Currently: June 2017

Currently at Lindsay Loves

My May kind of crawled along, much like April, but then it picked up like crazy! The last few days have been slightly overwhelming. I’m not engaged; I just got a job. Blog-appropriate details are forthcoming.

Here’s what I am currently…

Planning: Well, my life is kind of up in the air at the moment. This is good because having a job means I have things to do, but it’s bad because I sort of had a life beforehand. I love habits and routines, and mine have changed a lot. Setting new routines will take a while, and although I am glad to have the reason for the changes, I’m anxious about how those changes are actually going to go.

Yes, that is all vague. It’s vague on purpose.

Wishing: I had put more attention into completing my personal projects when I had more time on my hands. I’m delighted to have kept up my prayer habits, worked on my Spanish vocabulary, and read the entire books of Wisdom, Timothy, and 1 Peter, but my physical files are just as sloppy as they were before.

Learning: The ropes of my new job. I forgot how awful it is to be the new girl, but there are some clear advantages. I’m older, so I know my self-worth, maturity, and capabilities. I’ve experienced enough company and organizational cultures to know that every one is different. You just have to learn over time who to trust, who has your back, and how things go around the place (especially as they relate to the way they’re supposed to go). That was probably one of my best takeaways from my last job: figuring out the culture, finding my place in it, and rejecting it where appropriate.

Browsing: The J-Archive. Since I watch the show live most days now, I’m really just looking for the winners’ Coryat scores (at-home score equivalents) to see how well or poorly I’m doing. I got Final Jeopardy! wrong for over a week a while back, which was sobering. Without the data, though, I wouldn’t have realized that at all.

Going: To visit Mr. Man’s family for Memorial Day. Most of my friends in Austin were too far into parenting for a young adult celebration of holidays, but not far enough into it for a family-plus-friends-and-their-families gathering, so I spent most of my holidays alone for a while. It was nice to not be alone.

Recapping: May

  • I started blogging about using Todoist instead of Wunderlist.
  • I became re-certified in Adult CPR and AED. I am now qualified to save your life.
  • Mr. Man and I crushed at trivia (more than once!), attended a wedding together (just the one time), and finished watching the first season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I think I can safely say we enjoyed all of these things.
  • I got my teaching license renewed.

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


Currently is hosted on the first Wednesday of each month by Anne of In Residence. This month’s guest co-host is Erin of Love, Fun, and Football. Won’t you join us?

Sunday Style: Pentecost Possession

After only two months, I’m already accustomed to going to Mass with Mr. Man. It helps tremendously that, not having lived in Louisville independently, I don’t have any parish ties. I’m about ready to settle down with a parish, though. We’ll see how that goes.

Here’s what I wore on Sunday:

Sunday Style for June 4

Top: Target
Dress (worn as a skirt): The Limited
Shoes: Payless wedges
Earrings: ancient gift

Everyone seems to be more interested in dressing liturgically when the color of the day is red. Did your pastor ask you to wear red to Mass for Pentecost? That’s becoming really common: the explicit request for the congregation to wear the liturgical color for Pentecost. Sometimes I also hear it on Palm Sunday, but not as often. It makes me want to shout, “But wait! There’s more! You can dress liturgically for basically half the year!” (No one owns twenty weeks of green clothes for Ordinary Time.)

But I’ll take any number of fellow liturgical dressers. I forgot to request that Mr. Man join me this week. Maybe he’ll wear a white shirt for Trinity Sunday?

We returned to last week’s parish. Father L began his homily by comparing the process of learning to follow Jesus to learning a trade. I don’t think as many people learn trades as they used to, though. Think about how many people struggle with cooking. That’s something you usually learn at home. Basic car repair tasks like checking tire air pressure and replacing windshield wiper blades become mysteries. There’s a whole category of things that I hear people complain they “didn’t learn in school,” but school isn’t supposed to be the place where you learn everything.

Those were my thoughts, though, not his point. His point was that apprenticeship always starts with the easy lessons, the ones that seem dumb. “Here’s a socket wrench. This is what it does.” “Brown this ground beef.” When you thought you were learning how to build a table or make lasagna, the first steps seem like boring hoops to hump through before you get to the good stuff.

In the same way, he said, the basics of the Catholic life seem like a long list of boring rules that don’t get you anywhere. “Go to Mass every Sunday.” “Don’t use birth control.” The goal is heaven, but Day 1 can make it feel like the goal is “don’t have any fun.”

In later days and years of our spiritual maturity, we’re heading toward the goal more obviously. It’s easy to forget that the spiritual masters became so, however, because they mastered the easy steps first. St. Teresa of Calcutta didn’t have to wonder whether she really needed to go to Mass on Sunday or if she could skip it occasionally because she was busy. She just went.

Getting to that level of mastery requires the help of the Holy Spirit. We can ask for his help. We should ask for his help and be attentive to receiving it. We must beg the Holy Spirit for possession of our beginner-level hearts to lead us toward spiritual mastery in heaven.


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 Criticism, Feedback, and the Rosary

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

— 1 —

I caused a bit of a kerfuffle in the comments section after last week’s take on constructive criticism. I’ve been reading advice from Gottman Certified Therapists for several months now (maybe even years), so I’m very familiar with the lingo. As with basically all areas of my life, words were very important to the point I was trying to make there. I was working with the Gottman definition of criticism, which is very specific and applies to the thoughts I shared. If you define it differently, then yes, I might have sounded like a crazy person.

The Gottmans are known for their Love Lab, wherein they videotaped couples after asking them to recall a recent disagreement. Through analyzing these conversations, they identified four major behaviors that were far more prevalent in couples that eventually divorced than in couples that stayed together. He calls them the four horsemen of the apocalypse: criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness.

So when I hear “criticism,” I hear “horseman of the relationship apocalypse.” That’s why I think constructive criticism ruins relationships, at home and in the world.

— 2 —

Some of the comment-section discussion on whether constructive criticism can ever be okay turned more towards “feedback.” I think of feedback as being positive, negative, or even neutral, but some people have the same aversion to that word as I do to “criticism.” Smart, Pretty, and Awkward recently included a link to an article about asking for advice instead of feedback. As a culture, we know that advice is meant to be helpful. If someone gives you unhelpful advice (or advice you don’t want to take), you just ignore it. That’s a strategy I can get behind.

— 3 —

I go grocery shopping every Saturday, and today this happened:

— 4 —

I also watch Jeopardy! almost every day, and this week, this happened:

— 5 —

I use Windows 10, and after the most recent major update (it’s called the “Creators Update”), I kept seeing an all-black window flash across the screen at random times. It was too fast for me to see, and I thought it was a fluke the first time, but it got annoying very quickly. So, once I caught enough of a glimpse during the split-second to have a phrase to Google, I found some help over at Ghacks to stop the pop-up. And now it’s gone.

— 6 —

I think I’m a terrible Catholic because I stopped liking the rosary. I used to pray it on my agonizingly long commute home every day, but after a few weeks here in Louisville sans commute, it started feeling like a chore. I know, I know! I couldn’t not pray, though, so I switched to the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and all is well once again. Except when I forget that the Hail Mary is followed by the Apostles Creed and not a Glory Be, but that’s easily resolved.

— 7 —

I got some positive work-related news this week, but nothing I’m ready to blog about. It’s nice to finally have some.


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

Sunday Style: Home Run?

Once again, I adjusted my Mass schedule to accommodate Mr. Man’s schedule. It just so happened that, this time, we picked my favorite variation.

Here’s what I wore:

Sunday Style for May 28

Shirt: Target
Skirt: Old Navy
Necklace and earrings: Charming Charlie
Shoes: Old Navy

This is a nice transitional outfit. I was dressed for church for a while before we actually went there; this outfit is comfortable enough to wear for long stretches.

We returned to last week’s parish. I try very, very hard not to prefer parishes for just one reason: geographical proximity, quality of preaching (by my own undoubtedly flawed standards for something so inherently difficult), musical style, apparent age of the population, ornateness of the church building, etc. But I like this one for a lot of reasons, so we might have a winner in my reluctant parish shopping trip.

Fr. J opted to chant, in English, almost all the parts of the Mass that can be chanted. I like chanting; Mr. Man does not. I’ll give him credit for disliking chant just because he does and not because he doesn’t know how. No one’s born learning how to chant, so that’s not a valid excuse. You put in the hard work to learn how to read, write, and drive, so you can learn to chant, too. If you don’t like it, though, I can get behind that.

His homily focused on seeing the Ascension not as an increase in the distance between us and Jesus, but as a decrease. I’ve been reading a couple of Easter season daily reflection books, and they both have the annoying habit of trying to put words in my mouth. I get what they’re going for by writing a prayer with first-person singular pronouns. It rankles me, though, to have “I have been so selfish” laid out there for me to pray. What if I haven’t been particularly selfish? Am I supposed to skim the page first, before I pray, to figure out what these authors are going to tell me I’ve been up to? I don’t see why they couldn’t use “we” instead and at least put some distance in there.

Fr. J, on the other hand, suggested that we parishioners might have an inaccurate mental image of what the Ascension means, and if I’m being honest, it was pretty accurate for me. Jesus’ being present in heaven post-ascension is not like the priest’s sitting in the sanctuary or the Eucharist’s storage in the tabernacle. He’s up there; we’re out here; he left us: nope. On the contrary, he described, God the Father is more like the church building as a whole, and by ascending, Jesus has opened the door so that we can walk inside and be so intimately united with him and the Father that we can’t even quite grasp it.

He offered a few examples from Scripture, too. When the storm rises up around the apostles’ boat on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus is up on a mountain praying to the Father (Mark 6:45–8). From his high vantage point, physically and spiritually, Jesus is able to join them instantly by walking across the water towards the boat. He was separated from them, but because he had been “far away,” he was able to save them.

Similarly, when Mary Magdalene sees the risen Jesus outside the tomb on Easter morning, he tells her that his mission is not over because he hasn’t ascended (John 20:11–7). Holding on to him at that moment is a waste of time because he will be more accessible after he ascends to the Father.

It was a pretty sweet homily. Even Mr. Man Who Does Not Like Chant agreed with that.


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 Tacos, “Constructive Criticism,” and Life Alignment

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

— 1 —

Mr. Man and I met some friends of his for dinner last week at Migo. It was tasty. I always struggle with eating tacos because the filling falls out so easily. It makes me want more tortilla. But I’m not eating the taco because I wanted a tortilla; I’m eating it for the stuff in the middle. It feels silly to have to eat some of the filling off the shell with a fork, but that feels less silly than just making a huge mess while the good stuff falls onto my plate. Maybe that’s why I enjoy quesadillas, enchiladas, and pico de gallo more than tacos, tostadas, or salsa: my favorites stay put.

And you thought there was nothing to say about tacos besides “yum.”

— 2 —

Against all odds, Mr. Man and I won trivia again last week! Two first place finishes in a row (adding on to the week before) is unreal. The same friends we went to Migo with came to round out our team. It helps a lot that the “name that tune”-style round is one of my specialties, and he fills in a lot of the science things I don’t know. We’re both humanities nerds, but our nerdery appears to be complementary instead of overlapping, so that’s good.

— 3 —

Kyle Benson at the Gottman Institute blog shared a post recently about how to fruitfully respond to criticism in relationships. The institute focuses on married couples, but this advice totally applies to work relationships, too:

Despite what some people say, there is no such thing as constructive criticism. Criticism triggers a person to become defensive and protect themselves from an attack, which blocks the resolution of a conflict.

Yes, yes, yes! Think about it: no one ever asks to receive “constructive criticism.” It is almost always the criticizer who asks-but-isn’t-really-asking to criticize someone. If Mr. Coworker says, “Can I give you some constructive criticism?” and I say “no,” suddenly I’m in the wrong. It shouldn’t be that way.

The Gottmans rightly call criticism one of the “four horsemen” of the relationship apocalypse. It destroys people’s confidence and makes them respond aggressively and negatively. The asker, in turn, was aggressive and negative. Criticism is never constructive; it’s always destructive.

— 4 —

I had the honor of attending a local wedding last weekend as Mr. Man’s guest. He doesn’t dress up as much as I do for church, but he will for weddings. It was among the smaller weddings I have attended, so there wasn’t quite as much dancing as I usually experience. I realized, though, that I have spent so many weddings of friends entirely on the dance floor mainly to assuage my sadness at being so very single for so very long. It’s hard to feel like you’re alone when you’re busting moves surrounded by your friends. It was a very different experience to be there with mostly people I didn’t know but also with a date.

— 5 —

I participated in the Asian Efficiency Focus Challenge this week. I’m not sure I was the ideal audience, but I appreciated the experience all the same. The key exercise was evaluating my life for alignment. The process is simple: Make a list of the five things that are most important to you. Then make a list of the top five things you spend your time on. Are those lists the same? If not, what can you do to make them match?

— 6 —

I happen to have known this bishop when he was Vicar General of Austin, but it’s solid episcopal advice regardless:

— 7 —

The Pentecost novena starts today! I like to pray the version hosted by EWTN. Your mileage may vary.


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

Wunderlist to Todoist: Handling URLs and Links

I have been using Todoist for one month now. I miss Wunderlist (especially the blue gradient background), but I’ve found a workflow that suits my productivity preferences.

One thing that stood out when I first switched and didn’t yet have Premium features was the way I used URLs in Wunderlist. I hadn’t realized it was such a big deal until I made the switch.

For the record, I thought about including this in my initial switching post, but it’s such a niche usage that I thought I’d isolate it for people who are looking for this specific problem and not really anything else. Maybe the search engine algorithms will do us a favor.

How I Used Bare URLs in Wunderlist

One of my favorite Wunderlist features was that I could paste a URL into any item’s title and have it stay a URL but also become instantly clickable. I got used to seeing the bare URLs. Sometimes I want to see the bare URL. I even found a Firefox extension that gives me bare URLs from Google search results so I could paste them right in without having to click, wait for Google to process, and finally copy the real URL. It was a solid workflow, especially with well-formed URLs (the kind that use words instead of numbers, so you have some idea where the link is taking you).

Todoist has one feature I found supremely annoying. My imported URLs were still there, but they didn’t display as bare URLs anymore. Todoist automatically changes any URL to a hyperlink.

What I saw in Wunderlist: wunderlisturls

What I see automatically in Todoist: todoistwheresthelinkannotated

What I see pre-trick (described below) in task edit mode in Todoist: todoisthalfurlannotated

So for the first time in recent memory, a “feature” was a nuisance for me.

My Solution for Bare URLs in Todoist

I tried deleting Todoist’s automatic link titles (the words you click on). It just converted them again. I tried adding the URL as a comment. That’s a Premium feature. I tried using parentheses or brackets around the bare URL. The URL was no longer clickable.

My solution was to change my typing flow a little bit. The main problem is a visual thing: the links don’t look any different from plain text until I mouse over them. I want to see some visual indicator that, at a glance, tells me “this part is a link.” So I added a caret symbol before the URL:

todoistcareturltrick

You can’t use carets in URLs, so there’s no chance it will get mixed in with the link. I don’t even generally see carets in page titles, and I don’t use them myself, so they don’t look like part of any normal text. Todoist still converts the URL, but it leaves the caret alone.

I ran a search for “http” and found all my imported tasks with URLs. (There were many.) The simpler-format URLs (without the “http://” part) won’t convert, but they also won’t be clickable. I had to update all my URLs by hand, but it worked. Hooray!

Todoist Just Isn’t Good Enough Without Premium

Now that I have Todoist Premium, I just paste my URLs into comments. The automatically-converted URLs actually look quite nice there.

This was a specific example of the reason I didn’t stick with Todoist when I was first looking for a task manager: I had to pay to get what I considered basic features. Sadly, nothing has changed. I became a power user with Wunderlist, and there’s no going back now. Check out my previous post for a little help with the problem of paying for Premium—and if that doesn’t work anymore, please let me know!

Sunday Style: Feels Like Home?

Mr. Man and I attended Mass at yet another parish than the ones we have been to. I am happy to be able to accommodate his registered parish and his heavy travel schedule; don’t get me wrong. It still feels strange to not have found a parish I can call “mine” yet. I’ve never been a fan of church shopping, but here we are.

I remain a fan of shopping my closet for outfits, though, so here I am:

Sunday Style for May 21

Shirt and tank top: Target
Skirt and shoes: Old Navy
Necklace: holy medals
Earrings: old, old gift
Headband (it’s on there): also Target, I think

We went to a wedding on Saturday afternoon, and I did my laundry before and after the wedding, so I was not in the mood to fuss around with clothes any more than strictly necessary. I like this outfit because it doesn’t need ironing and it “fixes” a tank top cut in a way I wouldn’t usually wear otherwise.

This week’s parish felt the most like the majority of parishes I’ve belonged to. I’m eager to just pick a parish already. Joining Mr. Man’s parish would be the simplest, but it has the fewest and least convenient Mass times. Fr. C’s parish is a good “backup” parish; I usually had a regular backup for times in the past when I couldn’t go to my usual parish at my usual time. This new parish has the most Mass times by far, but it’s the furthest drive. Then again, this is such a small city compared to Austin that very few things actually feel like they are far away.

I just want to have decided. The “deciding” part is no fun. I exchanged a few words with the groom at the wedding (initiated by him) about how dating is fun, sure, but no one wants to do it forever. Eventually, you want to settle down. I’m tired of dating parishes; I just want to lock it down.

Fr. E made several slick references to the Easter season’s continuing still. They felt genuine. I’ve found that plenty of people will talk a big game about how Easter goes on for 50 days, but they don’t do anything. I pray the Angelus and Night Prayer year-round, so the switch to the Regina Caeli and a ton of alleluias feels obvious in my life, but that doesn’t spill out into public and shared celebrations the way Lent (and even Christmas) does.

He went on to connect the gospel reading to the earlier scene in which Jesus receives a warning not to enter Samaria with his disciples. James and John, eager beavers, ask if Jesus will call down fire upon Samaria to destroy it. He declines and says he’ll find another way. At the moment, he meant that he would choose another travel route, but from the vantage point of the Resurrection, we discover that he also meant he’d find another way to bring down fire upon Samaria. His “other way” is demonstrated in the first reading, when Philip, Peter, and John visit Samaria once again, this time bringing down the fire of the Holy Spirit. That was an awesome connection.

He also explained that the two sacraments of communion (matrimony and holy orders, which I’ve also heard called the sacraments of service) explicitly contain a calling down of the Holy Spirit. In the new Rite of Celebrating Matrimony, the Litany of the Saints is optional; it’s required for ordinations. In each sacrament, the ones receiving it must lay down their lives for the sake of another.

To my great delight, I took enough notes during the homily that I have some extras that didn’t make it to this post! It’s been a while since I’ve experienced that. I like it. If I can summarize a homily in just one paragraph, I feel like something went wrong.

I’ll end with a quick PSA: Regardless of whether you live in one of the few U.S. dioceses that observes Ascension Thursday, the Original Novena starts this Friday. Join in!


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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