It’s the time of year for … new shoes.

Casual flats, warm enough for the colder months, comfy enough for all day every day, cute and not orthopedic of you please.

Oh, and if they could be compatible enough with socks, at least so they don’t look dumb if I wear them with unobtrusive socks and long pants, that would be greaaaat.

It’s getting too cold for sandals. And some days you don’t want to pull out your boots. And I’ve taken the SAHM’s no-clunky-athletic-shoes-except-at-the-gym pledge. (I just made up the part about the pledge.)

My pink Minnetonka mocs worked pretty well for the past year. But they’re showing their age. I’m not sure a professional cleaning would be cost effective, or effective at all. Plus they have absolutely no support.

A cute pair of sneaks could work. I don’t think I’m edgy enough (*snort*) to wear those slip on things that used to be just for grandmas and toddlers but are now what all the cool kids are wearing.

Or even keds. Keds just look like grandma shoes on me. Especially with socks.

Okay everything looks worse with socks.

I think I’ve written about this at least once a year.

My yearly shoe dilemma.

What are your feet wearing these days?

Ever have one of those days . . .

where you still haven’t brushed your teeth yet,

and lunch was a battle,

and the five-year old is in time out until she’s ten year’s old,

and you just picked up the Candy Land cards from all over the floor,

and the two-year old just found your secret stash of Christmas presents,

and the two-year old is still boycotting her lunch,

and you ruined the alfredo sauce that you were planning on making for the meal you’ve committed to bringing someone tonight,

and (just this once) you pop open an after-lunch beer,

and it spills all over your yoga pants and your Birkenstocks,

and you mutter something under your breath,

and the two-year old giggles,

“Mommy said !fuck!”

And it’s not even noon yet?

Nah, me neither.

Happy Monday.

Marriage to an INTJ

In which I critique my husband’s personality.

1. Pat’s birthday and our anniversary are around this time of year.  Lately I’ve been thinking about how much Myers-Briggs helps me understand him.  We’ve known each other for 14 years, been a couple for about 12, been married for 8.  And only now, I’m getting to the point–with certain traits–where I realize, “This is just who you are.  I’m not going to change it.  I don’t need to change it.”  (I’m a person with many pet peeves.  Lucky Pat.)

So first of all:

INTJ is one of the two rarest of the MB personality types, which makes me suspicious whenever someone calls himself INTJ.

For the record, Pat took the official test for work (the type you actually have to pay for).  He got the results and was like, “Okay, whatever,” as was I.  At the time, neither of us knew anything about the MBTI.  It wasn’t until several years later, when I started learning about Myers Briggs, that I looked back at his results, saw “INTJ” and thought, “Aha!”

So, just sayin’.

Here are some facts (or likely facts) about INTJs that I’ve come to accept:

2.

INTJs do not love broadly.  They love specifically and intensely.

Thanks for picking me, hon!

3.

Dark blue represents areas of the INTJ brain that are most active (ie need little stimuli before use). Light purple represents areas of the brain that needs a lot of stimuli before use. White areas represent areas where little activity goes on until a LOT of stimuli is present.

We both got a kick out of this one.  I have no idea how scientific this is, but it’s fairly accurate as far as I can tell.  Except that Pat’s “factual recall” is good.  Aesthetic recall . . . yeah, no.

Also these:

 

 

4.

 

I treat people exactly how I want to be treated.  I leave them the hell alone.

 

Fortunately, I’m never on the receiving end of the following trait (because of #2, above), nor is anyone in our immediate family.  The rest of the world, be forewarned.

As an empathetic people-pleaser, I have trouble with this one.   But I’m learning the value of not giving a care what people think.

5.  Similarly:

 

Therefore, if we’re going to do something social, I usually need to plan it (even though I’m on the introverted side, too).

 

6.

This isn’t really true, but kinda/ sorta true.  And funny.

 

7.  Finally, fortunately, Pat has found his career niche in software development and data science.  No surprise there!  He loves creating and mastering complex systems.

INTJ because that death ray isn't going to invent itself.

I found this chart recently.   See the list for INTJs?  Whaddya know?

 

Is there an INTJ in your life?  Or has Myers Briggs helped you understand a significant other?   And did you or he/she choose a career that matches your type according to the chart above?  Do tell.

. . . linking up with our favorite INTP, Jen, for 7 Quick Takes.

Would you let your daughter enter a pageant?

Mommy, I don’t want to be a ballerina anymore.”

“Okay, sweets, what do you want to be?”

“I want to be a princess.”

“Well then, you’d better marry a prince,” I thought but didn’t say.

Not until a week later did it strike me:

Maybe she means she wants to be a beauty queen.

. . . .

Read my thoughts on the matter at The Mirror and let me know yours.

DUNLAP HAROLD

I’m thinking about . . .

1. The Synod.  But I haven’t read the “working document,” or whatever it is, yet.  So, I’m trying not to spout off opinions.  Not too many, anyway . . . .

2. Joannie’s post on the same topic, and especially what she says here:

[O]ver the past six years I’ve worked with a lot of people.  I’ve encountered the human heart.  Fresh out of grad school, I was armed with the Catechism and the Summa and I was ready to beat Church teaching into every soul and mind.  Now I’m still armed with those treasures, but I’m ready to propose it.  Just as God does.  I’ve encountered a weak and frail humanity that needs love and care and healing.  It needs the Truth.  But it is too wounded to be beaten further.  It needs to be loved.

3. Gradualism, as in Sr. Theresa’s story here and Caleh’s story.  Especially Caleh’s story.  It’s been in the back of my mind ever since I read it a while ago and it is so relevant now.

4. How it’s easy for me, having lived my whole life in a protected bubble of  security, to forget how much the American family has changed.  For the worse, and children are the ones who suffer the most.  This really hit home for me the one year I practiced “family” law.  What is the right approach for people who haven’t had a stable marriage in their ancestry for generations?

And how do you keep from “being so eager to bring lost sheep into the fold that we shove out the sheep already here,” leaving them to feel like suckers?  As Caleh puts it, “the Church IS for everyone…not just for those of us who happen to sin the trendy way.”

5. I think Pope Francis gets it.  He emphasized that it takes courage to marry and have a family.

It’s a bit off-topic but, I love this little anecdote:

[Pope Francis] told the story of a woman who said her son was in his 30s, had a girlfriend, but wouldn’t get married.

“I told her, ‘Ma’am, stop ironing his shirts,'” the pope said.

6.  I really like this picture, even though it reminds me of the Jehovah’s Witnesses tracts my piano teacher kept in her music room.  I don’t know where it comes from.  I can’t read the artist’s signature.  Anyone know?  It’s called “Adoration,” by David Bowman.

Jesus with little girl

Adoration, by David Bowman

7. Speaking of people who “get it.” Kelly does.  Why am in bed, using my laptop to browse blogs, when I spent the entire day looking forward to going back to sleep?  There’s a constant tension between sleep-time and me-time.

Happy weekend everyone. Click over to Jen’s for more quick takes.

Olafactory Samplings

Or: More thoughts on perfume,

In which my mood is kind of like this frog’s:

Hoyt's German Cologne perfumed with fragrant & lasting [front]

I found some time to browse Sephora last weekend, looking for THE ONE.

Long story short, I’m like Bono:

But I stiiiiiiiiill haven’t fooooooooouuuuund what I’m looking for.

Argh.  There’s so much more I wanted to write about tonight but it won’t happen because (a) the 2.5 year old is up again (still?) and (b) it’s 11 p.m. and (c) her blanket came slid off one fleece-jammied foot and (d) no, she can’t fix it herself, and (e) even though it’s 72 degrees this is an emergency and (f) one of her four dollies is not arranged just so and (g) I fix blanket and dollies–

“I cwye and I cwye”

Yeah, it works for you, doesn’t it?

and go back to the couch and hearing my behind brush the couch cushion makes her realize that she’s already drunk all the water in her sippy cup and (h) she will scream and scream and scream until I come to refill it.  AND she will probably start over again with (a).

How did I wind up the mother of the Princess and the Pea?  I really really did not set out to be.

“Okay, here’s your water.  You really need to go to sleep.”

“okay.  sowwy cwye.”

Sorry my ass.

So about perfume.

Who cares about perfume?  Anyone?

Okay, I still do.

I set out looking for something spicy.  I like cardamom and rosemary.  And bergamot (which is a flower, but with a spicy smell).  And I ended up preferring the floral scents at Sephora.  Granted, they had a small selection.

But I liked

1. Dolce & Gabbana L’IMPERATRICE: really like the top and bottom notes here but too fruity in its “middle notes” and short-lasting.

2. For a little bit there, L’Imperatrice reminded by of Coty’s Tribe.  It was the first perfume I bought for myself.  Boy was it fruity.  Anyone else remember that one?  Apparently it’s not made any more, but it has a large, nostalgic following.  Just for memory’s sake, it will be my favorite #2.

The early 90s in a bottle!

3. Burberry Brit: Possibly this would be THE ONE but I will forever associate it with a certain person, and not favorably.

4.  Dior’s J’Adore: Again not THE ONE but I liked it.  I forget why.  :-)

5. Jennifer Aniston’s eponymous perfume.  I tried this at Target.  It was the only one of their fragrances that didn’t make me gag on the first sniff.  I was surprised by how much I liked the lily and jasmine notes.  But it “dries down” to a generic, boring musk.

(And forgive me if I’m critical here of your favorite scent.  With any of them, I know I’d smell them on another person and think, “Mmm, you smell great.”  But when I’m looking for THE ONE I’m hyper-critical.)

And when my 2-year-old won’t go to sleep! at 11 friggin’ o’clock at night! I’m hyper-grumpy too.  I hope you’ll forgive my grumbling.  Please be assured that no children were harmed in the writing of this blog post.  Or ever.

All this after reading this book and swearing I would never complain again.

Good night.  Smell good.  Sleep tight.

(Click over to Jenna of Call Her Happy, who is hosting Five Favorites this week.  Thanks Jenna!)

Fall clothes, fat clothes

. . . leggings, parkas, and gosh darn you, LL Bean.

1. Anyone else enjoying the recent posts over at The Mom Edit (fka Ain’t No Mom Jeans), where Shana and her friend Sara tried on clothes at LOFT, Gap, and Target?

I jumped on that bandwagon and ordered the Gap plaid shirtdress (it was on sale).  It fit in with my recent criteria for fall clothes: stuff I can wear over leggings because my jeans felt too tight.

Blip blop bloop.  Super unflattering.

 

Gap plaid shirtdress 2

 

Gap plaid shirtdress 1 Gap plaid shirtdress 3

 

 

2. I also tried Gap’s u-neck marled sweater.  Booooring.  Nothing special.  Blah.  I ordered in a tall, so I could wear it with leggings.  Maybe it would look better in a normal length, but I’m not motivated to try.

gap marled u neck sweater

No thank you.

Gap marled u neck sweater

 

 

3. The one winner from that ordeal was Old Navy’s ponte knit leggings (now sold out in most sizes and colors).  They’re a nice, thick material, closer to pants than to tights.  They’re slightly baggy in the belly area so the wearer is less likely to encounter a, um, dromedary digit situation.  On the downside, they’re starting to pill just a bit after a few wearings.

 

4. I also made a ThredUP order, tried on a bunch of tunic tops and dresses, and kept one.  Then I read the fine print and learned that returns are free only if you order from their mobile app, rather than from their regular website.  $13.39 in return shipping out the window.  Ouch.

Anyway, I kept one dress.  Super boring in the pictures, but it’s fairly flattering and works well leggings.  Plus, only $6 (or $6 +$13.39, depending on how you look at it).

 

5. I also have this tunic, hand-me-down from a stylish friend, to complete my elastic-waisted repository.

style and the sahm

 

 

And in the midst of all this, I lost 3 or 4 pounds, making my jeans bearable again.  So, hooray for options!

This is an interpretive dance showing how much I love these jeans.

 

6. I’m still inclined to choose jackets over cardigans.  But my denim jacket looks dumb with my jeans.  And my navy blazer is a little too dressy for my liking some days.  (Oh, my troubled life.)  So I’m drooling over this jacket:

Women’s Quilted Jacket from Target

The moto jacket trend didn’t thrill me at first, but 3 years in, or however long it’s been, I’m starting to catch the bug.

I also suddenly have this intense desire for a military-inspired parka.  With a fur-trimmed hood, if you please.  This is another trend that I wasn’t into until now that it’s probably over.  But it’s not over enough that the J. Crew ones aren’t still expensive on eBay.  Actually, this is a fairly affordable option:

Sebby Sherpa Hood Parka from Nordstrom Rach

 

But my incredibly blah, shapeless, styleless parka from 6+ years ago just will. not. die.  So I have no good excuse to buy another.

Me in that parka, circa 2008

Me in that parka, circa 2008

Die, LL Bean parka, die!

*Ahem*

What are you wearing these days?

{Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary for 7 quick takes.}

 

Adventures in Bad Housekeeping

Battling bugs, swilling juice, and my Ashlee Simpson moment

1.

I graduated first in my law school class.

I’ve spent the past week trying to outwit a bunch of fruit flies.

And failing.

I’m not sorry about the path I’ve chosen in life.

But some days are better than others.

Fruit Fly Death Trap

Photo credit

2.

I made fruit fly traps using the old cone-of-paper-in-a-jar-of-vinegar method.

I’d see them fly down into the cone but somehow the little buggers kept coming out.

Finally  it occurred to me that I didn’t tape all the way along the edge of the paper, leaving a gap they could fly out of.  Seriously, this took me about 5 days to figure out.

In the meantime, I tried out the saran-wrap-stretched-across-the-jar-with-holes-poked-through method.

One evening, I stood transfixed watching a fruit fly sniff its way across the Saran wrap and–blip!–nosedive through one of the toothpick holes, never to fly out again.

It was the best part of my week.

3.

We also found moths in our pantry and (yet again) in the coat closet.

I’m supposed to take all the canisters of grains and flour and dry goods and stick them in the freezer to kill off the eggs.

And I had shelled out a lot of money to buy a bunch of nifty, matching canisters.  I know plastic causes cancer and whatnot, but I chose cancer over bugs.

Turns out, I get cancer and bugs.

4. 

(Mild to moderate TMI ahead)

Speaking of bugs, I’m trying to beat a UTI with unsweetened, 100% cranberry juice.  I’ve downed about 80 ounces of the stuff in the last 48 hours.

I think it’s getting better.

My one big victory over bugs so far, and even then it’s really too close to call.

5. 

The fruit flies haven’t made it to my room yet, but if they do they’ll keep me up all night.

With their sneezing.

My bedroom is coated in dust.

Our whole house is dusty, but especially my bedroom.

I religiously change the air filters; I’ve vacuumed all the intake and outtake vents; we’ve had the ducts cleaned.  We had the furnace replaced recently.

Still, the dust keeps coming.  I can dust the top of my armoire and a thick coat will reappear in two weeks.

6.

It’s affecting my self-esteem because the two most dusty areas in the house are the kitchen/dining area

and my bedroom.

I spend the majority of my time in those areas, by far.

And you know what dust is right?

Mostly skin cells.

What’s wrong with me?  I am some sort of super-skin-shedding freak?

So I have an Ashlee Simpson moment whenever I enter my bedroom.

Ashlee simpson pieces of me gif

7. So that’s my life; how’s yours?

Linking up with Jen for 7 Quick Takes.

IMG_1234.JPG

St. Therese, Barbaric Baptism Practices, and Not Taking Your Kids to Mass

 

Can anyone translate for me?

Can anyone translate for me?   “Earth collected under the first coffin of the Blessed Therese of the Infant Jesus during her exhumation on the 6th of September 1910″

Thoughts on a saint I don’t get.

{Her feast day is October 1.  I’m posting this October 2 but writing it the evening of the 1st.  So there.}


 

St. Therese was baptized two days after her birth.  Two days!!!  What are the odds her mother was present at the baptism?  Slim to none, I’m thinking.

A lot of Catholic women I know–myself included–are drawn to the theological ideal of having your child baptized as early as possible.

At the same time, we adhere to the modern social conventions of the mother showing up at all.   And getting dressed up.  And being in a crowd (especially if several other babies are being baptised that day and/or it’s done at Sunday Mass.)   And hosting a party.  Or at least attending a party.  This all makes sense if a child is baptized at six months or a year, as is common in less-conservative religious traditions.  It makes no sense when you’re just a week or two or three out from giving birth.

A friend of mine passed out and started hemorrhaging at her baby’s baptism–only a week after the child’s birth.

This is madness.  It’s barbaric.

We traditional(ish) Catholic women (all women??) have a way of taking conflicting burdens upon ourselves.

Both my girls were baptized at two weeks.  Both times Pat’s and my sweet parents took care of all the entertaining.  And we kept it really small the second time around.  Still, I looked like crap and felt crappier.  I should have stayed in bed.

I don’t know what I’ll do next time, but I can promise you it will be different.


There’s a line early in Story of A Soul (St. Therese’s autobiography): “On Sundays Mummy stayed at home to look after me, as I was too young to go to Mass.”

I wonder if her mother was considered exempt from her Sunday obligation because she had to stay home with a young child?  (There’s a thought, eh?)  Or if her mother went to a different mass?

In my circles, there’s a lot of emphasis on taking one’s children to Mass.  A lot of frustration with those who aren’t accepting of young children in church.  And I’m 100% understanding of that.  You want people to avoid contraception, you’re going to have a lot of young children in church!  Get over it!

This is a source of tension in our parish, where the pastor is less than fully. . . sympathetic.

For one thing, when a family lives half an hour or more away from church, it just isn’t feasible for the parents to go to separate masses.  Just driving to and from the church would eat up two hours of the day.

At the same time, I felt a lot of pressure for a long that that it was an ideal to all go to Mass together as a family.  That I was taking the lazy way out if Pat and I went to different masses, leaving the girls at home.

Never mind that they were miserable and we were miserable.  They weren’t getting anything out of it, and dealing with the girls during mass was a huge source of tension between Pat and me.

I got over it a while ago.  Pat and I go separately.  We only live five minutes away from church.  The five-year-old comes with one of us about half the time; the two-year-old, almost never.  I love it.  And that little line from Story of A Soul made me feel even better.

Maybe my kid still has a chance at becoming a doctor of the Church,

even if she doesn’t go to Mass as a toddler.


I first read Story of a Soul back in high school, I think.  It didn’t sit well with me.  I couldn’t reconcile the idea of a “little way” that was supposedly so simple, with giving up your life at 15 to be a cloistered Carmelite nun.  That seemed the hardest, least appealing thing I could think of.  If that’s the “little way,” maybe I’ll take the big way.

And melodrama, oh my goodness.  St. Therese is full of that.

For instance: “I felt myself abandoned and there was no help for me on heaven or earth. . . . Nature seemed to share my misery.  The sun never shone once during those three days and the rain fell in torrents.  I have noticed that, at all the important moments of my life, nature has mirrored my soul.”

Um, it’s called seasonal affective disorder girlfriend.  It’s your soul mirroring nature, not vice versa.  Self-absorbed, much?

{Cue lighting striking me down dead for my irreverence.}

I re-read it a few months ago.  I’m better able to appreciate, now, the idea that her words can have meaning for me, even if I don’t relate to how she applied them to her life; does that make sense?


My maternal great-grandmother’s name was (is) Theresa.  (Spelled with or without an “H”?  Can’t remember.)

She was of English/Irish descent, and some ethnic tensions existed in New England between her people and the French Canadians in the 1930s or thereabouts.

My grandmother (her daughter) once asked her, “Which Saint Theresa are you named after mom?”

She replied, “. . . Not the French one!”


My maternal grandmother (“Meme“), nevertheless, developed a great devotion to the Little Flower.

She was over the moon when we picked “Teresa”  as the middle name for one of our daughters.  We talked on the phone and she told me how much the name meant to her: it’s her mother’s name, the name of a favorite saint, the name of her parish, the name of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, etc.

Come to think of it, it was one of the last cogent conversations I had with her before dementia took a stronger hold and, ultimately, she passed away.

I didn’t have the heart to point out to her our “Teresa” is without an H . . . not the French one!


Meme gave me her relic of St. Therese (pictured above).  It fell off the shelf recently, cracking the frame, when Girl 1 had one of her many wall-kicking sprees.  (Fitting, perhaps, given St. Therese’s fiesty personality as a child?)

I still don’t really “get” St. Therese.

But I’ve put her relic on the mantle, cracked frame and all.

We have a connection, she and I.

What I’m Into–September

1.  Arts and crafts: I’m not into them at all.  At all.  But Girl 1 is.  So now I am too, and Girl 2 as well.  Our fireplace is covered with paper napkin snowflakes.  Today they’ve moved on to Halloween decorations.

IMG_6837

2. Thin Within:  Weight Watchers is out, Thin Within is in.  I can eat whatever I want, and I never have to be hungry, and I’m still (slowly) losing weight.  The catch?  I can only eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m just barely full.  So hard, but exactly what I needed to work on.  Kind of like Geneen Roth but from a Christian perspective.

3. I haven’t been reading much else lately, recovering from my book binges of the last few months.  Our book club is reading  Incidents In the Life of A Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, so I’ll start that soon.  I know it’s super sad, so it’s taking me a while to get the nerve to dive in

4. Movies: I’ve watched a lot of movies, the main criteria being finding it for free on Amazon Prime or at the library.

Footloose: Continuing my 80s kick.  I’m finishing it as I type this.  Looking forward to a big dance finale at the end.  I should spend more of my life dancing.

10 Things I Hate About You: Funny watch this movie about high school seniors, which came out when I was a high school senior.  Now I get what the fuss about Heath Ledger was about.  That and why all the kids kept singing, “You’re Just Too Good To Be True” over and over again on the bus to World Youth Day 2002.

The Prince and Me: Slight Julia Stiles kick here.  (Round-faced girls of the world, unite!)  This was cute enough but I got bored and fast-forwarded to the end.

Hope Springs: Another movie starring Meryl Streep as the long-suffering wife of a jerk.  Only in this one the guy comes around.

High Fidelity: Waste of time, tho Jack Black is pretty funny.

High Spirits: Watched this on fast-forward the whole way through.  (Don’t ask.)  Thus, a slightly lesser waste of time.

Rounders: About poker.  Entertaining enough.

Moonstruck: Sweet, despite Nicholas Cage.  Why don’t they make rom coms like this anymore?

Big Wedding: Just awful

Next up: Moms Night Out, on Jennifer Scott’s recommendation.

5. Pandora: This was a big thing ten years ago?  More?  But it’s still the only way I listen to music.  I’ve put together what (I must admit) is an easy listening station.  Most of the songs are from before I as born.  But they put Adele on there so that’s something right?

Be careful if you “like” Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen because they will play every single damn one of the 234354353 covers every musician and his uncle has made of it.

I never get tired of hearing this song:

6. Consignment Sales: For the first time, I sold some stuff at one of those biannual kids’ consignment sales.  Between it and a pre-sale that a friend hosted, I net about $40.  I spent $47.  So . . . worth it?  I dunno.  It’s a lot of work for the return it brought.

It’s nice to have all that stuff out of my house, and have something to show for it (namely . . . more stuff, but newer stuff that I wanted . . . I think).  The things I sold would go for little to nothing on eBay and probably wouldn’t do well at the local consignment store, either.

I read a blog post by a woman who supposedly makes thousands of dollars selling at these things, and I have a lot of trouble believing it.

Still, there’s something satisfying about it.  I just like buying and selling stuff.

7. The search for a signature scent, or at least something new: the hunt continues.

8. I’m still obsessed with Myers Briggs.  I compulsively try to guess the MBTI type of everyone I know.  Pretty sure Girl 1 is ENFP.  I was reading the description of that type last night and though, “Aha!  That explains a lot.”  Maybe it’s dangerous to categorize a kid so early.  But it’s healthy, I think, to think about how certain traits might be part of her personality that need to be worked around, not rooted out.

. . . Linking up with Leigh Kramer.  Thanks Leigh!  (Also, possibly with Jen for Seven Quick Takes at a later date.)