7 Quick Takes about clearing churches out of food, admitting that I can’t figure out podcasts, and moving our couch RIGHT in front of the TV for the World Cup

June 27, 2014 | 43 comments

— 1 —

I had so much fun at yesterday’s talk and book signing at the Cathedral here in Austin.

Remember how I made the joke about stuffing food into my purse for the kids? I guess nobody would be surprised to hear that that kind of ended up happening.

At the end of the event, the organizer kindly asked me if I’d like to take any of the leftovers. There was a time in my life when I would have politely declined out of pride while covetously eyeing the food. Those days are long gone. This time, I replied immediately, “I have six kids. I’LL TAKE IT ALL.”

In fact, I ended up with so much food — and the most beautiful bouquet of flowers — that the Dominican Sisters who’d attended the event got pressed into service helping me carry it back to my car!


— 2 —


And the Dominican Sisters’ adventures didn’t end there! Not only did they have to carry food and pose for selfies with bloggers, but then they were going supping!

I had no idea what “supping” is, but the sisters informed me that it is a water sport that involves paddling while standing on a board. They were going as a goodbye treat for Sister Maria, who is leaving Austin to return to the Ann Arbor mother house. And yes, they were going be wearing their full habits. (I TOLD you that they’re the most amazing women in the world!)

I did an image search on this supping thing, and it often ends up looking like the person is standing on water, since the board can sink just below the surface.

I half expect to hear that there were mass conversions on the hike and bike trail that surrounds Town Lake. I keep imagining joggers trotting down the path, glancing out at the lake, then dropping to their knees in tearful repentance of their sins when they saw white-robed nuns floating on top of the water.

— 3 —

I didn’t want to ask this, but there is evidently no other way for me to ascertain this information, so here it is: How can I listen to podcasts on my iPod?

I subscribed to some podcasts on iTunes, synced my iPod, but they’re not there. There doesn’t seem to be a “podcast” category in the Music app where I listen to songs. (Well, now that I type this it makes it sound all obvious that it wouldn’t be in Music. I interpret “Music” to mean “Sounds You Got from iTunes, ” so I did indeed expected to find podcasts there. In my defense, I don’t see a Podcasts app, so you can see how I’d come up with that theory!)

In my career days, I was a web developer. I have spoken at conferences as an expert on New Media. A core aspect of my identity is being a Person Who Knows Things About the Internet.

Given this background, let me assure you that there is only one thing more embarrassing than finding myself Googling how to listen to a podcast on an iPod. And that is Googling how to listen to a podcast on an iPod…and still not figuring out how to do it!

— 4 —

Joe is on Twitter

If you do not follow soccer, cricket, or football, let me save you time and tell you that there is no need for you to click on that link. But if you were just sitting there thinking, “I wish I could find someone on Twitter who finds the best witty sports banter to retweet and chronicles the intense roller coaster of emotions he’s been on since the beginning of the World Cup”…you’re in luck!

— 5 —

In yet another Nester-inspired move, I rearranged the living room in what I call the World Cup Configuration!


Alas, I did not think to take a before picture, but the couch used to be way on the opposite side of the room from the TV.

With the old setup, kids were constantly walking in front of the TV, and I worried about Joe needing to go away to a special treatment center if this should happen during the final seconds of a heated soccer match.

Also, our television is hooked up to a regular computer, and we watch all our shows and sports events by streaming them through the computer’s browser. We control it through a wireless keyboard that functions as a remote. But, because evidently we’re bad at pattern recognition and enjoy setting ourselves up for failure, we also leave a keyboard over by the TV. This means that the baby or the cat is constantly ruining our viewing experience by stepping on (or throwing, or trying to eat) it, and our lives have become one, long Sisyphean cycle of pulling them away from it only to have them go back and do it again.

This new setup allows the people who are watching TV to focus exclusively on what’s on the screen, it gives the kids a play area that keeps them out of the sports-viewing zone, and it allows for better baby/cat blocking.

I’ll probably change it back after the World Cup, but I’m glad we tried it! I’m sure it’s saved Joe more than a few brain-melting, kid-walking-in-front-of-TV-just-as-game-deciding-goal-is-kicked moments.

— 6 —

I am ridiculously excited about co-hosting Lino Rulli‘s show with him this coming week. Here are the details:

  • Monday, 6/30 – Thursday, 7/3
  • Live from 5 PM – 7 PM ET, with reruns from 11 AM – 1 PM ET
  • SiriusXM Channel 129

Also, we might end up getting folks together in Austin at some point in the week. If that comes together, I’ll update on Twitter — I’m @conversiondiary. (You don’t have to have a Twitter account to see my updates — you can check it from any browser without logging in.)

— 7 —

I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend than with this little video of one of Pope Francis’ unscheduled stops. (via William Newton)

If you’re reading this on email, click through to see the video.



  1. Beth Anne

    I have seen people doing “supping” here in Florida but they just call it paddle boarding I think. I actually saw people doing it yesterday when I went to the beach.

    For podcasts I finally downloaded an app called “DownCast” (it’s $2.99 though) but the same thing was happening to me they weren’t syncing or downloading right with the itunes app. But now everything just downloads automatically without me having to do anything. Well worth the money in my opinion.

    Super excited to hear you on the radio! I will def. be tuning in. 🙂

    • Christine Johnson

      Hey, Jen (and BethAnn)!

      Podcasts are now contained in their own app, which is free from Apple, and keeps them all synced with whatever devices you’re listening to them on. (This includes if you have an AppleTV.) We use it for the Understanding the Scriptures podcasts that we are using as part of religious ed for our high schooler. We can listen to some in the car, then she can pick up where she left off when we get home (and she can lounge on the couch while listening).

      I do wish there was a bit more explanation of that when it happened in the last update. I was a little confused, and I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts.

  2. Paula

    I am positively giddy over the opportunity to hear you on The Catholic Guy with Lino Rulli!

  3. Melody

    There is likely a MUCH easier way to listen to podcasts on your iPod, but unless someone else tells you how, here’s how I did it: burn the podcast to a disc; reupload it to your computer; then it is stored as a regular mp3 like the “other” music, so it shows up on the iPod’s playlist.

  4. Renee

    It isn’t like you will use your fire place in the summer.

  5. Meghan

    Oh the dominican nuns are my favorite! Do they make their own “nuns having fun” calendar? If not, I wish they would!

  6. Colleen

    What Beth Anne said. The “Downcast” app. It’s the only thing I’ve ever used, as my husband found it before I even owned my iphone.

  7. Amy @ Motherhood and Miscellany

    #2 is my favorite!!! And I’m seriously (Siriusly??) annoyed that I JUST cancelled my SiusXM subscription. I never listened to it, so I cancelled it. But I would have listened to you on the show!

  8. Rita @ Open Window

    Oh, that video! Wow. I have no idea about the podcasts. And the couch arrangement seems ideal. We are having a terrible time figuring out how to arrange our living room, and maybe it’s time that we acknowledge that the TV and the couch need to be near each other and nothing else matters.

  9. Hevel

    After watching Arab women windsurf in their burqinis (and more) and wearing a niqab, I don’t think nuns would surprise me any more. 😀 Good for them for having a good time in this wonderful world, building both their community and their health!

  10. Sara

    I used the Downcast app for podcasts now; it nicely uploads the most recent podcasts that I’ve subscribed to anytime I open the app (when I’m on wifi). Before that, I seem to recall that opening the itunes/music app on your phone, there was a “more” tab that took you to podcasts.

    We have 6 kids, and when they were all at home, we stopped being shy about taking all the leftovers home!

  11. Kris

    If you are already streaming through the computer, you should look into getting a Roku device. Much smaller and provides the same function. We have one for each TV and it’s awesome!

  12. Michelle

    Lol! Love the comment about the nuns and the conversions!

  13. Nzie

    When I listen to podcasts it’s usually from my computer, but I knew I used to put them on my iPod so I figured I’d take a look. I’m on a Mac using OSX Maverick (all software up to date), and an iPhone running iOS7. I think the iTunes interface is the same regardless of what software your iPod is on, and I’m guessing there aren’t visible differences between Macs & PCs running iTunes. Hopefully this works for you.

    When I clicked my device in the lefthand bar, it brought up the summary page. Below the play bar (with the little “What’s playing” and < | >> buttons), at the top of the iPod window it lists all the things you can look at. Mine says:

    Summary | Info | Apps | Music | Movies | TV Shows | Podcasts | iTunesU | Books | Photos.

    (I’m guessing if someone hasn’t purchased any TV shows they don’t see that, for example.) When I clicked “Podcasts” there’s a checkbox to “Sync Podcasts.” You can select all podcasts or specific ones, and within each podcast you can do all the episodes or just unplayed ones.

    Since iPods sync automatically when plugged in, it will not add the podcasts just because you selected it this time – you’ll have to go back to the summary page and click “Apply” (at the bottom, where it shows the usage by content). The iPod should sync again and hopefully you’ll be good to go.

    (Probably that was too much detail but I figured more was better than less.)

    Hope that helps and isn’t useless because we’re on different systems or using different iPods. I can test it against my old 5G iPod if I can lay my hands on it and you need me to.

    • Nzie

      we can’t possibly be working off the same system though because you totally would have seen the Podcast thing. :-\ sorry!

  14. Kathleen Basi

    ” keep imagining joggers trotting down the path, glancing out at the lake, then dropping to their knees in tearful repentance of their sins when they saw white-robed nuns floating on top of the water.”…

    HA! Awesome!

    The video of the pope made me teary-eyed.

  15. Patrick

    There is an Apple app: Podcasts. I’d recommend turning cell data off for it unless you have unlimited bandwidth.

  16. Jenn Short

    Uh, yeah, there was a Catholic work camp in our town. They asked us if we could use leftover food. I subsisted on meatballs for days, we froze food, we ate food, we have containers frozen to make soup. If it’s going to be thrown out, yeah, we can use it! And there is only two of us!

  17. tmm

    There is an Apple Podcasts app. If it’s not on your phone already you can download it free through the App Store. It is a purple icon. I had to figure this out too; it was not inherently obvious.

  18. FrDarryl

    Others have mentioned the Apple podcast app (in addition to other apps). Here’s a link to the Apple app and a bunch of how-to pages.


    Having said that, I must admit that I preferred when they had podcasts available in the regular music player. Apple’s app seems to not work as well for me (iPhone). I’ll definitely have to check out the other apps! Thanks, everyone!

  19. Nichole

    There is a Applle app called Podcasts. It doesn’t get great reviews, but it works for me.

  20. Jenny

    that Papa Francesco clip just made me burst into tears. My children are confused. And my entire house has been ‘Nested’ this week, room by room…

  21. Kristin

    I listen to podcasts on my ipod…if there isn’t a podcasts button / category, maybe you need to update your itunes AND ipod software? When you plug it into your computer, does it ask you to update? I know there have been many podcast-related software updates lately.

    It really should be the easiest thing to do – so since you can’t figure it out there is definitely something not right!

  22. Kathy

    Another vote for Downcast. I have found it to be easier to use than Apple’s Podcast app.

  23. Paula Kiger

    I just went SUP boarding for the first time last week (in a bathing suit, not a habit!). It’s so awesome and a lot easier than it looks (as long as wind and waves cooperate). // With the podcasting — a lot of people gave you great advice. I still listen to them on my iPod – the key is subscribing to them in iTunes (at least it was for me) and then syncing them when you sync. If you’re doing it on an iPhone there are other options. // I am a big fan of Lino’s! Will probably not be able to tune in but that’s awesome!!

  24. Melissa

    I LOVE podcasts! Just download the Apple podcast app (it’s purple). You can decide which podcasts to download and which ones you want to stream.

    You can also use stitcher, which is all streaming but takes up very little memory.

    Also, random life hack: If you’re into audio, go set up and auible.com account and use the promo code “American”. You’ll get a free audio book of your choice. It’s sponsored by the This American Life podcast. For awhile, I was getting a free audio book every time they ran the promotion, but I think they fixed that bug :(.

    Happy listening! And if you haven’t already, I STRONGLY recommend checking out this american life (especially this past week’s), wait wait don’t tell me, Catholic Stuff you should know, and Peter Kreeft (“Language of Beauty” and “Cosmic dance” should be required listening for all Catholics).

  25. Kelly

    That video of the Pope made me cry.

  26. Jo

    I use the Apple Podcast App on my phone and haven’t had any problems.

    Also, how do you watch sports through your computer. We’ve been wanting to get rid of our cable since we rarely watch regular TV, but as a family we love to watch the Detroit Tigers. I haven’t been able to figure out how to do this without a cable or Dish subscription and this year I had to upgrade my package in order to have Fox Sports Detroit which carries the games. Of course, last year it was free and silly me had no clue that it was a promo and my entire family was very peeved when we couldn’t watch the first few games of the season. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      A lot of the sports networks are offering low-cost subscriptions to watch online now. I’m pretty sure that Joe pays a small fee to EWTN and some soccer channel to be able to watch their online feeds. Sorry I don’t have more details!

      • Jo

        Thanks! I’ll look into that.

  27. Christy

    I’m going to stalk his show next week just to listen to you!

  28. Joel

    You watch tv by streaming through a computer?
    Does this mean you don’t have cable? Or, even better, DirectTV? (they have the best sports package.)

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      That’s right — we haven’t had cable for a few years. We haven’t missed it!

  29. S

    As others have mentioned, I use Apple’s free stand-alone podcast app ( https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podcasts/id525463029?mt=8 ), though it wasn’t immediately clear to me at first when it moved out of “music” either. (I don’t use it much, but I preferred it built into the default music player so that it would work ported through various running apps.) It’s worked fine for me, though I know there are plenty of alternative podcast (and music) players available too. 🙂

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  33. Heather Woyak

    LOL!!! I am loving your #2!! Hilarious!
    And, someone may have already answered, but there is a “podcast” choice on the main menu on the ipod. though, mine is an older version – like when they came out with the colors…so mine is hot pink. but, anyway, it should still be it’s own selection, not under music. 🙂

  34. Lisa V.

    I was so excited to find out you were going to be on the catholic guy show with Lino — and even more so to know it will be all week. I listened today and you were really funny and entertaining to listen to. I just wish my commute was longer so I could have heard more.

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