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Posts Tagged ‘Seven Quick Takes’

1.  I don’t know how successfully I’ve hidden this in the few photos of myself that I’ve put online, but I am 5’5″ and in the last fifteen years, I’ve put on average of seven pounds of permanent weight for each baby.  This is what happens when all you do is sit down.

2.  I was having stabbing pain, excruciating burning from my lower back down to my toes, tingling, numbness, and general unpredictable sciatic misery, which finally sent me to the doctor, because I couldn’t believe that I could become that debilitated just from doing nothing.  The x-ray revealed that I have “mild to moderate degeneration” between the discs of my spine, brought on by age, weight gain, and inactivity, or, in layman’s terms, being a loser.  I am adding that phrase,  “mild to moderate degeneration,” to my list of possible new names for the new blog I’ll never start.  Other possibilities I’ve gathered over the years include what Mark Shea called me one time (“History’s Greatest Monster”), what an outraged reader told my editor (“Fisher Is Unrepentant!”), and what my mechanic wrote about the van (“Misfires Badly Under Any Significant Load”).

3.  A sad little drama recently played out in a shopping plaza nearby.  First there was nothing but a Curves Gym.  Then Five Guys Burger and Fries moved in next door.  Curves held out for a while, but one day the windows went dark, and they packed up and moved away, presumably shaking their chubby fists in rage, with an embarrassing amount of flappy movement around the upper arm area, as they went.  And then, in the space where Curves used to be, Rick’s Gourmet Ice Cream moved in.

4.  This is not going to become one of those tedious blogs that does nothing but record how many reps or grams or kilos or whatever (wait, I think I’m talking about cocaine now) of cardio I accomplished and which variety of kale I like to add to my puke smoothie.  (Sorry, I just friggin hate the whole smoothie thing.  You still have teeth, people.  Use ‘em.)  I will try not to make a big deal out of it unless I think it would be genuinely interesting to someone besides myself and my doctor.

5.  I picked out an exercise DVD that looked like a reasonable place to start.  Today, I did it for the first time, and had two shocks:  one is that it’s designed for senior citizens; and two, it wasn’t easy to keep up.  Argh.  Yep, ol’ Jane Fonda is going on and on about her titanium hip and how great it is that we’re doing so much to combat memory loss, and I’m screaming on the inside “ISN’T TWENTY MINUTES UP YET, YOU HOLLOW CHEEKED BITCH?”

6.  I used to be able to run five miles.  Cursing the whole way, but still, I used to be able to do it.  Now, I can’t even curse for five miles straight, running or not.  I don’t even have profanity stamina anymore.

7.  In the week that has passed since I wrote #1-6, I have put off reading what Pope Francis said about people who complain about 73 distinct times. Because look,  I got the flu, which meant that I was too weak and feverish to do my back exercises, which meant that I couldn’t sleep because of back pain, which meant that the baby decided this would be a fine time to give up sleeping.  Like, just quit, flat out.  She goes to bed at the normal time, but wakes up at 1:30, ready to play.  The next two hours are spent with constructive thoughts like, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME” and “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FUNCTION” and “I THINK I HAVE TWO FRIENDS NAMED LYDIA BUT MAYBE ONLY ONE I’M NOT SURE ABOUT THAT BECAUSE THERE IS THAT ONE LYDIA BUT THEN THERE IS THAT OTHER ONE ALSO AND THAT MAKES TWO BUT ON THE OTHER HAND I’M NOT SURE HOW MANY FRIENDS I HAVE NAMED LYDIA.”  (See, fever.)  Then I went to throw up, but my back hurt too much to reach the toilet.  Also, I took a shower and it turned out the soap had a bug on it, and I was washing myself with bug.

And THAT’S why I say sometimes it’s okay to just go through your medicine chest and see what you can find.  Because, sheesh.

For someone with real problems, NOT brought on by being a loser, check out our 7 Quick Takes host, Jen Fulwiler.

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1.  I’m re-reading Anna Karenina, which is 808 pages long.

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Last time I read it was in college, I only got up to page 762 and then lost interest.  Gee, I hope Anna turns things around before it’s too late.

QUESTION for anyone who’s read the book: have you seen the movie?  I haven’t even read any reviews.  When I heard Anna was going to be played by Kiera Knightley, I wondered why they didn’t get an actress instead.

2.  Whenever I read old books, I keep an eye out for lovely, old-fashioned names that have unjustly gone out of circulation, and Russian novels are no exception.

QUESTION: Arhip, anyone?  I think it’s a boy name.

3.  So, so, so, we all know that when Mary nursed baby Jesus, she OVulously (as my son used to say) wore one of these:

milktent

(via the now defunct but still unchild-friendly Regretsy)

Among other reasons, this was so the baby (who was a Real Boy) would not get scandalized by having to make eye contact with his mother despite her under-tent compromised modesty.  So that’s settled.  But we are still left with the age-old QUESTION:  what did she wear to preserve her modesty while she was giving birth???  (Credit for this brain teaser goes to Noel Combs, who is not letting Lent slow her down.)

4.  QUESTION:  Is the model in the picture above trying to demonstrate that modest women don’t wear pants?

5.  Benny is deeply in love with Spiderman.   And not just any Spiderman, but Extra Crappy 1967 Spiderman Very Lightly Animated Cartoon which is IN COLOR.  This is what she does when she hears the theme song:

(The first ten seconds or so are the main point.  The rest is just to keep me from ever thinking I’m a good mother.)

The reason I let this happen is because when your husband says, “You go take a nap.  I’ll find something to do with the baby,” then you don’t complain, even if it turns out that that thing is watching 1967 Spiderman IN COLOR.
QUESTION: if we had played our cards differently, would she have a passionate devotion to, say, Mahler, or the sonnets of Shakespeare?  Or is there something about Spiderman?

6.  QUESTION:  What happens when you’re making beef barley soup with mushrooms, and you figure you’ll pep it up with some hot pepper flakes, but while you’re shaking them in you start thinking about something else, and then, after thinking about it for a while, and then talking about some stuff, and then thinking some more, you realize you’re still shaking those hot pepper flakes into the soup?
ANSWER:  You get to eat ALL THE SOUP!!!!  And boy, it clears out your sinuses.

7.  My husband has the QUESTION: “Where is this going?”
ANSWER:  Ohhhh, we are headed into the weekend, my friend.

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SEVEN QUICK TAKES! 

Come on, you all know what the “quick takes” picture looks like by now.  It’s on my computer somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I can find it, and my computer is tearfully warning me that it just doesn’t know what it might do if I open another tab.  I tried making it  yellow for authenticity’s sake, but it hurt my eyes.  All right, here we go.

1.  I almost never click on those touching or adorable “You’ll never guess how he proposed!” or “Wow, what an original way to process down the aisle!” stories.  They kinda leave me cold.  But I can’t get enough of stories about marriages in their advanced stages — of love and forgiveness in times of trial.  I just hear the most amazing story from StoryCorps, an  initiative that records and archives the personal stories of regular people.  It’s only a few minutes long, but it will blow you away, maybe.

(If the embed above doesn’t work, which of course it won’t, you can click here to hear the story.)

2.  I’m not sure if she wants me to use her name or not, but a dear reader gave me the most amazing gift:  the chance to pick out a pair of high-quality boots or shoes.  Not wanting to insult her generosity by ordering from the middle of the menu, I went completely berserk and picked out a pair of these:

They arrived yesterday, and it was with great reluctance that I took them off to go to bed.  I feel magnificent in them; and my husband — well, let’s just say that, if I get pregnant this winter, I feel sure that that child will somehow pick up the nickname “Bootsie.”  Who can say why.

3.  Today’s pick for 50 Books!   Normally I despise those sassy, transgressive “fractured fairy tales” or “an old story with a modern twist.”  Bleh, who needs it?  But this one is just completely charming:

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivisas an illustrated by the wonderful Helen Oxenbury.

Maybe I never really liked the original “Three Little Pigs” story anyway — why, exactly, did the little pigs have to leave their mother?  Why didn’t the more practical pig help his dumber brothers design their houses?  And the third pig eats the wolf who is presumably still digesting the pig’s brothers, really?  Anyway, this version has a much nicer, more satisfying ending, and the pictures are just great.

4.  If you can, do pre-order Adventhology, the latest project of Ryan Charles Trusell (of Ora et Labora et Zombies fame)!  Dorian Speed, Brandon Vogt, Dan Lord and I each wrote an essay for it.  You can buy the essays individually, or you can get the whole set.  Nice, manageable price, and an attractive and unusual gift.  Today I’m excerpting a passage from Dan Lord’s essay, “The Offended.”

The Subhuman reached up with his grisly left hand, his only hand, and grabbed hold of the brass knob on the confessional door. The crones bleeped and warbled.

The confessional door creaked open. The Subhuman shuffled inside, shoulders stooped more than ever, claw held out in front of him, breath scraping out from within that dark, stinking hood.

He shut the door behind him. The green light turned red.

Now that, my friends, is an Advent story.  Oh, and don’t forget that Dan Lord (husband of “Moxie Wife” Hallie Lord) has just come out with a new book, Choosing Joy, which is getting good reviews.

5.  Suzanne Temple cracked me up with this status update on Facebook:  “Oh gross, Ethan discovered how everything gets stuck in that gap in the floor under the dishwasher. #snackspot”

Does everyone have a spot like this in their house?  We have a few of them.  Some are just literally low spots, where the shifting foundations of the house have left, for instance, one corner of the kitchen distinctly downhill from the other corners, and anything that can slide, drip, roll or pool ends up there.  And other areas are just in places in the house that naturally become sort of dry land tidepools, where all the various household currents leave their debris behind in an utterly non-glorious jumble that even G. M. Hopkins would think was just gross.

Along comes Benny to her favorite buffet.  Oh, well.

6.  Are you mad at your kids?  Do you want to get them something really awful for Christmas?  Well, you might want to consider this:

It’s the See It Happen Composting Kit.  I should just charge $34.95 for people to come to my house and hang out with Benny in a Low Spot.  “See it happen” indeed.

7.  In the course of writing this stupid post, there was a broken glass, a half-gallon of milk that spilled and ran inside the only downstairs closet, a tumbling baby and a fat lip, three shrieky squabbles over who gets the remote, and then WordPress was all like, “Oh, I’m sorry, did you WANT that post, with all the links in it?  Because I know I put it here somewhere.  Wait, here it is!  Yes, here are the first three lines of it, just for you.  That’s fine, right?”

On the other hand, I just remembered that I only had half a cup of coffee this morning, so I still have another half coming to me!  O happy day!

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It’s a two-fer!  One:   Seven Quick Takes, hosted by the hostest with the mostest Post-its (get it?  In the picture.  What?), Jen Fulwiler of Conversion Diary (and, among other things, the Register blog).

Oh, so that’s one.  Two is that I am crapping things up at the Register today with a little Lenten Quiz:  JUST HOW HOLY ARE YOU?  Come find out! And see how long it takes before someone notices, and becomes offended that, there is no such person as the Venerable Scrupe!

So go see that, and I want to make sure I get a harumph out of all of you.  Then come back here and join me for:

SEVEN QUICK TAKES:  Seven things I could resist, actually

1.  Making wontons from scratch.  This is only a victory in that it shows that I have infinite capacity for feeling guilty (every time I open the freezer and the package of wonton wrappers falls out, and I have to tell them gently, “Not yet, not yet.”) over something that is entirely morally neutral.  Oh, does not making wontons make me feel guilty!  But that thing I said about that lady at Mass — well, I got over that pretty quick.

2.  Eating grapes impregnated with Nerds.  Although my five-year-old daughter is pushing me really, really hard.  It’s kind of like voting for Mitt Romney:  you don’t really have to try it, to imagine how awful it would be.

3.  Yelling, “YOU FORGOT YOUR PANTS!” at passing college girls.  You know the ones — sashaying along the sidewalk with their jaunty side ponytails (so boot-cut jeans, which flatter my hips, are out of style, but side ponytails had to make a comeback, eh? Eh???), their North Face jackets, their Uggs, and their . . . not-pants.  What are they called, riggings?  Bleggings?  Oh yeah, they’re called TIGHTS.  Not pants, girls.  Go back to your dorm and finish getting dressed.

4.  Getting [#4 has been edited, in keeping with the spirit of Lent] knocked up, for almost two years straight!

5.  Sending a follow-up email to the director of my children’s school, when it turned out she needed to use our bathroom.  I had rashly decided, you see, that no one would need to use the bathroom before we all went sledding together, and so I did not clean it, even though its degree of filth had long ago reached and overtaken the squalid stage.  This wasn’t a messy bathroom, or even a dirty bathroom.  I wouldn’t even call it filthy.  This was . . . a third world bathroom.  This was a Drudge headline bathroom.  This was a Lollapalooza level of revolting muck and outrageous stench, a putrid, feculent, blight on the face of all that is good and decent.  But I didn’t say a word!  Because what can you say?  “Well, now you know?”

Oh, so the email I resisted sending was going to start, “Thanks for coming sledding with us!  I wanted to reassure you about all the discarded medical gloves on the floor. . . “

6.  Putting windshield washer fluid in the car all winter.   Is it safe to drive around with brown, opaque windshield?  No.  Is it the action of an adult to seek out the deepest puddles and barrel through them at top speed, in the hopes that the splash will clear my view a bit?  No.  Is it so hard to open up a bottle of windshield washer fluid and dump it in?  No.  Is it likely I will just keep putting it off anyway?  Extremely.

7.  Sitting down to find appropriate pictures for these quick takes, even though the right picture makes all the difference.  Well, here’s something I couldn’t resist:

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Seven Reasons Why Being Fat May Be the Right Choice For You  . . . Today!

1.  You are so comfortable for the kids to snuzzle up with, especially in the winter.  As Mighty Mighty pointed out in the comments box of this post, kids always think bigger is better; and being nice and soft, with no bunchy muscles or anything, makes it even nicer.  Not only for the kids, either.

2.  Fashionwise, it’s a great time to be fat.  You have sartorial choices like never before.  Fifteen years ago, I remember our terrifyingly brilliant, consummately cultivated, frequently profound, secretly magnanimous, and very, very fat philosophy professor grumbling that, when he went shopping, he had a choice between a gigantic red polo shirt, or a gigantic red polo shirt with Tweety Bird embroidered on it.  This is a man who, when he had a fever, once stood at the podium and taught an entire phenomenology class in German without realizing it. (He’s not German.)  And everyone was too intimidated to say anything about it; we just took our notes, and liked it.

Oh, anyway, the point is that, nowadays, there are a lot more good clothes for fat people.  So  now, smart, fat people don’t have to wear Tweety Bird, unless they want to.

3.  So many American are  so much fatter than you.  If you’re feeling bad, just go the mall — you’ll feel like a slender reed in no time, because you’ll be in the minority of shoppers who don’t actually require the double door to get in.  Even when you’ve grown beyond bunchy, sailed past stout, and landed firmly in the land of lard, you will find that the hangers with your size on it are no longer the last one on the rack — there’s a whole new alphabet back there!  This is the age of the L-cup!  Boston just got a special ambulance for the obese! And look at you — you don’t even need an ambulance yet!  Have another Ring Ding — you can take it, slim.

4.  You get to discover that your husband is really, really in love with you, or else he’s a fantastic and indefatigable actor.  Just think, if I were still the proportions I was when he met me (36-24-38, just two inches away from being zoned as a brick house!), I would always wonder if he was sticking around all these years because of me, or my measurements.  Now that I’ve added the equivalent of a six-year-old child to my frame, I know it must be true love.

5.  I am so easy to buy presents for.  Look at the label of the item in question:  does it say either “nutrition information” or “XXL?”  If so, then it’s perfect for me.

6.  If I see a cookie, I can just go, “Hey, I’m gonna eat that,” and then I do.  Simple!

7.  I’d like to add more, but I’m all out of breath from typing.  Check out the other 7 Quick Takes at Jen Fulwiler’s Conversion Diary.  See you on Monday, you skinny jerks.

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I have taken up being sick and angry as a full-time job this week.  So this is what you get.

–1–

We got about as much snow as anyone did the other day, and now we can’t find our garbage cans.  Usually my husband shovels, but when his back is out and the rest of us are half dead with our post-strep throat cold which we picked up in the hospital when my son got his tonsils out – – well, then we call the plow guy.

Being a hard-working New England girl, I always feel guilty about hiring a plow until I see the work that he does, and how it takes approximately four-and-a-half minutes.  Then I think about how it would take us approximately four-and-a-half hours to do a much crappier job with a shovel, and I think, “That is what money is for.”  He’s cheap, too!  And nice.

In fact, after he plowed, he told me that if we ever wanted work done on the house (last summer he converted our old shower into a laundry area), he would be happy to do it at cost.

Why would someone do that?  I’m seriously wondering.  Does he just like being with us?  Or has he secretly spotted gold ore in the walls and wants a piece of it?  Or what?

–2–

This:

was a huge part of my childhood, along with these things:

(On the flip side of the record was “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport.”  In this recording, they seem to have taken out the “Let me abos go loose, Bruce.”  I didn’t find out until much later that “abo” was offensive slang for “aboriginal.”  I always thought he was saying “elbow,” and thought it was an odd desire for a dying man.)

–3–

It’s funny enough when kids pronounce things oddly, but it’s even funnier when they used to say it right, but suddenly, for reasons of their own, start saying it in some new, strange, wrong way.  Every morning, the three-year-old asks for oatmeal.  About a week ago, though, she expressed a strong desire for “oitmeal,” and that’s what she’s been saying ever since.  And the baby, who is 21 months old, started saying “hyelp” instead of “help,” for some reason.  So we hear, in a suffering little voice, “Mama, mama, hyelp me!  You come hyelp my sock!”

She has gone back to asking to “nurse,” however, which is sad.  Originally, she said “nurse,” which transformed into “nurd,” which morphed, to my delight, into “nurdle.”  “Mama, I want to nurdle!”  And nurdle we would.

–4–

Relatedly, I’m still getting a huge kick out of having a baby who is still nursing, but can talk.  She is something of a comedian, and likes to think of punchlines while she is nursing.  Then she unplugs for a minute, makes sure I’m looking at her, and says, “Aaaa-OOOOO-gah!”  and then latches back on, grinning.  Or a couple of times, she was apparently thinking about Godzilla, because she took a break just long enough to say, “Grrrr. Aaaahhh!”

–5–

I think this machine has been around for years, but I guess it’s now smaller and available to the public?  It’s the Thing-o-matic, “a ‘factory in a box’ that claims to create any three-dimensional object out of plastic in a matter of minutes.”  You have to start with a 3-D schematic image, I guess, which apparently you can get with Google in some way.  This video seems to show an earlier version of the machine, making a model of the Statue of Liberty.

Astonishing machine, but the name needs some hyelp.

–6–

I was behind a car with so many enlightened bumper stickers, I expected the whole thing to start levitating on a cloud of self-righteousness.  The most egregious one said, “I’m already against the next war.”  Excellent!  I’ll be sure to notify the alien overlords, when they come to attack, that the occupants of that car are such fine, gentle, wise people that they do not wish to be defended.  I also wonder if they are against all past wars, as well as potential future ones?  Big fans of George III, slavery, and the Third Reich?  And whatever that French and Indian thing was about?  Bah.

I also saw another car that had the following decals lined up across the rear window:  Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Knights of Columbus, Rotary, and KISS.  I think I’d rather be friends with them.

–7–

Saw another bumper sticker yesterday:  “My other vehicle is my imagination.”  My kids asked me why I was throwing up all over the dashboard.  I guess I’m just sensitive to these things.  Anyway, my 8-year-old son offered that, when he grew up, he was going to have a bumper sticker that says, “VENGEANCE IS SWEET.”  His younger brother wholeheartedly agreed, and it turns out that the two of them were under the impression that personal and bloody vengeance is a thoroughly brilliant and moral career path.

It’s possible that our Bible readings have been a tad heavy on the Old Testament lately.

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Ha.

Never mind the talk about sex, gin, or condoms —  I really ruffled some feathers when I allowed my violent distaste for “The Little Drummer Boy” to spill over into the public realm.  Well, I stand by my words.  It’s just a dumb, dumb song, and I don’t like it.  Harumph all you want.

Okay, that was kind of a stretch.  My point is that, despite my entirely justifiable disdain, I can understand why you would like “The Little Drummer Boy.”  Not because there’s anything good about it (there’s not), or because there’s anything wrong with you (there is), but because personal taste is a strange and embarrassing phenomenon.  As my old college professor used to say, De gustibus non figureoutum est.

So, just to let you know that even a sneering elitist like myself has some chinks in my armor (although my heart of stone remains intact), I present:

Seven Examples of Simcha’s Execrable Taste

1.  Footprints in the sand.  Did you ever look back on your life and see the part that was all soggy?  That was me, weeping heartfelt tears over this unforgivable bit of religious schlock.  It doesn’t even actually make sense.  When you felt the worst, that was when God was carrying you?  Does He do that?  In my experience, it’s more like He says, “Go ahead and have a tantrum — see if I care!”   And the He stands back with his arms folded and watches me make a fool of myself, until I get so worked up that I fall down and hit my head on the coffee table.  Then He picks me up, checks my pupils to make sure I don’t have a concussion, and maybe puts on Shaun the Sheep for a while until I calm down.

Don’t ask me what the sand would look like at this point.

But yeah, “Footprints in the sand” kind of gets me.  Whatever.

2.  Billy Joel’s “Leningrad.”

It’s bad enough that it’s Billy Joel, but why “Leningrad?”  I hang my head in shame.

3.  SpaghettiOs.  Yes, I realize it’s basically extruded flour glue in warm ketchup.

Remember that movie Se7en where the guy makes the fat guy eat all those SpaghettiOs?  Hated the movie, but I would love to be that fat guy.  Except for when he gets killed.

4.  Plastic leaves.  We had a Greek myths birthday party in September, and I liked how the dining room looked with strings of plastic ivy tacked onto the wallpaper, so I left them up.  They’re from Dollar Tree, and now my house looks like Dollar Tree.  It’s my house, and that’s how I like it.

5.  Gold or silver spray paint.  IT MAKES EVERYTHING LOOK FANCIER, and you can’t tell me otherwise.  So if you get something like this from me for Christmas

it’s not ironic hipster kitsch.  I just thought it was purty.  Don’t you like pretty things?  What are you, some kind of monster?

6.  Nic Cage.

Not because of his puppy dog eyes or his upsetting hair, the shredded wheat-like likes of which have not been seen since Gene Wilder in his heyday

– but because of a kind of a funny story.  You see, about ten years into my marriage, my husband rented a movie with Nicholas Cage in it.  I forget what it was, but it sure stunk, as Nicholas Cage movies are wont to do (yes, Bad Lieutenant was mesmerizing.  The Rock was fun. Raising Arizona was amusing, though overrated — but let’s face it, he’s only still around for the same reason as you keep that horrible old tippy coffee table:  because it more or less does the job, and you just don’t have the time right now to go out and get a replacement.  Nicholas Cage:  go ahead and put a wet glass on him.)

Oh, I think the movie was Ghost Rider!  Anyway, we just couldn’t watch it.  And we are people who watched Zardoz all the way through.  We watched Thunderball all the way through.  We watched Yentl, for pete’s sake.  Anyway, it developed that my husband had chosen Ghost Rider because he thought I had some particular affection for Nicholas Cage (which I don’t); and I watched it because I thought he wanted to watch it (which he didn’t).  Very Gift of the Magi, isn’t it?

So that’s why I like Nicholas Cage.

7.  Budweiser.

I like how it tastes.  So sue me.

And then head over to Conversion Diary, where Jen Fulwiler is hosting 7 Quick Takes.  I can almost guarantee you that nobody else’s list will force you to think about Nicholas Cage’s hair.  Although Advent is a penitential season.

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