That’s My Bag–Quick Takes August 7, 2015

Mom Bag contents

Contents include: Eyeglasses case, wallet, Vinylux nail polish top coat, Tootsie Roll pop wrapper, two nail clippers, two pair tweezers, two Cover Girl concealers, two lipsticks, one Burt’s Bees lip gloss in Rose, hand sanitizer, fake flower, plastic flower ring, perfume sample, hand lotion sample, moisturizing oil sample, “Z” cut-out from library story time craft, one pair socks, two checkbooks (one from account that had been closed), advertisement for a kids’ play on dinosaurs, half-eaten bagel, Wall Street Journal, Kindle, and a Target receipt.

  1. Remember that “what’s in your purse” thing that was going popular with a lot of blogs a year or two ago?  A few days ago it occurred to me that I won at that game because I–no joke–had a bottle of champagne in my purse for most of the day.  Just toting it around like a boss, along with 1233267809 items of crap.

2. I would love to figure out an outfit I could wear every day for a year.  Maybe when I’m not pregnant, not postpartum, and not gaining weight for no discernable reason?

3. I got an email from one of our babysitters last week and it made my day week month year:

Hi Mrs. ————-,
I feel badly that there are times that I am not doing anything, when you are paying me, since the girls are so well-behaved. Is there something else that I could be doing for you, such as laundry, making dinners, etc.? I really want to be helpful. See you tomorrow

Apparently my little brats darlings are good for people, just not good for Pat and me.  . . . If you live in my area and are looking for a babysitter, I might just share this young lady’s info.  But only if you can convince me you won’t woo her away from me.

4. Speaking of Pat, he’s been working his tail off–every moment he’s not working his actual job–on the house.  Funny how little things–things that are !just cosmetic! we assured ourselves at the outset–end up taking days and days and days.  Like painting the whole. dang. house.

5. We’ve made a lot of progress though.  For one thing: we unfinished the finished basement!  Woohoo!

Before:

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After:

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Kind of ironic right?

The thing is, along with the paneling and the nasty carpet, a lot of surface mold was removed by professional mold-remover people.  So, truly, it is progress.

6. P.S. I’m glad I’m not British, because I have enough trouble with U.S.-style small talk.  This is yet another reason I can look on Her Royal Highness Practically Perfect In Every Way without a twinge of jealousy because she does small talk for a living.  I’m really glad I don’t have to.

7.  Check in with This Ain’t’ the Lyceum for more quick take posts.  Happy weekend!

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Princess Dizzy, our rabbit, bids you good night.

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Friday Quick Takes: Lots of New Additions!

And lots of blue, because . . .

1. We are having a BOY!

2. We bought a HOUSE!  Closed this morning.

3. We also recently got a RABBIT, our first family pet (and she’s very much alive–ha ha . . .)

The girls LOVE the bunny.  The bunny tolerates the girls.

The girls LOVE the bunny. The bunny tolerates the girls.

4. There’s a bunch of work we* need to do on the house before we move in.  Right now, it’s full of potential, and I’m dreaming of white walls with wood  accents and lots of light and space.  Ahhh, space.

* We = Pat.

5. I’m 100% absolutely positively sure our house soon will look like this:

via Pinterest

6. Right now, it’s looking more like this:

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Not kind of like this.  Exactly like this.  As in, this is the house we bought today.  I now own a blue toilet and shower.  And lots of potential.

7.  Have a lovely weekend. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

Weekend Link Love, July 25, 2015: Death Penalty, Rejection, and Parenting

But not all at the same time . . . .

Hello Friends,  Real quick-like, here are a few choice picks from the internet of the past few weeks:

1. Check out this article on how a Mexican drug lord recently succeeded in a meticulously planned prison escape.  It made me think about the death penalty and Catholic Church teaching on it and whether need for the death penalty is really so rare.  In Mexico anyway?  I dunno.

2. I loved this article from Money Saving Mom.  My daughters already have to deal with feeling rejected by other kids from time to time.  I know what it’s like to feel rejected.  I’d give anything to shield them from it, but I can’t.  Crystal discusses how to handle it constructively.  

Honestly, as a mom, I wanted to rush in and scoop them up and protect them. I wanted to express anger and frustration and say things like, “That was so rude and mean… You can never play with those girls ever again!!”

I hurt for them. But I knew deep down in my heart that trying coddle and bubble wrap my kids is doing them a disservice. I cannot shield them from hard things forever.

. . . .

Because there’s a world out there that will crush you in two if you don’t develop backbone, stand strong, know the truth that you’re enough, and lovingly forgive and believe the best about people.

So part of growing up is learning to love others even when they do unloving things to you. It’s forgiving when you are slighted or skipped over — whether intentional or accidental. It’s not harboring bitterness and anger toward people who don’t treat us fairly.

. . . .

I also told the girls that the best remedy for times when you feel lonely and left out is to do something for someone else. Reach out to someone else. Be interested in other people’s lives. Look for ways to serve. Find opportunities to show love.

3. I learned a lot from this article from this Wall Street Journal about the Confederate battle flag brouhaha in South Carolina.  I’ve been seeing a lot more of those flags flying in our town.  I didn’t have a strong opinion on the flag earlier.  My feeling before was, “Just take it down already.”  I have a soft spot for federalism though (or states rights, but that phrase has a negative connotation), and there seemed to be some connection.  I honestly had no idea that the flag was resurrected in the mid-1900s in reaction to the civil rights movement.  And now . . . yeah, seriously, take it down already.

4. On a lighter note, here’s a good resource showing proportionally how much electricity various household items use, and how much energy-saving strategies actually save. It’s something I’ve been thinking about because it looks like we actually will be moving to a bigger house soon, and I’m not looking forward to those utility bills.

5. Remember that singer, Jewel, and her album Pieces of You?  I know some of you remember it.  And that song “Sensitive,” where she whines in her little girl falsetto,

Please be careful with me/ I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that wa-ay.

Anyway, that makes me roll my eyes and think, “Just get over yourself already.”  But, as Modern Mrs. Darcy explains well, there really is something to “highly sensitive persons” and parenting one is quite a challenge. It’s not so much an issue of having your feelings hurt easily, a la Jewel, but of having overactive physical senses.

6. Speaking of parenting, this funny article by Rob LaZabnik, a writer for the Simpsons, made me laugh: “They’re Back! How to Cope with Returned College Graduates.”

So the time has come for you to cut the cord. And by that I mean: Take your kid off your Netflix account. He will be confused and upset at first, not understanding why this is happening to him, but it’s a great opportunity for him to sign up for something all by himself.

Which brings us to money. It’s finally time to channel your Angela Merkel and get tough with your young Alexis Tsipras.

It also make me think, “No God, please no.”  Also, who is Alexis Tsipras?  I don’t even know, but I still laughed.

7.  Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

On Virginia Woolf and Maria Goretti

Combining a [not so] Quick Lit post with a Seven [not so] Quick Takes post . . .

Virginia Woolf image via Wikipedia

1. I just finished Virginia Woolf’s, A Room of One’s Own, and it gave me so much to think about; I could go on and on.  Primarily, though I was struck by Woolf’s emphasis on writing for its own sake, with no specific telos*.  Toward the end of the essay, Woolf emphasizes “reality” and that women should focus on reality and not people and relationships.  The implied premise is that women before had been confined to the world of relationships–the drawing room and the nursery and their duties therein–and they hadn’t been encouraged to explore the world as it is.

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.

It is much more important to be oneself than anything else. Do not dream of influencing other people, I would say, if I knew how to make it sound exalted. Think of things in themselves.

See human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality . . . . Our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women.

In other words . . . Ladies, shake off your concerns for other people and any responsibility you have to help other people through your writing.  Focus on being yourself and writing what you want to write and describing the world as you see it.  In other words . . . prioritize work over relationships . . . like men do.

2. And just after reading Ms. Woolf’s essay, I turned to a shorter one by John Cuddeback, in which he proposes that men should prioritize relationships over their work [like women do?].

We need to do more to reimagine and then reinstate a different model of family life. At the center of this model will be a husband and father whose very success in life is fundamentally, though not solely, seen and judged in terms of what he does in the home. Indeed, a central measure of his manhood will be the quality of his presence in the home.

I tend to agree with Dr. Cuddeback.

3. At the same time,when I start mentally criticizing Virginia Woolf, I catch myself and remember that

My life is better than pretty much any woman’s from any other time period or any other part of the globe. 

If I were a man, I might prefer to live in other times or other parts of the world (a [male] taxi driver once extolled North Africa to me as the best place in the world to live), but as a woman, nope.  I think I have it as good as it gets, and possibly as good as it ever will get.

I don’t know how much credit Virginia Woolf deserves for my enviable position, but . . . .  I can take so much for granted that perhaps it skews my understanding?

4.  Virginia Woolf also makes statements like,

“Chastity … has, even now, a religious importance in a woman’s life, and has so wrapped itself round with nerves and instincts that to cut it free and bring it to the light of day demands courage of the rarest.”

After reading Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist and (a few months ago) Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and of the horrific sexual assaults both women experienced I think . . . maybe we’ve unwrapped those nerves and instincts too much and thrown out the baby with the bath water?  Nerves and instincts are not virtues, but they can be preemptive self-defense measures.

5. Still it bugs me that the Catholic Church hasn’t done enough to unravel “nerves and instincts” from what is actually the virtue of chastity.  (Consent!  Consent is implicit in the definition’s use of the word “gift.”)  I mean . . . if you’d humor for a moment, please picture a Venn diagram: physical virginity and chastity are two separate circles that overlap a great deal, but are not concentric.

So that brings me to Simcha Fisher’s post on Saint Maria Goretti.  (She also uses the baby-with-the-bathwater-cliche but that’s coincidental.)  I’ve mulled over a post on this saint for almost a year, planning to write something around her feast day.  But July 6 came and went.  Probably I was sleeping/eating/gestating and not much else.

As it turns out, my essay was written for me, in various comments to the post.  (Reading the comments to Simcha’s posts is usually a waste of time, but occasionally I slip back into old habits.)

The objection to how St Maria Goretti’s cult is often presented is the notion that she was canonized because she managed to die before her attacker was able to succeed in raping her. Usually in words to the effect of “die rather than lose her chastity.” Which leads to the horrific implication that she would indeed have lost her chastity if he had succeeded in overpowering her against her will before killing her, and that his action carried out against her will would have been a sin on her part, and that anyone who does NOT fight to the death against a rapist is somehow “accepting” and therefore complicit in the attack and committing a mortal sin themselves.

. . . .

Did he say, “Let me rape you, or I’ll kill you,” and she said, “I’d rather you kill me”? That would give the impression that being raped is sinful, which seems confused. Or did he say, “Let’s have sex,” and she said no, and then he got angry and killed her? If the latter, then she was trying to avoid sexual sin (perhaps indeed for his sake as much as for her own), but there’s no reason, in this version of the story, to think there’s any worrisome implication that she was trying to avoid the pseudo-sin of being raped.

. . . .

She was 11. He had a knife and already heard the word “no” many times without impact. If anyone sees the potential for HER to sin in this situation, get thee to a therapist. Consent was not an option.

. . . .

I am sorry but this is trying to paper over an ugly truth in the Catholic Church.. the Church cared more about little Maria Goretti’s purity than it did her life. Maria Goretti was definitely not canonized for her forgiveness but for her purity. Pius XII mentioned as much in his homily at her canonization. It was all about her purity; she was a symbol used to condemn Italian girls who were sleeping with the American GIs.

These ^ are all other people’s words, not mine, but I’ve had the same back and forth in my head.

6. And I ponder why so many (all?) cultures place more weight on women’s physical purity than on consent, or on actual virtue, or on men’s chastity.  Like Dr. Iannis says in Corelli’s Mandolin,

It’s a fact of life that the honour of a family derives from the conduct of its women.  I don’t know why this is, and possibly matters are different elsewhere.

I do, sort of, understand why this is.  In the grand, sordid, scheme of life men generally have to have some assurance that children are their own before they’ll support them.

Simcha’s description of why Saint Maria G. was canonized is a nice idea but it certainly isn’t the story I’ve been told.  In fact, in his homily during her canonization homily, Pope Pius XII stated,  “With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.”  The Church’s teaching is a lot more nuanced than the crude-if-necessary emphasis on physical purity that so many cultures have.  But you wouldn’t get that impression from Saint Maria Goretti’s story as it’s traditionally been told.

I have no neat, insightful conclusions for you.  Just my thoughts.

7.  Oh phew! I have more links to share, but that’s enough for tonight.

Have a great weekend!

* Telos = secret code word used by conservative-Catholic-liberal-arts majors to identify themselves to one another.

Friday Link Love (and some quotes): June 26, 2015

1.  Even children experience His Passion, for our natural age has very little to do with our Christ-age, and the fact of being in Christ at all implies a state of childhood in the soul, a child’s almost infinite capacity for experiencing joy and sorrow completely.

–Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

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I ordered a copy of Angel in the Waters for the girls.  I read it to them for the first time Tuesday night.  Girl 1 read it to herself multiple times and was weepy and mopey all day Wednesday.

“I just can’t stop thinking about Angel in the Waters. *sniff* “

“Does it make you sad?”

“No, it’s just . . .  *sniff* . . . The baby is just so little and so cute.  *sob*”

 

2. “Fed up with law practice? In about a year, you can be a computer coder, says lawyer who made switch.”  Pat has pretty much the ideal job.  I can’t say switching hasn’t crossed my mind . . . .

3.  We had the perfect family dinner a few weeks ago at my former-new-favorite sushi place (we’ll call it FNFSP).  The girls tried new food–shrimp tempura!  We called it “shrimp nuggets.”  The girls gobbled it down.  They loved using chop sticks.  Pat and I enjoyed delicious sushi.  Taking the girls out to real restaurants has been mostly disastrous for years, and this was like a light at the end of the tunnel.

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And then . . .

  • Both girls puked that night, and all the next day, and most of the next.  And then . . .
  • We felt better Saturday and took an overnight trip to my cousin’s graduation party, and then,
  • I stupidly bought them Happy Meals during the car trip, and then . . .
  • Girl2 puked in the hotel pool . . . multiple french fry filled heaves before Pat could get her out of the water (we tipped the unfortunate lifeguard/ pool cleaner).  And then . . .
  • She fussed and cried all during the pool party the next day.  We let big sister swim but not Girl 2.  I just couldn’t risk doing that to my uncle.  And then . . .
  • Last week we noticed some unauthorized purchases made on our debit cards.  We cancelled the cards, contacted the bank, got the money credited back, etc. etc.

But still . . . .

  • We couldn’t figure out how it happened.  Both of our debit card numbers had been stolen.  The cards were still in our possession, so they must have been skimmed.  But Pat hardly ever uses his debit card for purchases.
  • The only place we’ve both used our debit cards lately has been our own bank’s ATM and, oh yeah . . . .

at FNFSP.

Insult upon injury x 1000000000.

6.   Girl1: [out of the blue] “Man, I like Jesus too.”

       Girl1: “Mom!  Your bum bum is just like your [pregnant] belly!”

Girl 2: “I weally want Jesus to come back. . . . I weally want Uncle John to come back. . . . I weally want Jesus to come back.”  [conflated identities, perhaps?  they both have beards]

Girl 1: “That’s a picture of my mom and dad when they got married.”

LittleFriend: “Your mom looks really different!!!”  [So. I’ve. been. told, kid.]

Girl1 [just now, looking at the photo I posted of our FNFSP trip]:  “Ewwww, yuck.   From now on, I hate FNFSP.”

7. Have a lovely weekend. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

 

Friday Link Love June 12, 2015 {Doritos Locos and other edifying subjects}

Some quick links and thoughts on this Friday night.  The first is serious; the rest are light and fluffy.

1. I was touched by Saint* Pope Francis’s recent words about the heroic love of family members who care for sick loved ones.  First I thought–of course– of myself . .. and Pat . . . and how hard it is to care for the girls with their sporadic, cough-variant asthma.  They have so many nights of intermitable coughing during cold and flu season; winter is a cold, cold hell for us.

Then I thought–wow–the pope’s words really really apply to my parents, who are taking care of my aunt as she undergoes cancer treatment.  They, and my uncle, also are caring for my 94-year-old grandmother, who is in a gradual, painful decline and is now bedridden.  We’ve been expecting the end for months now.  My uncle lives with her and takes painstaking care of her full time.  My dad spends many nights over there so my uncle can get some sleep, since my grandmother is restless and needs constant care throughout the night. . . . And this all comes not long after the years my parents cared for my other grandmother; she died in their home three years ago.

They’ve all been on my mind a lot lately.  I’m a thousand miles away and don’t know what I can do.

*So embarrassing.  I have such a hard time catching my own typos.

2. Something else that’s been on my mind is Taco Bell.  Mmm, Baby #3 loves taco bell.  My frequent visits there reminded me of this article, about why food that’s bad for us tastes so good.  [If the link doesn’t work, backdoor your way in by searching Google News for “Taste the Science in Every bite”.]

I’m tasting that science! I’m tasting it in every bite, baby.                                                image credit

The article discussed the Doritos Locos tacos and how popular they are and–let me tell you–that’s no surprise.  They are delicious.  Delicious.  So good.

3. By the way, Girl 1 has taken to being scared to be in her room at night, every night, at any point of the night, starting at bedtime, even with the light on and door open.  I told her tonight about her guardian angel.  We discussed and she pondered for the last hour.  She just now announced she is scared of angels and doesn’t want one in her room.  So much for that.  I told her she could politely ask her angel to leave the room and I’m sure the angel would oblige.

4. My bloggy friend Sarah Isis is such a fashionable pregnant lady, isn’t she?  Next week, I’ll be linking up with her “23 questions” link up, posting my girls’ answers to 23 questions about their mom [me].

~ Ha!  I just realized that the idea is to ask the questions about Daddy and post for father’s day.  Oh well.  I’ll do the one about me for a late mother’s day post and then one where I ask them about Pat in time for Father’s Day. ~

My kids’ answers were quite amusing.  If you’re inclined you should link up too, especially if you’ve already asked your kids the questions (*ahem* Marti Oram, once you’re feeling better).

5. My new bloggy crush is Erica at Thrift Flipper.  She’s paying off her student loans by scouring thrift stores for fashion finds and reselling them on eBay.  I started doing this–on an extremely small scale–about a year ago.  I enjoy cheap retail therapy so much that when I find a great deal, even if my family and I can’t use it, I have to buy it.

My $5-snakeskin-Manolo-Blahnik-find story is one I’ll probably be telling my grandchildren.  Kind of like an old fisherman’s tale. Except they didn’t get away.  Maybe I should have had them stuffed and mounted to hang on the wall.  But then I couldn’t have resold them. For $50.  Anyway . . .

Enter eBay, by which my hobby at least pays for itself and a little more.  So anyway, when I found Erica’s blog I was like, “There’s someone else out there who does this!  And she seems normal!”

6. I had some other links to share with you but I’ve misplaced them now.

7. Have a lovely weekend!  Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

Friday Link Love June 5, 2015, Plus More About the Duggars

1. I enjoyed John Janaro’s post about his lovely family and about learning the value of being there for your family, even if you can’t do all the things you’d like to.

2. I’m excited for Ben & Anna Hatke’s summer in Italy, isn’t that picture of Anna and her girls the sweetest?  And I think Anna has her capsule wardrobe down to a science.

3. Also, I appreciated Erica’s post, sharing her experience with postpartum depression, especially her insight that “Looking back, I know that I should’ve talked to my doctor about postpartum depression. But when I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t make proper decisions for myself.”

4.  Pat and I have moving on our minds, and he mentioned a hilarious skit from Portlandia about a pair of movers who use a bicycle instead of a truck.  Ridiculous, right?  Except that, in Portland, it’s actually a thing.

This news clip is almost as funny as the Portlandia sketch (which is not available on YouTube).  At about point 1:07  in the video, a guy says something to the effect of, “When it’s just two guys and a truck, it takes hours, but if you have sixty-nine people with bicycles, it only takes a matter of minutes.”

I mean, yeah, if I had that many people helping me move, it would going pretty quickly even if we did it on foot!

5. Caroline’s post about the Duggars and Gothard Institute got me thinking more on the subject.

My impression is that a lot of Catholics are inclined to support the Duggars.  The Duggars don’t use birth control and they homeschool and they support traditional marriage.  So their belief system seems similar, on the surface, to Catholicism.  I never watched their show much or read their books, but I think I had that general inclination too.

As I’ve read various things about Bill Gothard  and his Institute, and the Duggars’ connections to it, I became more inclined not to think of the Duggars as part of “my team.”  This was the case even before the scandal broke, although I didn’t follow the show much so it wasn’t an important issue for me.

The Duggars are not “my people.”  Well, I can’t say that about them personally because I don’t know them.  But that whole school of thinking, which they seem to subscribe to, is not “my side.”

I think about this because my natural tendency is to rally around people I think of as “my side.” It’s an ISFJ thing, but a lot of people have the same tendency.  Take politics, for example.  It’s easy to think of Republicans as good guys and Democrats as bad guys (or vice versa!).

More and more, though, I see that we’re all just weak and fallen and we all have the potential to be good or bad guys, and to switch from one to the other depending on the choices we make on given day.

It’s normal to rally around and give the benefit of the doubt to someone we have a personal relationship with.  But it’s better to be cautions about doing the same with someone we don’t know, if even they seem to have all the right boxes checked.

And what I’m trying to get at here is that reality t.v. is not a good ministry tool.

The Duggars are poor poster children for Christianity.  (I’m sure they said all sorts of things like, “Oh we’re not perfect.”  But come on.)  For that matter, though, which of us is a poster child for Christianity?  (By which I do not mean to imply, as some have, that sexual abuse is no worse than any other sin.)  It’s dangerous to put ourselves in poster-children shoes.  We should “let our light shine” but keep it on a more personal level.  And we should be careful about putting others on a pedestal.

There’s a good reason the Catholic Church doesn’t canonize people until they’re dead!

6. Oh dear, so much has been written about this poor person already, but I like Pia deSolenni’s post on Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner’s cover photo in Vanity Fair: “[T]he cover photo suggests that a woman’s identity is based on whether she’s able to arouse a man. And it’s not original in that regard.”

7. I enjoyed Rachel’s post about morning sickness, because just the other day, my chiropractor asked me, “Have you tried ginger?” when I told him I’ve been nauseous.  Being the people pleaser I am, I told him I would give ginger yet another try.

And yes, actually, I am pregnant!  I never know how to announce it, so here it is, a little bonus 8th quick take for those who stuck it through my diatribe about the Duggars.  Baby #3 will arrive in early- to mid-December.  We’ll find out in late July whether it’s Girl 3 or Boy 1.  The girls are very excited.  Girl 1 is insistent that it’s a boy, and that we’re naming him Joseph Henken. (??)  She also tells me, “Wow Mommy, your tummy is already just as big as it can be!”

Have a lovely weekend.  If you need to find me, I’ll probably be on the couch.  Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

Friday Link Love May 29, 2015: Shoeties and More!

1. Apparently one of the secrets of longevity and health is to . . . eat more beans and walk a lot and live in community. This short article about the living habits of people in areas, like Sardinia, with very high longevity made me want to read the author’s book on the same subject, The Blue Zone Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People.

It also made me think that our American obsession with diet and exercise is so ridiculous.  Drinking shakes and counting calories and doing workouts are not really hallmarks of a healthy lifestyle.  They’re substitutions that might help–maybe–when we can’t live an actually healthy lifestyle.  (Says me, for whom shakes and the gym would be a huge improvement from the status quo.)

via the Wall Street Journal

2.  This article cracked me up.  The title is No More Ballet Flats: Summer Shoes for Work: Designer Ruthie Davis favors colorful looks but doesn’t sacrifice comfort.  These are the photos attached to the article:

via the Wall Street Journal

via the Wall Street Journal

If there’s a single comfortable anything in either picture, I can’t find it.  Maybe her watch.

Also, the lady in the article is fond of the “shoetie,” a cross between a bootie and a shoe, like the shoe on the bottom right in the second picture.  “She likes that most styles have a zipper in the back of the heel, making the shoe fairly easy to slip on and off. ‘You’ve got some coverage but there’s an open-toe aspect so there is breathability.'”

I can’t think of anything worse than a shootie.

3. The Magnificat recently had this passage written by Saint Philip Neri:

To preserve our cheerfulness amid sickness and troubles is a sign of a right and good spirit.  A man should not ask tribulations of God . . . he who bears what God send him daily does not do a small thing.

I’m thinking about this today, since the girls have been puking all day, and Pat and I are feeling puny too.

I’m just going to have to leave off with three quick takes for this week.  Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more.  Have a happy weekend!

Friday link love

Some serious, most not . . . .

I’m coming across news articles and little tidbits I want to discuss with you, but I never remember them. . . . Until now.  I really hope these links work.  Let me know if they don’t work.

1. This article is about a young woman who was diagnosed with autism at age 21. **The Wall Street Journal link isn’t working–here’s another article about the same person**   Because she was “high functioning,” it took until college for someone to figure out what was going on.  She describes feeling relieved at the diagnosis, because she no longer feels a need to strain to be normal.  . . . It’s a tricky thing because of course a parent does want his kid to have autism, but you want your kid to have all the resources she can. . . . AT the same time, with 1 in 68 people having autism, is it really a disorder?  Or, at higher-functioning levels is it more a personality type?  And does that distinction matter?

2.. Ann Taylor is being bought out by the company that owns DressBarn.  Weird.  I like reading the Wall Street Journal business section from time to time because it’s fun to learn what’s going on behind the scenes at stores where I shop.  (The full text of the WSJ article isn’t available online, so I’m linking to a different article.)

3. The percentage of African-Americans in law enforcement has remained flat since 2007.  With this and all the related news about the Baltimore riots, etc. etc. . . . it’s so frustrating . . . It’s like no one cares about black men until they get shot by the police.   So many black young people–males especially–are on a life course that’s fundamentally at odds with the law.  And it happens in childhood and many barely have a choice.   And all the hiring quotas and body cameras and police training and whatnot in the world isn’t going to change that.  There’s going to be a tension between young black men and the law so long as so many of them have no real lawful options in life.  Could someone out there talk about this please?

4. On a lighter note, I’m thinking a lot about moving soon and what I’ll do differently.  When I arrange and set up and decorate whatever our next house is, I’m focusing on furniture and window coverings, then rugs and wall hangings, and only after that all the knickknacks.  With the current house, I’ve constantly moved mantle decorations and pictures around, never getting the result I wanted because my curtains and furniture sucked.  . ..  Anyway, I was thinking about all this and then later that day I read a post from The Nester on the exact same point.  . . .This stuff doesn’t come naturally to me but I’m learning! . . . Still, the Nester decorates with a lot more knickknacks than I prefer.  Her pictures make me feel a little crowded.

5. A year or two ago I polled you guys about flesh-toned pantyhose.  Guess what?  They’re officially “back.” Ellen called it: Princess Kate can do no sartorial wrong.

6. I am loving, loving the Bossa Nova station on Pandora.  It’s soothing and at the same time it makes me feel like I’m in an Audrey Hepburn movie.

7. Click over to Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.  Happy weekend!

P.S.  Girl 1 just informed me, “When I grow up I’m going to have five twins!  . . . Their names are going to be Carlos, Carlos, Peg, and Meg!”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately: 7 Quick Book Reviews

Let’s see if I can finish this before the three-year-old wakes from her nap:

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1. The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge: I keep hearing about Elizabeth Goudge. She has a devoted following.  Her books mostly went out of print but are now back in print.  Sadly, I’m not a fan.  She develops some lovely themes of redemptive suffering and the working of grace, but she has a wordy, sentimental style I’m not fond of.

2. Growing Up With Sensory Issues: Insider Tips from a Woman with Autism: I really appreciated this first-hand account of growing up with sensory processing disorder and autism/Aspergers.  I’ve read a lot of books on similar topics, so I just skimmed it but I might go back.  I especially liked her accounts of what worked for her (her parents’ tough love mixed with lots of understanding) and what didn’t (a lot in the conventional classroom).

3: Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn’t Fit In- When to Worry and When Not to Worry:  The title is misleading.  It sounds like it’s about kids who are quirky but without a diagnosable condition.  Actually, it focuses mainly on kids who are on the autism spectrum, although it doesn’t completely ignore those who don’t have a diagnosis.  Again, I skimmed because a lot of books on this topic cover the same material.  But the one page on picky eating made the book for me: basically, don’t make a big to-do over your quirky child’s eating preferences, they’ll probably do just fine no matter how self-limited their diet; you have bigger issues to deal with.

4. It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig: I keep hearing about Whole 30, and this is the book that started it.  I find the authors’ writing style condescending (“We’ll keep the science-y stuff to a minimum,” . . . because I’m too dumb to understand it??? . . . I hate having my intelligence insulted.)  And yet . . . I found it compelling.  I haven’t done a Whole 30 yet for reasons I won’t go into now, but I’m inclined to try in the near future.  I ate almost-paleo for a few weeks and was surprised at how much I liked it.  Also . . . white potatoes now are allowed!  This makes a world of difference to me.

5. The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne: This was fun, easy reading.  Total chick lit.  I got bored with the sequel though.  The premise of the first is just original enough to keep me interested but the second felt formulaic from the get-go.

6. Death Comes to the Archbishop, by Willa Cather: So beautiful.  It’s not really about anyone’s death, it’s about a missionary priest–eventual archbishop’s–life, told in a series of short stories about incidents in his life throughout the years.  I wish I could think of a way to make the topic more interesting–as it is, I never would have picked it up if it hadn’t been chosen for book club–but it’s really beautiful and exciting too.  For those who have read it–I almost think the real protagonist is Fr. Joseph, and not the archbishop.  It’s kind of like Fr Joseph’s story is told through the archbishop’s story.  At least, I found Father Joseph a lot more personally likable and colorful than the archbishop.  What do you think?

7. A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh:  I read this years ago, but just discovered it’s a selection of the month for the Wall Street Journal book club.  I’ll following along because I think Waugh’s writing is brilliant, this book included.  To quote the Wall Street Journal article on it,

What they’re talking about is this end of civilization, or the end of a certain kind of civilization. He’s saying it’s all falling apart. These people are losing whatever heritage they’ve ever had. But there’s a subtext where he’s saying: And didn’t they have it coming? These are frivolous, morally groundless people, who are careless about their privilege, careless about each other and careless about society. And they need some moral underpinning that they don’t now have.

The character’s are ridiculous enough to make you laugh, but their faults are realistic enough to make you cringe.  The ending is just wonderfully over the top.  It’s great satire.

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Girl 2 is waking up.  Gotta go.  Click over to Kelly of This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick take posts and click over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more quick lit (she’s finally posting about books she doesn’t like and why she doesn’t).