7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 92)

August 6, 2010 | 34 comments

— 1 —

I tried to go to the park with the kids just now. I don’t know what I expected. Well, I do know: I expected frolicking. Squeals of joy as the kids dashed to the swings. And…more frolicking. Instead, I immediately withered as if I’d suddenly found myself on a surface of Venus. The kids planted themselves at the park’s edge like screaming statues, begging for me to get them out of this heat (102-degree high today). Then a terrible stench wafted our way, which I soon discovered was a large, dead snake in the trash can next to us. The kids tried to get back in the wagon in which I’d brought them, but, after five minutes in the sun, the surface was like a stove top. They immediately poured out of it, shrieking, onto the sizzling concrete, which was even hotter. More shrieks of misery.

Why is going to the park never the carefree fun that I imagine it’s going to be?

— 2 —

On a brighter note, I am going to see Fr. John Corapi speak at the AT&T Center in San Antonio on Saturday! Anyone else going to be there? (Some tickets still available if you’re on the fence.)

— 3 —

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Fr. Corapi, I found this condensed (10 min.) video of his amazing conversion story:

Basically, he was a millionaire Hollywood bigshot who owned a Ferrari and was heavily involved in cocaine. He lost it all and ended up homeless. After a profound conversion experience (which he credits to his mother’s ceaseless prayers), he repented of his sins and became a priest. Really interesting guy.

— 4 —

This cracks me up. It’s a program that scans your emails and tells you if your tone comes across as harsh. I’ve been laughing all week imagining if my husband had this: I pictured him writing up an email in some heated case, hitting Tone Check, and his computer just exploding. I was going to make a joke about them needing a version for bloggers, but I think that allowing anonymous comments accomplishes the same thing. Just as Tone Check tells you if you sound “angry, ” Anonymous Comments can tell you that, plus alerting you if you sound “stupid, ” “boring, ” or “IGNORANT AND SELF RIGHTEOUS” — and it’s free.

Anyway, maybe it’s because I know some people who can be rather, ah, blunt in their correspondence, but for some reason I find the concept of Tone Check to be endlessly amusing.

— 5 —

This is so neat: an astronomer friend of ours (the one my dad eulogized here) custom-built his house so that the sun would shine through a specific stained-glass window on the Summer Solstice and illuminate a statue in an alcove.

There’s the same setup for the Winter Solstice as well, with a different window and different statue. I’ve always thought that was so neat.

— 6 —

But not as neat as this (according to my children, anyway):

Yes, that would be an indoor swing. We got it at Ikea more than a year ago, but my husband just installed it last weekend. The kids think they’re in heaven.

— 7 —

Our Sunday Visitor just put out an excellent guide to the Catholic online world. It includes readers’ favorite websites, as well as a great list of apps for fancy phones. Definitely worth a look!


Below is a 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. Elizabeth Mahlou

    One of the people who works in our personnel office needed that tone checker this week. His notes got so nasty that I stopped responding to them. I don't know if he meant the nastiness, but I figure that the best case scenario is not to encourage his writing since he has limited skill at it. When I get back from out of town next week, I will call. I suppose there are no tone checkers for the phone yet!

  2. Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    Isn't it funny how often some outing sounds like it will be so much fun and it just isn't? What's up with that?

    Oh a side note — the heat is just crazy, isn't it?

  3. Tom L

    I saw Fr. Corapi in Buffalo last year. He was fantastic, as expected, but the highlight for me was actually the Mass. If you've never been to Mass with 12,000 deeply committed Catholics, it's a beautiful thing.

    • Dianna

      We saw Fr Corapi in Cincinatti in July – I LOVED it. He is such an excellent speaker, and I loved having Fr Tom there as well.
      I totally agreed with you – it was amazing to attend Mass with so many.

      Jen, you’ll have so much fun!

  4. blissful_e

    Good thing you have an indoor swing since your local playground experience is so miserable.

    A dead snake? Seriously??

    I can imagine what the playground visit immediately prior to yours was like. Sizzling heat, check. Screaming kids, check. Murderous reptile, check. Kill snake, toss in trash can, leave foul carcass for next unsuspecting family…

  5. Claire

    I can think of a few occasions where ToneCheck would have helped me. My emails were not "nasty" or rude, but just too blunt or direct. I did giggle when I saw the post because I have been "guilty as charged" from time-to-time.

    Thank you for the link to Fr. Corapi's shortened version of his conversion story. I added the video to my blog (not that anyone by my loving hubby reads it) LOL!!! I love Fr. Corapi. We keep missing him on EWTN and finally got smart and set the DVR to records his talks. Now we don't have to worry about missing him. We record "The World Over" also.

    The swing in the house is interesting. I was not blessed with children, so my initial reaction was….Swing?…In..the…house…? But, my second reaction was, "Hey this is pretty awesome."

    Have a wonderful Friday. God Bless

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

    I'm with your kids–the indoor swing is awesome! (Though in our house, it would have another descriptor, too: dangerous. LOL)

  7. Nichole@40daysof

    The swing in the house is too funny. You know that other parents are not going to want their kids to play at your house now. Their kids are going to want an indoor swing as well. 🙂

  8. Young Mom

    The tone checker is hilarious! And going to the park doesn't work very well around here either, the mosquitos have been horrible! I can't wait for the first frost next month, that should get rid of them!

  9. Mary

    My mom will be at at the Fr. Corapi talk. His story is almost unbelievable. I love him! I hope you have a great time!

  10. Kerrie @ TFK

    I'd love to take the wee one to the park…but the City of New York sees nothing wrong with metal playground equipment with a shiny metal slide on top of hot, tar-like mats. I may live in the greatest city in the world, but some of the minds of the city are a little dim.

    Can we get tone checker installed in someone's brain?

  11. Lana

    wait…a week at Yaya's and no stories? Oh, I get it, you're saving it for a full post.

  12. Kerri

    My husband, I, and my oldest will be at Fr. Corapi LIVE, too, on Saturday. Can't wait!

  13. Bonnie

    I love #4! And about #1 – I wrote on that in my last week's Quick Takes. In cental IL it is hot and humid and just no good in the summer. Sprinkler parks are fine, but anything else is reserved for fall and spring. Because I'm pregnant and I say so. 😉

  14. Our Sunday Visitor

    Thanks Jennifer for the shout-out on our OSV Newsweekly Internet Guide. This year's sites & blogs were all suggested by our readers!

  15. The Mengers

    Re: #1 about the Texas Heat, a friend of mine mentioned that summer in Texas is much like winter in the North. For them, it's the snow that traps everyone inside. For us, it's the heat.

    I'd always just thought I was a wimp, and that people in other parts of America were much more equipped to deal with harsh weather conditions. But she's right. They don't go out in the winter, so I don't have to go out in the summer.

  16. That Married Couple

    Whoa – an indoor swing?! Awesome! Who needs the hot hot park when you've got that?

  17. Christine

    Love the indoor swing. Love Father Corapi!

  18. Therese Z

    Love the indoor swing – it reminds me that we used to roller-skate in our basement, winding our way past the washer and sink and cabinet and back again to the craft table.

    We thought that was the coolest thing, and your kids will remember that swing more than some toys they have!

  19. Barb

    Oh, I love the Tone Check! I'll have to pass that along to my dh.

    It's been warm here recently, but nothing utterly obnoxious. However, I practically have to throw the kids out the door to get them outside. I feel for you about the park story. Sometimes I want to be like Lee Emory (sp?) in that commercial where he plays the psychiatrist or Tom Hanks: There's no crying in baseball.

  20. Emily

    Indoor swing?? Possibly the coolest toy I have ever heard of. Snake in the trashcan?? That's right up there with the scorpions and mosquitoes!

  21. Sally Thomas

    I love the indoor swing. Long ago, some friends of mine had a Yucatan hammock in their living room, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever, ever, ever. Early in my own marriage I bought one for us, but somehow it never got put up, and never got put up, and finally we moved to Salt Lake City, to a 5th-floor walkup apartment, and used the hammock as part of a sling-and-pulley device — it also involved one of those supposedly-indestructible krypton bike locks — to move our books from the ground to the landing outside our kitchen door. After that, there wasn't much left of the hammock, but we've still got most of the books.

  22. Amanda

    Jennifer, I love reading your blog. Glad to hear you'll be at Fr. Corapi tomorrow here in SA. I almost emailed you and asked you to mention it last week, then saw your button!

  23. Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website

    WOW!!!!!!! I am struggling with covetousness of that swing!!!!!!!

  24. Lea

    Came over from Steph's "A Defined Life" and so enjoyed my visit. Enjoyed reading your conversion story too, most interesting and I rejoice that you came to a saving faith in Christ. It doesn't get any better than that. Blessings to you for a wonderful week-end!

  25. Stephanie

    Wow! I am excited about the indoor swing. I went to the Ikea website to check it out (great price!). My question is how does it hang? What does it attach to? It may just be on the Christmas list. 🙂

  26. Suburban Correspondent

    Answer to #1: because you live in Texas. That just doesn't happen as much further north (especially the dead, rotting snake in the trash can scenario).

  27. Missus Wookie

    Oh I like the idea of the astronomically correct windows – that is way cool 🙂

  28. Susan L

    I want to know how you attach the swing, too. My kids would LOVE it.

  29. Liesl

    i love ikea. love love love it.

  30. Anna

    "Why is going to the park never the carefree fun that I imagine it's going to be?"

    I think the question is – why are you still imagining that a trip to the park is going to be carefree fun? 🙂 It might be – for the kids. But I'm finding it pretty much never is for the mom, even when things basically go well.

  31. Chloe

    Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent, as well as the


  1. 7 quick takes | A Life in Balance - [...] This post is part of Jen’s Carnival at the Conversion Diary. [...]

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