Friday, March 9, 2012

Seven Quick Lenten Takes

--- 1 ---

When I married Scott, I acquired a 5-year-old nephew and an 8-month-old niece. They live far, far away, so I have never actually met them and they are not really on my radar on a daily basis.

However, it occurred to me that the baby is turning 1 later on this month, and birthdays are the sort of things aunts are supposed to acknowledge. Especially if they are aunts who have a freakish ability to remember birthdays and therefore always know when one is coming up.

However, beyond that I am stumped. What do 1-year-olds like?

--- 2 ---

To actually go with the "Lenten" theme: Hot chocolate without marshmallows isn't very good.

See, I gave up "sweets" for Lent, but I don't like tea or coffee and sometimes one just needs a hot drink. So I made concessions for human weakness and allowed myself to drink cocoa but NOT to toss a fistful of marshmallows in the cup (and eat a few while it's heating up, and...anyway).

It's a sacrifice.

--- 3 ---

Scott has two job interviews today (Friday). Prayers would be appreciated. Even if you read this Saturday or Sunday or whenever, pray retroactively. God is outside of time and all that.

--- 4 ---

My family came to visit on Saturday. We had lunch here at the apartment and then went to the museum and then came back and had dinner here at the apartment.

At one point, my oven looked like this:

That's 3 pans of homemade chicken nuggets and a pan of home fries. That's actually only the first of two batches. It took me until Wednesday to get caught up on the dishes.

While I'm posting pictures, here's one of my whole family in which we all look fairly happy (no easy feat with a 5-year-old and a baby):

--- 5 ---

I'm part of an online writer's group with Scott and Mari and another 8 or 9 people. This week, I posted my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel in all its unedited glory. (The punctuation errors KILL me, but Lent is about growing in humility, right?) Mari was reading part of it last night and flagged this sentence: "Unfortunately, Bob was like most people in that he did not distinctly remember things that happened before he was even 7 years old." This is why it's good to have beta readers, people; I would never have thought that that sentence might not be true. However, my informal Facebook poll indicates that while it's realistic to have someone who doesn't remember that far back, it's not at all a universal experience. (Responses range from people who have clear and distinct memories going back to when they were 2 to people who pretty much weren't aware they were alive until 8, and most respondents are in their early to mid-twenties, same as my character.)

--- 6 ---

Another thing I'm doing for Lent is cutting back on recreational computer use. The first few days of Lent, I managed to get a TON of organizing done...went through the last of my boxes that needed to be unpacked, reorganized my desk (i.e. the Dumping Ground for Everything), etc. I felt pretty awesome.

Then with the retreat the weekend before last and my family visiting this past weekend, my chore time got eaten up doing the daily minimum. Or sleeping, to recover from the overwhelming, exhausting socialization. Now I'm realizing that my bathroom needs to be cleaned AGAIN (really, wasn't cleaning it that one time enough?), the toaster oven smells smoky every time we use it because of all the baked-on food detritus, and the thank-you notes for wedding gifts STILL aren't quite done.

It's kind of depressing.

--- 7 ---

Talking about the weather during Quick Takes always feels like a cop-out, but it has been CRAZY here lately. One day it's sunny and mild; a couple of days later we have a tornado watch (they just missed us, but we got some serious thunderstorms); a couple of days later it's mostly clear with a few snow flurries.

The Midwest in March: Where you can get all four seasons in one week!

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Cari said...

I've found noise makers are universally enjoyed by 1 year olds. And, since you live far away from the birthday girl, you won't have to hear the ramifications!

Maracas, drums, rattles, things like that.

Her parents will be sure to thank you.

The Sojourner said...

My first idea, honestly, was just to get her a birthday card that plays music. My sister loves those (and especially loved them when she was a toddler), they're cheap and easily obtainable, and the parents won't feel bad if a birthday card somehow falls into the trashcan accidentally a week or two later. (I keep birthday cards, because I'm weird, but I understand there's a sort of universal rule that you're allowed to throw them away after a while if you so desire.)