Thursdays are simultaneously my favorite and most hectic day. I like what I do on Thursdays (tutoring/volunteering/picking up the church laundry), but it is kind of a drag to have to leave the house 3 hours earlier than normal. Oh well, I guess it helps on the “being intentional with my time in 2015” front.
- Speaking of time, Lent is coming! I’m certain this means that everyone in the Catholic blogosphere is currently obsessing over their first Lent posts. Because those will get Googled most of all.
- Awhile back, I was wondering aloud about how we were going to feed ourselves now that I’m in school. Believe it or not, it hasn’t been an issue so far. Bret’s been doing a lot of cooking on the weeknights and I’ve been pulling my weight by having a ready supply of side dishes and salads available in the fridge. This probably won’t work forever, but for now it’s alright.
All my Shonda shows are back tonight! We’re still four episodes behind on Scandal, so I imagine that that will constitute the bulk of our weekend activities.
Beth Anne tagged me in some questions for the new year. Which is good because I haven’t had time to finish any of my drafts so far this week. (sosorrysobusysointomyDVRthesedays.) Also, I just love answering questions about myself. So here you are:
Four Names That People Call Me:
- Lizz — because there’s a Lizz at work and people get us confused. Which is fine because she’s pretty cool.
Four Jobs That I Have Had:
- High School Debate Coach
- Dining Hall Manager
- Project Manager
Four Movies I Have Seen More Than Once:
- Dead Poet’s Society
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Fight Club
- Au Revoir, Les Enfants
Four Books I’d Recommend:
- The End of a Family Story by Peter Nadas
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
- Korea’s Place in the Sun by Bruce Cummings
- The Spy Who Loved by Clare Mulley
Four Places I’ve Lived:
- Seoul, ROK
- Nashville, TN
- Chicago, IL
- Ann Arbor, MI
Four Places I’ve Been:
- Krakow, Poland
- Hong Kong
- Sydney, Australia
- Budapest, Hungary
Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
- On a train in Poland.
- Ice skating at the park.
- At the zoo.
- In a large chair at a library.
Four Things I Don’t Eat:
- Beef tartare
- Most raw vegetables that aren’t lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers or onions.
Four Of My Favorite Foods:
- Panang curry
- Sourdough bread
- Chicken fingers
- Fried pickles
Four Things I’m Looking Forward To This Year:
- Planning another excellent trip.
- Spending more time exploring Chicago.
- Making various and sundry adult plans to do adult things like procuring a mortgage.
- Getting deeper into my M.Div adventure.
Four Things I’m Saying:
- You know, I’m going to have to look into that.
- And so on and so on.
- And then I says.
Four People I’m Tagging:
7qt, aligncenter, beer, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, budapest, caption, Chicago, environmental stewardship, fish friday, friends, funny stuff, great britain, honeymoon, lists, neil diamond, Odds and Ends, Poland, prague, reusable shopping bag, Saint Elizabeth, travel, vienna, zoo
Oh hey there hey! I’m back (and better than ever) from our epic European adventure. Obviously, I’m going to force you to read all about it in the weeks to come, but I wanted to pop in for 7 Quick Takes with a few fun facts and statistics for you.
Steps and Miles.
According to my beloved FitBit, I walked a total of 324,916 for 155.58 miles. Of course, we can’t necessarily believe what the FitBit tells us in terms of mileage but I do think that I could stand to put in a little more effort into my daily physical activity — because health and stuff.
Cities and Sites.
Over two weeks, we were in 5 cities that spoke 4 different languages. We took five planes and four trains to get there. I would tell you the number of churches, cathedrals, palaces and museums we visited, but we lost count at the double digits.
We visited 1 zoo, though. In Vienna. It was the best zoo I’ve ever been to.
- 6 Masses.
- 4 Adoration of the Blessed Sacraments.
- 500+ Viewed Relics.
- 1 Saintly Relic Touched.
Catholicism — yea.
Most of the cities we went to had slogans — because tourism and stuff. Some of them were pretty impactful, like “Vienna. Now or Never” and “Vienna Waits for You.” (Yes, we totally noticed that those two seem to contradict each other.) There were also such gems as “Budapest: Pearl of the Danube.” and “Krakow: JPII’s Boyhood Home.” (“Budapest: Home of the Ballpoint Pen.” didn’t make it through the run-off elections, I don’t think.)
As great as those slogans were, we decided we needed to write some of our own:
- Poland: Where Everything’s Made Up and the Laws Don’t Matter.
- Vienna: You Can Drink Beer in Our Zoo.
- The First Rule of Post-Soviet Hungary Is That You Don’t Ask about Soviet Hungary.
- Central European Rail Travel — Seems Legit.
- Budapest — Hey, Have You Heard that George Ezra Song?
Fun Facts from Other Travelers.
One of the best parts of traveling is that you get to meet other people who are traveling. For the most part, we did what we could to avoid making new friends out and about (sosorrysointrovert) but, despite our best efforts, we did meet some friendly people who told us all about what life is like in Britain. Here are some things that I learned:
- Neil Diamond — yes, that Neil Diamond — is “a national treasure” in Britain. They also really enjoy the sweet, sweet musical stylings of Bruce Springsteen.
- Paid holidays are still a thing in Britain. When confronted with the concept that many Americans do not have paid vacations, our new British friends pronounced our system “archaic.” (Here, here!)
- According to our new dinner buddies, Chicago is either a 20 minute or a 8 hour flight from New York City. They were a little confused as to which.
Anytime you travel, you find all sorts of stuff that you never knew existed. For example, we greatly enjoyed the sesame goldfish crackers that were available for purchase in several countries. We were not quite as enthused by the ketchup-flavored Cheetos. The best weird thing we brought home by far is the Mike Tyson Energy Drink.
…honestly, it’s so good that it’s going to get its own post.
Odds and Ends.
- I read 7 books while we were gone (one of which will be reviewed next week). I left most of them in hotel rooms, coffee shops and airplanes, which is good because we bought ten books to bring home.
- Two weeks with no data plan taught me quite a bit about how I’ve been using my phone. Mostly, that I’ve been using it too much to kill time and procrastinate. I can’t say that I’m going to live my life with my phone permanently on airplane mode, but I am going to try to to cut back on wasting so much time.
- Everyone in Europe uses reusable shopping bags because almost every place in Europe charges for plastic bags. Since I’ve decided to take a good hard look at our consumption habits around here, I’m thinking that I need to get on the canvas tote trend. Because environmental stewardship or something.
For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum! Bring sparklers because Kelly can be a touch sensitive about her pyrotechnics.
Hi there! Lisa is one of my bestest buddies (actually, my only buddy) from my very first work from home gig. She’s here today to show us what her work situation looks like these days.
I’ve had the great fortune of being able to work from home full-time for many years now. I won’t kid you, I love it. Sure, I can set my own hours and run a quick errand when I need to but there’s more to love about it than just that. Oh, heck. How about I just walk you through it in pictures.
I can nap whenever I want. Sort of.
I get to have anything I want for lunch. Assuming I can get to it.
I have total privacy whenever I need it.
I can work from anywhere, even while camping.
Unless it’s too windy.
I can make new friends.
And get the most adorable surprise visitors.
My clients take me on fun field trips, like pontoon boat rides.
I can go out whenever I want, though I can’t always get back in.
I don’t have to share my office equipment. Okay, that’s a lie.
At the end of the day I can unwind with a relaxing puzzle. Also a lie.
It’s that time again, folks! Time for another rousing rendition of TL;DR. I hope you’re all as excited as I am, because I’m so excited that I could kick a kitten or something!
Here’s What’s Up:
- We leave for our trip tomorrow! We’re (almost entirely) packed, we own (almost) every conceivable travel guide and we’ve planned a ton of fun stuff to do and see. Beyond getting to spend time with my husband exploring somewhere new, I’m really thrilled to have the opportunity to completely unplug from work. I even made a polite, yet firm vacation signature. Because woe befall the client who doesn’t understand what “away from my email” means.
- Even though I’m checking out of work, I won’t be completely abandoning all of you. I’ve got some super swell guest posts scheduled, but I’ll still be checking out the comments, blowing up Instagram, showing you What I Wore Sunday and recapping my weekends without words.
- Speaking of weekends without words, Beth Anne and I were talking about making that a link up. I would change the title from “The Weekend in 5 iPhone Photos” to “Weekend without Words” because it’s pithy and I like it. What do you think? It would go live Sunday night and I’d probably leave it open until Wednesday, because I’m generous like that.
- We’ve officially reached the age where everyone is getting married. Bret and I did a quick tally and so far we have 6 in 2015 that we know of and at least 8 more in 2016. I’m going to need some more wedding appropriate attire.
- Class Registration has come and gone. Next semester, I’m taking Christian Origins (A Study of the New Testament), Human Origins and Psychological Development and Canon Law. Sound heavy? Yea. That’s what I think, too.
To see what everyone else has been up to, scoot on over to Call Her Happy.
All Saints’ Day is on a Saturday this year, which means that it has been bumped from Holy Day of Obligation status. Still, I’m a big believer in celebrating for the sake of celebrating, so I’ve got some ideas.
- Dress your child or pet up for All Saints’ Day.
Plenty of people out here in the blogosphere are already down with the tradition of helping their children dress up as Saints for the holiday. Since I don’t have children, I’m considering dressing The Bunny up as a teeny tiny St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
- Go to the early Mass.
My church has one Mass for All Saints’ Day — the Saturday at 7:30 am. Getting up earlier than normal on a Saturday is a great way to make the day feel special.
- Pray to a Saint that has touched your life.
This seems pretty self-explanatory. I like Mother Cabrini, but that’s just me.
- Research a few new Saints.
Ideally, All Saints’ Day shouldn’t be a day to only remember the Saints you know. If you’re looking for a good way to make the most of your day, why not research a few new (to you) Saints?
- Go to confession.
This isn’t All Saints’ Day specific, but I’m fairly certain that the average person doesn’t go to confession as often as they should. Why not take advantage of the special day and go get right with God?
- Call your grandmother.
Because it makes her happy.
- Buy cheap candy.
Because you can.
Linking up with Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes.
One of the nicest things about having a rabbit for a pet — as opposed to a dog or a river otter or something like that — is that traveling is never a huge problem for us. We don’t have to kennel The Bunny and we don’t have to worry about finding someone to let him out two or three times a day. Still, there are some unique considerations to keep in mind for when we leave our Bunny in the care of Grandma or friends.
- The Bunny is a social animal.
The longest we’ll ever leave The Bunny without arranging for a visitor is approximately 60 hours. We aren’t really worried about his safety, but he is a social animal. If you leave him too long without any human interaction, he gets a wee bit neurotic. So when you do stop by, make sure to talk to him — he likes to hear people’s voices.
- You can’t overfeed him.
Sometimes people get a little alarmed by the amount of food we tell people to leave out for The Bunny. Don’t worry! The nice thing about our rabbit is that he won’t overeat on his own. In fact, right now, we’re more concerned that he doesn’t eat enough after a recent health scare. So go ahead, give him a whole head of romaine lettuce for 2 or 3 days. If it doesn’t meet his high standards, The Bunny won’t eat it, anyway.
- The Bunny is a prey animal.
When you walk in the door, he’s going to bolt. Don’t take it personally. The Bunny runs away from any major noises because he’s a prey animal.
- He’s a “four on the floor” kind of dude.
Some bunnies might enjoy being picked up and snuggled. Ours does not. However, he does like to sit on the couch next to people. So feel free to sit down and he’ll hop up. Just don’t pick him up or try to cuddle him. He’s not a fan. (The Bunny does love head pats, though, so scratch away.)
- The Bunny is a master at hide-and-seek.
If you walk in and can’t find him, he didn’t get out. He’s under the recliner. Or behind the toilet. Or wedged between the kitchen bench and the table.
- Like dogs, The Bunny likes television.
Our trip to Europe will be the longest we’ve ever left The Bunny with a sitter, so we’re going to have to come up with a plan for his television consumption. Believe it or not, there are shows that he enjoys more than others. When I neurotically tell you to turn Duck Dynasty on and let the TV shut off on its own, just roll with it.
- When in doubt, call me.
Or you know, email. Rabbits do weird stuff and I don’t want you freaking out for no reason.
- When in more doubt, call the vet.
We love our vet and trust her entirely. If you think he needs medical care, I’d rather you be overcautious. (We’ll give you money for this, too.)
- The Bunny does make noise.
Lots of people think that rabbits are silent animals. That isn’t at all true. The Bunny grunts like a small fluffy pig. It’s how he says “hello,” “goodbye” and “leave me alone.” So I always tell people not to worry about his normal bunny grunting — if he sounds like he’s in pain, though, you should definitely call me.
- We were serious when we warned you about your shoes and cell phone chargers.
Let’s be real here, The Bunny is not going to be happy that we’re gone and he will lash out on your leather goods and electronic cables. Hide them.
Two weeks back on the What I Wore Sunday bandwagon and I’ve already gotten so busy on Sunday that I forgot to take the requisite glamour shouts. (Womp. Womp.) We had a bridal shower in Michigan to attend and I got brunch with an old high school friend before hand. Then, we drove back to Chicago.
Suffices to say that I’m pretty tired today. Here’s what I’ve got on my to do list:
- Take the bunny to the vet for a checkup.
- Do all the laundry from the weekend.
- Unpack the bags.
- Tidy up the kitchen and living room.
- Clear some programming off of the DVR.
- Empty out my car.
- Plan a trip to Europe.
- Address some Christmas Cards.
- Go to bed.
Another busy week is over! Let’s consider what we got up to:
After staying up entirely too late with friends who were over for Fajita Friday, we slept in until way past a respectable waking time. Once we were finally up and moving, we watched some football, picked up the kitchen and made a plan for the evening:
First things first — I’m of the opinion that Chicago-style deep dish pizza is proof that Satan exists and is trying to destroy goodness and happiness. For that reason, I was really into the pizza we got on Saturday. Exhibit A:
After we stuffed our faces, we headed to the movies. I read Gone Girl earlier this year and found it to be a quick, entertaining and extremely dark read. If you’re into that sort of thing, you’d love the movie. If you don’t want to have to think about what would happen if your spouse is a manipulative sociopath, skip it.
Sunday was another lazy day. I read a book and ate leftover fajitas while Bret watched a CLE (continuing legal education) DVD about DUI-defense. (Let me tell you right now — driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances is not cool, man.)
Eventually, we got ourselves put together enough to go to Mass and the grocery store. Then Bret made pork chops and brussel sprouts (which were awesome if you’re into that sort of thing).
Aquinas was closed to observe the bank holiday, so we had a free night to go hang out with our friends from church.
When I woke up on Tuesday, I thought I was going to be meeting up with a friend for dinner and bowling so I blew through all of my chores like a boss. Unfortunately, due to the weather and a sudden work conflict, we couldn’t get together.
I didn’t take any pictures because I didn’t do anything worth taking a picture of.
Wednesday was another rainy day, so I took advantage of the inclement weather to catch up on some of the 11 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy that have accumulated on my DVR over the past 6 months.* After I finished up with work and television, I headed out on an adventure to a bowling alley with this lady:
Thursday was a normal, regular old Thursday complete with a morning workout and yet another episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Then, I dashed off for lunch with my parents and a few family friends. I also:
- Toiled away on the November/December Lector schedule.
- Found some people to take over my blog while I’m gone (thank you all! I love you so much!).
- Picked my little brother up from the airport.
- Went to a Pastoral Council Meeting.
- Ate a grilled cheese sandwich.
It was actually a really busy day.
I don’t know what the rest of Friday will look like, but it started with this:
*One day, we’ll have a long discussion about Grey’s Anatomy and why I still love it even though it’s extremely problematic.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
If you’ve been around here for a long while, or maybe even a little while, you’ve probably figured out that we enjoy food around these parts. I like shopping for food, I like finding new ways to cook food and I like eating food. Unfortunately, food can get pretty expensive around these parts. Since we don’t want to destroy our budget on food alone, we’ve needed to get crafty.
A few weeks back, Amelia at One Catholic Mama wrote a post detailing all the ways that she saves money at the grocery store. It was great and really informative – you should definitely check it out. I can tell that she has put a lot more thought into the nutritional density of the food that she and her family eat than I ever have. (Maybe ever will, but who knows what will happen in a few years.) Nevertheless, she’s got great tips for anyone who needs new ideas for keeping their grocery budget under control.
Things We Do Around Here
Even though we’re not nearly as cool as One Catholic Mama, we do have a pretty surefire system for saving money at the store – without using coupons*. Isn’t that neat? Of course it is!
- Make a list.
Making a list seems like such a simple way to avoid spending too much money at the grocery store, but sometimes I feel lazy. Still, making a list – I even break it down by section when I’m feeling fancy – helps you stay on track.
- Meal plan for dinner.
For the longest time, I tried to make a weekly meal plan for every meal (plus snacks). After awhile, I realized that that whole process was annoying and not at all realistic for my own eating habits. Nowadays, I make a meal plan for dinner and keep staples in the house for breakfast and lunch.
- Stagger bigger purchases.
The most expensive things we buy are paper products, beer and personal care items. (Toothpaste and lotion aren’t cheap, yo.) In order to avoid blowing $200 dollars on toilet paper and Miller Lite, we try to stagger these biggest purchases across different weeks.
- Buy the store brand.
…you know, unless you really hate the store brand.
- Hunt out free meals.
Finally, we save quite a bit of money on groceries by being as opportunistic as possible with the free meal train. Parents in town? Great! Luncheon at the ABA? Even better. Thankfully, we’re lucky that we’re still young enough that nobody gives us the side eye when we partake of the free food. As an added bonus, I volunteer a lot more if they’re going to feed me.
*We have the store loyalty card, which is sort of like a coupon, but it requires less work.