7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 85)

June 18, 2010 | 35 comments

— 1 —

In 5 days, 14 hours, 3 minutes and 22 seconds, I will be at Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon, where I am going to make doing nothing look like an Olympic sport. Actually I’m going to write some, and I’ll probably blog, and I’d be surprised if I could stay away from Twitter, so I guess I’m just talking about doing nothing productive.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re going to celebrate my husband’s birthday, attend the monastery’s Art & Wine Festival, and meet my long-lost cousin the monk. (And, of course, do lots of praying as well — we plan to join the monks each day for Mass and parts of the Liturgy of the Hours if possible.) I’m ridiculously excited.

— 2 —

For whatever reason, I now have a permanent association in my mind with the word “vacation” and that “I’m on a Boat” video. I debated about whether to admit this, but I have actually spent a fair amount of time imagining my own version of the video for our upcoming trip to Mt. Angel. And yes, I have been emailing my husband with lyrics:

I’m on retreat, fellow Christian, take a look at me
Straight chillin’ with the brothers of the Holy See
Ordinary Time, not Lent, so we gonna eat
Pray for me, my fellow Christian, ’cause I’m on retreat!

I could go on. But I’ll stop now.

— 3 —

Internet, your long wait is over: Simcha’s back. If you don’t know who Simcha is, don’t worry about it. Just go add her blog to your feed reader; it’ll all become clear. If David Sedaris were a homeschooling, 30-something Hebrew Catholic mother of eight, this would be his blog. (Wait. Or would it be “her” blog? Not sure if that analogy works. Moving on now.) Anyway, you can read more about Simcha in her about page here.

— 4 —

Speaking of which, this is one of the best quotes I’ve seen to summarize how I feel when I do any kind of non-blogging, formal writing.

Every time I sit down to write, I think, “Well, it’s over. Clearly, some astral confluence of outside forces made it possible, until yesterday, for it to appear that I could write, but things have changed now. From now on, instead of someone who lives like a pig because I’m writing, I’ll just be someone who lives like a pig.”

Simcha Fisher, talking about the prospect of writing a book, in response to one of my dozens of emails about when she was going to start blogging again

— 5 —

Here’s a cool tip for tech nerds and/or people who link to Youtube videos: you can add #t=X at the end of any video’s URL, and replace X with the number of seconds into the video where you want it to start.

For example, I might write: Check out this awesome song for moms of nerds.

The link there is to the basic address, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osWuWjbeO-Y. Now, then I could say: I was particularly impressed with the chart about variable inheritance.

In that case the link is to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osWuWjbeO-Y#t=61. That #t=61 tag will make it start 61 seconds into the video. Cool, huh?

— 6 —

We recently switched to a “cash”-only budget, and I am loving it. I used to walk around with this constant, vague sense of guilt that I knew I was probably blowing our budget (and therefore draining our savings account) each month, but I didn’t have time to keep a running tally of everything I was spending. Now all that’s gone: with our new system, I can’t overspend. I couldn’t fill my car up with gas the other day because I wasted money on frivolous stuff, and it was surprisingly refreshing to have a clear signal of “you’ve spent too much this month; time to stop now.”

A super-condensed summary of our system:

  • Once a month we pay basic bills and set aside money for unexpected expenses.
  • Then we take whatever is left and divide it between my husband and me, each of us getting enough for personal spending money + the areas where we usually spend money (e.g. I get amounts for groceries, gas, necessities for the kids, etc.)
  • Then we each put our money in separate accounts and use checkcards to buy stuff — that way we don’t walk around with tons of cash; we can go online and check our bank balances to see how much money we have left for the month.

I’m amazed at how much it’s helped us not only stay on budget, but have peace about money.

— 7 —

Earlier this week I got all melodramatic and made a fist-shaking proclamation that I would finish this draft by the time we go to Mt. Angel or die trying. It’s looking like it’ll be the latter.

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. Genny @ MyCup2Yours
2. Thrifty Mystics
3. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
4. becomewhatyouare
5. Kristen @ St Monica’s Bridge
6. Nicole @ survivingendometriosi
7. Erin @ Seven Little Australians Plus One
8. Geoge @ Convert Journal
9. DebbieQ @ stophershesknitting
10. Sweetums5
11. Katherine @ Having Left The Altar
12. NCSue
13. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time
14. Michelle aka Catholic Lady
15. Lenetta @ Nettacow
16. It Feels Like Chaos
17. Tami @ The Next Step
18. Mrs. Bubbles
19. Lisa@Golden Grasses
20. Living with Three Hobbits and a Giant
21. Sarah
22. Tina @ Multiple Mom
23. Leah @ Unequally Yoked
24. suburban correspondent
25. Mary @ Hope Echoes
26. Kathryn (Bookworm)
27. Kam @ Nap Wars
28. Liesl @ The Spiritual Workout
29. Kathleen (responsible one)
30. Kam @ Nap Wars
31. Chelsea @ Roots & Rings
32. Happy Geek
33. Mama Fuss
34. Kacie – World Cup Quick Takes
35. Tracy@The Secret of Living
36. Sara @ A Shower of Roses
37. Linda @ Curious Notions
38. Kelly @ Leap Of Faith
39. Karen S. @ Imitation of Mary
40. That Married Couple
41. Brianna @ Just Showing Up
42. Nadja @ Patch O’ Dirt Farm
43. Young Mom
44. Milehiama @ Mama Says
45. Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace
46. Sarah @ Passing for Normal
47. Diane
48. Anne Miranda
49. Matching Moonheads
50. Amanda of Hush, Amanda
51. Barbara C.@Box of Chocolates
52. Barb @ My Daily Round
53. Alexis @ Texas Twosome
54. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary
55. Jaime @Under the Fig Tree
56. Joe @ Defend Us In Battle
57. Maggie @ From the Heart
58. Marie @ Joy Beyond the Cross
59. Jen @ The Short Years
60. Gillian – Life of a Photographer
61. Catherine @ Adventures In Domesticity
62. Mrs K @ The First Four Years
63. Emily @ MySongofJoy
64. michiel@ Landscapes and Portraits
65. Bonnie the Newlywed
66. Jill @ Clearest Glimpse
67. Judy @ A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings
68. Christian H @ The Thinking Grounds
69. Dorian Speed @ Scrutinies
70. a broader mark
71. Jenn-Home is Where
72. Elena @MyDomestic Church
73. Margaret in Minnesota
74. Kim@Starry Sky Ranch

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Genny

    Thanks for the YouTube tip, Jennifer. Very cool. And best of luck to you on your draft. I'm sure it will be great!

  2. Carolyn

    I LOVE your I'm on a Retreat lyrics, they had me laughing out loud! Please don't stop after just one verse!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope you have a great time at Mt. Angel Abbey and a wonderful time meeting your cousin! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge

    I am so super excited to hear Simcha is back. Like,seriously, you have no idea.

  4. AmyRobynne

    Oh yes! I loved the peaceful feeling I got from going to a cash-only budget. After 2 years, my pregnant self has been falling behind and the uneasiness comes back (along with my trigger-friendly finger buying fabric online). I should make my budgeting process simpler so I don't have an excuse, but when my brain isn't addled, I like my complicated mess of a spreadsheet.

  5. George @ Convert Journal

    Good You Tube tip. The biggest tip I have for bloggers is that they can size the video themselves to fit the space available. There is no need to use the suggested sizes.

    Enjoy your vacation. It will be fun!

  6. Sweetums5

    This is my 2nd time to join in. Loved Simcha's writing quote, LOL! Thanks for the YouTube tip! Enjoy your vacation!

  7. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time

    Envying you on the trip to Mt. Angel…hope your book comes together!

  8. Bill

    #2: You will move from WIN to EPIC WIN if you auto-tune yourself. If you can get T-Pain involved too, heads will explode from the coolness involved. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That said, thanks for the tip about the Abbey – my wife and I are now looking at going to their Bach festival in a couple years!

  9. Michelle

    We are on cash only for groceries and gas and yes! it's a lifesaver. Thanks for the link to another awesome blog! Have a terrific vacation…can't wait to read about it.

  10. Tami Boesiger

    Thanks for the great tip about youtube videos!

  11. Beth West www.northernskyart.wordpress.com

    I just had to share with somebody the fact that there is a drowned mouse floating in slow circles around my toilet bowl. I remembered the scorpion in your toilet and thought you might appreciate the situation. I'm drinking coffee right now and as soon as the caffeine kicks in, I plan to remove it with the kitty litter scooper. I don't dare flush it as I'm afraid it would clog the pipes or septic system. Thanks for listening. Hope you get your manuscript done.

  12. Kathleen

    Enjoy the retreat!

  13. Robin

    Have an amazingly wonderful time at Mount Angel Abbey which, despite my having been there only twice for a total of maybe five hours is easily one of my favorite places on earth. And tell your uncle hello and thank-you again (I corresponded with him about his Christ Pantocrator icon.)

  14. Liesl

    I am a big fan of the "I'm on a boat" song… I constantly get it stuck in my head. I would LOVE to see the rest of your lyrics! I might have to go watch the real version now…

  15. That Married Couple

    The nerd song is great!

  16. Brianna Heldt

    I love reading these! I went to Simcha's blog and it was hil.ar.ious. Oh my goodness she had me laughing! I will definitely be revisiting that one!

    So excited about your upcoming book. Have a great trip to Oregon, I'm sure it will be beautiful!

  17. just somebody

    Hi. I found your blog from clicking around on the net and here I am. :). I wanted to congratulate you on your search for God, and your speculations. I have a simple motto: "Before I believe anything I find proof of it in the bible."

    Yep, the translations are messed up. Yep, I use old english standard version because I haven't learned greek or old hebrew yet. I have issues with King James.

    As far as understanding scripture, when it was written 2000 years ago, and for a long time life was the same. Things that were said or compared to were very easily understood. However, things have drastically changed and it's hard to understand. Over time there have been many commentators of scripture, who go verse by verse and give their thoughts. I have found some to not be in concordance with God and some to be. The authors I would recommend would be, Charles Spurgeon (not updated versions), Matthew Henry (he wrote for new believers), A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, and John Owens.

    Matthew Henry will give you both view points on a subject and let you decide. I just believe the bible. The "Church" has a whole is changing. Even the Catholics have changed some of their view points. Every one under the Christian umbrella seems to be adopting a religion of Tolerance.

    I don't have all of the answers, but I do know a lot of answers, and if you need some one to ask please feel free. You can click into my blog and email from there.

    Also, please remember that every "religion" has their black sheep and problems. As long as human nature is involved their will be problems. The whole point of God is to have a personal friendship with HIM directly, by confessing with your mouth and believing with your heart that Jesus is Lord. That's really what everything comes down to.

    Good luck on your journey, and don't worry, the God who did create the universe is able to make sure you find Him.

  18. Young Mom

    Awesome Youtube tip! And doesn't budgeting make such a big difference. I used to think I was bugeting until we went cash only.

  19. Abbot Joseph

    Glad to hear you are going to Mt Angel. It's my alma mater for theological studies. Your iconographer cousin must be Br Claude. He and I were best buddies when I was at their seminary over 20 years ago. Please give him my greetings when you see him. As for quotes on writing, I wonder if you ever saw this one: "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead" (Gene Fowler).

  20. Diane

    Thank you so much for the YouTube tip! I've always wondered how to do that.

    Good for you guys for doing the cash-only budget. Keep us posted on how it goes.

  21. simchafisher

    Whoa, thanks for the links! I hope some of your readers stick around once they figure out what my blog is really like.

    Excellent You Tube tip, too. I hope you have a lovely retreat.

  22. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    I'm going to seriously consider your cash idea. SOMETHING has got to change around here!

  23. clairesd

    #2: you are SUCH a dork.

    #3: YAY! She's back!

  24. Bonnie

    Oh… how I love this blog.

  25. Christian H

    Why did you stop?

    Really, why? I want to hear the rest of the song.

    I wish I could actually remember even three lines of it. I spent last summer working on boats (dry-docked ones, mind) and I'm spending much of this summer doing the same. Every singly day I want to burst into rap. Only PG.

  26. abroadermark

    Oooo…love the YouTube tip! Thanks.

  27. Anonymous

    Sometimes you just have to let go of the (figurative) child's hand and let him walk on his own – yes, you CAN finish the manuscript sooner than later ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Dawn by Design

    Oh.my.goodness. Simcha is so funny! Thank you for 'sharing' her.

  29. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    1) I need to start doing 7QT again. Thank you for being so faithful to these, Jen! You are awesome in every sense of the word.

    2) Love the boat lyrics. I, for one, would have LOVED to have heard your full (unedited?) version.

    3) THANK YOU for sharing Simcha! Where have I been? How have I not heard of her? Oh yeah. Not Catholic. Y'all have some of the best writers. (Including yourself, of course.)

  30. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    OH WAIT! The most important thing. THANK YOU for sharing how you are doing your cash only system. I have tried so, so many times to do that but I HATE carrying cash. It never dawned on me to allocate the cash to separate accounts. THAT IS BRILLIANCE. We will be doing that IMMEDIATELY! Again, you are awesome. Bask in that today.

  31. Elena

    Love the Youtube tip and your experience with cash only! Very good!

  32. TaraS

    Ah, the BOAT! I love it! I am going to mention that budget system to my husband…I've been looking for ways to stop overspending.

  33. Peter and Nancy

    We do the cash system too — we have an accordian envelope with different "funds" in it (groceries, babysitting, haircuts, etc.). We have to plan ahead before shopping etc., which is half the battle against overspending!

    Our pastor, who did our premarital counseling, suggested it as a way to learn to budget together. We've done it for 12 years!


  34. Bonnie

    Jen, I was thinking about your On the Boat lyrics… You see, they made me feel a little bit better about how I've changed the words to Justin Timberlake's Sexy Back to make it about breastfeeding. I'm in some Catholic mom groups where I would NEVER admit that. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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