5 Reason To Leave Dance Classes To The Girls

5 Reason To Leave Dance Classes To The Girls

I am seeing more of my mom friends signing their sons up for dance classes and I can stay silent no longer.  You are doing your son, his generation, and basically all of humanity a huge disservice.  

Don't do it.  If you need more articulate reasons, I've written out five.  You're welcome.

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I Suck At Parenting And Other Reasons I Homeschool (Feat. Andy Dwyer)

I Suck At Parenting And Other Reasons I Homeschool (Feat. Andy Dwyer)

We are homeschooling this year and by "we" I mean me.  We're doing school at the hizzouse and saying weird things like "hizzouse."  After half a year, I think it's safe to say it's going splendidly - at least 20x better than our attempt at public Kindergarten.  I meant to share a bit about why I'm homeschooling The B BEFORE we started the school year, but, alas, I did not.  I'm doing it today, and feeling a bit saucy, so you're welcome (or I'm sorry).

1. I Suck At Parenting

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Stop It. It's Not That Hard To Buy Gifts For Minimalists

Stop It.  It's Not That Hard To Buy Gifts For Minimalists

Trying to buy a gift for a minimalist?  Something they won't throw out in the next few months?  I got you.  

3 Tips For Buying Gifts For Minimalists  

1. Understand Your Minimalist

I'm speaking for a diverse group here, but I think the following is true for most minimalists.

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We don't do Santa.  No centuries-old fat guy sneaks into our house to bring presents.  So far, the only downside to this is the amount of times I have to remind my child, who definitely received my know-it-all-gene, it is NOT his job to tell other children the truth about Santa.

Important disclaimer: You do you.  I don't believe anyone is evil or stupid or any other terrible adjective for doing Santa. The purpose of this essay is not to criticize the Santa myth, but to explain why I don't do it and encourage those who think/feel similarly. Santa is fun and you should keep on keeping on with your Santa-loving self. 

I decided to skip Santa just before my son's second Christmas, around the same time I realized the only reason I would perpetuate the myth was because

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My Neighbors Are Getting Divorced (Bill and Judy)

My neighbor Judy announced her impending divorce on facebook last night. 

“Bill and I have decided to separate after 8 years of wonderful marriage. We love our children very much and though we will remain friends, we have decided together that separation is best. We appreciate your prayers and your respect for our privacy.”

A source close to the family (a friend of a friend who's in a bible study with Judy) says this has been coming for close to a year.  Apparently Bill was texting a lot with a female co-worker.  

I personally noticed Judy flirting with their neighbor to the east (recently divorced) as long ago as last June, so I wouldn't be so quick to jump on Bill's case.  Bill has probably been feeling emasculated since Judy's promotion a couple of years ago - she must make three times what he does now!  I am interested to see who gets the kids.  We'll see if they're still "good friends" after that battle.

I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, please discuss the personal lives of strangers in the comments.  And if you're the type of person who says this is gossip or invading their privacy or blah blah blah, I have two things to say to you:

1.  They chose to live in my neighborhood.  The front of their house is a straight shot from the crack in my living room blinds where I keep an eye on the neighborhood.  They didn't have to move here, they chose to.  They also chose to be my friend on facebook where I would inevitably see their posts about their private life and potentially write blogs about it.  My readers want to know.

2.  I'm mostly just writing and sharing this so y'all can be in prayer for these guys.  

On How Shoes Are Dumb, Home Education, and Challenging “Normal”

Have you ever stopped and thought about why we wear shoes?  What are the actual benefits?  And if the benefits are only felt part of the time, why do we wear shoes the majority of the time?  And how did the wearing of shoes morph into a cultural mode of expression so intense that we wear certain shoes to the detriment of our feet and spine?  

One of my favorite podcasts – Freakonomics Radio - recently did an episode exploring the sometimes ridiculousness of wearing shoes. (Download it here.  Also, subscribe because the whole show is fantastic)

There are things which become “normal” in any culture, but which, upon reflection, are wholly irrational.  I wonder how many norms of our culture will be reviewed by puzzled future historians. “They surgically altered their feet to fit certain shoes?” they’ll say, “But, why?”

In our culture, it is normal to spend a day’s wages on the right pair of shoes.  It is normal to wear spine-damaging heels daily.  “Normal” does not always make sense.  “Normal” is not always rational.  In fact, “normal” ebbs and flows with culture, and in a culture like ours – driven in large part by $$$$ - “normal” is sometimes driven, dictated, or manipulated into being by those who would profit.

Sometimes, maybe even most times, “normal” should be left alone - there are benefits to going with the flow of culture.  If you decide shoes are not for you, you’re going to run into some problems getting groceries.   Wearing the wrong shoes to an interview might cost you a job, or a mate.  Stupid?  Maybe, but it’s also reality.

It doesn’t hurt though to examine why we do certain things – to challenge “normal.”  The minimalist movement does this and I am a big fan (Why do I have 20 sets of silverware?  No good reason?  Okay let’s chuck a few.)  The lifestyle design movement does this too (Why am I working 40 hours a week?  Is there a better way to use some of this time? How can I adjust my lifestyle to need less money and keep more time?)

Right now, I’m interested in challenging “normal” education.  Not your kid’s education – that’s your business – but for my own kid.  We’re about to enter homeschool and I’ve been thinking about what it means to “educate.”  Normal education sends a kid to school – public or private – or it homeschools based on a curriculum closely mimicking what is taught in traditional schools. 

Just like shoes, education is informed by society and differs widely among cultures.  In approaching how to educate my 6 year old, I’m trying to step back – WAY back.   I’m trying to ignore the way our culture educates and focus on what I think the purpose of education is: prepare a child for life.   If I could ignore what I know about “normal” education, and I was simply faced with preparing a child for life, how would I educate him?  It’s a pretty freaking important question, so I’m taking my time working toward an answer. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 

What generally unchallenged culture norm is weird to you?  I bet my fellow Myers-Briggs INTs have a list. 

An Open Letter To Drivers Who Share The Road With Me

First, I am sorry - sincerely sorry.  Nearly ever American driver will rate themselves as better than average, which is funny, but also leads to the only nice thing I can say about my own driving skills: at least I don't overestimate them. 

I've met worse drivers - I've been hit by worse - but my driving skills are way below average. When asked if he was scared for my safety while I was in Iraq, my Grandfather hilariously responded "yeah, but the people on the roads here are safer with her off of them."  

If there were a convenient way for me to avoid bothering all of you with my poor driving, I would instantly take advantage.  I have a dream of no longer owning a vehicle and instead paying for rides. But this is fantasy for now, so in the meantime, while you are forcibly exposed to my driving, I apologize.

And if I've just done something stupid or annoying and you are about to lash out from inside your car, I need you to know this:

There's a 90% chance I have no idea what I did to tick you off.  At my worst, I am completely in my head.  I'm considering something deeply philosophical, or, more likely, deciding what to watch next on Netflix.  At my best, I'm hyper-vigilant, which is more a neurosis than a helpful state of mind for driving.  

If I even notice you flipping me off or shouting obscenities or flailing your fists around, I'm usually at a loss for explaining your behavior.  

So if I stop too long or too fast or not long enough, or if I'm going too slow or the wrong way in a parking lot, just know I am sorry.  

Also, know that your inside-the-car outburst will either go entirely unnoticed, or will be a source of amusement.  Personally, I don't think it is a particularly valuable use of energy, but I certainly won't discourage you from expressing yourself.

Feels good to get this off my chest.  Thanks for listening, internet.   







(There are other reasons, but you don't want me to explain because if you're human some part of my explanation would anger you - it's a gift I have.  And seriously, if you know me at all, you know it doesn't matter why people were gathered in large numbers outside in the winter with no evidence of a zombie-related emergency- the point is, people were gathered in large numbers outside in the winter with no evidence of a zombie-related emergency.)

I Am Gluten Free Because It Annoys You

It's true.  I enjoy annoying you. 

I also enjoy inconveniencing those closest to me.  I like making special requests when invited to a meal.  I find this lets people know I am difficult, a fact about which they should surely be informed.  I don't want to stop at making life difficult for others though - it is important to also create unnecessary difficulty in my own life.  

To this end, gluten free living does not disappoint.  As part of this lifestyle, I am able to deprive myself of my most favorite foods.  Soft bread thickly coated with butter, pasta with creamy sauce, and *drool* fresh baked cinnamon rolls dripping with icing.  Without living gluten free, it might be difficult to justify this painful, long-term self-deprivation.

As an additional bonus, you may not be aware but gluten free food tends to cost 4x more than the gluten-filled counterparts.  This was especially attractive to me.  As a single-mom who works part-time, I often have trouble maxing out my food budget.  $4 packs of spaghetti and $7 loaves of bread have considerably lessened my stress in this area.  

Speaking of children, my son was (after annoying you of course) the main reason for making this change. It was important to me to increase the difficulty of parenting.  By the time he was three, I had a firm handle on how to deal with a strong-willed, smart-mouthed child.  I had made the discovery all parents make at some point - parenting is easy.  I needed a new challenge.  Enter gluten free eating.  

Children require snacks everywhere they go.  It's a strange phenomenon, but one I am quite grateful for, as it allows me to inconvenience even more adults by requiring them to feed my child differently from the others.  This serves a dual purpose, as my son is afforded the opportunity to feel singled-out everywhere he goes during the obligatory snack time.  

There is an additional bonus as well. I am notoriously inadequate in the field of all things detailed.  So by requiring myself to adequately prepare for every venture outside the home, my inevitable failures to bring a snack to church/cake to parties/whatever food for whatever thing will result in countless moments where I have a justifiably disappointed child.  I am able to feel inadequate in my parenting which I hope will (eventually) lead to growth in the area of detail orientation.  Completely worth it.  

If I am honest however, the root reason for this choice is this: I am a sucker for a fad.  I leapt blindly onto the Seattle Seahawks bandwagon as a child and have remained there out of sheer stubbornness - such is my obsession with all things faddish.  So when this fad made its appearance, a fad which would cause such inconvenience, double or even triple my food budget, and create much needed additional difficulties in parenting - I was intrigued.

And when I discovered how this one decision, so simple to implement and easy to maintain, could annoy such a great number of acquaintances, well, it was settled.

I am gluten free.  

Kindness isn't Weird

My resolution last year was to fail big 12 times.  I failed at the resolution, which I guess brings me up to a grand total of 5 fails, but I’m carrying it through to next year. (I am now accepting tips and tricks for failing as I try to hit that 12 mark this year.)  For 2017 though, I'm adding an extra resolution:  

****I am going to be weirdly kind this year****  

I am going to act on every impulse to do something kind, and ignore the squawking little voice telling me someone will think I’m weird. 


It might be awkward, or misunderstood, or badly timed, but it is not weird to be kind.

I will encourage others to be kind.

If you step outside of your comfortable bubble and risk embarrassment to do something kind, I am going to applaud you.

And if you make fun of someone when they do something kind, I’m going to make fun of you.


Kindness isnt weird free.jpg

Download, Print, Color, and Share!  KINDNESS ISN'T WEIRD COLORING PAGE    <<<------ (click for free download)

I will give weirdly kind compliments.

A new acquaintance (who is now a great friend) once complimented my eye lids.  Yes, my eye LIDS. I still don’t know exactly what she is talking about , but d*mn it if I don’t feel 10x more confident about my eye lids.

I will give weirdly kind gifts.

I once spent 20+ hours on an art project for a friend.  He didn't ask for it, we weren't dating, and he wasn't paying me.  He just told me about something, which gave me an idea for a drawing, which led to hours upon hours of compulsively working on said drawing.

Because my obsessiveness had kicked in, the idea I might be doing something weird didn't occur to me until later, when practically every person who heard this story informed me I was being weird.

But guess what? If I get the urge to give you a random gift this year, you’re getting a random gift and I don’t care if you think it’s weird - you will take it, and you will pretend to like it, and you will say thank you. 

I will give weird words of encouragement.

A friend once mentioned how being a stay-at-home-mom was different from working a regular 'job' - there is less verbal praise and few noticeable accomplishments.  So I stopped by her house a few days later, knocked on the door, and told her she did a great job that day.  I could see she had put on pants and it appeared the children were all still alive, so clearly she had accomplished a lot that day.  It was a weird thing to do, but it was KIND, so 2017 will have more of this. Because in 2017 no act of kindness is too weird, too odd, too awkward, or too embarrassing.  Not in my house.  #kindness isn't weird

KINDNESS ISN'T WEIRD COLORING PAGE    <<<------ (click to download)

Pity the Pretty

**Dearest reader of the following, please do not take this too seriously. It is mildly satirical.  Enjoy**

She flips her hair with a single, graceful flick of the wrist.  A move so practiced she’s barely conscious of it.  She swipes her card and answers the cashier with a sigh.  “Credit,” she says, shifting her weight toward the bag boy as she signs her name, fully aware the poor boy is moments away from literally drooling over her.  Deliberately, she applies a coat of lip-gloss as she waits for her receipt, tactically ignoring the bag boy who is already deeply in love with her perfectly applied make-up.  Soaking up his attention like fuel, she leaves the store, swinging her hips methodically for the benefit of the young man she knows is watching her go.  From behind her in line, I watch this episode with sadness.  My heart breaks for her.  I'm not a doctor, but I do believe she has a bad case of the Pretty.

Researchers disagree on the cause of the Pretty, but I have a theory.  I believe the Pretty begins as a gift - one of many gifts - like tools in a box.  But this one gift, though lacking in utility, is especially sparkly and shiny.  It attracts attention.  It is the first thing other humans notice.  It is the first and sometimes only thing on which other humans comment.  And this, I believe, is where the Pretty shifts from gift to disease - when it's holder begins to confuse 'shiniest' and 'most recognized' as 'the most valuable,' or worse, 'the only' tool.    

While the other tools might grow in strength and usefulness with exercise and attention, the Pretty will not.  This tool will fade and rust and eventually lose any utility it might once have held.  

This is when the symptoms become most acute - when the sufferer, believing this is their most valuable asset and facing its inevitable decline, scrubs and shines and spends and suffers in a futile attempt to restore it to it's initial condition.

Most disconcerting is the neglect shown to the remaining tools - tools which, with attention, might grow in usefulness, might make the world a more beautiful place, might contribute to a lasting legacy, might remain strong and useful even when a face has aged to a point where no amount of make-up can hide the lines. Instead, these amazing gifts are too often left to rot, unused, unnoticed, unappreciated.

I count myself among the lucky ones.  Among the tools in my box, 'pretty' was not the shiniest.  It was, in fact, defective.  At two weeks old, strange growths began to appear on my face - large, raised, red-purple bumps, which grew at an alarming rate.  It took some time for the doctors to rule out a brain-damage inducing disease, but in the end my brain was fine - my face, however, was not.  

My mom can tell you the story of a woman crossing a grocery store when I was a baby.  She moved in such a deliberate fashion that my poor mother was certain she was about to hear yet another rude comment or accusation regarding my birthmark. Instead, the woman commented on the beauty of my eyes.  Bless her. 

Despite having pretty eyes, the rest of my face thankfully discouraged well-meaning adults from commenting on my prettiness.  Bless them.  

Instead I received a great many comments about my intelligence, my quick-wit, my athletic abilities (which, alas, were fleeting), and my ability to whip out poetry like a vending machine.  A great many people complimented and concurrently encouraged me to use the many tools in my box.  

Though at times I did regret not having a better 'pretty' tool, as it seemed to be quite important to so many others, I eventually viewed its defectiveness as one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.  After all, not once have I ever ruined a moment of laughter, or tempered a smile, over concerns of future lines in my face. Never did I learn to rely on cuteness as a way to get what I wanted, or flirtation to attract attention. And I don't believe I'm in any danger of suffering from the Pretty.  Like an immunization, it was uncomfortable for a moment, but protected me against disease.

I do feel the burden to share my perspective - to raise awareness - to bring this disease out of the shadows and into the light.  I wish to see us, as a society, fight this disease instead of glorifying it.  Many among us would perpetuate the disease for the sake of profit, which is quite sickening.  Many perpetuate it unintentionally, which is quite sad.  I think it is time we acknowledge the Pretty, encourage those who suffer, and remind the world they are so much more.  

To the Pretty I say:  Thankfully, you are so much more than pretty.  Be amazing, be the kind of beautiful which grows with age, be you.