7 Quick Takes, vol. 139



Last Friday, we took Julianna to the ophthamologist to have her post-lazy-eye surgery checkup. We hadn’t had her glasses on her in 10 days, and in the squabble of getting three little kids dressed, toys and books packed, and out the door, I forgot to bring them. But apologizing for being a loser mom opened the discussion of whether she needed them at all. The doctor said let her go without for a few months, since they her farsightedness has eased off by more than half. No glasses to lose! To scratch! To break! Freedom!


Heart Monitor

Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

Our next doctor visit, to the cardiologist, was not so successful. Julianna has firmly associated things as innocuous as a scales, stethoscope and pulsox machine as INSTRUMENTS OF DEATH. DEATH, I AM TELLING YOU. Now just imagine what happened when they started sticking leads to her chest, arms and legs to do an EKG. If you’ve never had one, this is an almost-instantaneous reading; it takes longer to place the leads than to do the test. But there’s no reasoning with a four-year-old who had eye surgery two weeks earlier. It took four people to get Julianna’s EKG.  I held her arms and sang while her screams rattled my eardrums; one nurse held her legs; another tried to entertain her while the third ran the computer. Now we have a new family tradition: post-doctor visits, we will go for ice cream to soothe the trauma.


Lately I’ve been shaking my head over the dumb questions reporters ask sometimes. This week Joplin schools reopened, and the TV reporter asked the mayor, “So how important is a sense of normalcy to the kids?” Puh-leeze. “Oh, for crying out loud,” I said. “What do you expect him to say? ‘Actually, we think it’s terrific for kids to live in crisis mode!’ ” I shook my head and told Christian, “I will never be a good person to go on TV, because sooner or later I’ll short-circuit and say what I think, instead of what I’m supposed to say.”


Can I just say how much I hate the Sears service line? I either want to talk to someone, or punch buttons. I do not want to have a chat with a machine. I give the machine all the info, and then they send me to a person who promptly makes me tell her everything all over again, and expects me, apparently, to leave my son languishing after school on the day of the appointment–because they refuse to be any more specific than “between 1 and 5.” I mean, come on. Everybody’s kids have to be picked up from school! How can anyone commit to this kind of a wacked-out, open-ended schedule? This is the problem with a centralized, national system for something that has to be done locally. Grr! Can I get an Amen?


Image via Wiki Commons

I’ve always been a little crazier than most pregnant women, but I think this one probably takes the cake. On Monday night I found myself standing atop a fifteen-foot pile of mulch, sunk up to my knees, flinging shovelfuls down as we helped prepared the school playground for the first day of school. It wasn’t until I had huffed and puffed my way to the top, using my shovel as a climbing pole, that I thought, Is this wise? Several people commented on my perch and my condition…but no one volunteered to take over. Alex and a couple buddies joined me, though.


At rehearsal last night, I remembered a story I wanted to share, which will probably not be meaningful if you aren’t Catholic and a trained musician, but hey. My first 5 QTs have been pretty universal today. Humor me.

When you enter music school freshman year of college, the first thing you encounter in music history class is Gregorian chant. This is the beginning and origin of all Western music, and the concepts that underlie chant–including the structure of what was written–exert a huge pull on music for centuries to come. So oddly enough, this Catholic girl went to college and started learning Church history, in the form of “ordinaries” and “propers.” It was kind of cool, actually, because it added depth of meaning to going to Mass, since we still use largely the same structure.

Years later, we were doing a wedding with some non-Catholic professional musicians. Mid-way through rehearsal, the trumpet player said, “Oh!” He had a funny look on his face. “It’s like a mini-Mass.”

No, I wanted to say, it IS a Mass.


I’ve had one of those low-key blogging weeks, where I didn’t feel I had the creativity or energy to blog in depth. But I have some posts stewing for next week, on pregnancy, fear, and being put together (or more accurately, not). Stay tuned, and have a great weekend!

14 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes, vol. 139

  1. Your #6 reminds me what it was like to study choral music with a whole bunch of non-Catholics. The first time we did a European choir tour and sang in some Catholic churches, the non-music majors and several Jewish students, who hadn’t had Church history courses, were all surprised that all these pieces we’d learned – Kyries, Glorias, Sanctuses – were actually parts of the Mass. It’s like your story, only backwards. 😉

  2. Sounds like you are manic pregnant woman…I was one of those! Remember sweeping floor before a Christmas party until I was literally stuck in the hunched over position like an old beggar woman. The next day I slept in the car while my husband went into Home Depot. Too tired to move!

    Take care of yourself!

  3. AMEN! 🙂

    Isn’t it just the hardest thing in the world to have to hold your child down amidst terror and confusion ‘for their own good’?

    We spent a year fearful for our daughter’s life, and at least one specialist appointment a week… almost all involving needles, of which she was not fond. Our ‘after the doctor’ treat is pancakes, not to soothe the trauma, but because I wanted to be sure that all of us continued to see and live the joy in our life, depsite the challenges. I think ice cream after doctor visits is GREAT!

    Thanks for visiting my page, Kathleen… right now any comment is WONDERFUL, LOL! THANK YOU! It’s very intimidating following writers such as yourself into the blogosphere, but I’m still going to try.

    Your page and writing have left me breathless… I am in awe of your honesty and the eloquence with which you walk your philosphy (which I share but couldn’t articulate) on these pages. I’m so glad to have found you!


      • Okay.. I didn’t need to know THAT, LOL!

        Actually, the agent thing has filtered into my awareness, but I’m just going to ignore it. I’ll just keep smiling and writing and hope no one notices I’m not in the same league.

  4. So, not to pry or anything, but does Julianna have D.S.? Because Beadboy1 has D.S., and he has to wear glasses to correct a lazy eye and fix farsightedness, with the hope of avoiding laser surgery. (We’ve gone through so many pairs of glasses, the optometrist has taken pity on me and sells them to me at cost.) And Beadboy1 has also had it with doctors and specialists who poke and prod him — to the point that he has a fit when we try to cut his hair. I just took him to the cardiologist yesterday, and I had to constantly reassure him that nobody would stick him with needles or shove things into orifices. And I bribed him with McDonald’s after. In other words, you seem to be living my life . . .

    • Well spotted! Yes, Julianna does have DS. And this mornign I took her to have new orthotics fitted–all they had to do was measure her with a tape measure, and she screamed and fought the whole time, to the point that she was covered with sweat when it was over. I’m so ready for her to pass this stage!

      I’m glad to “meet” you! I would say not to avoid the surgery out of fear…that’s the same procedure they followed with us and finally the ophthamologist said that at some point her brain will lose the ability to develop binocular vision (IOW, depth perception), and we need to correct it first. The surgery was no fun, but she was her normal self by the next morning. Except for the demon eyes, I mean.

      • Ah, orthotics. The orthopedist is Beadboy1’s favorite doctor, because she just plays with his feet. Every time I tell him he has a doctor’s appointment, he hopefully asks if it is with her (by which I mean, he says “foot?”).

        We aren’t avoiding it out of fear, it is just that his opthamologist thinks he may not need it if he wears his glasses consistently, and fortunately for us, he finally gets that his glasses are helpful.

        Nice to meet you too! By the way, WordPress rejected my email address when I tried to comment, until I finally used my work address. Do you know why it would do that?

      • I’m so glad Beadboy1 does well with the orthopedist. Sigh…hopefully we’ll get there someday!

        Didn’t mean to browbeat @ the surgery, just to reassure that it’s not all that big a deal. I had a lot of anxiety.

        As for the email, I have no idea. If you want to contact me off-comments and let me know what the email address is, it might make more sense…but don’t hold your breath!

  5. Hi, Kathleen,
    I really enjoyed your quick takes. Found myself smiling more than once. and I love, love your music story. And I’m neither Catholic nor a musician! Nice visiting with you!

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