7 Quick Takes started at 30,000 feet (featuring beer-shaped salami, a button sculpture, a yard sale purchase, and more)

I started writing these while on an airplane, but I didn’t manage to finish them until later. Writing on a plane feels a little like being in Green Eggs and Ham. “Can you write takes on a plane? Can you write them on a train? In a car or on a tree…?”

~1~

School’s out! Summer vacation is officially underway. We are skipping camps this summer, and a sitter is going to take care of our sons. There will be snowballs and bicycle riding and water fun and who knows what else.

I’m also taking a couple weeks just to spend time with the boys doing summer things or nothing much at all. I always try to take the first and last week of the break—the bookends—to help us transition in and out of the summer. So I’m off most of next week with them, and we will have some fun. I can’t wait.

~2~

     When I flew this week, I hadn’t flown in seven years, and I wondered what might have changed. I asked friends who travel more often than I do, and they gave me some great advice. What I realized at the airport, though, is that one of the biggest changes is how much phones have changed flying. Your boarding pass is on your phone and so is everything else.

Going through security on the way was fine, but on my trip home I got pulled to the side for an extra check of my carry-on bag.

The agent: “Is there anything sharp in here?”

Me: “No.”

The agent: “It looks like you may have a sausage shaped like a beer bottle in here.”

Me: “Oh. Yes, I do.”

The agent meticulously scanned the sausage—which is actually salami—and a bag of coffee before he let me go. I was so relieved he didn’t confiscate my beer-shaped salami from me. You can celebrate Father’s Day without salami, but I’d rather not try.

~3~

You’re probably wondering where you can find salami shaped like a beer bottle. I spent the past few days in Milwaukee. The only other times I had been to Wisconsin we were driving through to visit my grandmother just south of the Twin Cities. So Wisconsin to me had meant large statues of cows and cheese we posed with on our way to and from Minnesota.

Milwaukee is quite a city. I really enjoyed how walkable it is, and I love that they’re installing a new streetcar system. I want to go back and ride it around town singing, “Clang, clang, clang went the trolley.” I’m not sure my family will want to tag along for that trip. But they would love all the meats and cheeses the city offers, and I definitely could have tried more of the coffee options.

As I walked into the Milwaukee Art Museum, I got an email from Amazon that told me that someone had just purchased a Transformers movie to watch on my account. And my husband told me the Milwaukee Art Museum was in the movie. So while I was touring the museum, my family was watching the museum in a movie. All unplanned and purely coincidental. Isn’t that amazing?

~4~

Did you know Georgia O’Keefe was born in Milwaukee? While in Milwaukee, I visited the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Harley-Davidson Museum. I didn’t know that Harley-Davidson was based in Milwaukee. I also didn’t know Georgia O’Keefe was born in Milwaukee.

There were so many other things I didn’t know about Milwaukee and about contemporary art. I might need to do a separate post just about the trip to the art museum, and maybe one about going to Bike Night at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Or maybe I’ll just post photos to Instagram.

But I have to share this sculpture, which is made entirely of buttons. Isn’t it magnificent?

~5~

Last week I had mentioned an upcoming parent-son baseball scrimmage, and I left you hanging, wondering whether I would be playing. We realized at almost the last minute that we only have one right-handed glove for the family.

Our little leaguer is a southpaw, but the rest of us were right-handed. And our older son wanted to play in the scrimmage. So I let him represent our family, and I took pictures—which is something I do a little better at than baseball.

Sometimes you have to take one for the team.

~6~

We had our neighborhood yard sale last weekend, and my husband had the best time clearing out items we weren’t using. The boys and I helped by offering to drop off one of the bicycles we sold at a neighbor’s house.

Then we visited a few neighbors’ yard sales and purchased a Wii game, a Garfield statue, and two Nerf guns.

When we arrived home with our purchases, John didn’t say much about them, but I know he was impressed that the Garfield statue only set us back 25 cents.

~7~

This was our last week with our afterschool sitter. Back in the fall we had a bad experience with our aftercare program, and I pulled the boys on a Friday afternoon with no plan for the next week. I used care.com to speak with a few possible sitters, and we found one who has been a beautiful fit with our family.

I’ll have to start a search for another sitter for the fall later this summer, but I’m not anxious about it. If you can find a caring, responsible sitter on two days’ notice, you can definitely find one on 10 weeks’ notice.

Read more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, and have a wonderful weekend.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.