s the best focus for me right now.

In every other partner dance I’ve tried, the follower’s moves mirror the leader’s. Not so with WCS. I do have to pick up on my leader’s signals so as not to run him over, but there is much more freedom for interpretation and/or potential for stumbling along awkwardly. I’m slowly getting better at experimenting with the former and avoiding the latter. I’m also getting better at the principle of “just smile and keep dancing” instead of apologizing all the time.

— 6 —

I’d like to take regular classes in other dances, too, but in the meantime, I need a more budget-friendly option for branching out. I invited a friend to Newcomer Night in May, where I learned a smattering of Jitterbug and foxtrot to add to my tiny repertoire. Newcomer Nights include entry to the regular weekly social dance, which was perfect because I was already warmed up, in the mood to dance, and capable of the basic step in two more dances than I’d known going in.

It was at that social that I first encountered Triple Two-Step. I had literally never even attempted it before, which I admitted to the lead who asked me to dance. He was undeterred and showed me the basic step. He then proceeded to lead me despite:

  • our distinct height differential (I’m pretty tall for a woman),
  • my zero level of experience, and
  • my struggle with regular Two-Step, as well as every progressive dance (the kind that moves in a circle).

Nobody fell down, nobody got injured, and we both survived until the song ended. Wins all around!

— 7 —

My old piano teacher came into town to visit last week, so we went to dinner. Since I was already out, I decided to go social dancing again. This was the first time I’d gone by myself and not for a class.

I had such a good time! At this point, I still need the comfort and small size of my studio environment. I’m not ready to be released into the wild. I don’t need a buddy, but I do need to feel safe.

I found myself following yet another dance I’ve never done before (merengue) and with another short leader. I am always impressed when men who are substantially shorter than I am are comfortable asking me to dance. It doesn’t bother me; I can follow any height. They have the tough part learning to lead spins around my head, way up high. Many have learned to lead spins around my waist, but I haven’t noticed that being taught in any of my group classes at this studio, so I don’t know where they learned it.

I was feeling so bold that I asked a few men to dance myself. It’s not an old-school TOB thing or a fear thing that keeps me from asking more often. It’s that I am not very good yet and that I am basically giving him a job. But the only way to learn is to practice, and I haven’t been turned down yet. That first rejection must be coming, but I am choosing to think happy thoughts, like Fraulein Maria.

We have confidence, and we are awkward together. It's cool.


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