Tag Archives: Spanish

7 Quick Takes I Meant to Share a Long Time Ago

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

— 1 —

Way, way back in the early days of this past school year, I really thought I would still be able to blog regularly even while teaching. That was not a great plan. It turned out to be an exceptionally difficult year. This week’s takes lean heavily on things that happened actual months ago that I never got around to sharing.

The moral of the story is that, even when I disappear from this space for months at a time, it’s likelier than not that I’ll be back.

— 2 —

Although I didn’t blog, I did manage to keep up with my reading. Conquering several texts for school helped me finish the Goodreads Challenge much earlier than usual: in October!

I completed my 22 book challenge.

I ended the year by reading 29 books, which made me feel like a boss. For this year, I crammed in so many books (including some short ones) that I’m 90% finished with my challenge already! Despite many defeats over the last ten months, I won when it came to reading.

— 3 —

As in previous years, reading a handful of articles in Pocket and watching YouTube videos I send there put me in the top 1% of Pocket users for the year. I still think that most of the user base must just toss things in and completely forget about them.


Can I count those 30 books towards my Goodreads challenge?

— 4 —

Finally, just a few weeks ago, I completed a year-long streak on Duolingo. I learned Spanish in high school and minored in it at Maryland, so I can’t attest to how well one can learn a language with Duo, but I’ve found it useful for working on vocabulary. I don’t get much of that from Evangelio del dia and El País.


— 5 —

That’s the end of the old news. In a new development, I have been taking private lessons in West Coast Swing, and it’s been such an enriching experience. Even before my year-long hiatus (which I saw coming), I knew I would eventually need private lessons to correct my bad habits and dig into my particular needs as a dancer. I started saving for them at one point, but other, more urgent expenses derailed that.

Now, though, I’ve only had three private lessons, and I can already appreciate the difference.

As a classroom English teacher, I know full well that many of my students can achieve more with one-on-one attention. I’ve seen it happen. That’s not how school works, though. I’m one teacher, and I have between 9 and 27 students who all deserve my attention. But they can’t get it individually and simultaneously. School is primarily a place for group instruction.

(The concept of “small groups” frustrates me to no end. Three people is barely a group, and eight is kind of a lot to be considered “small.”)

I do my best to work with students one-on-one as much as I can, but we’re all in the classroom together. I have to figure out how to teach that way, and they have to learn that way.

Now that I’m experiencing the dance version of tutoring, I understand both sides of that tension much better. (And for the record, I still also take group dance classes. They make my budget happy.)

— 6 —

Let’s close with two very different throwback videos. I was up early yesterday, so I saw Drake’s new video within hours of its premiere. That is very unlike me. The linchpin was that it features a Degrassi reunion! I’m on the fence about Drake, and I don’t always like his language choices, but Degrassi will leave me smitten any day. It’s nice to see Drake acknowledge that he didn’t really start from the bottom; he started from a Canadian teen soap opera.

— 7 —

Finally, I love the 80s, and I was so enchanted by this hit list mash-up featuring Sesame Street characters doing delightful parodies. Watch all the way to the end, check out the amazing costumes, and pay attention to the backstage banter!

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

7 Quick Takes on My GTD Anniversary, Pizza Scissors, and the African American Dream

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

— 1 —

My emotions these days are a bit of a throwback: I’m eager for school to start as well as anxious. I’ve been out of the classroom for a long time, but I’m glad to be getting back into it. I’m glad to have a career again, but I’ll miss the aspects of my life that I felt like I could only have because I had just a job. It’ll be an interesting ride.

— 2 —

As of June 27 (these takes have been a long time coming), I have been using GTD for three years. It’s been amazing, and I can’t stop recommending aspects of the method to everyone. It has changed my life in so many ways, and I am so thankful.

— 3 —

I don’t generally get involved in politics, but I read a feature-length political article by Anthony Walton in an old issue of Notre Dame Magazine. It spoke to me in particular in its discussion of the Black Lives Matter movement and the legacy (positive and negative, real and perceived) of President Obama. Here’s my favorite part:

There is an irony, both tragic and celebratory, at the heart of our society: young people of color grow up hearing about the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and they believe it. They want to hold the nation to its promises, they want to belong and be Americans, free and equal, as they understand those terms. And every generation understands the promises of our founding documents a little more intensely and insists a little more on the full implementation of those promises.

This is, I think, what lies behind Black Lives Matter and many of the other protests enacted around the nation. In another country, one which has not made such promises, there would not necessarily be such a sense of failure. Black Lives Matter protestors are expressing a belief in the system; framed this way, the question becomes: Can the system live up to that belief?

This is why looking at Obama as an individual, whatever one might think of him as a politician (and setting aside, for the moment, the irrationally partisan and race-driven attacks upon him, there are dissatisfactions a reasonable person may have with his performance), is worth our while. In my view, in many ways Obama is the most important black man in history, beyond Martin Luther King, beyond Nelson Mandela. This is not because of his celebrity, accomplishments or lack of them while in office, but rather because of the way he matter-of-factly mastered and rose through the tests and trials of U.S. society. To put it simply, he won the highest political prize of our nation through playing by the rules. He battled and prevailed in many different arenas: academia, law, publishing, politics. He learned how things worked, how achievement is accomplished in the secular world — an important point because so much previous outsize black accomplishment had been based in religious institutions. He showed a path.

Obama’s life and career is a model for blacks and people of color on how to progress to the highest reaches of our society: work hard, get educated, get qualified, learn how to contest the career and workplace circumstances you find yourself in and, with a little timing, a little luck, who knows what might happen? He mastered the politics of Harvard Law School, the politics of Chicago, the politics of the Democratic Party and the politics of national elections by learning the traditions and rules of each context. His was, for want of a better term, a “secular” triumph, the next step in African-American progress in society, following on black athletes and business executives, stating his case to the electorate and receiving their endorsement.

One would think that whites, whether they agreed with his politics or not, would see his career and achievement as something to be celebrated, something to be pointed at, not because of any “Kumbaya” racial fellow feeling but because it encouraged millions of young blacks and other folks of color to believe they had a chance in our society. That the way for them to advance their hopes and dreams was in the library and at the ballot box, not in the streets.

— 4 —

Duolingo understands religious life!

"La profesion" is illustrated as a religious profession of vows!

That picture is not helpful if you are (a) trying to learn Spanish just using Duolingo and (b) not familiar with Catholicism, but it made me laugh.

— 5 —

In other strange things spotted online, pizza scissors are apparently a thing. I know cutting a pizza at home can be tricky, but it should be done by grown-ups, and grown-ups ought to know how to use a cutting board and a knife.

— 6 —

Being a Marylander living outside her state for years now, I’ve gotten good at spotting Maryland license plates on cars. I saw one a few weeks ago with a totally new standard design, and it’s so pretty!

"MD PROUD" license plate

I never liked the lame War of 1812 plate, and the original (from my lifetime) was very plain. The new one is perfect.

— 7 —

I liked a lot of the items in a recent Verily post about dating in your thirties. Happily, I don’t relate to all of them, but some ring very true. (I also note with amusement the reader comment from someone who complains about how irrelevant Verily is to her. She’s reading it, isn’t she?)

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

7 Quick Takes on Event-Filled Weeks and Jeopardy!

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

— 1 —

I am about halfway through another big swing of events. I had a couple of Skype and phone dates filling up my weeknights. I was up early and out until mid-afternoon yesterday, then I did chores until I went back out again. An old friend came into town this weekend, so a group met up for dinner after church. This coming week, I will have another friend date, stop by the summer church history study at my parish, go to a work social event, and make a day-long retreat. All of this activity is crazy, but it is a blessing to have so many friends and to not be bored!

— 2 —

I was up early on Saturday for the saddest reason. Some dear friends of mine lost their son to stillbirth last week. They buried him this weekend. It was the most beautiful and terrible experience. It was beautiful because the Mass is always beautiful (heaven touches Earth!) and because it was at the same church where they were married about a year and a half ago. The church was about as full both times, which is a testament to the community they have built. It was terrible because the death of a child is always terrible. I could only express my sorrow and assure them of my prayers.

— 3 —

I’m still working through my Life Plan. It’s supposed to be a living document, so I’m doing my best to keep it fresh without giving in to my tendency to revise endlessly. I came across a quotation that I hope will help me focus my efforts:

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” —Peter Drucker

— 4 —

Also a Church Word: It's defined as a coherent, typically large body of matter with no definite shape. What is matter?

J!6 has so many Lindsay-friendly clues! As I said before, I am hoping that some of these kinds of clues actually make it to the show if I, too, make it to the show.

— 5 —

Whose What?: Dumbledore's Army is a fictional organization that held meetings in this school. What is Hogwarts?


— 6 —

International Days of the Week: Of dies mercurii, dies solis, or dies martis, it's Wednesday in Latin. What is dies mercurii?

Mr. Man works with Latin, so I was especially proud to share that one with him. I only know church Latin and what I can make out from my knowledge of Spanish. For this clue, I used the latter.

— 7 —

Mr. Man himself sent me this one, perhaps suggesting that this would be a worthy pastime if I become independently wealthy:

If you watch Jeopardy! backwards, it's a show about rich people paying money for answers to questions.

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

Not Alone Series: Single Scriptures


What is your relationship with Scripture? Do you read the Bible every day? What is your favorite translation or edition? Do you use Scripture for prayer (a.k.a. lectio divina)? Do you play Bible roulette (flip to a random verse)? What are some Scripture verses that speak to you as a single woman?

Way back in 2007, I got a brand-new Bible and a brand-new plan to read the Bible in a year. I promised I wouldn’t give up until I finished it.

I haven’t finished it yet. But I haven’t given up, either!

My Bible reading these days is always in small chunks. I have never been the kind of person to just sit down and read the Bible, although I hear that is a great way to get a new perspective on the Gospels: reading a whole Gospel in one sitting. The big scenes happen one right after the other; they only feel like they take a long time because that’s how we experience them at Sunday Mass. That experience is probably why I struggle to just sit and read through books of the Bible. I tend to read slowly and get lost in reflection when I have a regular book. I can only imagine how lost I’d get contemplating the Word of God!

What I actually do is pray Night Prayer (from the Liturgy of the Hours) every night, so I read a psalm or two plus a few other verses in the course of that prayer. I also receive emails from Evangelio del dia to get the Gospel of the day plus a reflection in Spanish. That helps me practice my Spanish and grow in faith, so it’s a win on two fronts. On Sundays before Mass, I preview the other readings (in English) in addition to the Gospel. That’s my day-to-day experience.

Once or twice a year, I join my parish’s adult Bible study. They did the foundational course of The Great Adventure Bible Timeline a few years ago, but they haven’t repeated it since. That’s too bad, because I want to do that one, even though it does mean committing a whole school year. That’s nothing in the grand scheme of growing in my knowledge of and love for Scripture. In the meantime, I’ve done the short version of the Bible Timeline (recently re-released as “Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible”), the course on Psalms, and currently the one on Revelation. They’re all stellar.

Overall, though two Bible verses speak straight to my single-lady heart. The first is my favorite verse in the whole Bible:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. —Matthew 11:28

I know my life could be much harder, but that doesn’t negate the hardship I experience now in my singlehood and in general. That verse reminds me that the Lord is always there to bring rest in the end. We will experience suffering, but he will reach out to us with compassion.

The other verse just gives me hope:

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. —Jeremiah 29:11

In context, Jeremiah is preaching to the Israelites who are exiled in Babylon. They’re prisoners. Their great nation has been scattered. They have no idea that the Messiah is coming soon and salvation is right around the corner (relatively speaking). It’s much easier for us to wallow in the status quo, to think that this is as good as it gets. That’s not true, though. The virtue of hope means that we trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises. He has promised us salvation if we only trust in him.

So I will lean upon him when I am weary, and I will trust in him, and we’ll get through this life together.

Next week’s topic: Recipes for One

What are some great recipes for just one person? How do you handle shopping, cooking, and eating for one? Do you have any kitchen advice or cooking tips for singles? (Thanks to Bek and Laura for suggesting we give this one another go!)

View past and upcoming topics here or like our Facebook Page for regular alerts.

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


— 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.


— 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.

Booking Through Thursday: Language and Sporting


One post; two weeks’ worth of questions. Go!

April 18: I saw a Latin edition of The Hobbit last time I was at the bookstore. Do you read any foreign languages? Do you ENJOY reading in other languages?

Well, I can read some Spanish but not enough to enjoy books the way I do in English. After undergrad, I kept a few of the books I read for my Spanish history and culture (the country, not the language) class with the intent of reading them someday. A friend also gave me an Allende novel. I read enough of the books for class to get a decent grade in the glass, but the gift book has barely been touched. (Oops.) One of these days, I’ll get my Spanish back and tackle those books. I brought them all the way to Texas, so now I have to read them, right?

April 25: Do you read books about sports? How about AT sporting events? (Kid’s soccer practice?)

I think I can say fairly confidently that I have never read a book about sports. I can also say that I have never read during a sporting event, although I graded papers immediately before one once. I was a busy teacher, but I knew it would help if I went to the game, so I brought in the best of both worlds. Books will always be more important to me than basketball!

Booking Through Thursday: Vacation and Hard

Considering the theme of last week’s BTT, perhaps it is appropriate that I’m only getting to answer on my first full day off from work in two weeks solid.

Oct. 20: Do your reading habits change when you’re on vacation? Do you read more? Do you indulge in lighter, fluffier books than you usually read? Do you save up special books so you’ll be able to spend real vacation time with them? Or do you just read the same old stuff, vacation or not?

I haven’t been away on vacation in a very long time. I prefer staycations, really, like Deb (the BTT poster). When I’m home on vacation, I do tend to read more, although these days that translates into a lot more online reading. Generally, my current job has actually made it easier to read more real books, since I can take out some big chunks while I eat lunch, lacking a TV to stare at. I try to mix fluffy books in with serious books regardless of when I’m reading them.

Oct. 27: What’s the hardest/most challenging book you’ve ever read? Was it worth the effort? Did you read it by choice or was it an assignment/obligation?

Re-reading The Giver earlier this month was really difficult emotionally. I hadn’t read it since I officially became pro-life, so it was even harder to keep turning pages, but it was absolutely worth the pain.

A lot of the books I read for my Chicano literature class in college were difficult because they had such a strange style or were graphic (and not just the graphic novel). That was the same year I had to read Tristram Shandy, come to think of it. It was worth being able to discuss them in class and do well on my exams, but I doubt I’d have chosen to read any of those of my own free will.

Of course, reading in Spanish is the hardest of all, so the novels I read for my Spanish history class probably win the “hardest book” award in the end.

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