Monthly Archives: February 2012

7 Quick Takes — I Don’t Get It

I’m a pretty smart lady. I mean, sometimes. But there are some things about life in these United States that I simply don’t understand. Here are seven, in no particular order.

7.

Fax Machines

I had to use them a lot when I worked for the Office for Peace and Justice in Chicago, and while I knew how to put the paper in, dial the number, and let the magic commence, I always stood there like a slack-jawed moron wondering just how it worked.

So it scans the paper for the information, but…but how does it send it? Is the endless string of beeps some kind of fax-machine Morse code?

I thought maybe I just didn’t get it because the heyday of the fax machine was the late 80’s when I was a toddler. But after a 40 minute conversation with my co-worker, involving a diagram and several trips to google, I remained baffled.

Fax Machines.

6.

Women who take hormonal birth control and buy hormone-free meat

This is just patently absurd. So it’s bad for animals to be jacked up on hormones, and you won’t eat that meat because then the hormones will be in your body? But it’s great for you yourself to be jacked up on hormones? Have you ever read the insert that comes with those pills? Take out your magnifying glass and give it try sometime.

You’re worried about extra hormones in your blood? Stop pumping yourself full of a class 1 carcinogen.

Kuddos to Katie for making this great button!

5.

Anime

What?

No, seriously. What is this?

I don’t get it.

4.

High Fashion

When I flip through a Vogue or Vanity Fair at my salon, and I see pictures like this:

I’m sort of confused. Am I supposed to want to look like this? As much as I like tweed, satin pants, and cowboy boots, I don’t think I’ll ever wear them all at the same time.

And the hair? All I can say is, I sure hope that’s a wig.

3.

People who don’t like Disney World

It’s the happiest place on Earth.

I submit to you all that if someone can’t have fun at Disney World, they probably can’t have fun anywhere.

2.

Self-Checkout at the grocery store

This is supposed to be a great time-saving device. However, whenever I use the self-checkout, I inevitably scan something twice, have to push a little button and then wait for an attendant to help me. Too bad she’s helping the five other people at the self-checkout, all of which accidentally scanned something twice.

Meanwhile, what’s really happened is that the grocery store is giving me the option of doing manual labor, so they don’t have to give someone a paid job doing it. Oh yeah, and I get to pay them for it.

It takes just as long and I don’t get to flip through People while I’m doing it. Lame.

1.

Vampires.

They seem to make a come-back every few years.

First this. Not your best look, Brad.

Then this. I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed all seven seasons, but mostly for the soap opera plots, and not for the blood-sucking.

Lest I be less than truthful, I have to admit my affinity for him:

But I like him better as Agent Booth than I did as Angel.

Then there’s this creeper.

And, lastly, most disturbing of all, is…

Yikes!

America, what’s up with the vampires? We don’t need to make them up as long as we have these folks to bleed us dry.

Ha! Happy Friday! Check out Jen for more quick takes.

Meatless Meals for Lent

I’ve been compiling some meatless recipes we’ve had in the past year or so. I thought I’d share them, since we’re gearing up for some meatless days ahead in Lent.

Let me know if you try any and what you think!

Tuna Noodle Casserole
(adapted from Cooking Light magazine)

8 ounces wide egg noodles (whole wheat)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup chopped carrot
2 tablespoons flour
2 3/4 cups milk (either fat free or low fat)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese
2 (5 ounce) cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked
cooking spray

1. Preheat broiler. Cook noodles according to package. Drain.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, add onion and carrot, cooking six minutes until almost tender. Stir and sprinkle with flour, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Gradually stir in milk, cooking 5 minutes, stirring constantly with whisk until slightly thick. Stir in cream cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Remove pan from heat. Stir in noodles, peas, 1/4 cup of parm cheese and tuna. Spoon mixture into a shallow broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with remaining cheese. Broil about 3 minutes.

Makes 6 1 1/3 cup servings

Chipotle Bean Burritos
(adapted from Cooking Light magazine)

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 (15 ounce) cans of organic seasoned chilli beans, drained
3 tablespoons fresh (or jarred) salsa
6 whole wheat tortillas
1 cup mexican-blend cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomato
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
6 tablespoons light sour cream
1 avocado, sliced


1. Heat oil in nonstick skillet, add garlic and sautee 1 minute. Stir in water and spices, stirring. Stir in beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in salsa. Partially mash mixture with a fork.

2. Warm tortillas and spoon about 1/3 cup of bean mixture into each tortilla. Top with toppings as desired.

Makes six burritos.

This is so easy its absurd. And delicious.

Caesar Salmon Wraps
(adapted from Low-GI Cookbook)

1 large pouch of pre-cooked salmon, or two cooked filets of fresh salmon
4 tablespoons light Caesar dressing
Chopped romaine lettuce (as much as you like)
1 tomato, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
4 whole wheat tortillas (or whole wheat pita)
2-3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1. Open salmon packet and dump into bowl. Add Caesar dressing, lettuce and parmesan cheese. Stir.

2. Place about 1/4 mixture in tortilla or pita bread. Add tomato and cucumber slices.

3. Eat. Makes 4 wraps.

You won’t believe how good this is. I made it with Ken’s Steakhouse light Caesar dressing. I like to use the “flash-frozen” salmon filets from the grocery. I cook them up the night before and then use in the salad. You can also use pre-cooked salmon in pouches. I’d avoid the canned as it has more bones than the filets or pouches.

Well, there you have three of my favorite meatless recipes. I hope to add more as Lent progresses and I try some new ones! What are your favorite meatless recipes?

Rended Hearts, Not Garments: Thinking About Lent

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Most years I just dread Lent. Feet dragging, temper-tantrum throwing, dread. This year, though, I could not be more ready. The events of the last month have taken a major toll on me and I am ready for a period of pulling away from the world and holding on to Christ for dear life.

As part of my birthday present from Atticus, I got to spend an hour by myself at adoration on Saturday. It was so wonderful, and had been shamefully long since I’d been. There’s just no substitute for time with God.

I have spent far too much time lately arguing with people on Face.book and not nearly enough time talking with God. You all know how it is. When your day starts with the internet instead of prayer, it’s going to lack balance.

Lent can’t come soon enough this year, though I was grateful to be able to indulge in birthday celebration before Ash Wednesday. Now that I got that bottle reasonably sized glass of champagne out of my system, I am ready for some penitence.

Thus, a family plan. And a personal plan.

These are my personal goals:

Morning offering and/or Magnificat morning prayer said over my coffee each morning

Read Magnificat daily reflection and Mass readings each day during Maggie’s nap

Pray rosary every Friday of Lent

Stay off of Facebook (other than to add my posts from here and IGNITUM TODAY)

Complete one spiritual book during Lent (I haven’t chosen one yet, and I’d love a suggestion!)

And we have some family goals as well:

Bedtime prayers with Maggie each night (which we have been doing really well with lately)

Atticus and I read a reflection from one of the following books each evening

The Joy of Knowing Christ: Meditations on the Gospels

and

The King, Crucified And Risen: Meditations On The Passion And Glory Of Christ (Daily Readings from Ash Wednesday to Divine Mercy Sunday)

I also want to do something special with Maggie for Lent, so I found a few books which look good. I’m hoping to choose one or two.

The Gospel for Little Ones

and this one:

My First Pictures of Easter

We have two other books by this author and I love them!

We are also going to fast from meat on all of the Wednesdays of Lent in addition to Fridays. It’s a little extra penance, and it also helps us to remember that for most of the world’s population, meat is a luxury which they do not daily have.

I’m putting together a post with some of my favorite meatless recipes, and I hope to have it up by Ash Wednesday or shortly after. Basically, buy a lot of beans! Beans and eggs.

Now it’s your turn. What are your plans for Lent? Do you have any suggestions for spiritual reading or kids books about Lent/Easter? Inquiring minds want to know!

Growing Up

favorite toy, washcloth

Oh my. Maggie is growing up so fast. Almost 14 months.

 

we love tutu-tuesday!

 

taking a toy break for some mommy snuggles.

 

Happy Valentine's Day!

 

look at all my teeth

 

as close to a smile as we're getting!

 

now we're cookin'. time to get at that camera!

 

what is this thing? can I eat it?

 

As you can see, we had a lot of fun on our Valentine’s Day photo shoot. My girl is getting so big! She’s a real, live toddler now. As evidenced by my purchase of “What to Expect the Second Year”. Yikes!

No seriously, she is so much fun! She loves to play with toys and especially books. The girl loves books. She’ll sit in her crib with a stack of books and entertain herself for like 15 minutes while I load the dishwasher. Amazing. She’s a delight.

And so stinkin’ cute. I can’t stand it. God, give me four more just like her! At least 3, right? Yes, please. Maggie, what do you think?

whatcha talkin' bout willis? I'm the queen bee around here!

Yeah she is.

7 Quick Takes Friday

7.

Friends. It’s my birthday! Well, on Saturday it’s my birthday.

Oh Robert. Oh my. I’ll just try to remember you as Cedric Diggory.

6.

I’m turning…28! Late twenties, I knew we would meet eventually. I had hoped it wouldn’t be so soon.

It’s a true story.

I was looking at my high school and college year books the other day (in the midst of cleaning out some basement boxes) and I realized something. When people say that after you have a baby it’s all downhill, they are full of crap.

Like her.

Because, you see, I look the best I have looked in my adult life, now that I am a 28 year old married mother. Age brings wisdom, and wisdom is beautiful.

28 is going to be a good year! And besides, I won’t really be old until I turn 30, like Atticus is going to this year.

5.

So what am I doing to celebrate the day of my birth?

I don’t know. Well, I sort of know. Atticus is taking me out to dinner, but he isn’t telling me where until we get in the car. I wanted a surprise. I’m super excited.

My only stipulation was that it be somewhere I could wear my New Year’s Eve dress. It’s a red satin number, and the only fancy dress I have right now that fits.

Ladies, I am going to get my eat on.

4.

Have you seen the Ryan Gosling posters? Hilarious.

As a former library worker, I love this one:

library!

Don’t we all?

3.

Apparently there was a big stink today in Washington over this panel:

So, it’s bishops testifying about why the HHS mandate should be repealed. So, it’s bishops. So…they’re men. Apparently that’s a big deal? Did someone think the mythical female Catholic priests were going to show up for the hearing? I mean, who did they expect to be testifying? Please.

Some people asked, “Where are the women?” Why aren’t there any women in here testifying about why the contraception mandate should be repealed? Nancy Pelosi, who is still shockingly enough calling herself Catholic, asked this question too.

Well, Nancy, I’m right here. We’re right here. You may not be able to recognize us because it’s been so long since you’ve seen a faithful Catholic woman. I’d imagine they are few and far between in the circles you run in.

The reason we’re not in that meeting room is because we couldn’t all fit. We women who love being women, who don’t need to make ourselves men in order to be free, we’re all around you. We don’t need to be in that meeting room because our shepherds are. Do you think we’d say anything differently if we were?

So, Nancy Pelosi, if you’re looking for the women, look no further. I’m right here.

2.

So bring it.

The Church has outlived every major Empire. Think Twice.

That’s all I’m saying.

1.

Oh yeah, and this is the best birthday greeting ever.

Yes! Happy Weekend friends.

Finding Mommy Style

I need them.

I’ve been a mom now for just over a year, and it’s been a tough year in a lot of ways. Perhaps most visible in my style. Which has looked something like this:

1-3 months postpartum: pajamas any time of day. Velour sweats when I leave the house. 1 maternity dress that still fit for church.

3-6 months postpartum: I guess I should wear real pants, huh? Too bad none of my pre-pregnancy jeans fit, and I am so.over maternity pants. Let me buy a few ratty pairs of second-hand jeans.

6-9 months postpartum: It’s summer! Thank God for loose-fitting sundresses. I also joined weight watchers. Clothes start to fit again.

9-12 months postpartum: My clothes fit again! However, most days I still wear yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt. I’m not leaving the house, what’s the point?

12-14 months postpartum: Oops, I lost 18 pounds and most of my clothes are just too big enough to not really work anymore.

So there it is. I need to buy some new things because most of my current clothes just don’t fit properly any longer. I reached my pre-baby weight back in the fall, and lost another ten pounds.

So, now I need to find a wardrobe that works. What I have in my closet are clothes that I love wearing when I “go out” but hesitate to put on just for being at home. Why? Because I’ve been conditioned to think that when I’m home “I’m not doing anything.” Well, that’s just a load of crap. When I’m at home Monday-Friday, I’m at work. I’m “at the office.” Granted, my office attire is jeans and sweaters, not suits and pearls. But still, there’s no excuse for me to not make it out of my yoga pants and into something more stylish. Yoga pants are great, don’t get me wrong, but they are not the whole of mommy-style.

So what is? How do I create a wardrobe that marries style and practicality, which a work-at-home mom needs?

I have a great opportunity now to re-evaluate my wardrobe, since most of it no longer fits.

I found a a few articles and books helpful as I’m thinking about and re-figuring my wardrobe, including the lovely Betty Beguiles’ e-book Dressing with Intention. It’s short, sweet, and to the point. It’s also FREE. Go check it out!

So here are some ideas I picked up here and there which are helping me to cultivate my style:

1. Envision a wardrobe for YOUR life. Think very concretely about how you spend your time. What do you wear most of the time? How often do you dress up, for work or other occasions?

For me, I wear jeans nearly every day, except in the summer. I pretty much only wear skirts or dresses for church and date-night, except in the summer, when I mostly wear skirts and dresses. So I need a wardrobe built around well-made stylish jeans and well-made stylish, easy to wash t-shirts and sweaters for winter, and well-made, comfortable, easy to wash skirts and dresses in summer.

What do you need and want to look stylish in your day to day life?

2. Pick a palette. Choose one, or at most two, neutral colors and make sure everything in your wardrobe goes with that neutral color. This makes picking outfits simple.

Choose black, brown, tan, navy, or white.

If you’re indecisive like I am, or already have a lot of clothes, choose two and try to find many pieces which match both.

My fall/winter wardrobe is based on black and tan. My spring/summer wardrobe is white and navy blue. It makes shopping easier, as well as enables you to need fewer accessories like shoes and bags.

3. Phone a friend. As you are going through what you have, evaluating each piece and whether or not it fits with your wardrobe, have a friend whose judgment you trust. Some pieces are just hard to tell.

This is where I am currently struggling. I have so many things I like, and which sort of still fit, but which really probably don’t, and make me look frumpy. But I bought it, I like it, and I ‘m having a hard time deciding. However, I am way too proud to ask for help.

Do you have a friend who can help you make those tough calls?

4. Plan outfits. I’ve been going through the items I do have that still fit enough to work, and making outfits. I even include shoes, scarves, or jewelery to make a complete look. It allows me several advantages: a reduced urge to shop, since I feel that I have “something to wear” more often. It also helps me know what items I actually need, so that when I do go shopping, I’m not buying things that are a waste. Which brings me to the next idea.

5. Shop with a plan. This is so hard for me! I love to shop, especially at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. However, those places are like black holes. I often throw my wardrobe plan and (sometimes!) budget to the wind when I find a great deal. I’m not alone in that, am I?

This is an area in which I need a lot of discipline. I only let myself buy shoes or clothes at such stores if what I find fits perfectly into my style-wardrobe plan. I’d rather spend more money on a great item which I’ll wear until it falls apart, than to buy five “gotta have” discounts from TJ which I wear twice each before donating to Goodwill.

It’s hard to stick with sometimes, but I always feel better when I do resist the urge of impulse buys.

I’m still struggling to find my style and motivation to get dressed each day, even if we don’t leave the house. However, these tips have been helping me continue to think about and envision my style.

Right now, I am looking for a few pieces to pull everything together.

A crisp white shirt

Straight-leg mid-rise dark wash jeans

1-2 blouses (to wear with skirts or jeans)

LBD

1 cardigan

Luckily for me, it’s my birthday this weekend, so I’ll actually be able to get a few of these items soon! Perhaps a picture post will be in order.

What items do you need to complete your wardrobe? Do you have any tricks or ideas that have helped you create a style? I’d love to hear them!

Real Love

It’s like a slap in the face, the stark reality of the poet’s words. It’s the most tragic, the most truly romantic poem I’ve read. It’s love. Not the toothless love of Valentine’s Day. The severe mercy of real love. The kind of love that will save the world.

Quarantine

In the worst hour of the worst season
of the worst year of a whole people
a man set out from the workhouse with his wife.
He was walking-they were both walking-north.

She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up.
He lifted her and put her on his back.
He walked like that west and north.
Until at nightfall under freezing stars they arrived.

In the morning they were both found dead.
Of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
But her feet were held against his breastbone.
The last heat of his flesh was his last gift to her.

Let no love poem ever come to this threshold.
There is no place here for the inexact
praise of the easy graces and sensuality of the body.
There is only time for this merciless inventory:

Their death together in the winter of 1847.
Also what they suffered. How they lived.
And what there is between a man and a woman.
And in which darkness it can best be proved.

-Eavan Boland

 

The Purge

I’m thinking of getting rid of Facebook.

There, I’ve said it. Now let’s see how long it takes for Mark Zuckerburg’s storm troopers to amass outside of my house. Just kidding. Sort of.

I’ve noticed lately that nearly every time I log onto Facebook, I either get enraged or convinced that western civilization is going to, in fact, implode at any moment. Which might be true, and which makes me shudder in disgust, realizing that my last moments on this earth might be spent staring at the status updates of people I hardly know, rather than staring at the beautiful faces of people I love.

That said, I’m a blogger. I don’t think it would be practical to get rid of Facebook altogether. So, I’m just getting rid of some people on Facebook.

One of the big problems with Facebook is that people think they’re entitled to be your friend. They’re not.

Last week I went through and removed maybe about 10-15 people who I didn’t actually know all that well, but whom I had shared a class in grad school or college with.

One of them, who happens to be, a pro-choice, pro-contraception “Catholic”, then sent me a message saying how dare I remove her as a friend just because we don’t agree, etc.

What.the.hell?

Listen crazy, I removed you because we had one class together in grad school and I hardly know you. Yes, the fact that you’re a cafeteria Catholic makes my head want to explode, and no, I don’t want to see your ranting against the Church you claim to be a member of popping up on my wall every day. Sorry? You are not entitled to be my friend on Facebook.

Here’s the thing. If I don’t actually know you that well, and every other thing you post is about how awful the Catholic Church is, I’m un-friending you, because I’m not friends with people who trash-talk my Mother.

I’m not saying you should stop saying what you want, what I’m saying is, I’m going to unfriend you because we’re not friends. So if we haven’t spoken in years, never knew each other that well to start with,  have nothing in common now, and the only time you write on my wall is to criticize my beliefs, don’t take it personally if I remove you. We’re not really friends.

What’s really ironic about the whole Facebook thing is that most of the people I love on Facebook are people I’ve never “met”. They’re other bloggers and moms that I want to be friends with. I wish they lived in my town so I could hang out with them.

So there you go. A Facebook purge. It’s been a long time coming.

Now I’m going to publish this on Facebook.

Seven Super City Quick Takes!

7.

So, we’re having a big game here this weekend, if you’ve heard.

There’s this thing, it’s called “Superbowl Village” and it’s pretty great. We went on Saturday, and here’s a stirring photo montage from our grand adventure downtown.

Welcome to the super bowl village...where only the strong survive.

Super Bowl Indy Car

6.

There is an Indy Car for each team in the NFL.

Especially these guys, who are going to win! Go Giants!

And these guys, who've been to plenty of Super Bowls!

That one’s for you, Rebecca.

The Saints...giving a shout-out to Drew Brees, who went to that other school in Indiana, Purdue.

I guess, I should include the Patriots, since they're...in the Super Bowl.

5.

Super Bowl village has transformed Georgia St. into a pedestrian walkway all the way from our convention center to the Pacers fieldhouse. I love it!

Another view along Georgia St.

4.

And the coolest part? St. John’s.

It’s right in the.middle. of the Super Bowl Village. And they’re making the best of it, I can tell you that.

Jesus is way cooler than the Zip Line.

And here’s the video they made:

Fr. Rick is so great. Love St. John’s.

3.

Then we went to the NFL shop, where we spent an obscene amount of money for 1 hat and 1 t-shirt, and 2 pins.

I’m just sayin’. I’m not surprised the stuff was way overpriced, because, if you want something from the Super Bowl, you’re going to buy it. We don’t normally buy that kind of stuff, but come on, how many times in my life is the Super Bowl going to be in my city?

Probably never again. So, $40 t-shirt. Worth it.

2.

view from Monument Circle, the I is blocked by a shadow.

The downtown is full of life, and I am really proud to be a Hoosier this week! Everyone who is visiting has spoken of how warm, friendly, and fun the people in Indy are, and I have to say, I agree!

Come and check us out! (But maybe next weekend).

1.

I’m sure you were wondering, but no, we are not going to the game. Shocking, I know. We’re such movers and shakers.

But we will be going to a great party with Maggie and some friends, which I am so excited for. I’m going to try my hand at making Hummus. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Happy weekend and Have a Super Day!

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