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

A smiling pie, a summer reward, self-checkouts, and more (7 Quick Takes)

In the busyness of summer, I haven’t written 7 Quick Takes in a few weeks, so I hope you enjoy these!


My friend Olivia came to dinner this week, so I made an apple pie. You never need a reason to bake a pie, but having a friend over is special, especially when you haven’t seen her in ages.

“Is Olivia a work friend?” my son asked me. And I told him no, that we went to college together, that we lived in rooms next door to each other our first year, and we were friends from the beginning.

His question made me think, though, of how many of my friends are work friends, especially after working together through the pandemic. We were in the trenches together, even though we were all working from different places, and those friendships are special, too.


Our younger son is participating in a math program offered through the public schools this summer. It’s a four-week program that happens for four weeks for four hours each morning. Just writing all those numbers feels like too much math for me.

Much as our boy doesn’t mind math, we knew we would have to sweeten the deal to make this worth his while, so we bought a gaming PC for the family. You could call it a bribe, but I will call it a reward. I felt it was worth it to let him earn something by giving up so much of his summer.

So far, I have absolutely no regrets—except for the fact that we have to get up early-early-early to get him to school by 7:45.

I was two minutes late one day to pick him up, so he’s also building character. And yes, I feel appropriately guilty about being late, as I always do.


How do you feel about self-checkouts at the grocery store? Apparently, many people aren’t fans. I like them under certain conditions:

  1. When I only have a few items.
  2. When my children are there to help me.
  3. Before I start scanning and realize they’re a complete disaster.

For the most part, I prefer a cashier who is better at scanning, better at bagging, and better at handling all the issues that invariably come up. Plus, I always enjoy chatting with the cashiers.


My friend Theresa treated me to lunch at the Milton Inn to kick off my birthday season. We always enjoy our birthday lunches together, and this time was just wonderful. I never take in-person experiences for granted, and seeing Theresa is always a treat.

July is my favorite month of the year. I love the heat, the humidity, and the July-ness. I enjoy absolutely everything about it. The hotter, the better. I walked outside this morning, and my glasses fogged up simply from the sauna-like nature of the outdoors.


Sometimes you order a stuffed unicorn full of stuffed baby unicorns, and they accidentally ship you two. That is the kind of problem I can accept gracefully. I now have an extra unicorn—and three nieces who live 15 minutes away, including one who loves unicorns.

I texted my sister Treasa, “I have good news, and I have bad news. It’s the same news. I have an extra stuffed unicorn here, and it’s yours.”

She didn’t jump in the car to come and pick it up, so I think she might not be as excited as I was to get a surprise unicorn. But someone will be. Someone is always happy to see an extra unicorn.


Summer snacks are always different from the snacks our boys eat year-round. Lately, I notice we are going through quite a few icee pops (but never the red ones) and lots and lots of seaweed. The other day my son asked me to dare him to eat a whole stack of seaweed at one time. I dared him, and he came through successfully, even as I worried that the orthodontist would say, “What were you eating when these braces fell apart in your mouth?”

Orthodontia also leads to character-building, I imagine.


As we were coming home from church after Mass, my older son spotted the most beautiful dragonfly on the sidewalk.

He picked it up and carried it into our yard. It was clearly injured, and we could tell it probably wouldn’t survive, but it was also magnificent and beautiful. We observed it for a while and then left it settled comfortably in our pachysandra.

Dragonflies are incredible creatures.

Copyright © 2022 Catholic Review Media