Summer is off to a rolicking start here in the Fulwiler household, and by that I mean our TV is about to explode from overuse. Every weekday I announce dramatically that we cannot spend one more day sitting around the living room, solemnly promising that there shall be activities, starting tomorrow.
Then, the next day, I wake up and count on one hand the number of hours of sleep I got the night before. I think through the logistics of getting myself and six young children out the door, and my brain starts melting around the time that it occurs to me that we’d all need shoes. Long story short, I throw some crayons and paper on the table, they spend five minutes drawing before I have to shut it down because everyone’s fighting like the rats in a cage that we are, and we end up spending another day sitting around the living room.
I did sign the kids up for some real activities like art camp and swim lessons; in fact, at one point I worried that I’d overbooked us. But then I calculated that there are approximately 60 weekdays in summer, each presenting me with a breathtaking 12 hours to fill, and realized that a couple of kids going to a couple of morning camps is not the life-saver I’d hoped it would be.
It’s all good, though, because now I have plenty of time to surf the web while pretending like I don’t hear “I’m booooooored!” over and over again in the background. Here are some of my favorite finds:
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- More proof that cilantro is the most vile substance on the face of the earth: it smells like bedbugs.
- You need to read Sarah’s post about the birth of her son, who was diagnosed in utero with spina bifida. Personally, I find that the mix of profound insights and heavy profanity give the piece a refreshingly candid feel. I know that f-bombs aren’t everyone’s thing, but you won’t be sorry you read this post.
- Want to inspire your kids to clean? Try taking before and after pictures.
- Some inspiration for summer workouts: 16 fitness experts who used to be overweight.
- More inspiration for summer workouts: this website lets you pick music by the beats per minute. You can even tell it how long it takes you to run a mile and it’ll find the tunes with the perfect beats!
- Sock buns: someone who has talent with hair styling needs to try this and tell me if it works.
- There are a lot of “advice for new moms” posts out there, but this one is particularly good.
- Dude builds Stonehenge in his back yard using only primitive tools to demonstrate how the original creators might have done it (video).
- Brandon Vogt’s new project, Strange Notions, is getting a lot of buzz. It’s a forum where atheists and Catholics dialogue about life’s big questions. They did a very nice announcement video too:
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That’s it for this round! I need to get back to pondering at what point “stir crazy” becomes “actually, seriously, throw-us-all-into-a-padded-cell crazy”.
I finally talked to the doctor who’s going to do The Insane-O Vein Procedure. Here’s how that went:
Doctor: Tell me a bit about your history with clotting.
Me: [I tell him about my genetic clotting disorder (Factor II, homozygous), how it's exacerbated by pregnancy, how I had a deep vein thrombosis in 2006, how I'm nine months pregnant, and how I'm currently recovering from bilateral pulmonary embolisms that occurred while I was taking preventative blood thinners.]
Doctor: [Whistles under his breath.]
Me: [Have an ominous feeling about how the rest of this conversation is going to go.]
Doctor: Wow, this is a complicated case.
Me: [Ominous feeling confirmed.] [Though it's mixed with smug satisfaction that the doctor who is actually doing the procedure is not saying that it's "no big deal."]
Doctor: Normally we insert the filter through your leg. However, since you’re pregnant, we’ll want to go in through your neck.
Me: [Falls off chair.]
Doctor: Don’t worry, we won’t need general anesthesia. I’ll make an incision in your neck, insert the catheter and the filter, and take it down to a spot right by your heart — while you’re awake.
Me: [Twitching. Losing consciousness.]
Doctor: We probably can’t get it low enough to protect everything, but at least we’ll be able to cover the lungs and heart. If you throw a clot, worst case scenario is that you experience kidney failure.
Me: [Everything going black now...]
Doctor: Anyway, we’ll just have to see how it goes. I’ve never done this procedure on a pregnant woman before.
Me: [Startled back to consciousness by visceral terror.]
Doctor: We’ll want to be sure to get the filter in a place where the baby won’t put pressure on it, since if that happens the filter could perforate the vein.
Me: [Trying to remember recipe for a strong Cosmopolitan. I know you're not supposed to drink during pregnancy, but it may be time for the baby to take one for the team.]
And here was I, whining about the ol’ through-the-leg method. I throw my head back in maniacal laughter as I recall those blissful days of innocence, back when I thought I’d merely have to have snakey robot things carrying sharp metal objects threaded up to the vein near my heart through my thigh and not through a hole in MY FREAKING NECK. On the plus side, having a scar on my neck is a big step forward in my only mildly stalkerish obsession with Grace’s blog. (Oh, you say you’re a Camp Patton fan? Do you have a matching scar on your neck? Yeah. I didn’t think so.)
The fun will occur on Wednesday, which will give me three days to recover before the fun continues with early hospital admission on Sunday so that I can be stabbed with needles every couple of hours around the clock (as opposed to the relaxation of being at home, where I only stab myself with needles twice a day). Then Monday the 8th I get stabbed with more needles. Oh, and I think there’s something about some baby coming that day too. I have so resigned myself to this life of robot-tubes and sharp metal objects that I sometimes forget that there’s a purpose to any of it.
I’ve arranged with our priests to get the Anointing of the Sick before all of this begins. I think I’ll refer to the sacrament by its alternate name, Last Rites, since that term has an appropriately ominous and dramatic flair to it.
While I’m busy with all of that, enjoy these great links:
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- Check out this neat list of how to say the Paschal greeting (Christ is Risen!/He is Risen Indeed!) in over 70 different languages.
- The must-read story of an amazing family who stayed strong in faith and hope despite unimaginable obstacles.
- I love this tradition of choosing a secret Bible verse for each child, praying it for them all year long, then revealing which verses you prayed for them on Easter.
- Dorian has a funny and touching post about what she has learned from Pope Emeritus Benedict. I especially love the list of how she would react to the media’s coverage of Pope Francis if she were BVXI.
- Insect head transplants WHAT???!!!
- A wonderfully creative way to add another room to a small house by utilizing vertical space.
- I’ll be in the hospital, so you’ll have to pick up my slack in promoting the April 8th Day of Exodus, in which abortion clinic workers who are ready to leave their jobs but need assistance are encouraged to finally make the leap.
- My favorite new-to-me blogger, Matt Walsh, has a short but profound post about Easter. (This is perhaps not the best juxtaposition, but I would remiss if I didn’t note that I discovered Mr. Walsh through his masterpiece post called “Les Miserables taught me how to hate again“, which had me laughing until I cried.)
- A surprisingly moving reflection: Love means never having to say you’re sorry about explosive diarrhea.
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See you Friday! I expect to be back in action in time to host 7 Quick Takes, because nothing – not even a scalpel to the neck — comes between me and my meme-hosting duties.
I’m really sorry about what happened with Google Reader. It’s my fault.
You see, 2013 is destined to be a year of having all worldly pleasures systematically eradicated from the Fulwiler household, and, as settling into bed to read my favorite blogs on my tablet at the end of a long day was one of the few remaining things that brought me great happiness in this life, it had to go. There was no way it could just stop working for me: if the Reader app crashed on my tablet, I’d download it again. If it wouldn’t work on my tablet at all, I’d get a new one. When I remembered that I cannot afford a new tablet, I would assemble one myself from stray parts in my garage. In short, if Google Reader were available to anyone, anywhere, I would find a way to use it. Therefore, the whole thing had to go.
I think I’m handling it well. I mean, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to meet with my spiritual director, so I’m not 100% sure that this is how a saint would deal with the situation, but here are some of the steps I’ve been taking to work through my feelings about the Reader shutdown:
- Empty Threats: When I first heard the news that Google would dare shut down this beloved service, I shot up from the couch and shook my fist in the air and shouted, “I SHALL DESTROY THEM!” (Actually, I doubt I jumped up. I probably just shifted spastically like the immobile blob that I am.) Joe had to kill the moment by asking for details about how, exactly, I planned to single-handedly take down one of the largest and most successful companies in the world. I told him I’d get back to him with details.
- Bitter Soliloquies: It is a shame that only our 20-month-old was on hand to witness my soliloquy in which I gazed at the heavens and demanded to know why, WHY, Google had to kill all the competition if they knew they were not truly dedicated to the feed reader market in the first place. We used to have Bloglines! I cried. And it was fine! We all loved it! But Google crushed them and all other competitors, only to abandon us in the end. Alas, now we have nothing. It was basically like Hamlet’s “to be, or not to be” speech, but with less self-restraint and more dramatic questions about whether life is worth living.
- Kicking Anyone in the Shins Who Says the Words “Feedly” and “Is an Alternative to Google Reader” in the Same Sentence Without Employing the Word “Not”: That’s been keeping me busy.
There’s more, but that might be too much inspiration for one post. Instead, here are some great links I’ve found lately. (Enjoy them while they last, as the internet will cease to exist for me on July 1.)
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- Lent and our “gods before God”: Sarah Babbs’ deeply personal essay is one of the best explanations I’ve ever seen of what Lent is all about. A great one to send to your friends who don’t understand why we give things up in this season.
- If you’ve ever owned a house you couldn’t sell, you know what an incredibly stressful experience that is. Alisha Landry got to see how God brought good out of her own difficult real estate situation when the new owner of her house sent her this touching letter.
- How to have a self-sufficient homestead on one acre. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m just going to have to be one of the people who starves to death if the global economy ever collapses, but it’s a great article for hard-working and resourceful types.
- I laughed out loud at Laura’s bulleted list of what she encounters when she opens her closet to find something to wear. Yes, yes, yes! I had no idea that this is a universal experience!
- If you were hoping to spend some time procrastinating on Youtube, here’s a list of the 20 most-watched TED talks.
- And here it is, the single best tweet ever:
And now I’m off to cook dinner and do other mundane household things that do not involve flying to Mountain View, CA. (If the police come by to ask nosy questions about bricks being thrown through windows at Google headquarters, I can say I was at your place, right?)