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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (and not in a good way)

I’ve posted this before, but clearly my message is going unheard and/or unheeded, because you people are still committing horrible crimes against fashion under the guise of holiday spirit. So, since you’re still pulling your ugly sweaters out of storage, I’m pulling this post out as well:

Breaking my Silence

Yesterday, I posted the following tweet:

I’m going to write a post tomorrow that needs to be written. It may offend some people, but I’ve got to take a stand.

About most things, I am willing to speak out, but on this particular subject I felt the damage might be too great; the cost too high. But then I received the following reply from @peacegardenmama:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1929-1968

Thank you, Roxane. Your tweet gave me the courage to finally end my silence; to speak out against what might be the greatest abomination of the Christmas season.

I’m talking about, of course…

The holiday sweater:

First introduced as a form of seasonal birth control in communist China, they soon made their way across the Pacific to Europe and the New World. But this still does not answer the question of why, in a country where its citizens have the freedom to wear anything they choose, people would voluntarily wear one of these things.

At first, the blight of the holiday sweater was only observed in the weakest of our society–those not in a position to make sound, educated decisions about their wardrobe choices. I speak, of course, of the very young:

and the elderly:

So what of the rest of society? I have a theory:

Having worked in the fashion industry for several years (and by “having worked in the fashion industry” I mean “I worked in the Junior Department of a local department store”), I know that home interior trends tend to follow clothing fashion trends. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof:

From the runways and red carpets of one fashion season:

To the trendy, overpriced furniture stores the following season:

I think it’s important to remember that this is a one way street. Clothing fashions can trend to home fashions, but when you try to flip this trend, the results are often disastrous:

As a Christian, I find it disheartening that Christ followers seem particularly vulnerable to the mysterious allure of the holiday sweater.

Attend any Women’s Ministry Christmas Tea, luncheon or cookie exchange, and I dare you to swing a wiffle bat without hitting an attendee NOT wearing a holiday sweater.

I think this particular phenomenon can be traced back to a misinterpretation of scripture. The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you and treating your body as a holy temple. Perhaps in later translations it states, “the Holy Spirit shall come to dwell on your person. Maybe you should provide a comfy chair and a big picture window with a cat sitting in it.”

(Of course, this is pure conjecture on my part as I don’t own a copy of the New Living Translation Bible.)

I know I have focused on women’s holiday sweaters in this post, but in conclusion I want to urge men, women and children alike to think long and hard before the Christmas card photo this year. One hundred years from now, is this how you want to be remembered by future generations?

No, I didn’t think so…

Choose your Chia

Not to sound all alarmist and whatnot, but the vote you cast for president this November is an important one. Maybe the most important one you’ll ever make. Because you’re not just voting for president, you’ll be voting for what kind of country you’ll be living in. The country is equally divided as to which course is better–more government versus less government, and how those choices affect every American.

As disheartening and depressing as it’s been to watch, I’ve been following this race closely. I made up my mind a long time ago. As for the undecideds? I’m sort of at a loss as to what they’re undecided about. Maybe they’re simply trying to decide between the lesser of two evils.

But regardless of who wins in November, the fine folks at Chia prove that catering to the needs of Americans obsessed with buying stupid crap is always a win/win. Yay capitalism!

Crap at my Parents’ house

My copy of "Crap at my Parents' House" which ironically is being propped up on the counter in front of a giant ceramic chicken.

There are many book affectionados who swear they will never come over to the dark side–reading books electronically.

I’m not one of those people.

It took me roughly an hour and a half after charging up my kindle and reading (and highlighting) my first book on there to determine that instant books via Whispernet was the preferred method of reading for me. Oh, sure…you don’t get that comforting “old book smell” from a kindle or a nook. But I can’t say I’ve ever bought a book because I liked the way it smelled.

I recently finished reading Stephen King’s latest novel, 11/22/63 on my kindle. The print version of that book is around 800 pages. Since I usually fall asleep reading, had I been reading the print version, I could very well be writing this post from a hospital bed whilst recovering from a concussion which occurred when I dropped that thing on my head.

There’s a point in there somewhere…

Oh, yes! Digital versus traditional books. While I prefer MOST books in their digital versions, there are some which don’t translate well. The Art of Looking Sideways for example would be a miserable failure as an e-book. And incidentally, if I dropped that book on my head I’d be dead. But I digress…

One such book (which strangely enough is available on kindle) is one I received for Christmas. A charming little picture book entitled Crap at my Parent’s house. Unless your parents were interior decorators with exquisite taste in decorating, I’m fairly sure you will get at least a few mild guffaws out of some of the items in this book.

The crap in this book is categorized by room. Here’s a small sampling of what you will find:

Crap in the Living Room:

Crap in the Dining Room:

Crap in the Kitchen:

Crap in the Bedroom:

Crap in the Home Office:

Crap in the Bathroom:

Crap in the Basement:

And Crap around the Garage:

Many of you know I’m not a fan of clowns. I felt a certain solidarity with others who shared their disdain for them via pictures and captions. If the following samples don’t convince you that clowns are evil, I just don’t know what’s wrong with you…

And my personal favorite:

In conclusion, I’m giving “Crap at my Parents’ House” my ringing endorsement. It’s not exactly Tolstoy, or even Nicholas Sparks for that matter. But it has certainly given me some much welcome laughter. Fair warning: If you’re easily offended, this book probably isn’t for you. Then again, if you were easily offended, I don’t imagine you’d be reading my blog.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have de-cluttering to do…

UPDATE: There’s a website. I should have known: Crap at My Parents’ House

The ABC’s of crap in my purse

Disclaimer: Yes, that is a pricey Fossil purse with paint on it. But in my defense, it was a gift from my sister. She feels sorry for me because I have chosen to live a life devoid of overpriced accessories, so she buys me expensive purses, Pandora bracelets with coordinating overpriced beads to go with, and other fancy stuff for Christmas and birthdays. I had no idea how much that purse costs until I went to get one without paint on it. After pricing them, I decided my purse had character. I bet no one else in town has a chocolate brown Fossil Sutter Crossbody flap bag (don’t think I didn’t have to do a Google image search to figure out what kind of purse it is) with off-white trim paint strategically dabbed on the credit card zipper pouch. Katdish: trendsetter (CHECK!)

I’m really liking Twitter. There. I said it. (How’s that for a segue, huh?) Now, I’ll also say this: my friend Steph at the Red Clay Diaries was right. Yeah, Steph. You guilted me into it, but I’m glad I came around. It’s really opened up a whole new world of Internet peeps for me, and as you all know, I don’t spend nearly enough time on the computer. For example, this chick named
Mandy Thompson started following me. So I go check out her twitter page and her blog. Turns out, she’s just like me, except that she’s an incredibly gifted musician and is cool. She thinks I’m cool, too. But let’s not let that cat out of the bag just yet. She’ll figure out what a dork I am sooner or later.

Anyway, Mandy recently wrote a post dedicated to stuff in her purse. It looked really professional with corresponding letters to the stuff all nicely laid out. There was a purpose for everything she had in there. Contrast that to Steph’s post awhile back about stuff in her purse. Which is waaayyyy closer to what is in my purse. As it should be, as we are the same person, just in the alternate universes of Texas and Georgia. But I digress…

I really liked the way Mandy lettered the items. So, in attempt to copy her (cuz she’s cool), I attempted to do the same with the items in my purse. You would think that someone who actually paints murals and custom artwork as a trade would be able to use the paintbrush function on her computer. And you would be wrong. Painting with a mouse is nothing like painting with a paintbrush. I pretty much suck at it. But still, it took me a long time to designate letters to items from my purse in no particular order, so I’m going with it. Ladies and gentlemen, the ABC’s of crap in my purse:

A) Rudy the cat. He is not now, nor has he ever been in my purse.
B) My second Blackberry. I upgraded from my first Blackberry when my dh decided he needed an iPhone. Some people never get a brand new car. I never get a brand new PDA. (Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I dig it.)
C) My business cards, “Ragamuffin Child Interiors” I realize the “child” part is redundant, as the definition of a ragamuffin is “a shabbily dressed child”. But would you hire a painter whose company name is “A shabbily dressed child Interiors”? Me thinks not.
D) Large stack of random receipts. I think it’s important to keep receipts. Why? Because my husband says so.
E) Pens that I can never find, but have obviously always been in there.
F) Giveaway mirror from my old church.
G) Oil blotting sheets. People, I am very shiny! Those paper toilet seat liners are also great for blotting the excess oil from your face, but by using the little blue sheets you will draw way less attention to yourself in the ladies room. (You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one.)
H) Orbit gum – I tease Pete Wilson about chewing gum during interviews, but I’m a fairly prolific gum chewer myself. (Don’t tell him I said that.)
I) Eye wetting drops from when I had lasik surgery a year ago. Hey, you never know.
J) Broken pieces from a cheap tic tac toe game that my daughter asked me to hold for her last month.
K) No-slip ponytail holder. I swear by those, especially if you have thick hair.
L) Leftover nail glue and orange stick that I used to apply Lee press-on nails to my ugly man-hands whist attending Catalyst One Day in Alpharetta, GA.
M) Several tubes of lipstick that I almost never wear. Also, one of them is a highlighter.
N) A Speert purse hook. You set the square part down on the edge of a table, and then you can hook your purse on it. Another fancy gift from my sympathetic sister. I’ve used it once: the day she gave it to me at lunch.
O) Bed, Bath & Beyond and Linens n’ Things 20% coupons. You never know when you’ll need to buy someone a Snuggie. (I know LNT is out of business – I threw it away.)
P) A bulletin from a church where we guest-led worship a couple of Sundays ago. (Okay, it was mid-January. Are you beginning to see a trend here?)
Q) Business account checkbook.
R) A bag of gourmet coffee that they were giving out at Catalyst One Day.
S) A bag of airline pretzels.
T) A foil pack of Gas-X. (I know, I know — TMI.)
U) A copy of “Making your Mark: How to leave long, annoying comments on other People’s Blogs” by Wordy McTypesalot. You never know when someone’s going to ask you for your autograph. It hasn’t actually happened yet, but I’m ready!
V) Wallet by “The Sack”. I love that wallet, but I don’t keep any credit cards or ID in there. It’s basically a fancy junk drawer for my purse. I’m pretty sure Waldo’s in there.
W) Credit card zipper pouch where I actually keep my credit cards and ID. Incidentally, I almost never use credit cards. I should take most of those out of there and put them in my wallet.
X) Huh….apparently, there is no “X”. But I’m not redoing that picture! (Man, I hope Angela doesn’t read this. That will drive her nuts! I swear, Angela; I did not do that on purpose this time.)
Y) Tres muchos denaro. (Dang. I’m practically bilingual!)
Z) Correct change for nothing in particular.

I suppose my purse (and the center console in my Jeep) are very much like this:

To my guy readers. Sorry. I hope you didn’t get any girl cooties while reading this post. I’ll try to write a post with some fart humor and/or gratuitous violence to make up for this one.

Wow. That was a really long post about the contents of my purse. I’m actually kind of embarrassed. But not embarrassed enough not to publish it. (Hit “publish post”.)

Cover Songs and Remakes: Some good, some not so good…

As a vocalist on a praise team for the past 10 years, I’ve sung a few different versions of old hymns and contemporary Christian songs. Some would argue that the old hymns should not be changed — that they lose something when we try to make them more contemporary. For the most part, I would disagree with that statement. If done well, updates to old hymns can be enjoyed by those who have loved them for years and, at the same time, expose a whole new audience to the great messages in these old classics. With a few exceptions, it really boils down to personal preference in musical styles. I know I’ve been guilty of song snobbery in the past because of my personal preference and how “we’ve always done it in the past”. If I’m being honest, I would have to admit that I have been downright insulted at times when a new worship leader has come in and completely changed the arrangement of a song that I held as sacred. But really, that’s just being silly. I can only be insulted if I choose to be. And as many of you already know, I’m not easily insulted.

Secular music is awash in remakes. “Listen to your heart” was recently remade. I thought the song was awful the first time around. To hear it again on Top 40 radio is just painful. You really should let some sleeping dogs lie. Both times around, the song is truly craptastic.

And speaking of cover songs that should NEVER EVER be done, check out this little snippet. I would not be so bold as to assume the final destination of Kurt Cobain, grungy lead singer for Nirvana, but I imagine being forced to watch this performance over and over might be some form of cruel and unusual punishment…I know it was for me. (Although, I must admit — it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it!)

By the way: I have changed my comments section to allow anonymous comments, so you don’t have to sign up for anything to comment. I only say this because I’m very curious whose reading my silly ramblings! If you’re a regular reader but have never commented, it would be great if you just said “Hi” and from what part of the world you’re reading from. No pressure…just curious!