7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 137)

August 5, 2011 | 60 comments

— 1 —

A few nice folks have asked how that talk went that I did a couple of weeks ago. I think it went well, considering that I had a four-week-old baby. You can watch it here and tell me what you think. A couple of hours before I was scheduled to speak I had one of those “mommy brain” moments where I couldn’t think of a certain word because I was so sleep deprived (it was “car”), which led to a WHAT-WAS-I-THINKING freakout session where I pictured myself standing in front of the microphone saying, “Unnngh…ummm…err…” but I think it all turned out okay.

— 2 —

I cannot explain how ridiculous I look when I jog. Not only do I flail around like Gumby on Xanax (leaving my children to imitate me in the most amusing ways, as I recounted in #4 here), but my outfits are getting increasingly bizarre. First of all, I started having some pain in my knees and legs. Based on what I read in the awesome, awesome book Born to Run, I did an experiment where I switched from my expensive Reeboks to some flat, stretchy Mary Jane style shoes with no support. The pain disappeared, my form improved, and my stamina was much better as well. The only problem was that the Mary Janes gave me blisters that no amount of Band Aids could help, so I started wearing thick running socks with them. Then I stopped bothering to put on workout clothes. Changing was one more roadblock to going out for a jog, and it’s not like I really needed them. I mean, my range of motion is pretty limited; it’s not like I’m doing pole vaulting across the neighborhood or anything.

The upshot of all this is that my neighbors keep seeing this red-faced woman panting and running down the street wearing Mary Janes with white athletic socks, a fitted short-sleeved shirt, and nice capri pants. By the looks on their faces, I think they’re not sure whether to laugh or call 911.

— 3 —

When friends hear that I’m already jogging this soon after the baby, they usually think I’m either really Type A or crazy. It’s neither. (Well, I’m not Type A at least). As I’ve said before, I’ve realized that going out for a brisk jog gives me a huge energy boost. In fact, on the days that I’m sleep deprived from being up with the baby, whether or not I get a jog in makes all the difference in how well I’m able to get through the day. All my life I’ve been the ultimate couch potato, so I never saw myself getting into anything related to physical fitness, but I have to say, I’m sold on the benefits of jogging.

— 4 —

This charming young lady would like to be a nun with the incredible Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, but she needs some help to pay off some debt first:

She came up with the clever idea to campaign for 800 people to donate $20, and is asking that each of us tell five friends about her fundraising efforts. I wanted to share it with all of you in case anyone feels moved to help her out. You can find out more about her story and her call to religious life at her blog.

— 5 —

Here’s a wine tip from my husband the wine guy: You may have noticed that most stores post labels under each bottle that show what kind of ratings it’s gotten. Pay special attention to the WS rating. It stands for Wine Spectator, and they do blind tastings — i.e. the judges are not influenced by the prestige of a wine’s reputation, because they don’t know what they’re tasting. As far as I know, this is the only major rating that does it this way. Looking out for a high WS score is a great way to discover good bang-for-the-buck wines that might be unheard of but have great quality.

— 6 —

That reminds me: I’ve discovered a fabulous new word. In fact, I think it may be my word of the year next year:

Cenosillicaphobia: The fear of an empty glass.

(Technically, the haterz at Merriam Webster do not have this listen in their dictionary. But I have to think that they will remedy that issue soon, as the English language really needs this word.)

— 7 —

I say again: I am so sorry that I haven’t been able to reply to comments or emails lately. I’ve been teary-eyed over some of the kind and supportive comments I’ve received recently, and please know that I read and appreciate every one! I still have my hands full over here, but I’m hoping to get back on top of things soon.


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.


  1. Kassie @ Secret Vatican Spy

    Oh, Jen! I apologize now for laughing at the run description. Really. I’m sorry.

    Also good to know about the wine! I’m rapidly falling more in love with the wine world than I probably should. At least my budget says so.

    Happy weekend!


  2. Pam

    Great advice on the “WS” rating label — next time I’m struck with cenosillicaphobia, I’ll look for it!

  3. Allie

    Love the “Meris Wants to be a Nun” site! I saw it a few days ago thanks to someone else. Can’t wait till she enters the convent… 🙂

  4. Momma in Progress

    Ah, running . . . every once in a while I think I’m going to get “into” running. This happens at least once a year or so. I start going to the gym, or running outside (and I use the term running loosely, it’s more of a hurried shuffle) . . . and get to where I can “run” about half a mile and then Something Super Important comes up and I skip a few workouts and soon I’m back to square one, and then I quit. Yet, it never occurs to me that maybe I’m just not cut out for jogging. It’s been a while since I’ve tried; I’m due to fail at this again soon.

  5. Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    LOL — you cracked me up about your running attire. I bet it’s a sight to see! 😉

    Thanks for sharing about Meris’ site. I donated, and also shared it on Catholic Mothers Online.

  6. Kara

    My close friend joined the Dominican sisters a few years ago. I miss her so much but I’m so happy she followed her calling.

    I hope Meris is able to enter soon! She will surely be blessed. Those sisters are amazing!

  7. Kathleen Basi

    Kudos to you for running at all! I loathe running, esp. when it’s as sweltering as it is now & I’m carrying an extra 12 pounds. I do it only to stay healthy & control the weight gain.

    FWIW, I heard an interview a while back w/a guy who advocated running barefoot. Supposedly much better for you. But you have to do it on grass, not concrete.

  8. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    Great advice on WS, also our local Total Wine store has staff favorites which are good bargains too.

  9. Emily

    it’s okay I look crazy too when I run. And my boyfriend still insists on me running with him.
    I saw Meris’ website a couple weeks ago. Praying for her!

  10. JC

    Since at some point in you talk, you mentioned scorpions, I guess this post is as good as any for sharing the short poem I found by Hilaire Belloc on the subject. Ahem:
    “The scorpion is black as soot,
    He dearly loves to bite
    He is a most unpleasant brute
    To find in bed, at night.”

    Hopefully you’ll avoid that fate!

  11. Judy

    Jen, you ARE on top of things!
    You’re doing a great job!

    The jogging ensemble story made my day…THANK YOU!

    And thanks to your hubby for the wine tip…I will definitely make use of it!
    (And then, will most likely do random blog posts that say things like “LOOK AT THIS GREAT WINE WITH THE HIGH WS RATING….OH…let me explain…you see…a WS RATING…according to Jen Fulwiler’s husband, is…..”

  12. Karianna@Caffeinated Catholic Mama

    I’ve been aching to go running, but it’s been so bloody hot and muggy here (even late and night and early in the morning) that it makes it miserable. I try to run on the “deadmill” but you can postulate how I feel about that one…

  13. Helene

    Call me a grinch. Call me a stick in the mud. Whatever. I feel pretty strongly that if this young lady has a religious vocation now, she’ll have it a year from now. Time to get a job and pay off those bills. She got herself into this pickle, and she should be able to get herself out of it. Asking for a handout, when she seems perfectly able to do this herself, just doesn’t sit well with me.

    • Marie

      When God calls, you answer. Often God calls us when it doesn’t seem to make sense to us, but his timing in our lives is of significance, especially when it comes to our vocation. I think it’s completely reasonable that you not feel called to support Meris in her vocation. However, in general, it is very important that we support vocations, especially on God’s timing, as our culture is in desperate need of examples of true self-gift and the reminder that we are all made for eternal life with him.

      I know you didn’t say it outright, but I feel that your post speaks an assumption of Meris’ character. As I said before, you may not be called to give, and that is for you to discern privately. I feel that you should know that Meris is one of the most prudent people that I know. Catholic theology degree is expensive and she was able to get it with minimal loans. She received her graduate degree for free. She has spent her working life as religion teacher in Catholic schools. I, for one, am grateful that such a well-educated person is teaching the faith to our young people. That is quite a sacrifice. She did what she could to pay off her loans with a low salary. Upon being accepted to the Dominican Sisters, she began selling her possessions, most notably her car which allowed her to pay off an entire loan.

      Anyway, you are entitled to your opinion, and I certainly won’t call you a grinch 🙂
      And for whatever it’s worth, here is mine.

      God bless!

  14. Erin

    I cannot recommend Vibram 5 Fingers enough. I absolutely adore them. They cost less than a standard pair of running shoes – depending on which style you get, they run from $85-110 or so. I know you’re on a budget but if you jog regularly it will be so, so worth it. Check out the website birthdayshoes dot com for a lot of info on the different styles of Vibrams, as well as other styles of minimalist running shoes and the barefoot running trend in general.

    Seriously, love my 5 Fingers. (I have no affiliation with Vibram other than being a customer.)

    • Mariana

      Ditto! If you are running with flat mary-jane style shoes, it isn’t that much of a change, except it will probably help with the blisters!

  15. Kat

    Hi Jennifer,

    I am a running coach with 11 marathons under my belt, 6 at the Austin Marathon. You can’t possibly look worse than anyone else! I am also a 40 something mom who is a little chubby, not exactly a runner!

    I want to recommend 2 things: one is the book, Chi Running, by Danny Dreyer. It is a very easy to follow system of form and balance and will make your running form more efficient and effective, ie more endurance!

    The other thing is to check out AustinFit.com. They are a no pressure group of runners preparing for the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon. They meet in different locations in Austin and at different times to accommodate many busy schedules.

    Take care! I love your blog! I love your perspective and I think of you often at mass or in my prayer life. That’s pretty cool!


  16. Sarah Webber

    I was reflecting yesterday that the last time I felt caught up was the day after Christmas. I think, my dear, that people like you and me who can’t help but calculate, each day, how much they didn’t get done should give ourselves a huge dollop of grace and let God be king of the To Do list. I am so trying to live this way. I pray you are, too. Blessings, Sarah

  17. Kayla

    I so so hope I can use that new word in conversation one of these days! Also, I admire you for running at all. I walk to and from work and my legs hurt so much just from that (it adds up to between 10 and 20 miles a week), maybe I’ll have to read that book and try out the tips.

  18. Life in the Fifties

    Another recommendation for Vibrams. My high school son even wears his to school. We discovered them because his soccer coach, who has had achilles surgery wears Vibrams ALL the time in order to save his knees and back. My sister-in-law, a triathlete, also uses Vibrams. One recommendation, you definitely need to try them on for sizing before mail ordering!

  19. Deanna

    #2, very funny
    #4, I have come across a few blogs of this sort – but only for young women, not young men. Why? just wondering.
    Have a great weeekend!

    • Marie

      Maybe a lot of young men are supported by their Diocese? I know people can donate to our Diocese directly to support seminarians. But I guess that doesn’t cover religious brothers…so not sure.

      • JC

        That could well be. A close friend of mine is planning on entering the Dominican order as a seminarian soon, and he also needs to pay down his debts first–this could be an issue for religious orders in general or the Dominicans in particular, not sure. I do know that he hasn’t done much with fundraising from his blog, other than to place a paypal button in the corner.

        • Marie

          I know that debt is an issue for most, especially as school becomes more expensive and so many enter religious life after school rather than before (though I know there’s a good mix with this year’s Dominican Sisters of Mary group)

          Maybe your friend should make a viral video too! 🙂

    • Mandi

      Here is a website for a young man who is raising money so he can become a Dominican Friar: http://makeafriar.com/ They are out there!

  20. Kimberlie

    OK, like my sweet friend, Kassie, the running comments made me bust out laughing. Out of sympathy not making fun. I just started, or attempted to start a Couch to 5K program. Can I make one suggestion? In addition to the other book you read, may I suggest you check out Chi Running by Danny Dreyer? I used to get horrible shin splints when I ran (I ran cross-country in high school) and would have to literally run a mile before my 5K races just to get through the initial pain. This book changed the way I ran and even though I weigh A LOT more than I did in high school, I am walking and running pain-free and in my normal running shoes.

  21. Crystal

    I love the imagery conjured up by the jogging description! And, as someone from the audience at the Round Rock speaking event – you were phenomenal. Glad to be following your news, insights and great humor.

  22. Steph

    My two cents? You’re out there running, getting healthy, getting energy – who cares what you look like! Keep it up!!

  23. Tami Boesiger

    You seem pretty type A to me! Speaking, jogging, keeping up with your other kids, writing articles, blog posts . . . I get tired thinking about it and I don’t have a newborn! You’ve got my respect, girl!

  24. Laura

    #2 was absolutely hysterical! Good for you, though! Getting out there and running despite your wardrobe and the intense heat!
    God Bless!

  25. nicole

    I got new shoes for running, that are minimalist. I also get sore toes/feet, so I still run in my more cushioned shoes every few days. I just mimic the form I use in my other shoes. I admire you for running outside in this absurd heat!

  26. Rina

    Haha, I loved reading your running description, I’ve recently started running, too and while I don’t look funny because of the clothes I wear (at least, I don’t think I do!), I’m look RIDICULOUS because of how slow I am! Not long ago, I went running with a friend of mine and she was WALKING while I jogged along beside her. It’s ridiculous. 🙂 I’m glad your talk went well!

  27. Karyn

    Ooops, sorry. I wasn’t quite awake and accidently did my first link to a different post, not my quick takes. Mea culpa.

  28. Leticia Adams

    I love that girl! My daughter hopes to get into that order one day. The Dominican Sisters Rock.

    You did an awesome job at your talk. I have passed the video on to so many people.

    And I am going to start jogging again, but I really hate going outside. It’s hot. LOL

  29. JoAnna

    Is the linky list widget not showing up for anyone else?

    • JoAnna

      Never mind, now it’s there… must’ve been a weird glitch on my end.

  30. Anthony S. Layne

    #2: You just reminded me of the old joke punchline: “Oh, but doesn’t his suit fit nice ….”

    #6: Cenosillicaphobia … hmm, need to pass that on to my older brother, who’s a bit of an amateur oenologist. When he heard that red wine has some health benefits, he was overjoyed. And when they said, “But you have to drink a lot of it to get those benefits,” he said, “Boy, it just gets better and better!”

    Have a great weekend, Jen, and God bless!

  31. Elizabeth

    Kudos to you on the running. Maybe I’ll get there someday!

  32. Kendra @ The Nerdy Wife

    You amaze me with all you accomplish with a newborn! (and 4 other kids, nonetheless). I’m taking notes!

  33. Blair

    Wow, I’m impressed with the jogging! Way to go, Jen!

  34. Michelle

    Thanks for the link to Maris’s site! She seems like such a sweetie 🙂

  35. Trisha Niermeyer Potter

    Jen, I was hoping you’d eventually get around to apologizing to your readers for not responding to our e-mails and comments lately. I mean, really, what are you thinking-that all of us will keep following your blog and cut you some slack because you have a full house a brand new babe and a few other things on your plate?! Well, we will, have, and do, so it’s all good. No worries!
    I can’t say I understand your new openness to running. I still prefer walking and dancing as my exercises of choice, though I feel it’s fair to include chasing kids as some calorie-burning activity.

  36. Aubrey

    Your description of jogging made me laugh. I also find that as much as I hate it, exercise makes me feel really good! So I drag myself and a couple of my kids to the local lake, pop them in the jogging stroller, and do intervals on the path around the lake. Sometimes, if I’m really feeling aggressive, I’ll go around twice for a grand total of 5 miles. But that’s only happened a few times, and usually when I’m mulling something over in my somewhat senile mommy-brain. 😉

    I enjoyed reading your intro to Kate Wicker’s book. Well said!

  37. Jess @ MakingHome

    I wish I was motivated to run. This heat is zapping any small amount of motivation I might have. Glad to participate in another “7 Quick Takes”

  38. Krista

    Your sound like a more graceful jogger than I am… but I might have to take you up on the promise that it will give me an energy boost.

    I love your blog, I just added my Quick Takes for the first time ever. Thanks.

  39. Jeanne G.

    I love the Meris wants to be a nun blog. I love the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist. Four of the sisters are moving in to a new mission at MY PARISH this month! So excited! I hope that Meris makes it!

  40. Kerry Wolf

    Not a runner and never will be–doing well to walk, especially in this heat–but loved Meris’s site, bless her heart. Thanks for sharing that, Jen–and thanks for all your posts–I so look forward to them.

  41. Michelle

    I’m not doing takes today as I’m a post-partum mom of 5 and a mess myself these days, but MAJOR kudos to you for getting out to jog! My recovery this go-round has been rather rough and I just went for a walk the first time 2 days ago.

    Love that word and I hope Merriam-Webster get the clue very soon. 🙂

  42. The.Baroness.von.korf

    I actually know Meris personally. She’s been working very hard to enter the convent and raising money to get rid of her debt. She had a Clergy’s got Talent show fundraiser which was SOOOOO much fun and we’re throwing her a nun shower this weekend. She’s a great holy women and will make an amazing nun. Yes, please do keep passing the video around, and donate to ending her debt.

  43. Christine the Soccer Mom

    Jen, when I read about your running, I could only think of this clip from Friends:


    So now I picture YOU running like Phoebe. Sorry if it’s not that bad. At least you’re running.

    Love and hugs,
    Christine the Couch Potato Soccer Mom Twitter Fiend

    • Mandi

      I also instantly thought of that Friends episode!

  44. abby

    took me a while to start getting in shape after delivery. it was hard i had a csec and i remember the first time i tried jogging. I was a hot mess. cardio is definitely awesome!

  45. Monica

    Jen, thanks for posting about Meris — I look forward to reading more about what she is doing. And please, please tell me that Cenosillicaphobia is a real word. I love it. And I suffer from it. 🙂

  46. Ann-Marie

    I loved her video – so genuine and heartfelt. Praying for her.

  47. Grace

    Thanks for the wine tip and keep running!:)

  48. Sara in DC

    Awesome job with the running! I always find it helps to have a training goal in mind like a 10K or a half marathon or something. It gives your running purpose other than the standard “I’d love to be able to zip up my skinny jeans”, you know?

    Way to go, Meris! I think the reason that student loan debt is such an issue for to-be priests and nuns is because they are so smart. Especially those Dominicans, I have never met a Dominican who was not absolutely brilliant! We need them.

  49. Colin Kerr

    Dear Jennifer,

    Let me add a comment to further the teary-eyedness: my wife and I both love your blog(s). You are our mutual favourite blogger, and that is a big thing since our interests are so different!

  50. Shelly

    My sister paid off 50k, yes 50k (!), in 2yrs to enter a Carmelite convent 3yrs ago. She asked for help from distant family mbrs in return for life-long prayers! I think little came from that (financially speaking), she paid it off herself!

  51. Annette Heidmann

    Jennifer, I’ve been loving your 7 Quick Takes for a while now, and just made my first feeble attempt. It’s more of a trial run, since it isn’t Friday, but I hope to be able to regularly join in the fun. Thanks for your wonderful blog!!

  52. Noemi Maltz

    I’m impressed, I need to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the problem is something that not sufficient persons are talking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for something referring to this.

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