A few things

I don’t know when the “7 Quick Takes” Day is, because I never can think of quick takes on that day.  But I need to update this thing, and the only brain power I have right now is to randomly state various things about my life in no particular order.  There may be 7.  There may not be.  So this is not 7 Quick Takes, but “A few things.”

1. My life is starting to stop spinning.  Have I mentioned I’m busy?  Have I mentioned that I’ve wanted to teach more and now God answered that prayer by dumping into my lap probably more than I should be handling right now?  One of my classes ended and another one is about to, so pretty soon I will just be teaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  But the days of being prepped for class before the day before are long gone (I haven’t seen those days since the second week of class), so every waking moment that’s not at work is still spent reading and trying to get ready for the next class.  I’ve resigned myself to having no life for three more weeks.

2. Tonight’s topic was the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.  We read Voltaire and Hume and Robespierre.  I think we all miss the days of reading St Patrick or King St Louis or the Rule of St. Benedict.

3. I also spoke to some of the girls at the local all-girls Catholic academy this morning before work.  So I left my apartment at 6:45 to go speak, went to work from 8-4, prepped for class from 4-6:45, taught from 7-9, and was back home at 9:30. That’s my life.

4. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my sister Jill. Contrary to her wonderings, I never wished I had made other plans.  I did miss my other siblings and Mom and Dad, but I was definitely glad I spent the holiday with P & J and the boys.  Even if I’m now sick. ; )  It was worth it.

5. On my late night flight back, there were 8 guitars on the flight.  And one man wearing a cowboy hat.  I wonder what city we were headed to, hm?

6. My apartment is an absolute wreck.  (see #1)  It’s in the state where you desperately pray no one stops by for a surprise visit, especially your mother.  It’s so bad I’m kind of going nuts — which is big for me.  Piles everywhere.  Ugh.  I realized that I haven’t had friends over since before Labor Day (why?  see #1) and I really want to clean up and decorate for Christmas and have people over.  Maybe after December 18.

7. Sister was planning the calendar for the office today and she asked me to look over the dates to make sure she wasn’t missing anything.  We teach on Saturdays, and we have to plan pretty far out.  So we’re not talking about the 2013 calendar.  We’re talking about the 2013-2014 school calendar.  Which means I was looking at Saturdays in 2014.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have many conflicts in April of 2014 yet.  When I went into her office, though, she said something about, “So that first Saturday in April, what do you think about teaching in Nashville that weekend?”  I joked, “What if I’m getting married that weekend?!”

She told me I could have off for my wedding.  But I pointed out that I would want her to come.  So she put a note in the email to the superintendent of schools and the diocesan coordinator in Knoxville, “Dates for Spring 2014 (unless Joan decides to get married on one of these days)”  I have a feeling I’m going to get some questions from them. : )

8. I saw Vince Gill two weeks ago.  I was waiting for a friend outside a fast casual restaurant right down the street from work (to eat dinner before- guess what- teaching) and he came out and walked right by me.  I would have missed him except that my friend walked up at that moment and said, “Did you see who just walked by you?”  I probably wouldn’t have noticed him otherwise — he doesn’t stand out like Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman when they walk into Mass.  I’m thinking I’ve probably seen him or Amy Grant before and not even really noticed.  If I ever do run into Amy Grant, and I recognize her, I hope I have the guts to go thank her for giving me the soundtrack for endless hours rollerskating in my garage circa 1992.

8. I realized I have several things I never blogged about, like Goo Goo Cluster Month.  So stay tuned.


You’ve Got Mail Moment

I had a You’ve Got Mail moment today — you know the scene when Meg Ryan is complaining that she can’t think of the perfect comeback until it’s too late?  And Tom Hanks warns her, “when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows.”

Well, God protected me from that remorse today.  I was standing with a student and a professor passed by and asked me why my prediction didn’t come true.  I groaned and he kind of laughed sadly and walked away.

The student asked what my prediction had been.  I knew the student was an Obama supporter, so I just kind of mumbled that I had thought Romney would win in a landslide.

He made a noise between a scoff and a laugh.  “Really? What made you say that?”

I don’t even remember exactly what I said, but I quickly made my exit.

Tonight while brushing my teeth, I replayed the scene in my head.  Only in my head, I answered, “Because I had misplaced optimism that the American people would be above voting with their carnal desires.”  Other variations through the course of the evening included, “…wouldn’t re-elect someone who’s bad at their job,” and “…wouldn’t vote for someone who was intent on disassembling the Constitution.”

But I think the real winner is, “Because I thought the American people were smarter than that.”

Alas, none of that came.

And maybe it’s for the best.


A wonderful November activity is to visit a cemetery to pray for the souls in purgatory.  In fact, if you do so in the first nine days, you can gain a plenary indulgence for a soul in purgatory (under the usual conditions – Communion, Confession within 8 days, prayers for the Pope.  Confused?  See here.)

On November 1st, we had our annual all-campus faculty/staff retreat at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St Cecilia, so I was able to visit their cemetery.

Mother Joan of Arc, founder of Aquinas College

My friend Mary was going to Calvary Cemetery today, the Catholic cemetery in Nashville, so I went with her.  As a side note — I really enjoy cemeteries.  Maybe that’s strange, but I love walking amongst the history and having that vivid reminder to pray for the souls who have gone before us.  I find cemeteries very peaceful places.  (If you want to know more about my thoughts, you can see the post that I wrote three years ago today, strangely enough.)

Calvary Cemetery is very large, and the older section is marked with the names that now mark Nashville streets and parks — McGavock, Warner, and others that have now slipped my mind.  There’s also a circle of priests that have served Nashville and several bishops.

It had more unique markers than I’ve ever seen — lots of obelisks and statues and even small buildings.

Wouldn’t you want a statue of yourself on top of your grave?  I’m assuming it’s him.  I don’t think it’s Theodore Roosevelt.

No cemetery is complete without a pyramid and sphinxes, right?

The Furman family knows how to make a statement.

Percy Warner had quite a section.  He and his brothers gave their land for the Warner parks.  Percy married Margaret, who was the daughter of a Lindsley and a McGavock, thus uniting three huge Nashville families.

The McGavock section was right next to Percy and Margaret. One of the McGavock boys was a Lt Col in the CSA and gave his life for the South in the Battle of Raymond, MS.

It was good to see the Stars and Bars- a rare sight even down here.
Everyone seems to think the battle flag is the official flag, even though it was only a part of the second and third official flags adopted.

I liked this one a lot.  Even though it’s cross needs a little straightening.

We ended our visit at the grave of Monroe Carell, Jr and his wife Ann (recently deceased, so no headstone yet).  Monroe and Ann were gracious philanthropists and are responsible for much throughout the city — the Children’s Hospital, Aquinas’ nursing program, the chapel of the Dominican Sisters, our annual catechetical conference, and much more.  So we decided to say our prayers at their grave.

I think there should be more trips in order — the Protestant cemetery right next door is chock-full of Nashville royalty – CSA General Cheatham; Adelicia Acklen (once the richest woman in the South); John Overton, founder of Memphis; Thomas Ryman, builder of the Mother Church of Country Music; and more.  There’s also Hendersonville Memorial Gardens, the resting place of Johnny and June Cash.

For another day.

a glimpse of my life

This is where I spend most of my “free” time these days.  That is, when I’m not at work and I’m not standing in front of group of people teaching something, I’m sitting in this corner working.

I moved my desk out of my bedroom a few weeks ago, when I began teaching Church history.  Sitting on my couch to research and type out lessons wasn’t working.  It’s not ergonomically correct and I wasn’t productive.  I often went to coffeeshops to work where I could sit at a desk and not be distracted.

That works when you’re writing lessons every once and while… but three two-hour lessons a week… I needed to do something else.

Mom suggested the move, and I’m grateful.  I thought I would hate it, but now I love it.  And I spend my nights in that corner.  Notice the books strewn around, the laptop in its case and ready to go to class (I took this picture right before I packed up to leave). There’s a coaster that is usually supporting a glass of water or a cup of coffee, depending on the time of day.  There’s also a plastic bag that was formerly filled with carrots.  They were my appetizer before dinner tonight. (The vines and the big vase in the corner are courtesy of my landlord.)

Class went well tonight.  I’m glad I don’t have to prep for Saturday’s lesson on the Incarnation — I’ve already taught it four times, so I’ll look it over Saturday morning, but don’t need to write anything before then.  But there’s no time to rest — it’s time to prep for Monday night’s lecture on Lumen Gentium and Tuesday night’s lecture on the Avignon Papacy, Catherine of Siena, the Black Death, and John Wyclif.  Then Thursday is the Renaissance, humanism, the rebuilding of St. Peter’s, Joan of Arc, Columbus, the Reconquista, and then I leave Friday to teach in Kingsport, TN (sixth time I teach the Incarnation), then lecture on Dei Verbum on Monday…

Anyone else tired yet?