Tag Archives: dance

7 Quick Takes on French Fry Corn Dogs, Racial Names, and Regular Dogs

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

— 1 —

Confession: The Mel Gibson–Helen Hunt movie What Women Want is one of my guilty pleasures. Back in the day, when I had cable, I would always stop to watch that movie if it was on TV. (Before it came out, my “stop and watch” movie was Pleasantville.)

On a vaguely related note, I came across a pair of essays published by my favorite Catholic news aggregator, CERC, about what men want (which caught my eye immediately) and then what women want. Spoiler alert: they’re basically the same thing, and it centers around admiration. What do you think?

— 2 —

I dipped my toes back into the Pinterest black hole and discovered a new food that I now must try: a french-fry covered corn dog! Why is this Korean food? How could we let them take our food and make it so much better?

— 3 —

As a black woman who does not have a stereotypically black name, I think about the correlation between name and race a lot. I’m the only non-white Lindsay I’ve ever met, and I’ve caught more than one flicker of recognition when I meet people face-to-face who have only known me on paper. As a result, I enjoyed reading a short NPR story about a white man named Jamaal.

His story indicates that he and I have opposite experiences. People assume that he’s black; people assume that I’m white. He’s been told that he has a black man’s name; I’ve been told I have a white girl’s name (not by someone I ever spoke to again, thankfully). When he shows up, people expect racial diversity and don’t get it; when I show up, people who hadn’t expected racial diversity get it.

Then again, I get called “Ashley” so often that I’ve started to wonder about parallel universes.

— 4 —

Whenever I do link-ups, I always visit at least the post linked up before mine. In last week’s 7QT, I clicked on a blog I’ve never visited before, and the first take struck me. Like many moms, Katherine daydreams about the day when all of her littles are grown up. However, unlike most of the mom rhetoric I read, her post acknowledges that many of her good habits (like avoiding social media and trying not to yell at her kids) are the direct result of having those very kids underfoot.

It’s like the mom version of St. Ignatius’s reading the Bible and the lives of the saints because he didn’t have anything else to read while convalescing. Katherine’s conclusion is that she will need to work even harder to grow spiritually when she doesn’t have her kids basically forcing it on her, for better or for worse.

— 5 —

I turned lemons into lemonade in my West Coast Swing class this week. The studio I attend always does drop-in classes, so when there’s an intermediate class, there is a beginner class at the same time. This week, I arrived to find that there were only beginner classes, since most of the staff and intermediate students were away at a competition. I decided to practice my beginner basics, especially the technique tips I got in private lessons last month. Eventually, I rotated to an intermediate leader who expressed a desire to learn to follow, so I practiced my beginner leading skills with him!

Most of the other dancers were couples who had no interest in practicing with anyone else (which is a shame), so the social dancing was kind of a bust, but at least I was confident that I can nail my basics.

— 6 —

That’s all I’ve got this week, so I guess this is really only five takes.

— 7 —

This corgi is done, and so am I. So that’s six takes.

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

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.

Currently: June 2018

Currently at Lindsay Loves

Well, that was a long hiatus. I hope to share what I’ve been up to in a future post, but for now, let’s just hit the ground running.

Here’s what (and where) I am currently…

Traveling: Nowhere, which is the way I like it. I rely so much on my habits and routines that the perks of traveling are outweighed by everything being so different from my usual life. I lived overseas as a kid and have lived and worked in several states, so I’ve had plenty of great experiences. I might be up for a few more, but traveling is not my thing.

Grilling: Nothing—I don’t know how! I was grilled in a couple of interviews recently, though. Not everything is in writing, and the Internet never forgets, so I can’t be specific yet, but I have news. Stay tuned.

Exploring: A new dance studio. I always knew I’d get back to West Coast Swing eventually, but it took until summer for me to have the bandwidth of time and energy to actually do it. Becoming a regular at a new studio will take some time, but I’ve done it before, so I’m confident that I can do it again. My shoes are already happy to be back on my feet.

Planting: The seeds of new friendships. Work takes up most of my time, so I didn’t have the bandwidth for friend-making, either. This is a good time, though. Making friends as an adult is difficult and awkward, but it can be done. Do you have any advice?

Playing: QuizUp and 4 Pics, 1 Word. Throwbacks, I know! I got a new iPhone a few months ago, so I’ve been using it a lot since I don’t have to deal with the sluggishness of my old one. (I made that 5c last for four years!) I paid to remove ads on QuizUp ages ago, so the 2-minute games are exactly my style. I did not pay to remove ads on 4 Pics, 1 Word, so I usually play less than ten levels before I get fed up and stop. I’m reasonably certain that the marketers did not mean for the ads to help me avoid getting addicted, but that is the result.

I usually end my Currently posts by recapping the previous month, but it’s been ten months since I posted, so I will spare both of us that labor… for the moment.

What’s new with you? What are you playing currently?

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

7 Quick Takes on GTD, Dance, and Radio Buttons


— 1 —

Although I have not been up to much besides the mad dash before Christmas, I had a bunch of fun things to share stored up from the weeks I skipped in October and November. Score another point for GTD.

Speaking of GTD, I finally published a second installment of my GTD “series,” this time on how I organize my Next Actions. I also published some key terms for GTD and for Wunderlist, with a dash of commentary for pizzazz.

— 2 —

I went swing dancing at the Fed for the first time on Thursday. I stayed out too late (even though the party was still going when I left), but I had a great time. I learned a little East Coast (triple-step) Swing to go with my growing knowledge of West Coast Swing and my Jitterbug (single-step swing). As we rotated between partners, I could tell that I was getting it, or at least that I seemed like I was getting it. My leaders who were not actually first-timers kept testing out my skills randomly. I managed not to step on or kick anybody, so that worked out.

— 3 —

After the intro lesson, I went over to the West Coast side room. (A side room is a smaller room with a different style of music and dancing than the main ballroom.) That’s why I went to the Fed in the first place. I took this month off from classes, but I didn’t want to get too rusty, and since I didn’t have class, I was available for 3rd Thursday Westie night. The first few sugar pushes felt weird, but then I found my groove again.

For better or for worse, I was mostly surrounded by people who dance less like I do and more like this:

I’m better than when I started, but I don’t have half as much style as that!

— 4 —

I’m not in dance class this month, but back in October, I got the most wonderful compliment in class from a fellow student.

My general strategy for trying things you’re unsure about is to just believe you can do it. I have psyched myself out of things before. There’s a reason athletes visualize completing passes and making goals and all that. I think you can psych yourself into things, too.

So, when I rotated around to one particular leader (who I like because he’s taller than I am), I was stunned when he complimented me out of the blue for sharing that exact concept. When we’re working on something new and I rotate to a new leader, I usually ask, “How you feelin’?” It’s a more constructive version of “hello,” and it builds camaraderie when no one is getting the pattern we’re practicing. Back in my first month on Level 3, he was not confident one week, and I told him to just believe he could do it. All those weeks later, he took the time to tell me that he’d taken my advice and started believing in himself. I was flattered, and now I know that it’s not just my head that works that way.

— 5 —

My company started using new accounting software a few months ago. In training, we had to do a lot of that awkward thing where you describe where you want someone to click, because our trainer was on a computer, but we peons weren’t. At some point, I used the term “radio button,” which confused everyone. Not everyone can handle my vocab skills.

Radio buttons are these guys:

3 radio buttons

They’re called that because they work like buttons on a radio. When you click/tap/press a radio button, it stays selected. If there is a set of 2 or more radio buttons, you can usually only click one at a time. You’ve seen them in online surveys that have questions like “select one of the following,” because the radio button forces you to select one and only one.

The funny thing is that our IT guy, who was in that training session, wasn’t familiar with “radio” button, so he heard radial. Like a tire. Which is also round, I guess. He keeps saying it now, and I don’t have the heart to correct him.

— 6 —

One quick GTD tip: how to capture while driving.

I have a long commute, so it’s not uncommon for me to think of something I need to do or buy while I’m driving to and from work. I have a holster for my phone in my car, so it’s within safe and easy reach. I do almost all of my capturing on my phone, but I can’t write while driving. It takes too much time and looking and tapping to unlock my phone, launch Wunderlist, open a new task, tap to start dictation, and capture the task. So I was stuck.

I can, however, use Siri while driving with relative ease. Siri doesn’t connect to Wunderlist, though. My solution is to use Reminders with Siri and process the tasks later. As long as I tell Siri to remind me at 9 to (fill in task or item), it works fine. The item is out of my brain, I’m still driving safely, and at 9, the reminder pops up so I can get it organized properly. Done and done.

— 7 —

Goodreads has offered me my year in books report already! I feel a little shorted since I actually have more time to read now than any other point in the year, but it’s fun to see the statistics laid out like that.

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

7 Quick Takes on Cuddlr, Bromance, and a Positive Net Worth


— 1 —

Way back in the day, some of the ladies in campus ministry formed a book club to read Girls Gone Mild (that’s mild, not the other one), by Wendy Shalit (issued in paperback as The Good Girl Revolution). It was in that book that I discovered cuddle parties: an explicitly nonsexual group pajama party where participants pay money to cuddle with other people. It was an illustration of the way that all touch has become sexualized and how desperate people are for physical contact.

In the age of Tinder, the situation has not disappeared. It’s just moved to a geolocation app. Caitlin Dewey wrote a brief Washington Post blog article about her experience with Cuddlr, “the Tinder for cuddling.” So maybe there’s no hope for humanity after all.

— 2 —

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Fr. Mike Schmitz? Not only did he tell the story of St. Maria Goretti and Alessandro Serenelli in his homily last Sunday, but he also has this video with the best, briefest description of the C.S. Lewis-style four loves I’ve ever heard:

For what it’s worth, I don’t mind “bromance” as a term. It’s better than assuming all close male friends are in a romantic relationship with each other! (They might be, but they might not be.) It’s a shame that we can’t find a linguistic way to overcome our social misguidedness (the instinct that always wants to turn best friendship into romance), but I can see a redemptive value there. We can use the concept of bromance as a scaffold toward understanding philia. We can infuse eros with a much more pure, disinterested love. That’s a solid goal, right?

— 3 —

I ran into my friend Gabby at dance class this week. She’s the same friend whose Groupon post on Facebook got me to start dancing in the first place. It was her first week on Level 3 of West Coast Swing, so I told her that I found last month complex, but not hard, per se.

Then I had to eat my words. This week was much more complicated than Week 1 of last month! I started the class by having the best dance ever for my warm-up, so I was not expecting to hit a wall like that. I am humbled. I am reviewing the summary video I took (the first video I have ever wanted or needed to take) like it’s crime scene footage!

— 4 —

I also went out for a West Coast Swing fundraiser party over the weekend. It was awesome to be in a room full of people who, by definition, came to dance WCS. I got a good balance of asking and being asked, and I got to watch some incredible dancers. I even successfully managed a duck-out move, which I have failed miserably at before. It was a great night.

— 5 —

The ordinary synod on the family has started at the Vatican. The best response is to pray. Here’s the prayer Pope Francis suggested at the end of last year’s synod:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
In you we contemplate
The splendor of true love.
We turn to you with confidence.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
Make our families, also,
Places of communion and cenacles of prayer,
Authentic schools of the Gospel,
And little domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth
May our families never more experience
Violence, isolation, and division:
May anyone who was wounded or scandalized
Rapidly experience consolation and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
May the upcoming Synod of Bishops
Reawaken in all an awareness
Of the sacred character and inviolability of the family,
Its beauty in the project of God.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Hear and answer our prayer. Amen.

— 6 —

I went to the annual liturgical minister renewal day at my parish on Saturday. I was so proud of myself for being on time, and then…

I had enough time to sit down and tweet while I waited. I could have mingled, but I found a fairly quiet spot and read the book I’d remembered to bring. Then…

So then I felt better. I don’t mind going to this thing once a year, but I do wish they would just do regular Morning Prayer instead of an adaptation.

— 7 —

On the bright side, when I got home, caught up with entering my receipts, and closed out last month’s budget, I had this surprise waiting for me in my YNAB reports:

If you remember my YNAB love story, I had a negative net worth (not including my now paid-off car). By following the Four Rules, I have managed to chip away at my debt, get control of my cash flow, and live by my priorities. This is seriously good stuff.

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

Not Alone Series: Flirting


Flirting is the special attention we give or receive from that special someone. Flirting is our way of showing the other person that we like him. There is verbal and non-verbal flirting, as well as appropriate vs. inappropriate flirting. What do you do or say to let your significant other/boyfriend know that you like him? What are ways that you like to be shown interest? What are the pros and cons of flirting?

I haven’t had a boyfriend in a while (much longer than I care to admit), so I can’t really speak to how to stay engaged in a particular relationship. Yet, because I have been flying solo (literally and figuratively) for so long, I’ve had many opportunities to work on my flirting skills. The jury’s still out on their effectiveness.

There’s definitely a moral aspect to indicating your romantic interest in someone. That’s how I define flirting: an expression of romantic interest. There’s a difference between being friendly and flirting. That line can be hard to draw, but it’s definitely there. I don’t approve of flirting to gain favors, which this Wall Street Journal article calls “instrumental flirting”. If you’re taken or not romantically interested, that’s a lot like lying.

On the other hand, if you’re not taken, flirting is a gamble. As that article also points out, some people flirt without implying any romantic interest. What if the object of your flirtation doesn’t realize you’re just playing a game you don’t mean to win? If you are romantically interested, you could discover that the one you’re flirting with (and who is even flirting back) is taken! I won’t name names, but that’s happened to me before. Not fun.

I also found it interesting to read in that WSJ essay that men tend to read more sexual undertones and stronger interest into a woman’s flirting than she intends. I don’t know how often that applies to actual humans I know, but I can see how that might happen. On the flip side, I’ve heard unfortunate remarks from men who are hesitant to even be “too polite” toward women for fear that they will light into them for being sexist—or immediately conclude that he’s “the one” and start planning their wedding.

He opened the door for me! How rude! Does he think I can’t open my own door? Do I seem weak? I’m not a child!

He opened the door for me! How polite! How charming! This will make a great story to tell our grandchildren. I wonder if he’s been saving for a wife.

That’s not a good world we’ve created.

Flirting definitely involves letting your guard down. The lovely Arleen Spenceley invited Bobby Angel to comment on what a woman should do when she’s interested in a man, and together they suggested that “a confidential conversation” could be flirtatious. I’m ambivalent about the rise of the “emotional virtue” movement, but that’s something to keep in mind. If you share things with him that you don’t tell anyone else, he might think you’re into him. Playing with emotional intimacy can be a dangerous game.

But some flirting ultimately comes with actual fun. It can be a good game. Relationship-maintenance flirting is the best kind (although you probably shouldn’t call it that; so dry), but potential-relationship flirting is an invigorating challenge. Catch his eye and hold his gaze just a tiny bit too long. (I worked on eye contact last NAS Challenge, remember?) Overly compliment something manly about him: his physical strength, his willingness to serve and sacrifice, his general politeness, his well-formed spiritual life, his intentionality and leadership skills. If he likes babies, dancing, or good conversation (#StuffCatholicGirlsLike), encourage that. Smile. Smile a lot. As I wrote a few weeks ago, physical touch is a big deal for me, so I think casual touching is definitely flirting.

Note that casual touching does not include dancing. A dance is not a marriage proposal, and partner dancing generally requires some physical contact. Dancing can be flirtatious, but dancing with a stranger should always be a no-strings-attached proposition. I experience this in class frequently. There comes a moment when the instructor has stopped us to say something, but my leader is still holding my hand (and maybe also my shoulder blade). It takes no more than ten seconds (which is a long time!) for a dance handhold to turn into holding hands. Then it gets weird. When I think it’s gotten weird, I let go, which is easier said than done because, technically, he’s holding my hand; I’m not holding his. (I could get into a whole dance tangent about not using your thumbs and “never hold on, never let go”, but I won’t.)

So I’m not against flirting as a whole. In general, what I like to do when flirting is what I like to get from a man who’s flirting with me (except the casual touching; still working on that; ask me to dance, but please don’t touch me otherwise). How about you?

Next week’s topic: Adulting

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!)

Check our Facebook Page for regular alerts of upcoming topics.

Link up with Rachel this week at Keeping It Real!

7 Quick Takes on 9/11, Captain America, and the Death Penalty


— 1 —


Never forget.

— 2 —

On a much lighter yet still patriotic note, I have learned that Captain America is the most Catholic superhero. (Yes, I’ve heard of Nightcrawler; he seems to be struggling with forgiveness and acknowledging that he is forgiven.)

I’ve been following the Ascension Presents video series for a few weeks. Fr. Mike Schmitz is such a great presenter that I follow basically everything he does. His argument contains references to several classic heresies, so there’s definitely some deeper theological insights within the discussion of men in tights. Check it out.

— 3 —

I was practicing the “survival dance” I mentioned a few weeks ago when I had a sudden epiphany: it’s bachata! The basic step in bachata is exactly the one James Joseph demonstrates in that video. Bachata can also go forwards and backwards, and you can add some turns along the same line (an invisible dance line; not “in the same line of thinking”).

So there’s a bonus to the survival dance: if you learn it and master it, you can also learn some other bachata moves to spice it up.

— 4 —

“Today the death penalty is inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime of the condemned. It is an offense against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person that contradicts God’s plan for man and society and His merciful justice, and it impedes fulfilling the just end of the punishments. It does not do justice to the victims, but foments vengeance.” —Pope Francis, Letter to the International Commission Against the Death Penalty

— 5 —

I had to go back to heavy things. I am openly against the death penalty. Although I acknowledge that Catholics are allowed to support it, I don’t think we should. Accordingly, I follow the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Death Penalty. It needs a less clunky name, but its goal is one I believe in.

The CMN editors recently shared a response by Dale S. Recinella addressing three common myths about why the death penalty is necessary: that it lowers the murder rate within prisons, that it is a deterrent to terrorism, and that it is a deterrent to homicide (in general and of law enforcement and judicial employees). He also offers economic data to show that executions are not less expensive than life imprisonment (both in terms of court costs and prison costs) and the theological truth that no one is beyond redemption. It’s worth reading.

— 6 —

I watch TV while I eat. Since we don’t have cable and I only follow so many TV shows, I sometimes watch YouTube videos instead. Ave Maria Press has an archive of recorded webinars, so I watched their young adult ministry roundtable from last year. The presenters made some excellent points. Having worked in ministry and been involved in various cities, parishes, and phases of my life, I am convinced that there is no cookie-cutter approach to any age-specific ministry.

The Church is great at youth ministry because it’s so much like school. We can do school. Adults aren’t always interested in school-like faith formation, though. It can be tough when you’re unmarried and don’t have children, or you’re married and don’t have children, or you’re married with children, and you get lumped in together with everyone else because you’re roughly the same age. The first group tends to like happy hour, but the third can only attend child-friendly events or ones with babysitting. Not every parish is big enough for a young adult group. Not everyone likes groups. Not every young adult is even registered with a parish (that tends to happen at marriage or the baptism of a child).

“Every parish doesn’t need a young adult group, but every parish had better minister to young adults.” —Jonathan Lewis, Archdiocese of Washington

I don’t have any solutions, but I’m glad I’m not the only one wrestling with the questions. One size does not fit all.

— 7 —

I went to a friend’s private karaoke party on Sunday, so I now have “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” stuck in my head. You’re welcome for the throwback.

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