Friday, November 3, 2023

7 Quick Takes about Looking for Some Good News, Things People Don't Realize about Cacti, and Self-Preservation in the Grocery Store

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


To practice my reading in Spanish, I decided to go to CNN EspaƱol and read the news. Of course, the front page was nothing but tanks in Gaza, Maine mass shooter found dead, Hurricane Otis casualties, and Matthew Perry's autopsy. Since it was pretty early in the morning for existential despair, I kept scrolling. I mean, sometimes there's good news, right?

Finally near the very bottom of the page, I spotted a headline that looked like something positive! "Man missing at sea found alive in life raft off Washington coast." 

I clicked the article and started reading the opening line: "One of the two men who were lost at sea for two weeks was found alive"



Our Halloween was... fruitful. The older the kids get, the faster they can go trick-or-treating from house to house and we end up with a ton of candy at the end of it.

Our Spanish exchange student was completely shocked by all the candy wrappers in the garbage. They celebrate Halloween in Spain, but not like we do.


My kids decided to go in costume as Wednesday Addams, Dr. Nefario from Despicable Me, a sloth, a skeleton, and a cactus. Multiple people commented on the 7-year-old's cactus costume, which was a green sweatsuit covered in V-shaped white pipe cleaner pieces, and a flower on top of the hood. They all said something like, "It's such a simple idea!"

Which is true of the concept, but I assure you that individually sewing over 100 tiny pipe cleaner segments onto a hoodie takes forever. I underestimated how long it would take by about 2 hours and was frantically sewing them on up until the very minute we left for a Halloween party.

But guess who won "most original costume"!

He wore it, but I earned it.


At another Halloween party this one at church, I sat with a few of the teenagers in my youth group. I looked at one of them with a backwards hat, tie-dyed shirt, and overalls with one side unbuckled and wondered if it was some character that I didn't recognize.

"Tell me about your costume," I said.

"I decided to go as the scariest thing I could think of: 90s fashion."

I laughed and asked to take a picture but what made me absolutely crack up was when they posed by throwing out some 90s gang signs and saying "wiggity wiggity whack."

That's a teenager committed to doing their research, right there.


After two weeks, our Spanish exchange student went back home. Paula was a great girl but I'm probably going to need a week to recover. 

Keeping the house together and containing the kids' chaos enough to keep from horrifying her was pretty exhausting. Plus, the other host families ended up unofficially throwing a lot of late-night social events for the exchange students  and as her ride, guess who else got to stay up late every night?

It was going okay until Phillip had to leave on a last-minute work trip in the middle of it, and now I'm kind of hoping for either a vacation or a medically-induced coma.


Usually I go to the grocery store alone, during the day while the kids are at school. But this week I stopped by with my 15-year-old son to get a few things, and I realized something. 

After almost two decades of parenting, I am physically incapable of walking in front of my child in a grocery store without holding out a hand to keep them from crashing the cart into my ankles.

My son kept saying, "Mom, stop. You're doing it again," and I would look down to see that there I was, walking with my hand splayed out behind me. 

It was a reflex, and hard as I tried, I can't not throw out a protective hand when I know that my own flesh and blood is behind me, wielding a 70-lb steel contraption on wheels and probably not paying attention.


Occasionally I'll get discouraged because my language learning progress is so slow. This week the thought occurred to me that I'm 41 years old, and statistically speaking, at the rate it's taking me how much time will I even have to enjoy being fluent in Spanish before I die of natural causes??

It was a very cheerful morning.

But then I came across a piece of advice on Reddit that really helped me: just think of all the things you can do badly.

I can introduce myself and have a short conversation badly.

I can write a journal entry in Spanish about my day badly.

I can watch a movie dubbed into Spanish and understand it badly.

I can read a chapter of a Spanish-language YA novel badly.

Sometimes it upsets me that I can't do these things well, without re-watching scenes, looking up words, or asking people to repeat themselves. But I didn't use to be able to do them at all, which means that doing them badly is a huge accomplishment!

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1 comment:

Diana Dye said...

Ha I can't even let my child push the cart. You're way ahead of me!