Friday, February 24, 2012

Seven Quick Linky Takes



--- 1 ---

Why Your Novel Characters Need Real Flaws by Rachelle Gardner.

My favorite part of the article:

Every cosmetic flaw is a victimless half of the real flaw it replaces. Here are two examples:

Cosmetic character flaw: Insecurity. Its real counterpart: envy and sabotage

Cosmetic character flaw: Fearfulness. Its real counterpart: disloyalty under pressure

A major part of my novel revisions have actually been forcing myself to stop protecting my characters from the consequences of their own flaws. It's hard; stuff like this helps me keep up my determination.

--- 2 ---

A twofer here:

2a: Women's Health = Not Having Babies by Patrick Thornton.

I realize that the HHS mandate is Teh Evulz, but seriously, I am so sick of the mindless repetition I've been seeing on Facebook and such. (I know, I shouldn't get my political news from Facebook). It's faith and reason, people, not faith and soundbites. Explain to me why it's evil.

That article helped. Obviously, it's not exhaustive, but it brings up a point that helped me actually understand things.

2b. The Thorny Question of Freedom of Religion by Calah Alexander. Again, not an All-Inclusive Explanation of Everything, but I found it interesting and skimming the comments indicates that there's some food for thought in there too.

--- 3 ---

What's Wrong With the Teenage Mind? by Alison Gopnik. Not being a teenager myself, nor the parent of a teenager, I can't comment much on this, but it gives me justification for my strange idea that irresponsible kids should be given more responsibility (in controlled situations), not less. (I think I first got that idea when I was a teenager; does that make me qualified to comment?)

Also: Children Educate Themselves III: The Wisdom of Hunter-Gatherers by Peter Gray. (I haven't read parts I and II, which are presumably out there somewhere.) Yeah, apparently I want my kids to grow up like little hunter-gatherers. Who needs modern civilization?

--- 4 ---

The Restored Order of Sacraments of Initiation. When I took Sacraments a couple years ago I wrote a paper on this very topic. The concept of the sacraments of initiation put forth in the article makes sense to me, but I hesitate to embrace it because it flies in the face of pretty much everything I'd been told about Confirmation for the first 20 years of my life. You know it's bad when the Byzantine way is simpler than yours. (See what I did there?)

--- 5 ---

You Found Me by The Fray. Music rather than text this time. I just like this song.

--- 6 ---

Don't Lecture Me: Rethinking How College Students Learn by Emily Hanford. My mother-in-law posted this on Facebook. (I opened the tab but then didn't read it for a day or two, and then I couldn't find it to comment on it, because she has the new timeline layout. Why, Facebook, why?)

Anyway. I agree with this. I don't like the idea of splitting the class into pairs, though, for various reasons. My preferred method of college instruction is the seminar, with 10-25 people all sitting in a circle tossing ideas back and forth. Once, second semester freshman year, only one girl in the whole class understood what in the world Aristotle was talking about, so she stood up at the board and drew diagrams explaining it all, and then everybody understood. It was awesome.

--- 7 ---

Oops, I don't actually have 7 linky things to post. Here's a picture of my little siblings to distract you from this lapse:


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Friday, February 10, 2012

Seven Quick Bedtime Takes



--- 1 ---

This is what we had for dinner on Tuesday: Rosemary pork "chops" (a roast cooked whole and then sliced), buttery garlic rice, and green beans with bacon. I felt so accomplished because I cooked a meal with SIDES. Usually if I'm not cooking a pasta dish or soup (which are like complete meals by themselves) I just serve up a slab of meat. Maybe one side. But almost never two.

This is what we had for dinner yesterday: Homemade chicken alfredo pizza. Scott and I went to Olive Garden on a date last month (we had a coupon) and chicken alfredo pizza was one of the things we had there. Scott asked me to recreate it, and I did. It was pretty awesome. We did not eat any vegetables.


--- 2 ---

My big cooking goal for next week is to recreate Scott's mother's stroganoff. It is pretty much Scott's favorite food ever, and if he wants a food I cook it.

To that end, I purchased cooking sherry for the first time in my life. (Random tidbit: This is only the third time I've purchased alcohol of any kind, and Scott's first time, even though he's almost 5 months my elder.) Did you know, gentle readers, that the cooking sherry is NOT in the giant section of beer and wine? i.e. THE LOGICAL PLACE FOR IT? It is over with the ketchup and stuff. It's a good thing we needed Worcestershire sauce as well, or we would never have found it. What is up with that, Meijer?

--- 3 ---

I visited four stores today: GFS, Aldi, and Meijer for various foodstuffs, and a store that shall remain nameless to return an item which may or may not have been a wedding gift. So now I have a $17 credit to Nameless Store, in addition to a $20 Wal-Mart gift card and $125 in Target gift cards. Methinks I need to redirect my desire for Stuff to things from one of these three stores.

Oh, did you notice the part where I went to FOUR stores? In ONE day? I have never done that before. I am such a grownup it's not even funny.

--- 4 ---

I want a mantilla. Sadly, I can't get one from any of the stores above, and I have an aversion to spending actual money given our current state of Depressingly Low Income. I could just wear my old, little chapel veil (which I found in a sweater pocket after it was lost for six months), but I don't want to. I want to be an old married lady in a black mantilla.

--- 5 ---

My babysitting job that started last month ended on Tuesday. I had kind of hoped that it would be a regular thing for longer than that, but such is life sometimes and I was promised that I am on the list of people to call if they ever want a babysitter for a one-time deal. So, I'd say it was a good experience all around.

I was going to give myself a little vacation, but then a lead for another job cropped up, so here I am pursuing it. But trying not to stress out too much in the pursuit.

--- 6 ---

On Monday, Scott rejoined the schola at the parish we attend. (His family is in the schola even though they go to a different parish; he was in it until school obligations conflicted with practice times.) He was gone at practice for FOUR HOURS (yes you were, dear, I counted) and I missed him horribly.

Seemingly unrelatedly, some time ago I got an invitation from a Facebook friend to a young adults retreat in the area that will take place in about 2 weeks. I invited Scott to the Facebook event and then it just kind of sat dormant until a day or two ago when Scott got an email from the head of the schola asking if anyone could commit to singing at the Mass for this retreat. So now Scott and I are going on a retreat and he's singing.

--- 7 ---

According to Facebook, Mom was trying to put Teresa to sleep the other day with stories from a children's Bible.

At David and Goliath:

T: "David is a boy's name, right?"

Mom: "Of course it is."

T: "Then why does he have a purse?"

Mom: "That's a bag for his stones and slingshot."

T: "Then why is he wearing a dress?"

Mom: "Men didn't wear pants back then."

At the feeding of the five thousand, Teresa insisted that they count all the people in the picture. There were 18.

Teresa: "That's not two thousand!"

Have I mentioned lately that I love this kid?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! Betty Beguiles!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Seven Quick Takes at the beginning of February



--- 1 ---

Last week, Scott convinced me that I was allowed to buy a new Sims disc rather than moping around being all, "Stop playing your stupid Dwarf Fortress game; you're not allowed to enjoy video games while I'm all forlorn and Simless."

I have actually managed to not spend every waking, non-working hour playing Sims. I have played a fair bit, though, cycling through a couple of families in my Prosperity Challenge neighborhood. Someday I might even update my Prosperity Challenge blog. You never know.

--- 2 ---

As some of you might recall, I am writing a novel. Or two or three. Anyway, as of Tuesday I officially wrote something every day for the entire month of January. (This is the first time I've done such a thing without something like NaNoWriMo triggering my competitive side.)

Relatedly, sometimes writing a novel feels like waiting for one of Zeno's arrows to shoot me in the head.

(No, I am not providing a link to explain that. Either you get it and it's funny or you don't and it's not.)

(P.S. Is paradoxes a real word? I don't trust Wikipedia.)

--- 3 ---

On Wednesday I got gas on my way to work. Yesterday I stopped by Aldi and grabbed some groceries on my way home from work so I could make chicken noodle soup for dinner because Scott and I were both tired of eating random combinations of chicken, rice, cheese, and bread. (Both trips inspired by my stubbornness in sticking to a self-imposed, largely hypothetical monthly budget, even when I have an eighth of a tank of gas and no vegetables.)

It is ridiculous how self-congratulatory I feel about this sort of stuff. When/if I have children, it will be even worse, mark my words. I'll blog nothing but, "I kept the baby alive AND brushed my hair today! WHERE IS MY MEDAL?"

--- 4 ---

Earlier this week, Scott and I were discussing his birthday. This might seem unreasonable to those of you who know his birthday is in the latter half of June. Then again, bear in mind that the last few years I've averaged getting him his birthday present in September, so maybe four and a half months is only just enough lead time for me.

He said he wants rainbow sherbet. (It comes in 5-quart, $5 bins at Aldi just like the chocolate swirl ice cream we're fond of getting.) Then he further pointed out that he wants rainbow sherbet in general but since I haven't gotten it for him yet he's resigned to not getting it except as a special birthday treat.

So I explained.

"But I don't LIKE rainbow sherbet, so we'd have to get regular ice cream too, and then you'd want to eat some of the regular ice cream because why should you be punished for not being picky, but then I'd get mad at you for eating 'my' ice cream, and...It's just better not to buy it."

Aren't you jealous of him for getting to live with me?

--- 5 ---

I started two new sewing projects last weekend while waiting for my Sims disc to arrive. I had to start two because I have only a medium-sized piece of a particular fabric left and I wanted to use it in both projects. Fortunately, I managed to fit all the pieces onto the bit of fabric quite neatly.

The projects have been stalled the last few days, but I choose to think that it's because I was at work for a lot of the last few days, not because Sims are much more interesting than sewing.

(One of the two things is for my older sister's birthday, in late July. You may begin taking bets as to whether I will finish in time. My last sewing project took 7 months, so I'm not optimistic.)

--- 6 ---

Our apartment has a thoroughly useless little balcony. I say thoroughly useless because the balcony is just big enough to fit a couple of chairs, and if you were sitting in the chairs you'd be staring directly over the railing to the parking lot about 20 feet below.

Have I ever mentioned that I really dislike heights?

Anyway, I said when we first moved here that if we stayed here until summer I was going to put vegetables in pots on the balcony.

Now it is unseasonably warm February, and I am already saving milk jugs to use as DIY vegetable planters. Stay tuned to watch me kill things with benign neglect. (I have killed ZUCCHINI. People should pay me to come kill their overgrown plants for them.)

--- 7 ---

I promise I am not actually a domestic goddess, with all this sewing and gardening. Really. I did a load of laundry on Tuesday and it was still in the hamper this morning. Now about a third of it is in the hamper, about a third of it is on the bed, and about a third is actually put away. It's like that because I had to dump part of it on the bed to find clothes to wear today, and then decided to put the rest away, but got bored and wandered off partway through.

Just keepin' it real.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! Betty Beguiles!