Category Archives: Blogging and Blog Friends

Blog Readers?

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COVID-inspired fuchsia hair

Hey! Hi! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done more than post once in a blue moon. I’m not quite sure how I got out of it, or why trying to recommit is always so difficult. Perhaps because getting online to write too often leads me down a rabbit hole of Google searches and YouTube videos. Perhaps I get caught up in other people’s content and don’t spend enough time trying to make any of my own. Perhaps I delay because I want to find the “perfect” image to go with my words, yet also haven’t make my photography a priority in a while either. Perhaps, with all the quarantining, I am a little tired of being alone with my own thoughts and prefer to “engage” with others, even if that is only as a reader or viewer.

Are blogs even a thing any more? I get that vlogging on YouTube is more widely done, but I don’t really like being in front of the camera that much. Plus, right now, getting video off my phone for editing is a nightmare. I think I express myself better in written formats. I tend to go blank when the camera is rolling (or even in person, if we are being honest 🙂 ).

I used to use RSS readers to aggregate all the blog posts from people that I followed. I haven’t used these in a long, long time and I’m sure some have shut down, while some others may have been developed.

If you use an RSS reader, or some other content aggregator, what is your favorite? How do you track people and channels that you are interested in.

Back in the day, Bloglovin’ was my go-to after … the one I can’t remember … went away. I re-logged into that site and “claimed” my blog there, which is why you have that link at the top of this post.

Perhaps some research is warranted. I’ll do a little internet digging and see what I can find and report back! Please leave a comment with any recommendations, and I’ll give them a peek as well.

Getting Ready for 2016!

Hi Everyone!

I am still working on finalizing my plans, resolutions, and goals for 2016!  I know, I should have ironed all this out earlier, but at least I have been *thinking* about it for a long time.

That counts, right?

Shortly, I’ll let you all know what I’m looking forward to in the New Year.

A little hint, my word for 2016 is Discipline!

I’m so excited!  I’ll see you all shortly!


UPDATED:  Critical Mass has been ported over to my Paroxysms of Giggles site.  The two blogs have now become one.  I am sorry for all the jumping around, but hopefully this will be a good solution all around.  Thank you for your patience!

This web site has been limited in ways since the beginning, and I’ve more or less dealt with it over the years. Recently, I noticed that ONLY ONE of the 9 different themes that are available to me are displaying the sidebar correctly, and the one that does is not letting me make it look the way I would like.

So it is with not a little sadness that I have mirrored this blog over to Please update your links and I hope to see you there!

P.S. I will keep this site open for a little while. I may return if conditions improve. But until then, all new content will be at the new site!


I think a lot of things have been put on hold this summer. I’m ready to get back into the swing of things though, and plan on blogging here more consistently again.

I am also working on self-discipline and have joined a formal Bible study for the fall, so I’m really looking forward to see how this semester shapes up.

How have you been? And what things are you doing this fall in the way of self-improvement or just getting your life organized? I know I could certainly use the motivation of hearing what you are planning!

See you again soon!

Stolen Questions!

Kendra from Catholic All Year got a Liebster Award. I have no idea what that is, but apparently it involves tagging other bloggers and giving them questions to answer, and providing a place where your readers can link to these blogs and see how they answered your questions.

Well, Kendra broke the rules for us, and allowed anyone she didn’t tag to steal her questions and run with them. So I totally did! 🙂


1. Where do you live? And why do you live there?

I live in Troy. I happen to live in the house that I grew up in. I left home at 17 and joined the Navy, traveling a bit, then I went to college at the University of Michigan. Eventually, I decided that buying a home was better than renting and my parents happened to be selling the house at the same time. I like my community and have lots of friends in the area, although when the weather is bad, I do wish that I didn’t have a 100-mile-per-day commute to work.

2. What are you currently watching and/or reading?

Well, according to Goodreads, I’m currently reading 52 books. I have “Command Authority” by Tom Clancy on Audible, playing in my car during my commute; I am reading “Two to the Fifth”, which is the 32nd book in the Xanth series by Piers Anthony (which I started sometime in high school); Also, “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” by John Green (who is an awesome YA novelist — if you haven’t read “The Fault in Our Stars” yet… totally do); the Bible (again, but a different version because I heard that the average Catholic home has 6.8 Bibles and I don’t want to be sub-normal); and my Anatomy and Physiology textbook — for funzies.

3. What kind of Catholic are you: cradle, or convert? (Or considering?)

I think most people consider me to be a convert. I was Atheist… Really I was nothing. So, I’m a Catholic ‘ex nihilo’ which I think should be it’s own category. 🙂

4. Can you point to one moment or experience that made you a practicing Catholic? (Or want to be?)

Haha, yes! I woke up one Saturday and said (out-loud, to myself), “I’m going to be Catholic,” and promptly Googled “Catholic church Troy.” I chose one and went to the first Mass they offered on Sunday, and went up to the usher and asked “How do I join?” If you’d like, you can read my “conversion story” as it were.

5. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Including the ones I can’t wear anymore or should have thrown away a long time ago or that belong to someone else? Ummm… I have my running shoes that I wear daily. A sad pair of Doc Martens that I had slated to throw away years ago, but never did and now occasionally wear when I have somewhere to go to which I cannot wear my running shoes. A pair of five-inch-heel sandals that I’ve worn twice (once to my best friend’s wedding and once to the same friend’s baby shower). A pair of boots. Ice skates. Two pairs of Rollerblades. Two dressier shoes without their mate. I think that’s it. Oh, and my mom’s knock-off Crocs. She might not be getting those back. She shouldn’t have had a daughter with the same size feet as her.

6. Are you a good dancer?

If you mean my usual Norte Americano Booty Music style of dancing, then… I usually think so. Especially when I’m by myself at home. At the very least it’s enthusiastic. Although, as my disease progresses, I’m no longer able to dance the way that I’d like.

7. Who usually drives, you or your husband?

I’m single, so me. Alas, my car refuses to drive itself.

8. What’s your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?

Holy Thursday. I love Chrism Mass, and the annual Pub Crawl of the Altars of Repose.

9. Which is correct? Left or right?

[Images of toilet paper: Left = overhand; right = underhand]

Left. All the time.

10. Do you have any scars?

Yep! There’s a ton on my knees from being a fairly tomboyish kid, but the biggest one is from my brother. We were riding bikes and he cut me off, so I ran into (and flipped over) a mailbox. I have a long, vertical scar on my left thigh from a muscle biopsy about 3 years ago when I was diagnosed with my mitochondrial myopathy. I have 4 scars from last summer’s meningitis (I developed large blisters from the adhesive used to hold my IV down). I think that’s it?

11. What’s the most famous thing you’ve ever done?

I was asked to edit a paragraph for the English translation of a homily given by Father Cantalamessa, the preacher to the Papal Household. I was asked this because I used to be a Reactor Operator in the Navy and it concerned the behavior of neutrons and Father wanted to make sure the science was right. As it happens, Father’s books are translated into English by the wife of one of my professors in Seminary, where I’m getting my Master’s in Theology, so… My paragraph was published nearly verbatim the way I had written it, and I got an e-mail from my professor saying, “Thanks, Jenn. I thank you. My wife thanks you. Fr. Cantalamessa thanks you. The Holy Father thanks you!,” which was pretty awesome.

This is my paragraph:

We all know about the nuclear energy that is released by the fission of the atom. An atom of uranium absorbs a high energy neutron and splits in two, creating two new elements from the original; energy and more neutrons are released though this process. This begins a chain reaction. The two new elements in turn can themselves absorb neutrons and break into four new atoms, and so on to the point where the energy released in the end is enormous. It is not necessarily destructive energy because nuclear energy can be used for peaceful purposes on behalf of the human race.

You can read it in context, too. It’s on Zenit’s website: Fr. Cantalamessa’s 4th Advent Sermon from 2011.

And I’ll leave you with a gratuitous photo from last Sunday’s Mass. It was a random church that I found courtesy of when I realized that I was running late:
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows

Now, for my questions and people to tag…


1. What is the best characteristic of your spouse/best friend?

2. What is your least favorite routine task and why?

3. What part of your faith life do you think is particularly strong?

4. What is your favorite way of giving back to the community/taking care of your neighbor?

5. What was your favorite place to visit on a vacation/trip/pilgrimage and what should I not miss if I go there?

6. If you are sad, how do you cheer yourself up?

7. What book(s) do you think everyone needs to read?

8. If the Church were to canonize you, what would we remember you for?

9. What do you most look forward to in the next 5 years?

10. What do you like best about your job/daily work?

11. What questions do you have for me?

I’m tagging:

Stacy from Attached at the Heart

Shauna from Dream with Your Eyes Open

Nikita from The Unpaved Path

Jen from Far Beyond Pearls

Amy from Blessed by God

Andi from Bringing the Sunshine

Lydia from Small Town Simplicity

I don’t know if any of them read my blog, or have a pingback to know that I’ve linked them…. I guess I’ll find out! 🙂 And, of course, I’m happy to read from any of the rest of you! Link your blog post or answers in the Comment box. 🙂

Test Post

Ok, so I’m going to be trying out this “linking up” thing. This blog platform doesn’t give me a ton of flexibility — I can only pick from 9 themes and can’t do any javascript stuff and I can’t imbed videos… So, I’m testing out this version of a Mr. Linky.

If you have a blog, please hop over for a second and test it out for me. Please and thank you! 🙂

“Auto” version does not work. The one above appears to work, although if you want to see the links and connect to those blogs, you have to click the icon to go to the page that lists them. 🙂

We’ll call this endeavor a success. 🙂

New Look

After I don’t even know how many years, Critical Mass has a new look.  It wasn’t really my intention to change things, but something funky was going on in my old theme where the font appeared bolded all the time, and that was driving me nuts more than changing the theme… So there you have it!

Lent is a time of change, and all the spiritual greats tell us not to be too attached to things of this world, so this is as appropriate a time as any.  I hope you enjoy the new look.  Please pardon the dust as I settle in.  I’m sure I still have some unpacked boxes lying around from the last move.  🙂



Lent is coming up quickly! Today, Mardi Gras (one of my favorite celebration days), and BAM! Ash Wednesday!

This morning, I was browsing through the interwebs as I normally do: e-mail, Facebook, etc., and came across a new blog post by one of my friends, Shauna, where she talks about her plan for personal growth during Lent. She talks about how many people desire external things to change, but rarely seek to facilitate the change they want internally.

Another friend of mine, Ryan, likes to grow bonsai. It made me think of the care, persistence, vision and continual revision that is necessary for a good result. You first need to evaluate the plant as it is to see what you have to work with. Then, you need a vision of what you would like the plant to look like, both in the long-term, as well as changes that can be made in a short amount of time. Then is the work of daily diligence, where you apply tools and helps to encourage the plant to grow according to your vision. And there must always be times for evaluation — to see how well your plans are going and to change the course if necessary.

We are much the same way. We all want to be great, to do great things and to be good people. But — honestly — how many of us put in that due diligence to make it happen?

The goal of Lent is to come out of it looking more like Christ than when we started. So we have a vision, of sorts. We need to personalize it so that it reflects how *I* and how *you* will look more like Christ at the end. Then, we need a plan. Hopefully, you’ve been praying about what you might want to prune away from yourself during these grace-filled days. If not, there’s no better time than now to start!

As we go through Lent, carve away some time during your day or week where you can do something of an Examen — an evaluation of how you are doing regarding your plans and your vision for yourself and make adjustments as needed.

For me, one of the things I will be doing is joining Shauna in her 40 Days of Change. I will attempt to do one thing each day that I rarely/never do which will help me in growing closer in conformity to Christ. And I will (try to!) blog about this each day. 🙂 With God’s grace, I will be successful in pruning undesirable aspects of myself and promoting the growth of that which is good and beautiful.

Please walk with me during this process. Encouragement is always needed and so much appreciated!

God Bless!