Friday, December 16, 2011


Mom, today I learned that bowls that say things like "Soup" or "Ice Cream" are only for smart people who know what bowls are.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Mom, today I learned why it pays to have friends who know Photoshop.

(Special thanks to my friend and Mother Load reader, Lis C., of Portland, OR, for this bit of awesomeness.  I finished up classes for my degree this week, but there are no ceremonies for fall graduates unless they want to wait 5 months.  Meh.  The original picture was taken at the Weird Al concert we attended in September, and it was way cooler than any stuffy old commencement ceremony!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I saw this story a week ago when it was originally published in the BYU-I student newspaper, and I thought, There's an Outrageous News story right there.  However, I was in the middle of studying for finals and writing papers and finishing up assignments at the University of Utah.  Today, the story jumped back into the forefront of my mind when a picture started circulating on Facebook. 

Let's look at the picture now, shall we?


Originally posted on Facebook by Shaila Keck, it had been shared nearly 200 times by the time I clicked the share button. This is a picture of Shaila's friend, Rachel Vermillion.  Cute girl, right?  Nicely dressed in a pretty but casual outfit.  Typical college attire in the cold winter months. 

You'd think that...because you're a reasonable human being.

Unfortunately for Rachel, she was not dealing with a reasonable human like you when she entered the testing center at Brigham Young University-Idaho to take an exam.  She was asked to leave because the outfit you see above was deemed immodest by a male testing center employee who felt her "skinny jeans" were a violation of the school's dress code which frowns on "form fitting" attire. 

You just scrolled back up to take another look at the picture, and you're wondering if you're in the Twilight Zone right now, aren't you?  It's okay.  You're really not.  I know how unsettling that feeling can be.

First of all, those are not skinny jeans.  I know this because I own a pair.  I had no idea I was buying something so fashionable when I yanked them off the rack at the local thrift store, but own them I do, however accidentally.  I promise you, my skinny jeans do not bunch at the bottom like Rachel's.  They don't flair like those.  They don't allow for appropriate circulation like those.

When Rachel tried to plead her case in light of the fact that the testing center would be closed before she could return in something sufficiently frumpy, the apparently blind eyes of her judge/jury/executioner were accompanied by a pair of deaf ears.  When she pointed out that other girls (thinner, less curvaceous girls) were being admitted with tighter jeans than hers, she was told that the question of modesty or lack thereof was left to the "ridiculously shortsighted, offensive, and objectifying discretion" of testing center employees (incredibly accurate italics mine).

This is probably the point in this column that I should make something abundantly clear:  I have no problem with a private, church run school having and enforcing a dress code.  I have no problem that my religion preaches the virtue of modesty.  I preach it in my home.  My girls and boys wear modest clothing or they don't leave the house.

I'm a devout Mormon who would never willingly attend any of the BYU campuses, but it's not because the Honor Code exists.  It's because there are dufuses on campus who misinterpret the Honor Code and feel it's their God given duty to tell everyone else what they're doing wrong.  I'm a fan of modest dress.  I'm not a fan of dufuses.

The dufuses in this case had actually posted a sign in the testing center saying that if a student was dressed inappropriately (as determined by the aformentioned italicized discretion of the employees), they should go home and pray about how to be a "true disciple" of the Lord.  The manager of the testing center was also quoted as saying that if someone prayed and felt their clothing was appropriate anyway, they "...have not asked, or have not asked the right question, or they have chosen an answer for their own gratification."

Because all the best dufuses speak for God, you know.

Scrolling up again to look at the picture, I think the problem here is less Rachel Vermillion's actual clothing and more the way it enhances and beautifies her gorgeous curves.  I think the staff member who failed to see tight jeans on stick thin students and only saw them on the curvy girl needs a lesson in what women actually look like. 

Hey, Dufus.  Women are not men.  Our bodies are not straight.  We have hips.  We have breasts (gasp!).  We have voluptuous bottoms and curvaceous thighs.  And you know who gave those to us? was God.  The Man Upstairs himself.  And disciple or not, I don't think He intends for us to equate modesty with shapeless frumpiness.  Women can wear clothes that fit and be modest. I promise.

To the school's credit, BYU-I issued a statement saying that there is no official ban on skinny jeans and that they were dealing with the problem in the testing center. To their detriment (at least in my opinion), they have not issued an official apology to Rachel.  I think I'll rectify that by doing it for them.

Dear Rachel Vermillion,

I wish to express my deepest apologies to you for your poor treatment at the BYU-I testing center.  Your outfit was in no way inappropriate, and anyone with half a brain and eyes that work would have known that.  I'm sorry you had to deal with a dufus, and I hope you were able to take your test without any further problems.  Also?  SHOUT OUT for psych majors!  Neuropsych was crazy, am I right?

Rachel, don't let the dufuses get your down.  Be proud of your beautiful, curvy body and know that you are my hero.  My girls will be reading this blog post, and your picture is going up in their rooms as an example of modesty and strength in the face of adversity and judgment.  My girls may well inherit my curves, and I never, ever want them to feel ashamed that they have them.  There's no sin in bootiliciousness.  Always remember that.

I may or may not also be taping your picture to my treadmill for motivation.


Thank goodness for Hulu...and quiet.


Mom, today I learned that sometimes, a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So, I'm turning 35 in a week.  35.  For the most part, I'm okay with this.  I've never been one to lie about my age or pretend I'm younger than I am.  As much as I complain about getting old, I actually don't mind it that much.  I mean, I was a child of the Cold War 80s who imagined Ronald Reagan with his finger perpetually on the big button.  I thought I'd die in a nuclear attack before I was 16.  Every year after that has been a wonderful surprise.

But there's something about 35.  It is, sad to say, a milestone in the marketing world.  From the time I was 18 until now, my views on the world mattered.  My television habits mattered. My opinion on just about everything most certainly least to the people who sell stuff.  I've been in the "coveted" 18-34 year old demographic for as long as I've been an adult, and in one week, all of that changes.

I could write this blog post about how the population is getting older and how older people matter more than marketers think, but that would be boring.  It would lend credence to the argument that boring old people aren't the types to which you want to market anything other than Geritol and blood pressure medication.

Nah, I know when I'm licked.  Mother Earth and Father Time have conspired against me, and there's just no stopping that.  I think they're getting kickbacks from Nike and MTV, but what can you do, right?  It's time to face the fact that in one week, no one will care whether or not I watch "The X Factor" (I don't) or love the Whitman Sampler Dark Chocolate Assortment (I DO!).  I am preparing myself for marketing oblivion, and that's okay.

But first...

Hey, I'm not 35 yet.  I have one more week of relevance, and today, I'm going to use it!  That's right. This 34 year old is about to tell you what she thinks!  Marketers, are you listening?  It's all here...the coveted opinions and shopping choices of a bonafide 34 year old.  A woman in her prime.  A shopper, watcher, and thinker you've been tracking.  In a week, I'll be older than dirt, but today, my friends, today I am a young adult, and I am speaking.  Hear me, oh great marketing conglomerates.

Dogs vs cats:  Cats...because dogs are slobbery, loud, they don't clean up after themselves, and they need babysitters.  If I wanted to have another child, I would have kept my uterus.

Denny's vs Ihop: Denny's.  The Ihop in Lawton, Oklahoma was damaged twice when I was a child, first by a tornado and then by a fire.  I think that track record speaks for itself.  God obviously wants me to go to Denny's.

The Walking Dead vs Once Upon a Time:  Once Upon a Time.  I tried The Walking Dead.  Riveting stuff.  I just need to be able to go into my basement and move laundry without carrying a gun.  I'd be willing to pack heat while checking the dryer, but I don't own a gun, so no more zombie television for me.  I toyed with the idea of disposable clothing, but Richard nixed that.  He also wasn't a fan of sleeping with the lights on.

Creamy or chunky: It depends.  If we're talking about cats, I'd say chunky.  If we're talking about peanut butter, I'd say chunky.

BYU vs University of Utah:  I don't understand the question.  Are there people who would choose BYU?

Butter vs margarine:  Butter...because, come on.  It's butter.

US Postal Service vs Fed Ex: Email.

McDonald's vs Burger King:  Either, but only if poison control told me I needed to induce vomiting immediately.

The Daily Show vs The Colbert Report: This choice is like Netflix vs Hulu. I like them both for different reasons.  I watch The Daily Show because it's hilarious.  I watch The Colbert Report because it's super hilarious.

Lol or ROFL: Either way, I'm really just chuckling quietly through my nose.

Republican vs Democrat: I'm an Independent, which means I can't stand either, which means I want to vote "None of the above," which means I wish Richard Pryor were still alive, which means I know that movie reference, which means I'm too old for marketers to care about what I have to say.

(Shhhhh...don't tell.)


Mom, today I learned what happens when you tell your sister-in-law, Mary, that you don't eat anything with a face.


I learned just how far my kids will go to get ice cream after a choir concert.


Shameless, don't you think?


Of course, I learned that I am a complete pushover, and I learned that Miriam, the slowest food orderer in the West, can order dessert quite quickly...when it has her name on it.


I learned that when the fan on one of your laptops stops working, you can keep it running if you sit in front of another type of fan while you work.


I learned my nephew, Ryan, is now old enough to get married.


But not too old to stop being a dork, thank goodness.


I learned that I am still capable of cross stitching.


And that I CAN wear amazingly uncomfortable shoes for the sake of fashion and live to tell the tale.


And finally, I learned that even when I show him a picture of how silly he looks, Richard will still keep trying to kiss me this way.


But then...this is Richard we're talking about...