7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 162)
(I’m typing this as I pack for my trip to Denver to speak at the LCF Conference, rushing over to my computer in between trips from the closet to my suitcase, so I apologize in advance if my Quick Takes seem even more scattered and random than usual this week.)
Anyway, it looks like I’ll be pulling from a different section of my closet for this trip, since this is our current weather here in Austin:
And this is the forecast for Denver:
You mean there are parts of the country where everyone isn’t walking around in shorts and t-shirts right now?! On the plus side, when I told my son he would probably get to see snow, he declared that this is going to be the best homeschooling field trip EVER.
I’ve been to quite a few conferences over the past year, and every time it has been impressed upon me just how much of a need there is for these kinds of in-person events. The digital age has left us more connected than ever, but many people now spend relatively little time socializing in person (remember back when we talked about the online world as the new village water well?) Also, our communities are more fractured; with everyone moving around so much, it’s common for people to feel like they don’t have anything in common with — or even know — the folks who live right next to them. Whenever I go to these events, everyone there is always so happy. There is a palpable sense of relief, as if evseryone is collectively saying, “FINALLY I get to hang out with likeminded people — in person!”
Case in point: this fascinating series of photos of people eating dinner (via Slow Mama). The word that came to mind with many of the pictures was isolated. I was surprised by the number of people who ate alone and/or who watched TV or used the computer during dinner. That’s not always bad (on a day like today it sounds awesome to have a romantic dinner with my laptop), but the photos did make me think that the average person is in desperate need of more meaningful in-person interactions with other people.
As I look for something to wear this weekend, I’m reminded that I am in the middle of the wardrobe crisis that I’ve been waiting to have for ten years: all my clothes are too big. I don’t mean a little loose; I mean I perpetually look like I’m headed out to an M.C. Hammer costume contest.
Over the past few months I’ve lost 25 pounds. That’s a good thing, mainly since the drop on the scale was more of a side effect of lifestyle changes that have left me with more stamina and energy than I had when I was 20. But the situation would be perfect if we had won the lottery too, because new clothes are really not in the budget right now. As it is, I walk around the grocery store with low-hanging baggy jeans and slouchy shirts, teenagers giving me approving looks when they see we’re wearing the same thing. Maybe I’ll just add some faux gold chains with a sideways baseball cap and embrace this as my new look.
Anyway, as it is Lent, I know that none of you want your minds sullied with base talk of weight loss, so I won’t burden you by telling you what I did that worked so well.
Just kidding. It’s too long of a story to explain in detail here, but the short-short version is that it was Perfect Health Diet + rethinking what a reasonable portion size looks like + accepting that spiritual warfare really does come into play with getting healthy + learning to depend on a good jog for an energy boost. What started it all was getting fed up with feeling awful all the time; I started optimizing my life around foods and exercises that would make me feel better and have energy, and the weight loss followed. (If anyone is looking for inspiration, I love Wellness Mama‘s outlook on food and fitness.)
I’ve been trying to figure out how to con Vatican astronomer Br. Guy Consolmagno into chatting with me at the conference this weekend. I had decided to corner him after his talk and emphasize what we have in common: He is a Ph.D. who’s studied at MIT and the Harvard Observatory, who taught physics in Kenya with the Peace Corps, has an asteroid named after him, is now the curator of the Vatican’s enormous meteorite collection, and has a blog called Cosmic Diary. So, yeah. We pretty much have the exact same life. If you look past the surface-level stuff you see that we both have blogs that begin with C and end in Diary. Therefore, I am going to suggest that we walk around the conference making inside jokes and referring to ourselves as the “CD” bloggers.
On the off chance that angle only leads to a horrifically awkward moment, I should bring this too:
It’s a special meteorite-like thing that was given to me by an astronomer friend of my dad’s. It’s a piece of ejecta from a large meteor impact; it was blasted out into the edge of space then fell back to earth, hence its teardrop shape. It was found near the Caribbean, and may have been a result of the meteor that created the Chicxulub crater. As soon as I find a word to describe this rock other than “meteorite thing” and figure out how to pronounce Chicxulub, I’ll be all set to astound Br. Consolmagno with my astrophysics credentials!
If you’re looking for some powerful Lenten reading, don’t miss this post by Fr. Dwight Longenecker called Reasons for Renunciation. He writes:
If you just once give up everything for the Lord Christ you will never again be in chains. If you walk away from everything–just once in your life — you will be able to do it again.
Do read the whole thing. It’s excellent.