Tag Archives: work

7 Quick Takes on Teacher Mode, Twitter, and Chainsaws

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

— 1 —

Faculty orientation has begun. I’m slowly getting my teacher vocabulary back (for example, “vertical curriculum alignment”), preparing for the new perspective of younger students (I am moving down to middle school from high school), and trying to navigate my new school.

Some of that is almost literally navigating, via mental map-building; the school has a complex floor plan! I haven’t gotten lost yet, but I’m sure the time is coming. I forgot about that feeling of walking through a new door into a familiar room, feeling like I’ve slipped through a wormhole.

I must say that I love my new commute, though. It’s much shorter and easier, and it gives me just the right amount of time to switch from Teacher Mode to Regular Mode.

— 2 —

I used to listen to music when I got ready for the day. Podcasts were reserved for my exhausting commute, and I only read books. Lately, I’ve been trying audio books. It’s a very different experience, both in the sense of needing to pay attention as I do my hair and makeup and in the sense of listening to a book instead of looking at it. My most recently completed audio book was a huge letdown. It was a good lesson in being discerning about the books I choose. I can only read (and listen to) so many!

Laura Vanderkam left me mildly terrified when she pointed out that our available time to read books is as limited as our time on the planet. I am not sure I’ll be able to keep up my reading pace when school starts. (Audio books will probably help.) At best, I’ll probably only read her approximated 1250 books before I die. That includes books that I don’t wind up liking very much!

That number also makes me think about books that I recommend. Is the book I’m pushing good enough to be one of my friends’ 1250? Is it really a “must-read” when the number of “can-read” books is so few?

— 3 —

“Study: Less sex education leads to less sex.” Yeah, that caught my eye when I saw it, too! The article is worth reading (it ends at the bolded headline, “Is opposition…?”), but the main point is that, across England, when huge budget cuts came for a government program designed to prevent teen pregnancy, the rates of teen pregnancy actually went down, region by region, with the biggest declines in areas with the largest budget cuts. Even the researchers were surprised.

I’m not sure I’m surprised. Is it any wonder that providing less information and birth control to teens makes them less likely to take the risk of pregnancy? If you push information that makes it sound as if they can have sex without babies basically forever, I can see how that might open the door to risky behavior for teens who might otherwise be turned away by the risk of pregnancy.

— 4 —

I have a new level of sympathy for people who work on weekends or in retail. I frequently come to the defense of such workers when other people complain that a store is closed when they wanted to shop (do you want to work on Sundays; if not, why should someone else work, and work late, so that you can shop at 8 p.m.?) and been polite to people in less-skilled jobs. I’m no saint, but I try to keep that point of view in mind and be grateful for the opportunities I have.

But now, I’ve been there, for a little while. I’ve felt the need to cling to my identity (and job) as a teacher when people think of me as “just” a cook. I’ve worked until 9 p.m. Saturday night and then gotten up early on Sunday to go to Mass before working another full 8-hour shift. I’ve been unable to see Mr. Man as much as I had before because we worked on opposite schedules.

I always hesitate to wish or pray for greater perspective because I’ll wind up with a hard-learned lesson. I didn’t even ask for this one, and I got it anyway.

— 5 —

I started getting space warnings on my phone, so I deleted Instagram. It wasn’t a social media self-assessment, like the one that led me to delete Facebook; it was really just about the space. Then the weirdness began.

Instagram started sending me emails. It let me know how many of my friends had posted. It suggested accounts for me to follow. (I will not follow Kim Kardashian unless she’s leading me to emergency supplies or shelter.) It took a while for me to realize that was all triggered when I deleted the app! And then it got even weirder:

I still haven’t reinstalled the app, but I did log in from my browser when I got some likes. Gotta block and report those spammers! Now I think I’m permanently weirded out by how closely these computers are watching me (she says, recounting the whole thing on her blog).

— 6 —

In other Twitter news, I started some legit discussion with this tweet:

True story. That was inspired by my actual experience. Some spaces are still sacred! My desire to not have my restroom behavior transmitted via phone trumps your desire to make that call right then. What could you possibly need to talk about with someone so desperately that you must have that phone conversation while in the restroom?

— 7 —

And for a final social media moment, I shared this post from Goodreads on Facebook and got so many awesome responses! What’s yours?


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

Currently: August 2017

Currently at Lindsay Loves

So much for that “first Wednesdays” thing. Posting before the second Wednesday counts for me, even if it means I completely missed the link-up.

Here’s what I am currently…

Snacking (on): Protein! I went hard for cheese cubes for a while, but these days, I am all about soy protein. I found a store-brand protein bar that is very tasty, and I discovered that the same store’s “carb conscious” yogurt is full of protein and low in sugar. They’ve been great reminders that, when I’m hungry, I need protein to fight off hunger, not just carbs to fill my belly.

Anticipating: The start of school. Faculty orientation is this week, so I’ve dialed back my hours at the grocery store. My manager was sad to see me leave. It feels good to be wanted!

Borrowing: Audiobooks from the library. I caught up on all my podcasts and wasn’t in the mood to veg out with the radio, so I decided to try “reading” with my ears. My first selection was World War Z, which I highly recommend. The premise lends itself to a full cast recording, and the story is so compelling. It’s graphic, so don’t listen with kids around. My second selection was a standard YA novel. It has three narrators for the three main characters, but it’s not nearly as good. I might stick to listening to books I’ve already read with my eyes.

Admiring: My grocery store coworkers. It’s not an easy job. I have a new respect for people who make part-time, minimum-wage jobs work for their real lives. I understand how you could be working 40 hours a week and not be able to make ends meet. I’ve seen what great and lousy work ethic looks like in a labor-intensive job. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work this job, one that I’m “overqualified” for, because it helped pay the bills.

Purchasing: A teeny bit more now that I’m under contract with my school (and therefore have increased my income). I’m not going crazy, but I can finally get my hair done to start off the year without split ends.

Recapping: July

  • I got to meet some of Mr. Man’s college friends.
  • We saw a professional production of Julius Caesar in Central Park.
  • I got a gift card for my two-month work anniversary, so I took my man to the Cheesecake Factory.

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


Currently is hosted on the first Wednesday of each month by Anne of In Residence. This month’s guest co-host is Shea of Shea Lennon. Won’t you join us?

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?

7 Quick Takes That Are Legitimately Quick Again!

7qt_lyceum

— 1 —

I got another referral credit for YNAB! Thank you, anonymous purchaser!

At this point, that means I spent 10% less when I bought it and have earned another 20% of the original purchase price ($60) since then. I’m not saying everyone will reap the same rewards, but it’s worth a shot, right? I have almost attained a positive (cash) net worth in about a year and a half thanks to YNAB. Refresh your memory on my YNAB journey, and then use my discount/referral link to save on getting YNAB for yourself!

— 2 —

I published my thoughts on the dumb-sounding phrase “capital-T tradition” yesterday. After the traffic I’ve been getting from my first post about Wunderlist and GTD, I knew it was time to press publish on that one, too.

One additional thought I have is about the word “tradition” at all. I prefer to use the words “custom” and “customary” in place of “tradition” and “traditional” when I talk about practices and beliefs that can change. For example, it’s not “traditional” to receive Communion on the tongue; it’s customary. There are several options that have been more popular or less popular over time. You can choose the one that works for you, and you are not a bad Catholic if your favorite isn’t someone else’s favorite.

“Traditional” is also easy ammunition for picking fights. As I heard on an episode of the Catching Foxes podcast recently, why do we always seem to argue only with people who believe and do 95% of the same things we do?

— 3 —

I dance West Coast Swing so that I can eat more cupcakes.

The fun, social applications, and exercise are just gimmicks.

— 4 —

That video with Jackie Francois Angel and Bobby Angel I mentioned last week had a couple of money quotes from Bobby, too, that stuck with me:

Loneliness is God knocking on your heart, asking you to spend time with him.

The great part is that even if all you do is whine to God about how lonely you are, he’ll listen. He gets it. It was lonely on the Cross, too.

Jesus, I trust in you. That’s a really easy prayer to say, but it’s a really hard prayer to do.

Yep.

— 5 —

Further on dance, this week was my first time in Level 3, and it was awesome! The class was very full, but we managed to all warm up to “Uptown Funk” (slowed down slightly) without colliding. Slot dances are the best. I recognized several faces I’d seen in previous levels and at social dances. The patterns we learned were tricky, but I feel pretty confident about them.

I had two great moments. First, one of the leaders seemed un-confident when I rotated to him, but after we went through the pattern the first time, he said, “I do believe you’re making me look good.” Aww, yeah. Then, the next leader could sense that I was getting it, so he dipped me! I still can’t quite get my form right, but we both stayed on our feet, so I’m calling that a win.

— 6 —

I got to visit one of our in-progress construction sites for work this week. I’ve been to another one, but that was so close to finished that the client had already moved in. The air conditioning was on there. This one is mostly just piles of dirt with a couple of cool features in progress. I’m pretty sure I kicked up the style of the site about ten notches by being (a) the only woman, and (b) still dressed nicely, even though it was Friday, because I always dress for work. Getting to see the people and, well, dirt that becomes paperwork and dollar signs on my end definitely widened my perspective.

— 7 —

Today was my brother’s first real college football game. He is a sophomore by credit but took a redshirt year for eligibility. They won! I came in heavy on brains in the family, so he helps balance it out with some brawn.


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.

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