7 Quick Takes about dog whispering fails, a hilarious interview moment, and why my radio show will have the best intro music ever

September 5, 2014 | 19 comments

— 1 —

Thank you so much for all the wonderful responses to my big announcement! After I published the post, I was horrified to realize that I forgot to include the most important part:

In one of the demos, I mentioned in passing that my two favorite genres of music are Gregorian chant and rap. The visionaries at SiriusXM heard this, and have created custom intro music for my show based on that statement. Let me put it in all caps in case it’s not clear:


When I sat down to begin the last demo, I was feeling extremely nervous about the whole thing. Then I heard the chant/rap music begin, and I knew that it was all going to be awesome.

— 2 —

I also got input into the music that will be used for rejoins (the music that plays when the show returns from breaks — I’m learning the lingo!), and it pretty much shut down my life for a week.

I could not rest until I had listened to the first 20 seconds of almost every song on my iPod to see if it had catchy, lyric-free music. I forced Joe to analyze whether or not the “Hey!” in the beginning of Abandon’s cover of Walking on Sunshine should exclude it from the list. I sent long-suffering friends midnight texts like: “That Rod Stewart song ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ has a good intro! Too weird??”

In the end, my 17-year-old babysitter picked my favorite: Change Your Life.

(It’s by a British girl band called Little Mix, composed of four beautiful young starlets. I’m thinking that they’ll be so honored by me using their song as the rejoin for my show that they might ask me to be their fifth member. I can’t sing and I’m nearly twice their age, but maybe I could stand behind them and beatbox.)

— 3 —

A few people pointed out that my picture has already been added to SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel homepage.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.17.11 PM

I sent over the picture that’s here at the top of the blog, which was originally taken while I was leaning on a table at a restaurant. If I’d known that the background would be photoshopped out, I probably would have sent a different one.

I’ve never been able to see that picture the same way since a certain priest friend of ours (cough-cough FatherDanLorimer) referred to the picture of me in the blog header as “The Hunchback of Conversion Diary.” Echoing some feedback I got when I first changed my site design, and a few comments I’d made myself, he pointed out that the picture makes me look stooped over when you take out the table I was leaning on in the original.

Objectively, I don’t think it’s that bad…but ever since he said it I can’t help but picture myself scampering out of a bell tower to take my place at the top of the blog header.

Anyway, the Hunchback of Conversion Diary has now lurched her way over to the Catholic Channel header as well!

— 4 —

We finally got a solar filter for our telescope!


We set it up on Monday and took turns gazing at the sun while Joe grilled burgers, which is how you spend Labor Day when you’re a family of Texan nerds.

At one point Joe told my dad about the sunspots he saw, and my dad said he already knew about them. Joe was confused since my dad hadn’t had a chance to look in the telescope, but my dad casually explained that he checks the sunspot forecast daily. I had no idea that there were sunspot forecasts, but if I had, I would have assumed that my dad would be on top of it!

— 5 —

I am temporarily a dog owner. We’re watching Joe’s dad’s Dachshund for a while, which is a big adventure for me since I have never owned a dog.


I prepared myself by trying to remember episodes of The Dog Whisperer,  but so far my efforts at dog whispering have been less than impressive.

Yesterday the dog kept barking for no reason. I tried that thing they do in the show where I thrust my hand toward the dog with a modified Vulcan greeting pose and made a “PSSSHT!” sound (it’s been a while since I’ve watched the show — I might not be remembering that part clearly). Anyway, the dog just looked at me for a second, then started barking again.

Meanwhile, the cat was stretched out across the kitchen table — where he’d knocked off a plastic bowl half full of cereal to make more room for himself — and he watched us with quiet disdain. I looked over at him and thought, Thank you for being so low maintenance.

— 6 —

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.47.18 PM

Last week I had the best interview moment ever:

I was talking to the guys from Boston-based CatholicTV about Something Other than God, and one of them asked me to talk about the incident with “the damaged bull.” I was completely confused. There’s nothing like that in my book. They kept asking about it, and I started to think that they must be thinking of someone else’s memoir.

It turns out that I misunderstood their Boston accents, and they’d been saying bowl, not bull (referring to a chapter where I talk about accidentally ruining one of my mom’s favorite bowls). I still haven’t stopped laughing about it.

(You can see the clip here starting at 11 min 30 sec.)

— 7 —

Have a great weekend, everyone!



  1. Lindsey Wilson

    so funny Jen! thanks for starting my Friday with a smile.

  2. LarryM

    Ah yes, fun with people from Boston. I grew up listening to the band “Boston” and could never understand that one line where they say “my HAT in my music”, in ‘More than a feeling”. It was not until a few months ago I realized it was “My HEART in my music”. It was always, what’s the deal with putting a hat into your music??

    • Michelle

      Ha! Since I was a teen, I sang:
      More than a feeling, and never on Sunday (more than a feeling)
      I can’t stop dreaming (more than a feeling)

      My kids think I’m funny, but it’s really starting to bug me now. And then there’s Journey’s:
      Strangers waiting
      Up and down the boulevard
      Their shadows searching
      In the night
      Streetlight people
      Heaven list a fond devosan….

      What are you gonna do. I guess they’re from Boston too, cuz it ain’t me.

  3. Kathleen Basi

    For the first time I’m sorry we didn’t keep up the Sirius subscription in the car. 🙂 Go you!

  4. Amy @ Motherhood and Miscellany

    I need to hear that Gregorian chant/rap mash up! That sounds perfect. I’m so excited for you about your show, but I’m bummed that I cancelled my Sirius subscription a few months ago! Congratulations!

  5. Kelley Cutler

    The interview cracked me up! The “bull” part was funny, but what I found hilarious was how they seemed so baffled by the concept of a convert. But hey, it is pretty bizarre. Even as a convert myself I still think it’s a pretty weird thing to do… especially when it come to Catholicism!

  6. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    I laughed my way through this whole thing, but pretty much you lost me completely at the picture from the Catholic Channel. I don’t think you look like a hunchback. I think it looks like you are goosing Lino, and that Fr. Dave put you up to it. 🙂 Congratulations on the show!

      • Theresa

        Yes, that picture is classic…the expression Lino’s face and the priest’s…and Jennifer’s “who me?”.

  7. Heather

    Ok, awesome! I can’t wait to hear the Gregorian Rap!! Though I have to go back to your post about the show. It is only on Sirius? Or iTunes, too??

  8. diet plans

    I have read so many posts concerning the blogger lovers however this post is truly a pleasant article, keep
    it up.

    My blog post :: diet plans

  9. Michelle

    Totally hysterical Jenny.

    I wouldn’t care if you didn’t have time to teach your kids ANYTHING! It’s worth the sacrifice.

    Seriously, don’t worry since they have plenty of time to learn what they’ll need. With the birth of twins (now 4!) and another newbie, we are basically just getting back to more conventional type schooling and I can’t believe the older ones are somehow right where they should be. And now, they are much more eager to learn.

    So, I’m only guessing that you might be stressing and I am reassuring you ~ DON’T. Right now, the baby is the lesson and you are changing hearts in a time of great need.

    God bless your radio show and I suppose I’ll have to sign up. When I read your #1 take to my older son, knowing you, he responded, “Is it going to be funny or serious (sirius)?” Of course, I didn’t get it at first.

  10. Jenny Ryan

    haha… Damaged Bull. I would have done the same. Slight look of panic on your face 🙂

  11. Lisa Schmidt

    A Boston-Texas fusion right there. I’m laughing so hard right now. Cannot wait to hear your opening music. Sounds unique and intriguing. Exactly what I expect from TCC and you!

  12. Jennifer

    I am not trying be a troll, but I am saying good-bye to Conversion Diary. I feel like all you do is self-promote and there are way too many frustrating ads to deal with now. I miss the old days of funny little anecdotes. Good Luck.

  13. Donna

    Thanks for the laugh about the damaged bull! I’m from Texas originally and also heard “bull”! Your dad’s doxie looks like a sweet old guy. I had to chuckle at your attempts at obedience training a dachshund–most stubborn breed ever–I’ve had two. Very smart little dogs. You have to be careful not to step on them–we learned the dachshund shuffle early on….

  14. Theresa @ A Mom in the Making

    I’m super excited for the launch of your radio show. Having music you love is sooo important. I felt like I was never going to find music I liked for my podcast, but after lots of searching I love it, and feel like it fits perfectly.

  15. JQ Tomanek

    Hahahahaha. Very funny. I would have just jumped on the opportunity of relaying some fantastic story where I was running the stampede of bulls and saved a helpless bystander by jumping on top of a bull and while steering it to safety I pulled a horn off.

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- Subscribe on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates