Purse searches, a Pentecost visitor, June flowers, tiger’s blood, bugs, and boys (7 Quick Takes Friday)


The last time I had to have my purse checked by a security officer, he glanced at the piles of emergency tissues, lollipops, and Matchbox cars, grumbled something that didn’t sound like, “Nice Matchbox car,” and then sent me on through. So when I realized I was going through a bag check again this week, I decided to clean out my purse in the car on the way there.

I found three rosaries–two of which glow in the dark; a four-way medal I hadn’t seen since trying to explain it to a security official in China nearly three years ago; a crab pin I carry just in case I need a pin for my blazer; coupons that expired ages ago; and enough tissues to mop up a gallon of orange juice.

What can I say? You never know when you’ll need a tiny toy space shuttle.

The bag of trash was as large as the purse itself.

Now that I’ve achieved this, I’m ready for the obvious next step: buying a new purse.


When I went to pick Daniel up from school one day this week, he ran to tell me he had seen a big white bird. Then he took me by the hand and showed me the bird. It was quite striking.

In fact, it looked like a dove to my ignorant, untrained eye. And I couldn’t help wondering at the timing, a dove appearing just days before Pentecost, and while I am saying the Holy Spirit novena.

This white bird had no fear of the preschool children, so I suspected it was a pet, but I didn’t know how to track down the owner. I just hope the bird made it home.

The next day when I arrived at preschool, Daniel ran over with two of his friends to show me their latest wildlife discovery.

That’s when I realized how much I liked that white bird.


Because we moved into our house in the fall, we are still enjoying surprises as they bloom around the yard.

And because I love flowers but have no time, interest, or energy to devote to their growth, I am just hoping they will come back next year.

If not, we’ll take plenty of photos so I can remember how lovely everything was.

Some of the flowers I can’t even identify. But it is such fun that our 4-year-old comes running to tell me to bring the camera so we can take a picture of another flower he’s noticed.


While we were at the annual picnic for families who used the adoption services for Catholic Charities, a snowball truck pulled up to the playground. Our children were hot and sweaty and cute. All we could do was say, “What flavor would you like?”

Daniel wanted “red,” and Leo wanted “tiger’s blood.”

It wasn’t on the menu, but right away the driver said, “I can do tiger’s blood.”

Our children never fail to astonish me. At 6 ½, this child is already ordering something that’s not on the menu–and getting it?

It seems to be a blend of orange and cherry. And my bloodthirsty child says it’s delicious. I suspect it wouldn’t taste nearly as good if it were called fruit twist or citrus stripe. Tiger’s blood is just so wonderfully dramatic.

It’s almost as dramatic as walking up to a chicken coop, not far from the playground, and announcing to a preschooler standing next to it, “Do you know that we eat chickens?”

Not everyone has Daniel’s flair for initiating conversation.


The adoption picnic is one of our favorite events. In fact, some of the friends we see we see only once or twice during the year, so we try not to miss it. And we always make a few new friends, too.

At one point I was pushing Daniel in a swing, and I glanced around the playground and realized I was looking at children from around the world–Russia, Korea, China, Ethiopia, and the U.S. They were chasing one another, sliding, and climbing across jungle gyms, faces lit up with smiles–and their parents smiling back at them.

What would those children’s lives be without their parents? What would their parents’ lives be without those children? We pray almost every night for children who are waiting for families, and we also pray for people who want to be mothers and fathers.


Because of snow and whatever else, this school year is determined not to end. And the homework keeps coming home. The other night Leo had to find an insect and answer questions about it on a worksheet.

This should be an easy project for a family which has had an ant infestation in the kitchen and a carpenter bee problem on the back deck, but that night we couldn’t find ants in the kitchen or bees on the deck.

We went out to the yard and explored, but we were having no luck. So John took over, while I went back inside to cook dinner and found a housefly buzzing around the kitchen. I tried to imagine inviting them all back inside to find the fly, and then I decided I’d rather cook dinner.

Eventually they found ants eating the wax on a flower bulb, and Leo completed the assignment.

Whew. Just a few more days of homework.

And even as I type this, I realize I have an ant crawling across my hand. God does, indeed, have a sense of humor, my friends.


As you have probably figured out, I don’t include photos of our boys’ faces on the blog.

This week, though, we had the chance to have a caricature sketched of our sons, and the artist did a really nice job. Our sons are, of course, a million times cuter and they’re usually smiling with mischief in their eyes or arguing over which one gets to sit in the coveted chair at the kitchen table, but I thought you might like to see them, at least as the artist saw them.

Daniel is on the top left and Leo is on the lower right, and I have blocked out their real names which the artist so kindly included. How could he possibly know that I have this blog where I use alternate names for my children?

The funny thing to me was a few weeks ago I won two journalism awards for the blog, but they misspelled my name as Ritta. It seems somehow appropriate to me that I would win awards under the wrong name since I write about our sons under different names.

So our boys’ names and faces are changed here, and sometimes maybe even mine,, but everything else is authentic, except maybe the tiger’s blood. Oh, and that spider scampering across the floor. That has to be fake. But I’d better chase it anyway.

See more quick takes at Jen’s Conversion Diary!

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