Monthly Archives: August 2011

Wow Wednesday 7- Crap, Katie! Pick it up!

“Wow Wednesdays” is a discipline for me.  Not like a “soap in the mouth” kind of discipline, but like a “read the Bible each day” kind of discipline.  It forces me to write and it forces me to acknowledge the times my jaw has dropped during the week.  I say “wow” for lots of reasons.  Often it’s because humans are so stinkin weird or my nephews are so stinkin cute, but the greatest instigator of “wows” has always been our great God.  Wednesdays are when I chronicle some of the odd crap I’ve witnessed but mainly the cool crap God has taught me.  


Running a marathon in a foreign country is basically  running 26.2 miles of wow moments.  Let me back up.  So on Sunday I ran a marathon on the island of Guernsey.  Yes, the island from the book “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.”  And yes, the book was why I chose this particular marathon when I googled “marathons in Europe.”   I’m sure there are stranger reasons to run a marathon, but I got quite a few looks when people heard that A) I came from America to run the race on their tiny island and B) I chose this spot because it sounded so neat in a fictional book.  One local replied, “Oh blimey!” when I said I was from California.  And I believe “oh blimey” roughly translates to “wow”, so that was my first wow moment involving the race. Continue reading

Sunday Morning Confessions 14- Guest Post by Knox McCoy

Knox McCoy is the reason I watch The Bachelor/ette.  Okay, maybe not the sole reason but he certainly makes it even more enjoyable.  Tuesday mornings are a joy because I get to read his recaps of the show that make me laugh out loud.  And no, you will never see me write “LOL” because I’m firmly against it’s usage in any and all situations.

So here’s the deal: Knox wrote a book.  And it rocks.  I read it on one of my flights this summer and got in trouble by the flight attendant because I was reading on an “electronic device” while we were about to land.  He gave me a stern look and told me I needed to turn it off.  I have issues with authority- well, only when they tell me I can’t do something- so I gave him a cheeky response.  I’m in the UK right now so I’m allowed to say cheeky.  I pulled a typical 14 year old girl response and rolled my eyes at him and said, “Seriously?”  He was serious.  The only reason he even realized I was reading is because I was staring at my kindle laughing out loud.  That’s what this book will do.  It will make you laugh louder than you meant to and it might get you in trouble on airplanes. Continue reading

Basketball and A Confession- guest post by Amanda Bast

When Amanda first left a comment on my blog, I thought, “This Mandie girl is really funny.”  And then I checked out her blog and thought, “Okay, this girl is REALLY funny.  And she’s Canadian?  I have the same sense of humor as a Canadian?  Oh dear.  What does this say about me?”

I’m not bashing Canadians in any way.   They’ve just always been somewhat of a mystery to me- like pageant queens and people who watch horror flicks- so it surprised me that I would share a sense of humor with one.  My sister asked me who “Mandie Marie” was because my sister knows every single person in my life and knows everyone who comments on my blog.  I told Heidi, “Oh she’s my new blog friend.  And get this- she’s Canadian.”  Yes, I felt very proud and cultured to announce that I have a Canadian friend.

One of the first posts I read by Amanda was THIS POST in which she explains how to pluck your own eyebrows.  As a girl who used to pull out almost all her eyebrows when stressed (true story), this post was both applicable and hilarious.  Girls, if you’re struggling with eyebrow maintenance, read that post.  It will change your life.

When you’re done reading here, leave a comment and then go check out Amanda’s blog HERE and check out some of her other posts that will most certainly make you chuckle.  She’s a riot, folks.  She’s a Canadian and she’s a riot.  I know.  I didn’t think this was possible either.  Here she is, Miss Amanda Bast:


I have never met Katie in person, but if I did, I assure you we would hit it off. The first time I read her blog it was about what to do if you pee your pants at work. I was enthralled. The first time I commented on her blog, it was about boogers. I was more than fascinated with this young woman. As I keep reading/internet stalking Miss Hardeman’s work, I see many similarities between the two of us. Making hideous faces and ruining perfectly good pictures, to name one. But there are also some pretty glaring differences between us. She appears to be tall. In my books, anyone over 5’9” (the height of my sister in law, the tallest in our family) is a giant. So I’m certain she is tall. As a just barely 5’2” individual, I’m a wee bit jealous. Secondly, she is athletic. I’m also rather jealous of this. Oh my dear internets, to say that I am unathletic is a vast understatement. Remember the kid in gym class who always got hurt? That was me. Remember the kid you lapped three times on the track? That was me. Remember the kid who was standing in line after recess and got knocked to the ground and trampled and had to be sent to the ER to check for a dislocated shoulder? That was most certainly me. I was (am?) that kid.

But let me tell you about a glorious exception to the Amanda-is-tiny-and-pathetic rule. One that helped shape me into the young woman I am today. In grade seven, I was on the basketball team. Read that last bit again and let it really sink in. It’s true. It was a fluke year when the players weren’t separated into really good players and nice effort but you still suck players. We were all one. And there weren’t very many of us girls, so I made it onto the team.

When I say that I was a head shorter than the shortest kid on the team, I am not exaggerating. I was LITTLE. But I was ballin’. I could do a perfect layup, but it was three feet short of the net. I could defend an opponent like you wouldn’t believe, but they could just catch the ball above my head. I could execute the perfect jump shot. The only problem was my two inch vertical.

My height did not stop me from achieving greatness, because I was too snarky to let it. I distinctly remember showing up to games and getting pointed at by other teams. Coaches whispered about me. Coaches yelled for their players to hold the ball over my head so I couldn’t reach. I overhead many conversations in which people (parents of other team members, even) giggled at my height. People were cruel. But I was having too much fun to care. How often does a shorty get to play basketball? I took advantage of the situation. I usually responded with a huge grin and a wave to the other team. It threw them off. It shamed them a tiny bit because they thought I couldn’t hear them. I called them on it. And then showed them I was a force on the court.

I do have a tiny confession to make. I had a secret that my coach did not know about. I’m sure she wouldn’t approve. I’ve never revealed this until now, so considered yourselves honoured recipients of this confession.

My secret to basketball greatness? ELBOWS.

I threw so many elbows into stomachs that year it was almost criminal. In the middle of a shuffle I could stab someone in the gut and go completely unnoticed. Someone would double over, but the short kid never got in trouble. I don’t care if you didn’t have the ball in your possession, you still got an elbow in the breadbasket. I’d step out onto the court, elbows a blazin’, ready to show them who was the boss (certainly not Tony Danza, don’t be absurd!). Don’t mess with the little one or she’ll mess with you. I crippled preteen girls across the whole school district. And I must admit: IT FELT GREAT. It was my subtle way of saying “I hear you making fun of me. But I’m not going to stoop so low as to acknowledge it, I’m just going to use blunt force instead”. The injured girls never said anything because they knew I had heard them tease me. They knew if they responded physically, it would look as though they were pounding on the weak and defenceless.

They also learned to never to mess with a shorty.

It was a brilliant strategy, and one that has stayed with me to this day. However, I’m not sneaky and deceptive about it anymore. I give fair warning because I’m polite like that. Before I enter a crowd I yell something about elbows and people get jabbed if they are in my way. It’s a coping strategy. It’s the only way I make it through a crowd alive. I may still be unathletic and pathetic when it comes to sports, but I am no longer the kid who gets trampled, thanks to my days on the grade 7 basketball team. It was there that I discovered the power of the elbow.

So I tell you this: if you are ever in a crowd and you hear a voice from below yell “ELBOWS OUT!” I suggest you guard your gut. For your own safety.

Sunday Morning Confessions 13- Guest Post by Katie Butler

Ladies and gentlemen, you are in for a special treat today- like when your dad would let you get a triple scoop of ice cream at Rite Aid or your mom would make waffles for dinner.  Your treat today is an episode of “Sunday Morning Confessions” written by one of my dearest, quirkiest, wittiest friends, Katie Butler.

I’ve written about Katie before in THIS POST and THIS ONE so you can reference these if you want pictures or stories about our odd friendship for the past 11 years.  It should be noted that on the first day we met, we were both visiting Westmont and we attended a Jars of Clay concert in the gym.  I love Jars of Clay but it was mildly awkward to watch them while sitting by a girl I had just met.  If only I had known that the girl next to me would become one of my closest friends….maybe then I wouldn’t have pretended that I didn’t know every single to word to every single song.  You should hear my rendition of “Love Song for a Savior.”  It’s fantastic.

Not only do Katie and I share a first name and similar sense of humor, we also share a love for homemade ice cream, the outdoors, and all things awkward.  Katie is full of wit and randomness, and she is also one of the kindest people I know.  She constantly makes sacrifices for others without ever begrudging them or mentioning her acts of sacrifice to others.  She is humble and hilarious and has agreed to write a guest post for me just because she’s so kind.  She’s not trying to promote her own blog or find more readers because she doesn’t even have a blog.  She’s doing this simply because I peer-pressured her into it and she’s always ready to do a friend a favor- like when I asked her to carry my pee sample to the Health Center in college and she didn’t even gripe about how the lid slipped off and pee splashed out.  She’s that kind of friend.

So internet lurkers who read this blog but never comment, come out from behind your screens.  Make my friend feel welcome and leave a comment.  Comment on her random confessions because you guys, this girl is seriously weird, and/or make your own confession.  If enough people comment, I may be able to twist her arm to guest post for me again, and as you’re about to see, you definitely will want this girl to write more guest posts.  She’s kinda brilliant.

So, without further ado, here are six Sunday Morning Confessions from Katie Butler (because she hates odd numbers):


(Enter the cliché, “I am so nervous to guest post. Will these people like me? But I am also so flattered that Katie asked me to do this” bit here). Katie Hardeman is one of the funniest people I know. We date back to a fateful day in 1999 when, as two complete strangers, we were left to stand next to each other in a Jars of Clay concert on a campus where we knew nobody. About a year later we finally realized we shared an intense passion for both awkwardness and competition. From there on out we were KH Squared (Katie Hardeman, Katie Hughes. And yes, we really did/do call ourselves that). But, I must warn you, across the board, she is better than me (NOT that I am comparing). For four years in college people would find out I was Katie on the basketball team and assume I was Hardeman. I learned to cut them off right in the beginning and simply say “I am the Other One”. So consider that your warning and let us get on with it…your sloppy seconds:
1. I accidentally forced a proposal – No, not mine. In fact, I played it pretty cool when being proposed to (other than me asking him – if that was him – asking me). Last month I ran a multi-family garage sale which quickly launched me into the world of sales and negotiation; a world that I had never had the pleasure of dabbling in. Half way through day one I (thought) I was starting to get the hang of it and got a bit aggressive trying to sell three wooden spoons (again, not my stuff). I was asking $1 for each spoon or $2.50 for the set – a price I thought fair and realistic for the customers – a cute cuddly couple. No matter how much I tried to charm them, the guy would not spring for the set. As I continued to pitch the guy, the girl wandered off and continued to browse. The guy then spoke freely and told me the story behind the Welsh spoons – apparently in Wales when a guy wanted to marry a girl he would present her with a wooden spoon ( I’m guessing the Welsh diamond business is not thriving). Hence the term “spooning”. Awww, how cute, right? I kept asking questions (selling 101: keep the customer engaged so they buy more). And kept asking questions. By then the girl had returned and was listening in. In the end he only wanted one wooden spoon and I felt like a failure for doing 1/3 of my job. I then turned to see them walking off hand in hand and him turn to her, say something, and then hand her the spoon. Then they hugged for awhile. It hit me like a ton of bricks…they were dating (no rings), he was looking for one of these spoons, and my massive amount of prying forced what may go down in history as the least romantic proposal ever.
2. We own nine chickens – For some readers that is not much of a confession but I can guarantee that some of the SoCal crew just had to pause reading because they could not remember where exactly a chicken breast from Vons came from. Now that we all have a mental image of the actual animal, yes I’m co-care provider for 9 poultry. It used to be 10 but our dog accidentally killed one. Animal-on-animal mutilation is a fairly normal occurrence around these parts. The last time Cameron and I house/animal sat for our neighbors they asked us to walk through the house every other day and clean the bloody body parts off the floor so the place did not start stinking. I enjoyed those two weeks – I had an ongoing game of body organ memory going. I would find a lung in one room and have to think, “I know I have seen one of those already…think, where is it?”
Confessing ownership of chickens just reminded me – I better go out and rub Vicks Vapor rub on them (my morning chore for the past few days) to stop them from trying to peck each other to death. True story.
3. I wish I looked older than I do – (I know, I know, this confession may be considered cruel on the heels of KH being accused of being her player’s mom. We each have our own struggles.)
You can save your, “you will love looking younger than your age in 20 years” because I am sick of it. A construction contractor told me the other day that he could not shake my hand because he had an “owie” and later confessed he thought I was eighteen. It is hard enough being a woman in the construction business without always battling the fact that people think I am starting my senior year in high school. Trust me, no amount of cussing and dirty jokes will increase my wrinkles, maturity, wisdom, or knowledge…I have tried.
4. I blame the telephone for my selective perversion – Recently I went to work for a company that has a bunch of initials in its name. In the written world explaining the company name presents no problems. However, in the world of Verizon and, “oh you are breaking up”, initials stink. My husband was in the Army so, in the event of transmission static, he can rattle off the phonetic alphabet at the drop of a helmet. His civilian wife, however is lost after “alfa and bravo”. So, on Friday when I had to relay my email address over the phone instead of coolly and calmly delivering letters with corresponding words to confirm the correct address, I started hesitantly babbling dirty words, “you know, ‘s’ as in…sex…and…’c’ as in…condom…and…um…’m’ as in…you know what? I think I should just email you first…BYE!”. I quickly (and violently) hung up the phone as I heard laughter on the other end.
5. I don’t trust people – In the following scenario I know every one does it, I am just afraid that I do it for the wrong reasons. You know the situation, we have all been there: There is an awkward amount of distance between you and the person going into or coming out of a building door, they wait and hold the door for you, you casually pick up your pace so they do not have to waste too much time being courteous, then you stick your hand out and grab the door. All of YOU probably do it to relieve the Good Samaritan of their post but I mostly do it because I am convinced that one of these days that person is going to try to slam the door on my face. Maybe I do it for both reasons – the ratio being about 28% to 72% respectively. Call me cynical.
6. My heart was won on a horse drawing – Okay, there were other factors involved but when my (now) husband gave me a homemade (read: illegal yet thrifty) version of The Man from Snowy River soundtrack, including the below homemade cover, he had me. So fellas, don’t take Katie’s horse drawing challenge lightly because your future marital bliss may depend on it.   
And that, complete strangers (not you vest buddy), is all I feel comfortable confessing to you right now. This guest blog post has been a lot like a first date and on all my first dates I used to follow the advice of the great Jeff Goldblum who recommends, “saving the crazy until after appetizers”. Will there be a main course you ask? Will I ever blog again? I am not sure. Honestly, this may be a classic dine and dash…love ‘em (or annoy ‘em) and leave ‘em. It all depends on what effect this post’s comment section has on my fragile ego. No pressure.
And now, my new cyber-space-barely-acquaintances, it is your turn to confess to me…

“That Girl”- 29 and Single

When you’re 29 and have never had a boyfriend, most people tend to think you’re a freak.  So I try not to mention this fact to those I don’t know very well because I assume that they’ll assume that I must be an Amish lesbian and no offense to Amish lesbians, but I’m not one and with that much assuming going on, someone’s bound to make a major ass of themselves.

For the record, no, I did not “kiss dating goodbye.”  I did read the book though, and laughed pretty hard at the guidelines for when to give side hugs versus full frontals.  I’m an awkward hugger in general and still prefer the high five, so maybe that’s been my problem.  And no, I don’t have a horn growing from my forehead or a tail from my rear.  I’m a normal-looking, normal girl, but for whatever reason, I’ve yet to be swept off my feet by a normal-looking, normal boy.  I can count on my hands the number of dates I’ve been on and apart from one creepy tale involving a creep from e-Harmony, they weren’t stupendously awful or awkward dates, so I didn’t even get good stories out of them.  All I got were free meals and my mom’s hopes up. Continue reading

Sunday Morning Confessions 12

1. I floss every day, and sometimes I’m a bit too aggressive.

How’s that for a close up?  Doesn’t the blood kinda look like an upside down peace sign?  And friends who knew me when my teeth were jacked, to answer your question, eight more weeks.

Apparently I really tore into my gums, but I didn’t realize I was bleeding until I spit and the sink was suddenly full of blood.  I kinda love when this happens.  It makes me feel like a hardcore boxer.  I have a friend who actually enjoys the pain involved with flossing too hard.  She’s really weird.  And she’s going to be my first guest poster next week.  Get excited. Continue reading

Wow Wednesday 6- Throat Tickles and Sharts

“Wow Wednesdays” is a discipline for me.  Not like a “soap in the mouth” kind of discipline, but like a “read the Bible each day” kind of discipline.  It forces me to write and it forces me to acknowledge the times my jaw has dropped during the week.  I say “wow” for lots of reasons.  Often it’s because humans are so stinkin weird or my nephews are so stinkin cute, but the greatest instigator of “wows” has always been our great God.  Wednesdays are when I chronicle some of the odd crap I’ve witnessed but mainly the cool crap God has taught me.  


For the past week I’ve had a perpetual tickle in my throat.  Let the record show: I DESPISE throat tickles.  They’re fine when you have them and you’re by yourself with access to water.  But when you’re with others and cannot clear your throat as loudly as you want or there is no water available to guzzle, throat tickles are downright obnoxious.  I’ve found that there is a quota of the number of times you can clear your throat before someone raises their eyebrows and makes a comment about your throat clearing.  This number varies based on the familiarity of the people you are with.  Strangers will let you try to clear the flem at least four or five times before saying anything.  My students will let me clear it two or three times before commenting. Family, at least the Hardeman family, will let me get away with MAYBE one clearing of the throat without ridicule as long as it’s not too loud or long.

The darn tickle returned last night  and my family looked at me like I was dying as I tried to cough it clear.  I felt a major tickle coming on and with no time to grab a glass and some water from the kitchen, I rushed to the bathroom to guzzle from the tap.  Once I turned the corner and was free from judgmental and disgusted looks, I coughed without abandoned to clear that tickle.  Except I coughed a little too hard and I literally fell to the floor and gagged.  Like actual bile came up and I opened my mouth like my cat about to cough up a hairball, but luckily, that chili-flavored throw-up went back down to where it came from.  Wow.  I assure you, it was not nearly as delicious as the first time it went down.  After drinking lots of water and clearing my throat as loudly as I wanted to without fear of ridicule, I left the bathroom and headed to the backyard where my nephews were swimming. Continue reading

Sunday Morning Confessions 11- Africa BFF

I had a student last year who rarely did his homework but ALWAYS had an excuse.  It’s probably a good thing he didn’t realize I was being sarcastic when I’d listen to his sob story about his broken computer or printer or car and nod my head and say, “Wow, yeah, that sounds tragic.”  What I really wanted to say to him and plan on saying to all my kids on the first day of school is this:  “Look, sometimes your homework just doesn’t get done.  Sometimes technology sucks.  Sometimes you forget.  Sometimes you just don’t have time.  I get it.  But don’t feed me your excuses.  Just tell me you don’t have it.  Apologize.  Then turn it in the next day for half credit.  Kapeesh?”

So here’s the deal, blog readers.  I didn’t post these confessions on Monday like I said I would.  One friend thought I died.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry I wasn’t true to my word and I’m sorry if you thought I died.  I didn’t.  Here is the post for half-credit.


Life long friendships can be forged based on a mutual love for Jesus and junk food.  This much I’ve learned in my friendship with Lindsay.  I met Lindsay in 2007 when we taught together at the Christian Academy of Mozambique.  It was a tiny school so we had classrooms right next to each other though she taught second grade and I taught the 7th-12th graders, and we instantly became “Africa BFF’s.”  We ran together, ate raw cookie dough together, and visited the Iris orphanage together.

If you know both Lindsay and I, you know that Lindsay is a lot of things that I am not.  She is dainty and delicate, while I’ve been called “beastly” and nicknamed “hardcore.”  She is sophisticated and mature, while I talk about boogers probably more often than I should.  She has a southern drawl and shies away from danger, while I call people “dude” and am a bit of an adrenaline-junkie.

But we both love junk food and Jesus.  And that’s enough.  We may be two of the only girls our age who still drink non-diet soda and buy powdered donuts and white bread.   We both can go days, sometimes weeks, without consuming fruits or vegetables.  A “nice” dinner for us consists of a pizza eaten in my car in the McDonald’s parking lot.  So we’ve bonded over our eating habits but we’ve also bonded because we’re two of the only girls our age who aren’t married and making babies.  Nothing against married folk or making babies, but it’s nice to have a friend around who is in the same stage of life as me. Continue reading

Sunday Morning Confessions- Postponed

until Monday.

You know those people who send text messages while they’re supposably listening to you?  Or those people who are in the car with you but still answer their phone and have a “non-emergency” conversation?  Those people are rude.  And I haven’t written this week’s confessions yet because I don’t want to be like them.  I don’t want to be one who snubs the people in front of me in order to communicate with people on the other side of technology.  And today, you my friend, are the people on the other side of technology.  My friend Lindsay has been staying with me for the past week and she gets priority.  Come visit me and you will too.  Unless you’re an internet stalker creep.  In which case, please DON’T come visit me.

To keep you entertained until Monday, because I know you’re oh so disappointed that you have nothing to read this morning, watch these videos that Lindsay introduced me to.  Perhaps you’ve already seen them because apparently millions of people already have, but I had not.  I woke Lindsay up in the middle of the night because I was laughing in my sleep and it was probably because of these videos.

Come back tomorrow for the weekly confessions and be ready to share your own.

Video # 1 Harvard Sailing Team- Boys Acting Like Girls

Video # 2 Dog Teaser

Wow Wednesday 5- Bieber Fever

“Wow Wednesdays” is a discipline for me.  Not like a “soap in the mouth” kind of discipline, but like a “read the Bible each day” kind of discipline.  It forces me to write and it forces me to acknowledge the times my jaw has dropped during the week.  I say “wow” for lots of reasons.  Often it’s because humans are so stinkin weird or my nephews are so stinkin cute, but the greatest instigator of “wows” has always been our great God.  Wednesdays are when I chronicle some of the odd crap I’ve witnessed but mainly the cool crap God has taught me.  


Usually I make confessions on Sunday.  So last Sunday when I made confessions about movies, I probably should have also mentioned the fact that I rented Never Say Never and watched it with Dotty.  Yes, Never Say Never, the documentary about Justin Bieber and yes, Dotty my cat.  She loved it.  So did I.  I am now officially a “Belieber” with “Bieber fever.”  I can sense a lot of you shaking your heads and losing respect for me right now.  “Oh, she’s one of those girls.  I bet she was obsessed with the Hanson brothers too.”

Well, you’re right.  I was.  Mmmm bop was freaking catchy and as a middle child, I thought Taylor and I would have so much in common.  I mean, we had the same haircut and everything.

But before your opinion of me sinks any lower, allow me to explain why I caught Bieber Fever.  I don’t have a creepy crush on him or anything.  I don’t have a Bieber t-shirt or poster or calendar (though I did have a Jonas Brothers one- that’s another story).  I simply admire the kid and the gifts he’s been given.  While I watched the movie, which I highly recommend you do if you’re a girl or if you’re a boy who enjoys girly movies, I thought “wow” a number of times.  I didn’t actually say it aloud because Dotty startles easily and I didn’t want her to claw my leg, but I certainly thought it a lot.

* I thought, “wow” when I watched the videos of little Justin jamming on the guitar at an age when I was still sucking my thumb and my brothers were not yet potty trained.  As a toddler, he had insane rhythm and drumming abilities and these clips put the Hardeman family home videos to shame- even the one where Heidi proudly announces that 4 plus 4 equals 9 and then later cries when my dad won’t film her any more and says to her, “Are those real tears for the camera?” Continue reading