In which I answer anything!

Seeing as I was so far behind in all kinds of all work of all kinds, I said “Ask me anything!” on Facebook. Here are (most of) the questions, with my answers. By the way, “Ask me anything!” is commonly abbreviated as “AMA,” and so is “against medical advice.” MAKE OF IT WHAT YOU WILL.

If you could take a weeklong vacation in another country, which would be your first choice?

For most of my adult life, I would have said “Italy” without even considering anything else; but today, the thought of walking on cobblestones fails to compel. Plus, I remember how Rome smells. So I’ll go with somewhere trite, predictable, and full of white sands, clear waters, hammocks, and cocktails.  I don’t even care where, as long as someone gets me to the right gate.

Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Because rods are horrible? Everyone likes Easter, but nobody wants Good Friday. Everyone thinks the Eucharist is great, but nobody wants to think about how Jesus felt when He decided to get devoured.

If you could learn any art medium you don’t already know how to use, what would it be?

Pottery. I want to make a nativity scene where Mary is taking a nap and Joseph is holding the baby.

Were you born this way? 

No, but it came upon me suddenly along with my first teeth.

How do you REALLY feel about Texas?

If it were possible to relocate UD to some more reasonable state, I’d do it.

Cantelopes: bad idea or good idea?

They bulk up fruit salad and make it more economical, but I draw the line at honeydew.

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

If sitting in the snow and drinking Rolling Rock counts as dancing, then yes.

Top ten favourite things to eat!

Not in order, or in combination: Sourdough bread, shrimp, mango, dill pickles, tzatiki sauce, mint chocolate chip ice cream, salt bagels with lox, steak, most things with cilantro, key lime pie.

What is the airspeed velocity . . . Oh, never mind.

Phew.

Why?

Because, because, because, because, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

If you were pope for a day, what one doctrine would you change?

Trick question! Doctrine doesn’t change. It just sneaks forward a little bit when you’re not looking, like in “Red Light, Green Light.”

How are you? Lots of life change in your home.

I’m so effing tired. But I want to be Lucy when I grow up.

We hope that God will bless us with many children. What is your best tip (of any kind) for those with large families?

Be ready to change your mind about all kinds of things. But go easy on yourself if you’re having a hard time changing your mind, because change is hard.

Next time you’re in Michigan, would you like to come for dinner?

In theory, yes. In practice, I’m much too shy, and will have to be trapped into it, but then I’ll be glad.

How do we deal with the really really bad times of NFP? I love your book, but there’s a specific situation that I’ve seen come up that you didn’t address, and that’s the feeling that women sometimes get of being “used”. For example, if a woman can’t have a very “enjoyable” time during the available days, so only the man is experiencing full pleasure, she can sort of just feel like a receptacle for semen. I’d love to know how you think we should personally deal with this (besides the obvious of prayer/communication) and how we can support friends who deal with this.

Great question. I think it deserves its own post, so I’m working on that now.

Should I take the undercarriage wash option at the car wash?

 I never do, and how that works out is, my mechanic really had to squint hard before he passed my car for inspection, because you can put your finger right through the rocker panel, boop! What is it, an extra five bucks? Yeah, definitely don’t spend that extra five bucks. That’s what I would do.
What’s 2+5
Need context.  Is it days past peak? Is it carbs in chicken nuggets? If not, I don’t understand the question.
Imagine you’re a queen in a beautiful country where you are loved and can do whatever good you want without being criticized – What would your favorite queenly ensemble and jewels be? Money is no object.
Let’s also add that I have a waist again, have somewhat better posture than Tony Soprano, and have lost sixty pounds and grown my hair long again, and the answer is: Italian Renaissance for the dress, with acres and acres of velvet and brocade and seed pearls. But for jewelry, I’d go straight to India. When I feel bad about everything, I google “Indian wedding jewelry” and just wallow for a while.
Will you pray for me and my family?
Sure.
Are you planning to answer?
Yes, but I’m also planning to put together that six-cube storage unit I got on clearance, because it will make All The Difference, and it’s been leaning against the dining room wall, still in the box, for two months now.
Is the plural of platypus platypuses or platypi?
It would be either platypuses or just platypus, or possibly platypodes. The one thing to avoid is trying to sound fancier than you actually are.
Sometimes people think you can make any word that ends in “-us” plural by changing the “us” to an “i,” but that only works if the word is derived from Latin and the pluralized form in Latin ends in “i.” So, the plural of nucleus is nuclei; the plural of fungus is fungi; the plural of alumnus or alumna is alumni. But there are words which end in “us” for which the correct plural ending is not “i,” like chorus or hummus or hippopotamus or callus.
Octupus, for instance, was Greek before it was Latin, and so it makes no sense to say “octopi” for the plural. In general, if you see a word that ends in “pus” meaning “foot,” the correct plural ending will be “pods” or “podes,” or simply “puses.” Changing it to “-i” is the equivalent of saying “between you and I.” I realize it doesn’t really matter, not like kindness or ethics or good quality shoes matters; and I’ve probably got some detail wrong. But still. Just say “platypuses.”

Urn A has 7 red and 3 orange ping pong balls and Urn B has 7 orange and 3 red ping ping balls. An Urn is selected at random and a ball is selected at random from that urn. If the ball is orange, what is the probability that the selected urn is Urn A?

After skimming this question and concluding that it is mathy, my answer is this: I always recommend that you skip the first four urns and go directly to Urn E. There is an importance in being Urn E.

Almost a joke! Almost!

More serious question: What was the most surprising thing you learned as a result of your child’s Type I diabetes diagnosis?

I answered that in part here.  Other than that, I can’t get over how many carbs there are in garlic powder.

Who is your favorite child?

Another trick question! No one is currently cleaning out the car or making supper, so they’re all on equally thin ice.

How do you do it? I have half as many kids and I’m burned out. Yet you’re so creative and spiritual and wise. I spend all my time in the car!

Oh lordy. Remember what my mother said about homeschooling: It’s impossible. If you keep this in mind, it’s easier to do.

Did this question result from breakfast gin?

Nope. Three times in the last week, I fell asleep on the couch before finishing even one evening gin. Once I fell asleep while actually holding my drink. But I did not spill it! There’s life in the old dame yet.

What is the kitten’s name?
Lando. He totally earns it, too, if you skip the part where Lando redeems himself and turns out not to be a complete asshole.
When are you going to write a book about confession?
I would like to, as I have written more about confession than any other sacrament, and also I need the money. Would people put up with a book of collected essays? I’m so tired. But I need the money.
Would you be willing to join Fans of Simcha Fisher and make it official? I created it but didn’t add you because I know you hate that.
But I’m not a fan of Simcha Fisher! Or if I am, it’s in the bad, sledgehammer way.
when are you going to record another podcast? I miss them!!
This week! I’m sorry. We’ve just been so exhausted. Did I mention that? I’m afraid I may not have mentioned that. It warms my heart that you actually listen, though.
How are you so adorable and I love you so much?
See above, where I spend three paragraphs on insisting on “octopodes.” That should take care of it.
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
African or European?
Somechop?
Some do.
You are starting an MLM. What are you selling?
Underwear my kids will wear. I don’t even care if I end up on the bottom of the pyramid. Someone needs to make this underwear.
What is the most dangerous item in your house, right now?
A set of walkie talkies we gave Irene for her birthday. The kids now have unlimited power to say, “What? . . . over!” as much as they like.
Will my children ever STOP EATING EVERYTHING? (The 2yo was licking the fridge yesterday. WHY???)
Your children are simply listening to their bodies. Unfortunately, their bodies are telling them to drive you out of your gourd.  Then they will eat the gourd, too.
What’s the best strategy for defeating a dragon?
Procrastination. The dragon will eventually wander away in disgust to find someone who’s more engaged, and then you can shrug holily and tell yourself it’s God’s will.
While sitting quietly before a Tabernacle, praying your heart out… have you ever thought about opening that little Tabernacle door and freeing Jesus?
No, but I’ve had to keep myself from crawling up there and climbing inside with Him.
How do you go from accepting the Real Presence in your mind to having your heart know it?
I don’t think my heart knows it, most of the time. It’s not the same thing as feeling it, if that helps. I think if we felt it for more than a moment or two at a time, it would be unbearable and we wouldn’t be able to live.
But yes, it’s hard to go on never having that breakthrough. My father says that when he converted to Christianity, he told his landlord about it, and the man said, “You saw the light, huh?” My father said yes. And the man said, “I never have.” He was a Catholic. That was many decades ago, so I pray that, at some point, that man not only knew about the light but did eventually see it, at least one time.
I’ve found it less helpful to try to flog myself into believing, than to simply and quietly thank God for being present. Talk to Him, not about Him; and then be at peace, and let Him do what He will.
Why is your child not making more stop motion videos to entertain my kids?
I don’t know! We need more Elijah the Introvert. He would love more subscribers. That might light a fire under him.
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That is, as you well know, nobody’s business but the Turks’.
Can you run by Costco and pick up hamburger and milk and chicken nuggets? We’re out.
Even though our family  could singlehandedly be the business model for a local Costco, we don’t have one. I’m stopping at Aldi, though. Every day this week. I don’t know what this week’s food post is going to say, other than “arrrrrrrrgh.”
How can I convince my five-year-old that Trader Joe’s really does only sell his favorite “gingerbread mans” cookies at Christmas?
First go convince Alex Jones that Emma Gonzalez is the best thing that’s ever happened to this dang ol’ country, and then move on to your five-year-old. It will be a breeze in comparison.
Favorite saint and why?

Currently Francis De Sales. He always has something sensible and solid to say. He knows what kind of traps he lays for ourselves, and he takes that into account while constantly redirecting us to something better.

Favorite verse from Scripture and why?

John 16:33: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Would you take a (nonordained) position in the Curia if offered it?
[quickly looks up “Curia.”] No way. Honestly, I’ve worked for some nightmarish bosses, but Pope Francis? Brrr.

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20 thoughts on “In which I answer anything!”

  1. I *like* how Rome smells.

    Also I recently came across a great picture where St. Joseph is holding the baby Jesus while Mary reads a book!

  2. Loved this! And thank you for answering my Qs. Change is hard, so I appreciate the validation 😉 And, in theory, if you do come to MI, just make a sly remark about it, and I will trick you into it, and at the end of the night, you’ll be glad you came. Then we can both go to bed and rehash the evening in our minds while trying to fall asleep, but instead we will agonize about all of the stupid things we said and wonder if the other person has caught on to how ridiculous we really are.

  3. Thanks! You are a lovable, smart person and a good parent. Even if you are not a fan of yourself, you know Jesus is! The stuff you just said about the Real Presence was inspired.

  4. I am sorry. I cannot stop myself. I am so sorry:

    The plural of alumna is alumnae, not alumni.

    In conclusion,
    I’m sorry.

    1. I managed not to make that correction, but it took a lot of energy. I deeply sympathize with your struggle.

  5. As a lifelong Texan, I am wounded! (My parents were nice Catholic Cajuns from Louisiana.) We really aren’t ALL nuts. And we have beautiful wildflowers, and lots of, um, cotton, and great Mexican food . . .

    My brother was going through customs into Canada, with his Canadian wife, and all was well until they realized he was from Texas. Then, the frowns: “Sir, do you have a gun with you?”
    “Uh, no, I don’t own a gun.”
    “Sir, do you have a rifle with you?”
    “No. No I don’t.”
    “Sir, are you carrying any ammunition?”
    “No.”
    “Sir, are you carrying a licensed handgun?”
    “No, I said I don’t even own-”
    I think they went on to ask him about various explosives. And then someone superior arrived, and asked him the same questions over again. And there’s my brother saying “No, really, I’ve NEVER EVEN OWNED A GUN IN MY LIFE. I REALLY, REALLY DON’T HAVE ONE.”
    Oy.

    1. I miss taking wildflower pictures! And I miss seeing kids plopped down in the middle of the freeway medians for those pictures.

      My brother was born in Texas; we moved when he was 2, but he is still proud of his “heritage.” Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure wasn’t off by much as far as Texas pride goes. 🙂

    2. OMgosh. My French relatives on my Mum’s side (Le Barthe and Pinault) are also from Louisiana.
      –So the story goes that my great, great, great grandsomeone, a lady in waiting to someone (who wouldn’t run from that) ran away from Marseilles and married a river boat captain on the Mississippi. It sounds like it could all be some fanciful lie, but I have her French prayer book. Family names and whatnot. Really old prayer cards inserted in it.

      I also just did my family DNA spit test and…….drumroll…. nothing comes up French. It’s Iberian blood. Those filthy, French-named border hoppers. So interesting anyway.

      When I went to Dallas for the first time I experienced some anxiety about the lack of mountains, and all of the suburbs that look similar. It reminded me of a book I read once.

      1. Where my parents grew up it was so French that they thought “Rodriguez” was a French name. They just pronounced it “Rodrigue.”

        On the plus side about Texas, I was a teen before I realized that Hispanic was supposed to be a racial category–that Hispanics were “not white.” But the only sensible response to those who want to define “white” is eye-rolling anyway.

        1. I love the stories that come out of the South! It’s like a different country, but I prefer colorful crazy, to antiseptic perfection. It is beautiful here, but the crazy is different, and more of the dark side of crazy when it’s crazy. I have to admit that I didn’t understand Dallas. There was that mega Church designed to look like the White House. Strip malls that repeat themselves every few miles between nice suburbs make me despair. Louisiana sounds a little more my style. –But what do I know? I’ve never been to that land of (some of) my fore-bearers. My parents visited about 20 years ago, and were quite surprised to see that the Cathedral in New Orleans, where my Grandmother was baptized had a little plaque on the outside, with the name of the bishop or Archbishop that originally blessed it, –and his (not common) surname was the same as my husband’s.

          Life is like a grand tapestry. We will be dazzled in the afterlife when we see how all of the threads are woven together.

          I hear you can get drive-thru margaritas in Texas.

          I also have no right to judge that mega Church in Dallas. We have the Scientology headquarters in L.A. It is painted royal blue and there are people who wear strange, matching clothing walking about. After I beheld it for the first time, I could never watch another Tom Cruise movie again.
          WTF!!!!!!
          (Sorry.) (My French/Scotch grandmother would DEFINITELY not approve of that acronym.)

  6. Holey Moley. What an extravagnza.

    It makes me wish I was a friend on Fakebook, but then all of my superficial friends would know I was a Catholic weirdo, and don’t actually have a Storybook life. I guess they already suspect it.
    (Weren’t we supposed to delete it because of that little upstart, Zuckerberg, spying on us??)

    Are you on Insta?

    Do you judge people for their grammar mistakes?

    Why Gin? (I tried whiskey to get me thru Lent because Aleteia said it was a health food.)

    How can you not love Pope Francis after reading his “Little book of Insults”? I’d be so bored without Latins. They make me laugh even when I feel bullied.

    Please write a novel instead. Come on. Give us something we can sink our teeth into. I know it would be really strange and would almost make me forget about cleaning. (Not having a baby or toddler can make a person obsessed with cleaning. –That can’t be good!) Virtue should never be associated with pristine baseboards. It might be a subconscious ploy to WOW my husband into thinking I shouldn’t get a part time job. Ehfing IRS. They ruined everything. I have no skills. And when I asked him Easter morning to put on his white, no-iron, snootily expensive white shirt, he said “It’s not ironed” with a little downturn of the mouth. My inner pseudo feminist was triggered.

    Anyway, confession is great but none of us want to actually think about it.

    Sending kids to U. D. is fine if you only have to *go* there for graduation. My Portlandian was fine with it. In all fairness, his experience might have been colored by the beer he brewed in his closet, and the things all those nice Catholic kids invited him to smoke. If your child wants to hone his or her skills at being a pretentious intellectual, U.D. is an excellent start.

  7. I miss the podcasts, too. But I didn’t want to say so, because I didn’t want to stress you out over not doing them. But if you’re happy that somebody misses the podcasts, then I really do miss them!

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