7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 228)
I am glad that typing only involves using your fingers, since I find myself currently unable to utilize any other muscle groups in my body.
I’ve begun working out with a personal trainer, and WOW does that make a difference in how much effort I put into exercise. Finally, being the most non-confrontational person on the face of the planet is working to my advantage. Today she asked me to do all this craziness that involves going from a push-up position to doing a jumping jack, then back down to the push-up position. I recently saw something similar in a workout video; I responded by scoffing, “Uhh, no” and jogged in place instead. But because I’m a turbo people pleaser who calibrates my every move to maintaining good vibes among the people I’m hanging out with, when the trainer tells me to do the crazy push-up/jumping-jack thing, I say “Yes, ma’am!” and get right to it.
The setup with this trainer is so cool: she’s a fellow mom who lives here in the neighborhood, and hosts training sessions and boot camps in her garage. It only takes me three minutes to get there, and her rates are astoundingly affordable.
Here’s the only downside: the only time we can do these meetings is at 6:30 AM. I need it to be before Joe leaves for work, and she has to do her morning sessions before her son wakes up. So 6:30 it is. The whole house has drifted onto a late schedule this summer, with even the littlest ones sleeping in, and I’ve regularly been able to stay in bed until 9:30. Rising at 6 AM twice a week is going to take some getting used to.
I have a question for anyone born before 1972 or after 1982: Did the sight of a closed closet door with the light on inside terrify you when you were growing up?
For pretty much everyone I know who is close to me in age (born in the late 70s), that image of the glowing edges around a closet door at night was the gold standard of terror. Thanks to the movie Poltergeist, we all knew that the light indicated that evil forces had opened a trans-dimensional hole in our closets, right between our acid-washed jean jackets and our Jammer shorts, and we were about to be sucked into the portal where the only way we’d be able to communicate with our loved ones was through the TV, when it was on a certain channel. (Okay. I’m not making this sound very scary. But if you’ve seen the movie, especially if you saw it when you were under the age of 10, you know that this is blood-chilling stuff here.)
Anyway. Because that movie did such an excellent job of etching a dread of closets at night into the very core of my consciousness, I’d always kind of suspected that closets are inherently frightening things, that the Poltergeist writers just tapped into a basic human fear — like, you could show an isolated Amazonian tribesman a picture of a closet with a light on inside, and he’d say that it’s totally scary because there could be a supernatural vortex in there.
But maybe it’s not a universal thing. Maybe Poltergeist just traumatized everyone who was a child when it was released. So that’s why I ask: If you made it through your childhood without knowing anything about this movie, how much time did you spend looking at your closet door at night in terror?
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Picasa on their incredible face-recognition technology. I’ve been going through the (surprisingly addictive) process of naming everyone whose face it recognizes, and was impressed when it spotted pictures of me as a baby when I’d only ID’d pictures of me as an adult. But the best was when I told it who Joe was, and it scanned my files and immediately brought up these shots:
I feel like there’s a national security implication here. Terrorists, be warned: our face recognition technology has gotten so advanced that not even dressing up like a banana will conceal your identity.
We’re doing a quick trip to visit relatives in east Texas this weekend, and I’m pretty sure we’re going to go to Mass at a new Benedictine Monastery called Thien Tam. The young monk I spoke to when I called about Mass times was so humble and sweet. At first I thought I had the wrong number, because he answered the phone with a simple, “Hello?” When I inquired about joining them for Mass he warmly encouraged us to do so, and asked for our names so that they might greet us personally. He mentioned that there would probably be a priest available to hear confession (which would be great since the lines for confession at my parish are looooooong). Before we hung up, he asked if we would mind praying for them. I can’t wait to visit them. There’s nothing in the world like Benedictine hospitality.
I tried out Amazon Mom for the first time this week. My thinking was that it might save some money to get the discounts on diapers and wipes, and it would save me grocery cart space not to have to get my paper products at the store (with eight people in the house, my grocery carts are starting to make me look like I’m a doomsday stockpiler). Anyway, I’m not thrilled with it, mainly because there’s no option to tell Amazon never to take the payment from any gift card balance that might be on the account. I was thinking of canceling it…until the kids caught sight of the huge box our that carried our shipment:
They have been playing with this for hours. HOURS, people. It’s not an Amazon box, but a Pwincess Castle, and the kids have been ignoring the TV and computers to play with it. I’m not even kidding when I say that I might stick with Amazon Mom just for the big boxes.
I have quite a few friends who do year-round school, whether it’s through homeschool or a school system that uses that schedule, and they all report that it works well for them. Personally, I don’t think I could ever get used to that. It keeps me motivated all spring to know that we have a long break coming up, and the mind-melting boredom of summer makes my kids yearn for school to begin the way a man lost in the desert might yearn for an ice-cold glass of water. Fall would always be my favorite season no matter what, but the fact that it ushers in a major (and much-needed) shift in our daily routine makes it all the better in my book.
I hope you all enjoy this almost-end-of-summer weekend!
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