Things that dropped my jaw this week…

  • I sat at an intersection where a school bus stopped to open it’s doors at a railroad crossing. Like they are legally required to do. Do you know what the guy driving the van behind the bus did? Honked. He honked his horn at the school bus who was doing what the back of the bus says it will do in BIG BLACK LETTERS. Jackhole.
  • My son crawled out of bed and grabbed his cell phone and started texting someone at 6:50am. Kids these days and their texting. He can’t even speak until he’s had his shower, but he can text.
  • I sat at the bagel place in my parking space and waited for the drive-thru line to move because it was long enough that it was actually snaking behind my car, blocking me in. I’ve seen this happen before and know to park elsewhere if I’m in a hurry, so I didn’t freak out. I just waited. And each time the line moved, the people moved forward, continuing to keep me blocked in. My bright white reverse lights were on about 2 feet from their car yet none of them left a space for me to back out. Three cars pulled through and continued blocking me. I’m not sure which would me me feel better, that they were completely oblivious to me sitting there, or that they were assholes and doing it intentionally.
  • I was behind someone in line at target who was buying 28 jars of mayonnaise. I counted. And that was all they were buying. Do you know how hard it was to resist the urge to ask what they were going to do with all of that mayonnaise? IT KILLED ME.
  • MrZ told NikkiZ tonight that he loved her. Do you know what she said back to him? “I yuv you too, daddy.” WTF? When did she start speaking in complete sentences with properly punctuated pauses? And why didn’t she say that to ME first?
  • The two girls who are staying with me this week both admitted to not liking raw, sliced tomatoes with their meals. I thought everyone born in the south ate sliced raw tomatoes. Seriously. I thought it was part of the genetic makeup of a Southerner. That and a love for pinto beans and corn bread. They must secretly be Yankees. I need to talk to Stace about that. Her girls need to be reprogrammed.

One of the many things he doesn’t tell his friends about me…

LilZ was telling us about how in one class this week they were taking samples of things and seeing if they had bacteria on them. He said they decided to use one girl’s hair because she admitted to not having washed it in two days. I asked proudly, “Did you tell them I haven’t washed my hair since June of 2003?”

Needless to say – he did not tell them that.

Many of you have asked about that when I make a reference to my stance against shampoo. Probably because most of you have normal hair (like my husband) and one day without shampoo would turn your hair into an oil slick. But you have to understand – at no point in my life has my hair ever been oily. EVER. Exactly opposite – if I ever went more than one day without putting conditioner in my hair – it became so brittle it would break in my hands. I had severe issues with dry hair.

Then, during the summer of 2003 when my hair was at it’s longest, I bought a book about curly hair. I think it was this one but I can’t be sure. I was in the process of prepping for my wedding that October and was trying to come up with good things to do with my hair. It gave the structural makeup of curly hair and explained how some people do best to give up shampoo forever. Since I had always fought with having brittle hair – I decided to give it a try. I’ve never looked back.

Essentially – I do what you would do with shampoo – but I do it with conditioner. There are no harsh soaps to strip my hair of what little moisture it has, but it still gets clean. You would have to trust me on that, I guess. Or my husband, he can vouch for it. And my hair has never been healthier. My curls are much less influenced by the weather, giving me less days of complete frizz and more consistent days of awesome hair. Now – it’s not for everyone – because some people with curly hair have oily scalps. I don’t have that problem. My scalp is as dry as my hair.

I will admit, however, that when I get my hair trimmed every six months, I let them shampoo it. Mainly because I’m a little embarrassed to ask them not to. The idea that I don’t use shampoo tends to gross some people out. So, I suck it up two or three times a year and let them shampoo my hair. Other than that? I never even touch the stuff. I use loads of whatever “Dry Hair” conditioner is on sale that week at Target and I style with Suave mousse. Dove is my favorite, but a little pricey when it’s not on sale. I use so much I prefer to go cheap. Cheap conditioner. Cheap mousse. And no shampoo. And truthfully? I love my hair. I never loved it before – but now? I do. It tortured me from 7th grade (when it started really getting curly) on – but once I got used to not using shampoo? It became a head of hair I truly love.

Now – how many of you are really grossed out? You can be honest – I won’t cry. Much.

In Defense of Miss South Carolina

It is no secret that I am a map geek. I have a degree in Professional Geography and worked making maps for six years. But – what you may not know – is that in college I also worked in summer workshops for teachers where we tried to teach them how to teach geography in a way that was more than “Label the Nile” or “What is the capital of Djibouti?” We taught that Geography is more than maps. These efforts caused me to be very well acquainted with the studies that show how ignorant Americans are about global locations.

That links shows the statistic that 11% of 18-24-year-olds could not find the United States on a map. If you’ve watched the news or surfed the web at all this week, you know that Miss South Carolina was asked about similar statistics and embarrassed herself completely in the answer. She has now had her face plastered all over the news broadcasts as people laugh at her endlessly. But everyone is missing the point: She is not the one we should be laughing at. What about the Americans who can not find the U.S. on a map? Why is everyone mocking this poor girl? Yes. Her answer was bad. VERY bad. I cringed and couldn’t even listen to the whole thing. It was BAD. But — if we turned half of our attention on educating our children as we do at mocking her — we could make steps in solving the problem.

First – let me answer the question for her. WHY? Well, the answer is actually simple. We grow up with an image of the US in our heads:

usoutline.jpg

But if you show someone a world map – you see this:

worldoutline.jpg



Where is that first image on the second map? The first instinct most Americans have is to look for that first shape. The one that makes it look like there is no land north of our border or south. Canada? Mexico? What? Of course kids can’t find the US when they’re looking for that outline. They probably couldn’t find Texas either, when most kids could draw the shape of Texas rather easily. In reality? I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. And I definitely don’t think it’s a sign of ignorance. Take the second image above – the one with just land masses and no political boundaries – and show a sampling of people and there are going to be some who can’t find the U. S.

The solution? Educate globally. We need to teach our children on a global level. Hang maps of the WORLD in the classrooms, not just of the United States. Change the pictures our children see of the U.S. Instead of plastering maps of the United States, isolated and seemingly HUGE all over the walls, let’s plaster maps of the WORLD on the walls with the various countries labeled. It will put the U.S.in perspective geographically – showing where our country is on the continent of North America. But it will also put it in perspective spatially. Students think the U.S. is a much larger land mass than it really is. Especially if you use the right projection.

(I won’t geek out here and get into how changing a data projection on a map can change the message – but if you think it sounds fascinating, may I suggest ‘How To Lie With Maps’?)

I just wanted to answer the question for her. I am a geographer at heart – I find spatial relationships fascinating and a good map prettier than many acclaimed works of art. Not many people could have given that question the answer it deserved. She screwed up, no arguing that. And there’s probably a chance she couldn’t find the U.S. on a world map, but I just didn’t want her embarrassment to be chronicled without my two cents.

So, there you go. A lot of people have passed through our education system with little geographic knowledge or spatial awareness. Maybe if every classroom would let me walk in and talk about how cool geography is, one of two things could happen: The kids would learn to love maps and grow a global awareness. Or I’d be mocked mercilessly. Either way – it would be fun for someone.

It’s like I don’t even know the world I’m living in anymore…

I was in line behind a woman at Target last night who got carded for buying rubber cement. Seriously! First – we’re carding for rubber cement now? I mean – I understand that it is something the kids sometimes like to huff and it’s dangerous and deadly and kills brain cells and I get that. But we’re carding now? Really? How old do you have to be – 18? Because in Alabama you have to be 19 to buy cigarettes. So, do you just have to be an adult? And be 18? Or do you have to be old enough to smoke?

Secondly – does the “You get carded if you are younger than 45″ rule apply here like it does for purchasing beer? Because no matter whether or not the age is 18 or 19, the woman was obviously at least 30. How strict are the rules? Will a store get fined the same for selling rubber cement to a minor as they would if they sold cigarettes? AND WHY DOES THIS BOTHER ME SO MUCH? I don’t know. But it does. It really bothers me. Does it bother you too? If it does – please tell me so I can try to feel like my shock and outrage is justified. Because – SERIOUSLY? I have to have my ID on me now to buy rubber cement? BAH!

Maybe I’m just in a pissy mood and would have been just as outraged to find out Target had changed the quality of their bags. (Which they had better not do – dammit – I love their strong bags that can be reused a million times.) Maybe I’m just in the mood to be pissed about something and this fits the bill. Who knows. Either way – - one more time for good measure – - SERIOUSLY?