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September 13, 2009



Aha! I have learned so much!

Addendum to note on adults reading children's books: I recently participated in a Facebook survey on the 15 books that have been most influential in your life. I am nearly 30 years old, have been reading books almost that entire time, and have a BA, MA, and PhD in English Literature. The first book to pop into my head? Tuck Everlasting. Number two? Bridge to Terabithia. 3: Little Women. You have to go quite a way before you get to anything "serious" (and I'm very sorry, Mr. Kerouac, but you will NEVER make that list). The books we read when we are children are indelible in a way "Hamlet" will never be. I find it hard to believe that the qualities that make a good children's book have an expiration date of one's seventeenth birthday...

PS: I got rid of my cable this summer. It has been glorious. The only thing I miss? Football. But you know what I discovered? I am a single woman. Single men watch football in BARS. And they have BEER there! By the way: did you hear that Michael Jackson died???


Ha! I love this post!!


i love this list so much. things i have given up include:
why we only have one car (not to mention one that is very old and is prone to not starting on the exact days that we really really need it).
why we don't watch tv (cable? we haven't even gotten our converter box yet)
why i'm a vegetarian (really? people still thing you're weird for not eating meat)

one thing i don't think warrants an explanation...why you are awesome. xo


Long-time reader and admirer, first-time commenter, here. Your words are always inspirational, but this post is especially timely -- how hilarious and odd that simply living and being ourselves would require any explanation at all!

I have surrendered trying to explain the decision to use Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland in my graduate dissertation; sadly (but unsurprisingly), children's lit doesn't strike many as adequately academic. Also: my tattoos, aversion to coffee, and penchants for solitude and the word "nubbin."


Love this post! There aren't too many things I have to explain anymore, but I don't know if I've stopped being weird enough or I'm just hanging out with people who accept my weirdness.


I am with you on so many of those. The airplane thing. The blush thing (I lack melanin as well). I totally agree with you about children's literature. I love your dog's name, it makes me giggle in the same way that Brian on Family Guy makes me giggle. Awesome.

I've given up trying to explain to my family and friends what graphic design is and why not everyone has the ability to do it. And that it's not just book covers or cd covers.

I've given up trying to explain my tattoos, and that no, I didn't design the gigantic one because tattoo artists have a skill that I don't have to form an image 3 dimensionally onto a limb. Just like I have skills that other people don't have.

And I think I've given up trying to explain why I take pictures everyday and still like to use film cameras.


Until recently I didn't have a drivers license. I was perfectly happy walking and taking public transportation around Portland. Friends from different states never seemed to understand that it just isn't necessary to have a license here.
I second the being a vegetarian. I get the "then what are you going to eat?" question any time I visit family.


I hate explaining why I decided to opt out of my Ph.D. program with a Masters. Just simply saying that I am happier now doesn't seem to satisfy people . . . also, I don't drink coffee and hate driving. Hate it.

Account Deleted

Ok, am shy too since it's my first time to comment here, so here it goes:- mine is all about the accent thing. every time i go out (to the playground with my kids etc] and open my mouth to say something, i somehow get noticed and drawn into a small talk with some mom( and that's good). But, it doesn't take long before i get "where is your accent from?". I usually smile and tell them originally where i came from, but it always makes me too tired to even explain to people that everyone has an accent, be it local or international. sometimes it makes me laugh!


I don't have cable either and haven't for years. I think it should be incumbent upon the people who choose to spend their hard-earned cash on something that will only waste their time to explain THEMselves. Seriously.


yes! I totally love this!!! I agree about the blush... in a pinch, it can be used on lips also... and I have now learned about the black versus gray. I will experiment... thanks for this!

Nadia Lewis

-- why I have never driven a car.
-- why I won't marry the love of my life.
-- why I dress this way (ie, not 21rst century).
-- why I won't have children.
-- why I don't think that fashion that makes you look pregnant is bad (this contradicts hard with the last one.)
-- why I don't have a TV (welcome to the internet, Boomers.)
-- non-American TV and movies.
-- my yarn obsession.


I feel compelled to comment because of the children's book thing- I totally and completely agree. For me, the book is Anne of Green Gables- a life changer.

And I have given up trying to explain why I:
-don't have, and never have had, a television
-I don't colour my hair
-I knit


Ah! My favorite book of all time, hands down - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I first read it in middle school and have read it dozens of times since - I love it.

And, I've stopped trying to explain why I...
-have so many pets (why DON'T you?)
-am so white and/or don't tan
-am not engaged nor married
-don't keep up with what's on t.v.
-always have a book open (are you reading that for a class?)
-why i eat meat (but aren't you involved in animal rescue?)

Honestly, what gets me is that people think they have the right to ask these questions, and of course, to receive an answer.


I love this post!
I have to say though, black goes with everything, dare I say it, even navy and brown.
I am always asked to explain my dog's name as well. It's Hadley, that's her name & that's it. What's to explain?!
We don't have cable either, we also rely on Hulu for fantastic tv shows. We hook the laptop to the tv and still get to view on a regular sized screen. It's free & awesome.
My #1 right now is explaining what I do. I sew, I make things. What do I do all day? Are you kidding? Probably more than you do all day.
Thanks for the great post!!


lady you crack me up. just reading this makes me want to hang out with you more often.

I hope you are doing well and have been able to relax a little.


Hi! New commenter, long time reader.
I've given up to explain why I love to read while I am eating on my own. This comes from very long ago: i would not stop reading when I was little for ANYHING. Not even sleep, not even eat. So now, lunch break? I take my book.

Hope you are fine, Andrea, I know you will. Love from Spain.


I just popped over from my cousin Carlee's site and I am howling with laughter.

My freaking parents let me watch that horror movie, too, and I've never been the same. I seriously listen for suspicious sounds and point out weird things to flight attendants all the time.

I had no idea anyone else remembered that terrible movie!!! Too funny!


I totally love this!!! I agree about the blush... in a pinch, it can be used on lips also... and I have now learned about the black versus Gray. I will experiment... thanks for this!


love this post. btw, my dogs are Jack and Walter. Bradley seems like a solid choice.


LOL! Fantastic post! I agree with you whole-heartedly on the topic of children's books and I am ecstatic at the fact you mentioned my new fave, The Magician's Elephant.

I'm tired of explaining to people that my middle name has no meaning (it's Macadangdang) and that NO, not everyone in Hawaii knows how to surf, do the hula, or speak the language fluently. Oh yeah, don't even ask about grass shacks.


Yes, I can relate to most of these in fact. Nicely written. I quite agree with reading children;s books--some of my faves actually, and, you know I don;t have cable either.

I just came across your blog from this issue of "Artful Blogging." What a lovely article. I even underlined the one bit where you said what interests you about the art of blogging is how you realized "meaning was buried beneath the chaos of everyday life and ordinary things."--that is SOOO very true. That is blogging in nutshell--something non-bloggers often just don't get. Thank you for putting such good perspective on all this and writing on blogging in the first place. your article was most enjoyable as were the photos and is one I will be sure to return to often, as well as to your blog.


Too funny...and very nice to meet! Im a girl with a dog named Henry and no cable as well ;)

i saw your article in artful blogging, it was wonderful!~

anoushka sofia  emmanuella

being vegeterian
owning two bunny-pets who live freely in the flat (they are clean dudes!)
wanting to be an English teacher (yes that's true, people still ask me why...)

great blog, sunny and so realistic, congrats!

Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your Life

Hahaha I love your dog's name! Bradley sounds perfect...


Hi Andrea,
Let me just say that if you moved in next door I would be your new bestie. I do have melanin, however it is skittish and that is why I am freckled. we also skipped on cable and I love watching Glee on hulu.com. I also watched all three seasons of Arrested Development (in a two weeks and then I went blind). And the pants in this picture look suspiciously black. I do wear black but I decided it goes with brown and navy and I don't give a rat's ass. I'll be back to visit.


This is such a great list. If I were creative enough to make one it would be something like: why I don't own a car or a tv, why my better have and I *aren't* getting married, and like everyone else who commented, why I'm a vegetarian!


The good thing about your information is that it is explicit enough for students to grasp. Thanks for your efforts in spreading academic knowledge.


How about this question:
Why do you blog?
(I think your answer is beautiful. If only I could remember it in a pinch!)


Things I don't want to have to explain another time:

-What an Unschooler is and why it's NOT just lazing around the house
-Why I'm a vegetarian
-Why I don't like maple syrup on pancakes

And you know, I think Bradley is a great name for a dog. :)

Alicia P.

ISTTE (I've Stopped Trying to Explain):

Why I won't go into bank buildings in Portland (because if you watch the local news you will see that one or another is getting robbed every five minutes!!! But I said I was going to stop trying to explain).

Why I love Judge Judy.

Why the new Avett Brothers album makes me so mad/sad. And don't get me started on the video.

What a public pool should *really* be like.

And I'm with you on the airplane thing. Every time I go to an airport to pick someone up (I haven't actually been on a plane since 1996) and see the people waiting in line to get on the plane I honestly don't understand why they are not engaged in some version of hysteria. Cause I would be.

Just sayin.

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  • I'm Andrea. I like to make things. I like plaid and collecting curiosities to put under bell jars. I love books. Also, mockingbirds, bikes with baskets, textiles, cupcakes, and whiskey. Mostly, I run around making no sense.

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