The Random Writings of Rachel: November 2013

Random

For a blog entitled "The Random Writings," I don't write random posts often. I think it's the rule follower in me. I like thesis sentences and conclusions. But once in a while, random is fun. For example:

- I discovered recently that it's possible to use a butter knife to pry/scrape off bits of hardened melted plastic that just happen to be on the hot plate of your iron. (I have a complicated relationship with fusible interfacing.) Warning: Scratches to your iron may occur. But at that point I didn't care.


--We're getting a partial new roof thanks to the most severe windstorm we've experienced since Angel and I moved here! Woke up to a yard full of scattered shingles, that was an adventure.

-I can tell that I'm a cosmetologist when I see the word "highlight" and think blond instead of exciting event. And when I have a hard time saying "wash" my hair instead of "shampoo" my hair.


- Angel is the crazy cat man as usual. Sometimes he wakes up in the night to go and check on his cats. They're feisty tomcats that hunt their own dinner, Honey, not newborn babies.

- My Mom keeps asking, "Do you have (blank)?" when trying to make something in my kitchen, and then I say, "Mom! Why do you always phrase it "Do you have...?" It's almost as if you don't think I have anything! I have a real grown-up kitchen! I have stuff!"
And then she said, "Do you have a paring knife and cornstarch?"
And I say,  "No...but I have a steak knife and flour! Those are good substitutes!"
So maybe it would be more accurate if I claimed that I had a grown up kitchen where creative substitution is encouraged.


- We're awesome at Dance Dance Revolution. Seriously, more than once, people have stopped at the arcade and stood there watching us for a couple dances because they're entertained by our steps. And we regularly create new high scores on the machine. Actually, we're not all that great at it. I usually play on the "easy" level and get an "A" and Angel usually plays on the "expert" level and fails miserably. My theory is that there aren't a whole lot of people who attend our local arcade who have actually figured out how to play Dance Dance Revolution, so we're quite skillful by comparison.

-I bet you didn't know that it's nearly impossible to find good scrubs for a man who doesn't wear L or XL. I always go to the uniform store with Angel, and I pick out which cute scrubs I would wear if I were forced to wear scrubs...but man, it takes forever for him to find anything that will work, sometimes he has to resort to special ordering pieces. One time, when we were checking out, the cashier said, "You know this is a woman's top, right?" Yes, we did. But it really wasn't obvious, it was more unisex, so he could get away with it. When you're limited to a very specific color, with a sufficient number of pockets, in one particular size--it's tough to find scrubs for a guy. And, the cuter women's scrubs get, the harder it is for him to find scrubs that look sufficiently manly.

-American Thanksgiving was yesterday. I bet you didn't know that! I know you're probably crushed that I didn't let you know in time to actually have the turkey dinner. I was too busy eating and playing games yesterday to blog, but I feel sadly responsible for your lack of information. Next year I'll commit to being more prepared and letting you know in advance that Thanksgiving will be happening on the fourth Thursday of November. This year, I'm most thankful for this big life change.

What do you think? Do I pull off "random," or not so much?

A Little Dress





Sarah says often, much to my parent's dismay, that she wants to be a "fashion designer" when she grows up. Don't worry Mom and Dad, remember Lizzy said she wanted to be a garage when she grew up, and Anna said she wanted to be a baby when she grew up. We usually change our minds a few times.

Since she was here for a visit, I thought it would be fun to give Sarah a little bit of a "fashion designer" experience, and let her pick out the materials for and help create her own dress. Originally, she had the idea of basing a dress for her on the pretty dresses in the American Girl doll magazine, but then I told her that we should wait and see which patterns and fabrics the store had to offer. In the end, she told me, "I decided not to copy an American Girl dress because I didn't want to be a plagiarist."

Some almost-7 year olds use words like plagiarist in context. That cracks me up.

At the store, I steered her towards a simple pattern--I didn't think a complicated pattern where I had to do most of the  construction would be much fun for everyone else. The purpose of this project was for Sarah and the other younger girls to experience making something to wear, not for me to show off! Sarah walked through many different aisles of fabric, saying, "This is nice!" about every 5 seconds, but this white, pink, and purple flower pattern is what she fell in love with. She picked out a turquoise button and ribbon and we were all set!

I walked them through all the steps, from pre-washing and drying the fabric, to carefully laying out the pattern pieces and cutting them out of the fabric. We threaded the machine together. Sarah was too small to press the foot pedal and control the fabric at the same time, so first she guided the fabric while I pressed the pedal, and then she stepped on the pedal while I guided the fabric. The older girls each got a chance to spend some time at the machine too, though Anna was the one who stuck with it the longest. I helped with the little bit of gathering that the sleeves required because it was a little more tricky. Anna hand-sewed the button on at the end, and Sarah had her dress finished just in time to wear it to her birthday party!



Crafting with little ones can take a little more time than just "doing it yourself" but the memories and the skills you learn are priceless! I remember working on scrapbooking and embroidery projects at a young age with my mom and loving it. Have you ever had the chance to do some crafting with the young people in your life?

Christmas Wish List

Wedding Anniversary and Christmas in December? Who planned that? I've already talked about the challenges of buying a present for my husband, but he also finds my whims and desires to be somewhat mysterious. Therefore, here's a list of a few suggestions for my man. Here's my Christmas strategy: I don't buy anything for myself from the beginning of October onwards in exchange for fun presents under the tree. Because, in my opinion, opening a Christmas present is way more exciting than just buying something for myself! Although, knowing my Angel, there's no way to tell whether he'll listen to these ideas or else go in a completely different quirky direction. As long as he doesn't wrap up old stuff and give it to me, I'll be happy!

1. A Chocolate Orange.

2. Sweet-Tarts.

3. Tights. Bright, interestingly patterned, or sparkly are always a good bet. My bright blue ones have a hole in them, so replacement is an option. I also think purple fishnets are pretty. I hear you can sometimes find $6 tights at Meijer or Target. Leggings or knee-high socks are also interesting versions of tights.

4. A petticoat. I'm thinking navy blue or dark red, but other colors are options. Possible a fluffy tulle skirt that can double as a knee/below-knee-length petticoat too. Only I have no idea where to get one that isn't crazy expensive.

5. A Dress! I'm craving a new dress, but a lot of the winter dresses seem a little too...how shall I say this...gray...for me. You know what I like. This Shabby Apple dress kind of looks like it was designed with me in mind, don't you think?


Isn't that like the happiest dress ever? But sometimes fitted skirts make me nervous. This Modcloth dress has a loose skirt, but I've never ordered from them, so I don't know what size would fit:


 Those are just suggestions. Knee-length, short sleeves or possibility of layering, flared skirt, interesting color combos, unexpected details are all encouraged.

6. A Sparkly-ish sweater. Because it's so cold right now and I hate sweaters but I might like it if it were sparkly.

7. Another marshmallow snowman ornament?

8. Something blog-growth related? I'm not quite convinced paid advertising is worth it. Maybe, Angel, could you just become a famous public figure of some sort ( Captain America-esque superhero?) and tell people that they ought to read my blog and buy whatever books I happen to write? That would be a great Christmas gift! :)

Do you have any ideas for where Angel (or others who feel inspired to give me something...) ought to look for a gift? I mean, have you ever just been shopping online and thought--Man, that really crazy dress looks like just the type of thing someone like Rachel would wear? I'm open to suggestions.

The Final Chapter. (Green Jeans Update!!)





If you haven't been around here for FOREVER, you may want to take a glance at The Tragedy of my Favorite Pants and A Happy Ending to catch up. You oldies will be aware of the situation I'm talking about.

Anyway, as these pictures prove, the happy ending mentioned above wasn't the last chapter of the saga. My original green jeans have been found!!! 

Where, you may ask?? Angel found them  underneath a stack of uniforms on his specific uniform shelf. Now why had I never checked there before?

You see, Angel's instilled in me a healthy fear of his uniforms. He doesn't let me hug him or kiss him when he gets home from work because he's still wearing work clothes. He does all of the laundry for his uniforms and never lets me touch them. Personally, I doubt that they could be all that dangerous after being washed in hot water with color-safe bleach and dryed in the dryer, but I appreciate the freedom from that particular sector of laundry and I never touch his uniforms.

And, apparently, Angel never gets all the way down to the bottom of the stack of uniforms (that's where the unloved scrubs are kept), until finally he did, and found my beloved green pants chilling with his "contaminated" clothing. 

We're so happy to be reunited. The story finally has an ending, and now I have TWO pairs of green jeans, which is always a good thing.

p.s. I feel like I have no hair when I put it all up, but it's long enough to annoy me now. We're entering the danger zone.

Long-Awaited Family Photos

If you've ever searched "family pictures" on Pinterest, you know what to expect. Little children giggling and covering their eyes in the background while Mom and Dad kiss. Parents holding babies and toddlers in their arms and throwing them in the air. Little ones piling onto Mom and Dad's lap.

These pictures are adorable. I love little families. However, I find you start to run into complications when your immediate family, composed of your parents, siblings, and spouse, is 10 people. Add to that the fact that most of the children are bigger than the parents, and the number of options for "cute" family photo poses greatly decreases.

I have a feeling Mom and Dad would require medical attention if we all tried to pile onto their laps like the toddlers we were years ago.

So, we have to banish any idea of "cute," and go for more of a "Group picture of all the members of a country music group" look instead.

Here's to grown up family portraits.


It was cold, which explains why nearly everyone is wearing jackets. Puffy winter coats would probably have been more appropriate, but they are too ugly. The wind was blowing our hair in our faces, and half of the family was wearing clothes borrowed from me or other relatives, because they own no clothes appropriate for Michigan weather and it doesn't make sense to buy any. But for the first time in over three years, we were all in the same place at the same time and that deserved documentation.


 The staircase photo shot grows ever more mixed up and gradual.
By birth order, from left to right we are: #7, #6, #1, #4, Angel, #5, #2, and #3

Mom and Dad. :)

The most common complaint we heard when inspecting the photos resulting from the shoot was "Hey! Rachel's/Anna's/Rebekah's hair is blocking my face!"

But really, what else can you expect in a family full of curly-haired gals?

Pranks and Other Mischief

This book has recently been seen all over my house. At any given moment, at least one of my siblings is likely to be found hiding in a corner, giggling over the very thought of the hijinks to be found within its pages. Even my brother, who never reads by choice, was found reading it:


In reality, we don't need a Guide to Mischief in our house. It seems to happen all on its own. In honor of revived interest in this long-treasured volume, I thought I'd take a walk down memory lane when it comes to moments of mischief we've acheived in our several decades of life:

Angel:

*Note: Angel banned me from telling you most work-related pranks, but to give you some kind of idea, his manager signed his birthday card this year with: "Please no pranks today Angel." and when I met some of his coworkers, the first thing they asked me was "How do you live with him?" and the second thing they did was tell me that they were very proud of themselves for scaring him one time by tricking him into going into a dark closet and jumping out at him.

-- Taping a black sock to the wall and tricking me into thinking it was a bat. (see video and story here).
--Greeting me at the airport wearing a baseball cap and a shirt I'd never seen before because he knew I wouldn't be able to recognize him from a distance in that disguise.
-- Tricking me into thinking that a tomato stem on the floor was a spider (many of his pranks rely on my short-sightedness).
--Answering the phone: "This is Thor, God of Thunder, how may I assist you?"
-- Answering the phone in either a really high-pitched or a really low-pitched voice.
--Wrapping up random stuff we already had and giving it to me for my birthday (evil husband award).
--Turning off all the lights in the house when I go to the bathroom at night and hiding under the table, jumping out and grabbing my legs when I walk out.
--Taped his brothers' favorite toys to the ceiling.
--Taped the Korean drama my mom was in the middle of watching to her bedroom ceiling (post here).
--Wrote "Not Working" on pieces of paper and taped them to doors and the time card machine at work.
--Wearing the Bear Costume randomly.

Rachel:

--Wrote fake letters from a secret admirer and sent them to my sister (tutorial here).
--TP-ed friends' cars (twice)
--Chinese fire drills (twice)
--Pretended that I can't speak English in public situations.
--Pushed all of the floor buttons on an elevator in a 7 story building as I was leaving (sorry).
--Helped coordinate dumping several buckets of water on a youth pastor while he was praying.
--Told my Dad 6 hours into a roadtrip that we forgot his suitcase at home. (I was just lying).
--Wrote this blog post last April Fool's Day.
--Coordinated several surprise birthday parties.
--Hid my favorite food so that Angel won't eat it.
--Hid Angel's iPod.
--Played hide and seek in the dark inside a locked building on my college campus.
--Sent anonymous letters to our cousins and signed them "Stud Muffin and Apple Cakes"
--Played a card game with a group of friends (Munchkins, for those who know the game), until I abruptly announced that I had to leave as soon as my turn was over, played the most evil card in the whole game on a cute guy, causing severe damage to his chances of winning, and left immediately claiming that my curfew was calling so that I didn't have to face consequences. (I think you know who the cute guy was.)

This is a mischief-friendly home, though I don't support any type of pranking that is cruel or hurts or damages people or property. Mischief should be lighthearted and should not torture anyone involved...and in case you're worried, the worst of those pranks took place way back in high school. We're a little better behaved now. The Rachel of today would say that Chinese Fire Drills are way too dangerous and that pushing elevator buttons is probably evil. Unless the people in the elevator were my friends, then I would still do it. To show my love and affection for them.

What mischief have you created in a lifetime? Tell me a story. Make it good.

Culture Shock

Sarah and I

Rebekah with the infamously large meal from Panda Express.

It's as big as her head!

Playing Just Dance before they crashed due to jet lag.

My sisters have grown in the last 3 months, I swear. Here a little staircase for comparison--me with 3 of my sisters, two cousins, and my uncle to help show Rebekah she's still got a bit of growing to do.

.......................................................................................................

My family is here for a visit. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that's a momentous event. My family isn't the kind you get together with on Sunday afternoon after church. Visits require a lot of time, effort, and financial outlay, and they don't happen very often, so when they do happen, we make it worth it.

So, yeah, the parents and 4 little sisters are in the U.S.A. for a few months. Part of the time, they'll be living with Angel and I, and part of the time they'll be staying with other relatives.

It's been a privilege to spend some of their first few days in America with him. Listening to their reactions to everything new they encounter is hilarious. Angel stopped at a Panda Express for lunch on the way back to our house when we picked them up. They bought one meal and one pop to share for the family:

MaryGrace: "What is this?" {editor's note: It's a crab rangoon.}
Anna: "Is there tofu inside this wonton? What? It's cream cheese? Who would put cream cheese in a wonton? That's so weird!" {editor's note: Crab rangoons are very foreign.}
Dad: "This meal is gigantic! This pop is gigantic! Good thing we only got one! Who could drink and eat all of this by themselves? Well, besides Isaac or Angel?"

At the grocery store: Dad calling Mom, "Come here! Come here! Look, this ham is only $11! And they have ranch dressing! And caramel dip for apples! And sausage! And cans of stew!"
(For context, if you could find a ham of that size in Malaysia, it would probably have cost $50+. My Dad was thoroughly entertained by the foods available at Aldi's. Just wait till we take him to a large supermarket.)

We drive past a Target. Nobody was talking, but Sarah pipes up: "That store is called Target because it probably sells archery equipment."

My sister is assigned to bake cookies. She is somewhat startled by the carton of eggs found in the refrigerator:
MaryGrace: "Rachel, is it okay if I use these eggs in the cookies? They're all white."
*Sarah runs from the living room to the kitchen at high speed.*
Sarah: "Where? I want to see the white eggs! Wow!"

At a red light, turning onto the road where my dad lived for nearly 10 years.
Dad: "So, Rachel, am I allowed to turn right here?"
I'm just not used to my dad asking questions about traffic rules.

ALL THE TIME:
Mom: "I'm so cold!"
(We turned the heat up to 70 degrees for them, gave them blankets and space heaters and they're still freezing. What to do with these tropical island dwellers?)
 
They crack me up.

If you have people coming to visit you in your hometown, what do you try to do with them?

The Fashion Blogger's Secret

If you're new here, visiting from my guest post on Lena B, Actually, welcome! If you're an oldie, that's my hint that there's an extra dose of random writings found on Lena's blog today! Now, I must get down to business.

I think I may have exaggerated a little bit with that title. This is probably not the secret of all fashion bloggers, but it is the secret of a not-quite-fashion-blogger who really likes dressing up and really hates taking off her nail polish at the appropriate time. I typically paint my nails once every week or two...or three. And taking off chipped nail polish is my least favorite beauty chore. So I often wait till it all comes off by itself before I paint my nails again.

However, it's possible for my blog readers to see pictures of me without judging me by my nails because of a few tricks:

 1. Clenched fists/folded hands. Anything to keep the nails away from the camera lens.

 2. Conveniently grab ahold of my scarf which happens to be falling off. Oh, how natural!!

 3. Crop out all the fingers!!!

4. Suddenly remember that your dress has pockets, insert hand into pocket.

Now you know my secret. If you ever see a photo of me with a clenched fist or with my hands stuck in my pockets, you know why. It's almost a gut reaction. I'm not sure why, I don't tend to be self-conscious about much, but I am a little self-conscious about my nails. I think it may be a reaction from beauty school days where girls would re-do their nails every night...or the fact that I can still remember reading somewhere in some magazine, probably 10 years ago, that chipped nail polish is the worst fashion faux pas of all.

Note that none of these experiences make me actually remove my nail polish in a timely fashion, which would be the reasonable response. They simply make me a little more adept at hiding my nails in certain situations.

What do you do about nails? Forgo the whole nail polish ordeal? Keep them immaculate? Alternate between 3 days of pretty nails and a week of ugly nails like I do?

We Shouldn't Live in A Neighborhood


 It might be kind of hard to tell, but this is the time that Angel mowed a heart shape into our yard for me.


I have a funny feeling that for Angel and I, the best place for us will always either be the boondocks, where there's no one around to be annoyed by us, or a high-rise apartment building, where at least we won't have a lawn to be responsible for.

Without further ado, I present to you:

10 Reasons Why It's a Very Good Thing That Angel and I Don't Live in a Neighborhood:

1. I'll start with the most seasonally appropriate one: We don't rake our leaves.

2. We don't water, fertilize, or put weed killer our lawn. This is partially based on our values and partially just laziness. I don't think fertilizing grass or killing weeds is a great reason to put chemicals where I walk. To me, it's just not worth it. Plus...neither one of us really cares how pretty our grass is.

3. Angel isn't the most consistent lawn mower. I swear he's getting better. He is 100% in charge of our tractor mower and I choose not to nag him to mow the lawn no matter what it looks like. Last summer, he mowed more frequently than in previous years, but only in random semi-artistic patches. It was kind of weird.

4. We have frequent bonfires. All year long, even in the dead of winter when the snow is so deep that I have to use a shovel to find the exact location of our burn pit. You see, people in neighborhoods might have to use a paper shredder on important documents, because there might be rules about outdoor fires. But we think bonfires are ever so much more exciting than paper shredders.

5. We like to host large parties. Our driveway and yard are large enough that so far, no one has ever had to park on the street. We have room for everybody! This would not be the case if we lived in a subdivision.

6. We don't have curtains.

7. Sometimes having guests over means target practice in the backyard (always with great care and many safety measures). This might be frowned upon in civilized regions.

8. I typically run away from the door instead of answering it when someone knocks (See DoorbellPhobia). I have a feeling we would get a lot more people knocking on the door if we lived in a neighborhood.

9. We have invested $0 in seasonal outdoor decorations. All Christmas lights are indoors. Not much fun for people driving down the road, but significantly easier to put up and take down.

10. I believe in composting rather than throwing away remains of food, however, my version of composting usually looks like feeding leftovers from dinner to our cats and putting apple cores and banana peels in the woods behind my house. Not very scientific.

You may now all go into your weekends rejoicing that you don't happen to live 30 feet away from Angel and Rachel. However, we're nice people from a distance. :)

Presents for Guys

It's a common complaint. "My dad/brother/boyfriend is so hard to buy gifts for!!"

(They might sometimes feel the same way about us gals, but let's ignore that for the moment.)

 Maybe it's simply that it's easier to buy presents for friends and relatives of your own gender, because you have a little more insight into their possible needs and desires.

I think I got lucky, because my husband is strangely easy to shop for. Even my family has picked up on this and have found it easier to buy presents for him than it is to buy presents for me. The key to Angel is that he invariably will like a gift as long as it belongs in one of these four categories: metal cups, candles, Tom DuBois artwork, or milk chocolate.

 This is part of Angel's metal cup collection. He's particularly fond of pewter, but it's not a requirement: the cup on the left is stainless steel and the goblet on the right is silver-plated.

I always keep him well-stocked with candles because he goes through them quickly, and the first present I ever gave him after we got married was a frame for one of his huge Tom DuBois prints. His interests remain quite consistent, so I never have trouble figuring out what to buy him. Even when my sister was in Israel, she told me, "It's so easy to find stuff over here that Angel would love!"

She brought him back two candles in metal candleholders. Brilliant.

 However, if you want to go outside those four categories in your gift-giving, that's where it gets tricky. Outside of the 4 safe categories, he's picky, and he tends to buy things he needs for himself instead of waiting till an appropriate occasion. What I will never buy my husband is anything wearable. He's fond of shoes and clothes, so in that regard, they would make great gifts, but he's pickier than I am. I know the brands he likes, and I know his size--but I'm still not brave enough to attempt buying him a shirt or a pair of jeans. Any time I have tried just ends in disaster. Women who can buy clothes for their husbands amaze me.

I've got an anniversary coming up, and Christmas too, so I better start figuring out which categories to shop from pretty soon! Is your man easy to shop for or not so much? And, pray tell me, what is the secret to successfully buying clothes for your husband?

John Beare


Just a little subtle product placement. Isn't that what you've come to expect from blogs these days?

(For clarification, no, this post is not sponsored by anyone trying to sell 1940s era John Deere tractors. If such a program existed, I'm not sure bloggers would be the prime buying demographic...although, the tractors are definitely vintage, so that's a point in their favor in the blogging world, isn't it?)

Superhero Favorites




Seeing as this is the 2nd Superman t-shirt I've been known to wear on this blog (first one here), it may be obvious who my favorite superhero is. However, I should mention that the close runner-up is Captain America. It would appear that my taste in heroes is fairly consistent. Notice that both Superman and Captain America are generally portrayed as noble, gentlemanly, self-sacrificial, supporters of truth and justice, muscular, nice haircuts, and...other good stuff.

So, let's talk about all the superheros that were possible contenders, and why they don't make my top two:

Spiderman: too skinny, and I still haven't forgiven him for the Uncle Ben incident. He was such a bratty teenager.
Thor: his hair is longer than mine, and is kind of pretty actually. I've known a lot of girls who would have loved such thick long blonde hair. And he's kind of intimidating in general.
Hulk: scary! It's hard to tell whether he's bad or good sometimes. I really don't like excessively angry people.
Ironman: I admit it, he's hilarious, sometimes charming and often annoying, but I don't tend to get along well with fellow obnoxious geniuses.
Green Lantern: I can barely even remember this movie, clearly he made no lasting impression on me.
Batman: too emo.
Wolverine: I like him well enough, but he also tends to be kind of emo. And hairy. And I really don't like seeing wounds healing all the time.

(As is already obvious, I'm NO comic book girl, my familiarity with and description of superheroes comes only from movies and television...and guys I know explaining to me with great disdain the difference between DC and Marvel..which as far as I can tell simply means different superhero "brands.")

Which superhero is your favorite?

Funny Not Vulgar

I love finding humor in life. I enjoy observing the funny stuff that happens around me every day. Spoof editions of my college's campus newspaper make me giggle. I am delighted when I see a custom painted pink car with purple polka dots, and I'm always up for listening to the latest story of something unusual that one of my little cousins said. It's no secret that my husband's pranks and random comments crack me up (And seemingly you guys too, based on recent requests for Angelisms--I'll make them more of a regular feature henceforward).

I like to laugh, and I aspire to be able to write in a way that gives other people a laugh, too. However, I've noticed that it's extremely hard to find anyone who's known for being funny who doesn't resort to vulgarity in order to be funny. It's become quite clear that the world in general seems to find rudeness hilarious. Children aren't allowed to see recordings of most stand-up comedians' performances for good reason.

In the spirit of humor....some people still look cute and fashionable when bundled up to face the snow. We do not.

But why should funny mean vulgar? The general consensus seems to be that once you're old enough and educated enough to have outgrown the silly slapstick comedy of a typical "family" film, the only things worth laughing at are debacles frequently involving crude or gross situations and uncouth language.

I am not someone who believes that 100% of all use of swear words is inherently evil. I don't decide whether or not to be someone's friend based on their language (though if I'm honest, I suspect that Angel's language choices have had a slight negative impact on mine over the years). I'm not one who thinks you can turn a bad movie into a good movie by filtering out all swear words. To me, that's silly. However, I do believe that words are very powerful, and that people can make their feelings known in a more creative and interesting--and YES, witty and humorous--fashion than by simply resorting to the same old vulgar curse words that everybody else uses. (Has no one ever heard Downton Abbey's Violet Crawley's one-liners? Some of them are quite incredible.) Cursing because you're angry or because you want to amuse people is not a habit I support. Certain people are very proud of themselves because they can curse up a storm and create a shock factor with their speech or writing. Well, in my experience, so can the average rebellious 7th grader who wants attention, so I'm not sure that should be considered such a grand accomplishment in the realm of humor.

But I'm not merely speaking about swearing here. I don't want anyone to misunderstand and think I'm only talking about that particular small issue. I'm more concerned with the over-arching theme that funny has to mean vulgar or unkind. The trend in popular humor is to take all that's sacred and turn it into something merely silly. I've noticed quite a few humor bloggers seem to find the majority of their humor in mocking the habits of others. Now, there are ways to get a laugh at the expense of a certain person or a certain group without hurting anyone's feelings, and there's are ways that do hurt feelings. It's usually pretty easy to tell when a post or article is written from the context of love for the person who is the butt of the joke, and when it's not written from a context of love at all. (For the record, "Angelisms" posts are written with love, and my husband feels very loved when you all laugh at his comments.) This mocking type of humor that is cruel and degrading to others is also apparent in sitcoms and comedic movies--and it doesn't make me laugh. When I see hurtful humor, it doesn't matter whether it's directed towards me or towards someone I love or towards any other random group of people, it makes me angry that it's popular to get a laugh by degrading others.

I can't change what's popular. There are going to be many, many more rude comedic movies that come out in the future that a lot of people are going to love. That's what easy humor is. It doesn't take much effort to throw a couple cuss words in and talk about unfortunate bodily functions and stage a scene of middle-aged men ogling pretty women to get a cheap laugh. It's a simple formula to follow. It takes a little extra work to find humor in life without resorting to low blows. I can't change the fact that easy humor is easy. What I can guarantee is that in my own writing and in my choices of entertainment, I will continue to choose the type of real-life humor that I genuinely enjoy--though it might not be quite as easy to find. I don't believe that good humor means innocence must be lost--some things are sacred for good reason, and they should be kept sacred. The most risqué it'll ever get on this blog is probably Angel's "shower" comment--years later I still blush to think about it, but it was the perfect combination of timing and awkwardness and family dynamics, so I still think it was worth the laugh.

I do believe that humor can be gentle, kind, and joyful. I don't think that the best jokes are the most offensive ones, and I'm convinced that though people who are able to be funny without being vulgar may be rare, they're worth listening to.

My #1 favorite funny guy who doesn't err on the side of vulgarity is Jon Acuff, writer of Stuff Christians Like. Now there's a book that both shows a great love for our faith and does a clever job poking fun at the culture surrounding Christianity.

What type of humor do you enjoy most? Who's your favorite funny writer/comedian?

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Angelisms, Part 4

As Requested. This edition is brought to you by Pictures Angel has Uploaded to Facebook, with Angel's original accompanying captions. Any editor's comments or further explanation will be in bold.

 Narcan being cat like.

(Told ya he loves his cats!) 
 Where did you get that sleeveless shirt? - Rachel says! Don't ever wear that shirt ever again! Rachel said. . I love how she is so honest and dislikes what she dislikes.

 Isaac and I at the holy wall.

(Honestly I'm not entirely sure how sacred this particular wall is.)
 Yes I did pick up the rock and no I did not play with it.

 Does this look like the kind of face that would use caution?

 This bear is posing for his prom pictures.

My flip flop.

 I point out the obvious a lot.

 Lunch.... This is what happens when Rachel is not around to tell me not to eat it.

 Morphine and I at a disclosed place because of rules.

(He meant "undisclosed," and that's because this is our house and the rules state that no cats are allowed in the house.)
Yum tuna!!

(He's referring to the cactus fruit, called tuna in Spanish. I guess the head is not the focal point of the picture)

 I have her in between my fingers.

.......................................

Okay, in looking at old pictures on his facebook, I came across one, which paired with the caption halfway made me cover my face at the inappropriateness, and halfway made me crack up. I felt too awkward about putting the photo on the blog, so I won't, but I'll let you know it was part of the album from our honeymoon trip and it was a run of the mill kissing photo. Yes, kissing photos are generally frowned upon, but I just want you to know it wasn't horribly scandalous or anything. And then he captioned it:

And we did a lot of this on our honeymoon: "Making Out"

The quotation marks, the capitalization, the reference to our honeymoon...? Questionable, Angel, very questionable.

I love my husband, in case you couldn't tell.

Announcing a Life-Changing Project (Not)

 See, I could do a project "Get Tan." But tanning is almost impossible for me. This is the most recent time I was tan: Summer 2008, after spending an entire summer working outdoors on roofs and siding projects. Besides, being tan isn't even healthy for you, so I've just learned to accept the fact that I'll always look especially pale next to Angel.

There comes a point in many a blogger's life when she thinks, "Self, I ought to take on some sort of grand life project and then blog about it. That would be interesting."

However, it's only interesting if you discover the exact grand life project that would be appropriate, worthwhile, and interesting to blog about. I periodically toss grand projects around my mind. See what I've come up with so far and rejected:

1. Blog about completely changing our lifestyle and moving to another country. Much as I'd like to...I'm the kind of old fuddy-duddy who doesn't move without a job and visa. So...we must all be patient as far as this project is concerned.

2. "Extreme Makeover." No good, I stubbornly like the way I look.

3. Project Exercise. I can exercise a little regularly, and I see the good of it, but the whole taking measurements, getting bigger muscles, and spending hours on fitness just really isn't my cup of tea. And I'm especially not interested in writing about exercise!

4. Wear _____ (Dresses, cowboy boots, lipstick, etc.) Every Day for a Year. I've actually suggested to Angel that I start wearing only dresses/skirts. He hates the idea, so I'm not going to go with that one. And I think variety is a good thing, so I don't see the point or value in limiting what I wear.

5. Go on a Diet!!! Sounds like torture. Plus...my body seems to do pretty well on my semi-healthy diet which includes fried foods and butter, but also a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and water and made-from-scratch dinners.

6. Fundraiser Project. It's just me. I'd rather give myself than ask other people to give unless it's something really desperate. And I don't like talking about my own giving, either. Awkward.

7. Getting rid of all of our stuff. In all honesty, there are some kitchen appliances that come in really handy....and I'm fairly attached to my clothes...and guests complain when you have no chairs for them...

8. Complete Home Remodel. Well, we'd need a house first. And then we'd need the kind of personalities that don't say, "Oh well, who cares if it's ugly. If it ain't broke don't fix it."

9. Major Car Repairs. I delegate those to my Angel. And I have the slight feeling that lug nuts and struts would make for semi-boring blog material. Though, there are always those exciting adventures when you have to take extreme measures because the wheel is "seized" and won't come off. (I don't participate in these adventures, but I listen to the tales and I imagine that they are exciting)

10. Take a Vow of Silence. Again, torture. And wouldn't it be kind of cheating to blog when you can't talk?

11. Blog Everyday. Too easy. If you guys haven't guessed yet, I'm a writing fiend. I only don't blog everyday because I love the email complaints I get from my mom when I skip a day.

12. Make a Craft Everyday. Now THAT would be a blast. But Angel would say it's too expensive (it is!) and I'm avoiding buying any unnecessary stuff due to hopes of project #1 someday.

13. Project Get a Husband. This would be hilarious. And probably so me if I were myself at my current age (a couple years out of college) and single. However, I've already got one, and society generally frowns on polyandry. So does Angel.

14. Learn and Introduce My Readers to a New Word Everyday. People start to think you're a nerd or something when you use words like polyandry and other much more obscure terms on a daily basis. Of course I wouldn't want to give people the wrong impression that I'm nerdy.

15. Themed Photo Series. Everybody loves a themed photo series! Two problems: 1) I'm not a photographer and 2) I already have two themed photo projects: "Bear With Me" and Anniversary Photos. At some point, you have to say "ENOUGH!!"

......................................................................................................

So, no. No real-life projects to be blogged about unless I happen to stumble across the perfect one. I'm already rejected these 15 candidates, feel free to use them if you're in the mood to do someone out of the normal for  a bit.

Have any other bizarre projects to suggest? I think we've determined that I'm not that much of a project type of girl, but I'd sure like to see what you guys can come up with.

Handy-Bear

Of course we had to do our own version of this:


He really did, too. If you've been reading for a long time, you may remember the infamous picnic table Angel made out of scrap wood. Here it is. Ugly, but definitely functional.