Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The perfect gift for the child you love, but whose parents you hate.

So, I was at Wal Mart last night and saw a huge stack of these in the middle of the aisle, apparently there to entice me to buy it for my children.

I'm going to use a sweeping blanket statement here, but there is no parent in the history of parents who has looked at a miniature metal drum set, complete with cymbal, and thought, "I need to buy that for my small child! Because you know what I don't have enough of in my life?  Loud noises."

And if you happen to be a parent  who is an exception to my sweeping blanket statement, I'm not counting you.  Because clearly you have issues you need to speak with someone about, and it's not fair to judge you in your current mental state.

You know who buys these for kids?  Your childless siblings or friends.  Or people who secretly hate you.  Or maybe your own parents, on a mission to get even for all the years of grief you put them through. Those are the people who will buy this for your child.

They're also the only people buying Play Doh. 

What's the most obnoxious gift your child has ever been given?  Or that you've deliberately given someone else's child? 'Fess up.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Desperately Seeking Jayme

 Have you seen me?
Odds are good I've lost the early 90's round glasses by now.

A long time ago (1995), in a galaxy far, far away (Logan, Utah) I was a college sophomore at Utah State University.  And I had five really great roommates.

One of them was a particularly bright spot in my life.  No, wait. Bright is an understatement.  She was like a supernova.  She was a splash of vibrant color in what could have been a really dismal year.  As wonderful and great as all my roommates were that year, she was the only one I felt like I could truly be the real me around. Not only did she accept the real me, but she liked the real me and encouraged me to let ME out more often.  She reminded me that I was fun.  But for some reason, we let ourselves lose contact.  I haven't talked to her in 17 years.

But I really, really want to.

The only other picture I have of her that I can post without 
potentially embarrassing her or ruining any future political aspirations.

Internets, I need your help.  I've exhausted my Googling abilities.  Short of paying a ridiculous amount of money to one of the people locator sites,  I have come up empty handed.  But there are a lot of you out there reading this.  A lot of you who are from the same area she's from (and may currently still be).  Maybe one of you knows her and can tell her I'm looking for her.

Here's what I know.  Her maiden name is Jayme Lee Hendrian.  She graduated from Skyline High School in Idaho Falls, ID in 1994.  She was on the volleyball team and in track, and I'm pretty sure she was kind of a big deal in both. She attended Utah State, and also played volleyball and was in track there.  She was raised LDS, though I honestly couldn't tell you what her status would be today. 

If the Google gods are correct, her married name is Jones.  She may be using Hendrian-Jones.  And it looks like she's either living in Idaho Falls or Rigby, Idaho.

I will come up with some sort of reward for the first person to get me a good e-mail address, mailing address, or gets her to contact me at brandidouglass@gmail.com. I'll even settle for a phone number, although cold calling someone I haven't spoken to in nearly 20 years makes me want to throw up a little.

And Jayme, if you're somehow out there reading this, e-mail me!  I have so much to tell you.  First of all, I married Will, so I guess I owe you some money for that bet.  But Tiffany totally married Scott, and they're still married, so you owe me for that one.  We'll call it even.  Also, I promise I'll destroy all the pictures I found today of us being...us if you ever decide to run for office.  We were kind of crazy, but it was so much fun.  Also, put on some pants.

Thank you for helping me be me for that year, and lending me a little of your supernova brightness when I couldn't find my own. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

And a very merry Christmas to you too, Neil Papworth.

Twenty years ago today I was a 17 year old high school senior in a tiny town in Wyoming.  My friends and I talked to each other on phones--the kind with cords. Our conversations were brief--mostly just long enough to make arrangements to get together so we could talk face to face.  And if we had something to say to each other that we didn't want all the other ears in our house to hear and we couldn't talk in person, we'd sometimes leave notes at each other's houses.  And my longtime childhood friends I had recently left on the opposite side of the country?  We sent real letters.  Like, with stamps and envelopes. Quaint, I know.  I didn't own a computer, and e-mail wasn't something available to the general public.  The communication options available in 1992 were not ideal for shy, awkward kids who moved a lot.  Like me.

Also twenty years ago today, somewhere in England thousands of miles away from that hick town in Wyoming, Neil Papworth unknowingly changed my future life for the better.  He was testing this new technology called SMS messaging, and he sent the very first text message ever.  It said, "Merry Christmas."

I was late to the texting party,  but once I got started, I became an overachiever. I am valedictorian of texting. They estimate that 200,000 texts are sent per minute. I'm probably personally responsible for a third of them.  I wasn't exaggerating when I said Mr. Papworth's achievement changed my future life for the better.  Texting is a godsend for people like me.  Because even though I'm 37 rather than 17, I'm still shy and awkward, I still hate talking on the phone, and I still move a lot.

E-mail will always be my first love.  It's the main reason I was able to maintain any friendships at all when I've moved in the past.  But then I started dating Facebook and e-mail mostly became a fond memory,  like that old boyfriend you still think about years later.  But then I met texting and we've been having a hot and heavy affair for a few years now.  I'm still seeing Facebook, but texting and I are going steady. We're going to prom. I'm wearing texting's class ring. (Don't tell, but sometimes I text and Facebook at the same time. And sometimes I'm thinking about e-mail while I do it.)

Texting has allowed me to build relationships with people that I probably wouldn't have otherwise.  Normal people can make those connections through phone calls.  If you've read even one post here, you clearly know that I am not normal.  So today I celebrate the anniversary of texting, and I honor Neil Papworth and the others who created the technology that allowed him to text "Merry Christmas" 20 years ago. What they gave me was more than the ability to send words through my phone.  They gave me human connection within my comfort zone.  They gave me friends I cherish.  They've all but eliminated the miles that separate me from those I care about.  Merry Christmas indeed.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Every Year

No matter how many times I scream obscenities at the screen during this part, Jo still refuses Laurie.  One of these years she's going to say yes.  I just know it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Kitten who Stole Christmas

So, back in early August one of our cats went to the great litter box in the sky.

Rest in peace, Stripes.

And because I'm stupid, I thought it would be a good idea to replace her with a kitten.

 Oh hi!  I'm here to ruin your lives!

This is Bea.  Which is short for Beatrice.  Which is short for "No! Beatrice, OFF you !@##$% CAT!"

She's soft, sweet, and snuggly.  And also the reason why some people think black cats are the embodiment of evil.  Because SHE IS.

When she's sleeping, life can carry on as normal, but when she's awake, we're all held hostage in our own home.  We can't leave anything out.  I have to allot double the time to do things like sweep the floor or wipe the counters.  Because clearly I'm doing those things for her amusement.

Amelia now has to keep all of her stuffed animals inside her toy box rather than on her bed because Bea doesn't like competition--not even the inanimate kind.  She would drag toys twice her size down the stairs and bury them in the litter box.

She has eaten and pooped out enough Legos to build a small replica of Manhattan.

In the three months we've had her, she has destroyed every piece of furniture in our family room.  Every single one.

 Did I do that?

And now?  Now it's the day after Thanksgiving.  The day I look forward to all year because it's the Day of  Christmas Decorations.  Christmas is my thing.  I go all out.  Three trees.  An elaborate Christmas village.  It's the only holiday I decorate for, and I make it count.

But I've spent all week with a growing pit in my stomach.  Every time that kitten drags something across the house or pulls things down off tables and shelves, my hopes for a Christmas wonderland are dashed. 

And today I had to accept it. There can be no Christmas Wonderland with Bea. There can be no tree filled with ornaments collected all over the world, representing people and memories spanning more than thirty years of my life.  There can be no little ice skaters spinning on the rink in a quaint miniature village.  There can be no heirloom ceramic tree with its sparkling plastic lights. 

This Christmas there will be one tree, tucked tightly into a corner, with only ornaments that can be destroyed or buried in the littler box.

 Because this year Satan Claws is coming to town.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I never saw THAT at Seaworld.

Marianne:  YouTube green porn.

Brandi:  I'm both horrified and highly amused.  PENETRATE ME!  (Also?  I kind of want to be Isabella Rossellini when I grow up.)

Marianne:  Did you watch the dolphins? I've only seen two of them.  My daughter made me watch them.

Brandi: I watched praying mantis and bed bugs. Then my kid came in and I had to stop.

Marianne: Dolphins are...wow!

Brandi:  Yeeaahhh.  I just snuck into my garage to watch Isabella Rossellini narate dolphin porn.  This is what my life has come to.

[For the record, most of my most scarring and/or amusing experiences have started with Marianne telling me to look something up.  Yet I keep doing it.  Also, I don't know if this is safe for kids or not.I'm leaning toward not. On one hand, it's totally factual, informational, educational, uses the scientific terms for everything, and is visually very child friendly.  On the other hand, you may not want want to have to explain dolphin masturbation or blow hole sex to your kids.  Use your best judgment.]

Friday, October 26, 2012

So, You Finally Have Hair on Your Junk: A Guide for Teens and Parents

So, you finally have hair on your junk. Congratulations!  Now that you've finally reached the Hair Down There stage of puberty, you may have some questions and concerns.  This pamphlet aims to address your questions and help you move forward through adolescence with confidence and ease.

Why do I have Hair Down There anyway?

Anthropologists believe that we humans developed our bushy, wiry, pubic, armpit, and (for males and a few very unlucky females) chest hair to act as a sort of brightly flashing sign, blinking out the message "I have reached maturity!  Let the mating begin!"  In addition to being a visual sign of reproductive maturity, your special hair also acts as an odor trap.  A virtual hormonal stink bomb.  Before the days of Justin Bieber perfume, humans attracted mates via the irresistible aroma of crotch and pit stink.  Ah, the good old days.

So...What do I do with it now that I have it?

Right now your special hair is all very new (and probably very sparse).  There's probably not a lot that you need to do with it.  You just keep doing what you're doing:  Admiring it in the mirror and thinking, "That's right, bitches.  I'm officially knee deep in puberty.  Take out the garbage?  You take out the garbage.  I have pubic hair now. You can't tell me what to do." In a year or two your private area will probably start to look a reject from The Muppets.  When that happens, you'll probably want to start doing a little care and maintenance. 

Care and maintenance?  What do you mean?

Just like the hair on your head, the hair on your junk occasionally needs some grooming to be at its best.  Chances are your parents were raised in the 1970's.  They're part of the final generation of au naturale personal grooming.  In other words, they're probably not going to be of much help to you in this area unless they happen to spend a lot of time on the internet reading smut.  You're quite literally going to have to take matters into your own hands.  Invest in a good razor, some small grooming scissors, and spend some quality time with Google. 

Are there any rules of pubic hair etiquette I should keep in mind?

I'm so glad you asked!  Yes there are.   First, if you're going to wear a swimsuit, be sure to follow the grooming tips listed in the previous section.  You don't want to look like you're smuggling a hedgehog in your Speedo.  That just makes everyone uncomfortable.  Second, always be actively aware of stray hairs that have gone rogue.  No one wants to find a pubic hair on the soap, not even one of their own.  And when your mother cleans your bathroom, she does not want to be confronted with hard evidence of your hormonal maturity on the floor and the toilet seat and stuck to the bottom of her sock. 

Anything else?

Just relax and enjoy this period of your adolescence.  It's a magical time.  Remember that your junk hair will be with you for the rest of your life, like a close friend, or the twin you absorbed in utero that's now just a small lump of undeveloped teeth and hair on your back. If you take care of it, it will always take care of you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

We aren't supposed to talk about the bloody mole, but there's a bloody mole winking me in the face. I want to c-u-u-t it off, ch-o-o-p it off, and make guacamole.

(1000 points if you can name that movie.)

So, internets, some things happened while I was on my blogging hiatus. For one thing, we got a new kitten who I'm pretty sure is one of Satan's minions, if not Satan himself.  But that's a post for another day.  Another thing that happened is that I finally saw a dermatologist who thinks that my face moles are totally removable if done by a good plastic surgeon.

This is a big deal for me.

Meet Bertha, Beulah, and Brunhilda. 
(Tangent Side note: Why is it that what I see in the mirror isn't anything like what I see in pictures of myself?  Is it like hearing a recording of your own voice?  When I look in the mirror I'm pretty sure I'm about 15 years younger, had several more hours of sleep, have an actual top lip, and pregnancy did not do such terrible things to my nose.)

I despise these moles.  I've had them for at least 20 years, if not longer.  And they've gotten larger with age.  Whenever I see a dermatologist (which is fairly often because of the Not-a-Tumor), I ask about getting them removed.  And every single time I get told the same thing.  "Well, I could shave them off, but that type of mole tends to grow back darker and larger than before." And then they refer me to the one between my boobs that I had removed that did, in fact, grow back darker (although smaller and flatter.)

Recently I saw a new dermatologist, so I asked again.  He looked and poked and prodded and looked at the one between my boobs for comparison and then looked and poked and prodded some more. 

Then he said the words that made me want to sing with joy.  "I don't think I can remove them with very good results, but I think if you see a plastic surgeon, they can be removed with minimal scarring and regrowth."

Two days later I saw a plastic surgeon and he confirmed what the dermatologist said.  And internets, TODAY IS THE DAY.  In three hours these suckers will be GONE. 

I'm a little nervous.  I mean, I'm having three holes cut into my face. One wrong move and moles could be the least of my worries.  But it's a pretty straight forward procedure, so I'm trying to be calm. 

I'm also trying to imagine a life without giant face moles and I can't.  I mean, what is it like to not have little kids ask you what those things on your face are every time you go out in public?

I'll keep you posted, internets, and when the incisions heal you know I'll post after pictures. 

Hmmm...now I'm wondering if I should ask to keep them in a jar? 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Long time, no blog.

So, umm, hi there.

I know.  I know it's been months and months.  I don't even know if there are any of you still out there who'll read this.

I wish I had some grand, important reason for not writing (I got a book deal and I've been writing that!  I took a 'Round-the-World cruise! I got a boob job and it was just too painful to reach the keyboard!), but the truth is that I just didn't want to.

I'm not sure that I really want to now.  But I want to want to.  I miss it.  Mostly.

And I don't think it's the writing part that I miss.  I think it's the YOU part. So I hope there are still some of YOU out there.

I'm...well, I'm lonely. Really lonely. And I felt less lonely when I wrote here nearly every day. I don't even know most of the people who would read and comment or send me e-mails, but that didn't matter.  I was among people every time I hit publish.

I kind of want that again.

Now, a little business.

There is no winner of the Yarn Vagina Picture Contest.  Well, there was, sort of, but it was none of you.

I tried to donate the $77 I'd promised, but Fisher House wouldn't accept a donation that small. (WTF, Fisher House?  Money is money.)  So, I went to the local Fisher House to see if there were any wish list items I could purchase for them instead.  They needed a Pack-N-Play, so that's what I bought. All thanks to you, internets.  They also needed some help with some yard work, so I helped with that for an hour one afternoon.  I was talking to one of the volunteer directors as we weeded together, and I started to tell her about how I had been trying to raise money through ad revenue by giving away a knitted cowl. (I try not to say things like knitted vagina to elderly ladies I've just met.  I'm classy like that.)  Before I could get any further, she said, "Oh!  I just love those!  Do you know someone who could make one for me?"  And the winner of the lovely blue yarn vagina was decided then and there.  I brought it to her the next day.  She loved it.  And I spent the rest of the day feeling guilty for sending this sweet lady off into the world looking like tired, old labia. But she was a happy tired, old labia.

Also, I know I promised you a modesty rant.  Luckily, some A TON OF other bloggers had been thinking the same thing.  There's nothing I could say that they haven't already covered--so much more eloquently than I could have.  So, enjoy: 
Sue's Epic Modesty Rant
Immodest Angels
How the Modesty Doctrine Hurts Men Too
Modest is Goddess
Fresh Meat
She's a Little Girl, for Crying Out Loud!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's Alive!

Just a quick note to say that I am, in fact, still alive.  I know the four of you out there still checking this blog will be relieved.

Medically, it's been a rough summer.  Iron infusions and blood transfusions. A broken foot. A barbecued uterus.  Three teeth pulled...I've spent A LOT of the past couple of months laying on my bed watching House Hunters International on my phone.

In a few days I take off for a two week road trip to Maine, where I'll be trapped on a small island that can only be accessed by boat with FIFTEEN of my closest family members. And that's after three days on the road with my kids.  If I never blog again, you can safely assume I resorted to homicide and am hiding out somewhere.  Somewhere very, very quiet. Where there are no children.

Before I go I'll be posting the handful of yarn vagina contest submissions (I haven't forgotten!).

And when I get back, expect a rant of epic proportions. It's been brewing for months. (Spoiler alert: It involves bare shoulders.)

Friday, June 29, 2012

He said he loved me but he lied.

This e-mail was caught in my spam filter today.  Normally I just delete them, but the subject intrigued me enough to open it:


I don't think so, but who knows.  I've heard he can mesmerize the ladies with his ponytail.  It's entirely possible that I authorized it. In fact, it's as possible as receiving a typo-riddled e-mail from the Federal Reserve regarding an inheritance that Michael Bolton (and two of his buddies, apparently--I'm going with his hair dresser and Kenny G) is trying to withdraw with my forged consent.

Office of the Governor.
Federal Reserve Bank
20th Street and Constitution Avenue,
NW Washington, DC 20551
Our ref: FRB/Ohg/Oxd1/2012
Your ref:.........................
Payment: file: FRB/BX5/12.

Attn: Beneficiary,

Payment notification of your funds.

I am Mr Michael Morgan, the secretary to Mr.Williams Dudley;
one of the Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank  (FRB), 
the (parent bank of all commercial banks) here in United states.

I was instructed to initiate contact with you by my boss the Director,
Foreign Contol Unit of the Federal Reserve Bank  (FRB) on
an urgent issue, kindly note that your funds were re-called and re-deposited into 
the "federal suspense account" of the FRB last week, because you did not forward 
your information as instructed in the mail we send to you last 2 weeks.

My boss the Director of the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB), was visited in his office 
by three gentlemen today, really these men were unexpected by him because their 
visit was impromptu. He ask them why they came to see him in person and they said 
that they came to collect the inheritance/contract funds bill  which rightfully 
belongs to you as shown in your file with us, on your behalf and by your 

Note that they actually tendered some vital documents which proved that you 
actually sent them for the collection of these funds. The list of the documents 
which was tendered to the bank today are:

1. Letter of administration.
2. High court injunction.
3. Order to release.

Due to the nature of his job, he cannot afford to make any mistake in releasing 
these funds to anyone except you who is the recognized true beneficiary to these 

My boss asked the men to come back tomorrow so he can verify this fact from you 
first.Kindly clarify us on this issue before we make this payment to these 
foreigners whom came on your behalf.

Kindly direct your response to the private email address of my boss,
Mr.Williams Dudley, the Director,Federal Reserve Bank  (FRB), below for quicker 
deliberation and response from him on the release of your funds to you.

Please remember to contact the bank Lawyer Mrs. Janet Swing and indicate a phone 
number so she can instruct you on how to make claim. Private Email: 
janetswing512@aol.com Note that for security reasons you have been assigned a 
code/password which is {TT7270FRB},please note that this code is the reference 
number for your transfer and it's being disclosed to you alone, guard this 
jealously and all your email response should carry this code as the subject.

Yours faithfully,
Mr. Michael Morgan.
"Guard this jealously" is going to be my new motto.

Also, fun trivia fact:  Michael Bolton used to live on the same street as the house where my mother worked as a private nurse.  I've seen the man doing his early morning jog in Richard Simmons-esque shorts, ponytail trailing behind him.  It's been more than 20 years and the image is still burned into my mind.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hey girl, want to be my stage mother?

For the past week or so a video has been floating around of Ryan Gosling as a child dancing in a church talent show back in his Mormon days.

(He sings for a minute before the dancing starts.)

Not bad...not bad, but Ryan Gosling isn't the only young Mormon with a ward talent show dance video lurking on the internet.  Oh, no.  Ben has one, too.

I'm hoping that there's a connection between embarrassing Mormon talent show dance videos and future acting success.

On Thursday Ben will be auditioning for a part in a small, low budget film.  It's the true story of Donn Fendler, who in 1939, at twelve years old, was lost for nine days on Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  His story became a short book in the 1970s, and I remember it being required reading as a fourth grader growing up in Maine.  I've always remembered the story.  Ben read the book himself a few years ago and loved it.

Ben's trying out for the part of Donn. I think he has a decent shot. Not only does he resemble Mr. Fendler, but the whole reason Donn ended up lost for nine days is because he disobeyed his parents, then broke all the rules he learned in Scouts. He didn't start following those rules until he was good and lost and had to survive.  Ben is an expert at disobedience and ignoring rules. He should be a shoo in!

Kidding aside, I do think he has a chance.  Acting is the one thing he's stuck with, and he's good for a thirteen year old boy.  I've prepared him for the distinct possibility that he won't get the part--who knows who else will be auditioning for it--but I've got my hopes up for him. Think of how well he'll behave when I can threaten to leak information about him to Us Weekly?

Also, almost the entire movie would take place with him in his underwear.  I think that's sufficient payback for the past thirteen years, don't you?

In a strange coincidence, we recently discovered that Donn Fendler lives here in Clarksville just a few miles from us.  Do you think stopping by his house unannounced to ask him to put in a good word with the casting director is too creepy stalkerish?

Anyway, here's to hoping he gets offered the standard rich and famous contract.


In other news, there are four days left to submit pictures for the Yarn Vagina Giveaway!  I didn't get many, so your odds of winning are good.  And $75 will be donated to Fisher House in your name.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Words of Wisdom

  • The more you like a recipe, the more your family will hate it.

    • If a friend dares you to Google something, do not do it.

      • Six year olds will be brutally honest about your appearance, even when their thoughts on the matter are not solicited. 
        • If you find yourself Googling "Is Rainbow Dash a girl or a boy," you've been watching way too much My Little Pony on Netflix. 
          • Do not be the least bit surprised to find that there are whole forums dedicated to the discussion of Rainbow Dash's gender. 
              • Rainbow Dash is a girl, in case you were wondering. But I think maybe she and Apple Jack have done some experimenting, ifyouknowwhatImean.  

                • Pinterest really is a life-sucking vortex that will only make you feel inadequate for not coming up with those things on your own. 
                  • Cats will never judge you for that third cookie. 
                    • If  you haven't watched Sherlock, you must do so immediately.  We need to talk about it. 
                      • Immediately means right now.  Get going!
                          I've had an inexplicable crush on Mr. Holmes since I started watching. 
                          I finally realized that if you cut the hair and added glasses, he'd look like Will.

                          Friday, May 25, 2012

                          It's That Time of Year Again

                          My kids have been out of school for three days now, and I'm already going a little crazy.  Since I know today is the last day of school for many of your kids, I figured it would be a good time to repost this.


                          (Originally posted May 24, 2011)

                          Brandi's Tips for a Super Fun Summer!

                          You want to know the biggest reason I'm really disappointed that the end of the world has been postponed until October? Because that means I still have to get through the entire summer break with my kids, by myself. Honestly, dodging brimstone and earthquakes sounds slightly more pleasant to me.

                          So, since today is the last day of school here, I thought I'd share my tips for having a Super Fun Summer while being forced to spend time with your children.

                          1. This one is the most important. Ship your biggest troublemaker off for the summer. Between camps and grandparents who live far away, you should be able to arrange for at least one of your children to be gone for the entire vacation.

                          2. Buy a good pair of headphones and never take them off. If you can't hear the whining and fighting, it's a lot easier to pretend your children don't exist. Bonus: Once your kids realize you can't hear them bugging you for stuff like dinner, they eventually stop talking to you altogether.

                          3. Invest in a large bottle of melatonin. Slip five or six tablets into their Cheerios in the morning, and you're guaranteed to have a quiet, restful day!

                          4. Fake a drug problem and check yourself into rehab. That should buy you several weeks of being able to use the bathroom without children wandering in to tattle on a sibling. Have a "relapse" if you need more time.

                          5. Rent Swiss Family Robinson and have your kids watch it. Make a big deal of it and how "fun" it would be to be stranded on a deserted island. Then suggest your kids play Swiss Family Robinson in the playhouse in the back yard all Summer long! Give them each a sleeping bag and box of snacks, and tell them you'll see them when school starts again. Remind them that the real Swiss Family Robinson didn't come in the house for bathroom breaks or to watch Sponge Bob or to eat dinner.

                          6. Play lots of games with your kids, like The First One Who Makes a Single Sound Has to Scrub the Toilet. Or, Mommy's Really Sick and if you Whine it Might Make Her Die. Or, Hide and Go Seek (in which the children hide, and you seek...when you get around to it).

                          7. Lemonade stands are always a fun Summer activity. Set your kids up at the end of the driveway and tell them they're not allowed back in the house until they've made at least $500. It will teach them invaluable lessons about entrepreneurship and innovation. And should keep them out of the house for at least a week.

                          8. Use the summer as an opportunity to meet your neighbors, and then send your kids over to play in their yard. Every day.

                          9. Kids love crafts. Teach them to create "vintage" jewelry, and have them work on it for 8-10 hours a day in an inhome sweatshop a quiet, tucked away room, far from outside distractions. Open an Etsy store and use the proceeds to send them away to camp next Summer.

                          10. Play "Spa" every day. They think you're playing with them, but you get a massage and foot rub out of the deal.

                          Happy Summer Vacation!

                          Tuesday, May 22, 2012

                          I'm not fat, I'm just big uterused.

                          So, the microwaving of my uterus went surprisingly well.

                          To be honest, by the time they wheeled me into the OR, I was convinced I'd wake up minus a leg or something.  The doctor had scheduled me for several procedures I wasn't actually having, and even though they seemed to have gotten it straight long before the surgery, I was worried.

                          Also, seeing this on the wall next to the pre-op bed wasn't very reassuring.

                          Click to embiggen

                          If my surgeon needs a pictogram to know how to make sure he's cutting the right part open, perhaps surgery isn't the right field for him.  Just a thought.

                          And I still haven't figured out number four.  What does the maniacally smiling guy mean? 

                          Anyway, as far as I know they only did the procedure they were supposed to do.  Worst case scenario is that they also tied my already tied fallopian tubes. 

                          Even though the procedure only takes about fifteen minutes, they use general anesthesia.  I don't do so well when I wake up from it.

                          It's always a mystery what I'll be doing when I wake up.  This time it was crying.  I woke up sobbing and thrashing.  They kept asking me what was wrong and I just kept saying I didn't know.  I really didn't.  Five minutes and a hit of morphine later, I was fine.  Loopy, but fine.

                          Apparently the doctor came in to talk to me right after the shot of morphine.  I don't remember this.  However the nurses told me that I told him I was really sorry he was stuck at the hospital microwaving my uterus on his birthday. See?  I'm always thinking of others.

                          What I do remember is that when he came back in later after I was more coherent, he told me that I have an extremely large uterus. 

                          What does one say to that?  Thank you?

                          Anyway, I went home and spent the weekend throwing up (anesthesia--the gift that keeps on giving) and sending out narcotics fueled texts (Percoset--also the gift that keeps on giving.)

                          Hopefully it will all be worth it.  We'll see in about three months.

                          Speaking of vaginas (we totally were), I only received TWO submissions for the giveaway.  So, I'm extending it through the end of June.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click HERE

                          Tuesday, May 15, 2012

                          It's a party and you're all invited! I'll bring the popcorn!

                          Lasers and balloons!

                          So, today is the day I get pumped full of iron and other people's blood.  Apparently, it's also the day the iron could kill me. 

                          You guys know what to do if that happens.  I'm counting on you. 

                          I actually have a medical procedure every day this week except Friday.  Most of them involve my vagina in some way.

                          Thursday is the uterine ablation. I was initially told that it involved lasers and balloons.  I was kind of excited, because what isn't exciting about lasers and balloons in your lady bits?  It's all the elements of a really awesome party.  IN YOUR UTERUS!  But after more research I realized that they'll actually insert an expandable microwave radio antenna into my uterus and essentially microwave my endometrium like a left over pork chop.  I'm not even kidding.  Maybe they could pop some popcorn in there while they're at it.  Human Jiffy-Pop!

                          Anyway, I have to take a pill tonight and tomorrow to soften my cervix.  First, the pills are also used for abortions, so now I'm paranoid about what the pharmacy people think of me. I wanted to loudly tell them all that there was definitely NO bun in this oven (but if they checked back on Thursday, there may be popcorn). Second, one of the warnings read, "In extremely rare instances,  portions of the cervical tissue may become detached from the cervix."  So now I'm worried about leaving a trail of cervix wherever I go for the next 48 hours.

                          "Excuse me m'am, you dropped something."
                          "Oh, thanks.  It's my cervix."

                          So anyway, my point is that posting may be scarce for the next week or so, but I have a good reason for it.

                          In the meantime, don't forget to send me your knitted cowl yarn vagina pictures.  Oooh--maybe someone could put one in the microwave and take a picture in my honor! 

                          Friday, May 11, 2012

                          What do you get when you combine Mother's Day with Military Spouse Appreciation Day?

                          So, I had a gynecology appointment today. (Wait, don't leave!  I'm not going to describe it. Much.)

                          Anyway, it's left me with vaginas on the brain (which kind of sounds like a horrible medical condition).  Also?  It's left me thinking that people with certain names need to be more choosy with their chosen career path.  My gynecologist at the Army hospital today was named Captain Dickman.  I really wanted to get a picture of his name tape as proof, but as a wise friend pointed out as I texted her from the exam room, he might get the wrong idea if I started snapping pictures while he was elbow deep in my nethers. (And to clarify, I was not texting during the exam.  You guys are twisted.)

                          Wait, where was I?

                          Oh yeah. Vaginas.

                          I've previously made my feelings known about the scourge to society known as The Knitted Cowl.  In short, there is no way to wear one without looking like your head is sticking out of a vagina.   There just isn't.

                          Don't see it?                                     Here, let me help you.

                          I don't care how well made they are, how amazing the yarn is or how vibrant the color. A yarn vagina is a yarn vagina.

                          Knowing how I feel about The Dreaded Knitted Cowl, my friend Vivian decided that I'd be the perfect person to give one away. We originally talked about a raffle--she'd really like the proceeds to benefit The Fisher House, which is like The Ronald McDonald House, but for the military.  They're found on many military installations where major medical facilities are located.

                          But then I took a writing hiatus, lost a lot of readers, and the chances of making more than ten bucks became pretty slim.

                          So here's the deal: 

                          You send me your best yarn vagina pictures (NOT pictures you find on the internet!).   I'll choose my favorite.  That person will receive a lovely blue yarn vagina made by Vivian, AND I'll donate all my ad revenue for the months of May and June to Fisher House. In YOUR name.
                          The lovely yarn vagina up for grabs.

                          So, what sort of pictures am I talking about?  That's really up to you.  It can simply be you or a friend modeling a knitted cowl: 

                          Why yes, that's me Vanna White-ing a knitted cowl in the bathroom mirror. 

                          OR you can get more creative:

                          Make it a family affair and involve your kids!  After all, they wouldn't exist without your vagina.
                          Even better, get your mom to re-enact her own journey out of the birth canal!  Happy Mother's Day!!

                          "But Brandi," I hear you say, "What if I don't have a yarn vagina?"  Get creative!  Use a scarf.  A towel.  Whatever.   It's the thought that counts.  Also?  Give yourself a great big pat on the back for not owning one.

                          The rules:  I'll accept entries until 9 pm Eastern time on Friday, May 18th Saturday, June 30th.  You don't have to be in the picture, but the picture must belong to you. The person in the picture has to agree to let me post it here.  I can blur the face if they'd like. Email submissions to brandidouglass@gmail.com with something in the subject line letting me know what it is.

                          Now go!  Get snapping pictures! I want to see your vaginas!

                          Wait...you know what I mean.

                          (At this point I'm pretty sure that this post is probably the top result if you Google vagina.)

                          UPDATE:  I've extended the contest through June 30th!

                          Tuesday, May 8, 2012

                          At least it's not about my period.

                          Well, it won't ALL be about my period anyway.

                          So you want to know how I know it's been too long since I've written?  I logged into Blogger and couldn't figure out how to publish a post.  That's probably not a good sign.

                          Anyway, I know.  I know it's been a month.  To be completely honest, I'm only writing because a certain friend is hounding me to do so.  She hasn't blogged in a month either, but for some reason that's totally fine for her and not me.  Feel free to click on that link and post comments about how she needs to write more. And please call her Jolene.  

                          You know what I've been doing instead of blogging?  Sleeping.  And popping narcotics.  And sleeping.  And I really didn't want this to become a blog about me being sick.  If I had something major, that would be one thing, but I don't.  It's just a lot of little things that when put all together turn me into a zombie.  Minus the brain eating part.  And minus the whole walking around part, too.  Zombies are always on the freaking move. I guess it just turns me into someone who sleeps a lot.

                          And because I know I'll get asked anyway, here are the highlights of my recent medical maladies (Feel free to skip past the bullets if you don't care.  I totally don't blame you.):
                          • During my week in North Carolina, my foot started to swell and hurt.  After I got home it got so bad that I ended up in the ER.  Here we are more than a month later and it's still swollen and painful.  They can't figure out why.  I took my last pain pill two days ago.  I'm afraid to go in and ask for more because I worry they'll label me as a drug seeker.  So, I've been piggy-backing Aleve and Tylenol, which makes it tolerable, but also makes me vomit.  But hey, I dropped a pant size, so hello bright side!
                          • A common side effect of gastric bypass surgery is low iron.  It's also a side effect of heavy periods.  I have both.  I got to a point one day that I stood at the bottom of the stairs and cried because I was too tired to climb them.  I went in for some blood work and discovered that my iron as well as my back up iron (ferratin) were pretty much non existent.  It's like a Cullen had sucked me dry, but without all the sparkles and weird pillow ripping sex.  Next week I get to go have a blood transfusion and an iron infusion to remedy the situation. And apparently the iron infusion can possibly kill me, so that's something to look forward to.
                          • I misplaced my left ovary for a couple of weeks.  True story.  At first I thought maybe The Bloggess had it.  I mean, she said she did.  But no.  Apparently it was there the whole time.  It was hiding behind some scar tissue.  They canceled the Amber Alert for it yesterday.
                          My awesome friend Bennet, who does NOT hound me to write posts, took my copy of The Bloggess' book to a book signing in Texas.  In case you can't read it, it says, "Brandi, All your left ovaries are belong to us, Jenny Lawson"
                          • They discovered that my ovary was allegedly missing because I was being checked for coochie cancer. FOR THE FOURTH TIME.  Four times in the past fifteen years.  Five if you count the mammogram I had to have at 25 because of a lump. (I know, technically not coochie cancer, but it involved my lady bits, so I count it.)  But four times doctors have suspected uterine and/or ovarian cancer. Luckily I've always been cancer free, but I'm terrified that my luck will run out one of these days.  So, now that I've surpassed the magic age of 35 and have officially retired my uterus, they have finally agreed to rip all the equipment out.  My innards will be a vast cave of emptiness.  
                          • Oh, and my diabeeetus and hypertension are back.  For a while my pancreas just totally checked out.  Apparently it was off having a fling with my left ovary.  My doctor prepared me for the reality that I would likely need an insulin pump.  But the meds she gave me to jump start it worked, and now I just have to take oral meds.  Probably forever.  The silver lining is that someday Wilford Brimley will die and someone will have to take his place in the Liberty Medical commercials.  I'm already preparing my resume.  And my handlebar mustache.

                          So there you have it.  My long list of woes.  

                          But now that I'm back, it'll be hard to get rid of me.  (Who am I kidding?  No it won't.  But let's pretend, O.K.?) 

                          Stay tuned for a giveaway that involves yarn vaginas, my mother exiting the birth canal, your yarn vagina pictures, and helping military families in need. 

                          It's like a very twisted after school special. You won't want to miss it.

                          Monday, April 9, 2012

                          It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

                          {So, hi internets! I know. I've been back from my trip for more than a week, and haven't blogged about it (or anything) yet. Lately writing feels like work rather than fun, so I've been avoiding it. But, my memories of the trip are starting to fade a little, so I want to get it written down.}

                          Yes, I'm wearing fake boobs. And yes, they look creepily realistic from that distance.

                          O.K., so worst is maybe too strong a word, but I had a nasty string of bad luck on this trip. Luckily the good parts more than made up for it.

                          It was a thirteen hour drive from my house, so we (we being myself, two local friends, and a third friend who drove from Missouri and met us at my house) left at 11 pm in order to make it to the island by mid afternoon.

                          In the first eight hours we drove through torrential downpours, lightning storms, wind gusts and fog so thick you couldn't see anything. We had a break from the weather for a while and then around eight in the morning the downpours started again. The road was a blur, and suddenly there was a loud thump against the right rear of my van. I thought maybe someone had hit me, but all seemed OK, so onward we drove. About five miles later the tire pressure light came on. Loud thump. Warning light. This could not be good news. So, I took the next exit.

                          We got out of the van and walked to the right rear tire, and as we stood there we watched it deflate.


                          So, roadside assistance came. Forrest Gump himself changed the tire.

                          We still had several hundred miles to go, so the next stop was a tire shop. The donut was not going to get us to the island.

                          The first bit of good luck--the guy at the shop took pity on the four stranded girls trying to get to Spring Break and worked us in so we only had to wait about an hour even though the shop was packed.

                          But the universe decided that was too much good news and while we were waiting, my back tooth broke in half, leaving a sharp, jagged edge that tore up my cheek when I talked, smiled and ate. Also? The tire was unrepairable. So, I wasn't even at the beach yet and was already $120 into my vacation money.

                          Luckily we made it to the beach house without any more mishaps.

                          The first few days were spent swimming in the heated pool, hot tubbing, walking on the beach, talking, eating, talking, knitting, talking, eating and talking. You know--how a vacation with thirteen of your favorite people should be.

                          Then I had the brilliant idea to take a day trip down to the southernmost island of the outer banks, Ocracoke. I love the beaches there, and there are three lighthouses on the way. I convinced six others to come with me, while the remaining seven stayed back at the house.

                          Because they're smart.

                          The trip down was great. The light houses were beautiful. The ferry ride was fun. We found a hole in the wall cafe where we had amazing seafood. The beach was as lovely as I remembered. We found shells.

                          It was getting late, so we headed back to the ferry dock. As I began to drive onto the ferry, we all realized something wasn't right.

                          Another flat tire.

                          You know those shells we found? One of them punctured my tire.

                          They wouldn't let us on the ferry with the flat tire, and the dock is quite literally miles and miles from anything. So, we didn't have much choice but to change the tire ourselves. Luckily I was traveling with women who are far more self sufficient than I am, and they got the job done. The plan was to drive it back to the beach house and get the tire repaired the next day.

                          But again, the universe had other plans.

                          While putting on the donut, one of the bolts fell into the wheel hub where the brakes are housed. We didn't have the tools to take the hub off. That meant the van wasn't safe to drive the eighty miles back to the beach house.

                          So, I called the now familiar roadside assistance number to have a tow truck meet us at the ferry dock on the other side of the inlet.

                          And as we sat in the van on the ferry ride, it occurred to me that there were SEVEN of us, and we were two hours from the house, on a remote island during the off season. There are no taxis or rental cars or even open hotels. And the thought of having to ask one of the seven who stayed behind to drive four hours round trip to come and get us may or may not have caused me to have a minor melt down. So, I pleaded with the roadside assistance operator to find a way for us to go with the tow truck.

                          Second bit of good luck--the local tow truck had an extended cab, and the driver said he could fit us all.

                          And again, the universe laughed at me. The driver assumed it was two adults and five small children, not seven fully grown adults, most of whom had birthed multiple children and had the hips to prove it.

                          But we did it. We squeezed eight adults (including the driver) into a truck built for five.

                          This was only half of us that had to cram into that cab.

                          We made it back to the beach house, and I was done. I went to bed. And apparently missed the first installment of naked hot tub time.

                          The next morning I was what you might call...crazy. In order to spare the others, I took my crazy out to the beach where I could be alone with it. I don't know what my issue was, but I spent most of the day o the verge of tears. I blame my hormones.

                          But an evil bunny (our new mascot), a sand castle, and several dirty words spelled out in shadow later, I was feeling better.

                          The next day brought more sunbathing, swimming, beach walking, knitting, talking, eating and talking. And that night we had our bonfire.

                          My pyromaniac sister got it going in under five minutes, and we spent the next couple of hours huddled around the fire. Some partook of "strong drink." Others, s'mores. And then the clothes came off.

                          Pre-naked time.

                          Not my clothes. But three of the women (who shall remain nameless unless I get permission otherwise) decided it was naked beach time. One minute we're toasting the perfect marshmallow, the next there are boobs everywhere I look. Boobs that look way better than mine.

                          Roused by our hooting and cheering, some frat boys with terrible facial hair came out a few houses down the beach. For a while we taunted them and tried to lure them over for our amusement. I mean, what would be more fun than to raise the hopes of a bunch of 20 year old college guys only to crush them with the reality that all those girls they could only vaguely see by firelight are actually thirty-something married mothers?

                          But then they started yelling Wayne's World quotes at us and it was over.

                          We eventually burned all the wood, paper, cardboard (and maybe even a pair of panties) that we had, and headed back to the house.

                          And that's when the second installment of naked hot tub time started.

                          Only two of us remained clothed. Me, because my uterus is a traitor and decided my period should come on vacation with me, and another because she's pregnant and didn't want to cook her fetus in a hot tub. So she and I sat on the edge of the hot tub, fully clothed, like a couple of lecherous old men.

                          I've had my fill of boobs for a lifetime.

                          The last couple of days went by with more talking, eating, talking and relaxing. And then Saturday morning came and it was time to go home.

                          The last sunrise.

                          And I may have gotten something in my eyes that made them water. I blame allergies.

                          And then as I was awkwardly being forced to hug people, someone licked my face. It's O.K., though. I think I kind of liked it.

                          And then we all went home.

                          But wait, there's more! The universe decided I'd had too much fun, so about ten hours from home, I got sick. I thought I was just car sick, but it lasted for three days. On the bright side? I've lost fifteen pounds over the past two weeks.

                          And there's so much more I could write about. Trips to a great little wine and cheese shop where I spent an obscene amount of money on cheese. Stories from our evenings sitting around together talking. A lot happens in a week.

                          I'm not even going to tell you this story. I'll let you make up your own.

                          But the moral of the story is, yes--a lot of crappy things happened. But it was absolutely worth it. I'm already dreaming of next year.

                          The End.

                          Monday, March 26, 2012

                          There were unicorns and mermaids there, too.

                          This was the view from our deck after a rainstorm yesterday. You can't see them, but there were also dolphins playing out there. (No, really.)

                          And it happened after an afternoon of swimming, hot tubbing, and beach walking.

                          Vacationing is so hard.

                          Sunday, March 25, 2012

                          A Tale of Two Sisters

                          I'm in North Carolina. More on that tomorrow. But anyway, I'm rooming with my sister. She pointed out that our "condiments" (known as toiletries to normal people) pretty much summed up all our differences.

                          See if you can guess whose is whose.

                          Thursday, March 22, 2012

                          Out of office reply.

                          Sorry, I can't come to the blog right now. I'm...busy.

                          So, I finally have things to write about (Transgendered Korean Country singer! Beach vacation! Wayward pancreas and insulin pumps!) but I have no time to write about them.

                          Tomorrow I leave for a week at the beach with some of my favorite people, and I've been so busy pre-emptively micromanaging every aspect of life that I won't be in control of when I'm gone that I haven't had time to write.

                          Maye I'll have to do some ocean front blogging. Maybe I can convince everyone to participate in a video blog poolside.

                          Either way, I'll be back with a full report of all the Bad Girl goings-on.

                          (And if you'd like a post card, e-mail me your address.)

                          Thursday, March 15, 2012

                          Talking Dirty

                          Things That Sound Dirty (to me) But Aren't
                          (Yes, I'm 12)

                          Melon baller

                          Weather stripping

                          Harris Teeter

                          Beef jerky


                          Weed whacker

                          Harry Potter

                          Snow blower


                          Venus flytrap

                          Goat cheese

                          Jack Johnson

                          Pole vaulter

                          Tuesday, March 13, 2012

                          Something is better than nothing.

                          Remember how I used to write stuff? Me too.

                          Lately I feel like I'm simply out of words. Like I've talked about All The Things and there's nothing left to say.

                          I know that's not true. I know it's just a combination of several things creating a perfect storm of writer's block. I know it'll pass and I'll be back, full of self righteous indignation as usual. In the mean time, here's a little something from the archives in honor of the Girl Scout's 100th anniversary yesterday.

                          WTF, Girl Scouts?

                          (Originally posted February 21, 2011)

                          So, tonight Ben used some of his allowance to buy some Girl Scout cookies. Samoas, to be exact.

                          I was totally stealing some looking at the box, and the picture kind of disturbed me.

                          Does this remind you of anything?

                          Like, saaaaaay...this:

                          Birmingham, AL Fire Department hosing civil rights activists

                          WTF, Girl Scouts? I know you originated in the deep South and all, but really? You thought the best picture for your box would be a white lady terrorizing little black kids with a fire hose?

                          Friday, March 2, 2012

                          Tiny Lightning Rods

                          Today, in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, the elementary school kids were supposed to dress up as their favorite Dr. Seuss character.

                          Neither of mine were interested. Liam flat out refused, but I finally convinced Amelia that she'd make a convincing Cindy Lou Who.

                          A couple of pipe cleaners and elastics later, she headed off to school.

                          (This is how she insists on smiling for pictures lately.)

                          And about an hour after she left, I realized I'd sent her off with two metal wires protruding from the top of her head on a day when we're supposed to be battered by super-cell thunderstorms.

                          I put tiny little lightning rods on her head. And sent her off into a thunderstorm.

                          Worst mother ever.

                          Monday, February 27, 2012

                          Separate Vacations

                          (Just ignore the fact that the picture is actually a politician and his two daughters. Because 1. I'm slightly creeped out now that I know those are his daughters, and 2. If it wasn't a politician and his daughters, the picture would have been funny.)

                          So, I mentioned on Facebook that my husband and kids would be in Wyoming for a week next month in case any of our friends in the area wanted to get together with him.

                          Clearly this was cause for alarm.

                          In the few days since I posted it, I've had several concerned e-mails asking if my marriage is O.K. Actually, they haven't come out and asked that specifically, but they've all said some variation of, "So, you're not going with Will and the kids next month? Is everything O.K.?"

                          Yes. Everything is O.K.

                          Remember THIS? And THIS?

                          I'll be doing it again next month. It's become my favorite week each year. I need it. I need to be with friends and not be with my family. I come home happier.

                          The kids are out of school that week, and Will took the week off to be home with them while I'm gone. It turned out to be a good opportunity for Will and the kids to visit his family. I'm not thrilled with how much his little trip going to cost us. It's been a big source of contention this week because there were cheaper alternatives that were refused. (There's a whole post about that that will have to remain unwritten for the sake of keeping the peace.) But to clarify for all those who were concerned enough to write: Our separate vacations might just end up causing marital problems, but we're not taking separate vacations because of marital problems.

                          We're taking separate vacations because I don't love my family enough to vacation with them.

                          I hope that sets the record straight.

                          Ever since this whole separate vacation thing has been decided, though, I've been having mini panic attacks. What if their plane crashes? What if they die in a fiery car crash in the still-icy canyons? What if there's a carbon monoxide leak at the in-laws and they all die in their sleep? I could go all day with these scenarios. The result of them all is the same--I will be left all alone. It makes me want to cancel both vacations and hide under the covers.

                          I'm a worrier by nature, but this is a little ridiculous even for me.

                          Oddly, I'm not as worried about me dying while on vacation. I mean, there could be a freak pole dancing accident or a tsunami that wipes out the Outer Banks, or, in true horror story fashion, someone could break into the house full of "helpless" women and hack us all to death while we're having a pillow fight in skimpy pajamas sleeping.

                          But really the worst that would happen if I died is that the kids end up being the kids with dirty faces and ratty hair at school. Until, of course, he gets re-married (obviously to someone prettier who thinks it's totally fine to spend 18 hours a day on the computer). No big deal.

                          So, I think the moral of the story here is that if my worst fears come true and an asteroid falls to Earth destroying only the most Southwest corner of Wyoming, I will deserve to spend my life alone because I vacationed without my family. Feel free to tell me you told me so.

                          Monday, February 20, 2012

                          The Primary Manifesto

                          (Juanita Weasel. If you're not familiar with her, click HERE.
                          There's a little language. You've been warned.)

                          So, I'm tempted to write a long and rambling explanation about why I haven't written in so long. But I won't. The answer is fairly short: I've been busy and I didn't feel like it. Actually, I didn't feel like doing much of anything. But now I do. So here I am. (And if after reading that you were all, "What? She was gone?" don't tell me. Let me have my delusions illusions.)

                          I do want to talk a little about one of the things that's kept me busy, though. Be warned--I'm going to start speaking Mormon. I'll try to provide a translation when necessary. And I promise there will be a point. It just might take me a minute to get there.

                          A few weeks ago I was asked to be the Primary President. (Primary is the kids' program at church. Like Sunday school. A two hour Sunday school.) The president is, well, the president. I'm responsible for the teaching and spiritual well being of every kid in our church congregation from the age of 18 months to the day before their 12th birthday.

                          My first reaction when they asked me to do this was to laugh. I don't do children. They're sticky and germy and are always leaking some sort of bodily fluid. They're selfish and irrational and expect their needs to come first. (Clearly MY needs should always come first.) Then the urge to laugh was replaced by shock when I realized they were serious. They really wanted me to do this.

                          And after a little discussion about some reservations I had, I agreed to do it.

                          And the very first thing I did after accepting was buy a tub of antibacterial wipes and jug of hand sanitizer. They've already been used. A lot. It was like pee-mageddon in there the first week. (And the second.) (We'll see how the third week goes.)

                          Luckily I'm not doing it alone. There are teachers for each age group, and I have two counselors (assistants) to share the work load with.

                          But it has been a lot of work. The reason they needed a new president is because our congregation split. We had so many people that a whole new congregation had to be formed. And nearly all of the people who had been teachers and leaders in Primary were assigned to the new congregation.

                          So, there was no transition. None of us--not me, my counselors or most of the teachers--knew what we were doing. We were all thrown into the deep end of a pool full of kids (And snot. And pee.) without a life vest.

                          There's been a lot of tedious work getting things organized the past few weeks, but that's finally done and I can think about things other than class rolls and candy bribes.

                          Anyway, that was a lot of rambling to get to my point.

                          I'd been teaching the three year old class in Primary for the past eighteen months. And week after week I'd sit there and hear lessons about what the kids should and shouldn't do. How God would be unhappy if they didn't obey. How three year old girls shouldn't wear sleeveless dresses--as if a three year old has much choice in her clothing.

                          And I sort of got furious.

                          And I wondered where the lessons about God's love were.

                          So when I was given this opportunity to lead the children, the main reason I accepted was so that I could do my best to make sure the kids know that God loves them no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT.

                          And that led me to write my Primary Manifesto:

                          You are a child of God. Heavenly Father loves you no matter what you look like. He loves you no matter what you wear. He loves you no matter what you believe. He loves you no matter how many things you have. He loves you no matter who you love. He loves you no matter where you are on Sunday. He loves you no matter what you do. He loves you NO MATTER WHAT.

                          This just doesn't get said enough in Primary (or church in general.) Yes, God would like it if you did X, Y and Z, but he still loves you even if you don't. You are still a person of worth in the world. You don't have to fit a mold to be loved.

                          I teach my own kids to live a certain way, and there are consequences when they don't, but I always make it clear that I still love them, no matter what. Surely God must feel the same way about His children?

                          If one child leaves Primary knowing that they're loved, it will make all the work (And snot. And pee.) worth it.