Tag Archives: grammar

7 Quick Takes on Grammar, My Favorite Saint, and My Favorite Band

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

— 1 —

I have a new grammar pet peeve. It turned up several times on completely different websites I was reading yesterday. It’s the word “as” when used as a correlative conjunction without its other half. Correlative conjunctions are phrases which must use both parts in the same sentence to make a comparison.

I lost not only my wallet but also my whole purse.

You can choose either chicken or fish.

Whether he walks or runs, he’ll be late.

You can’t use one part of a correlative conjunction without the other. This real example was the last straw for me:

*After downloading the app on my iPhone, I simply logged in and immediately had access to download as many pictures at once from my [Pinterest] boards.

“As many” as what? As many as you could? That’s pretty circular. As many as you wanted? That’s great! As many as you had time for? Then how long is a complete download going to take?

This goes right up there with comma splices and then/than in my Contemporary Grammar Hall of Shame.

— 2 —

I am a card-carrying member of the Apostleship of Prayer. I also get the monthly e-newsletter with links to the reflections for each month. I don’t like the new content of the email (there’s basically nothing in it except a link to the actual information, which is on the website), but I did like this month’s reflection questions for the evangelization intention:

What are some ways that “the light of the Gospel” can be brought “into public life, into culture, economics and politics” without being rejected as the imposition of religion on non-believers?

Those are quotations from Pope Benedict from the Aparecida meeting in 2007. It’s an interesting question to consider, and it’s basically the story of my life outside the parish grounds. How do you preach the Gospel at all times? (Don’t attempt to quote St. Francis to me. He was a preacher! He found words pretty necessary.)

— 3 —

My week was pretty quiet. I didn’t get a project done on Monday like I wanted to, but I did get my book finished for this week’s ATX Catholic review, so that was pretty good.

I’ve also been working on finding a diagnosis for a specific health problem I’d rather not discuss now except to ask for your prayers. I don’t take very good care of my physical health, so it’s especially challenging for me to work on something that has not been a quick fix.

— 4 —

The feast of my favorite saint, Maria Goretti, was this week! I almost missed it. I have electronic reminders set up for all kinds of things, but somehow I forgot to set one to start my novena. Even my Weekly Review failed me. Then I missed a day somewhere and wound up really far behind. I prayed all nine days’ worth, though, and it gave me some time for reflection on my spiritual life.

St. Maria Goretti is usually known as a patroness of chastity, but she’s gaining a reputation as a patron of mercy as well, particularly in this Year of Mercy. I am especially drawn to her courage and fortitude. I don’t know if I could forgive the guy who just tried to rape and murder me, whether he was about to succeed in the murdering part or not. I don’t know if I could resist the attack for the sake of his soul. I don’t know if I could actually risk death for what I believe in. Could you?

— 5 —

I read a little bit of the Bible every day by way of Night Prayer and Evangelio del dia. It just occurred to me that the latter absolutely counts as the spiritual reading I feel guilty about never doing. Why didn’t I realize that before? I love it when things double-count! (Well, except for that one time with the Immaculate Conception, I guess.)

— 6 —

Switchfoot’s new album is out today! I know, nobody actually buys music anymore these days, but they’re my favorite band. My blog went viral when I reviewed a concert of theirs, I met Jon Foreman and he said he liked my upcycled shirt, and they are the only band besides *NSync I have ever seen in concert. (And I am not ashamed.) So I bought it. I might even text them to say how much I like it.

Yep. And then:

That is so punk rock.

— 7 —

That’s it for this week. Here’s a picture of a Corgi doing yoga (or maybe pilates?)


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

Not Alone Series: Adulting

notaloneseries

How are you still connected to your family of origin (that’s the one you grew up in: parents, siblings, and extended family) even as you are adulting (a.k.a. living as an independent adult, at home or on your own)? How has your relationship with your parents changed as you’ve grown up? How connected are you with your extended family? What aspects of these relationships do you think are affected by your being single? How do you think your family relationships would change after marriage or entering religious life? (Thanks for the topic suggestion, Bek!)

To start, I am on the fence about the grammatical validity of the word “adulting.” Grammar Girl made a solid argument in favor of it last year. I tend to have a similar point of view about making up words: when no suitable word exists, the only logical thing to do is create a new one. Remember when “google” wasn’t a verb? That was only about 15 years ago. Even “teenager” was not a thing until the 50’s or so. There were children; there were adults; there was no in-between.

To the point, adulting is a challenge. People like Pope Francis for a lot of different reasons, but one of my favorite things is that, when he discusses the challenges of modern family life, he always includes the problem of the growing number of unmarried young adults. The statistics don’t lie: this is unprecedented. When my mother was my age, I was 2, and she’d been married for six years. That was not unusual. In the years between her day and mine, people started intentionally getting married later and intentionally having children even later than that (or never), leading us to today, when egg freezing is becoming so common that companies offer to pay for it. You can blame prosperity, higher educational standards, or individualism. Facts are facts: adulting looked a lot different just a generation or two ago.

As for my family, I’m not sure they quite know what to do with me. I know my parents are proud of me and that they support me; it’s a blessing that I’ve never doubted that. I’m pretty sure they expected to have babies underfoot again by now, though. I did, too. My brother is in college, so he doesn’t really have to be an adult yet. My sister is a college graduate living back at home. (If you happen to know anyone in environmental science, drop me a line.) She’s kind of adulting and kind of not, but she does what she can. It’s so strange when I go home for Christmas. We have a house full of adults with no children.

My parents rarely pressure me to get married and have babies, but my extended family thinks I’m just too picky, or that I focused on my career first and purposely put off marriage. They have said as much. The problem with those opinions is that they assume getting married or not is just a matter of choice or timing. It’s not. I would have chosen by now. I would have quit delaying long before now.

I imagine that, if and when I finally do get married, that gray cloud hanging over me will finally go away. My family won’t be wondering what’s wrong with me. I won’t be wondering what’s wrong with me. I want children, but I could be happy without them. I could even be perfectly happy as a religious sister. That would be weird for my family (they’re not religious), but it would be something finite. I don’t think God is calling me to religious life, but I can’t believe he’s calling me to nothing.

Fr. Mike Schmitz mentioned in his most recent video about vocations that the purpose of a permanent vocation (marriage, priesthood, or religious life) is to be the method by which you grow in holiness and get to heaven. The vast majority of people will be made holy through their marriages, priestly ordinations, or religious community life. Those lifelong, exclusive commitments will call them to sacrifice for the other, to love that person or people unconditionally, and to help get the other to heaven. Until recently, very, very few people were called to remain single for life and become holy as single lay men and women.

So is the calling to unvowed lay single life growing, or are we all just adulting wrong?


Next week’s topic: Conversation Starters

Watch this space for details; we are working on the schedule for the rest of October! Like our Facebook Page for regular alerts of upcoming topics.

Link up below!

7 Quick Takes That Are Actually Quick This Time

7qt_lyceum

— 1 —

My long-term attempt to establish a bedtime has been going much better than usual over the past few weeks. I’m behind on my blog reading, but I found myself at Jen Fulwiler’s rebranded site recently reading an old post about how to survive burnout. (Thanks for the link in your Monday Musings a few weeks ago, Kim; I needed that.) Her first recommendation was to get more sleep. Message heard; life changes begrudgingly made.

— 2 —

I watched a Theology-on-Tap style presentation that Bobby and Jackie Angel gave a few weeks ago in New York City. It’s about a Catholic vision of dating, and it’s worth a watch if you’ve got some time. There are some gems in there. The best was a (parody) Catholic pick-up line dropped by Jackie:

I would say “God bless you,” but clearly, he already has.

— 3 —

My office wi-fi password has been the same since I started working for the company two years ago. It ends in a string of letters. I always thought they were random, or maybe based on someone’s name who is no longer with the company. One of the superintendents came into the office and asked me for the password, and he instantly connected those “random” letters with a phrase that totally makes sense. Never underestimate construction guys, and never overestimate yourself: lesson learned.

— 4 —

After my explanation of how finding the beat is critical to learning to dance and linking to a simple video teaching the same, my dance teacher gave a very quick lesson in doing that exact thing. It happened last week and with such uncanny timing that he might have been reading my blog! (He could be; I guess. It’s public. That’s my name and picture in the sidebar.)

It’s more likely that he just noticed how incredibly off the beat some of us were and knew he needed to fix it ASAP. But what’s life without a tiny bit of feeling like you’re being watched? Being watched in class worked out for me, because my teacher complimented me when I randomly helped him demonstrate the pattern from two weeks ago, and that ultimately led to this milestone:

Just got promoted to Level 3, thanks in part to these puppies! #shoes #dance #westcoastswing #winning

A post shared by Lindsay Wilcox (@whatlindsayloves) on

— 5 —

Grammar news is not terribly frequent, so I don’t post about it here as much as I think about it in my day-to-day. I greatly enjoyed reading Neal Whitman’s essay, read by Grammar Girl on her podcast, about why English words have silent letters. That’s more of a pronunciation, linguistic, and spelling issue than a grammar one, but it’s just as fascinating. My standard explanation is that funky silent letters are found in non-English words that we have “borrowed” into English. We’re never giving them back, but we’ll “borrow” the extra letters just the same. We just won’t pronounce them. So there!

— 6 —

Continuing on my theme of “favorite topics I don’t actually blog about very often,” I stumbled across this amazing sheet of J.K. Rowling’s plot outline for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix via the Goodreads blog. It’s incredible!

I don’t care much about plotting vs. pantsing. Whatever she did worked out swimmingly. What sticks out to me are two of the column headings. The original poster seems to have missed it, but it looks like Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix were originally reversed! Read the columns. The things that are listed as happening to the “O of P” happen to Dumbledore’s Army in the published novel, and vice versa. I support the switch. I’m less supportive of changing Umbridge’s first name from “Elvira.” That is a much less likeable name than” Dolores.”

— 7 —

In case you missed it, I posted a reflection on some marriage advice for singles to Austin CNM last week. Even if you disagree with his conclusions, there’s some useful food for thought. Single people need marriage advice, too!


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

7 Quick Takes on How to Find the Beat and How Not to Miss the Company Meeting

7qt_lyceum

— 1 —

I wrote last week’s takes long before I published them, so I wasn’t able to include my most recent dance intro because it hadn’t happened yet. I took a friend to Newcomer Night several months ago to learn a sprinkling of Foxtrot and Jitterbug. Last week, I took a different friend to refresh my Salsa and learn a sprinkling of Bachata.

She got there a little late, so I had to leap right into the Bachata lesson. By listening, I was able to pick up that all I’d missed were discussions of walking steps versus triple steps. NBD. It was relatively easy to reprogram my brain for Bachata since that started by moving side-to-side (whereas West Coast Swing and Two-Step move mainly backwards and forwards).

— 2 —

I also learned that I should stop taking beginning Salsa lessons. I think that was my fourth overall. I have a total of three moves, but I am a pro at those three moves! If I get some extra cash, I might dip into Salsa 1 at my studio. It meets right before my regular West Coast Swing class. Maybe that’s not a coincidence.

— 3 —

My company has a quarterly, off-site, all-hands meeting. They are scheduled at the beginning of the company year in February, but our COO usually sends a reminder email about two weeks in advance. You know the kind: “Be there. If you think you can talk your way out of it, you have one week to do so.”

This time, we did not get that reminder. If I hadn’t overheard one of my project managers talking to my old boss about it in the hallway, I would have forgotten completely—and I don’t think I would have been the only one. It worked out in the end, but I have little doubt that if I hadn’t been cubicle eavesdropping, I would have been sitting at my desk, happily typing away, when people started leaving for the meeting.

The moral of the story: always look ahead on your calendar.

— 4 —

I’ve been learning to dance West Coast Swing for a few months now, but (of course) I can only dance it with someone who can lead it. In the course of my Internet research (you are not surprised that I do research), I found a video showing probably the easiest dance on planet Earth that is not the middle school sway.

See? Even if you think you can’t dance, you can probably learn to do that, especially to something with a strong, thumping bass. DJ Snake songs are some of my favorites to dance WCS to, actually. The beat drops, and all is well.

— 5 —

The creator/author of the previous video, James Joseph, also has one on how to find and count sets of 8. I used to play instruments, so that’s second nature for me. I have actually physically stumbled when someone starts on 2 or 6 because I can feel in my body how unnatural that is.

James Joseph makes a point I have yet to see anywhere else: all dance teachers expect you to know how to find and count beats of music, but none of them teach you how to find and count beats of music. In their defense, they’re not music teachers. Yet you must know how to find 1 if you’re ever going to learn to lead a dance to music. When your teacher kicks you out of the nest and says, “Here’s some music; start on your own,” you must fly!

If you know me in real life, I can help you learn this. I have rhythm and a teaching degree (in English, but it’s more broadly applicable than that).

— 6 —

Dennis, Nell, Edna, Leon, Nedra, Anita, Rolf, Nora, Alice, Carol, Leo, Jane, Reed, Dena, Dale, Basil, Rae, Penny, Lana, Dave, Denny, Lena, Ida, Bernadette, Ben, Ray, Lila, Nina, Jo, Ira, Mara, Sara, Mario, Jan, Ina, Lily, Arne, Bette, Dan, Reba, Diane, Lynn, Ed, Eva, Dana, Lynne, Pearl, Isabel, Ada, Ned, Dee, Rena, Joel, Lora, Cecil, Aaron, Flora, Tina, Arden, Noel, and Ellen sinned.

That is a palindrome. Mind. Blown. Courtesy of Grammarly.

— 7 —

I was so excited about this last week that I forgot to blog it: the relics of St. Maria Goretti are coming to the U.S. this fall. She is my absolute favorite saint. I pray her novena every summer. Her relics have never been brought to the U.S. before, and one of the cities she will visit is just a few hours away from me: Houston.

I don’t really believe in coincidences, but I do believe in small miracles. I just happened to be living in the perfect region to fairly easily see Pope Benedict when he visited the U.S. I won’t be able to see Pope Francis in Philly, but not taking the time and money to do that will enable me to take the time and money to do this.

Really, what more could I ask for?


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

7 Quick Takes on Debt, Lent, and Grammar

7qt_lyceum

— 1 —

I have officially paid off my first student loan!

I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I read The Total Money Makeover. I’ve considered the merits of the debt snowball versus the debt avalanche versus every other method of debt repayment. Using YNAB meant that I had to save up cash for Christmas, car repairs, annual bills, and a trip to my friend’s wedding in Boston. (That last one hasn’t happened yet.) I thought I would be on the “slow and steady (and expensive)” plan for the next many years.

Then I wrote the check to my lender. And now that loan is gone!

I have four more, and the last one is several times the one I just paid off, but gaining this momentum gives me so much joy. I couldn’t have done it without realizing that You (I) Need a Budget.

— 2 —

National Grammar Day was two weeks ago, but I took Grammarly’s “What Kind of Grammar Lover Are You?” quiz just last week.

The Pedant's Grammarian

I’m choosing to see this as a good thing.

— 3 —

As it turns out, I only subscribed to one set of daily Lenten emails: the series by Fr. Robert Barron. They are so good, guys. His message on the Parable of the Prodigal Son helped me see it in a whole new light. I finally understood the role of the father a few years ago, and now I understand the non-prodigal son, too. Mind blown.

— 4 —

I did not subscribe to Best Lent Ever, because I don’t always find Matthew Kelly meeting me where I am, but this video about the one thing that keeps him (and me) Catholic is fantastic. Just watch it. (I can’t embed it. Sharing fail.)

— 5 —

These quick takes have taken me so long that I’m going to call it a day with five. If you’re itching for more, check out my post today for Austin CNM about confession. Anyone can tell you how to go or why. I’ve got insider tips. Check them out and add your own in the comments!

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

7 Quick Takes on 2 Viral Things and Also Grammar

7qt_lyceum

— 1 —

That intense cold I mentioned last week is still hanging on. It has now taken the form of a super-attractive persistent cough. I’ve sworn up and down that I have not taken up smoking for Lent, but I sure sound like it. Cough medicine isn’t working, and I can’t exactly work on cough drops all day. I’m about at the point of pursuing home remedies. I would love to hear yours in the comments.

— 2 —

I think I just had my third viral post. The first was an ancient one back in the days when my blog was called Contrariwise, Switchfoot’s website had a fan-run blog, and fewer than 50 visits in one day was a big deal. The second was my post on my five favorite love songs. I hit Hallie’s link-up at just the right time to snag one of the first few spots, and my traffic was accordingly gigantic.

This time, it was my post on joining the Apostleship of Prayer. I’ve already mentioned that the national director and children’s ministry director, Fr. James Kubicki and Grace Urbanski, had read and enjoyed my post. They said they wanted to share it (although you can’t really demand permission for anything that isn’t behind a login wall), and I was totally cool with that.

I did not expect them to share it in the monthly e-newsletter. I opened mine shortly after it arrived and was bewildered to find a giant photo of myself. My bank includes my name in its emails so I know they’re real, but none of the previous AOP e-newsletters have had a picture of me. Then I realized it was about me. This month’s universal intention is for women (in accordance with International Women’s Month), so I guess they went with me since I am one!

I can’t quite express how flattered I am. I even sent a link to my mom, and, as mentioned, my site traffic was ridiculous. It was my best single day (traffic-wise) ever.

— 3 —

The other highlight of my week was getting to visit my former roommate and her new baby. The little cutie pie was several weeks early, so we showered New Mom with gifts after her daughter was born. It was pretty delightful to get to hold the baby at the shower.

I showed up empty-handed that day, though, because I had only been invited a few days before. I was left off the Evite list at first. New Mom was super chill and completely understood. I was able to get in some shopping and wrapping over the weekend, so I went over to see the new little family after work yesterday.

I think I've found my new side hustle: reusing ribbons. #upcycle #presents #pretty

A post shared by Lindsay Wilcox (@whatlindsayloves) on

Among our conversation topics was the completely casual way infants spit up. They seem totally unfazed by food going back out of their mouths. I guess it’s pretty new that food is going in, though, so out isn’t as much of a surprise.

— 4 —

Matt Maher is releasing a new album! It will be all new songs, not mostly live ones like the previous album. I was rather disappointed by that last one, although I understood that his life changed a bit after getting married and having two kids.

I received the happy news of this new material through the email newsletter. (I’ve been signed up for years.) In addition to advertising, he has been sending out a series of daily reflections based on the lyrics from his song “Because He Lives.” The reflections are, of course, awesome.

The campaign worked. I pre-ordered the deluxe version, getting me “Because He Lives” immediately, and I’m listening to a free-in-exchange-for-your-email stream of a few other songs. I am pleased.

— 5 —

We have a new bishop! I’ve lived in Austin for almost five years now, and I said Bishop Joe needed an auxiliary the whole time. Back home, they have three auxiliaries. My friend Michael Raia, whose writing on his employer’s blog I have recommended here before, was able to attend the Mass for Bishop Garcia’s ordination. His summary of the background info and the Mass itself is fantastic, and you should go read it.

— 6 —

March 4th was National Grammar Day! I do love grammar, and I was delighted to have several friends share happy greetings on my Facebook wall. The best press I saw was this interview by Grammarly with Martha Brockenbrough, who started the whole holiday. I may or not be a card-carrying member of her other brainchild, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG).

— 7 —

I had takes about Jesus (via Bishop Garcia) and grammar, but I don’t have any Harry Potter takes today. Sad day. Next time?

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

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 214

— 1 —

Wednesday was a pretty awful day. I haven’t been that excited for a day to be over in a very, very long time. It was the kind of awful that bled over into the following days and won’t be finished for a long time. I can’t give details just yet, but when I do, I hope you’ll understand. If you’re the praying type, please pray for me. If not, please send me good wishes. I am also accepting good news (although the news of a friend’s engagement–one that I was pushing for—is going to be hard to beat).

— 2 —

My life isn’t all bad, though. I’m blogging again, so that’s good. I’ve been keeping up with my reviews over at Austin Catholic New Media, which means I’ve been doing lots of reading. Rebuilt actually encouraged me to try to revitalize the parish (so to speak) I work in now, even if I wasn’t a total convert to the method.

— 3 —

I went to Belize for our spring break mission trip. I managed to get sunburned again, but it wasn’t quite as blistering hot. I’m barely through the photos since March was such a crazy month, but I’ll have a full recap soon. There will not be chicken baskets, though; sorry.

— 4 —

March also had Easter in it, which added to my busy-ness. We had three baptisms, including one dad who’s been going to Mass with his wife throughout their eighteen-year relationship, and four confirmations (with another who went home to be confirmed with her mom). I wasn’t able to wear my usual Easter Vigil skirt, but I got a ton of compliments on my substitute outfit.

Dress from Kohl's. Bolero jacket from Target. Shoes from Payless.

Dress from Kohl’s. Bolero jacket from Target. Shoes from Payless.

I originally wore this dress with fall-ish (black) accessories to my friend Sabrina’s wedding back in September, but I liked it much better this way. And everyone was kind enough not to comment on my seriously-in-need-of-a-retouch toenails. Easter Vigil was a great night on many counts.

— 5 —

Hmm. What else has happened since January? My parents and my brother came to visit last week. It was good to see them again, and I got to enjoy some more fun parts of Austin. We spent a day in San Antonio, but it rained almost the whole time. My parents somehow fell in love with the Riverwalk when they came last summer, but I’m still an Austin gal.

To me, the Alamo is mostly rain and crowds. Score another one for Austin.

To me, the Alamo is mostly rain and crowds. Score another one for Austin.

— 6 —

I had some good friend time, too. I saw a more normal version of Twelfth Night on campus with my friend Kristi, and my old friend Guy from college came to town to visit. He’s going to be in the inaugural Ph.D. Statistics program at UT, so I’ll have a friend of almost ten years here. Good times.

— 7 —

How to end my triumphant(ly pathetic) return? Grammar, of course!

oxfordcommaeggs

Aaaaaaaaand we’re done.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! (Except that this week, it’s over at Camp Patton.)

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