7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 219)

May 31, 2013 | 37 comments

— 1 —

I got a SOLID three hours of sleep last night, which was a nice addition to the four hours I got the night before, so I am in the perfect position to write something and put it out there for everyone to read right now. Seven Quick Takes: So-Tired-I-Can-Barely-Operate-My-Keyboard Edition, let’s do this!

— 2 —

Joe took the kids to “movies on the lawn” last night, an awesome event where this friend of his sets up an outdoor movie theater on his lawn, complete with catered movie-style snacks. I wasn’t able to make it so I couldn’t take pictures, but here’s a shot from the last one, which I talked about here:

Movie on the Lawn: The Princess Bride

This is the same friend who occasionally hosts the salon dinners where everyone gets together over a meal to talk about some big issue facing society. The dinners feature a speaker to address the topic at hand and get the discussions started (for example, John Taylor GattoΒ came in to talk to us about education reform one time), and everyone is given a pamphlet with short bios of all the other attendees so that we can get to know one another better. These events are so fun and interesting — we need more things like this in the world!

— 3 —

I tried Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred on Tuesday, and I’m excited to report that I am slowly beginning to regain the ability to move some parts of my body. Also, I was smart and bought it as an Amazon Instant Video, which I think I’ll do for all future exercise video purchases. I have been driven to the edge of sanity on more than one occasion when I finally overcame my unfathomably deep tendency to sloth and got all motivated to do some killer workout video, only to open the case and find the Barney Schoolhouse DVD in there instead.

Anyway, I had watched clips of 30-Day Shred on Youtube, and in a moment that screams HUBRIS ALERT!!!! MAJOR HUMBLING LESSON ON ITS WAY!!!!, I thought, That doesn’t look that hard. What’s this, some jumping jacks? A few sit-ups? Whatever. I can hang.

Let me just fast forward to the part where I realize that I cannot, in any way, hang. I have never felt so weak in my life. Frankly, after my humiliation at the hands of this DVD, I am amazed that I have the strength to pick up my toothbrush each morning. My son was doing the workout with me, and since we only had eight-pound and five-pound weights I gave him the lighter set. Halfway through I had to steal the five-pound ones from him, and after we were done I did a limp of shame over to my computer and ordered three-pound weights on Amazon.

If I don’t update my blog for a few weeks, assume it’s because I can no longer move my arms because I kept doing this video.

— 4 —

Here’s my biggest issue with all of these types of workout videos: squats. Squats are an urban legend. They are not possible. I know you might think that they are because you’ve seen people do them in exercise DVDs, but they are actually a huge practical joke being put over on us by the fitness industry. If you move into a position like you’re sitting on a chair without actually having a chair behind you, you will FALL DOWN. This is not my opinion; it’s the opinion of the LAW OF GRAVITY.

You laugh, but history will prove me right! One day someone is going to take a closer look at one of these videos and notice wires holding up the fitness experts as they do their “squats, ” and the whole thing is going to come crashing down.

— 5 —

I found myself surprisingly inspired when I stumbled across this cover of Maroon 5’s song Payphone, by Walk Off the Earth (the band that did the one-guitar version of Somebody that I Used to Know):

I am so amazed that there are people in the world who can just do that, who can sit down and make music at will. This is something Joe and I talk about a lot: we love music, but neither of us can do much to create it, and we’re amazed by people who can. We have this idea that if we had musical talent, we’d basically sit in our garage every night and record awesome songs for Youtube videos, like a nerdy suburban version of Pomplamoose.

I’m sure that’s all easier said than done, but the main point I’m getting at is: if you have musical talent, USE IT!!! Very few people have been given the gifts needed to write or perform songs; if you’re one of the few, don’t let that gift go to waste. The rest of us need you if we’re going to have good music to listen to!

— 6 —

Another inspiring thing about that band Walk Off the Earth, from their Wikipedia entry:

Walk off the Earth is a Canadian indie band that formed in 2006 in Burlington, Ontario, and has gained success around the world by making low-budget music videos of covers and originals. The band built its fan base independently with no help from record labels, booking agents, or management.

That’s another thing we should all remember: here in the internet age, you don’t need an institution’s stamp of approval before you begin a new project. If you have an idea that you’re passionate about, just do it! If you can’t get an agent or a manger or a publisher or a label or whatever else you think you need, do it anyway! Create great work, put it out there, stick with it, and you’ll very likely gain traction.

— 7 —

I am now officially typing while the baby is asleep, which means that every character you see from this point on represents a millisecond that I am choosing to BLOG instead of doing that SLEEP thing that I’ve heard so much about. So, on that note, I wish you all a great weekend, and I’m going to go pass out.



  1. Nichole

    Wow, this is embarrassing. The first thing I wrote is basically the same thing you wrote for take 1. I promise I didn’t plagiarize. Here’s to more sleep and clearer minds in the near future!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      You’re sleep deprived, it reminds you of college hangovers, you love Arrested Development, and you let your kids watch a lot of TV? If your take was similar to mine it might be because I think we’re the same person. πŸ™‚

      • Nichole

        How funny! We might be pretty similar, but I’m a few book deals short of being you. πŸ˜‰
        I’ve been reading your blog and conversion story for about a year, which has helped renew and deepen my faith (esp. some of posts at the register). Thanks for putting it all out there, making me think and laugh!

  2. Maia

    I’ve discovered that all Things To Be Done get a certain number of points. Once the baby starts sleeping, I get to determine how badly I want to use up my precious points. I find my logic falls into: “blogging? 20 pts. Brushing teeth? 10 pts. TOO EXPENSIVE! TOO MUCH MATH! Just sleep…” Nursing baby and nodding off now…

  3. Amanda

    AMEN to getting things done yourself in this internet age! If folks have a great idea, create it and go for it, and don’t let anything stop you from doing something that God has written on your heart!

    Now enjoy that sleep! =)

  4. grace

    the saloon dinners sound like fun!

  5. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    LOVE that version of Payphone. He played his tie! So great. Totally inspired to go find their other stuff, like that Gotye cover.

  6. Kathleen

    Do you recommend any family friendly workout videos? I’m going to guess that old Jillian hadn’t come up with one…

  7. Laura

    Love the comment about the squats!! It took awhile but I can do them now without the wires to hold me up so keep at it…it is possible!

  8. Deanna

    Salon Dinners – might be something fun and interesting to do for adult formation, like Theology on Tap.

    Sleep thoughts: always sleep when the baby does and never wake a sleeping baby. Sweet Dreams!

  9. Carol@simple_catholic

    Your comments about the squats cracked me up! I can’t do them to save my life!

    What a nice neighbor you have who hosts lawn movies nights. Looks like fun. πŸ™‚

  10. Colleen Martin

    I can only do that video om MUTE. Jillian sort of drives me crazy, and she totally favors one of the girls over the other, so I just feel bad for the blond girl the whole time. But she does get results, go you!

  11. Susan

    The very fact that you will blog on 3 hours of sleep is amazing – I’m NOT even close to being there, which is why I get an average of 2.1 posts written per week with 89 typos in each. Finding Barney in the vido case made me laugh….oh how I can relate!! And, at that point, I usually say forget it, and go scrounging around the house for chocolate. Thanks for being such a gracious host!!

  12. Smoochagator

    You movie-night-salon-discussion neighbors sound so cool I wouldn’t feel worthy of living near or hanging out with them! My idea of a successful night of entertaining involves conning people into bringing adult beverages and Redbox rentals to my house.

    • Smoochagator

      Oh, and speaking of adult beverages, yesterday I was telling a coworker about your Capri-Sun-momtini because that shtuff was H-I-LARIOUS.

  13. Leticia

    I am still choosing to sloth. I really need to get up off my butt though. Zumba starts next week. Boo. πŸ™‚

  14. Brian Sullivan

    “like a nerdy suburban version of Pomplamoose” Isn’t that redundant?

  15. Julie

    I can’t tell you how much I love that salon dinner idea. It reminds me of one of my favorite things about college — dinners for our honors program hosted a few times a semester by our college’s president in his beautiful home. We’d have a short reading assignment in advance, a speaker at the dinner, and then a group discussion on the topic. I attended almost every single one. I would LOVE to host such a thing. But, hm… how realistic is that with two toddlers underfoot?

    • Anna

      This past year we’ve been doing a “Leisure, the Basis of Culture Club,” which I came up with b/c my parents have, for some years, been doing something like those salon dinners (but with just light refreshments, not dinner), and I loved the idea but it was impossible with small children. So we’ve invented a family-friendly version; we’ve done things like comic poetry, Talk Like a Pirate Day, sing-a-longs, and, b/c we learned that 20 young kids can’t be turned loose with a “go play!” without it turning into Lord of the Flies, game days where the kids of each family learn a game (like Simon Says [which we “learned” originated as “Cicero dixit, fac hoc!”] or Farmer in the Dell or Run, Sheep, Run) and teach it to everyone and we play it. So it’s not culture like a salon dinner, but it’s culture in Joseph Pieper’s sense of the term.

  16. Barbara C.

    4 hours of sleep here. 10-month-old can not grasp that her bedtime is not between midnight and 2 am.

    Oh, and I learned from Denise Austin that you can use soup cans as cheap and easy light weights. Plus, it makes you look super crazy to exercise with soup cans thereby increasing your crazy homeschooling breeder street cred.

  17. Hannah

    love Walk off the Earth in our house! Red Hands is one of my favorite

  18. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    I always laugh when people tell me how hard Shred is. All I can think is that I would have quit the minute my heart rate went up. You are a better woman.

  19. Catholic Kara

    Be careful with the Shred! I hurt my knee badly with that video the second time I attempted it. It works wonders tho and my overall stamina was improved.

  20. Rosemary

    Ohmygoodness THANK YOU for calling the fitness world out on squats!!! I have been trying to do prenatal yoga and nope, squats are simply not compatible with the human body! (At least, not my human body, ha!) Especially since in every picture of a squat I’ve ever seen the person has their heels flat on the floor. Not happening over here. IF I hold on to a chair and squat, my heels are a good three or four inches off the ground.

  21. Sara

    Oh my, I had the same thoughts about “the shred.” I already was a runner and thought “20 minutes! Can’t be worth my time.” I could barely move for days! Keep up with it though – I made it to level 2 after a month or so but could never move beyond that. It does make you a lot stronger which is great after having a baby. Muting is good because I can’t stand listening to her talk about how good I am going to look. Did it ever occur to these people that we are exercising for reasons other than being super skinny? I exercise for so I can eat brownies, duh.

  22. elizabethe

    Jen, first, why in the world would you buy a workout with the word “shred” in it? That does not sound like anything I want to do with my body.

    Second, I can do a squat. No problem balance wise. I’m not even particularly fit. You have to lean way forward.

    Tracy Anderson Method. Read her book “30 day method.”

    Ignore her diet.

    Start with 10 reps each (she wants you to start with like 20 and work up to 40 or 60, work up to that very very slowly).

    Get the trampoline workout for cardio.



    I LOVE IT.

    If you commit it can get pricey, as she wants to you join her fitness routine every month club, but you can easily get the book, and her mat workout video and rotate between those four for quite a long time. After all, you don’t need to be a supermodel, just reasonably in shape.

    Seriously reading the introduction to her method was akin to reading Perfect Health Diet for me in terms of exercise.

  23. Buttons

    Thanks for hosting! I have to say, I totally agree about squats. I was strong armed into doing this 30 Day Squat Challenge that was all over Pinterest. I was actually shocked at how many I could do, and then my sister came and told me it was so easy (and it wasn’t easy. I was crying through most of them) because I’m doing it wrong and too fast. I made it to I think Day 19. I might try again next month and actually finish it.

  24. Hafsa

    I have been a faithful fan of Jillian’s 30 Day Shred and it is the only workout DVD that I have been sore from. Um I haven’t even made it past level 1. Now I’m 32 weeks pregnant and I cannot wait to get back into it. Hope you get some sleep soon!

  25. Morag

    I LOVE the movie on the lawn idea and the salon dinners sound fabulous! If I could stay out the way of all those horrible bugs in Texas, maybe I could be persuaded. My latest thing is I am hoping to persuade my friends/acquaintances that holding gatherings and buying products from me is a wonderful idea. Check out the link on my blog for more details…. Oh and I’ve managed to write some song lyrics in the last year, but need to find a talented music person to do some music…anyone?

  26. Julia

    Thank you for sharing more about the Acton Institute, I had not come across it before. It’s strange but I had a similar idea when my son came home telling me that they had watched a few movies this last week of school, and me being my nerdy, therapist-trained self asked if anyone led any discussions after the movies about life lessons and values. My husband looked at me like “you should do that,” and I gave him the look that said “I just signed up to run the book fair and the chess club next year, no way.” Love that idea of people coming together to discuss issues and get to know one another. Thanks for sharing! And kudos to you for surviving Jillian! I’m in an avoidance stage with her lately, but I know I’ll have to face the music again soon.

  27. Bonnie Way

    I have a new baby in the house too (3 months old) so I can totally understand trying to get enough sleep! I don’t operate well on no sleep. πŸ™‚ As for squats… well, they got me through labour three months ago. Somehow doing squats helped with contractions. My midwife asked me the next morning how my legs were feeling, as she was amazed at how many squats I did. I don’t normally do squats, but I felt fine! I should check out that workout video too – I seriously need to get back in shape too. πŸ™‚

  28. JR

    I need to go see a movie on the lawn! I know my city does it sometimes during the summer. #inspired

  29. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    I love that outdoor movie party! I always see those inflatable movie screens (by always I kind of mean in the Skymall catalogs when I used to be able to fly off to far away places). What a great way to build community! Dinner sounds really amazing too…gives me ideas and then I get tired. Oh, and babies are asleep in my house and I am reading and writing. Better catch a little sleep or lectoring tomorrow may prove comical….. Glad you are getting multiple consecutive hours of sleep, even if they aren’t in the double digits. Oh. Right. That will never happen again…I keep forgetting.

  30. Gill

    I would try the Ripped-In-30 if I were you. I’ve done that and 30-Day-Shred, and I think Ripped is much easier on the joints. Also, she’s less obnoxious–slightly–in Ripped because she knows her target audience is mothers who are stuck in their living rooms. Her language is a bit less coarse, in my opinion.

  31. Jenn @ Home is Where

    oh where to start, great list! First, the salon dinners sound amazing, what a great idea! (would love to hear John Taylor Gatto speak!) I like the 30 day shred -or love/hate it. At least it is only 28 minutes long, I figure I can suffer that long. Payphone!! my kids love that song, I have it on my itunes so they can listen to it in the phone. I love all the creativity the internet has made possible πŸ˜€

    have a great week, and I hope for lots of sleep for you!

  32. Allison

    If you use a chair or couch when you do squats, it really helps your technique. Squat, until your rear just touches the chair, then stand up. Having the chair under you allows you to sit back in your heels because if you start to lose your balance, you simply sit in the chair. Hope this helps πŸ™‚

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