Friday, December 9, 2022

7 Quick Takes about Pieces of Pie, Discouraging Progress Reports, and Cashing in my Christmas Miracle

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


One of my brothers-in-law who has little kids has been fielding ideas on how to talk to them about sex. I forwarded him the post I wrote on how we've done it at our house, but then I started thinking how we should revisit the topic in a different way with my teenagers now that they're older.

I started, as always, by searching the Internet for any relevant parenting books. (I love parenting books.) I entered a promising-looking title into the search bar at Amazon to see the reviews, and as I was scrolling through the list of related titles I started laughing out loud.

Boldly and proudly standing on the list, for some reason, was "The Totally Awesome Book of Useless Information." So there's that perspective, I guess.


In other funny Internet search news, later that same day I was reserving Christmas movies on the library's website. I typed the movie title Christmas Chronicles into the search bar. The library didn't have it (I think it's actually a Netflix movie), but it served up some related items it thought I might enjoy instead.

The first result was Interview with the Vampire. I guess both "chronicles" and "interview" sound vaguely newspaper-y, but I think that's about where the similarities end. I haven't seen either movie, though, so I guess I can't be too sure.


My teenagers were supposed to bring some cookies to their early-morning scripture study class before school, so we were in a hurry getting them made before everyone had to go to bed the night before.

The conscientious 16-year-old and the highly distractable 11-year-old were on the job. But in a rare role reversal, the 11-year old was the one keeping the project on the rails.

"What's going on?" the 16-year-old asked, flustered. "Why are you focused and I'm not? What's happening?"

In the end, they were able to finish the cookies, though. At class the next morning, they had a short devotional and then they traded with everyone else to make holiday cookie plates. My son dropped his off at the fire station on the way to school, and my daughter is taking hers to the library this afternoon.


Inspired by a talk at the most recent general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we're doing a 6-week series of family home evenings on the names given to Christ in the Bible. For each one, we're focusing especially on how we can accept His invitation to "come follow me" by emulating whatever attribute a name highlights.

Last week, we talked about how Jesus is the bread of life (John 6), and set a goal to help someone be spiritually filled that week. For dessert afterward, we ate banana bread.

This week, we talked about how Jesus is the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6) and set a goal to make peace when we find ourselves in a tense situation. And then the kids wanted another themed dessert... so what they came up with was prince of peace → prince of piece → piece of pie and there you go.

Their scheme worked. Chocolate cream.

They're already planning on ice cream sandwiches for when we talk about Jesus being "the mediator," (get it, the ice cream in the middle brings it together?) and a marshmallow cookie recipe they found for "light of the world" because they're light and fluffy. The connections get more tenuous after that.

Is this an exercise in irreverence? I'm not really sure. But the kids are into it and we're all at least trying in our own small way to become more like Jesus by concentrating on our goals, so I'll continue to allow it.


Duolingo sent me an end-of-year progress report. Since April, I've spent 15,423 minutes learning Spanish. 

And that's 257 hours of just Duolingo. I haven't kept track, but I've probably spent another 200 hours listening to Spanish podcasts, looking things up, watching moves/TV, reading books in Spanish, talking to friends on my language exchange app... and it's actually pretty demoralizing because I still struggle to express myself in an actual conversation. 

Languages are HARD, guys. Really hard.


I've never been to the eye doctor, except for an emergency visit for a scratched cornea. But I'm taking a medication for my lupus that may cause vision changes, so I need to start going for regular exams every year.

After going to my first eye exam on Wednesday, I want to know: why does no one complain about this?? I HATED going to the eye doctor. It was the worst. I would rather go to the dentist any day, hands down.

When they put drops in my eyes to dilate my pupils, my vision got so unfocused I couldn't even read the name tag of the receptionist on the way out. I could see cars and people so I still drove home, but I couldn't have read you a street sign to save my life, not even the big ones on the freeway. 

When I got home I just sat there for a while, unable to do much because basically every task I do during the day involves needing to see, and then I took a nap. (To check for damage specific to my medication, I'd also had to do a field vision test which the tech described as a "pretty intense test," and my brain was pretty tired from that, anyway.)


When Phillip was working from home all the time due to COVID, we set up one of those Japanese Shoji screen-style room dividers behind his home office so it looked nice on Zoom calls.

But he's mostly back to the office now, so we're selling it on Facebook Marketplace. And as I was setting the divider up to take pictures of it to sell, it tipped over and one of the Shoji screen-style panels caught on something and RIPPED!

Luckily, I tried smoothing together the edges with some Fray Check and the fabric knit together so well I couldn't even tell it happened. And I was still able to sell it. Which is great, but I think I've used up my Christmas miracle now.

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