7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 185)

August 24, 2012 | 31 comments

— 1 —

I’m so excited about the CNMC next week. It’ll be three days of back-to-back socializing, and it can’t come soon enough!

This may strike you as a strange statement when you recall that I’m as introverted as it gets. This is a good example of the fact that being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t like people; in fact, a lot of introverts enjoy socializing very much. It’s like a Mars landing: The idea of going to Mars is very cool. You might even enjoy it tremendously. It could even be the highlight of your life! But it’s something that must happen under the most controlled of circumstances, at a very specific time and a very specific place. You can’t just show up at someone’s door, yank them out of their house, toss them into a space capsule, and tell them they’re going to Mars.

And so it is with introverts and socializing. Many of us like it — love it, in fact! But it has to be under extremely precise circumstances…and we need to be able to retreat to our hibernation chambers at the end of it.

— 2 —

My husband and most of the kids are coming to Dallas, and it was a logistical challenge to figure out how to arrange transportation since they’re arriving on a different day than I am, but we’re all driving back together. This is where Megabus came in. When Joe first suggested that one group of us could take the bus, I reminded him that we shouldn’t rule out hitchhiking either, as long as we were thinking outside the Sane Options box. I have a variety of associations with the word “bus, ” none of them positive (at least as far as city-to-city travel goes).

But evidently this Megabus company has nice busses with cool perks like free wi-fi on board, and it’s crazy-cheap! An Austin to Dallas ticket is only $5. We ended up having a spirited debate about who gets to take Megabus and who has to drive. (I ended up driving, but I’ll report back on my husband and the kids’ experiences on Megabus.)

— 3 —

I’m ending the summer in the best shape of my life. Granted, this is coming from the person who’s always aspired to be a brain in a jar, so it’s all relative. But I’m definitely more physically fit than ever before, and my secret comes down to one thing: The Texas Cardio Shred.

I need to market this revolutionary new workout program. Basically, you move to Texas and adhere to a regular jogging schedule. Be sure to ignore any ominous signs in the weather (e.g. if you see dark clouds gathering on the horizon, scoff at them and say, “It’s only sprinkling. I’m sure this storm will miss us!”) Go out for your jog, get moving up to a good run, then, just as you’re about to slow to a walk, something like one of the following occurrences will happen:

  • You turn a corner to see a WATER WALL O’ DOOM moving toward you at a troubling speed.
  • The clouds suddenly clear from the sky and the temperature shoots up about 10 degrees as the sun mercilessly beats down on you, leaving you scrambling for shade in the last few seconds before you pass out from heat stroke.
  • You brush by some bushes that are evidently the home of a very large and active yellowjacket colony, and you find yourself being chased by a cloud of angry stinging insects.

About two out of five times you go out to exercise, something along those lines will happen. It’s like having a personal trainer, only better, because it involves real fear for your life and personal safety! Look out for Jen’s Texas Cardio Shred DVD — coming soon! Hey, I could even use that picture I posted on Instagram after one of my more memorable jogs:

Jen Fulwiler's TEXAS CARDIO SHRED!!!!!

— 4 —

Along those lines, my dad has always said that there’s no better workout than riding your bike through the countryside. When I was younger we lived in a semi-rural area for a while, where our house was surrounded by endless miles of countryside. My dad got chased by so many farmer’s dogs that he probably should have tried out for the Tour de France. There was one house in particular that had a big, mean, aggressive dog. Whenever my dad passed that place he would take his feet off the pedals and try to glide by silently. Inevitably, the dog’s head would pop up, he’d narrow his eyes on this two-wheeled intruder, and would take off towards my dad like he’d been shot from a cannon. My dad said that was some of the best exercise he ever got in his life.

— 5 —

Allow me to nerd out for a moment and talk technology: I got a Google Nexus 7 tablet last week, and I absolutely love it. (It’s worth noting that if you buy it directly from Google it’s significantly less expensive than at Amazon and other outlets.) I was able to cut the cost of homeschooling supplies by doing some good bargain hunting, so I used the savings toward the tablet. We’ve got the kids involved in a bunch of activities this year since I’ve heard so many good things about this “leaving the house” concept that everyone else is so into, and so I have big plans for the Nexus in the many hours I’ll spend sitting in my car waiting for the kids to be done with events. Me. In a small, silent space. With a new tablet. It’ll be Nerdvana.

— 6 —

Last year I got an astoundingly delicious recipe from the chef’s kiosk at our grocery store, and then I lost the card. I dealt with it as if I had lost a chest full of rare gold coins, and my despair only grew deeper when Google searches on the ingredients didn’t lead me to quite the same recipe. Long story short, it was in Evernote all along; I’d typed it up so I wouldn’t lose it. (That’s right. The moral of the story is: Sometimes Evernote is too awesome.) Anyway, I have an odd terror of losing this recipe again, so I’m posting it here on the internet for all to see:

Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce

1 lb. chicken breasts cubed
12 oz. mushrooms
1/4 c. garlic essence vinaigrette (or any vinegarette that has garlic and/or sundried tomato flavors)
2 T sliced garlic
3 T sundried tomatoes
1/4 c. heavy cream
olive oil
shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat skillet. Add chicken, garlic, mushrooms and oil. Sautee until almost all pink is gone. Add tomatoes, vinaigrette, and cook for two minutes longer. Add in cream and cheese and let boil to thicken. Serve over rice or pasta. Prepare your mouth for the awesomeness it is about to encounter.

— 7 —

You know that I’m enchanted by all the covers of Somebody that I Used to Know, so you can imagine how delighted I was to find the video below which collects a bunch of different renditions of the song, put together by Gotye himself. We just about had an unfortunate coffee-keyboard meeting when I saw the clip at 3:50 (which will be equally hilarious to those who have seen the Walk off the Earth video and its spinoffs.)

(Hat tip to Patrick Hoelscher. I was not previously acquainted with Mr. Hoelscher, but he links to the Cynical Christian and refers to me by my proper title, “The Fulwinator, “ so he’s clearly a good person.)



  1. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    I’m getting in the best shape of my life now that I’m going to a Krav Maga studio, but I’m worried what it says about me that I can only tolerate cardio in the service of ruthless violence.

  2. Becki

    I resemble your jogging picture; despite the fact that it is not raining AND I have not been jogging. I love your blog.

  3. nancyo

    a couple of comments:
    I think it’s hilarious that your husband and all the kids are taking the Megabus and you’re driving – are you going to let them use your tablet? And trust me, I would be good for one ride past an aggressive dog – that would be the first and last. I’d stay on my couch rather than go through that experience twice. We heard lots of stories about dogs in Spain, but didn’t have any canine issues on our 500km bike ride on the Camino last summer.

    (For some reason, my most recent posts are never the ones that show up in the line below, so suffice it to say I posted Quick Takes about art theft and intrigue, not to mention the Loch Ness Monster and the Vatican Obelisk.)

  4. Lisa Schmidt

    Yay for another husband & wife duo bringing their kids to CNMC! We will have ours with us, too.

    Looking forward to trying out that recipe. Just so happens I have most ingredients on hand.

    See you next week!

  5. Marian

    Just last week I took a 7 hour Megabus journey, just me with 3 of my 4 children. It went really, really well. Sitting on the top floor in the front had the major advantage of providing a really cool, unobstructed view of everything through the large windows. It also had the disadvantage of being up a flight of stairs from the bathroom, which my daughter needed to visit approximately 3,017 times. (No sink, just hand sanitizer like a porta potty, so extra wipes are a very nice idea). Other possibly good kid choices: The “booth” style seats on the first floor with a table between seats that face each other, or the very back row of the top floor, with seats that cover the whole back with no aisle space or people behind you. As you know well I’m sure, snacks, activities and electronics are keys to success! I’d brought a trash bag for the miraculous loaves-and-fishes amount of trash we would surely produce, but our bus had trash bags tied up unceremoniously in various spots. I’d sill bring your own just in case this isn’t standard practice. Happy trails!

  6. Wendy from Zoom

    WheCan’t wait to try the recipe, thanks!

  7. Dwija {House Unseen}

    You probably already know this but Dorian was just asking about Megabus on fb the other day. Maybe there’s still time for you to switch with hubby and then you and she can have a Thelma-Louise style adventure…minus all the soul-blackening sins of the flesh. And criminal activity. And basically everything else they do. So yeah. You can be two women on a bus. Yay!

  8. The Boring Blogger

    I am totally with you on the bus thing. I took a bus to NYC a few years ago. It was fast, cheap and super clean. This one even had wireless. My only issue is the bus bathroom. Those things creep me out.

  9. Hevel

    I’m in love with the Nexus. OK, not quite, but it’s the best gadget ever!

  10. Laura

    I’ve had those dog/bike adventures and I hate them. I now freak out whenever I come up on a dog on a country road! And horseflies, too. Getting attacked by a horsefly while on a bike and trying to outride it sure is a workout, too. Takes the fun out of biking. God Bless.

  11. Smoochagator

    Jen, it seems that you and I are very much alike in our aversion to temperatures outside of the 68-to-76-degrees-Fahrenheit window, and especially to doing anything more physical than pumping gas (necessary evil) when temperatures fall to either “extreme.” So if you, self-avowed lazy bones, can do the Texas Shred, I hold onto hope that I can get into shape, too. Someday. Maybe after I have this baby. Way after. Like, when he/she leaves for college.

    Speaking of babies, since your youngest is like sixteen months old now, aren’t you due for another surprise pregnancy? Hahahahaha, laughs the woman who clearly wants to be banned from commenting on Jen’s blog. (Hey, at least I am encouraging of your continued procreation instead of asking those annoying, “Aren’t you done yet?” questions! But seriously, please don’t ban me.)

  12. Ana Hahn

    So impressed with your workout regiment- I cannot wait to get back into shape some day. I LOVE that picture, so hilarious.
    Listening to the Gotye cover, I am also enchanted by every single one I hear– love it.

  13. Marcy K.

    Oooooo, I want to ride the Megabus! Unfortunately, I’ll be taking the plane. Can’t wait to see you at CMN, next door to the CMNC. I just LOVE the visual in my mind of your dad and that dog!

  14. kbt

    Ok, you are inspiring me on this running thing but I am sooo fearful. I usually have to be tricked into excercising. So even though I have said a million times “i hate running”, it’s free, something i don’t need a babysitter for, and don’t really have to travel anywhere to do it.
    But I have some questions: 1)How does one begin running?
    2)Do I just go and run as far as I can?
    3)Do I just jog around the block and then continue walkinng?
    4)How much time does it take to run?
    Can someone seriously help me begin?

    • Rebecca

      1) I started using the Couch to 5k program. There is a free app and a website.
      2) & 3) If you use the app, it will tell you when to walk and when to run and slowly builds you up to running for 25 minutes without stopping and then working to increase distance to 5k (or 3.1 miles). I was horribly out of shape when I used it to start running and I completely credit it to why I’m still running today, almost 3 years late.
      4) You’ll start out about 30 minutes, 3x per week. If you enjoy it and keep going, you’ll find yourself training for a half marathon and running 3 – 5 times per week for at least an hour each time. But even if I can only get 25 – 30 minutes in, I take advantage of that too.
      5) If you have a friend who’s interested in running too, it’s great to have a buddy and helps keep you accountable!

      Good luck 🙂

      • kbt

        Thank you SO much! This really helpful and exactly what I needed to know!

  15. Tricia

    That chicken recipe sounds awesome – thanks for sharing! Hope the Megabus adventure is a good one! Happy Friday!!

  16. Julia at LotsaLaundry

    If the Megabus loading area is like it is elsewhere, it’s probably going to be street-side. The challenge will be getting luggage on and off without losing any children in the process. My trick for that kind of thing when the kids were small was to say, “Here — I need you to hold this fire hydrant for me”. Not sure why that works (a similar strategy comes in handy at the grocery checkout), but for some reason it does.

    Also, Megabus is usually first-come, first-served. Find out ahead of time, because it’s well worth a half-hour of “When are we getting on the bus?” whining if it means everyone sits together. If your oldest is able to get on the bus and reserve seats while your husband is loading luggage, by all means give him/her a stack of index cards with RESERVED printed on, and send’em on ahead!

    Don’t assume high-quality internet access.

    Do bring food and non-sticky drinks if it’s a longish trip (like more than ten minutes). We’ve always traveled by mass transit — don’t even own a car — and the trick is to have each kid (other than babies) carry his or her own backpack with lunch, water bottle, snacks, and entertainment. Magazines are more lightweight than books. We get a lot of mileage out of buying blank round stickers at an office supply store (they’re some kind of envelope seals) and doing “make your own sticker” projects with colored pencils. There probably won’t be flip-down seat backs, so the kids will need at least one book to use as a flat surface for drawing.

    Explain ahead of time that the bus won’t stop if they’re hungry or tired. And bring a couple of ziplock bags in case of motion sickness. Not likely you’ll need’em, but helpful if you do!

    And have fun!

  17. JC

    “I’m so excited about the CNMC next week. It’ll be three days of back-to-back socializing, and it can’t come soon enough!”

    I had wanted to go to that, but it looks like I’m working on most of those days–boooooo!

    Have fun.

  18. MyBrokenFiat

    Welp, just posted my first attempt at Quick Takes.

    And for the record, the Gotye compilation will be on loop for the rest of my day. Thanks for that. 🙂

  19. suburbancorrespondent

    Next time you make the recipe, take a picture and Pin it – that way we can ALL find it when we need it!

  20. lethargic

    I have ridden on Megabus. It’s very nice and relaxing. You drew the short straw on that one.

  21. Leila

    I honestly get giddy when you talk about being an introvert. Giddy, I tell you!

  22. Rebecca

    I never thought I’d enjoy running either, but I do. And my first half-marathon is in October. It’s almost to where I can say “next month” and that totally freaks me out.

  23. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    Um I love #1. I once heard someone say that being introverted doesn’t mean you don’t like to socialize. It refers to what state you like to be in to be filled up after being drained. (She said it WAY more eloquently than that…they allow me to blog??)

  24. Amy F

    My husband has only had terrible Megabus experiences from Minneapolis to Chicago, with loud, R-rated movies blaring and people swearing. I sincerely hope that Texans are more polite and reasonable on their cheap, long bus rides.

  25. Paula

    Your comments about introverts and socializing are right on… you just described me to a T. I feel like I just had an epiphany moment here… in the most secular sense, of course.

  26. Cassidy

    I am so doing this next time. My silly email decided to spam you. I just found it. Sad day.

    Loving the introverts and socializing comment. Running…you won’t catch me doing it unless I’m being chased. I do my exercising inside with Billy Blanks (Old School Tae Bo). With a toddler and a mobile baby, it’s like extreme exercising. I’d totally medal in that sport.

  27. Rita Jenkinson

    I love your take on Introverts. I feel proud being right now. And the Gotye video up there, maan!! It’s totally cool.

  28. Brian Sullivan

    “You can’t just show up at someone’s door, yank them out of their house, toss them into a space capsule, and tell them they’re going to Mars.”

    I don’t know, it worked in Out of the Silent Planet.

    As for Gotye, this is still the best:

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