Category Archives: Sweet Baby Dane

An aging hipster.


A week or two ago, I was sitting in my idling car while my GPS was loading. I had driven into Takoma Park to ship something at the post office and was now attempting to go somewhere else, hoping there was a shortcut I didn’t know about. As the “Garmin” screen lingered on my device, I noticed a harmless looking man, mid- to late-thirties, walk up the sidewalk behind me, go out of his way to look at something on the back of the car behind me, and then sit down for a moment on a bench. He sat there for a couple of minutes, while I was still trying to get my GPS to load so I could get those directions. After several minutes, he got up to continue walking on the sidewalk that I was parked next to, only he stopped at my car and tapped on the window. The guy was wearing jeans and a hipster t-shirt with fake aviators, so while I most definitely was NOT about to roll down the window, I also wasn’t throwing my car into gear and speeding off.

Him: “You know your car is idling?”

Me: “Uh, yea, I’m in it.”

Him: “You should turn it off while you’re texting.”

Me: “Um, this is a GPS device and I’m about to leave. Thanks, though.”

Him: “You should turn the car off. You’re polluting! Just turn the car off. It’s illegal to idle in DC anyway because of the pollution.”

Me: “Okay, wow. I’m sure DC would rather me idle than ‘text’ and drive. But guess what? This isn’t DC, you’re not the cops, and I’M ABOUT TO DRIVE AWAY. Thanks, though.”

Him: “Just turn your car OFF. You’re polluting!”

Me: (exasperated) “Great! Thanks, buh-bye.”


So this guy basically harasses me with his concern for the Earth that he clearly values more than human relationships. He never once smiled, used tact, or tried to connect with me in a way that would endear me to him and his cause. (PETA- take note.) Instead of turning my car off, I did the mature thing and revved the engine as he walked away.

As I was reviewing the scene in my head and relating it to Dane, it dawned on me just how similar this situation and the entire Christian movement is. Instead of relating to people and connecting with individuals, Christians notoriously brow-beat people about doing this or not doing that, but they don’t take the time to get to know someone and establish a relationship before they start asking for something in return. The whole point of Christianity is for Jesus to change people for the better, not so that His “followers” can make others feel less than worthy because of their actions. Church and Christ are for the broken, not for those who think they’ve got it all figured out.

Fortunately, there are those Christians who don’t treat people this way. There are those who follow Christ’s example of acceptance and are simply vehicles for His love, so that Jesus is the only one making any judgements (ultimately, anyway). Wouldn’t it be amazing if Christians became known for being loving instead of being known for their hate?




I’m currently reading “Love Wins” by Rob Bell, which has its fair share of criticism. I figure if something gets as criticized as this book has been, Rob is either doing something very wrong, or he’s doing something so right it makes the self-righteous uncomfortable. So far, it seems to be the latter. (Thanks to college, it takes me a while to get through books I read for fun due to the books I read for the BETTER life I BETTER get for that piece of paper at the end of all this.) (So basically it may take me a while to report on “Love Wins”.)


Much LOVE,




I never liked Petri dishes anyway.


Dane is convinced that I’m a germaphobe. I don’t really buy into it, but I will concede that I do have a bit of fear against funky bacteria. But it’s not my fault.


When I was kid growing up in the back woods of Western North Carolina, trash disposal solutions were a bit more creative than those city folk who paid to have a truck come get their neatly-contained bags off the curb. The waste companies didn’t drive out to where we lived, so we had to take our trash to the landfills ourselves. “Eco-friendly” wasn’t a part of Southern culture at that point (and still really isn’t), so it was common for Southerners to burn their paper trash and take whatever couldn’t be burned to the dump. Since the landfill charges by weight, why take all that paper junk that could be disposed of for free? (If you consider yourself “green”, I know this has to be painful.)

When it came to spoiled food, we didn’t have a garbage disposal that connected to our septic tank (we had a well), so our other options were to put it in with the trash to be burned (can’t have a fire if your fuel is wet), the trash going to the landfill (why pay extra for the added weight), or you could just chuck the old, gross, stinky food out into the woods for the opossums, skunks, and raccoons to ingest. The culture chose option number three and hasn’t really looked back since. As a youngster growing up in the holler, it was my job to take the bowl/bucket/tin can of slop (if we were farmers, this would be the sow’s cue) out back to the woods and chuck it. This was the worst part of my week.

I detested the smell of pinto beans that had been leftovers for a week too long, the blue-green fuzz that was growing on anything with dairy in it, and the smell of any meat, real or fake, that had been neglected far past its shelf-life. It was a chore that I could handle by myself at that age, so my mom consistently left it up to me to dispose of all that muck. (I’d say she didn’t want to smell it either, but you don’t know my mother. She could handle it and then some, she just didn’t want to take time away from wiping down the fridge shelves to run outside.) I whined profusely, using any tactic possible to get out of having to hold that nastiness in front of me, risking the possibility that I might trip and end up wearing rancid food. But my mother, who comes from a long line of farmers and, despite her city ways, isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, wouldn’t budge. “Laura, just DO IT.” (Nike owes her some money, I believe.)

So fast-forward to 2011: I take Greek yogurt and blueberries to work with me one morning. I enjoy my food, put the lid on the Rubbermaid container, and place it in a bag with other miscellaneous items that I’m carrying around that day. I have errands to run after work, so I throw the bag in the back seat of my car and go about my day, forgetting that the very thing I fear most is coming to life in my precious car. Do I remember to grab the bag when I’m done for the day? No, of course not. That would be responsible of me. Fast-forward again to a couple of weeks later: I’m finally cleaning out my car before I take a trip home and what do I find? You bet your butt. I find a plastic container with more black dots on it than a Dalmatian. I immediately squeal, look around to see if anyone heard me, then take out the silverware also in the bag, tie the bag up really tight, and run over to the trash can in the parking lot to dispose of the nastiness, container and all. I never had to smell the stank or burn my retinas with its ugliness.



So yes, babe, I guess I am a germaphobe.




Yours in OCD splendor,


Sweet Baby Dane.


Well that was an awfully pathetic bit of wallowing wasn’t it? Sorry about that. It was an especially rough week for a myriad of reasons, though none really mean anything. But the good news is that it’s over and I’m back to my typically glass-half-full self.

I’m really not a Debbie Downer all the time, I promise, though it may seem like it lately. I’m quite thankful for all the amazing things and people in my life, and for the opportunity to be vocal about them. I figure it’s a first step to even verbalize what you’re thankful for, because if you’re busy being thankful, it’s hard to be discontented. Hopefully.

I’ve mentioned and discussed Dane quite a bit on this blog, but never really given him his own post. And as I’m completely thankful that this man has entered into, and stayed in, my life, I feel he deserves a bit more than what I’ve given here.

A few weeks ago, I went home for a long weekend to celebrate our first Valentine’s Day together (squee!) and his birthday on the 15th. It had been since the first of January since we’d seen each other, so we were long-overdue for some hang time. We had a great time together, had our first fight, celebrated, and wore ourselves out trying to see friends and family for the short time I was home.

Our fight wasn’t this knock-down, drag-out ordeal that I typically enjoy (I like yelling), but centered around some stuff that we needed to discuss but didn’t when it was relevant, so it had festered for a while. We worked out the details and actually communicated, which is amazing. I still don’t think I’ve ever had a relationship, platonic or otherwise, that involved this much communicating. We talk through an uncomfortable situation instead of getting mad and walking out (or just yelling). By the time we’d communicated ourselves to death, both of us felt better and it was over. This gives me hope for the future…

Normally, I don’t buy into Valentine’s Day, and neither does Dane. But since this was our first, I wanted to make it more than just another day. Considering both of us are in college and leaning towards the broke side of life, we weren’t going to go crazy (and probably wouldn’t have if we could have), but we did do the requisite going out to eat and exchanging of gifts. We just did it our way.

Because I’m a four year-old child when it comes to gifts, and I knew he’d bought me something, I was trying to get him to cave and give them to me early the entire weekend. (Dane doesn’t have a great track record with keeping presents a secret, and I’m thoroughly impressed he was able to do so.) (The Force is strong with this one.) So at 12 a.m. Monday morning, he gave me my presents, primarily because he wanted me to JUST SHUT UP ALREADY.

This is what I received:


Aren’t they adorable? He remembered me saying I loved them when I saw them in an Etsy shop. So proud of that man!


Here’s the back side. Just simple little posts, but I love them so much!



This is the ring he bought that ended up being a bit small, which is also from Etsy. He realized this before he gave it to me and bought a silver chain so I could wear it as a necklace, which I may have done anyway. Say it with me folks: AWWWW!!!

During the day, we decided to go to Cracker Barrel for lunch. This pleased meh. I hate that I live so far away from one up here, so it was a treat anyway, but then we decided to go all out and order dessert (PINEAPPLE. UPSIDE. DOWN. CAKE. A. LA. MODE.) and make it our Valentine’s meal out. And you know what? That totally worked for us. We avoided all of the crowds that would be out for dinner and we had a great server who wasn’t trying to take care of 82 other tables. For us, it was perfect.

Later that night, we went to the Grove Park Inn to sit in the lounge and enjoy the fire and piano music. We sat on plush leather couches, watched other couples walking around, and talked. We had a little alcove for ourselves and it was pretty darn romantic. I was able to sit and spend time with the man I love without any pretenses. A perfect day.

As I mentioned earlier, we celebrated Dane’s birthday before Valentine’s day with my parents. We had an amazing dinner from the grill and then cookie cake and ice cream. We played dominoes like two old couples (I won both games) and overall, I think Dane really enjoyed himself. He definitely deserves to, after all the blood, sweat, and tears he dishes out between work, school, and me.


To lick the candle, or not to lick the candle?

Definitely lick the candle!!

He looks so mischievous here… Not to mention like those cats whose pupils dilate once they’ve fixated on a target.


Go Packers!

(He would like all of you to know that he was a Packers fan long before they won this year’s Super Bowl. Just for the record.)


I’m incredibly thankful for the love Dane gives; it’s unconditional and complete, and something I’ve never experienced before. He’s funny, sweet, humble, hardworking, good to his mama, and basically everything I wanted a man to be for me. We work together well, figuring out solutions to the problems that are presented before us and that, I’ve learned, is priceless. I’m proud of the work he has chosen to undertake by going back to school (the smarty pants already has a bachelor’s and a certification), knowing that part of the work is so that we can have a better life together in the future. I’ve pretty much bagged a good ‘un, and I plan to keep him!


Much love,