Friday, May 24, 2013

"7 Quick Takes Friday," Volume 15

By the time I get this 7QTF posted, I'm going to be # gazillion on the list of linker-uppers, and no one is even going to see it.*  I just checked, and there are 77 people who've joined Jen already.  It's 9:30 a.m. as I begin typing this--but that's very late in the QT world, my friend. You have to get up pretty early in the morning to get those top spots every week (unless Jen is doing that inverse order deal, where the late-comers actually hop right to the front of the line; I love the order switcheroo that rewards procrastinators like me!).

*(which is about as many as would see it anyway--let's be real!)

Okay, speed is of utmost importance today, so these Takes are going to be Quick, Quick, Quick!

--- 1 ---
My youngest son came home from Notre Dame last Sunday...for about two minutes, and then he was off on some exciting world travels.  He boarded a plane for Paris on Tuesday night, and he will be spending the next six weeks in France, living with a retired military family and doing an internship that involves researching war memorials in Europe.  What an amazing opportunity for this kid from small-town New England!  I wrote about his departure here, if you're interested in seeing some photos of the tall, strapping young lad of whom I'm so inordinately proud (and his pathetic mother, with her swollen eyes and puffy face--I swear, it looks marginally better when I'm not weeping uncontrollably).

--- 2 ---
Speaking of my youngest son, he told me on Mother's Day that he'd gotten me a gift at the college bookstore at school, and that he'd bring it home with him.  It would be late, he said, but he assured me it was coming.

When I was in the midst of helping him re-pack for his big European trip, I noticed a plastic shopping bag with wadded up newspapers in it sitting there amdist the piles of wrinkly clothing, and I asked if it was garbage.  "Oh, yeah--I forgot!  That's your gift," he said. (There is a very good chance that if I hadn't noticed the bag, he would have completely forgotten, in the excitement of packing, all about the belated Mother's Day gift he was planning to give me. If that seems unbelievable to you, then you haven't raised a house full of sons.  A daughter would have had the gift all boxed up and beautifully wrapped--with a bow even, perhaps. And it probably would have been the first thing she unpacked when she got home. A son, although well-meaning, is not as details-oriented.)

So I unwrapped the newspaper and beheld a beautiful porcelain statue of St. Patrick...only he'd been beheaded.  My son was dismayed, and he looked at the broken statue in shock, wondering how in the WORLD this could have happened.  I mean, that fragile statue was loosely wrapped in newspaper and stuffed in a plastic bag, then crammed into a small, soft-sided carry-on bag filled with DVD's and books, and then the carry-on bag was stuffed into a crowded overhead compartment on an airplane.   (Indeed, how in the world do these things HAPPEN, I ask you?)

My poor baby; he felt awful.  But I assured him it was a clean break at the neck, and that it was nothing a little glue wouldn't take care of.  It really does look as good as new--even on close inspection, it's hard to tell that it was ever broken.  I love it, as I love all things Irish-themed and saints-themed.  I'll cherish it even more when I remember how my son carried it lovingly (his version, anyway) home from school to make me happy on Mother's Day.

--- 3 ---
Speaking of the Irish (we were: St. Patrick--remember?), I absolutely love them.  I'm enthralled and delighted by any and all things Irish.  My mother's maiden name was Kelly, and her father had some McCormick relatives, so I do have some Celtic blood in me.  But my husband is 100% Irish on both sides; his parents' families are filled with Roaches and Buckleys and Foleys and Sweeneys and McCoys--the only thing that isn't Irish about my husband is the name Pearl.  We still haven't figured out exactly where that came from, and we can't help but wonder if there were some communication problems at Ellis Island somewhere along the way that resulted in a misspelling, or something along those lines. Anyway, the Pearls are Irish to the core, and proud of it.

Which brings to mind this funny headline (a joke, perhaps?) and accompanying photo that made the Internet rounds a few years back:


Under the photo was this news flash: "This award-winning photo of the recent flood waters rising in Ireland captures the horror and suffering there.  Keep these people in your prayers."

You gotta love the Irish.  You do!

--- 4 ---
I'm on an Irish kick, so bear with me.  My beloved late mother-in-law lived and breathed all things Emerald Isle.  Her father, the handsome Irishman for whom my husband is named, came to this country from County Cork at the age of 19 and never returned to the "Ould Sod."  Mom's father died young, when she was only 10 years old, and the hole he left behind never really filled up for her.  My husband can still remember that when he was growing up, every year on March 19 (the anniversary of her father's death, on St. Jospeh's feast day), his mother would be in a terrible mood, mourning the dad she lost too soon. She missed her father every day of her life; and when she died in 2009, the first thing I thought of was the joyous reunion between them.  I could almost hear him talking to the little girl he'd doted upon during his short years on earth, with a hint of brogue in his deep voice...

If you want to read a wee bit more about this Irishman, here's a post about him, written back when this blog was but knee high to a grasshopper.

--- 5 ---
When I finally got inspired to write the novel I'd dreamed about writing for as long as I could remember, I knew I'd have to include a lovable Irish character--and thus was born Jack Kelly, the father of my humble little heroine, Grace Kelly.   When I started writing Jack's character, there was a little bit of every dad I admire most in him: my husband, my late father-in-law, and my own father.  Some of the things he says are eerily similar to things I've heard come out of the mouths of these three men.  But physically, he's more like another man I know (a friend who's a father of six, rather on the short side, with a keen wit and a devilish twinkle in his Irish eyes).  Ultimately, as I went along, Jack stopped resembling anyone in my real life and became a completely new person to me, someone I wanted to know better.   And I had fun trying to figure out just what he might say next.  I hate to sound all writerly (you know, with the old "The book just wrote itself!" nonsense--because if books could write themselves, I'd like to think I might have a second novel completed already); but Jack really did kind of write his own lines.  He was a hoot and I loved spending time with him.

Warning!  Warning!  Here comes the shameless plug!

Okay, you can't say you haven't been warned.  But if you'd like to get to know this quirky and charming Irish dad better, along with his five tall, handsome sons (I wonder who inspired those guys!), his long-suffering daughter, and the two boys--one a friend, one a  love interest--who play such an important role in her life, you should get yourself a copy of Finding Grace.  (And if you'd like to save on the Amazon retail price, contact me.  I can give you a better deal!)

--- 6 ---
I've been working at this for an hour-and-a-half now (these Takes have hardly been Quick!), and I just popped over to Conversion Diary to see how many people have linked up.  It's already up to 102!  Yikes, I'm going to be a long way down the list!  But maybe if I bang the rest of this out Speedy Gonzales-style, it'll still be worth it.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my friends Erica over at Boys, Books, and Balls, and Sarah Therese over at Footprints on My Heart, for giving FG some recent shout-outs on their blogs. I've said this before, but I'll say it again: one of the greatest outcomes of having my book published and subsequently endeavoring to find a market for it is that I've "met" some of the most wonderful, generous, helpful women.  They may be only "on-line friends," but I consider them friends nonetheless!  Thanks so much to these fellow bloggers and to others out there who have been kind enough to help me with my promotion efforts.

--- 7 ---
And speaking of books, I'm really excited to read Jen Fulwiler's book about her conversion from atheism to Catholicism, which is going to be published by Ignatius Press this fall or next spring.  If you're a follower of Conversion Diary, you know just what a great writer Jen is (and so funny, too).  I can't wait to hear her whole story.

Now head on over to the link-up, for Jen's Takes...and 103 others!  (AARRGGHH!!  By the time I post this, I'll probably be #150!)
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Hey, I came in at a respectable 105. Not too shabby, considering at 9:00 I had absolutely no idea what I was going to write about!

    1. One surefire way to get comments on your blog is to leave them yourself. :)

  2. I couldn't resist a laugh over St. Patrick's unfortunate martyrdom. I'd say your comparison of sons vs daughters is fairly accurate there (speaking from personal experience as a daughter and from observing the ways of my brothers). And thanks right back to ya for the shout-out! I just finished one of the books today and will be starting Finding Grace soon! God bless!

  3. First let me say that in my house, it's my son who does the presents really well and my daughter, not so much. Now about the list for Quick takes, I don't understand how moms with little ones get them up so early at all.

    1. Interesting...I guess I was stereotyping as far as the gift-giving goes. (I was comparing my boys' style to my own!)

      And I know--how do people get their posts up so early? I think they must do them ahead of time and just push the "publish" button in the a.m.!