7 Quick Takes – Communion Edition

Publication delayed due to difficulty in obtaining the hat picture, which was (finally) taken at my parent's house on Sunday. Also because it was a long and tiring week.

1. I'm starting to write these sitting at the phlebotomist's office waiting the requisite hour for my second blood glucose screen. I *ahem* may have kinda forgotten to do it last week, and this week I've mostly been in the Valley. This isn't really an optimum time for this test, as I've just spent four days traveling in a mostly sedentary state with a diet fit to give a nutritionist a fit of apoplexy. So I guess we'll just have to see how my metabolism takes it.

Wow that orange stuff is nasty. It isn't nearly so nasty when it's still half frozen and slushy.

2. We have a pope again! Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, Pope Francis (in case anyone's been living under a rock.) I burned most of my remaining data plan to watch the live feed from a bench in the outlet mall at Mercedes, but it was entirely worth it.

I thought he looked rather shell shocked to be standing up there on the balcony, to be honest. I loved his awkward little wave, but didn't really know what to think of him otherwise. I couldn't remember ever hearing a thing about him before. But he's already delighted me twice, with his bus trip and by slipping off to Santa Maria Maggiore the next morning to pray. I think he's going to give everyone a good, proper shaking up, Saint Francis-style.

I'm having a hard time organizing what I think so far about 'Papa Pancho', but I can sum part of it up thus: I have a deeply amused impulse to get some popcorn and watch the various tribes have their spittle flecked nutty because the Pope is Catholic. More later, if I can get mentally organized.

3. So about a month ago, I took Internet social awkwardness to new heights and invited one of my local commenters and her husband over for dinner.

I've done it before (including a couple of times waaaay back in 2001, when such things were just not done), but it always feels weird to meet in person someone you've only known over the Internet. But I've been thinking lately, and what else is the Internet for? Some of my commenters are people from my life, past and present. But I'll be supremely lucky if I get to meet Melanie, or FoxFier, or any of my other distantly located commenters once in our lives. I don't even see the commenters I do know enough for it to satisfy. And that makes not having dinner with Elizabeth and the Baron Von Korf, who live not even on the other side of the city, well, stupid. Even vaguely heterodox.

Anyway, I was delightful to meet them. Himself and I had a good time. So did GeekBaby, because at the end of the evening he decided he'd forgotten to tell them something and chased their car halfway down our street before I caught him. Ow. Apparently I've reached the stage of pregnancy where even light running is painful.

(Maybe someday they'll even forgive the mediocre dinner that I produced.)

4. The next day (Monday) we headed to the Valley because it was Himself's Spring Break. This will be my last long trip till August, and i think the 13 hour round trip in the car may have already been too much for me. And I had to work when I got back. It's taken me a while to recover. (Thus the late 7QT.)

5. We went to the stock show in Mercedes while we were there. Calves have scratchy tongues, but wow are they cute!

6. Hats. I'm afraid I've finally crossed the Tiber Red.

But I must admit, it is pretty good at both shading my eyes and keeping the whispies out of my face.

7. So Google is shuttering Reader in July? I can't even begin to grasp the rationale behind this asshattery. I use Reader every single day. Not just to see what's new, but to keep track of what's old and worth further thought. It's a reasonably adequate archival tool, could be made better, but it was already better than its rivals. It didn't need to be fancy, it just needed to work. And it did. And now it's gone, come July.

I've been playing around with some alternates. Feedly, so far, is the best… but even then it's a distant second to Reader. It goes too much for style over function, and for social media function over the real function of an RSS aggregator, which is to collect, arrange, and store information.

The Feedly iOS app is especially atrocious. What kind of RSS reader doesn't work without an Internet connection? Reading offline is most of the point of having an app!

I'll review every service and app I try, so be prepared for a deluge. If you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments.

Bonus Monday Take: Himself's grandmother is 94 today! And now, in her honor, an Öma story:

Öma gave up driving a few years ago, after a couple of injuries/infections when she started requiring a walker. She was near to, or past ninety at this point, had driven stick all her life (she positively refused to drive automatic) and had only ever been involved in one accident – and even then it took a youngster in the midst of a domestic dispute backing into her blazer while she was stopped at a red light to cause it. Öma was furious, not at the damage to her vehicle, but at the ruination of a perfect driving record of 70+ years. Before then she'd never had so much as a speeding ticket. She was, and is, a sharp and feisty lady.

But she recently decided she didn't need her drivers license anymore and to exchange it for a Texas ID. She wanted the ID for various other necessities of life. Voting. Banking. Visiting the liquor store.

Turns out, you can't just roll over your TXDL into a TXID. You need to apply. With your birth certificate. And Öma doesn't have one. She's 94. The county she was born in didn't even issue birth certificates back then. Her social security card wasn't enough, even in conjunction with her existing ID. But she could renew her drivers license without any problem at all. How messed up is that? (It turns out that this is a common problem in that county.)

MOMIL was close to tears by the end of this bureaucratic runaround, but Öma was just plain mad. I can just see her, leaving the courthouse with her walker, swearing profusely in Spanish in what she thinks is under her breathe but is really entirely audible.

Happy Birthday, Öma. May God grant you four and ninety more.


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18 Responses to 7 Quick Takes – Communion Edition

  1. Foxfier says:

    Wow that orange stuff is nasty.

    Amen. I’m still shocked that I haven’t, um, had to retake the test another day due to interruptions in the ability to absorb the stuff, if you get my meaning.

    I can just see her, leaving the courthouse with her walker, swearing profusely in Spanish in what she thinks is under her breathe but is really entirely audible.

    I lol’d. *grin*

    I’ve been able to meet folks I know online once or twice, and it was pretty dang cool. I felt awkward, but I always feel awkward! People are important, so there’s so many ways to mess up– go, team introvert. ;^p

    Of course, once I do get to know folks, the most common complaint is “I thought you were a nice, quiet person.”

    • GeekLady says:

      People that don’t interact with others online don’t quite get meeting someone you met online though. For them, other people online fall automatically into the “predator” mental category. I’ve learned this the hard way, and am now extremely cagey when talking about it to non-techies.
      My mother, for example, would just about pass out from horror that I invited anyone from the Internet to our home for dinner. 🙂

      • Foxfier says:

        After a couple of years of “I mean real people” from my mom, pregnancy brain made me snap and explain that yes, people online are quite real, and the biggest pains are the sociopaths who act like those they can’t see are not actually human, then going into detail on how very nice it is to be able to have an actual conversation about something with more meat on it than polite smalltalk about children with people who will flounce off in a huff if you dare disagree with them in any shape and will contradict themselves from one minute to the next.

        It actually turned out well— she’ll now ask about the “keeping up with friends” stuff and not freak when I talk about folks with nicknames like “Z-God,” “DarwinCatholic” and “Conservative Wanderer,” and I think she realizes that the interaction is at least as in-depth as watercooler talk. (Talking about the co-bloggers over at The American Catholic who have normal names is a little easier, too, now that she realizes more substance is discussed with them than the other care-takers I spend five to six hours with for playdates.)

        I really, really miss my Navy friends, but there’s simply not time to get together every other night for an hour or two of gaming, even if we were in the same area– and it’s basically impossible to discuss anything interesting without mortally offending someone.

      • Melanie B says:

        True, true. Fortunately my family all get it and Dom’s mostly do. But I find myself having to hedge a bit when talking to people at Church when I relate an anecdote about one of my online friends. I usually don’t specify that the friend in question isn’t someone I’ve never met in person.

        • GeekLady says:

          You know, the funniest thing is it didn’t have to be an Internet based relationship to weird people out. Once in college I had a girl take me aside and very seriously tell me tha it weirded people out for me to refer to priests/nuns I knew in St. Louis. But thats where I grew up, I spent two years in a Catholic high school there, and everyone else could mention their home parish priest without recrimination.

          Maybe it’s just that I’m weird.

        • nancyo says:

          I’ve met several of my online friends IRL and the oddest thing is hearing their real VOICE for the first time. I’ve known some for years and years and have send presents to people I’ve never met, and I definitely hedge about them when talking to family/local friends. I was once interviewed about online community and meeting in real life for O magazine.

          • melaniebett says:

            Yes the voice is always a bit of a shock. One friend I’d always thought sounded rather Katherine Hepburnish from her blog turned out to have a strong Southern twang. It suited her once I got used to it but it was rather a shock.

          • Elizabeth says:

            I’ve also met a few online blogger friends. In a way I kind of met my husband online, be it through an ex-boyfriend. They were best friends.

            I have also sent presents to some of my online friends.

  2. Melanie B says:

    1. The orange stuff is nasty but not nearly so bad as the brown stuff. It’s definitely better super cold.

    2. So far everything I’ve seen about Pope Francis makes me love him. At first I thought he looked rather shell-shocked too, but now I’m wondering if that was really it. In any case he’s certainly not had that same awkward appearance in any of the subsequent footage I’ve seen of him. In fact, he strikes me as very warm, funny, and quite genial.

    But yeah the heads spinning because he’s Catholic or because he’s not either of his two predecessors is amusing. To hear some parties rant you’d think the Church had never survived the Borgias. Much less a man who by all appearances is a very holy priest from South American who has begun his papacy following in the footsteps of one of the Church’s all-time great saints. I’m trying to write a post about him now but keep getting foiled by screaming children and shiny distractions on the internets. Yes, your blog is a very shiny distraction.

    3. I guess I’ve had enough meetings with blog friends under my belt that my first thought is “whee this is going to be fun!” It doesn’t seem nearly as awkward to me as many other social situations. Maybe next time we’re in Texas we can work something out. My brother and his wife are in Houston after all.

    6. I love the hats. It took moving away from Texas to do it, but finally I see their charm.

    7. I’m still in too much denial about Reader to have tried any alternatives. I don’t want to change damn it. Why do they have to break things that work? Stupid Google.

    I love your Oma story. But grrr why must bureaucracy be so stupid?

    • Melanie B says:

      It’s kind of weird but I don’t subscribe to your blog on Google Reader but by email. It’s one of a couple I read that way. I have no idea why. Maybe I couldn’t get reader to work that day?

    • GeekLady says:

      They gave me pink stuff the first time, it was grapefruit flavored, I think, and that’s the best I’ve tried. But it was also still mostly frozen.

      It would be wonderful to meet you! In fact, you (and family) have a standing dinner invitation for the next time you’re in Houston!

      The hats though… I’ve lived here for half my life, but it wasn’t until Mike put the hat on at the show and he all of a sudden looked finished that I really got their charm.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    It really was great having dinner with you guys! I’m so looking forward to having you guys over here next time. Lets plan for some time during the summer when Himself and Geek Baby won’t have to get up early the next morning and hopefully before August when Timdomiel shows up.

    I’m super pissed about the Reader debacle. Who’s Idea was this Google? You should fire them! According to the Baron this “Old Reader” is his 1st choice so far. I guess I’ll let him sort them out and then follow along as usual.

    As for the idiocy of the bureaucracy, I experienced my 1st major moments of insanity when I tried to get a new drivers license after I got married and moved states. This went along with the issue of insuring and registering a car which had been donated to me in another state. GEEERRR !!!!!!!! It was a major catch-22. Apparently no one can think in TX when it comes to logically bending the rules. See… You need a drivers license to register a car for the 1st time but you can’t get a new drivers license with a new name if you don’t have a SS card with this new name on it, but you can’t get a SS card without a drivers license with a new name on it and another form of ID with the new name and a marriage certificate. Since I didn’t get married in this state that also seemed to blow their minds. Now you can’t insure a car under a name if you don’t have a drivers license but you can’t register a car without insurance. And you can’t do any of the above without a marriage certificate and a drivers license with names that match the marriage certificate. Eventually someone grew a brain or borrowed one from someone in another state and saw the idiocy of these problems giving me a drivers license with my married name somehow fixing the majority of the problems except the registration of a car. So I ended up traveling to my old state getting my parents to re-donate the car to me under my married name with a TX donation form from the TX DPS. If your confused after reading this SO WAS I. It only took me a month to sort all of this out. Thank goodness it only took a month because apparently you only have 30 days to do most of this stuff after you move to TX!

    • GeekLady says:

      Summer would be nice, but Tindómiel shows up in late May/early June. 🙂
      I’ve never worried about carting newborns around with me, though. Newborns are easy. It’s when they go mobile that they get difficult.

  4. Megan says:

    Internet friends are the best kind. An internet friend made my wedding dress.

    Said internet friend is trying to convince me to wear hats (she thinks I’d look best in giant floppy hats, though, not cowboy hats). I don’t like having things on my head, though, so who knows if that will take.

    • My husband is trying to get me to wear hats too. We bought some hats for like $3.00 a piece. I perfer to wear a veil in mass but a few times I’ve broken out the cheap hats.

      • Megan says:

        I’ve been falling in and out of wearing a chapel veil the last few years. Internet Friend ALSO just won a whole batch of chapel veils on eBay and has promised to send me one, so I start wearing one again. (I’ve been wanting to, but my old one is too worn and I haven’t had the time or spare cash to buy a new one.)

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