Saturday, July 5, 2014

// 7 Q U I C K T A K E S V O L 7 //


Happy Independence Day! Alex had to work this morning, so Johnny and I hit up a 4th of July parade with another mama whose hubby was working. (Us mamas gotta stick together.) It was beautiful out today, prefect parade weather. And while the marching band played Stars and Stripes Forever Johnny and his friend Benny demonstrated their Stripes Forever.

This evening we went to a picnic with some of my friends from college. Alex got to come with for that. He even got to play some frisbee! As we were driving home he made the comment that "it was really nice to be active." #toomuchstudying It was beautiful picnic weather as well and so nice to be outside so much. 


Speaking of beautiful weather, this whole week has been beautiful!  Clear skies, not too hot, nice and cool at night, just perfect.  It's even been cool enough to use the oven.  I hardly ever turn on the oven in the summer, so whenever it dips below 70 I take advantage of the chance to make something that requires the oven.  This week it was quiche, deep dish pizza, and today: this patriotic pie.


I finally finished reading 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic, by Liz Kelly. It was great! 50 beautiful reflections on different aspects of the Catholic faith. Like this one about Ash Wednesday:

Were you so inclined, you could hide the fact that you are Catholic on almost 
any day of the year, but on Ash Wednesday, you blow any cover you might have 
had. On this holy day, which begins the season of Lent, we receive ashes in the 
sign of the cross on our foreheads with this prayer: "Remember that you are dust,
and to dust you shall return." Call me nuts, but I've always found relief in that prayer.
Something about the smallness of me, the smallness of this life set against the reality
of eternity brings comfort and perspective and hope.

So, now I'm in the market for some new spiritual reading. Any suggestions?


And while I'm reviewing a book how about a movie too? Somm. It's a documentary about 4 guys trying to become Master Sommeliers. We just watched it last weekend. (for those who have Netflix it's available to watch instantly.) It's crazy; these guys have to be able to identify the country, region, city, and year of an unlabled wine just by smelling and tasting it. I can't even imagine. If you are interested in wine you will love this documentary. And if you are like Alex and me who are currently working our way through a box of Trader Joe's wine, you will feel like your wine is not worth tasting and that you should immediately go out and buy a $50 bottle of wine. I haven't actually done that, but it is how I feel. 


Johnny and I had quite the adventure on Tuesday. It was me trying to score some good-wife-points turned Anne of green gables turned Indiana Jones. Here's what happened:

Alex had gone into work early on Tuesday. He came home at lunchtime to shower, eat a little something, and then he was off for his 1:00 class. A few minutes after 1:00 I got a text from him saying that he had left some papers at home that he would be needing for his 3:30 class.  He did not ask me to bring them to school, but just to confirm that they were indeed at home. I thought it would be a nice gesture to bring them to school and leave them in his car so that he could run out and get them between classes. So I found the papers, loaded up Johnny, and we were off. We found Alex's car parked right between the Cathedral and St. Paul College, I just pulled up along side, put on my hazards, and was planning on quickly and seamlessly slipping them into Alex's car and driving off. But when I stepped out of my car the papers slipped out of their folder, were caught up in a gust of wind, and went flying down Dayton Ave.

There was nothing I could do! I couldn't very well run after them with my car double parked and my baby in said car. So I found a parking spot, got Johnny into the sling and looked around to see where the papers ended up. One got caught in the landscaping in front of the Cathedral. The second one was on the median on John Ireland Blvd. The final one I couldn't see anywhere and we had begun walking back to the car when I started thinking about how hard Alex has been working and what if that was something important that he needed to turn in, something that might affect his grade. So we turned around and crossed over John Ireland again and followed the sidewalk down around a hill.

A visual aid to help you see where each packet of papers ended up.

As we rounded the corner I looked up and towards the top of the hill was the last packet of papers. It was a pretty steep hill, and since I have fallen once before while wearing Johnny I thought I'd better not try to climb it. We went back up the sidewalk and approached the hill from the top. We were nearing the papers, the ground just beginning to slope down, when I heard something in the grass. I looked down.  Two (what I thought were good sized) snakes went whizzing right by my feet. I screamed! There's not supposed to be snakes in the city! I couldn't go on! I was going to have to give up! But after gathering my courage for a moment I decided I could go on. After advancing a couple more steps two more snakes slithered by! And one stop very close to Alex's papers! I was screaming and praying very loudly. Johnny was blissfully unaware. The snake was sitting by the papers. I decided to take one step towards it and if that didn't scare it off then I would turn around and run. I stepped, the snake moved, one last little gust of wind almost sent the papers flying again. But I got them, I was clutching them and I was getting away from there as fast as I could.  I have not seen a snake in real life in probably 20 years. And the last one I did see was the size of a large worm. These snakes looked big and fat. Alex thought they must haves been garters. I'm not so sure. (Alex was, by the way, incredibly grateful and relieved when I texted him to say his homework was in his car.) 


There have been only 3 years since I can remember that I didn't go see fireworks on the 4th of July. The first was in 2008.  Alex and I had been dating for a year and he was spending the summer in Peru. I was sad and missing him and didn't feel like going out. The second year was last year. New baby, no way were we going.  And the third is this year. I entertained the thought of taking Johnny to see fireworks for about 30 seconds, but the prospect of keeping him up way past his bedtime, protecting him from mosquitoes, and the chance that he would be scared and cry the whole time reinforced my plans to stay in.

It's very strange to be home when the rest of of the world is out seeing fireworks.  All evening you hear the neighbors, kids and otherwise, throwing snaps and setting off small little flares, roman candles, and bottle rockets. You hear the screech and the pop over and over.

As it begins to get dark those who dapple more seriously in pyrotechnics bust out slightly bigger, more impressive rockets. We hear them ignite and then crackle in the air. Some just down the alley, others sound a few blocks away.

Then the sun sets and the real displays begin.  We hear the low thunder of the cannons from all over, Harriet Island, the Capital, the State Fair grounds, Stone Arch bridge. We are quiet in the house. Johnny is asleep, Alex is studying, I'm painting my nails, and the cannons just keep booming. I remember being a young girl and being afraid because the fireworks sound like thunder and I don't like storms. Some things never change, I still don't like storms and I have to remind myself it's not thunder I'm hearing, only fireworks. Here comes the grand finale! It sounds like the storm of the century, and like we're in a war zone, and like the house is going to collapse.  But Johnny doesn't stir once, Alex keeps studying, and I keep painting my nails. Soon the thunder trails off and there are just the occasional blasts of the pyromaniacs who will be at it until 2:00 am.

Maybe next year we will take Johnny to see fireworks.


And my own grand finale: Some pictures that never made it onto the blog. Happy weekend everyone!

for more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary


  1. We saw a tiny snake at a trail in WSP. You are fine around snakes as long as they are not poisonous. :) have you ever read An Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales? It is really good!

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Susanna. Someone else recently recommended that book to me. I'll have to try it. And I was pretty sure that any snakes around here would not be poisonous. But 4 and once? Just gross!!!

  2. Anna, I love the way you write and share your life with us. You have a gift for keeping it real and profound. Thank you! I have recently really enjoyed Ruth Haley Barton's book, Spiritual Rhythms and I am currently getting into Walter Brueggemann's little book, Sabbath as Resistance - it's short but very thought provoking.

    1. Thank you for reading Kendra! And thanks for the book recommendations, I'll have to check those out!

  3. You must be a kind people because you share your knowledge through articles. I like to read them. They are really good for everyone. Can you upload more articles? I believe that many people like me wait for your next posts.

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