July 2008 Archives

I'll be your Huckleberry

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I'm not a perfect Christian. I'm a mess, really, as are most. I know this. I don't walk around with a makeshift halo over my head.

I also know that when you say that you have faith, you're supposed to hold yourself to a higher standard; otherwise, it's a bait and switch. This is my problem with most religion; its why I'm non-denominational, it's why whenever I see people like Benny Hinn or Pat Robertson on television pointing down to everyone with their shepherd's staff that I go berserk.

I very much feel like dumping over the changing tables in the temple and shouting "DEN OF ROBBERS!" in their faces.

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My friend Catherine wrote a post on the pop-culture blog to which I contribute, about the New York Times' Blogher kerfuffle. It was emotionally-charged, from the heart, and downright angry. I can empathize as I myself have been on the receiving end of viciously sexist email, comments, et al. before from both men and women (Jessica Valenti). A man's hobbies or interests (i.e. baseball) are not used to invalidate his work, yet the same courtesy is not extended to women. It's unfortunate that entities like the NYT feel that in order to merit the same consideration as men, women essentially have to disregard their femininity and become men.

I'm not angry at the NYT article's author for incorporating female interests into the piece at all; rather, I'm angry that the NYT interpreted those interests as fluff and stuck it into into a fluff section which runs pieces about Botox.

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The ripples of this extended all the way over to World Net Daily, whose columnist by the pseudonym of Vox Day (seriously, I think there were like 20 of those pseudonyms back in my junior high AOL chatroom days) - excuse me - Christian columnist Vox Day (real name Theodore Beale; he's a rich kid and his dad was on the board at WND, which undoubtedly helped Beale to get some ink) decided to go on a rant against women with emphasis on mothers who blog and basically called us all stupid. I realize that intelligence is probably very important to a man who works "I'm in Mensa" in every biographical footnote and pick-up lines, all the while juxtaposing it next to a standard Myspace headshot replete with a hairstyle and goatee sported by every teenage male member of my Ozark family.

Now see, that was cruel. It was as shallow and tasteless as the arguments Vox Day/Theodore Beale presented against women bloggers and for that I am ashamed. Really.

(Tangent: Some time ago I read wherein Beale apologized to national socialists for further disparaging their already-besmirched name with the "femi-nazi" sobriquet. I would go so far as to say Day is acting like a "manazi." That would be an excellent metal album title.)

My other problem with Beale is a repeat of what I mentioned in my earlier graphs: I don't walk around with a makeshift halo over my head. However, Beale apparently does. This is a guy that advertises all the Christian books he's reading or has written, a guy who opines about politics and the merits of Christianity in his World Net Daily columns; this is a guy who positions himself in an authoritative role with regards to spirituality, a guy who lectures us on the importance of faith. So forgive me if I find it a little contradictory when he calls someone I know, a genuinely real and good person, a "lactating cow."

You don't speak to someone about their concern for sexism by writing about them like a sexist.

I should point out that this was on his Blogger site and not on the World Net Daily site, otherwise that probably wouldn't help sell books, I'd imagine.

He goes on to say how women marginalize themselves because of "hate and animosity." I don't disagree with this statement, yet he misses the irony completely. 

Why does this bother me? I try not to embarrass myself or my faith too much which can be really difficult for me because I have a notoriously sharp tongue and I feel that bluntness expediency in speech is more efficient. I realize that when I say I am a person of faith that I am representing a lot more here on earth than just myself. I try hard to avoid becoming like that which I detest: people like Benny Hinn and his ilk, people who praise God on Sunday but betray Him with their actions on Monday.

Talking about how spiritually righteous you are while at the same time eviscerating others does nothing to improve the stereotype that some have of Christians. It makes it harder for people to publicly admit their faith. It gives more ammunition to the jerks in high school that make fun of the kid on his way to a meeting of Christian Athletes.

"The salient point is that I understand that this blog exists for me and me alone. I have no right to demand that anyone read it or recognize it or pay any attention to it whatsoever ..."

I whole-heartedly agree. No one has the right to be read. It is not a right; it is a privilege. I'm sure Vox just sticks his blog's link in the footnote of his columns for kicks and grins. With a blog being created every second, there are a lot of bad writers out there. (There are a lot of good ones as well.) Vox Day/Theodore Beale believes that women bloggers are demanding attention, traffic, eyeballs. Perhaps Beale's zeal got ahead of his knowledge on this one: that's not what was said in the slightest. All that was said was that women in technology would like to be treated with the same consideration as are the men. It's interesting to me: Beale considers unfair treatment important when discussing matters of religion or politics; perhaps he discounts women because he's a male and therefore can't identify with some of what's being discussed?

He doesn't think women - mother bloggers - are important? At least he condescendingly gives Catherine credit for breeding. So kind of you, Vox.

" ... readers ignore you ["chick-bloggers and mommy-bloggers"] because they could not possibly care less about nothing, which just happens to be what you have to say."

I'm not going to debate with him the importance of motherhood or how I believe women are responsible for directing society's trajectory because we rock the cradle and all of that; also because I believe that his statement suggests a total disrespect of females, whether or not he intended it, or how I (and most women) didn't clamor for attention - it just happened. Women write about "nothing." His heart is hardened and that's all she wrote.

I want to take issue with a few comments:

"They value attention more than what they do."

Universal statements are logically unsound. I can't speak for everyone, but I write online because I enjoy it, it helps me work through things, but most importantly, I have a living diary of my life with my children. I'd forget half of this without typing it up. Also important - I've connected with other mothers. I've found a groundswell of homeschooling resources and support. So please keep your armchair psychology to yourself.

"I mean, who is supposed to be surprised, let alone upset, that groups of narcissistic women like to babble at each other and tell each other how wonderful they are? I'd only be surprised if I learned they were doing anything that was either useful or entertaining."

It's the exact same as a bunch of Dungeons and Dragons nerds sitting around in Vox's mom's basement, drinking the Kool-Aid, combing their goatees and talking about how much they hate women. OK. That was mean. See? It takes work, ya'll.

He commented later:

"I'm all for Mommy blogs. I'm sure there's [sic] plenty of companies selling kids stuff that would like to use them as advertising vehicles. But hearing them complain about not being taken seriously is like listening to Jenna Jameson complain that she's never been nominated for an Oscar. It's a category error."

Vox Day had an opportunity to be the salt he preaches about. It's unfortunate that he instead chose to embrace the very characteristics he claims are hallmarks of those with whom he disagrees.

He generalizes mothers who write online, discounts those who have skills what - because they have kids? - and compares them to the skankiest of porn stars (whose boyfriend is the worst fighter in the UFC).

"No one starts with any [respect]. You want it, you earn it."

No. Everyone is deserving of respect until otherwise proven. Have you even read the Bible which you thump so hard? NONE of us have earned respect, yet, by faith, we are saved.

(Again, I'm not a preacher, I don't like thumping, but that right there was one of the most dangerous statements I've ever read from a self-proclaimed Christian in a long time.)

I don't even have to write anything insulting about him other than to let his quotes speak for themselves. Please do not allow this guy to stand as an example of those with faith.

Thoughts?

(P.S. The comment thing is misleading, you do not have to sign in. Just hit "comment anonymously and fill in your URL, etc. Sorries. I'll fix it.)

*UPDATE: Reader Barbara writes:

I read your blog about Vox Day/Theodore Beale. I checked the online up-to-date membership roster, and he wasn't listed. I then emailed the office of American Mensa, Ltd., and they do not have him listed as a member, either...under either name.

Anyone, not just a member, can receive confirmation of someone's membership by emailing membership@us.mensa.org.


**UPDATE DEUX: Vox responded like the last kid picked for dodgeball. So typical. And sad! It's not even fun to pick on him because he's one of those people perpetually ON THE RAG and intellectually stunted. I've read him before and stopped because there were other, better political and religious writers out there who didn't depend on daddy to get them their columns (note how he sidesteps that whole issue). You got pwned. GET OVER IT. Good game, now move on. Actually, I'm just interested in seeing how many posts he makes attacking women. It's hysterical.

Also - if you post a comment you are required to leave a valid email address. I immediately delete without reading any comment that lacks one. I do not publish email addresses but I refuse to engage in conversations with "anonymous" people. I have the courage to put a name with my convictions, if you expect to have a discussion on my website you are required to do the same. Thank you.

Final update: I took it upon myself to email Vox personally. He has a lot to learn and he needs to stop blaming all of humanity for his own inability to function in the world. Finis.

With a little help from her friends

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I am a praying person.

And right now I am praying for my friend Lisa, who has just learned she has cancer.

I am familiar with cancer; it has ravaged my family. Thankfully I know people who have beaten this wretched disease. I know Lisa will be one of them because, despite her protests, she is one of the strongest people that I know. She doesn't flaunt it because she is too graceful for that.

I am praying for her and her husband and son to be given strength to get through this and also for her family and friends to circle the wagons around her during this time. She's currently in the hospital and I know she would find it so uplifting to  ead words of encouragement in her comments or inbox. Please, go forth and give her all the support you can. She's been such a wonderful friend to me and if there is anything I could do to make this go away I would.
Thank you so much.

(*I am so grateful for all of you who've typed her some love. I wish I could reach through the monitor, grasp you, and hug you to the screen.)

Fancy

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Last Thursday night I slipped on a black cocktail dress and grabbed my $10 clutch I bought at Forever 21 BEFORE I got home to read an email from Karin, who owns a boutique on Washington called Charm. I Twittered earlier that I needed to buy a clutch and she offered to loan me one, no strings. Why the internet is awesome, lesson 1. (I have one photo of the dress on Flickr and another Chris took of me with my award but I'm exceeding my tolerance for self-portraits, so maybe I'll upload the latter another time.)

I took the boys to the mall with me in search of the aforementioned clutch (you did know that there is a difference between a "clutch" and an "evening bag," didn't you? I didn't. However I do know that there is a difference between taupe and beige so give me points!) and as we passed Victoria's Secret Liam intoned to Ewan "That's where mom gets her boob holders." Yes. How observant of him. As we entered Forever 21 I said a tiny prayer and asked for God to not let me take the store's name literally and to allow a lightbulb to go off over my head when I officially become Too Old and Out of Shape to Shop There.

While there Liam looked for "pirate jewelry" and Ewan indulged his obsession with cheap ladies' handbags. He walks around the house in his hat with one of my purses, in which he stores his water gun, a Thomas the Tank engine, some stickers, and his half-eaten snacks which he always tells me he's saving for later. The sad thing is that the contents of my purse and the contents of his purse are exactly the same.

After all the preliminary gussied-up-ness was out of the way, Chris, my cleavage, and I arrived at the St. Louis Business Journal's 30 Under 30 awards where we met some incredibly cool people, including this local political blogger, a herd of lawyers, doctors, and PR people. While they talked and waved around their wine glasses and laughed about law school days I tried to forget how, moments before we left the house, Ewan pointed to my chest and laughed "A BUTT!" I must be as juvenile as him because I thought it was hysterical.

My friend Susan ran over to me, anxious to show off her über hot red dress, on which someone spilled red wine moments later. I accepted my heavy granite award on stage and hid behind my new bangs. At this moment I'm unsure of where I'll put my trophy, in my office, or worn as a giant belt buckle. After the awards we headed to Schlafly's with the people we just met and talked about fish and chips and being German. We were home way before my carriage turned into a pumpkin and I collapsed into bed and rested up for my early flight out to San Francisco the following morning. The end.

Due to the emails I've received over the issue I thought I'd clarify: I am NOT involved with, working for, or collaborating with Baby Talk magazine despite the apparent presence of my trademark in their latest issue. I don't know firsthand, I haven't seen it, only what you all have told me. Hopefully we can get the matter cleared up. Back in a bit.

Busy little bee

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I've been doing a small bit of pre-k work with Ewan this week. He's only three-years-old and won't turn four until November, making it two years until he actually starts kindergarten, but he's been anxious to do work on his own. He sits by Liam whenever Liam does his lessons and absorbs everything by osmosis.

Instead of just trying to distract him with coloring books, Play-Doh, and animal crackers when Liam works, I thought I would chance it early and see if he was interested in the leftover pre-k curriculum I used with Liam. Turns out he was, and for the past two months he's learned to count nearly to one hundred, he knows some of Liam's Spanish vocabulary, and he can read a few very simple words due to some phonics practice. It's funny because to kids this age schoolwork isn't work at all; rather it's a privilege of adulthood to be able to write in workbooks, get new pencils, and look at flashcards. One of my goals with teaching them at home is to make permanent their innocent approach to learning.

[My homeschool photo set]

Back from Blogher

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I'm not sure I could adequately describe the past four days in a word count that you would want to read. I was overwhelmed right after arriving at the hotel. The lobby was full of women. I admittedly went into this thing with a ton of preconceived notions, some of which were confirmed, others were not. A situation is what you make of it and I wanted to have a good time and meet people. I wasn't quite sure what to expect; I know that a whole lot of political jockeying goes on at these sorts of things and that sometimes, to some people, your value is determined by your traffic. When you meet people from the internet for the first time you are never sure if you're meeting the "real" person behind the writing or the carefully constructed persona. I don't think I ran across any of those folks in my padded corner of the conference.

I'd never before been to Blogher and while I know a lot of bloggers online, knowing them offline is a different story. Luckily, I was in Jersey for the Johnson's baby camp thing and I consider it a mock-run. There I'd met some women that I would hang out with in real life.

My flight left St. Louis at an ungodly hour on Friday morning. What I learned this weekend:

Barely coherent at this point

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I'm still suffering from jet lag and am currently operating sans caffeine. Also my house is a mess and we have no food in our kitchen. I have a lot to share and will be back shortly.  

This morning as I got both the boys ready to go to their grandparents house my heart sank a little. They'll be with their grandparents tonight, during my awards reception, until Friday evening when Chris gets them after work. I won't see them until I get home from Blogher on Sunday. It's amazing how some days I feel so tired of their company, how some weekends I can't wait until they're at their grandparents' house so Chris and I can have dinner or go to a show. It's days like this that I feel bad for ever thinking it. The people who said that motherhood was hard weren't exactly honest. It's physically taxing, yes, and sleepless nights are the first thing new parents or childless people think of whenever they think about parenthood. No one tells you how emotionally difficult it is, how there's never one right way to feel, how everything, even something as simple as a three-day trip can turn into a heart-wrenching mindjob. Parenting exaggerates all emotions.

I rolled their little suitcases down the steps, each one carefully packed with coordinating outfits, pajamas, and extra socks. I gave them their breakfast and tried to ignore how this would be one of the longest stretches of time that I wouldn't see them. Liam is a trooper, always an optimist. His presence in my life has done away with a huge part of my cynicism. Ewan was good until it was time for Chris to take them, at which point he realized that I wasn't coming along. He didn't cry those mustered up "I didn't get my way" tears; he put his hand in front of his eyes and his little body heaved forward in one giant sob.

"I miss you," he cried.

I screwed my face up in an expression of determined happiness and beamed at him. I told him that I would miss him too, and that I will be back on Sunday, and how I was going to call him after he fished with his grandparents and ask him how many fish he caught. And I hugged both boys and with my head over Ewan's shoulder I mouthed to Liam "Take care of your brother," to which he nodded.

Then I waved at them as they drove away and when the garage door was safely closed the dam burst and I bawled standing there in my houseshoes and pajamas in the backyard. And I said a little prayer asking that we all be brought back together again safely on Sunday.

I admit now that I have a near-debilitating fear of flying. It's not for drama's sake: I break out into hives on my neck, chest, and upper arms; I get nauseous, and I have trouble sleeping the days building up to the flight. I researched plane crash survival rates and even practiced free-falling techniques. (SHUT UP.) I've always had Chris on the plane with me; last time en route to New Jersey Jaelithe and Lisa sat on either side of me and I was doped up on Dramamine and everything was cool, daddy-o. This time I'm alone. I get freaked out because, despite the laws of physics, it seems unfathomable that a giant metal bird can fly, but yet it does, people fly on them everyday. It's a combination of this, leaving the boys, and being around a herd of women I mostly don't know that have me out of my comfort zone and feeling on edge this morning. I'm sure I'll feel fine by this evening. I hope my guys will, too.

I won't update again until Monday, however I do plan to be active on Twitter and Flickr in the meantime. Now I have to pack.

Our idea of foreplay

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I became both fascinated with and terrified of the macabre back at my family's creaky old lodge in the Ozark wilderness. My villainous older cousins showed me the game Bloody Mary there once during our family's Christmas party. The lodge was an imposing character by itself. It sat a couple of miles off the highway down a narrow, nondescript gravel lane which opened up to a quaint clearing in the middle of the woods. It was Bavarian in appearance and unsettling anachronistic: a three-story tall gingerbread constructed of wood and stone with a giant stone fireplace running up both floors. There was a pond with a waterfall on the property; a half-mile up the lane was a small dam where a foot-wide, fifteen-foot tall slab of concrete held back the dark, still waters of a small lake. My cousins and I used to walk across that slab all the time, unbeknownst to our parents. Falling one way meant certain death on the rocks below. Falling another way seemed worse as we had no idea what lied in that mini Sargasso. Even further up the ridge and deep into the woods was a large, hidden lake. It was pristine and beautiful but we were too afraid to hike down to it because coyotes and pumas were common in the area.

Inside the lodge's interior décor was dated and neglected. The lamps were amber glass; the furniture was gold, olive, and 70s. The atmosphere had that same sepia hue visible in all photos from this era. My aunt and uncle were the property's caretakers; the lodge's owners were a group of rich doctor friends who would stay there a few times throughout the year. Otherwise, we had the run of it.

The lodge was a horror film setting waiting to happen. You have to understand this to understand my horror film neurosis. 

We had our holiday parties at this lodge and while our parents drank, played pool, ate, and visited downstairs, my cousins and I would climb the dark, narrow back stairs and play in the maze of bedrooms on the second floor. During one Christmas party the girls dared the boys to go into the bathroom and say "bloody Mary" three times with one of our folks' stolen cigarette lighters. We were all too chicken except for one cousin who did it, only if we all went into the bathroom together. After the third "bloody Mary" we were spooked and convinced that all hell was after us. It didn't help that the lodge was built like the Winchester house with secret storage areas and multiple staircases. It was the perfect environment for fear to fester. My entire youth is a series of odd vignettes like this, another reason I assume why I'm drawn to kookiness.

Also why I am simultaneously a fan of, and a total pansy about, horror stories and films. (One time in elementary school, after a kid told me a story about murderous teddy bears, I went home and blindfolded and tied the wrists of all the stuffed animals in my room. Then I was afraid to untie them because WHAT IF? They didn't have a motive before but THEY SURE DID NOW. I really wish I was joking.)

Fast-forward to last night. We had just finished watching a ridiculously stupid, yet still pretty freaky horror movie called "Dead Mary" and headed to bed. Chris kept teasing me: like when I was brushing my teeth he'd flick off the lights, poke his head in and whisper "BLOODY MARY." He thought it hysterical. When we climbed into bed, I rolled over, turned off the glass lamp, rolled back towards Chris, and felt a lump in the bed between us. Every synapse in my body simultaneously screamed "FREAK OUT FREAK OUT EVERYBODY FREAK OUT!!" I flipped over, turned on the light, and when I rolled over towards the lump I saw this looking at me:



And because Chris was exploiting my neurosis as a joke and holding it up, I ended up accidentally socking him in the face. Luckily my aim was off because I was half-blind; otherwise I might've broken his nose. He made a big dramatic deal out of it, saying Ohmygawd, it was only Elmo and I was all ohmygawd EXACTLY why, WHY do you do this to me?? Even after the drama died down and the lights were off he giggled into his sheets about it for a half-an-hour. He thought I was asleep ... but really I was just plotting my payback.
I need to call an exterminator. I have discovered a nest of man socks underneath the living room chair:



Guess who's favorite place to sit this is??

I think feet are one of the most disgusting things in existence. I cannot stand them. I don't like touching things that have been on them or touching them, I do not like touching other people's feet, and I don't like them touching mine. I have never gotten a pedicure for this reason and were I forced to get one I would probably throw up. Baby feet are excluded from my neurosis, only until around age three, and Ewan is almost at the age where I will find his ham hocks repulsive. It's just a matter of time.

Seriously, what makes one think Oh HEY! I'm going to take off my socks and STUFF THEM UNDER THE CHAIR instead of taking them upstairs to the hamper? Not once, but repeatedly?



Yes, there's dust under my chair. Just doing my part to keep it real.

Two days' worth right there. Gawd, grody! I can't touch them. In order to grab them and put them in the hamper I have to get the Dyson, affix the hose attachment, and suck them up at the end of the hose before dropping them in the hamper. Superfluous action, I know, but necessary to avoid any flesh-dissolving bacteria associate with cloth footwear.

This positively aggravates me beyond belief. What's even scarier is that Ewan now thinks that stuffing one's spent clothing under furniture is totally acceptable. Do you realize how unnerving it is when guests arrive and you spy a nest of evil beneath the club chair? There is no graceful way to to hide it; I once tried to kick them further under the chair except I kicked too hard and they shot across the hardwood floor much like a giant rat. My guests jumped. After that I'm sure they were so excited to eat the food I cooked for them.

Chris always says that he'll pick them up later. I've decided that later is the time that I'll write about it and post it on the internet.

Love,
Dana

If you're here from the Journal ...

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I forgot that the piece about me in the St. Louis Business Journal was running today and thankfully remembered that a thousand new eyeballs would be stopping by right before I posted a totally irreverent piece of writing. It's best that I keep the poised and polished charade up for as long as possible.

You can get a tease of the article here, and I mean a tease; you actually have to purchase the print edition of the paper to get the full story. I may cheat and post a photo here if they don't run after me with pitchforks for doing so.

So for all the Business Journal readers, hello! I'm Dana, I'm a blogger writer and radio show host (among other things), and you can read more about me here and here. I enjoy long walks on the beach, movies, beef jerky, pop-culture, and I can use the southern pronoun "yins" correctly in a conversation.    

Tuesday evening my mother excitedly called me before leaving work. She's kind enough to come to our house on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to watch the boys while I work. She mock complains that Nana has a life too, you know and sometimes proclaims how much they tire her while holding her hand to her forehead in a dramatic manner. I know she enjoys herself most rolling around in the floor with the boys, shooting plastic guns at bad guys, and shouting along with them from the top of her lungs. She doesn't know this, but I've crept up the dark staircase to the third floor playroom and watched as she quite literally forgot her age and skipped about the room with them.

She's always been that sort of parent. I remember she used to sit with me on our big porch swing, at our little shotgun shanty in a forgotten rural town, and sing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in her husky alto. She told me stories and was a walking encyclopedia of nursery rhymes and old southern spirituals. She babied me when I was sick and defended me when I was persecuted - like the time in the mall shoe store when, as a pre-teen, two teenage girls laughed at my skinny frame and knocked-knees and I cried and begged Mom to leave. To put it simply, she went ghetto on those girls and confronted them with a level of intimidation that they'd never before seen. (Despite growing up poor in the Ozarks, Mom was the varsity cheerleading captain of her high school, voted most athletic, and most popular. She has always enjoyed the higher level in the social pecking order.)

I'm an adult now and her nurturing attitude hasn't changed. She called me that Tuesday and girl-shrieked into the phone how, when she was out shopping for evening attire to wear to my 30 Under 30 awards next Thursday, she found a cocktail dress for me. My mother lives to dress me and I know that the greatest gift I could ever give her would be to allow her into my closet to do with as she pleased. She gushed about the dress and said she was bringing it over and lo, she brought it and made me try it on right there in my kitchen.

"IT IS SO FIGURE FLATTERING," she chirped. "Would you LOOK at that CUT?!" After I got over my "'Pretty in Pink' prom dress shopping scene feeling" I teased that the designer probably paid her to say flattering things. When Chris came home from work she made me try it on again, this time allowing me to change in the kitchen bathroom. Then my husband and my mother went over all the black heels in my closet attempting to match a pair to the dress. Chris, who despite wearing only black, is a straight Tim Gunn, was in his element alongside my mother. They commented on every pair of shoes that I own.

"I don't like this pair, I don't like the stitching in the back," Chris would remark.

"Are you kidding me?" I protested.

"HEY. I am a MAN. I know better than any chick WHAT LOOKS HOT on a girl's body." My mother nodded her head in enthusiastic agreement.

I kid them but really, it was sort of cool, this demonstration of their pride and excitement for me. I never sought academic superstardom, aside from winning writing scholarships, and when I went to awards banquets or won medals in track my mother wasn't able to join me in celebration because she was slaving away at her job. My mother worked hard to support me; it was a trade-off and Chris knows it. This is a rare occasion that she is able to share this with me and I'm happy for it.

Alternately titled: Trebuchet toss for July '08. According to my records the last time I flung anything was back in April. It seems to go against my slight curmudgeonly nature to go for two months without a complaint. My day began with Ewan kicking Liam in the face while I was in the shower; Liam's nose gushed blood all over the playroom and their bathroom as he freaked out about it and turned our house into a Rob Zombie movie. Also, I'm writing this at 10:30 in the morning and I have not had any coffee or had a chance to brew any tea. Positive is nice, but sometimes you wake up with your mood shaped like the most offensive of fingers.

To fling:

- Bras. I am between sizes which is testing my sanity. The straps are sawing my shoulders off, I don't want spillage or looseness, I want a goofy freaking bra to goofy freaking work. I shouldn't have to pay a frillion dollars for it or drive a frillion miles to get one. 

- Calliou. I don't advocate violence, but I want to slap that brat. Every time he whines a part of my soul dies so I banned his show from my house.

- People who don't understand that a self-employed family who homeschools doesn't have the time to get around as easy as someone who doesn't work or someone who works one job and their biggest stress is what to make for dinner. I don't have a nanny. I don't even have a babysitter. I don't have a house cleaner. I don't have patience for people who make demands upon my time without taking into account all that I am responsible for.

- The chick who saw me and my best girl Kat using our phones at the bar and was all "Who comes to a bar to text?" ME. Hi! I do! Especially when I'm trying to direct out-of-town guests to meet us.

- The people who disagreed with Tracey for her public comment - disagreement is fine - but went on to say things about her that were fifty frillion times worse than what was originally said. Double standards rock! All this while they shouted "for the sake of community!" Irony defined. Why can't we all think differently and still get along? Why are we so afraid of unabashed opinion? If that's the case, why are you on the internet?

- The Jezebel girls. They gave an interview wherein they showed up blitzed, spoke like valley girls, and entertained the crowd with what they apparently thought were envious tales of one night stands (their interview was basically like spending an evening at a dive karaoke bar in South County). They advocated irresponsibility. But seriously - did you expect anything more cerebral from the duo - one half of which writes a column called "Slut Machine?"

- The belief that somehow the internet hampers the scope of intellectual property law. It does not. Kudos to those who look further, who aren't tempted by the false title of Google Expert, people who take the time to actually learn IP. Kudos also goes to those who respect IP rights.

- The airline industry. My awards ceremony is on the 17th, meaning it looks like I'm going to miss the pre-conference cocktails, and I'm having extreme difficulty finding an evening flight out to San Francisco for Blogher.

Not to fling:

- Guy Kawasaki, for creating the forthcoming homeschooling category on Alltop. I'm über stoked as it will be a valuable resource for homeschoolers. That being said, if you homeschool, feel free to leave links to your favorite websites in the comments and I'll forward them to Guy.

- Tazo green tea with mint. Hands down the best green tea on the market, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars.

Heather B. for being my hot date at a corporate party at Blogher that Friday night. She wooed me and even promised to wear cute new shoes.

- Ewan, for constantly wearing his Thomas the Train engineer hat to play, to sleep, and in the bath. He has this thing for hats (he is most fond of fedoras) and I'm convinced that he's going to grow up to live in the Keys, wear houndstooth-printed pants, and smoke cigars.

- The Bloggers' Guild. I am truly amazed at what we're accomplishing and am thrilled to be in the presence of such talented folk.

The rules stay the same: list the good with the bad!

Indie Day, a recap

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My mother picked up the boys on the afternoon of the Fourth and whisked them away to play with sparklers and watch neighborhood fireworks at her semi-rural homestead. It was the first Fourth of July Chris and I spent without our kids for which we've given ourselves a reprieve because we haven't had a vacation in six years. Not even a single day. I beat myself up for not having the boys at first but after we got together with some friends and our cousins and I got over it pretty quick.

On our way into the stadium one of our friends stopped to talk to someone he recognized and a woman (so I'm told; I didn't hear) point at Chris and remarked: "You're Dana Loesch's husband!" I feel like I should say something self-deprecating right now before the trolls accuse me of being too big for my britches. But I'm not. I read other bloggers doing this whenever anything cool happens to them and I always wonder why they feel the need to cut themselves down or pay some sort of due before fully accepting the aforementioned cool thing. Onward!

We spent the evening downtown at the Cards-Cubs game where Chris and I acted a fool and shouted at the field. I shouted so much that I blew my voice out, genius, I know, because I was on-air Sunday and as I type this I still have the vocal tonality of a razor-gargling barfly. I agree with Phoebe Bouffet in that I sound infinitely better and way tougher. We ordered 24-ounce beers and sat next to a nice elderly gentleman with slacks so tight they caused the worse case of camel tail I've ever had the misfortune of accidentally seeing.

Afterwards we trekked over to Mike Shannon's as did the rest of Busch Stadium, and alternately holed up in a booth inside and stood out on the patio drinking our beer and wondering if we were too old to be there and if not, what was the appeal of frat music, and why don't we walk to Hair of the Dog? They have METAL on the jukebox! I like Shannon's though' they've always been kind to us there and one time I accidentally struck up a conversation with the man himself before realizing who he was as I have a horrid inability to recognize, in real life, people from the television screen or from the photos on the Web.

We spilled back into our house at an hour way past out bedtimes and after I collapsed into bed Chris brought me up a slice of bacon and I half-remember eating it. 

Hope your holiday was Hallmark.

Today at 4pm CST

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I'm doing a live interview on homeschooling and Blogher with the lovely Megan Morrone of Jumping Monkeys; you can listen here.

*Updated: Did I know that I would be on with Leo Laporte? No. I had a fangirl moment and was temporarily stunned but then my inner broadcaster gave me a shake. I was already amped about speaking with Megan; when Chris realized that Leo was also interviewing me he practically hemorrhaged. I am very envious of their setup over there on TWiT Live.

**Here's the episode if you missed it live.

Chris and I recently attended a party where we were stalked by a swinging couple. I associate "swinging" with stuff that some bored people do in the Ozarks, so obviously I am negatively biased.

How does one say "YOU ARE RAPING MY PERSONAL SPACE" politely? It wasn't my party and I've a bit Bree Hodge in me wherein, in this instance, I literally ran all over the property trying to get away from my female stalker instead of just stating what needed to be said.

It all began when I went to get a drink and an intoxicated girl commented on my figure and then upon hearing that I'd had two children, gushed further about my figure. It got to the point where I was more uncomfortable in her presence than if I were around a herd of cat-calling construction workers. I said thanks and tried to move on. But BETCH WOULD NOT LET ME. She stood in my way and moved her face literally inches from mine and told me how cute she thought I was; I was getting second-hand drunk from her alcohol breath. I thought Joe Francis would hop out of the corner with a camera. At that point I shoved past her and made a beeline for Chris who was engaged in conversation with another guest. I sat down across from him and made dramatic Fivel eyes at him in the hopes that he would walk over and dry hump me, something, anything to really drive home the point that chicks are not my bag unless that bag is shoe shopping. He did not receive my mental message and I made a note to kick him in the balls when we got home.

Then she walked over to me, tried the whole face-right-by-my-face thing again and ohmygawd I held my hands so as not to hit her. I told her to back up but she was too busy breathing heavy to hear me. She was not getting the clue. HOW COULD SHE NOT GET A CLUE?

We recently made friends with the people hosting the soirée and I like them and didn't want to betray my pedigree by beating the holy hell out of one of their guests in their dining room. So I sat there, still as a cigar store Indian until she touched my cheek with her nose at which point I fell out of my seat, jumped up, and followed Chris and another guy out of the room. I literally ran, with my legs, away from her, over to a group of our friends and other guests and didn't move for the rest of the night, not even to refill my wine glass. The girl was hovering like a mosquito around the bar area.

The group was right in the middle of a conversation about how the girl and her boyfriend were apparently trolling the party for meat, looking for a couple with whom to swing. A female couple at the party said that they were infuriated by the guy and girl's behavior. I looked over my shoulder saw the boyfriend standing by another woman, his arm wrapped around her and his hand fully on her backside. I felt so totally Baptist at that moment.

Had a guy behaved this way towards me I would've have drove my heel into his beans and frank; Chris also would've beaten the guy to a pulp because Chris wants nothing more than an excuse to start an impromptu fight club. As we left I menacingly whispered to Chris: "I am equal opportunity beat-down here, Slasher! What's up with that? Did you not see the look on my face?!"

"Wait - I thought YOU were saving ME!!" he protested.

"What?"

"She followed me all around that party and tried to touch me and stuff. I kept running away from her." This happened before she came after me. Apparently another guest, when she saw the girl trying to hit on him, shouted and cussed at her ("B*tch! His wife is right outside. KNOCK IT OFF" were her exact words) in front of everyone and the girl slunk off.

"I was waiting, I knew that any minute you were going to slap the hell out of her. You didn't. It would've been funny."

Yes, it would have, because the girl was thirtyten feet tall and while I hit hard, at best I would've just scuffed up her knees.

As a result of this incident, we've developed a safe word that either one of us will shout when we need the other to fall in as backup, an unmistakable term chosen for its inability to fit into regular conversation. The added bonus of indiscriminately screaming "PLATYPUS!!" during an unwanted come-on is how it will disorientate the antagonist and temporarily suspend the advance.  

(So cool, this was featured on Five Star Friday. An awesome Fourth of July present, thank you!)


Five Star Friday

One of my favorite memories is of a humid, downright sultry summer evening in the Ozarks at my grandparents' small whiteboard house situated on the outskirts of town. My grandmother was either lonely or having a crazy spell because she allowed me and my cousins to spend the night at her house.

We spent the evening lazing on the porch swing; wading in the creek across the road; walking up the holler and catching fire flies on our way back. She picked honeysuckle blossoms from her yard and showed us how to eat the nectar from the blossom. She gave each of us girls ten Bugle chips and showed us how to put them on the tips of our fingers to make witches' fingernails.

We ran barefoot in the yard until it was too dark to see in front of us and the cacophony of frog grunts and chirping crickets matched the decibel of our own voices. She threw us each into the bathtub, let the girls use her body powder, and gave each of the boys a dab of Grandpa's cologne from the bottle which sat on his dresser next to his Bible and John Deere hat.

We climbed under old, but sweet-smelling sheets right in the middle of her living room floor. Grandpa was out hunting so she stayed up to watch the local news until the last of us was asleep.

There was an aesthetic to that night that I've since tried to replicate within my own household. People in my family remember Grandma a lot of different ways, but that's how I remember her.

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