Friday, November 6, 2015

When Being a Mormon is Hard

Getting called a goody-two-shoes in elementary school for not swearing, being pressured by soccer coaches to change my decision to not play on Sunday, getting called a bigot during Prop 8--none of these things were that hard for me. I knew where I stood, had confidence in my position, and didn't really care what anyone else thought about me anyway. To be honest, the hardest parts about being a Mormon have not come from outside the church, they've come from within.

For the most part, I'm okay with that. I would be wary of any faith that didn't push me to stretch and grow, even if that process was uncomfortable, daunting, and even devastating at times. My religion asks so much from me, so I feel justified in expecting the same from Mormonism--and for the most part, after long periods of wrestling and pleading and praying, I have not been disappointed.

Questions and concerns about women and priesthood have led me to develop a deep testimony about my power as a woman, even while I still cringe at many things I see and hear about women at church. Painful discomfort with some aspects of temple worship ultimately led me to the most peaceful and affirming meeting with church leaders I've ever had, even though most of my questions were answered with, "We don't know." I feel that God has let me experience the dark so that I will do everything I can to find the light.

Today I'm in the dark. I'm heartbroken about the policy change regarding LGBT families. I may feel this way until I meet my Savior with a joyful embrace and long list of questions. I can't wrap my heart or mind around it. I'm praying for the ram in the thicket. I'm crying out, saying with tears, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."

I am confused and dismayed, and no platitudes can smooth it over for me, or for the people actually directly affected by this new policy.

Instead of posting shallow, reductive, and patronizing articles offering unofficial, speculative "insights," please keep your baptismal covenants and simply mourn with those who are desperately mourning. You don't have to disagree with church leaders to empathize with those who have been placed in much more complicated situations than your own. You don't have to sanction gay marriage (I don't) to listen to stories, believe them, and say "I am so sorry." You know what? You also don't have to mention that you don't support gay marriage. Try and love and listen without an agenda.

We're always saying that we hate the sin, but love the sinner. I hope we can start showing that love by opening our hearts to the pain of others instead of trying to dismiss it or explain it away.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Wild Pigs in Suburbia

You know you live in Texas when this shows up in your neighborhood email blast:

I live in suburbia! What are wild pigs doing in my neighborhood? Further discussion on the message board revealed that some unwitting neighbor had been spreading corn to attract deer ... but instead she got a sounder of hogs.

Wild pigs are gross. Actually, they are delicious (courtesy of some bow-hunting friends), but the idea of bristle-haired hogs rooting around my neighborhood creeps me out.

Imagine you're minding your own business at the neighborhood playground, reading Kinfolk while your kids are being super nice to all the other kids, when suddenly this bursts from the underbrush and eats everyone.

Peekaboo from behind the R.O.U.S via

Ok, that's actually a 781-lb monster boar from Turkey, but even the 100-400lb version found in Texas scares me. (Side note: never go to Turkey.) I hate how smart they are and how they get more vicious and feral with every generation removed from human association. It's like their species is an allegory for moral decay. I can't even bring myself to buy Boar's Head deli products because the logo gives me nightmares. 

Because the hellish face of a boar accompanied by the company's name in Dracula's favorite font will inspire me to purchase succulent deli meats and unctuous cheeses.

I asked Nathan what he thought about boar. He said, "It's a bore." What a joker.

Nathan: "Is this where you start obnoxiously typing everything I say?"

Yes, Nathan, yes it is.

Other boar facts:

-They have "lightning speed" and "razor sharp tusks" (exact words from the Texas Parks and Wildlife feral hogs info page). Just a reminder that a typical lightning bolt moves at 224,000 mph, so move quick if a boar is charging you! Too late, you're dead. Struck by boar lightning.

-Their tusks grow continuously. Like a rat's.

-They have poor eyesight, but keen senses of hearing, smell, and humor.

-Wild hogs can carry "pseudorabies," a swine herpes virus (not transmittable to humans, but your pets are susceptible so watch out for any Capulet/Montague kisses).

-Groups of swine, or "sounders," are led by a matriarch and consist of barren sows and mothers with young (feminist pigs! A foil to male chauvinist pigs?).

-Sows have been known to eat their young in poor habitat conditions.

-The feral pig population of Texas is estimated to be over 2 million.

-The meat of some uncastrated male hogs is afflicted by "boar taint," a foul smell and taste rumored to be rank enough to curl Nancy Pelosi's hair.

-In Greek mythology, boars were often sent as merchants of godly vengeance.

Here's a picture of some feral hogs looking cute, because this is a balanced and unbiased blog free of prejudice against anything or anyone, including these vile little suburbia pig monsters.

Taken when they weren't in "lightning mode." via

Later message board updates included reports that a pack of coyotes had engaged the wild boar in a skirmish. The coyotes were said to possess "katana fangs" and "tsunami strength."
What do you think? Should we heli-hunt these intelligent, vicious beasts in order to halt their trajectory towards becoming our barbarous masters? Should we continue hobby bow-hunting them for our homemade pepperoni in complacency? Or is there a wild hog Jane Goodall who can tell us of their nobility and quiet strength? These questions cannot be answered until the shroud of mysteriousness surrounding these fearsome creatures is parted, come what may.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Emails from Politicians

If you've ever been dumb enough to give your email to a political organization, I imagine you've been getting a lot of super annoying emails lately begging for money. I certainly have been.

"Kimber, can I count on you today?" No, Marco! Stop using my Christian name like you're some used car salesman. It's Mrs. Nathan Albrechtsen to you.

Or this gem from Ted Cruz, "We're building real momentum in key states, but we must keep the campaign doors open if we want to fight off the Washington Cartel and be the ones to reignite liberty."

Reignite liberty? I'm sorry, but I don't want to set anything on fire, let alone my liberty. Who is writing your dumb emails? Why is "Cartel" capitalized? Are you talking about the Senate t-ball team by the same name? Or have your shadowy political enemies decided to make their league of villainy official by filing an LLC? 

Another from Marco: "Kimber, I know you get a lot of email, but I wouldn't be sending this unless it was urgent. And it is."

You know what's urgent? A top secret mission in Miami that requires a stay-at-home-mom to infiltrate a Cuban spy ring. Email me then, Marco. 

I bet my "unique donation buttons" look totally different from everyone else's unique donation buttons.

The spastic formatting is killing me. Bold. Highlighted bold. ALL CAPS RED HIGHLIGHTED BOLD. 


All y'all presidential-aiming narcissists need to cut the crapola out of your blustering emails. Here's what your emails should say:

Faceless voting unit I must secure in my quest for fame and power,

I need your hard-earned money to pay for yard signs and slick suits to wear to debates so I can look good while I make stuff up. I also need money to pay Hulu for commercials that will annoy you while you wait for Brooklyn Nine-Nine to come back on.

Send me money. You will feel smug and hopeful, like you are investing in America's future, but know that you're really just bankrolling my small-town-diner crawl across America. Without your donation I could not afford the extra side of bacon I love so dearly. Bacon=relatable, accessible, AMERICA.

Electronic Signature

If anyone's looking for a campaign manager, I'm happy to talk about my credentials over something pumpkin spice-flavored, your treat.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Stop Apologizing for Your Body

I've noticed something concerning: women are constantly apologizing for their bodies, and not because they are punching people or farting all the time.

From an online neighborhood forum:

"Sorry guys please ignore this one. Ladies, does anyone have an ob in the area who will do a VBAC?"

Why is she saying sorry? Is the mere allusion to her having a uterus too scandalous for men to read? Or maybe it was that her uterus currently contains a baby? OMHECK HOW DID IT GET THERE?

I acknowledge that women are probably the best source of info on great ob-gyns, but couldn't there be a great husband in the neighborhood who was involved enough with the process of the birth of his children that he could also recommend a doctor who took great care of his wife? Or would it be embarrassing for a man to admit that he remembered the lady-parts doctor's name? Whatever the case, men should not be ignoring the existence of healthcare needs for half the population.

Having a female body is normal. Needing a doctor is normal. You don't need to apologize.

From Facebook:

Displaying the face you were born with is not discourteous or offensive. The multi-billion dollar beauty industry would have you believe it is, though. Don't apologize for not having the money, time, or desire to hyper-pigment/contour/sexualize your face to meet arbitrary beauty standards. 

(Disclaimer: I wear makeup sometimes, and I am conflicted about it. I don't care if you wear makeup. I don't support the idea that a woman must wear makeup to be acceptable, formal, or successful.)

From an amalgam of several birth stories I've read: "Sorry if this is TMI! Guys, scroll to the end if you don't want to read the gross parts."

Yes, there are bodily fluids involved in birth. No, you should not apologize for acknowledging that it wasn't a stork who delivered your baby perfectly dry and smelling of Aveeno lotion, wrapped in an aide + anais swaddle. You created that baby and birthed it from your womb.

The details of birth are messy, but they are not offensive. Blood, uterus, vagina, amniotic fluid, cervix, contraction, perineum, tear, push, bleed, break, vernix, meconium, vomit, poop, sweat, tears. All of these may be part of a birth. They aren't swear words. Every human is born. It is not some gross, weird, or offensive medical phenomenon that you need to censor to appease the delicate or uninformed.

This also applies to menstruation, an amazing testament to the procreative power of women. Don't apologize for needing to buy tampons, acknowledging that you have cramps, or voicing that you feel more emotional at certain times in your cycle. This doesn't mean that you have a free pass to be rude when you're PMSing, but it does mean you shouldn't have to whisper when you say "period" while telling a friend that you'll be skipping PiYo to go for doughnuts instead.

Men seem to be okay with blood when it's coming out of a comic book hero; the thought of it coming out of your vagina shouldn't kill them. In fact, if boys are raised to know what menstruation is and that it is a normal process for women, they'll have a greater chance of growing up to be informed, empathetic, and a resource to the women in their lives. 

Ironman is alive and bleeds. TMI!!! 

Apologies are necessary when you do or say something offensive. If someone is offended by something that isn't offensive, that's their problem, not yours.

But what about social norms? What if someone gets uncomfortable?

Some social norms are based on moral laws and are good: don't kill people, say thank you, take turns. Other social norms are not based on moral laws, and should be questioned and opposed if they are harmful. The social norms that discourage women from acknowledging their femaleness or presenting their natural faces are harmful because they communicate that a woman's social participation should largely be determined by the preferences of men instead of the needs of women. 

What is the greater evil? Inflicting mild discomfort on someone interpreting your existence through warped lenses, or propagating harmful messages about how females are allowed to participate in society? Any discomfort that results is just part of societal growing pains as we leave our sexist cultural adolescence behind. Harmful social norms should be challenged. Comfort should never stand in the way of social progress.

I'm not saying that every woman has to share every detail of her life or body. Medical needs can be private. Your birth story might be too personal to share. Makeup can be fun. I am saying that it's harmful to shame people for talking about their female experiences, it's unnecessary to preface yourself with apologies where none are needed, an it's damaging to promote the idea that a woman must alter her appearance to receive regard and respect.

So unless you just stepped on my foot in your haste to snatch the last carton of Blue Bell from the ice cream case, you don't need to apologize for your body.
**The winner of my hat-finding challenge is "inkylou." Thank you for linking to an online hat shop that featured Indiana Jones hats on the homepage! Email your address to and I will send you three gummy hamburgers and another surprise. I know I promised ten, but the box was on top of my fridge, so I couldn't see how many I had eaten ... then I was shocked to see only three left. Oops. If you are dying for all ten, I'll order some more. Let me know. Thanks to everyone else who suggested hats, here and on Facebook. Amanda gets an honorable mention for exposing me to these gems, and Auntie Becca gets the "Best Personal Effort" prize (a good feeling) for her squid hat.**

Friday, August 21, 2015

I Need A Hat

I went to the dermatologist this week for an embarrassing issue. Here are some weird things for you to imagine to distract from wondering what my real ailment was:

1. Rash shaped like Russia on my lower back (worst kind of tramp stamp)
2. Long and dark neck hairs reminiscent of a young Genghis Khan
3. Kneecap chafing from always being knee-deep in diapers
4. Earlobe eczema, a psychosomatic condition brought on by wailing children
5. Armpit acne that prohibits shaving (side note: a few months ago I went a long time without shaving my legs, and then one day I went out in shorts and felt the wind on my leg hair and it was a surprisingly transcendent experience)

The dermatologist was young and nice and answered all my questions, both general and specific to my awkward issue. She had perfect skin, but was nice enough to try and relate to me by gesturing to non-existent blemishes on her face.

I don't think I could ever be a dermatologist because it would be too hard to hide my simultaneous interest in and revulsion to gross skin conditions. I would say, "WOAH!" too often.

I asked her what I can do to prevent looking like a piece of chewed up leather in twenty years.


She gave me some samples. Is there anything better than a good sample? This is why I love H-E-B. I love knowing I can count on a piece of Nutella croissant, a chip with guacamole, and a thimbleful of fresh-squeezed orange juice whenever I go there. Death, taxes, and the juice station at H-E-B.

I asked her what else I should be doing to maintain my youthful, dewy glow, and she told me to wear a hat.

I answered, "Are there any hats that aren't completely dorky? Those floppy beach hats are ridiculous." I was already thinking about how I just can't pull off wearing hats. They make me feel presumptuous and silly. But I don't want skin cancer, so I started daydreaming about an Indiana Jones-style hat that would add adventure and intrigue to my errands and playground visits. Could this work?

The nurse laughed at me and the dermatologist said she'd write down a website with good hats.

"At least, I don't think the hats are that bad," she said a little self-consciously, which made me like her more.

She wrote down the website in untidy handwriting, though her penmanship was less the hurried scrawl of doctors who deem their time too important to write legibly, and more reminiscent of a first grader's printing practice. "Coolibar."

I looked up the website in my car after the appointment ended. I'd booked a company-subsidized sitter for the morning, and with a four-hour minimum booking, I was content to sit in my car and bask in the quiet that came after the solitary "click" of the one seatbelt I needed to fasten across just one human body.

Friends, this is what I found:

"I'm a model so I'm paid to smile, but this hat looks like a zebra leather patchwork quilt."

Ten-gallon bucket hat.

This is my nightmare.

Mullet hat.

Imagine me wearing this at the playground. How would the police not get called?

For when the physical pain of a sunburn outweighs the pain of looking like you're wearing a loincloth on your head.

I can only imagine that my dermatologist has entered into some exclusive endorsement contract with Coolibar, because why else would she refer me to the nerd alert hellscape that was Coolibar? Where is my Indiana Jones hat? Where?

I just want to look like this, but the mom version.

Find me a hat that I can wear in public without shame and I will send you ten gummy hamburgers from the box of 60 I got off Amazon last month in a craving-induced haze. I'm serious. Link to a great hat in the comments and I'll announce the winner when I post next.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

On Public Correction: Two Tales

Sometimes your kids just pick their noses and ruin the best shot.
Experience 1:

I was eating lunch today at Chick-fil-A with some friends while our kids played when a woman approached our table and asked, "Is one of your sons the boy with the blue shirt, with the turtle on the back?"

She was describing the t-shirt Graham got at our family reunion last year, so I answered, "Yes, he's mine."

"He's bullying everyone on the playground."

Next to her stood a boy, probably seven or eight years old, in a green shirt. The boy Graham had tearfully described and pointed out five minutes earlier as the one who had kicked him when he tried to enter the same helicopter play pod as the boy. Then Graham had hit him back, then the boy hit him again, then Graham hit him back, then the boy hit Graham, then Graham left, then the boy followed and hit him again ... all this was recounted to me in between little sobs. There's something about my little four year old: he's too young to consistently control his emotions or his need to enforce his own vigilante brand of justice, but he's also too young to lie about his role in heated events when he's upset. I knew he was telling (his version of) the truth. I told him to stop hitting and to avoid the older boy. Tears forgotten, he ran back to play. Apparently it didn't end there, though.

This is Graham's gremlin face. 

When the woman at Chick-fil-A declared Graham a bully, I had a few reactions. First, I was embarrassed because I was with two friends. Next, I resisted the minor urge to correct her usage of the word "bullying" (bullying is not the same as being a stinker! Bullying involves abusive power imbalances and/or persistent and aggressive harassment). I also wanted to bring up her son's behavior, but that's really not my style. Finally, I just stood up, went to the play place, and told Graham to knock it off. Then I returned to my frosted lemonade.

Maybe the other mother wanted me to do something more drastic. Maybe my friends thought I was too lenient. Maybe I was wrong to not haul Graham out for a time out. I'll be honest: half of why I went in there was as a token offering to a society that demands a reaction to every reported injustice. I fully believe Graham was playing a part in a playground conflict. I also know my kid, and know he never independently instigates malicious trouble. The other half of why I went in there is because I genuinely want my kids to be well-behaved and considerate of others. A part of me does appreciate another parent letting me know if my kid is acting out. I would certainly welcome such information from a teacher or friend. Perhaps I was irked because she was neither.

I'm probably 50% libertarian, so I believe more in governing yourself than in governing others. When Graham comes and tells me that some kid did xyz, I almost always tell him to play somewhere else or just ask the other kid to stop. In fact, I can't think of a single instance where I've voluntarily gotten involved in a playground dispute (though I can imagine scenarios where I would, of course). In most cases, kids will resolve the conflict themselves (great practice for adulthood!!), forgive, forget, and move on. I don't like denying my kids those important opportunities to practice social skills. Even in this altercation, Graham eventually happily announced to me that the other boy apologized--with no hovering moms in sight! That's a victory!

I don't like tattling. I wish we spent more time and social energy on teaching self-control than on policing and calling each other out.

Except ...

Experience #2:

A while ago, Nathan was spending some time with a group of people that included an older, long-married couple. The husband is notoriously mean to his wife. During their time together, something happened that made him launch into a protracted episode of criticizing his wife. He wouldn't let it go. Nathan finally said something about how he was surprised they were still talking about the issue fifteen minutes after the fact, but he didn't really say anything to condemn the man's words towards his wife, something he later told me he regretted.

Should he have publicly corrected this older man? Would that be interfering with the sovereignty of a marital relationship? Would it have just made it worse for her later on? Is it anyone's business but theirs? When should you say something? Do you have to wait for him to start hitting her? These are real questions.

I've been thinking about this for a while. When is it okay to demand a change of behavior from others? Only when physical injury is imminent? What about emotional? I'm torn between my belief that you should develop emotional grit to deal with other people's lameness and my belief that other people shouldn't be lame. Maybe it's a delicate balance?

What are your thoughts? When do you call other people out? Other parents? Other people's kids? Older people? Friends? Strangers? Experiences?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Jesus Didn't Make My Son's Body

photo by Tara Butler
After church a while ago, Graham proclaimed, "Jesus made my body! And trees! Did he make our house?"

After trying to explain how it was possible that Jesus was the creator of the whole earth and a carpenter, but not also a suburban construction worker, I realized another discrepancy in my four-year-old's declaration. I tried to clarify:

"Graham, I made your body."

"No, Jesus did!"

"Actually, I did, with the power of God. I grew your body with my body."

Then I can't remember what happened, but it probably involved Graham running away to get a snack (11 o'clock church is rough).

photo by Tara Butler
I don't fault my son's Sunday school teacher for this at all. I learned the same phrase, and I've probably repeated it. Of course, all life comes from His power, and all bodies are formed from matter from the earth He created, but I don't think it's accurate to say, "Jesus made my body." That's oversimplifying the truth and foreclosing an important discussion about the role and power of women.

I make an effort to emphasize the amazing contribution I have made to our children in creating their bodies. I don't do this to brag or impress my children, or usurp the roles of God or our Savior in their lives. I do it because I believe that the creation of bodies, however universal, is a uniquely divine process, a power and privilege given to women. It is one way I contribute to the eternal progression of God's children (there are, of course, other vital ways women participate in God's work). I want my children to understand that women and men have equally important roles to play in God's plan for them. I feel that I am glorifying God in acknowledging a concrete way that He allows me and His other daughters to participate in His work.

Would you ever say that Jesus baptized you? No! Because He didn't! A man, through the power of God, baptizes you. Just like a woman, through the power of God, creates and gives birth to your body.

Ruby on the day of her baby blessing
When we generalize that "Jesus made my body," we are missing an important opportunity to acknowledge the role of women in the Plan of Salvation. I don't think it takes any glory away from Christ when we recognize that women are serving Him and God's children by creating bodies through His power. Just like our reverence for the priesthood and the respect we show to those ordained to offices in that priesthood doesn't diminish our worship for our Savior. Acknowledging that women play a vital, irreplaceable role in His plan actually increases my love and deference for Him because I am humbled that I have been entrusted with such an important part of His work, I can see how He loves and entrusts men and women with His power in equal measure, and my experience with and knowledge of the process of procreation informs my understanding of the atonement.

photo by Andrea Oates
Next time you're discussing the importance, divinity, and origin of our bodies, consider acknowledging that it is women through whom this power and blessing flow (literally!). Instead of teaching your kids that "Jesus made your body," maybe try something like this, "God and Jesus gave me a very important job! I'm in charge of making bodies for the kids in our family. It's a really important job and God gave me a special, sacred power so I can make bodies. Our Heavenly Parents and Jesus all have bodies and they wanted you to have one, too, so you could be like them. With God's power, I make bodies."

photo by Andrea Oates
My husband agrees that this contribution of women shouldn't be minimized, and I love to hear him teach our children about the divine power of my motherhood. I feel supported and honored as a daughter of God and mother of our children when he teaches them that my gift of a physical body is just as important as his subsequent gifts of baptism, confirmation, etc. Our society often discounts the importance and miracles of birth and bodies, or dismisses the process as gross and commonplace. Changing the words we use when we teach important doctrines about bodies and birth, mortality, and the embodied nature of God reclaims the divinity of the procreative process, establishes that women are connected to God's power, and creates an empowering paradigm for our daughters to recognize their procreative powers as an important facet of their identities as servants of Christ.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ridiculously Easy, No-sew Baby Doll Carrier Tutorial, + Random Life Tips

I'm no Martha Stewart, but sometimes I have good mothering/housekeeping/crafty ideas. Here are a few random ones that have made me particularly delighted:

-When you're on vacation or an outing that you want to Instagram the heck out of to show that you actually get off your couch sometimes ... but you're out of memory on your phone! Curses! You don't want to spend ten minutes going through your photo stream to find and delete the forty pictures that your toddler took of her toes, because the moment is about to pass! The pony ride is about to be over, people! Instead, pick an app to delete. You can easily reload it later when you've had a chance to transfer your pictures to your computer. I usually delete my BBC or CNN apps. News can wait when you're making memories (make sure you read this in a grandfather-from-a-Nicholas-Sparks-novel voice).

-Instead of peeling the safety seal off your vanilla (or other extracts or liquids you usually only need a small amount of), cut a small slit in the seal so you have more control over how fast it comes out. If yours comes in a plastic bottle, you can even give it a little squeeze to fill that teaspoon a quarter-second faster. You'll spill less and will neatly sidestep your phobia of accidentally wasting half the bottle of your expensive Madagascar bourbon vanilla if your hand twitches.

-Here's how to make a super-easy, no-sew baby doll carrier with which your kids can adorably imitate you. Seriously, this project will last as long as Donald Trump's political career.

Lay out  an old t-shirt and mark it for cutting like so:

Note my summer toenails.
Cut through both layers. 

In case you skipped kindergarten and don't know what "cutting" means.
One of your scraps can be used as a chic dickie.

You have to make this face when you're wearing a dickie.

Your project should look like this now. I forgot to take a picture of the next set of cut lines before I cut them, so I added them in digitally. I love technology.

Cut on these lines, but THROUGH ONE LAYER.

Unfolded, it should look like this. I love that down arrow.

It's like a disembodied bunny coming in for a hug.

 More cut lines. Again, THROUGH TOP LAYER ONLY.

All done!!! 

Now to put it on. Tie the waist straps at the back.

Remember to support baby while you're securing the carrier. Just kidding, it's just a stuffed polar bear.

Cross straps across the back and tie in front.

Support the neck!!
 So cute. Make another one. Goodness knows you have BYU t-shirts to spare.

Baby carriers are practically clothes.

Little mama.
 Awesome! If you make one, send me a picture and I will put it on the blog along with an interview where I highlight how amazing you are at being a person.

Gotta go make some lentils. Adios.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

When I Die

I know some intense stuff has been happening around the world lately, so I'm going to write about something more light and fluffy to soothe your frazzled internet nerves: 


Why is a 20-something mother thinking about such morbid things as the passage of time? I'd argue that no one is more acutely aware of the speedy jaws of time than someone who has approximately four minutes to shower in peace until an enraged toddler starts throwing things at the door. Also, I'm a really deep person who thinks about metaphysical stuff all the time. Okay, so I was actually just looking at my arm and noticed a weird configuration of freckles/marks that may come in handy for the public to know about in case I go missing and die in a ditch and need to be identified later by the small town lady cop who finds me and works my puzzling case, all while she's in the midst of working through a divorce from her high school sweetheart, opening an e-bakery to fund her mother's chemo treatments, and managing her micro-farm. It'll be like Fargo meets Eat, Pray, Love, plus The Fault in Our Stars, for the cancer.

Here are the marks, on my right upper arm, FYI:

They needed a little something ...


Now when my missing person poster goes up on the cork board by the bathrooms at Panera, it can include such vital knowledge as "grimacing ghost face birthmark on upper right arm." You could substitute "melancholy" for "grimacing" because he looks a little frowny. Or maybe he's just whiny?

Over-legislation ghost.

Accidentally-transracial ghost.

Ironically-capitalist hipster ghost.

When I die, I'd also like everyone to know the details of my death, especially if it's untimely. Don't be vague about how I died, because that drives morbidly curious people like me crazy! If I choke to death in the pantry because I was pounding a cupcake too quickly in an effort to avoid my children seeing and asking for a bite, put that in my obituary! "She died selfish and happy, with the smallest smudge of chocolate buttercream nonchalantly smeared across her lips, once so warm and slightly-chapped in life, now so cold in death."

Other important details: bury me with a 32 oz bottle of DevaCurl conditioner because I'm worried Amazon Prime doesn't deliver to the spirit world, and I want my hair to be looking hydrated and fabulous forevermore.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Definitive Mother's Day Anti Gift Guide

There are loads of bloggers out there who are more rich and posh than I am who will tell you all the things you could buy for your mama/baby mama for Mother's Day. I will tell you what not to get her, beyond the standard no-no's of shapewear, cleaning products, or a Norelco beard trimmer with your name on it.

1. The Cast Iron Oyster Grill Pan from Sur La Table. No one needs this. Unless your mom summers in the Hamptons. Or is a grill-servant for someone who summers in the Hamptons. Or needs something large and heavy to defend herself with if she finds herself hiding from an intruder in the pantry under the shelf where she keeps cookware she never uses.

The epitome of over-specialization.

2. A side of beef. 320 pounds of it! For only $1329 (plus tax) you can supply your mother with enough meat to feed the panther you got her for Mother's Day last year! Oh wait, you didn't get her a panther? Then don't buy her this much beef.

Watch the video. Too much meat to even be captured by a photo!

3. A fur-covered exercise ball chair. No grown woman should have to subject her office space to something that looks like it was upholstered in Furby-hide. I don't care how swanky PB Teen is (I can only ever think of "Peanut Butter Teen" when I read this), your mom doesn't (shouldn't) want it! The woman wants some back support while she browses Pinterest writes her momoirs. On a different note, wouldn't it be so awesome to have enough disposable income to build a special room in your house that you would fill with these fur balls? In a huge range of sizes? I'm thinking anywhere from small, dodgeball-sizes to maybe a few with 12-foot diameters. You could rent the room out for parties. I would go to a fur ball party. There would also be a make-your-own Italian soda bar.

The aqua one was formerly an extra on Sesame Street.

4. Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers. Only because you should get the entire collection! Don't cheap out on your mom!

5. An all-expenses-paid trip to Cawker City, Kansas to see the biggest ball of twine in the United States. Unless the trip is scheduled for August during the city "Twine-a-thon" when more twine is added to the ball. That could be really intense.

It's not even a ball!
Don't take this the wrong way, but wouldn't that be a great place to hide a dead body? You'd have to do some initial wrapping, of course, but every year during the Twine-a-thon, the other Cawker City citizens would unwittingly do their part to make sure no one every discovered your twine-mummy. Also, if anyone ever suspected that the corpse of grumpy old, ironically-named Mr. Love (the victim, murdered during a botched robbery when you were attempting to steal his prize piece of beef jerky that looks like Ryan Gosling) was within the twine ball, there would be a city-wide outcry at the thought of cutting the ball apart to confirm suspicions. Dibs on this plot idea. I'm going to title the book Love Entwined.

On a sentimental note, happy early Mother's Day to my own dear mother. She's creative, generous, hilarious, and a mean shot with a black powder rifle. Maybe we do have some business in Cawker City ...

Right down the middle!

Best/worst thing you ever received/gave for Mother's Day?