7 Quick Takes: “Harder than it has to be” Edition

So, Jen from Conversion Diary designed this nice little 7 Quick Takes  system for us bloggers.  It bumps up your traffic, it automatically gives your post a semi-professional look, with the nifty graphic and all:

And above all, it’s easy.   For once, you don’t have to come up with a unifying theme.  You can just babble about seven random things that occur to you — seven orphaned ideas which never quite grew up into anything, but which you aren’t quite ready to discard.  You can tell about a book you just read, or you can complain about the heat.  You can put a picture of the gross thing that fell out of the car seat when you finally got around to adjusting the straps, once you finally stopped lying to yourself about how 18-month-old children are probably happily reminded of the womb when they’re folded in half like a sweaty empanada.  And before you know it, your post is all done.

Easy, right?  Just write seven things, quick.  What could be simpler?

But that’s just too disorderly for me.  Now, looking at my house, you’d never think, “Here at last is someone who loves order.  Yes yes, this is someone who cannot bear chaos,  and who labors long and hard to institute structure and harmony into her personal life.”  Okay, so if you’re talking about my living room, then, no.  I’m just happy when all four feet of the couch on resting on the floor simultaneously, or when the drips of unidentifiable goo are dry, and not still visibly oozing down the walls.

So that’s my house.  But when it comes to writing, I’m like the chickens in Chicken Run:  I’M ORGANIZED.  I don’t feel right unless my writing has some kind of unifying theme (although I reckon I sometimes do a great job of keeping that theme a secret).  So every Friday, I ruin a perfectly good opportunity to be random, and I choose a topic for my 7 Quick Takes.  So far, I’ve chosen The Outdoors, Hope This Helps and Toys.

Well, Friday kind of snuck up on me this week.  So today, just to give you a little window into Life with Meeeee (so you can join the Facebook group “A Million Strong to Let Simcha’s Husband Out of Purgatory Sooner”), I present:

7 Ideas That I Decided Weren’t Good Enough for 7 Quick Takes


7 Refreshing Summer Drinks

It would be easy to pick seven drinks I like:  lime rickey, cheap beer, slightly more expensive beer with a lime in it, white russian, whiskey sour, gin and tonic, and another gin and tonic.  But who cares?  What would be interesting would be a list of seven things that are likely to happen if I have more than two margaritas, but my spiritual director and my probation officer both advised me against dwelling on that kind of thing.


7 Rules of Etiquette for the Adoration Chapel

Ehhh, this is just too sticky, especially since I haven’t been in over a year.   Other than the time that wall-eyed crazy lady squatted herself down in front of the altar and started to rummage through the basket of prayer intentions, alternately shrugging, raising her eyebrows, and giggling as she read, and I told her to cut it out — I’m really out of my depth in this one.  I think I could come up with seven things, but no one comes out looking good.  Better leave it alone.


7 Stupid Things We Almost Named Our Children

This one hits the sweet spot for me, because I love making fun of things, but I wouldn’t feel bad, because it was my own past self that I would be mocking.  But then I’m guaranteed to offend some readers who actually did go with “Beryl Cornelia Moselle,” and they have the patron saint to back it up.  I try and minimize the in-huff-leaving that goes on around here, so this one is out.


7 Bugs That Temporarily Ruined My Life

I can, and have, gone on at length about how I’m the onnnnnnnly person in the world who’s had to do a bunch of extra laundry to get rid of fleas or lice or whatever.  And then there was that one time we got a mysterious moth infestation, and had to throw out all our food right when we had a $17-a-week grocery budget for six people.   There were so many moths in the living room, it looked like the tracking needed to be adjusted.  (For my youthful friends, that’s a VCR reference.  Ask your dad.)  The low point was when I opened up a tiny bottle of cream of tartar, and found it thoroughly infested with larvae.   Really?  Really, moths — you had to eat my effing cream of tartar?

But this one is no good, because many of my readers live in terrifying, tropical lands with enormous, venemous, year-round bugs, the likes of which I never saw even in my worst nightmares.  They will scoff at my little mishap with the scary old lady bug, and tearfully recount how their third and fourth children were both carried off in the flying, carnivorous earwig invasion of Ought-Three, and how insult was added to injury when said children’s funerals were interrupted by  historically unprecedented swarms of acid-squirting butterflies who become enraged by the color black.   So, that’s out.


I Hate My Hair

Can I just say that seven times?

No?  Then on to . . .


7 Embarrassing Things I Have Called Poison Control About

It turns out that it’s not really a big deal if your stupid kid eats two raw pork chops, nine ounces of glitter, or, sigh, super glue.  It is, on the other hand, kind of a problem if you have to call about these things all in the same day.  At this point, before you get around to listing the other four toxic things your child also ate while you were busy checking your blog stats, I would recommend changing your name.  Perhaps to “Mother of the Year.”


7 Ways to Get Rid of Old Palm Branches

Palm branches are from Palm Sunday, which was back in March.  So why, if you got the palm branches four months ago, would you still be talking about– . . . ohhhh.  Still hanging around, looking holy, neglected, and semi-blasphemous, aren’t they?  And not only are they too brittle now to be woven into a lovely cross, or too scattered to be stored  away for burning into ashes for Ash Wednesday, you haven’t done any of those things with any palm branches from previous years, either, have you?  Whenever you move out of a house, you clean out everything except the palm branches, don’t you?  When your van breaks down and has to be towed to the junk yard, you clear out all the CD’s and melted Jolly Ranchers and leaky pens, but you pretend to forget about all those sun-baked palm branches on the dashboard, don’t you?  When you’re cleaning out under the couch and you find a palm branch on which someone has written “liht saber” in marker, you suddenly get all jesuitical and contrive an elaborate theory about blessed items losing their sacred significance once they no longer full resemble their original form, don’t you?

Maybe I should change this one to “7 Stupid Things You’re Going To Hell For.”


Well, have a nice weekend, everyone.  I intend to do at least seven things this weekend, and the unifying theme will be gin.


  1. You had to bring up the palms branches. Fine. What we are supposed to do with the branches after we leave church on Palm Sunday? (And we were so late to Mass this year on Palm Sunday that I am not even sure how we got hold of any branches, but that’s another story.) You mention the old branches are burned the following year for ashes. Maybe, but how come I’ve never heard a priest remind us that it’s time to drop off our branches? And it’s not just the branches, which are lovely and deeply meaningful. But what do you do with the religious items that come inside charity mass mailings? I put the rosaries in a drawer, though they break instantly, which honestly makes me wonder why you would bless really poorly made rosaries. But what about the pennies with the angel cut-outs? The packets of seeds? The razor-thin metal Christmas ornaments? The pads of paper with St. Therese prayers (those I keep actually)? Are these in any way shape or form sacramentals or are they junk? And then well-meaning relatives drop off bags of stuff they’ve collected from mass mailings, only it’s a mixture of (quasi-)religious items and (quasi-) patriotic items, but I love our country and our flag, so it pangs me to toss that stuff too. And yet it’s so manipulative and such products of a consumeristic culture. (Aren’t the mass mailings of sacramentals a contradiction?) And then there is the endless stream into every Catholic home of religious bric-a-brac made in China. That feels like a huge contradiction to me. And none of it I want nor asked for in the first place. So I just want to throw everything out, but then I think I should be able to sort this out in a coherent theologically correct manner. (Ha!) And that brings me back to the branches: Okay, in the best of all possible worlds, what *should* we do with them? What do others do with all this stuff? Or am I alone in my confusion and guilt?

  2. I’m in tears and the kids want to know what I’m laughing about.

    I don’t know what to do about the palms. I never remember to bring them back to church. Though our church should have a really big sign that says put your palms here when it’s time to bring them back. Something that knocks you on the back of the head.

    Too funny about the bugs. I just blogged about them. I’m not fond of them or apparently dead baby birds that open their mouths when I walk by. My poor husband was late to work this morning cleaning up all the critters. I love him dearly.

  3. Oh 7 cracked me up! So true! We rearranged our bedroom recently and the branches fell behind the dresser. I thought to myself, “ok, now I don’t have to worry about them until we move.” Horrible!

  4. I was JUST thinking about

    a. not having a good theme for this weeks 7QT, and whether the theme-having subverted the purpose of the whole thing

    b. palm branches, because I have started a pool on Flickr called “the domestic church” and was going to take a photo of our bulletin board o’ holy cards, but I thought it still had dried-out palm branches draped across the top.

    Which it doesn’t, so the question is – what happened to the palm branches? And, apparently, am I going to have to call Poison Control?

  5. Entertaining as always!

    Ideas about sacramentals:

    The objects mentioned in the responses don’t technically become sacramentals until they are blessed by a priest, hence:
    a. you can just toss them or
    b. save them up for a while and then send them to the Missionaries of Charity or some other group who would be happy to put them to good use.

    Blessed objects should be returned to the elements:
    a. burn them if you can and bury the ashes
    b. if they cannot be burned or you have no way to burn them, bury them where they won’t be easily dug up.

    3. As for the blessed palms, we used to make a little fire in the back yard to burn old scapulars and palm branches once a year or so. I’ve also resorted to pulling back some of the leaves I ‘swept’ behind the bushes, tossing in the old palm branches and covering them over with the leaves.

  6. Number 7 really cracked me up. I’m an atheist, and when I went to Palm Sunday mass with my Catholic boyfriend I asked him what you’re supposed to do with the palms and he had no idea! (I think his family has a drawerful. No one I asked after church had the foggiest idea. Good to see this is a common problem.

    –Leah @ Unequally Yoked

  7. “liht saber” rotfl – I have a speller like that…defeating the forces of evil with dried palm paper cuts.

    And those pantry moth spawn of satan things, grrr, I currently have moth bordellos in multiple cabinets to lure any moths who think they can take up residence in my super expensive gluten free flours to their temporal doom (since there are really no loose moths in the bordello it just smells like there are, wonder what moths in heat smell like?) although I suppose their intent right before death was to hook up with other moths so…

  8. I love you for bringing up the Palm issue. I always cringe inside when I am handed them on Palm Sunday. “Do I have to take one”, I want to ask. I tried to leave them in the pew this year, but my daughter ran back and got them as we were leaving, triumphantly telling me, “we almost forgot these.” Little booger. I have heard you are supposed to burn them, if you want to get rid of them. You have a fire pit, right? So you could conceivably do that. I don’t. The only place I could think to burn them would be on my grill. Somehow, that doesn’t feel right.

  9. My mother always promptly weaves my palms into crosses, so I haven’t lost them, they’re displayed on kitchen window sill in a vase. I am endlessly blessed. Otherwise, I’m sure they would be spears, light sabres and only God could tell me what else with my boys.

    I love #3. If only you knew….

    I hate my hair too.

    Too bad you don’t have pictures to send Jen of your moth infestation next time she has a scorpion in an odd place.

  10. I am loving the palm thing, too. My oldest daughter uses my old dresser, and every once in a while she asks me to please fix the top drawer that won’t open, but I never do it. Why? Because it is literally filled to the top with assorted prayer cards, plastic statues, and other kitschy religious items and it is easier to ignore her pleas than to find a way to dispose of all of them.

  11. We also have the “Palm problem” around here. In fact, when we got a new car, there were several years of palms between the passenger side sun visor and the ceiling of the car.

    We have since moved, and we burn our trash now…but of course, we felt guilty putting the palms in our burning barrel with our normal trash, so hubby took our charcoal chimney starter and burned a bunch of palms in that recently.

    As for all the stuff that comes in the mail, I toss it all…except the angel coins from CRS…my eldest daughter HORDES them, and is hoping to collect enough to give one to each kid in her CCD class (who I am sure will be very impressed when she manages it…)

  12. Love your observations- especially on the palm branches, so true. I just wanted to recommend pairing the gin and tonic with organizing your house. It’s amazing what you can get done, although you may not remember where you put everything.

  13. You saved the best for last! I laughed all the way thru this. Let me tell you, I very loudly FORBID every member of my fam, including dh, to walk out of the church on Palm Sunday with a palm. It occured to me about ten years ago that, if we never bring another one into the house, we’ll have plenty to last until we die & I was correct.

    That said, its really not possible to have too many blessed items in the house I think. As far as the unsolicited mailings, they go in the trash with all the rest of it. I know they can’t send blessed sacramentals in the mail so its just junk till it blessed….but I save the Little Flower note pads too!

  14. Who knew palm branches would be such a hot topic? I thought we were supposed to burn the old ones on Ash Wednesday to make the ashes, but maybe only priests get to do that. If you accumulate enough, you could build a tiki bar in the backyard

  15. I find that I’m only capable of commenting on the most ephemeral section of any post on the internet, but I really wish I’d written something that involved using the date calculation “Ought-Three”.

  16. This post is too funny.

    When my husband and I were relocating to Rome, we of course saved disposing of the palms until the last second. In a panic, as we rushed to catch our flight, we dumped them in a construction site, hoping they would be buried under something…someday.

  17. What do you think about composting the palm branches? After much thought, we did that last year. But for some reason, I’m scared to do it with this year’s branches. Am I nuts? Wait, don’t answer that!

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