Archive for the ‘Seven Quick Takes’ Category

1. I get to see 7/8 of my former JVC Spokane housemates today! I am beyond excited. 6 out of 8 (including us) were at our wedding, so this will be the largest gathering since the day we left. We are definitely going to miss the one who can’t make it. One day, we will fully reunite, and victory will be ours.

2. Have I mentioned I got IRB (institutional review board) approval? Since I will be working with “live human subjects” during my  thesis research, I needed the University’s approval. I’ve heard many, many horror stories about the months it can take to get approval. I got mine in 2 days. Miracle! Usually when you work with vulnerable subjects like homeless people, you need a full review of the entire board. The director said my confidentiality plan was strong enough (the plan is to not write down anyone’s name, ever) and so he just gave me approval. I still won’t start my interviews till around September though.

3. Speaking of which, I’m kind of counting down the days till I graduate. Which is bad. I’m just not feeling the whole “back in school” thing. I miss going to work every day, you know actually doing something other than just reading and writing. I remember when John went back to school after JVC he said it was an odd adjustment to spending all day every day focused on other people, your housemates, your clients, etc. to focusing all day on yourself.

4. Happy Summer! It’s barely summer here. It’s been highs in the 50s and 60s all month, and luckily it turned kinda nice for the last few days, but lately it’s back to cold and rainy. This is the kind of weather I would have deemed “early Spring” or even “late winter” back home. Nope. Now it’s summer.

5. To kick off summer we went to an Osprey baseball game. It’s the minor league team here, and the neat part is they have posts with actual Osprey, which is a bird of prey, nesting on them around the stadium.

6. Then I stayed up to watch a League of their Own till 2:30am last night. I’m tired.

7. When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I really, really, really wanted to be a pitcher. I watched a League of their Own like every single day that summer. I checked out books from the library on pitching. I begged to be allowed to join the little league softball team. After one practice, I was taken off the team cause I was too small (I was really, really short as a kid) and got put on my little sister’s coach pitch team. I was devastated. And since the only part of baseball I had any interest in was pitching, I didn’t care much for the rest of it. And I was bad. Really, really, really bad. Despite being at least a head taller than everyone else on the team.

Needless to say, that ended my baseball career.

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We really need to do dishes. That’s on deck for today.


I’ve been baking some bread lately from my Jesuit cookbook. Nothing like combining an Examen and food.


So far I’m ahead of the game on all my research. By a day but still. So I might just bake/clean today.


Missoula is flooding. We’re not in any danger, but the river has overflowed it’s banks so the people who live by it have been evacuated. The average CFS (cubic feet per second or the flow rate) for this time of year is about 9,000. It’s at 30,000 now.


Ever read “A River Runs Through It”?

Yeah, it’s that river. The Clark Fork.


It’s not actually the river in the movie. It was filmed on the Yellowstone, Gallatin and Boulder rivers. It’s funny when real life isn’t good enough for the movies.

Basically, I think that the Clark Fork isn’t wooded enough to get scenes like the one above.


Did I tell you we got a CSA? So far, so good. I’ll post more about it later. We’ve used up most of the stuff for this week, but I just remembered this morning we had radishes to use up still. So I put some in my husbands salad. He doesn’t like radishes. Don’t tell him.

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7 blogs to check out

Maybe you guys have heard of these already. Maybe you haven’t. But I wanted to share a little of what I’ve been reading lately!

1. House Unseen

This family bought a house off the internet for $27,000 and have been flipping. Their stories are hilarious and inspirational. I’ve been trying to convince John we should do the same, however, even $27k is out of our price range right now.

2. Glacier County Honey

My Montanan life pails in comparison to this couple living up North, just east of Glacier Park. If you like seeing feet of snow well into spring, you would like this blog. Plus John and I have a large, lovely, and delicious bottle of their honey. So good.

3. Granola Catholic

A new blog on line drying laundry and faith. I love her posts, especially the beautiful pictures!

4. Unequally Yoked

I just stumbled on this blog recently, but I find it really interesting. It is about a woman who is an atheist and dating a good Catholic boy. It’s very thought provoking and a good place for debate and new ideas.

5. The Bobby Pin

I just think this girl is adorable. She is doing a series of posts on “What is Beautiful?” which you should check out.

6. That Wife Blog

I read this blog almost daily. The author is a Mormon (Latter-day Saint) and has some really informative and (often argument provoking!) posts about her faith. And life as well. Plus her pictures are awesome.

7. Open Those Ojos

Another blog about faith (can you tell that’s what I’ve been reading about lately? I go through phases – sometimes all frugal blogs, other times all green-living ones). I love the author’s post – simple and always a fresh perspective.

Hopefully that gives you some new reading to check out! Enjoy!

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1. It’s exam week here at Chez Blueberries and we’ve been knocking them out of the park.  I still have to finish changes to my thesis proposal for like the milllionth time, but hopefully once it’s done today, it’s done. I wonder if it’ll ever just get to a “good enough” point. I mean, it’s already been proposed and accepted; so I don’t really see how making changes will affect the trajectory of the project. Mainly cause it’s things like “expand on this paragraph” or “rearrange this.” So hopefully that’ll be done sometime this afternoon and I can take the rest of the day off. I have to admit though, while I don’t particularly enjoy grad school, it’s been a lot less demanding and stressful than undergrad. So there’s that!

2.  One of my JV housemates from my second year of JVC was in town visiting this week. Granted, her timing was a little off (smack in the middle of exams!) but it was still great to see her. And she managed to come on the only days this entire spring where it has been sunny and in the 60s/70s. Seriously, I can’t even tell you how great the weather has been here.

3.  Having community members is like no other relationship I have. You kinda get this sense that you’ve been through something significant together, and really, only the people in that house during that year can ever understand it. We aren’t all BFFs, but I am happy to say that I truly get along and enjoy being with all my former housemates. (Okay, except the one that left early but I don’t  know if that counts).  They’re great people, and I am blessed to have them in my life.

4. Speaking of housemates still, we are going to one of our Spokane housemate’s weddings in June! I’m so excited. I think most of our  other housemates will be there, too. Most came to our wedding, but weddings are crazy so I didn’t get to hang out with them the way I would’ve wanted to. It should be a blast!

5. We got their wedding present here: serrv. It’s basically a fair trade gift store for Catholic Relief Services. Check it out – they have some awesome stuff!

6. I plan on buying myself a pair of TOMS shoes when I finish all my work this afternoon. Check back tomorrow for a post on how I’ve over thought this far too much.

7. I’m working at the shelter this weekend. It’s nice to get some moolah, but I just want to chill. I haven’t worked at that site since December, so I’m probably a little rusty. Oh goodness. Hopefully it will go by quick!

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Seven podcasts to listen to next time it’s your turn to do the dishes.

1. Fiasco This American Life

If you haven’t listened to TAL before, it’s a must. It’s hilarious, amazing, heart wrenching all at the same time. Every show is downright fascinating. This particular episode, Fiasco, is one of the funniest I’ve ever heard.

2. Being Catholic On Being

On Being (formerly known as Speaking of Faith) is a radio show that covers all sorts of religious topics, from Buddhism to Mormonism. The guests range from Barbara Kingsolver, a food writer, to Sr. Joan Chittister, a wonderfully trouble making Catholic nun. This particular show might interest some of you as it delves into the experience of being Catholic.

3. Rest Stop This American Life

Another TAL favorite, though they really all are fantastic. This one covers a day at a rest stop. Sound hopelessly mundane? It’s amazing how fascinating simple stories become when told with honest curiosity.

4. Sleep RadioLab

Radio Lab is like a science-y version of TAL. My only complaint with the show is they don’t produce very many episodes. But they are interesting scientific inquiries into the deepest scientific questions, like, “Why do we sleep?”

5. Story Donald Miller, Mars Hill Bible Church

This one unfortunately costs $2, but is worth it. It’s about what story we make out of our lives. Donald Miller is author of the book, Blue Like Jazz. I find his reflections really interesting and I think there are some good takeaways in  this talk.

6. 48 or Bust StoryCorps

This is hands down one of the funniest things I have ever listened to. Plus it’s only like 2 minutes so you have no excuse to not just go ahead and listen to it right now. StoryCorps is a collection of people’s stories all around the country, essentially a catalog of oral history. It’s fascinating to listen to!

7. Very Tough Love This American Life

Can you tell I really like This American Life? This is just this week’s podcast, so I don’t know if it will enter into my epic archives, but this story was amazing. It’s about a drug court in Georgia that is severely over punishing it’s patrons. Simply amazing.

Okay, enjoy! Do you have any favorite podcasts/radio shows that I should be listening to?

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It’s almost Spring. John and I saw a robin on the side of the highway on Saturday, which happened to be our first sunny day in at least a month. We both looked at each other and said, “we made it!” Then it snowed yesterday. Apparently this winter has broken all sorts of snow records.


My exam went well, and now I should be studying for another one I have in a few hours. It’s open book, but it’s also timed so I don’t really know what to expect.


This week is like 4 holidays in a row. March 14th – Pi day. March 15th – Ides of March. March 16th – John’s birthday. March 17th – St. Patrick’s day. Now it’s the 18th and all the celebrating is over. But it’s FRIDAY!


We got our wedding album in the mail yesterday. Exciting! Now we are pretty much finished with everything wedding related, except we still need to get our hands on a copy of our wedding video.


I decided I am going to try the no complaining thing, within reason. For instance, I don’t think I’ll be able to get through my doctor’s appointment without saying a single thing that’s going wrong. It’d be pretty pointless to go otherwise. I do have a doc’s appointment today, and I’m kinda nervous about it. So, yeah.


I got on my bike for the first time last week. I think I seemed to do okay despite the IC, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m planning on taking it slow.


I haven’t mentioned the disasters in Japan on my blog, but that’s not because I haven’t been thinking about it. I just don’t have anything new to add to the discussion. But my prayers are with everybody around the world who is affected by disaster, natural or otherwise. Oh yeah, and I think Rush Limbaugh is a mean old idiot.

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My dad is in Haiti this week, taking a group of Virginia Tech students to visit their twin parish, inspiring the Creole numbers for this post. Please keep them in your prayers!

Port-Au-Prince 2008


I’ve been in a lot of pain this week. It is what it is. I’m still waiting on that divine revelation about why God wanted me to have a broken bladder. So far nada. I’ll tell y’all when I figure it out.


This is what I saw outside of the window the other day:

Really we see deer all the time on the hill behind our house. And all sorts of other things – birds, people walking their dogs, foxes, college kids smoking pot. But the point is, that’s a lot snow for March!


Your kind compliments inspired me to finish the project that’s been waiting in my knitting bag for months.

I am never knitting stripes again. So many ends to sew in! Also, these mittens are made of camel hair. While darling, they shed like crazy. Seriously. I think there will eventually be no yarn left. A full grown dog can’t shed this much hair.


I don’t know what I’m giving up for Lent yet.Or if I will give up something. My diet is already so restricted it wouldn’t be healthy for me to give anything else up. And I’ve already given up all the good stuff. I usually like to add one thing and give one thing up. Any ideas? What are you doing this year?


We need to do dishes like woah. And have no plans to. ‘Cause we still have a few clean forks left.


I’m doing my first real deal anthropological interview tomorrow.
I hope to look as good as Emily Deschanel while doing it.

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Have you heard? Congress is considering cutting Americorps from its budget. While we can probably agree that the budget needs to be balanced, should we cut off a program that:

1) provides low-cost but highly qualified labor to agencies which might otherwise be able to afford a full time employee

2) provides jobs and more importantly, practical job skills to recent college graduates as well as people at other stages of their life

3) provides educational support for former members, giving people the opportunity to either pay off debt or continue their education

Ultimately, what I’m getting at, is that while Americorps does cost the government, the benefits the country receives are worth MUCH more than the cost.

Americorps also supports the Catholic Network of Volunteer Services which supports the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, which I spent 2 years of my life serving with. The JVs I knew worked in elementary schools on reservations, in homeless shelters, in women’s shelters, at daycares, at food banks, as nurses, with the mentally handicapped, with the elderly. My cousin is currently serving an Americorps year in New Orleans, working at a place that educates children about environmental issues and does vegetable oil drives for biodiesel engines and all sorts of other neat things.

Americorps is basically a win-win-win-win. The country wins by keeping people employed and having a cost-effective way to take care of its low-income citizens, the agencies win by getting employees they would not otherwise be able to afford, the clients served by these agencies win by receiving all sorts of services that would not be available otherwise, and the members win by receiving a life changing year that will ultimately shape their future.

2. I can’t say enough about how important I think this type of service is to this country. But maybe you can say something. Feel like contacting your congressperson and asking them to save service?

Contact your representative or

senator or

sign a petition.

Stand up for those who are most needy in our country. Save service! Gotta love that democratic process.

3. Husband and I made kale chips the other day. The result? Delicious. Basically cut up kale in bite sized pieces, drizzle with a little olive oil, add slat, bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Ta da! Healthier version of potato chips. Serve with bison burgers.

4. Can I tell you how awesome my husband is, or will you get jealous? He makes dulce de leche. Which is a milk based caramel sauce. Technically, *we* make it, but basically I just holler “of course you’re doing it right” from the couch while he does all the work. It’s a pretty awesome deal.

5. This is one of those weeks where I have had lots of existential questions about what I am doing in grad school. Its just kind of boring after working. Read, class, read, class. The subject matter is interesting and all, but the day to day routine is fairly meh.

6. What did you do Saturday? We went over to the house of a couple that live next door where the JV house used to be. They are in their 70s and maybe some of the nicest people in the world. Every time I see their wife she asks about the shelter I work at and gets into an impassioned discussion of the needs of the homeless who are mentally ill. We played dominos with the current JVs, some of the couple’s friends and children, and a few former JVs. Well, I played like two rounds of dominoes and John watched basketball with the head of the house. Plus we ate chili and brownies. (well not me, I snacked on veggies but it was still awesome).

7. One of the guests in attendance was my husband’s not-so-secret-admirer. She’s 3. Remember how I mentioned that he was going to be his cousin’s Godfather? Well her mother was the stand in Godmother. Apparently since then she hasn’t stopped asking about the “Godfather.” They pray for the Godfather at night. I asked her if she remembered me from the baptism and she said, “Yup! You sat next to the Godfather!” When we were trying to open up the thing of Chinese Checkers, she said, “maybe that Godfather in the kitchen can open it!” and then dissolved into a fit of giggles whenever he came near. Or ignored him. Basically habits that will stay with her for the next 20 years.

7.1. Scroll back up and click on one of those links to save service! Thanks. :-)

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1. I had a dream about peanut butter fudge last night. Mmmm.

2. I have to go to the eye doctor today to get new contacts. I hate spending money so I tend to put these things off until the very last minute. It would be great to get Lasik. With the amount I spend on doctors appointments and contacts and glasses, it would be worth the money. Unfortunately, my mom had Lasik years ago and it didn’t go well. So now I’m kind of scared too.

3. A girl I worked with at a Young Life camp years ago was diagnosed with Lymphoma. But today, she is officially cancer free! Hallelujah! Read her story here.

4. My husband and I went to a hockey game on Wednesday. I love hockey. I really didn’t think I would, but when we went to a Spokane Chiefs game back in JVC, I thought it was great. Almost as good as football. And way better in person than on TV. I think its the sound of the skates on the ice. You don’t get to hear all the wooshing and swooshing on ESPN. It was Fan Appreciation Night (aka FREE NIGHT!) so the place was unbelievably packed.

We barely got a spot on the bleachers. Unfortunately, hockey fans like to stomp, which vibrates the bleachers and makes my poor bladder go owie! So after the first period we stood up for the rest of the game. I hate that I can’t do things like a normal person. Like find a place to sit at a hockey stadium like a normal person, without going “no, I would have to climb over too many people to go to the bathroom there,” or “no, too far away from the bathroom.” Blah. Oh well, I don’t really have anything spiritual to say about it all. Like I said, I didn’t start this blog because I had deep insights about how fulfilling it is to live with a chronic disease, but because I was trying to figure it out myself.

5. Maybe I should write a post about living with IC, but I don’t want to just write something whiny.

6. Remember how I told you about the Bible Bus? I wasn’t lying.

7. More lovey-dovey music like I promised. I don’t usually listen to Christian music, but I decided to a few weeks ago. This song came on, Lead me by Sanctus Real, and I have to admit, I was really struck. The song is about fighting to save a marriage from divorce, but it reminds me of my relationship with John. We’re doing okay, but being hit with a chronic illness two months after getting married is tough. He’s been very strong for me, something I wholeheartedly appreciate.

Edit: My husband texted me to tell me we were doing better than okay! Very true. I just meant “okay” as in the opposite of “things are not okay.” We’re doing great.

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1. I’m trying to help my husband lose weight. We have lots of junk food left over from the super bowl. My solution? Eat it before he gets to it. I feel gross.

2. Why doesn’t the Catholic Church have a better official website? I mean, yeah, the Vatican has one, but it’s not that awesome. Compare the Vatican’s and the LDS Church’s websites. Why can’t the Catholic Church have one with smiling faces and maybe a link that says “Who was Jesus?” or “What is Catholicism?” Can we get some web designers on this?

3. Friday was a hard day for me. I was in so much pain from my IC that I thought I was going to pass out in class/go to the hospital. I finally got out of the 3 hr seminar, called my husband to ask if he could take me to the hospital, but finally ol’ betty-the-bladder relented and let me go to the bathroom. (Part of the problem with IC is you feel like you have to go constantly, which can make actually going a problem.) So, needless to say, we did not go out to First Fridays (an open-art-gallery deal downtown) and also did not go the gym like we had planned. We sat on the couch and watched TV all night. Some days, I just hate being 24 and feeling like I’m already done with my carefree existence.

4. Anyone still reading after I talked about my bladder? Impressive.

One really nice thing is that after Friday, I’ve felt a lot better overall. I’m still dropping down my course load cause I realized last week that having a bad week and lots to do just doesn’t mix. But the last few days have been good, and I’ll take that.

5. I’m gonna do a bunch of posts about my wedding, but not all in a row. I have some other things I want to talk about. So stay tuned!

6. I’m really grateful for my husband. Last week we spent a while talking about my need for quality time in our marriage. One difference between our families of origin is how we do dinner . We both came from families that always ate together, but how we did that differed. My family, my mom did most of the cooking by herself, and then we sat around for an hour or two after dinner and shot the breeze. His family, the preparation of the meal was the communal part, and the dinner was just for eating. Then dishes were done ASAP to make sure they didn’t miss the first part of the Utah Jazz game!

I realized that it was driving me crazy that my husband would get up and start washing dishes or turned on the TV while I was still eating. He eats much quicker than I do, so it was becoming a regular occurrence. But after I told him that I would appreciate if he stayed sitting down throughout the meal, and maybe a few minutes afterwards. And he has! It’s great to know that he listens and will take action. I decided I should probably incorporate him more into the prep part of dinner too, instead of just saying I don’t need help.

7. My husband’s cousin is getting baptized on Saturday, and he’s the Godfather! I keep telling him that makes me the Godmother-in-law. Is that how it works?

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