7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 146)

— 1 —

I’m just a socializing fool these days! Earlier this week I got to hang out with Rocco Palmo and the guys from Austin Catholic New Media at a Theology on Tap event. Tuesday I’m going to the Texas Alliance for Life benefit, where Lila Rose is speaking, and I’ll get to meet Live Action blogger Jewels Green. Word on the street is that I might finally be able to say hi to the indefatigable Abby Johnson, as well as acclaimed author Kristin Detrow to boot. Then Thursday is the Red Mass, a tradition dating back to 1245 in which the bishop offers a blessing for those in the legal field, and there’s usually a nice reception afterwards. I’ve written before about why that is always my favorite evening of the year. Am I going to have my introvert status revoked for all of this?

— 2 —

Our eight-year anniversary was this week! I didn’t need to write about it since my thoughts are the same as when I wrote about our five-year anniversary. Anyway, it’s always interesting to see how different couples celebrate. My friend Hallie’s 10-year anniversary was this week as well, and I was impressed by all the creative stuff that they have planned. I think my husband and I have too many German genes or something. We told each other happy anniversary, went out to a lovely celebratory dinner with my dad, and that was it. No cards. No flowers. No gifts. Actually, wait. I did get my husband a gift: I’m learning how to make fried okra just as well as his grandmother did. Anyway, we are clearly not going to win any “Most Romantic Couple” awards, so I’d be interested to hear what you do: For those of you who are married, how do you celebrate your anniversaries? Do you thrive on the elaborate and the romantic, or do you kick it Fulwiler style?

— 3 —

I need some advice on something: It’s time to get this book of mine finished. Unfortunately, because the learning curve for me and book writing is more like a learning 20, 000-foot precipice, I probably have about 100 hours worth of work left to do on it. (Speaking of which, is there a Pulitzer Prize for trying hard to write a great book? If so, I’ve got it in the bag.) My husband is going to help me get some time each Saturday to work on it. Other than that, there are two options:

  • Write less on this blog, which would give me about four extra hours per week to work on the book, and thus get it done faster. Or…
  • Keep this blog updated regularly, and take longer to finish the book.

(Either way I’d still do 7 Quick Takes every Friday, since my week just wouldn’t be complete without it. The question is about other kinds of posts.) Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

— 4 —

I was so stunned to hear about Steve Jobs’ passing. What a loss. I didn’t even know he was ill, so it really came as a shock. My husband sent an email that I thought was interesting in reply to hearing the news. He wrote:

I saw him speak at Stanford bschool in 2000. I have never been an Apple guy or a Steve Jobs groupie, but I have to say that his ability to electrify an audience was amazing. I said to someone afterwards, “Now I know what people mean when they say ‘He could sell ice toย Eskimos.’ ” He told the story of how he met his wife after another Stanford bschool speech. She was a student and came up and chatted with him after his speech.

He was adopted but later found out who his birth parents were. Interesting that his biological sister wrote Anywhere But Here and was married to one of the writers for The Simpsons.

I knew that Jobs was adopted, but had no idea that his biological sister ended up becoming well known in her own right. Also, how crazy that he met his wife after a speech. (Single ladies, remember that next time you go see a talk by a billionaire!) Anyway, in all seriousness, the world is a less interesting place for him having passed. May his soul rest in peace.

— 5 —

We’re working on Chinese as our language in homeschool right now. Okay, ha ha, I just wanted to type that to see what it would feel like to be one of those homeschool inspiration bloggers. The reality is that we have a Chinese character poster on the wall that I put up to intimidate my homeschooling friends, and bought the kids a Chinese video. However, they love the little DVD, and even I have learned something from it. For example: green apple in Chinese is lu pingguo. It is so exciting and exotic to me that I know this, I am waiting — WAITING — for a moment to put it to use.

I have this fantasy where I come upon some great disaster, police vehicles and ambulances cluttering the scene, everyone running around in panic. It turns out that everyone is okay so far, but there is a space-aged bomb planted somewhere in the area that will turn everyone within a 10-mile radius into hideous green trolls should it go off (can you tell I’ve been watching old Spider Man reruns with the kids lately?) Anyway, the police finally chase down the villain, who dies after some sort of spectacular showdown. In his last moments he is overcome with remorse, and decides to tell the authorities where the bomb is hidden. Only he’s Chinese, and doesn’t speak a word of English. With his dying breath, he tells them: lu pingguo!ย And, with seconds to go until the bomb detonates, they’re all like, “IF ONLY WE KNEW WHAT THAT MEANT!” and I overhear this and triumphantly announce, “Green apple! The bomb must be hidden in a green apple!” and as everyone celebrates around me, I think, I knew that would come in handy one day!

— 6 —

We got my son a wax seal set for his seventh birthday, and, man, you have never seen a child so interested in the art of letter writing. He wants to write thank-you notes to everyone who got him anything for this birthday, his last birthday, Christmas, Easter, whatever. I think we’re now thanking people for plastic blocks he got when he was three. He spends a few minutes writing each note, then about 15 minutes dripping wax and pressing his seal into about five different places. I think he may have the impression that God gave us language specifically so that we could write letters and close them with fancy wax seals.

— 7 —

If you’re in central Texas, come stop by the St. William’s Oktoberfest this weekend! I’ll be hanging out at the American Heritage Girls booth from 12:30 – 1:00-ish on Saturday, so come say hello if you can make it. (And, most importantly, I have been assured that there will be TV’s on the premises so that you can watch Texas beat OU while you’re there.)

————————-



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Comments

  1. says

    Hey, when I was a kid, I THRIVED on little kits and sets like that one! (Heck, I think the only thing keeping me from doing so right now is sheer big-boy pride.)

  2. says

    We are also not Anniversary Celebration People. We had our 8th this year as well (July) and we were on a cruise. (Not planned in any way because of the date of our anniversary, but it just happened to fall during the week we were gone.) Anyway, that day our “shore excursion” was to this little Italian town near Florence to explore an ancient castle and dinosaur relics. So we joked that the 8th anniversary, of course, is Castles and Dinosaurs, and how will the 9th *ever* top that? Actually, Hubby has been deployed/out to sea for I think 4 or 5 out of the 8, so just the fact that we were on the same side of the earth was nice.
    Hope that Chinese language thing works out for you. We are studying Italian, only because we are in Italy, not because we think it will ever be remotely useful once we leave here. Oh, and we are in southern Italy, which mostly speaks more of a dialect that has nothing to do with *actual* Italian language skills.
    How about just a little less updating on the blog and saving yourself two hours a week (instead of four) to work on the book? I must admit I am a wee bit envious of your dilemma.

  3. says

    Happy Anniversary! Hubby and I go out to dinner but we really can’t afford gifts since our anniversary is so close to Christmas. But we still have a good time.

    I’d hate to see the blog die out, but I think your book is more important to finish at this point. You have a good foundation here and keeping up with Quick Takes will help and I think it would be fine in the end, when you are able to pick up blogging again. But that’s just my opinion ๐Ÿ™‚ Would you still write for the Register?

    LOL at the Chinese thing. My daughter’s school offers Chinese and I asked her if she wanted me to sign her up. She acted shocked and told me, “No way! Chinese is too weird!!” Okie dokie then… 6 year olds are “weird.” :p

    LOVE the wax seal! How awesome is that??? I might need to get one for my kids when thy’re older. It reminds me of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Love that movie.

    So awesome you are meeting all of those people!! I’m sure you all have wonderful things you can learn from one another.

    Happy weekend!

  4. says

    We’re not big anniversary people: nice dinner, say “Wow, we’ve been together X years now!”

    That’s fantastic about the wax seal kit! I bet it’s a great history lesson too, he could get a quill pen and be Ben Franklin! ๐Ÿ™‚

    May his love of thank-you note writing is life-long. I love writing thank you letters, and my sister and I still exchange handwritten letters.

  5. Eva says

    Anniversary wise, we go out for dinner and usually have a fight. That’s what happens when we don’t have the children as a buffer! I find that things with too much build up end badly; spontaneous dates are far more successful that than things heavy with expectations. But that’s just us!

  6. says

    Happy Anniversary! Ours is coming up, too – this time of year is great for weddings, even if it means the groom had to get updates by cell phone on Texas-OU during the reception.

  7. says

    Kudos for tackling Chinese when they’re young. Even if they never move to China I have found that is one language that will open many doors. I’ve been living in China for eight years and learning the language opened doors for me not just in living and working here but helped me to become a more out going person.

    Happy anniversary as well.

    J.

  8. says

    The wax seal kit sounds like fun (I think I want one!). I assume that sealed letters can’t be mailed unless placed into another envelope (or the seal would come off, get cracked, jam equipment, etc.).

    My entry this week… God in the streets of New York City. What the mainstream press is talking about when they say โ€œsectarian violence.โ€ The magical stethoscope. Covering the Pope: a guide for journalists. Tracking the anti-Catholic bias of the mainstream media. The Susan B. Anthony list recognizes a true, enduring friendship.

  9. says

    We do not do very much for our anniversary as we cannot afford anything big so close to Christmas – we got married on December 30th. So we set our usual limit $25 and maybe go out to dinner if we got a gift card to a restaurant at Christmas from one of our parents.

    There is no American Heritage Girls chapter in our area. When our girls are old enough I may have to think about starting one. Not really thrilled about the Girl Scouts these days.

  10. says

    I wish we were creative about how we celebrate anniversaries! But like you, we’re too German to be creative. (Or too busy.) Anyway, I’m German. He’s Italian, so I don’t know what his excuse is. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. says

    Happy Anniversary! We run the gamut with celebrating and not celebrating. It often depends if we have the time and money for a babysitter and money for some gifts or night out.

    We were sad about Steve Jobs passing, too. We knew he had some kind of cancer…but it still shocks the senses when someone you admire or follow in the world (even when you don’t know them personally) dies.

  12. says

    You crack me up with the Chinese stuff. And wax seals really are the coolest!

    I vote you keep blogging and take longer on your book. But that’s entirely motivated by selfishness and impatience on my part – I don’t want to have to wait to hear more from you until your book comes out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. says

    We just had out twenty-fifth anniversary a couple of months ago. We had dinner at home and watched TV – no cards, no gifts, no flowers. In the entire time we’ve been married we’ve never exchanged Christmas gifts. People think we’re crazy, but it works for us!

  14. says

    I’ve been working on my novel for seven (ouch) years, so perhaps I am not one to ask for advice. . . but I’ll give it anyway! I just started blogging (as in two posts) and I find that it does take time away from my writing-writing. I have a quote from Flannery O’Connor about the mechanics of writing and she believed in devoting time EVERY DAY. So hard for me with two little ones–and perhaps impossible for you with five!! But I know the frustration/hair pulling anxiety of having an unfinished manuscript floating around. I say just commit to getting it done even if that means fewer posts–painful for me personally, but I’m a giver (and I’m so eager to read your book!)

  15. says

    Happy anniversary!
    I look forward to reading your book whenever it is done ๐Ÿ™‚ Whatever you choose, I’m still excited for it!
    Not that I’m married (yet) but I’m almost positive that I’ll be like you and just do something simple ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. says

    We kick it Fulwiler style!
    Happy Anniversary!
    As for the book/blog dilemma, where does God want your focus? Go ahead and ask Him for His thoughts…and then tune in to that little interior “peace monitor” and discern which effort brings you more of an overall sense of “Yessss…..THIS is what I’m supposed to be doing right now”…and then ROLL with it!
    Of course, if you choose book over blog, you might receive as many comments as Mr. Jobs had dollars, with people asking, “Jennifer, how is the book coming? Are you coming back to this blog soon?”
    But…that’s what you get for being witty, intelligent, delightful, REAL, and beautiful!

  17. says

    We just celebrated our first. Our daughter was exactly one week old that day, so we didn’t do a ton of celebrating. My husband ran out and bought sushi and wine (things I craved and couldn’t have while pregnant!) Also, I cried because (I was hormonal) I didn’t have a chance to even get my husband a card. When he went out to get dinner, he bought himself a card so I could fill it out. So simple, but I thought it was really romantic ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jenna
    callherhappy.com

  18. says

    I agree with the above commenter who suggested you pray about it and do what you feel God is calling you to.

    Having said that, I bet I am not alone in saying that if you decide to limit your blogging here to Quick Takes, we would ALL be totally okay with you posting on the days you blog at the register with just a link to that article. (I can’t be the only one who only goes there to read you and Simcha Fisher.) If you want to put something up during the week without writing something new specifically FOR HERE, I would like that far better than reposts. Just my $0.02.

    You do way more than we do for anniversaries. We don’t even go out.

  19. Kathy says

    Blessings on your 8th. We recently celebrated our 18th. One of my favorite gifts we ever gave each other in celebration of an anniversary was a song playlist -like the mix tapes of long ago. We each picked ten songs that we thought the other would like and/or would express something about our relationship. Then we loaded them onto each others ipod. While the kids were asleep in bed we sat next to each other with earbuds in place and listened to our lists. It was beautiful and funny thing – we had each chosen three of the smae songs.

  20. says

    “For those of you who are married, how do you celebrate your anniversaries? ”
    We celebrated our 9th anniversary in May. We usually try to plan a fun dinner date out. Last year we knocked out a movie AND dinner by going to the Alamo Draft-house movie theater.. This year we got tickets to see the Texas Roller Derby girls (so fun!) and had dinner at the new Wahoo’s on Congress. We’re not big on getting each other gifts either.

    How funny when I was a kid I was totally into writing letter, I took calligraphy classes. And I too had a wax seal set. I loved it! Would seal all my letters and cards!

  21. Karen LH says

    We just do dinner for our anniversary. We got married in February, so we never do Valentine’s Day either, although I’m starting to think about lobbying for a change there.

    From a purely selfish perspective, I’d hate to see you cut back on the blog. You and Simcha Fisher are my two must-reads. But the book probably is more important.

  22. elizabethe says

    Write less on the blog — FINISH THE BOOK! Go JENN!!! woo woo woo, you can do it! I am working on a book, too. so I totally empathize with you right now, I’m just in the very beginning stages.

    Here are a couple of other ideas for making the blog more supportive of your writing.

    1. Jen’s Greatest Hits: You should call for requests (so you don’t have to waste time deciding which to post) — and then repost them all, like once a week (you are all blog saavy, I’m sure you can do this automatically. AND, you could do a topical list and repost them all serially. I can think of several themes from your blog — the neighbor girls, Yaya, Scorpions, your Kidsave experience, Socially Awkward Introvert Alert, prayer centered life — put up those last up during Lent, I’m sure you’ve got at least 6, do one a week.

    2. Comments Hiatus — Close comments on certain days, or during Lent (lots of CAtholic bloggers do this, I can’t remember if you have done it before), or until the book is done.

    3. Weekly book/writing update (or have this be one of your quick takes) so we readers don’t get annoyed with you.

    4. Ask for prayers for you to finish your book.

    Btw, thanks for all of your writing book links. I read War of Art recently and it was really mindblowing. Really.

    P.s. re: anniversary. This year, the night before our anniversary my husband turned to me and said “hey, tomorrow is our anniversary.” And I said, “oh yeah, you’re right!” That was pretty much it.

  23. says

    Fulwiler style, for sure. I think some years we may even say, “hey, isn’t it our anniversary today?”

    I think you (or your son) sold me on buying one of those seal wax kits. I totally want one. now.

  24. says

    Our anniversary celebrations run the gamut. For our 25th, 3 years ago, we splashed out on a luxury trip to Bermuda for a week. That was by far the most lavish we’ve ever done! We usually try for dinner and maybe a show of some kind – there is plenty of great theater around us. We definitely make the day all about us though; if it’s during the week we’ll take the day off and go to the beach (July) and take long walks together, reminisching. We are now talking about planning our 30th…gasp!

  25. Lisa V. says

    For goodness sake, write your book. I’m still amazed you can keep up with this blog with all the precious kiddies. I say take a leave of absence from the blog. I’ll miss it terribly but we know you’ll return and then we can look forward to being that much closer to reading what I’m sure will be one awesome book.

  26. says

    Jen – As far as the Book vs. Blog dilemma, I have two ideas:

    1. Pray and seek God’s will. (obvious)

    2. Ask yourself which one will have the greatest impact on people’s souls. Your blog is a treasure trove of resources for people of all walks of life. However, a book could certainly help steer some atheists towards God. If you were to die tomorrow, which one would have helped the most souls? Go for impact! We want all of our brothers and sisters in heaven with God forever!

    Peace to you,

    Jen R.

  27. says

    Happy Anniversary!

    My friend said it best, about Steve Jobs’ passing, that she found it interesting how finding out someone who had impacted our lives in such dramatic ways, yet we didn’t know, had died could cause such sorrow. Anything technology-related that we touch is impacted by Steve Jobs creativity and innovation – when you really stop for a moment to consider that, it is amazing and so sad (for us who are left) that he is gone from this earth.

  28. says

    Happy anniversary!

    Since my wife and I have only been married for a little over a year, we’ve not really had time to develop any traditions for how to celebrate our anniversaries. Unless you want to count going to a show by the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Austin. Oh, and call our fathers, since this year it fell on Fathers’ Day.

  29. says

    Hubby and I try to at least eat out, although, when we can, we rent a hotel/motel room, too, even if it is still in town. Part of this is because Hubby likes to watch the Rose Bowl parade in the morning, and we don’t have cable….we were married on Dec. 31st ๐Ÿ™‚ Because this year is number 10 for us, we had really hoped to be there in person this year, but finances haven’t permitted it. Oh, well. Maybe next year.

  30. says

    #1 – no, we won’t take your membership to the introvert’s club away yet, but keep this kind of social schedule missy and you might find yourself kicked out.
    #4 – yes, Steve Jobs’ adoption story was so interesting to read. I thought that as an adoptive mom, I was pretty on top of adoption stories, but I never read his until he passed away. I wasn’t shocked he passed away because I knew that he’d stepped away as CEO of Apple this summer because of pancreatic cancer, but it was stunning how fast he was gone. It’s sad to think that his biological mother was an unwed mom, and had abortion been legal back then, we may not be wondering today what the technology world without Steve Jobs is going to be like. We never would have had to choose between Microsoft or Apple.
    #5 – hilarious! I have am homeschooling a child that we adopted from China when he was 3 yrs old. But does he want to learn Chinese? No. Ask him to count to 10 in Mandarin and he says “uno, dos, tres…” Spanish it is for our boy. Hang in there, I just know you will find a use for knowing the word lu pingguo. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  31. says

    We totally kick it Fulwiler style on our anniversary, yo. 11 years so far and I think we *may* have gone out once or twice. You know why? Going out is a dang hassle. And we share our money. Neither of us wants to jump through hoops and get all exhausted just to spend money that we’d much rather use to fix the whole in the ceiling, ya know?

    Anyway.

    I think I should buy MYSELF a wax seal so I’ll actually start sending out all the thank you notes that I owe people from the last…um…several decades?

  32. says

    What a cool way to get kids excited (or anyone really) about writing thank you notes!!

    My husband and I kick it Fulwiler style for our anniversaries more often than not. I generally request a love letter from my husband and usually make him a card, but we don’t often do much more than that to celebrate.

    I’d recommend keeping up your blog, since it’s a source of inspiration for so many and also a nice big platform for you to promote your book on when the time comes. Perhaps a little more balance between book writing time and new blog articles time will be necessary, but you don’t want to leave your readers hanging. Some overlap could be fun or at the very least inspiration for one from the other. You can do it!

  33. Kathryn says

    Well, between instant gratification (reading your blog now) and deferred gratification (reading your book soon) I usually go for instant, but in this case I will vote for finishing the book. ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. says

    What a cool way to get kids excited (or anyone really) about writing thank you notes!

    My husband and I kick it Fulwiler style for our anniversaries more often than not. I generally request a love letter from my husband and usually make him a card, but we don’t often do much more than that to celebrate.

    I’d recommend keeping up your blog, since it’s a source of inspiration for so many and also a nice big platform for you to promote your book on when the time comes. Perhaps a little more balance between book writing time and new blog articles time will be necessary, but you don’t want to leave your readers hanging. Some overlap could be fun or at the very least inspiration for one from the other. You can do it!

  35. says

    k wedding anniversaries – nope. they’re quiet over here… but i’m the kind of girl to declare my undying love with a bullhorn… He’s the type of guy to quietly clean the kitchen. We’re incredibly different & this quiet passing of the years seems to be our colour… i think it’s romantic that it’s all quiet & internal, he thinks it’s convenient that all he has to muster is supper. *works*. (sweet 16 years wed is coming up…)
    & nooooooooo… blog totally trumps book. ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s up to you, but you know my vote.

  36. Terri says

    My dear hubby and I had our 37th Anniversary on the October 5th….and we are in 2 different states! Not what I would recommend but the grandbabies needed rocking and he couldn’t leave. I left him 2 presents hidden in the house, he sent me a gift certificate for a massage when I get home and then sent roses to top it off. LOVE, love, love this guy. We will have a dinner out when I get home. 37 years of praying together every night does wonders for a marriage.

  37. says

    I think our 8th anniversary was the year we paid the kids to babysit themselves in the bedroom so we could eat dinner in peace.

    Write the book. We’ll love you in absentia.

    Write the book. And don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Your editor will change it, anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

  38. Tara Sz. says

    Hi Jen – I can’t wait to read your book so I say go ahead and take a hiatus from the blog; we know you’ll be back!! Not to mention, you are writing some fabulous pieces over at the Register. We can get our Fulwiler fix there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. says

    We do Fulweiler anniversaries, and in that spirit–happy anniversary!

    And I am so bummed I didn’t know you were meeting Rocco! He was my workstudy once upon a time in both of our former (professional) lives. Next time.

    Have a great weekend!

  40. says

    I was really surprised about Steve Jobs’ passing as well. I knew he was sick, but didn’t know how close he was to the end. What a sad loss. Such a creative genius!

  41. Julie Lawson says

    We’re coming up for our ten year anniversary….and we’re of the school of thought ‘celebrate everything you’ve got with everything you’ve got’! So, we’re renewing our vows which also happens to coincide with us moving into our first ever newly built home that we’re NOT renting – so it’s a double celebration! We’ve done gifts, flowers and cards each year – we take it in turns to organise the anniversary celebration year about and try and make it really special time to just concentrate on how blessed we are to be married to each other! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. says

    Based on experience (both my own and those of authors with whom I have worked), the revising of a manuscript is the most difficult period of writing, and it really does take contiguous hours of solid concentration because this is the last chance to ensure consistency within the manuscript. I think you should take the time off, finish the revision, then let the book rest while you return to blogging. You need it to cool down right before you do the final-final re-read and any last-minute tinkering. And then you’re done (except after publication, you will say, why didn’t I catch this, or I could have worded that differently — that’s the agony of every writer). Truly, though, I don’t think it is possible to do the final revision piece-meal. I think it needs solid time. (And as others have said, when in doubt, turn to God for guidance.) Good luck!

  43. Pat J says

    I love your blog posts, but my vote is to finish the book. I can get my “Jen fix” with the 7 Quick Takes on Fridays. Oh, and please do not stop being the leader of the introverts! : )

  44. says

    This will be our 14th anniversary. In December. Having a December bithday as well, and an anniversary 2 days after Christmas, most years celebrations get morphed into one event. And with 4 children we generally play it by ear and seize whatever opportunity presents itself, without making a fuss to make it exactly on the day. One year it was “You go get take out, I’ll stay here with the feverish kids”. However, last year he really surprised me and took me to Bora Bora. I was really shocked. He did inform me that it would count for my birthday and both of our Christmas gifts. For the next 10 years, at least.

  45. ~ Nona says

    I knew the late Norman Mailer and his (last and surviving) wife, Norris Church. They met after a talk he gave in (I believe it was) Arkansas.

    She followed him to New York.

    Besides being beautiful — and she really was beautiful — Norris was very, very bright.

  46. Marie says

    You know what’s fun for a kid is carving (air dry clay is o.k., I think) the Chinese characters and then using them as stamps with paint, so I’d bet you could use them with sealing wax, too.

  47. Paul H says

    Regarding #3, my vote would be for you to spend less time on the blog and more time on the book.

    I love reading your blog, but sometimes other things have to take priority, and I think that many of your blog readers (myself included) would be interested in reading your book.