7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 44)

July 31, 2009 | 45 comments

— 1 —

Last week I mentioned in quick take #7 that I was feeling extremely stressed because of a lack of “introvert time.” I made that a high priority this week, and I feel so much better mentally! In fact, seeing what a drastic difference that made to both my mental and spiritual health is what inspired me to write the spiritual dry spells post. For some reason I’m still feeling unusually fatigued physically (no, I’m not expecting — for once!), but I feel much, much better other than that.

Also, y’all were right: Our Kidsave child Rita likes introvert time as much as I do, and seemed relieved to have some period in the day where we can all just do our own things.

— 2 —

My husband told me this story last night that had me laughing so hard I was crying, so I just had to share: A good friend of his frequently travels to our area, and every time he stays in the same hotel, often in the same room. This week he was in a room that was similar to his usual one except the configuration was switched around — e.g. the closet was on the opposite wall, bathroom door in a different place, etc.

“Bob” (NOT HIS REAL NAME, you’ll see why I emphasize that in a moment) had been taking a hard nap in this hotel room and decided to get up and take a shower. He turned on the TV and got sucked into a show, deciding that he wanted to quickly squeeze in the shower during commercials so he didn’t miss anything. Still bleary-eyed from sleep, he backed up to the bathroom door as the segment of the program wound to an end. The first commercial began and he darted backwards into the bathroom, stumbling a bit as he slid past the open door.

Only it wasn’t the bathroom. It was the hallway. In his sleepy state he grabbed at the closing door, but missed.

It was The Click Heard ‘Round the World when the hotel door shut behind him. And there he was, in a hotel hallway, without a stitch of clothing on — no towel, no nothing. He scanned the hall for mats, wall hangings, dirty napkins on room service trays, ANYTHING to use to cover himself, but couldn’t find anything. He desperately tried to think of what to do, the fact that he was completely naked in a public place serving as a slight distraction to his thought process.

He ducked into an empty stairwell and spotted a trash can on another floor. After waiting until the coast was clear he pulled out the trash bag to use as a sort of makeshift man-skirt, and then ran down to the front desk to ask the clerk for another key to his room. Evidently she immediately handed it over with no questions asked; I can’t decide if that makes sense or not.

Anyway, a little story to ponder next time you think you’re having a bad day.

— 3 —

If you’re looking for a birthday present for the child of someone on whom you’d like to exact some kind of revenge, I recommend a Yada Yada. (Well, as a Christian I can’t recommend that you buy annoying toys for children to get back at their parents, but I will just note that the toy would be perfect for such use, should an unscrupulous person choose to do so.)

I bought my son one of these at Target as a thank-you gift for acting less like a rabid monkey than his sisters while I was shopping, and I’ve rued that decision ever since. The toy allows you to record a five-second voice clip and then play it back, and this has become my son’s new primary mode of communication. He can no longer speak to us directly, only answering questions after recording them through the Yada Yada.

I don’t expect this toy will be in our house for much longer, however, since he’s now using it for backtalk. Yesterday afternoon I told him to stop throwing food at the table. He got down from his chair, ran off to the hallway, then came back and proudly held up the Yada Yada which announced in his voice, “I will NOT stop throwing food!” I yanked it from his hand, and when I put it down on a high shelf I accidentally hit the remix button so that it sounded like a trash-talking chipmunk said “IwillNOTstopthrowingfood!” That toy’s days are numbered.

— 4 —

Over the past few weeks I’ve fallen off my Saint Diet in a big way. It started because I often found myself at events where the only food available was junk food, but after the first couple days of “cheating” my cravings came back with a vengeance (I recounted my saga of simple carb addiction here). Back when I wasn’t eating any processed foods, I didn’t miss them; I could walk by plates of M&M-laden cookies or cups overflowing with milkshake and shrug. Now it’s at the point where I’m about to start lunging at bags of Cheetos in the grocery store, caressing them as I cry, “You…complete…me!”

A “mini new year” is coming up on August 15, so I’m going to recommit to my diet then, if not before.

— 5 —

Speaking of food, I am baffled by Colombian cuisine. Rita doesn’t like pizza! Or pasta! Or cheeseburgers! Or onion rings! Or PBJ’s! And she’d never seen shrimp! And had never heard of chicken nuggets!

The chicken nuggets story was kind of amusing: I presented her with a plate of dinosaur-shaped nuggets that the kids like, and she looked up at me with this hilariously innocent, baffled expression. Evidently in Colombia they have this odd cultural tradition where they eat food that is recognizable in its original form. “It’s chicken, ” I told her in Spanish as I motioned to the dino nugget. She poked at it skeptically as I tried to explain why here in the U.S. we like to take fresh food, pulverize it to death, add about 50 ingredients, shape it to look like something entirely different, throw in some sugar and MSG and call it a meal.

— 6 —

Some of you have asked how Rita gets along with the neighbor girls, who are about the same age. They were actually gone for the first few weeks she was here and only returned a few days ago. I wish I could tell you that they all bonded wonderfully and are all now BFF’s, but unfortunately it’s been a little tense because of the language barrier. The neighbor kids often end up chatting and playing by themselves while Rita withdraws to be by herself, and I’ve had to put a fair amount of effort into smoothing over those types of situations since the neighbor kids are back to being here four to eight hours per day.

(By the way, as I said on Twitter, with all of them and my kids and my babysitter and her daughter, we sometimes have more than 10 people just casually hanging out over here — doesn’t God know I’m an introvert?!)

— 7 —

Can you believe that it’s already time for Rita to leave?! She goes back to Colombia on Tuesday.

She leaves on the feast of St. John Vianney, and my husband and I have found a lot of comfort in doing a novena in Vianney’s honor to ask for his prayers and for God to give us the grace to emulate his character. It’s going to be hard without her, not just because I’ll miss her but because it’s made daily life easier in many ways to have her here. No word yet on a “forever family” for her. Please keep praying!


Below is a Mr. Linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.

I look forward to reading your posts!

1. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
2. Genny @ MyCup2Yours
3. Tami @ The Next Step
4. Dawn @ Sufficient for Today
5. Anna @ Annalogue
6. Michelle Abernathy @ Living A Liturgy
7. It Feels Like Chaos
8. Blair’s Blessings
9. sarah haliwell
10. Venite
11. Missus Wookie
12. Rebecca@what I really meant to say
13. puella
14. Steph @ My Country Haven
15. Debbie
16. Eileen
17. Scarlett
18. warillever
19. Erin @ Coming Out Catholic
20. Pharmgirl @ Adventures in Pharm Land
21. Dymphna
22. Mary@HopeEchoes
23. Trena @ The Third Prayer
24. Carolyn @ reluctant atheist
25. Sarah Reinhard @ just another day of Catholic pondering
26. Jaclyn
27. Sarah @This Heavenlylife
28. ThatMarriedCouple
29. Sara @ AShowerofRoses
30. Mary@Passionate Perseverance
31. Kacie @ PapuaGirlinDallas
32. Amy @ From the Desk of Mom
33. Beth @ A Mom’s Life
34. Megan@Blueberry Scones
35. Karen @ Flash Light
36. Laura@LifeFaithHomeSchool
37. Erika @ effulgence
38. Lisa
39. Deanna@Notlukewarm
40. Gae
41. Tina @ Multiple Mom T
42. Diane
43. Colleen
44. Lerin @ Beautiful Chaos
45. Lenae
46. Love2learn Mom
47. Amanda @ The Mom Job
48. Serina @ Simple Solutions Tangible Results
49. majellamom
50. NCSue
51. Katherine @ The Domestic Church
52. Joy@joy in the morning
53. Veronica – Making Gumbo
54. Charlotte (Matilda)
55. Emily a.k.a. Smoochagator
56. Milehimama (Mama Says)
57. Sarah
58. Leigh-ann@Life’s Amazing
59. Fencing Bear at Prayer
60. Stephanie @ across the gypsy flat road
61. Janet in Toronto
62. CourageousGrace
63. Marie, Two Ways of Renouncing the Devil
64. JoAnna @ A Star of Hope
65. Not Strictly Spiritual
66. Virginia Mom
67. ‘Becca
68. becomewhatyouare
69. Lisa (Are We There Yet?)
70. Nicole @ As Many As We’re Given
71. violingirl
72. The Keeping Time
73. Matching Moonheads
74. MrsDarwin
75. Nadja
76. Christine@Good Company
77. Kathleen
78. Mrs. Bubbles
79. Udubalum Mama
80. Kristen@Small Treasures
81. Cheryl
82. suburbancorrespondent
83. Erin @ Sky Blue Pink Roses
84. Emily @ My Song of Joy
85. Karin Katherine @ Mommy Matters
86. Mozi Esme
87. Christian H at The Thinking Grounds
88. the luxurious life of anna
89. Jen
90. Kathreja @ Vocation Quest
91. Therese (Aussie Coffee Shop)
92. Meika
93. Catherine @ To Mark Time
94. Gill-Life of a Photographer

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photo of hotel by vinduhl


  1. Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    Oh man — poor "Bob." I can't even imagine!

    But, I have to say, I laughed more about the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. LOL — you are too funny!

  2. Tami Boesiger

    I feel your pain in having a house full. We have four kids of our own and many extras often. It can get hectic, but it's nice to always know where my kids are!

  3. Dawn Farias

    I enjoyed this post, thank you for the laughs!

  4. Genny

    Oh, that story about your friend in the hotel room (or should I say outside of the hotel room) had me laughing! Thanks!

  5. Jess

    That hotel story is hiLARious! πŸ™‚ I'm keeping it up to show Doug when he gets home. Poor guy!

  6. Rebecca

    I can relate to #6. I am an introvert and I often find myself in a house with five or more kids and multiple dogs.

    I can also relate to carb addiction.

  7. Eileen

    I haven't participated in this in awhile — in fact, I think my last 7 Quick Takes post was just before Christmas! (yikes! Amazing how time flies.) Anyway, I always love reading yours — funny, insightful, interesting, touching — everything your full-length posts are, only in miniature. Thanks, as always, for hosting this!

  8. Mary

    I linked to the post. I am praying for Rita to find that family.

  9. Trena

    The chicken nugget part cracked me up!

  10. Jess

    Ella doesn't like typical kid food either with the exception of french fries. I'm talking all of it – PB&J, mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza, flavored applesauce, etc.

    I can't believe it is time for Rita to go back! Wow, time flies.

    This is way off topic but do you have any experience with Seton Catholic homeschooling materials? I am trying to decide whether to use it or Winter Promise for Ella's upcoming preschool year. Thanks!

  11. That Married Couple

    #2 – Hilarious!

    #5 – Funny and a bit sad πŸ™‚

  12. Mary

    This is my second week participating in 7 Quick Takes Friday. This has been so much fun. Thanks Jennifer for your hospitality.

  13. Megan

    That hotel story is like one of my worst nightmares!

  14. Laura@LifeFaithHomeSchool

    I'm not sure what is funnier about 'Bob's' story — that he did this in the first place, or that the key was handed over instantly with no questions or thought needed. Maybe this story is in more frequent-traveler's arsenals that we know. Or that much, much weirder stuff happens in hotels than we'd probably care to know!
    Peace — praying for Rita! Loved the "nugget" story.

  15. Katherine

    #3 – LOL, there is a Mr. Bean skit that is very similar but even worse as the elevator is broken and he has to descend via the stairs behind an elderly woman using a walker or cane.

  16. tootie

    That hotel story is hilarioius! I hope "Bob" doesn't mind us laughing at his expense.

    And I can't believe she's going home so soon!

  17. Hope T.

    Enjoyed the quick takes, as always πŸ™‚

    Maybe you've already connected this but I am wondering if the exhaustion mentioned in #1 is due to the situation mentioned in #4.

  18. Lenae

    Love the Cheetos part πŸ™‚

  19. Milehimama

    You said:
    For some reason I'm still feeling unusually fatigued physically

    Do you think #1 has anything to do with #4?

    had to laugh at your saying there are 10 people in your house. Originally, I wasn't going to have ANY kids and thought that was for suckers. LOL!

  20. V

    Thanks for hosting 7 quick takes. This is my second time doing it as well! I love your blog!

  21. Charlotte (Matilda)

    Please tell Rita goodbye for us and that her life has blessed us even though we never met in person. We will pray for her and that her forever family finds her soon.

  22. Val

    I used to work overnight at the front desk at a large resort hotel, and people (usually men, for some reason) were constantly locking themselves out of their room in some state of nudity. I could always tell, because they would poke their heads out of the elevator, see me, and quickly jump back inside the elevator, or else they would make a mad dash for the cover of the bar across the lobby. I would just smile to myself and contact a male security guard to help them get back into their room, or if it was a woman I would help her myself. It happened so frequently that I kept a stash of blankets on hand for just such an ocassion. You can let "Bob" know that he is not alone. I think my favorite impromptu cover-up was a man carrying a potted plant to cover himself. Either that or the man with the dinner plate. Funny stuff!

  23. Anne@Rosydreamer

    Lol about Bob! poor guy! I am starting my no-s diet back up on aug 17, when school starts. I like your idea of new years 3 times a year.

  24. Courageous Grace

    Aha, I participated this week!

    Oh, I feel so sorry for Bob.

  25. Marie

    The nugget thing is so creepy — we work so hard to make sure our kids know our meat and poultry don't come from once-living animals, then we pound our processed meats into the shape of imaginary ones. Bizarre.

    Thanks for hosting quick takes.

  26. Kacie

    Funny funny. You know, I am the first of six children, and in my final years in the house we had two extra kids living with us and numerous visiting friends. We usually had 12+ people in the house at a time, and my mom is an introvert and my dad struggles with high noise/chaos levels.

    Despite it all, those years are probably my families' most treasured years together, and we all look back and miss them dearly!

  27. JoAnna

    Oh no — poor Bob! Talk about a nightmare! My husband once accidentally locked himself out of our apartment while clad in boxer shorts only.

    The nuggets story was funny, too! I can't believe it's almost time for Rita to go. I hope your last weekend is a good one.

  28. Mary DeTurris Poust

    Great Friday post!
    We have a parrot version of the Yada Yada. Many times I've threatened to pitch it, but it's still here, taunting me now and then as I do laundry.

  29. 'Becca

    Oh, poor Bob!! I'll bet that sort of thing does happen all the time, though.

    Thanks for the warning about the Yada Yada. My son is about the same age as yours, and I can totally imagine him using it the same way! Augh.

  30. becomewhatyouare

    Praying for Rita as she returns.

  31. Anna

    I would suggest reading Real Food by Nina Planck (after reading about the dinosaur chicken nuggets), except I'm pretty sure that your recommendation of the book was how I heard of it the first time, lol. πŸ™‚ It is kinda strange what we Americans think of as food, isn't it?

  32. Anonymous

    Are y ou thinking of adopting her, Jen?

  33. Emily

    Oh, poor Bob! I've been thinking about this story all day! Thanks for your funny, ever-inspiring blog.

  34. Christine

    The quick takes this week made me laugh so hard. Thanks!

  35. Cheryl

    LOL – my kiddos don't care for the fancy shaped chicken nuggets either.

    They DO really like the chicken rings that the local grocery store makes, though.

  36. Carrien

    #5 had me laughing out loud. I have a friend from Chile, she's been in the states for more than a decade. She has still never eaten at a fast food restaurant. She can't understand the appeal.

  37. Erin @ Sky Blue Pink Roses

    My husband used to work in hotels and he has many stories to tell. My favorite is about the obese man who fell asleep on the toilet, naked, and lost his balance, knocking the entire toilet off the floor and flooding the room. He was discovered, still asleep, when hotel employees investigated the water seeping into the hallway.

  38. Emily G.

    I laughed so hard at the story of "Bob". I might have to make my husband read that one.

  39. Renee

    #5 Regarding the Dino Chicken…..

    Imagine back in the day when children had to eat real food, like the stuff adults eat? I admit I do utilize convenience food in the house, packaged snacks and frozen pizza, but not as much as others. My children will eat holiday dinners eat they do eat broccoli.

    I mention this, because I went to a local family own restaurant. It's a hang out for the Brazilian community in my city, even though there are many non Brazilians like myself that go. The children eat normal food, no child menu.

  40. Colleen

    I love your list and I definitely need introvert time. And that story was great.

  41. Shelly

    thanks for the hard laugh on #2!! The Click Heard 'Round the World!! Hahahahaha πŸ™‚

  42. monica_divineoffice.org

    I think that the clerk had seen a lot of wired things on the job πŸ™‚ my guess is that "Bob" isn't the first necked, desperate man in the hallway. I'm sure Rita will miss you too! God bless!

    Liturgy of the Hours

  43. becky @ misspriss

    Hahahah! I have a similar Bob story that my husband will NOT let me tell. Yet.

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