Friday, December 11, 2020

7 Quick Takes about the Current State of Everything, Christmas Avocados, and Sweatshirts with Double Meanings

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


I was doing a little online Christmas shopping and just started laughing when I read the COVID disclaimer at the bottom that started "Due to the current state of everything..." 

That's how I feel right about now, too.

Pandemic notwithstanding, this is the two-week period of December when everything  the Christmas cards, the mailing, the shopping, the decision-making about who gets what  needs to be done all at the same time. Every year I try to avoid having a meltdown, but it came this weekend just like clockwork, anyway.

My mom pointed out that between brainstorming and shopping for 6 kids plus receiving, wrapping, and labeling gifts from out-of-town family, I pretty much have the equivalent to a PhD in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

And even PhDs need to cry in the bathroom sometimes.


Phillip's boss sent out holiday gifts and one for our family arrived this week. 

The boxes were filled with fruit and gourmet chocolates. Not only were they delicious, but after we ate them I realized I could wrap the empty boxes back up to make a pretty Christmas decoration that cost $0. 

Which we all know is the best kind of decoration.


The fruit in our Christmas box came packaged in sheets of green foam to keep it from bruising. 

I discarded the sheets but something about the color just called "avocado" to my crafty 9-year-old, who saved one of them from the trash and responded accordingly by making this:

The most kawaii avocado you'll see today.

Before I knew it, someone had stuck the avocado on top of the mini tabletop Christmas tree in our dining room, and now I'm pretty sure we have the most unique tree in town:

Helps us all to remember the avocado that appeared on that first Christmas night.

I'm not really expecting company this Christmas, but if this were a normal year I'd totally forget it was there and give someone a great big laugh at our unconventional tree topper.


Every night, my 4-year-old starts his bedtime routine by opening negotiations over how many minutes I will lay down with him.

Recently, his older brother has been reading a book of random facts and I know he's been listening because he started out the haggling last night with "a googolplex Graham's number minutes."

As the fact book will tell you, a googolplex is 1 followed by 10100 zeros, and Graham's number is the largest named number in the universe (so big I don't even really get what it is.) 

And that's why I love having little kids. Tell me, what's better than having someone who wants to cuddle with you for googolplex Graham's number minutes?? Nothing. There isn't anything better.

That said, I do have other kids to put to bed after him and more Christmas stuff to freak out over after they're all asleep, so he and I negotiated down to 4 minutes and everyone seemed happy with the compromise.


My 16-year-old, who likes to think through the ethical implications of things and is also very familiar with the way children work, showed me an interesting video of a 2-year-old solving the infamous "trolley dilemma."

If you haven't taken an introductory psychology class recently, you might not be familiar with the trolley dilemma. It's a popular thought experiment: you see a train barreling toward 5 people. You can save them by pulling a lever to switch the train to a different track, but that track has one person on it. Do you do nothing and watch the five die, or do you pull the lever to save them even though it means killing one person?

Anyway, this toddler's solution to the thorny moral dilemma wasn't at all what I expected. But taking into account everything I know about 2-year-old boys, it was actually exactly what I should have expected.


This is a picture of me in one of my favorite sweatshirts. I have Reynaud's and I'm always freezing (the heated seats in the van are on from September to May around here,) so this shirt is perfect for me.

Ironically, it's a really warm sweatshirt.

I was passing my 14-year-old on the stairs when she said, "Wait, what does that say?" 

When I turned around, she read it and then went, "Ohhhh. I thought it said, 'I'm so getting old.'"

Either interpretation is fine, really.


For the most part I like virtual lessons because they eliminate drive time, but sometimes they can be difficult when your house is louder than a Led Zeppelin concert in 1977.

Phillip was having a voice lesson on Monday night and I needed the kids to all be quiet, so I sent them upstairs with the iPad and gave the 12-year-old instructions to "find something appropriate to watch."

He did not disappoint.

I'm not sure how he arrived at it, but he found a cool video that combined learning and curiosity with humor and a squirrel launch, and I completely approve.

He showed it to Phillip and I after the lesson and now Phillip keeps saying "We need to do something with the squirrels in our yard." 

Sorry but no, that's where I draw the line. We have excessive squirrel problems as it is. Literally the only thing stopping them from completely taking over this place is their lack of opposable thumbs. I'm not tempting fate by purposely enticing them and all their friends into our yard.

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Jenny in WV said...

Thanks for the squirrel video! It was a fun distraction this morning!

Kelly M. said...

Don't the pet rats needs an obstacle course like that through the house??

AnneMarie said...

I love the avocado on the tree. It wouldn't surprise me if that cements itself in the memory of at least one of your children...years down the road, you'll be discussing Christmases gone by, and perhaps one of them will say "Yeah, and remember 2020? That was a WILD year. We even had an avocado on our Christmas tree!"

I hope you hang in there with all of the holiday preparations and logistics!

Diana Dye said...

I had no idea this morning I would watch a 20 minute Squirrel Whipeout video but I have to say it made my day.

PurpleSlob said...

This is the best thing I've seen all day!!
I'll have to see if one of my grandbabies will make ME an avocado tree topper! I bet I'll be the first in my neighborhood!!

Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

We so, so, so enjoyed that squirrel video! Also, if you watched The Good Place, there was an episode where one guy, a philospher, had to do the train experiment over and over. They kept putting people he knew on the tracks. It was crazy to see how he thought through all the scenarios. And I love your sweatshirt!