- Catholic Review - https://catholicreview.org -

A personal flyswatter and other gifts, hummus, and a new room (7 Quick Takes)


My neighbor Kathy invited me to take a birthday walk through the neighborhood the other day, and she greeted me with a sangria popsicle. She had filled a bag of gifts and cards for me to open as we walked. We stopped every few minutes for me to open either a card or a gift, and everything was so thoughtfully selected. I will no longer need to borrow her spare plastic drawer to fill with ice so I can keep an ice cream cake cold. I can use my very own inflatable buffet.

The highlight of all of it was a Rita flyswatter she had made for me, as a new piece for my flyswatter collection. I haven’t figured out how to display it yet, but every time I look at it, I cannot help but smile. It’s just such a fantastic gift—and truly hilarious.


I love that even though my birthday was almost two weeks ago, I am still receiving wonderful gifts. My sister Treasa surprised me the other day with a marvelous Halloween chip and dip. We can’t possibly wait until October to use it for something. It’s just so marvelous—and especially because I received it for a summer birthday.

It makes me wonder why we have Christmas in July celebrations but not Halloween in March.


My sister Maureen and her children arrived back from Italy a few weeks ago. I hadn’t considered that they would have picked anything up for me along the way.

Just seeing their photos was a gift in and of itself. But they also found Italian monument pasta for me, in addition to a lovely scarf, a Rome hand towel, and a Roman wolf bookmark.

Now if I can just think of the perfect opportunity to serve Italian monument pasta.


Maureen celebrated her birthday in June, and a few of my siblings and I—and her husband’s brother and sister-in-law—decided to go in on a gift of her academic regalia for her. She earned her Ph.D. in 2004, but she didn’t buy her own academic robes at the time.

She is a teacher now, and every year her school rents her robes—but they aren’t custom robes in the color of her school and all. It seemed like it would be really special for her to have her own.

I just delivered the regalia to her this weekend, and she tried everything on. She looked wonderful. I am excited to see photos of her walking in her school’s graduation ceremony in the spring.


We met friends for a used bookstore outing last weekend and headed down to Second Story Books in Rockville, Maryland. We had never been there before, and it is quite a place, packed with an incredible variety of books.

The boys headed straight for the comic book section. I spent most of the trip texting photos of children’s mythology books to my sister Treasa to see which ones she might need to add to her family’s library.

I felt like an Instacart shopper, and in the best ways. I always enjoy shopping virtually with my sisters.


Even before we had a power outage this week, we had cleaned out the fridge. The next day I could not find the container of hummus I had bought. After looking and looking, I decided that it had been thrown away—and not by me. Hummus is hummus, and everything-bagel-flavored hummus is on a different level. I was inordinately disappointed. Allegations were made and apologies were issued, etc., etc.

A few days later, I reached in to get some cold noodles, and I found the hummus sitting there, staring back at me.

The hummus had not been thrown away, and I just hadn’t been looking hard enough. And I had been quick to assume that it had been tossed. There are, of course, many life lessons here that I should have learned long ago.


Speaking of how wonderful my husband is, he finished painting our older son’s bedroom so that we can give each of our boys his own room. They have been happy to share a room, but one is a night owl and one an early bird, and with one entering high school, this seemed like a good time to give them a little more space.

Besides, the spare bedroom is no longer needed as a toy room or as a pandemic office space.

We still have to add curtains, a little furniture, and some decorations, but everyone is excited about the new space.

Copyright © 2022 Catholic Review Media