7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 9)

November 14, 2008 | 56 comments

— 1 —

Phrases I have used in emails to a friend to describe the way I feel in late afternoons when I eat simple carbs for lunch:

  • “Darth Vader without all the good cheer.”
  • “A hungover gremlin on quaaludes.”
  • “A pile of steaming sludge with an attitude.”

(Those are the ones that don’t include profanity, anyway.)

— 2 —

Do you ever wonder what’s up with these huge bloggers who say they don’t make much money on their sites? If I understand it correctly, “CPM” means “cost per 1, 000 impressions.” If you look at the CPM’s and page impression stats like this and this and do a little math…it seems like the big bloggers should be raking in the cash from their sites. Yet you never heard about Dooce taking Champagne baths or Pioneer Woman grabbing some milk, eggs and a Bentley on the way back to the ranch just because she felt like it.

I guess my bewilderment is that you hear about things like $10-15 CPM, yet you don’t hear about bloggers building mansions or naming yachts after their blogs, which seems like it should be possible for the folks who are getting more than 1, 000, 000 page impressions per month. Hmm. (I’ll blame this one on my web marketing background and not my tendency toward rude curiosity.)

— 3 —

An atheistic group is running a “Why believe in a god?” ad campaign during the Christmas season. [Insert Grinch joke here.]

— 4 —

I think I’m just destined to live in a house of horrors. Just when I expressed pleasant surprise that there were few scorpion sightings this summer (one of which was a particularly embarrassing experience that I wrote about here), the outdoor cat we inherited with the house started bringing dead vermin to our porch. I’d heard that cats sometimes do this and pictured that her little “presents” to us would be small lizards of fieldmice. Wrong. We’re talking big, fat rats and cardinals and squirrels. I would tell you my “cleaning up rat entrails off the back porch before a playdate when I had morning sickness” story but it’s just too disgusting.

— 5 —

A couple weeks ago our priest was mic’d up before Mass and had an entire phone call broadcast through the sanctuary for all the parishioners to hear. It was incredibly uncomfortable, mainly because we were all desperately wondering how we should react if he were to say something wildly inappropriate. Do you look at the person next to you? Do you clear your throat loudly and act like you didn’t hear it? Maybe just hide under the pew? (Or, knowing me, maybe I was the only one wondering about that.) Anyway, luckily he is a very holy man and didn’t say anything inappropriate.

— 6 —

Speaking of which (except for the “very holy” part), I had one of the most sobering, horrifying experiences I’ve had in a long time yesterday.

A close friend was over for a playdate and we were speaking very freely and casually within the privacy of my home while the kids played outside. I missed a call on my cell and about three minutes later heard the voicemail chime. I went to check to see who called. Weird. It said it was her. And then it occurred to me: WHERE IS HER CELL PHONE? I looked over to see my one-year-old sitting in the midst of the scattered contents of my friend’s purse, happily dialing saved numbers on her cell phone.

I checked voicemail to hear the past three minutes of our private conversation recorded loud and clear.

If you are a saintly person, you won’t see what the big deal is about this. But if you are, like me, a less than saintly person with a slight proclivity towards talking trash, you can easily imagine my horror. I thought about all the other numbers the baby could have called (say, my friend’s elderly grandmother), thought about all the things I could have said and had recorded unbeknownst to me, and immediately understood this situation to be a bone-chilling, terrifying, direct message from God to clean up my act.

— 7 —

Book Update: I’m probably more than half-way through now, starting on Chapter 8 tomorrow. I never cease to be amazed at how much more difficult it is than writing blog posts.


Below is a Mr. Linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. Just make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL, and include a link back here. Can’t wait to read your quick takes!


  1. Tami Boesiger

    Though I never comment, I enjoy your quick takes posts. Thanks for the chance to play along! Happy Friday!

  2. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

    I told readers at my nutrition blog today that you’re one of my new favorite bloggers, but that your blog is unrelated to nutrition – pretty cool that you’re #1 was about food! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the post idea!


  3. Sara

    #6—I’m glad you recognized that wake-up call from God! Trash talking is soooo hard to stop.

    I’m loving the 7Quick Takes Friday, but I can’t join because my son wants me to do “Friday Fail”. Sigh.

  4. Sarah Reinhard

    Jennifer, thanks for making this a public thing. I have plans to use some of my (theoretical) “free time” later to check out the other links! πŸ™‚

    And as for #6, I feel you – it has taken me years to improve myself in this area, and it’s always a work in progress.

  5. Kathy Grubb

    This was fun! Let’s do it again!

  6. Charle

    Ok – funny (uncomfortable) story that you reminded me of: I was raised in an Episcopal church and one Sunday during the “preparation of the gifts” one of the priests exited the sanctuary using the side door. He then proceeded to use the little priest’s room – WITH HIS MICROPHONE STILL ON!!!! Everyone in the church was mortified, no one knew where to look or what to do – it was pretty much all of our worst nightmare.

    No one ever spoke of this again. Even in our own home if someone starts to recall it aloud we all cringe and yell “SHUT-UP DON’T SAY IT!”

    Ew, right?

  7. Cathy Adamkiewicz

    Re: Number Six–
    I had a similar experience years ago. I was at my mom’s house, chatting it up about my mother-in-law, who lived about 45 minutes away. As you can guess, the conversation wasn’t entirely positive.
    As we chatted I looked out the kitchen window and noticed a visitor was coming up the driveway. You guessed it — hubby’s mom.
    I was mortified. I’d like to say that I cleaned up the gossiping entirely. I haven’t, but the Lord has brought that memory to my attention frequently over the years. Like just now, thanks to your post. Trying to be better, every day, right?

  8. Amanda R.

    I hope I did this right! My blog is about pet rats, so it doens’t really fit in with your topic, but I love the idea of Quick Takes. I’m glad I found this blog, and plan on adding you to my Google Reader. Thanks for the good read.

  9. Martha

    Ok, thank you for post #4. You see, I live next door to my father-in-law (retired engineer) and 2 autistic brothers-in-law. You have *nothing* on them when it comes to being socially awkward (other than a google ranking), and most days, they drive me crazy. BUT, you reminded me, they do remove dead animals from my backyard, whenever I ask. And yes, I do have to ask. Which I admit is strange, but there you go. I’m not doing it.

  10. Sandy

    Thanks for the link idea. I’ve been trying to write a blog post all week but my thoughts are so randomly scattered I couldn’t bring them together for one post. 7 Quick Takes was a great way to get ’em all out there.

    I’m with you on #6 and #1, too.


  11. Funky Kim

    Of course I would have been looking at the ceiling while listening to the pastor’s phone call! Yikes!

  12. Kingdom Mama

    No, you’re right. People are definitely making money, and good for them! But maybe they’re afraid people wouldn’t read if they knew just how much.

  13. Lalycairn

    OH yeah, Laughing hysterically here. Totally get you on #1 – by the way, I just had a huge bowl of leftover homemade macaroni and cheese for breakfast all the while thinking, “I’m going to be a walking zombie later”.

    Hate the “Christmas” campaign. Ugh. Why can’t they just let us be? What if we ran huge ads attacking their “religion”?

    Still wondering if my ex boss heard the conversation I had about him one day, not realizing the store phone was off the hook, and he was trying to use the extension. . . Ugh. Maybe that’s why I don’t work there any more? (grin)

    Have a great weekend~!!

  14. Roz

    #3 Two of the first (and probably unworthy) retorts that spring to my mind:

    (1) Well, the only reason to believe in something is because it’s true.

    (2) So, people will be good for goodness’ sake. Look around. How’s that working out for you?

  15. Jen

    I love this idea of Quick Takes. And I really paid attention to your #6. I need to watch my tongue a lot lately too.

  16. Jeana

    Let me warn you from experience: If you do not heed the “clean up your act” warning, the next one will most likely come in the form of your toddler repeating one of those words in front of the one person you would be most horrified to hear it.

    Let me also warn you, from experience, that if this happens you should resist the impulse to say the first thing that comes to your mind, which will be, “WHAT did you just say?”

    Repetition will not improve the situation.

  17. Gillian

    I don’t have blog, I just do it for me so I’ll post here.

    1. Tonight is the Computer Science Society’s annual dinner dance. My husband and I are going along with some friends. It should be fun, if I can ever make a decision on which dress to wear! I spent over an hour in front of the mirror debating between 2, rather than buying another one and spending money I don’t have to.

    2. Speaking of saving money I had a habit of always wanting to go out to eat (we didn’t always but a lot more than was necessary or possibly wise) so I’m trying to make the stuff we like at home. I just can’t seem to get potato skins right. This time I boiled the potatoes first so they would cook faster, but they still seemed a bit firm… and the skins were way too thick… What do they do with the middle of the potato in the restaurants then if they don’t just cut a potato in half? I guess they probably mash em up…

    3. Took our baby to the doctors yesterday at my MIL’s suggestion. Doctor said he’s fine (he has a cough but nothing serious) which we already knew… Go figure. He’s had it for a week but we weren’t worried so we didn’t take him in.

    4. Back to the evening out tonight, my favorite pair of shoes are broken -it was my own fault- and I’m trying to keep myself form going to buy a replacement just yet, even though they are about $20 at walmart.

    5. Wow this is sounding pretty a)shallow and b) negative. I’m also having trouble coming up with 7, guess there’s not a whole lot on my mind.

    6. Our baby is getting baptized in a month :). I feel like I already said that here but maybe not…

    7. Baby is awake and sounding cranky. Maybe next week this will go better lol.

  18. Elizabeth

    LOLOL! Yep, my kids have often unwittingly embarrassed and humbled me. My favorite was when my daughter announced to one of my dearest friends:

    “My mom said she doesn’t want to be a yelling mom like you!”

    Yep. Humble pie. Smashed into my face.

    And honestly, I hadn’t even said that to her, I had said it PRIVATELY to my husband. I guess SOMEONE was listening in. Doesn’t matter, though. I learned my lesson.


    Have a great weekend!

  19. Patrick O'Hannigan


    I linked to the essay I wrote that you were the muse for, because, well, it’s fan mail, really, but it may also be of interest to people who wouldn’t otherwise see it.

  20. Diva Mom Vicki

    Thanks for the post idea, Jen! Happy ‘Quick Takes Friday’!

  21. the Joneses

    #1 – Mid-afternoon peanut butter and honey sandwiches, with milk to drink, is the only way I can stave off Darth Vader.

    — SJ

  22. Anna

    Hi Jennifer,
    Your blog has helped me think of a lot of faith issues in a different way. I just started a blog to look at my own faith journey, and hopefully I’ll be able to look at issues as deeply as you have!
    Thanks for sharing your perspective, Anna

  23. Maggie, Dammit

    By butt is always calling people. I even have friends who say now, “I missed a call from you. Did you mean to call me or was it your butt again?” It’s taught me to speak with care. πŸ˜‰

  24. Christine

    I always enjoy your quick takes, Jen. Thanks for inviting us all to join in the fun!

  25. Jessica

    #6 . . . yeah. How kind He was to you that it was just on the voicemail! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for hosting and letting us play too!

  26. Jess

    You know, I have been blogging for a few years now and I just found Dooce a couple months ago, thanks to a link in a post here. I can be so out of touch and clueless sometimes. I read her bio and her blog supports her family, her husband doesn’t have to work. I think that is a pretty decent income just from writing a blog! Pioneer Woman is brand new to me today.

  27. Jordana

    I thought I’d play along today too. And #6 — yikes. I always figure my two year old is calling China when he gets his hands on my cell phone and starts pushing buttons, but I realize there are things worse than calling long, long distance.

  28. Anne Marie

    Thanks Jen for the cool idea!!

  29. Mallahan Family

    I have been reading your blog for awhile, but this is my first time commenting. I love, love, love your blog – you have incredible insight!

    Thanks for the invitation to join in (I tend to watch from the sidelines, so this is good for me to step outside my comfort zone!)
    God Bless!

  30. MamaMidwife

    I added my link….I hope you enjoy.

    I’ve been reading you for a few months now. It’s nice to read about another new Catholic Mama who has babies and toddlers too!

    I recently converted this year. Although not an athiest previously, I was not anything in particular. I believed in God, but didn’t express it or live my life as though I did.

    I must also say that I am very frustrated right now because the formatting on my blog is not working and my “Quick Take” post has all the paragraphs jammed together. Argh.

    I know you have heard this A LOT…but you’ve got a great thing going here. Keep up the good work!

  31. Katie

    #2 The Pioneer Woman uses a portion of her ad revenue to fund her fairly frequent giveaways on her site.

  32. Amy

    Another “thanks” here – for the chance to share everyone’s fun quick takes, and for your blog in general. It’s always wonderful.

  33. Anne Marie


    I messed up and linked to the blog not the post. Do you want to delete me and I’ll redo?

    Sorry πŸ™

  34. Anonymous

    Re #5: Where I used to teach, a prof used the woman’s room before class not realizing her wireless mike was on. And she was rehearsing her lecture so there was no doubt it was her.

    Re #6: I keep finding the baby monitor on on days when the kids are being particularly trying. I wonder who is picking all this up and what they think.

  35. Melanie B

    Thanks. This was just the spur I needed to let go of the “perfect” blog posts and just publish them “as is”. I love this idea.

  36. Jamie

    “Darth Vader without all the good cheer.” Ha ha! That’s how I feel until I’ve had my morning tea. (I’m using ‘tea’ loosely here; it’s more like sugar flavored with a variety of spices as an after thought. At least, the way I drink it.)

    Thanks for letting us play along. πŸ™‚

  37. Eileen

    Thanks for this fun idea, and for letting us play along!

    Your blog is such an inspiration, and your humor is just wonderful. I really enjoy coming here.

  38. Amanda

    I have been reading your blog for some time, but don’t believe that I have commented before. Thanks for the post idea, I rather like the idea of seven different thoughts making up once post.

  39. Molly

    Like Katie said, the Pioneer Woman is constantly giving away prizes (and recipes). I haven’t really checked out Dooce, so I don’t know what she’s all about, but I think it’s cool that PW is sharing the wealth.

  40. lana

    #6. oh yes. yes, sadly, yes, i have had a few of those.

  41. Amy Jane (Untangling Tales)

    Have you ever thought of getting a hedgehog for your scorpions?

    My kids’ Oasis book mentioned hedgehogs coming out at night to hunt for scorpions, frogs and birds’ eggs.

    Made me think of you.

  42. Teri

    Love, love, LOVE your writing, your humor, and especially your ongoing testimony.
    I’m a convert, too – so your blog is a resource when I’m researching something.
    It’s fun to be a part of the Quick Takes, though I did only five.

  43. Pam

    Well, this is my comment. Nearly as exciting as my post.

  44. Candace Jean July 16

    Ahh, #5. Our other house was about 50 feet from our church, and our cordless phone conversations broadcast over the church speakers! Fortunately they were benign things such as reserving tennis courts and such.

    We moved.

  45. Anonymous

    I love your posts.

    Old Mom Advice
    “Raising Good Children”
    by Thomas Lickona

  46. Anonymous

    I loved your post about atheism, and in particular, making the case for love is making the case for God.

    It is something I plan to keep in mind.

    Old Mom

  47. Joy of Frugal Living

    You just crack me up Jen. Totally with you on #1.


  48. Anonymous

    No, the totally correct response to an accidentally broadcast phonecall is to stick your fingers in your ears and sing “La, la, la, la, I’m not listening.”

    Imagine the whole congregation doing that!



  49. Susan Thompson

    Myself, I just don’t get this recent increase in militant atheism. If I were an atheist, I would just sleep in on Sundays and enjoy not having to convert anybody to anything.

  50. lyrl

    It’s amazing how much of our daily eating is done on auto-pilot. Some recent experiences have really brought home to me that I’m not consciously thinking about what I eat: not when planning to make it, not when making it, not when eating it. I suppose my brain thinks it’s more needed for other activities.

    I haven’t commented on the book updates before, but I find your progress really interesting. It’s fun to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be an author. Your diligence on this project impresses me, and I wish you the best of luck with it.

    Susan – I think some atheists fear that if they don’t organize, they risk going to church becoming mandatory in our society. There would go their sleeping in on Sundays.

  51. beckygiggles

    My first linkage!!! I love your blog! You make me think and laugh. I love getting this window into a practicing Catholic’s life. (Where I live is so Protestant, there’s only 1 Catholic church to probably a hundred or more Protestant.) Plus, I just plain like you. Keep it up girl! I’ll be looking for that book you’re writing!

  52. The Sojourner

    Alas, my fun blog is password-protected (for a good reason, I plan on going back to being public with it eventually) so I’ll just post here if you don’t mind.

    1. I love my next-door neighbor in the dorm. She is like Lucille Ball reincarnate (red hair and all–no offense to any redheads :)).

    2. I saw a baby at Mass yesterday. I told my boyfriend he has to get me one for my twenty-third birthday.

    3. I’m turning 19 on Monday.

    4. I’m a bit anxious about the possibility of a party. On the one hand, if nobody ends up surprising me with one I might be sad. On the other hand, my overplanning introverted self is going to have a hard time being spontaneous with the whole surprise thing (I think one of my friends is planning something, but she’s being very secretive.)

    5. I’m sleepy.

    6. Dude, it is six weeks until Christmas?! When did THAT happen?
    (Dear self: Your birthday is always six weeks before Christmas. You should not be that surprised.)

    7. My desk looks like something died on it. Eventually the Clutter Beast will engulf my laptop and I will have to clean intstead of surfing blogs.

  53. The Sojourner

    I should amend my number…oh, I can’t remember what number it was…to say that I told my boyfriend I wanted a baby, not that he had to get me one. First, because that’s what I actually told him, and second because it’s not in his power to get me one unless it’s God’s will.

    (Also, note that we plan on marrying at least 9 months before any such presents arrive)

  54. Martha

    The only time our priest has broadcast a conversation to the congregation, it was something like: “Is everyone ready? Deacon, you ready? Altar servers? Lector? Ok, let’s rock and roll.” And yes, he did say “Let’s rock and roll.” My kids really enjoyed that.

  55. Jolyn

    #6 I really can’t explain why, but I’ve always felt very adverse about gossiping or bad mouthing someone behind their back, even going along with the crowd in that respect. I have been a Christian since I was a very young child, but I haven’t always “walked the walk”, if you know what I mean. I really chalk so many averted mistakes as a protection over me guided by the Holy Spirit and godly women (namey my grandmother) who I know prayed for me daily.

    My point — as a sr. in high school I was one of the homecoming nominees. I ended up in an impromptu meeting with the two other nominated girls and some other students in charge of organizing the event. The other two girls were being very adamant about not wanting to be paired up with a certain one of the three boys who were to be our escorts. He wasn’t one of the “popular” crowd, he was shy, and not handsome in the shallow high school sense of the word. I wasn’t surprised by their adamant and had suspected they would try to “dump” him on me (even though they weren’t asking me to directly, it certainly was implied); I had nothing against him but I didn’t know him at all, either.

    So I simply volunteered that I would be paired with him, and that it was no big deal. I was chagrined about feeling backed into a corner but torn between feeling sorry for myself (I liked the other two guys better, too) and feeling bad for the guy they were trying to avoid.

    A couple of years later my mom told me that she had heard about what I’d done, how I’d “stuck up for him”, or however she put it. (almost 20 years ago now!) and how the person who told her had been so impressed by what he’d witnessed. I vaguely knew the source of how she knew — another student who had been in the next room from where the other girls and I were talking about the event and had heard the entire exchange. I had never known anyone had overheard, and probably neither did the other two girls.

    Many times since then I have resisted commenting or going along with negative comments; and many, many times I have averted being seriously burned by something I had perhaps agreed with, but never voiced in conversation. Again, I can’t explain it, but it’s been a blessing in so many ways. And that early lesson has always felt like a confirmation that it is worth it.

    I actually felt embarrassed when my mom relayed to me what she’d been told. I remembered my feelings in that room, and they weren’t exactly righteous. I was feeling ganged up on by the other two, (seemingly) much more confident girls, and had tried to downplay it by acting nonchalant. Yes, I felt bad for the guy, but I also felt very bad for myself and my lack of courage to stand up to them. Go figure — my apparent weakness was, unbeknown to me, being witnessed as a strength. Talk about a lesson.

    Sorry for going on so long. You brought back memories, and this is a topic I have ruminated on of late and wondered why I don’t struggle with this as much as other women? (I have my own vices, believe me you.) — This was the incident that immediately came to mind when I read yours. We were both saved, in different ways. I’m glad for you to have taken the lesson to heart without someone first having to be hurt by your words.

  56. Karen

    thanks! I am playing along for the first time!


  1. 7 QuickTakes #1 – - [...] For more Quick Takes…http://jenniferfulwiler.com/2008/11/7-quick-takes-friday-vol-9.html [...]

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