7 Quick Takes: Aprons, Sharks, Sex,Tomatoes, Etc.

1.  Good news, everybody!  The  internet is really just a bunch of tubes. Each time you Google something, a little bell rings, and one of a team of alert, uniformed attendants runs over, finds what you need in a large, olive green file cabinet, and, quick as a wink, stuffs it into one of these  pneumatic tubes and sends it over to your computer with a puff of air.

Comforting.   Shut up shut up shut up with the further explanations!  I spend most of my day trying to encourage vegetable consumption in children who put forks in their pants and underwear on their heads.  I want to understand something, anything, and if that means believing that the internet is tubes, then can’t you let me have that?

2.  One of the minor mortification of living the culture of life:  taking your stupid bright red and blue and yellow NaPro Technology chart,

which is clearly all about dorky, dorky Catholic sex, to Staples to photocopy it so you can mail it to your practitioner, because your scanner is always broken and your husband has your digital camera to the office with him, where he is working two jobs because damn, the culture of life is expensive.  Extra time off purgatory if you have to bring your kids to Staples with you, and one of gets a bloody lip by tipping a cart over on herself.

3.  Although it could always be worse:  I once discovered, halfway through Mass, that one of the kids had found some paperwork from WIC, including a sticker promoting the consumption of fresh fruits and veggies.  This sticker depicted a bright red tomato with huge, avid eyes and grinning teeth, and it said, “RIPE AND READY!”

This sticker, thank to the efforts of my child, was stuck to my ass.
4.  Oh, but that Creighton app that’s been almost ready to go for, like, twenty-three years?  My sources tell me it’s actually being field tested now! Exciting news, I say with slightly forced optimism.   Of course, by the time it’s ready to go, NFP technology will have advanced so far that our  granddaughters will be able to just wave a special digital swab through the air between them and their husbands.  If they’re fertile, a baby hologram will appear between them winking and saying, “Eh?  Eh?  Know what I mean?  Know what I mean?  Eh?”  But the Creighton app will be ready.

5.  I bought the Schoolhouse Rock multiplication songs* to listen to in the car, where we spend at least two hours every day.  I, for one, have been enjoying them — as have the preschoolers.  The older kids, who should and don’t know their multiplication facts, are much too coolhouserock for Schoolhouse Rock.  Too bad for them.  This one is my favorite:

Isn’t that lovely?  Not to be a killjoy, but isn’t it amazing how much has changed in a few decades?  This ran on PBS, but it’s so Eurocentric and heteronormative and it uses “faith, hope, and charity” and the Trinity as examples of three!  Can you imagine?  Anyway, Irene’s favorite is “My Hero, Zero,” and I’ve seen Lucy silently mouthing along with the tiger in the “Four-Legged Zoo” one. I also like six, seven, and eleven, and my thirteen-year-old confesses a partiality to nine.

*This link is actually to a DVD.  I bought a used copy of the audio cassette, because that’s what our life is like.  As with all Amazon links, I get a small portion of the sale price; so if you’re going to shop through Amazon, I’d love you to pieces if you did it through my links!  On my list for this weekend:  installing an Amazon button on the sidebar.  Thanks to everyone who’s used my links in the past!

6.  Speaking of ideas that offend 21st-century ears, I’ve added a link to the audio for my talk on forgiveness to my speaking page.

7.  Any time someone tries to tell you that, despite our superficial differences of race and culture and traditions, we are all really the same under our skin, you call tell them, “Oh yeah?  Then what about THIS?”


8.  Oops, eight.  So sue me.  Have you entered the apron raffle yet?  Just $3 for a chance to win one of these lovely, handmade aprons

and you can enter as many times as you want.  The contest closes at NOON TODAY Eastern Time!  I’ll announce the winner sometime later today.

Happy weekend!  Don’t forget to check out the other 7QT on Jen’s blog.



  1. I was JUST talking about Schoolhouse Rock and the song 3 is Magic Number on FB last week! Great minds think alike.

    I am excited about the prospect of an App for Creighton. It’s about time!!

  2. Number 3 takes the cake!!!! I had to stop reading right there because I was laughing so hard! You see, I am a WIC nutritionist! One of our slogans is: WIC Works Wonders. How funny it is to learn about all of the places where WIC truly does work it’s wonders! So sorry about the embarrassment but thank you for sharing the story! You made my day!

  3. The creighton app would be so simple. I have a good friend who runs a web/mobile development firm and I’ve asked him about this. I explained the charting and he said it would take one of his developers less than a day to do that. My suspicion is that there would be pushback from the practitioners who are used to the manual charts. Either that or they’re making a killing on their stickers margin.

    Where is the link to the talk at Murphy’s?

    • Well, Creighton is used for more things than just planning pregnancies, is the thing (I think), so it’s not just a matter of entering information and making a color pop up. I guarantee you, most practitioners probably want an app! My practitioner says her clients have made up all sorts of digital workarounds – spreadsheets, etc., so I’m sure it would be nice to have a centralized method for sharing info.

      The link to the talk is on my speaking page in bold, where it says:

      Click here to listen to my recent talk, “Forgiveness, Cell by Cell” at Theology on Tap for Aquinas House at Dartmouth College.

      Here is a direct link to the audio, though: http://dartmouthcatholic.com/?p=835

    • I’m a software engineer and there is a physician at my parish who is heavily involved with NFP, esp. the Creighton model. We tried to get an app off the ground…wait for it…three years ago. When attempting to get permission we were told it was currently under development.

      Your friend is right: it’s just a charting app. I could make a website that does this using Google’s charts in, literally, a weekend, and I’m not a professional web dev (I write applications, not websites). This stuff isn’t hard.

      Whatever extra things would be useful, like sharing the information, is harder but still not something that takes years. I suspect they dragged their feet on it for years and finally contracted it out after getting enough complaints. I also suspect it’s going to absolutely suck and they’re going to be unresponsive about getting changes made (because _if_ it was contracted the team they contracted out to make it will have since moved on).

  4. As a FertilityCare Practitioner, I was rolling on the floor over #4! Pretty much exactly what we practitioners have been thinking for the last ten years or so!!

  5. I love #2! Those stickers are the bane of my existence. I just hate them. I think at this point it’s some weird psychological thing, or maybe it’s just a bad color scheme, but the sight of that folder makes my skin crawl. I’ve opted lately for the making-mental-note-of-my-cycle kind of rhythm method, which my husband calls “rolling the bones.” It’s working, miraculously. (Unless I just jinxed myself.)

  6. #2 is the only reason I shelled out the $12 for that billings app you reviewed a long time ago. I work with a Napro dr. long distance and getting that really long chart faxed (from my husband’s office no less!) is just too much of a pain.

    The office recently asked for a copy of my updated chart and when I asked if I could just email it to them, I was told no, because the office policy is to avoid electronic records. Sigh. At least I’ll be faxing letter sized pages this time?

  7. My daughter and I loved Multiplication Rock and America Rock as well… you’ll never forget the Preamble to the Constitution or the three branches of the Three Ring Government again once you see America Rock.

    Are you hunkering down for Hurricane Sandy/The Frankenstorm where you are (New Hampshire, IIRC?)

  8. And I have ESP, cause I somehow knew that you were a ( shhh, word that must not be spoken) ripe tomato! How d’ ya like that?

  9. For a while my husband was doing research on a fertility app. No holograms yet, but this one involved a special smart phone camera attachment, and *spit*…He put the project on the back burner..

  10. I’ve been using the Marquette Method with the monitor and the online chart, and I must say, I don’t miss paper charts or folders or any of it. They are also, slowly, working on an app and a new web site. I think it will pretty much be ready when yours is, at about the same time that my bank also joins the rest of the best with a mobile app.

  11. Hey, great job on your Theology on Tap talk! I can’t believe the rug rats let me listen to it. I also loved hearing Benny in the background–unless of course you New Englanders are so serious about beer that you bring your babies to bars. I really liked how you drive home the point that we must not let terrible wounds define who we are…which reminds me, it’s Friday it’s happy hour, and the sunset is calling.. I’m going to go dress up curl my hair and try to behave myself.

  12. Damn, that shark sure took his sweet time. I’ve never understood the appeal of Bollywood, and that annoying song just cemented it for me.

  13. LOL at the chart stuff!!! Anytime I have to send mine to my dr, I arrive to work extra early to scan/fax it. I’m always petrified someone will come in the copy room and start counting my “I’s”.

  14. I’ll second the comment about the Marquette method online charting. It’s very handy, although they have been slow about incorporating user suggestions. At least it’s private – only accessable to you and the two or three drs/nurses they employ to answer questions. I always have a smirky giggle whenever I see someone’s creighton chart and all those stickers posted on a bathroom wall or, in some cases, even their fridge!

  15. There is an “unofficial” creighton app in the android market. It is called “charting app.” The picture is of a little black and white baby. It even lets you choose your stickers each day. I actually think it works better than a chart because you can change your info during the day. My creighton teacher was skeptical and not fond of me using it, but I hated those stickers and thought it was inconvenient to pull out the chat all the time (and then hide it from curious kids who put baby stickers on their heads). I feel like creighton is the model for scrapbookers. It takes a little tweaking. You can edit the symptoms you want to track to match the creighton charts. All in all, much, much easier to use. I never would have kept up at all with the creighton model if it weren’t for the app. I tried to explain this to the teacher, but seeing as she didn’t have any kids, she just kept telling me it shouldn’t take that long and I could make the time.

  16. Um, I was told that “Creighton charting software” (like, for your PC) was “in the works”…in 2008. Still haven’t seen it. So Simcha I think your estimate that the “now in field testing” app will finally be ready for our granddaughters is probably about right.

    I second Julie’s recommendation for the charting app. The only problem is that I couldn’t easily export/print it (believe me, I tried), so in the end my instructor told me to COPY EVERYTHING TO A PAPER CHART before a doctor’s appt. I spent an entire Friday night doing my NFP scrapbooking, transferring 6ish months worth of charting to paper. So over those darn stickers.

    • 2008? That’s a year earlier than my experience. I’m genuinely upset. Seriously, a high school kid could knock this out in a few months, and an experienced sw engineer could do it in a weekend. This isn’t hard. If they haven’t written it yet it’s because they’re simply not interested in doing so. The question then is why? Why aren’t they interested in making their services available in another format? (I really don’t know; I’m unmarried so all I know about NFP is from the physician parishioner I mentioned in my previous post.) Whatever it is, I don’t think faithful Catholics should have something so important to their sexual lives being at the mercy of some business or copyright holder.

      • It has to be the stickers. They must be making millions off those things.

        I don’t want to start rumors or anything, but I saw a video on youtube of the keynote speaker at the Pope Paul VI Institute’s quarterly staff retreat in Turks & Caicos and the speech intro ended with him raising his glass of champagne and saying “again, as always, to the stickers!”

        Something is rotten in the state of Nebraska.

        • Hey, don’t knock the stickers – they’re a lot more technologicallly advanced than they appear. I learned this from Dr. Hilgers, who refused to review my “how the heck did that happen” pregnancy chart because there were some stickers missing on days which were essentially the same as the days surrounding them, and on which I did not have intercourse. The only logical conclusion is that people get pregnant from not applying stickers.

          • Your body knows when you don’t chart. And when you don’t go all-in with NFP scrapbooking.

            Seriously, though, I just don’t think an app (or software program) are top priorities for Hilgers and PPVI since he’s so busy with the whole NaPro/infertility side of things. They really need to separate the management of the Creighton Model (and PR and getting apps and pregnancy evals and all that) from NaProTechnology (which Hilgers and PPVI are more heavily involved in) so that NFP users can benefit from advances in the practicalities of charting and infertility patients can continue to benefit from Dr. Hilgers’ expertise. I have a daughter thanks to NaPro, so I try not to complain about stickers and lack-of-app *too* loudly 😉

          • In no way am I knocking the stickers! Our youngest will have his first birthday on Saturday and, miracle of miracles, we’re not pregnant, so they must work. I can’t speak to charting though. I just steal the white baby ones and apply them to my wife’s underwear while folding laundry as a reminder and that works for me.

  17. I remember scanning my chart at work in the beginning because we didn’t have a scanner at home. I ditched my NaPro chart with the baby stickers after moving to Pittsburgh, where the diocese teaches a sympto-thermal method called CM-BBT. The charts were just on plain, 8.5X11 paper with different letter codes for different things. Now that I’m a multi-year veteran, I just write it on plain paper.

  18. I was just wondering about the app the other day. I have fertility problems, so I have to use what they tell me to… stickers stickers stickers. I can hardly wait for the app. I was told in the spring that it would be ROLLED OUT in October. Maybe next October?

  19. There’s an app for andriod called Ovuview. I think it’s great and you can chart everything and it’s free. For $5 you can email your charts and be ad free.

  20. I don’t know what Creighton measures, but I bet OvuView would work for it. I have been using the app for a while, and have been very happy with it.

  21. I don’t know what kind of tubes you’re running into your primary colors only monitor there, but you are the mistress of bizarre links. I expected the shark and the caterwauling and the batting of eyelashes, but what in the hell was that guy on the beach doing? Did he faint from the unbearable tension? This is seriously going to bother me.

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