Tuesday’s To-Do List


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My life is governed by a series of color-coded calendars. I have a Google Calendar for work* and a paper calendar for the rest of my life. They’re both very, very important to me. Since my life is newly very busy, I thought I’d tell you what’s on tap for today:



  • Call #1
  • Call #2
  • Inbox zero
  • Chat program zero
  • Bug my work buddies for new buzzwords to make fun of
  • Email lector survey to the lectors


  • Finish Canon Law reading
  • Go to Human Development
  • Outline my Christian Origins paper


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What are you doing today?


We Might Be Sheenazing

This morning, I eagerly headed on over to A Knotted Life to check out the nominations list for the 2015 Sheenazing Awards. There are a lot of great blogs on that list, so I wasn’t all that verklempt to not see my name on the list.

Except I was wrong.

Because my name was on the list.

15 Nominee SA

So I’ll just be over here freaking out for a little bit. Also, voting. I will be voting all day everyday until I get a sweet button to put on the blog.

And I would greatly appreciate if you hop on over to A Knotted Life and vote for me, too.

5 Random Thoughts for Your Wednesday


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  1. I’m only two days in, but I do feel like school is going well so far. At the very least, I’ve ordered all of my textbooks, so that’s a big hassle that I can take off my to-do list. (Still no word on the missing syllabus, but I’m sure it’ll be up soon.)
  2. After more than a year of happily living in our current lodgings, we’re finally experiencing some of the more obnoxious parts of renting your house. There’s the week-long wait for an electrician who tells you that he “can’t see a problem here” and the troops of folks from the management company who don’t seem to understand why my maiden name isn’t on the buzzer. (Which, seriously? I haven’t had my maiden name for more than a year. Get with the times y’all.) Today’s battle is the “property tour” for a “prospective buyer.” They gave us exactly 24 hours notice, which threw me into a cleaning frenzy. Annoyances aside, I can confidently say my house is immaculate for the tour.

    This lady gets me.

  3. Dinner hour classes means re-thinking the way we eat dinner. For example, pork chops are not happening on a night where Bret gets home at 6:30 and I get home at 8. Taco salad is totally happening, though. In fact, it happened last night.

    These come from Taco Bell. Mine come from higher than Grade B beef.

  4. Does anyone else’s household companion animal have a major thing for road salt? I’m telling you, I cannot keep The Bunny away from anything that’s been in the snow. It’s bizarre.

    It’s like this all day, every day but with boots and the entry rug.

  5. If you could send up some prayers and/or positive vibes our way for some (as of yet) unbloggable happens, I would greatly appreciate it.

How’s your Wednesday going?

7 Quick Takes about Making the Transition to the Graduate Student Life


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My last week as a non-graduate student swifty passing me by. It was a busy week. The funniest thing about the whole “going back to school” process — at least for me — has been the realization that I’m going to be leaving the house every day. This is a new concept for me and it has forced me to confront every type-A anxiety I have about the state of my house, my ability to get the laundry done and how, exactly, we’re going to feed ourselves.

What I’m getting at here is that this week has been super busy. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Reading, Reading, Reading.

This is probably a major type-A thing, but I’ve always enjoyed stalking down course syllabuses and tackling reading early. This new graduate school adventure is no exception. In fact, all of my reading for the first week of school is done except for one course that hasn’t posted a syllabus yet.

  • Had a few freakouts.

mostly about my missing syllabus.

  • Winterized my house.

Perhaps people who live in pleasant, warm climates are unfamiliar with the practice of boiling pots of water to heat and humidify your house. If you survived last year’s Polar Vortex in Chicago, you’re probably intimately familiar with the practice. Our house is far to dry and drafty, so I’ve spent the past week wiping down window sills, laying towels down to keep the wind out and boiling pots of water.

…super thrilling, obviously.

  • Sleeping, Sleeping, Sleeping.

I have a sneaking suspicion that sleeping is going to be super high up there on my list of things to do next week, so I’ve been preemptively catching up on sleep. (Yes, I know that that’s not how that works.) Normally, I’m pretty type-A — are we sensing a theme here? — about waking up early in the morning, but I’ve been pretty lax lately. May as well enjoy the sleep while I can.

Dis Me.

  • Thought a lot about food.

My meal plan doesn’t look like this, but wouldn’t it be great if it did?

Out of all the household chores, I think I enjoy meal-planning and cooking the most. Since all of my classes will carry over into the dinner hour, I’ve had to do a lot of thinking about how we’re going to eat. These first few weeks of class will be largely experimental, I imagine.

  • Considered my wardrobe options.

Googled “Adult Wardrobe” and this is what I got. I want one.

…because I want to look like a grownup, okay?

  • Infused Some Booze.

We had a lot of liquor left over from our New Year’s Eve party. Specifically, we had a lot of gin leftover — which I don’t drink because it tastes like Christmas trees. However, after tasting some cucumber-infused gin that a friend made, I decided that I could become a gin drinker if I put enough fruit in it. So here you have it:

Cucumber gin, orange gin and apple vodka.

Cucumber gin, orange gin and apple vodka.

Since this picture was taken, we decided that the orange gin tasted orangey enough and strained out the fruit. It’s actually a really appetizing shade of dayglo yellow. I’ll keep you posted about the other two.

For more Quick Takes, scoot on over to This Ain’t The Lyceum.

P.S. Weekend Without Words will be back this weekend, I promise!

Resolutions That I Won’t Quit like Other Resolutions


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It’s that time of year again, folks! Time for us all to take a good long look at our lives and resolve to make a bunch of changes. Two weeks from now, I imagine that a bunch of people will be resolving to quit their resolutions and continue living life as they always have. So that’s good.

Truth be told — the time I gave up biting my nails in the third grade aside — I’ve never been huge on New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t particularly understand the drive to drop a bunch of money on a gym contract on January 1st (that you’ll more than likely stop using by March) and most efforts to massively overhaul my diet are met with failure and a loaf of white bread.

So I’m not going to make any New Year’s Resolutions this year.

Someone get me my ladder.

Instead, I’m going to spend 2015 focusing on being intentional.* Too often in the past year, I’ve noticed myself doing things completely without intention. For example, last night, instead of finishing my reading for Christian Origins, I watched an entire House marathon. Sure, I really enjoy House and it was a relaxing evening, but it probably wasn’t the best use of my time.

9 hours of my life that I’m not getting back.

This year, instead of letting all my free time get away from me, eating bread by the loaf and spending my days wearing leggings and hand-me-down sweaters from my dad (and whatever else I’ve been doing unintentionally for so long) I’d like to put a little more thought into things:

  • Keep up the recycling and general environmental stewardship around the house.
  • Dress like a grown-up. So people will look at me like I’m a grown-up and not an unusually tall 5th grader.
  • Pay more attention to how I spend my time. I function better with a schedule, so I schedule I shall have.
  • And so on.
  • And so on.
  • And scooby dooby dooby.

In case you didn’t get the reference.

What have you resolved to do this year? Do you have a theme word?

*I may or may not have stolen the idea to have a “word of the year” from Emily at Raising Barnes.

A TL; DR for the New Year


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Well hey there hey! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Twelve Days of Christmas! You may or may not have noticed this — because really, I’m not that important — but I done dropped off the face of the Earth over the past two or so weeks.

This is how excited I am to be back.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • First and foremost, we’ve had a case of the creeping crud up in this house. There were colds. There were coughs. There was a mysterious stomach-thing that rendered me absolutely useless for a few days. I dealt with my case of the crud by sleeping at inappropriate times and then we dashed headlong into the holidays. I thought we were over it, but Bret and I both felt like we were getting colds again last night. So that’s great.

  • Bacteria, viruses and inappropriate sleeping aside, our holidays were lovely. Christmas Eve at our house went really well and Christmas Day was just as peaceful as we could ever want. We even through a New Year’s Eve shindig that left us with no major damages and a lot of leftovers.
  • School starts in a week! That’s a pretty big deal, right?
  • And now, for some truly exciting news (you may remember from way back when I had a secret). I work at a church now. As part of Loyola’s super swell sponsorship program, I have managed to secure an internship at my parish. All the money I make at work will be matched by the school and be taken off my tuition. (Sweet gig, right?)

Googled “New Job Gif” and this is what I got. Hats off to you, Mr. Bush, for always being a good gif source.

  • My first big project for my internship is to revamp our Lector Ministry including recruiting, retreats and handbook. So, if you’ve ever been a Lector, or have been paying attention to your Lectors at Mass, I want to hear from you! What should I focus on as I work on this project? Is there anything in particular that you think I should train new Lectors on? (Lindsay, I need you.)

To find out more about what everyone has been up to, scoot on over to Call Her Happy.

7 Things I Learned from 9 Years of Watching Stephen Colbert


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Last night The Colbert Report ended after 9 years on the air. On the one hand, I’m happy that he’s moving on to bigger and brighter things (and a larger audience). On the other hand, I’m sad to see him go, because I’ve deeply loved The Colbert Report for almost a decade and I’m not sure if Larry Wilmore can fill that void for me.

So, as Stephen T. Colbert, DFA heads off into the sky with Santa, Alex Trebek and Abraham Lincoln, I thought I’d tell you 7 things that I learned from watching the show:

Patriotism is okay, y’all. It’s great, even! I’ve had this ongoing existential crisis with my American-ness. I could go into it, but I won’t. Either way, The Colbert Report‘s dogged commitment to all things America let me put my deep thoughts of third culture on the back burner and just enjoy cheeseball Americana.

  • I really really care about the Olympics.

During the Vancouver Olympics, we had a (now former) friend in from out of town. Every night, we would religiously tune into The Colbert Report‘s coverage. This friend — and here you’ll see why she’s a former friend — would go on and on about how “stupid” this all was. Prior to that moment, I didn’t really just how much I cared about the Olympics.

The same thing happened during A Colbert Christmas, actually.

  • Bud Light Lime is a tasty and refreshing beverage year round.

Or, you know, not.

  • It’s cool to be Catholic.

Just based on my readership stats, I’m assuming you all know that Stephen Colbert is Catholic. If you didn’t, you should know that he is and he’s great. (Also, here’s a great listicle about why we should all be pumped to have a Catholic on The Late Show.)

Stephen Colbert keeps his ashes all day. And so should you.

  • One really stellar character is all you need.

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or if you happen to just be really, really dense) the Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report is a characterI mean, it’s a really stellar character, but it’s a character nonetheless.

And I’m pretty sure that that’s all you need.

Not to get all deep and existential here (what can I say? Colbert brings out the philosopher in me), but don’t we all pick a character for ourselves at various points in our lives? If you end up developing one great way to be in your entire life, you can fly off into the sky happy.

  • Bill O’Reilly will probably never love me.

I just want you to love me, Papa Bear.

…His loss.

For more quick takes, run — do not walk — to This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Creating New Traditions — An Advent Blog Hop Post


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Advent Blog-Hop3

From what I can gather, there are two schools of thought when it comes to marriage and family. There’s the “leave and cleave” school — where two consenting adults leave their families of origin, cleave to one another and form their own new family — and there’s the “you marry the family!” school — where, upon marriage to another consenting adult, you find yourself married to their family, also.

I don’t ascribe to either of those philosophies. At least, not entirely. Even though my husband and I do, in fact, constitute a family unit, we haven’t entirely ditched our old families either. Similarly, I don’t recall actually marrying Bret’s family. (Pretty sure I would have remembered that part of the ceremony.) If anything, it feels more like we were adopted by each other’s families — at 24 and 26, respectively.

But what does that have to do with Advent, you ask? Perfectly valid question.

Advent — the time of preparation for the birth of Christ and Christmas — is the perfect time to evaluate (or reevaluate) the way that we celebrate the season. Last year (our first married Christmas) we had a “go with the flow” sort of holiday. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Up North with my in-laws and then re-celebrated two days after Christmas with my family. This year, we’re changing things up — mostly due to the fact that Bret is going to have to work for most of the holiday.

Most notably, we are going to be hosting Christmas Eve. At our house. (Commence the freakout.) This is a big step for us because both of our families have strong Christmas Eve traditions that we probably won’t be carrying into our celebration. (Mostly involving food. Because food is the number one tradition for every family and every holiday.) Instead, we’re going to make our own traditions.

For an added twist, most of the “traditions” we’re going to make this year probably won’t be traditions at all. Bret and I recently had a discussion after I read a post by Amelia about how some traditions end up being more stressful than enjoyable. With than in mind, we’ve opted to make our Christmas Eve celebration as meaningful and enjoyable as possible — with no pressure to make any new traditions. If we like how it works out, maybe we’ll do it again. If we don’t, then we won’t.

So that’s where we’re at with the whole tradition thing. Which makes me wonder, what are your traditions? How’d you make them and do you still enjoy them all?