Tag Archives: food

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.


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Friday Fives

I swear I’m really back in action this time!

August 24: Food

  1. What’s your favorite fruit? It’s a tie between apples and green grapes. I also love, love, love orange juice, but I don’t like the original fruit.
  2. What’s your favorite vegetable? I don’t think I have a favorite. I love fresh spinach on its own as a salad, but I also find cooked broccoli (lightly salted) very tasty.
  3. What’s your favorite protein? This is a unique way of asking this question, because it works for vegetarians and vegans, too. I like that. I love beef. Living in Texas has made me like beef even more. Bacon is pretty tasty, too, though. Mmm, bacon.
  4. What’s your favorite dish to cook? My specialty is called Pasta Lindsay. It’s rotini tossed with tomato sauce (extra oregano) and ground sausage. I am strong believer in tossing pasta in sauce rather than letting people sauce it themselves.
  5. What’s your favorite dish that someone else makes for you? I will only eat egg salad if my mom makes it for me. She used to make it occasionally for my school lunch when I was very small. I remember the excitement I felt when I went into the kitchen after dinner to find eggs boiling on the stove. It was like a lunch preview!

photo of chicken-fried bacon by Cara Fealy Choate

August 31: Travel

  1. Have you ever left the country you live in and where? Oh, yes. I used to live in Germany and Japan and traveled elsewhere in Europe. And last spring break, I went to Nicaragua, of course.
  2. What countries would you visit if time and money were not problems? I would love to visit Australia. It’d be nice to be in a country where I only have to manage foreign vocabulary instead of a whole language. It’d also be awesome to visit Rome or the Holy Land.
  3. Out of all the foreign food you’ve tried, which is your favorite and why? I don’t like much Asian food, but I make an exception for chicken teriyaki. That’s yummy. I also had something in Germany called a Speicher cake which was the most cheesecake-like thing I ate (before I discovered actual cheesecake).
  4. Can you name all 7 continents? Yes.
  5. Which continent are you least likely to ever want to see and why? Antarctica, because it’s ridiculously cold and unforgiving. I can’t recall at the moment, but I’m pretty sure that not even penguins will live there.

September 8: Sports

  1. What is your favorite sport to watch? I don’t really like sports, but basketball is okay. Play generally keeps going, delays are minimal, and I can see the players because they’re not wearing pads. If you need thirty pounds of padding, can you really call what you’re doing “fun”?
  2. What is your favorite sport to play? Ha.
  3. Favorite sports team? Any that have colors that flatter me. I pretend UMD’s fourth color (gold) doesn’t exist most of the time.
  4. Favorite sports player? I would have to watch sports to care. My brother?
  5. Why do you enjoy watching/playing your favorite sport? I don’t!

September 21: Cell Phones

  1. When did you get your first cell phone? I was in high school. Tenth grade, I think, or maybe eleventh. I wasn’t expecting it at all, and it was definitely an adventure.
  2. Do you have any special ring tones, if so what are they? My current ring tone is “Call Me,” by Blondie. Technically it’s people already calling me, but I heard it on someone else’s phone once and thought it would be awesome. And it is. I also use “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson for my Motown-loving mom and the theme song from Star Trek: TNG for my dad. Good times.
  3. Does your phone have a camera? Yes! Don’t all phones have cameras these days? Even the cheap ones?
  4. What kind of phone do you have now? I have a two-year-old iPhone 4. I’m due for an upgrade, but I can’t afford the two adapters I’d need if I got the 5 right now. I also can’t quite afford the phone itself.
  5. What carrier do you use? I have had AT&T since back when half of it was Cingular. I’ve gotten good reception and customer service so far.

And now I’m caught up on the F5! I feel so accomplished.

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 184

— 1 —

Let’s start this week with a video. I was searching for the lyrics to No Doubt’s new song, discovered that P.O.D. released an album this year, and decided to figure out which was the latest of their songs I remember. Turns out it’s this one, so here’s a nice throwback Christian hip-hop video for you.

(P.S. Watch all the way to the end and see if you can spot a certain pop diva who has made various bad life choices since those days.)

— 2 —

In addition to doing marriage preparation, I am now our non-priest baptism preparer. I had my first “student” on Tuesday. We run a sort of self-study course since we have so few baptisms, and he did a great job preparing. My role was mostly to acknowledge his learning and fill out the appropriate forms. I still love it when people do their homework.

— 3 —

I went to confession on Saturday. I think I’ve mentioned here before that I am on a once-a-month schedule, but this time I actually needed to go. I always feel a little awkward going in; since I’m there so often; I’m in and out pretty quickly. I’m too busy being absolved and happy to notice anyone’s reaction, though.

— 4 —

I am leaving tomorrow morning (so early) for a retreat. I actually get to go on this one! I was offered the opportunity to give a talk, but I politely declined because this is the one retreat I get to go on all year that is not work. It’s just time for me to hang out and pray and learn and just be. I am very excited.

— 5 —

In preparation for the retreat, I just finished baking eight dozen cookies. The recipe officially yields five dozen, but I guess I must have used a tablespoon to drop them last time instead of a teaspoon. That leaves me with six dozen to take on retreat and about a dozen and a half for myself/coworkers. And my apartment smells like chocolatey heaven.

I call them monster cookies. I like to imagine that the oatmeal cookie sneaked up and ate the chocolate chip and peanut butter. No one suspects the oatmeal cookie.

— 6 —

On Tuesday, my door refused to lock. It was frustrating because then I had two broken locks (including the deadbolt), and I can’t exactly leave my apartment unlocked. I will give my management company credit for sending someone within ten minutes of my frustrated call and then making sure the problem was actually fixed, but I will not give them credit for letting an entire business day go by between my reporting the almost-non-lockability and their actually fixing it. The regular maintenance guys showed up about an hour ago (8 p.m. on a Friday). Nope; locking just fine now, five days after I told you about the problem.

— 7 —

Oh! I almost forgot: I got new glasses! The prescription is basically the same, but the frames are totally new. This is the biggest change I’ve made in five years. I also have sunglasses now. They have made my world figuratively brighter (and literally shadier, of course), and they are Wayfarers, so I feel like I’m living “The Boys of Summer” every day. When I have a good hair day, I’ll get a new picture, so it should be up in about a year.

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