The Avengers and other Quick Takes



I went to a family wedding in southern Missouri last weekend. It was quite a culture shock; very suddenly, when I turned onto I-44, I found myself surrounded by John 3:16s, Baptist churches three times the size of my (very large) parish, a Mack truck dealership that took up both sides of the highway, and an NRA museum. It was one of those, “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” moments. And in the brochure/attractions rack at the hotel: the flyer at right. Upon my honor.


Between traveling, parent teacher conferences, early outs, Halloween parties, and four, read that FOUR days off school (okay fine, 3 1/2, but that half day might as well not have existed), I realized I had to write off this entire week for work. And naps, for that matter. Michael’s very flexible these days, but the down side is that he never, ever wants to take a nap. And he used to be so easy to put to bed!


I had a vaguely hysterical moment with Nicholas this week in the car. He sneezed, told himself “bless you,” and kicked off a discussion of the Trinity. At the end of it, he asked thoughtfully, “What if God sneezed?”

I am totally writing a story about that. The Day God Sneezed. Christian and I were having all sorts of fun that night coming up with silly things to include.



November (Photo credit: kurafire)

Speaking of stories…it’s November 1st, which for Catholics is All Saints Day, but for writers kicks off NaNo, National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write 50,000 words in one month–plant the butt in the chair, stick the fingers on the keyboard, and write. I’m ambivalent about taking on this challenge for several reasons–let’s call it six: Christian, Alex, Julianna, Nicholas, Michael, and Other Commitments. It’s unrealistic for me to think I could average 1666 new words every day. Yet I see the value of it–deadlines work.

So instead I’ve set a different sort of writing goal for November: seven new flash stories, at least half of them not for blog prompt posting. By the end of November, I want to have some new stories ready to send out. Or at least, within striking distance. To the writers among my readership: are you doing NaNo? What’s been your experience?


Time for the obligatory Halloween take. It was a cold one; Michael and I only lasted half an hour, after which we opened up our house for trick-or-treating. He went crazy giving candy to other kids (and scoping out the contents of their baskets. “I’ll trade you one of these for seven of those!” was Christian’s joke). So you can imagine my surprise when a kid ran to the door in a black robe and said, “I’M SUPPOSED TO BE ‘THE SCREAM’ BUT THE MASK IS TOO HOT!”

“Too hot?” I said, but he was already halfway to the street. I traded rueful glances with his dad. “Well, when you run that fast…” he said.


But I know you all were really just coming here for Avengers Family pics, right?

Halloween 004 closeup

Alex as Hawkeye, Michael as the Hulk, Julianna as Captain America, Nicholas as Iron Man, me as Black Widow and Christian as Thor.


I need one more QT, so I’ll offer this: as difficult as Nicholas can be, every so often he has a moment so sweet that it makes it all…well, it helps me see the big picture. Yesterday someone asked him what the best part of his school Halloween party was, and he said, “My mom and Alex and Michael coming to it.” Awwwwwww…….

Happy early November!

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about rattlesnakes, books, and holidays that should be more fun than they are

7 Quick Takes, vol. 103



I hardly ever click on anything in the Facebook sidebar, but this one caught my eye:  “What’s the point of Girls? Challenge one father’s goal for what he’s trying to raise his father to become by clicking here.”  Uh-oh, I thought.

But I was wrong. His post is stellar, and although at first I thought, “I wish I had a daughter this applied to,” I realized almost immediately that it’s even more applicable to Julianna than to her typically-developing peers. Check it out.


You know it’s campaign season when you find yourself witnessing the worst of human behavior from people you don’t even know. Here’s  an excerpt from a series of emails I got this week:

Oh, come on, people.  Really?  You are going to vote against a law that will reduce the number of breeding animals in a puppy mill from thousands to 50?  Please, think about this. 

 The HSUS sponsored Prop B was passed in California and now they pay $7.00 for a dozen eggs. The HSUS doesn’t care about puppies! They only want to turn the human race into vegitarians. They have stated they would rather see the human race die off so the other species could have the earth. I say let them lead by example. The left has always tried to use compasion as a lever to get their agenda passed. Do your research on the proposal’s sponsors and find out for yourself.

$7 for a dozen eggs in CA?  I Googled “Price of one dozen eggs in CA” and immediately found this:

Please look at response number 8, dated August, 2010.  Eggs in CA are a whopping $2.50.

As for your ludicrous portrayal of the HSUS…poppycock.  Please include the source of this rumor in your next email, I’d love to see it. 

And please, Mr. ——, use your spell check.  It’s hard to take your email seriously if you won’t even bother to present your ideas in a literate manner.


When I start getting emails like these, I just want to retreat from social media. C’mon, people. No wonder the candidates treat each other the way they do, if this is what they see from their constituents!


Well, there are happier subjects to address. I’ve been meaning to make note of it for two weeks: Nicholas has taken his first baby step out of TwinLand and ahead of his big sister. He can now repeat Mama, Dada, Wawa, Gege, Yiyi, Nana and Vava at will, on command. He’s also made progress on the toilet in the last week, for what that’s worth. But Julianna’s starting to show signs of a difference in the way she thinks & communicates, too. Christian brought home a new Signing Times video from the library, and she keeps coming up to me and signing Daddy–baby. Baby being code for her videos. After a while I realized she was asking for the Daddy Signing Times video. Ain’t that just too cute?


It’s another sleepy morning. I stayed up to finish reading Catching Fire. If you haven’t heard of this latest YA book craze, it’s time to go to the library and put your name on the waiting list. Suzanne Collins makes me despair of being able to write a well-plotted, compelling book. She’s got it down, man. When was the last time I read a book between sunup and sundown? Oh, yeah. Six weeks ago, when I read The Hunger Games.


I’ve been hard at work this week, clearing out writing projects and trying to outline in bits & pieces, in preparation for NaNoWriMo, which for those who are unfamiliar is a really stupid, hard-to-write-and-say abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month. Let me tell you, I am feeling intimidated. I know all the back stories for my characters, all the things that have to happen to them, but the thought of figuring out what events it takes to get them there, and have those events actually draw people in…I don’t know, from this side of November 1st, that just seems more than a little overwhelming!


But I’m sure once I get started writing, things will begin to flow. There’s only so much you can do in prep, and then you just have to plunge in. And I warn you, I have quite a few writing blog topics in mind.

Have a great Halloween!

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 103)