Wednesday, February 21


Growing up, "lent" was nothing more to me than the past tense of the verb "loan." As I broadened my horizons, and met myself some Roman Catholics, I learned more about sooty smudges, the idea of giving something up, and how Lent is a season of preparation for Easter.

Since joining an Anglican church, however, I'm learning a lot more about Lent. I'll not offer a big long lecture on what lent means (I'm not really the person to do that lecture justice, anyway), but I will give you a paragraph or two about what it means to me.

Lent is the 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays, which are apparently "feast days" and not intended for fasting. The idea about giving something up is really a way to focus your mind and body on Christ and His sacrifice for us. By giving up something little, we are able to understand just slightly what it was like for Him to give up everything. On a practical level, by giving up something that distracts us from God, even for a season, we have the opportunity to spend more time in communion with Him.

This year, after much consideration, I've decided to give up blogging for Lent. I will not only be signing off here for the next 6½ weeks, but I'll not be reading my usual blog-list either. Adam and I will be instituting Lenten Family Nights, when we will spend time together interacting with one another and participating in God's creation, rather than sitting on our tail ends, watching the TV or computer screen.

It will be tough for me to not visit with all of you, checking in on your lives and families and sharing the silly crazy fun (and sometimes serious) things going on in my life. But, after reflecting more on my last post, I think it is a good choice for this season and an excellent opportunity to "do" less and "be" more.

I pray everyone has a blessed Lent, and I'll see you again after Easter!

Tuesday, February 20

What "Should" We Do?

Can somebody help me out here? I'm looking for that verse where it says, "Blessed are the busy Christians, for they keep the programs running, the nursery open, and the bulletin printed on time."

What do you mean, it's not there? It's got to be there. I mean, I think I want to make it my life verse! Besides, how else can I show everybody what a good Christian I really am?

[T]hink about what we do...spend time praying and seeking to discern what is done because it 'should' be, and what is actually part of God's plan and will. It is easy to feel like I 'should' be busy and active and accomplishing tangible things. But maybe for this season living the Gospel authentically means being content without being particularly productive. It's a challenge to live to please God and not others or myself.

I read this recently in a letter from my friend Abigail (check out her blog abirumania). She was inspired by something she was reading from Henri Nouwen. For me, this particular paragraph in her letter just jumped up and bit me, so to speak.

Lately, I've been feeling pulled in so many directions. I need to spend more time with my daughter because these are her impressionable toddler years and I need to make sure she gets molded right.... I need to spend more time on my volunteer activities at church because we're building a whole new vision and each of us must do our part.... I need to spend more time on my blog because I don't post often enough.... I need to spend more time with my husband because if I'm ignoring him, our relationship is just going to go to pot and there goes our marriage.... I need to spend more time balancing our household budget because we need to be good stewards of our money and get all our bills paid on time.... I need to spend more time exercising because it's so good for me and would really help with the weight I'm trying to lose.... I need to spend more time with God because that's really the most important thing.

Anybody else tired yet? I'm not even through with my to-do list. Surely God didn't make us to run around with our stress levels up to our eyeballs and feeling like we need a few more hours every day in order to get it all done. Yet, how do I get myself into this position?

I think I get afraid when I'm not busy. I'm not sure what to do with myself. Even though I crave regular time out of this busy hubbub that is my life, I'm not sure how to do anything different. I'm not sure how to just be. Besides, if I'm being, who's going to get all the work done?

What I'm having trouble with, I guess, is the whole idea that God's priorities are different than mine. While it's important for me that everything looks good and well put together, God's view is somewhat different. I want my daughter's clothes all to match. I think God is more concerned with her knowing how much He loves her. I want my blog to look all pretty. I think God wants it to be honest and honoring to Him.

I still don't quite understand how I'm supposed to get everything done. I can't quite figure out the balance of work and play and relationship building. But, I also haven't really tried to focus first on God and secondarily on everything else. Frankly, I'm a little afraid to. I have such trouble keeping up now, I think to myself, how on earth will I be able to get it all done if I'm focusing on God all the time?

Anybody else hear Martha in that statement? "Mary...sat before the Master, hanging on every word He said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do" (Luke 10:39-40, MSG). Then she complained to Jesus that she was doing all the work, while her sister just sat there not doing anything.

Remember Jesus's response? "Martha, dear Martha, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it" (Luke 10:41-42, MSG).

Dear Amy, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential....

Monday, February 19

Down in the Mouth

Lately, life has been keeping me awfully busy. Not necessarily in the I-have-so-much-to-do sense, but my brain keeps spinning with all the things I have to remember. I feel like I'm on a giant hamster wheel and no matter how fast I'm running, I don't get anywhere.

So, I respond in my normal manner. I get a little depressed. I feel overwhelmed with life and don't want to step outside myself, even when that just means writing a real live blog post.

This morning I woke up with a list in my head. I wrote down all of my to-dos and I've actually managed to cross out five of the original and one more I had to add later. But that still leaves me with nine things on my list. And that doesn't even include things like "cook dinner" or "wash the dishes". No wonder my house is a mess.

Friday, February 16


I'm feeling inspired by a documentary on TV about narrative writing (not my normal sort of television fare, but better than Barney or Cheaters) so let me try it out on you, my unsuspecting readers.

Dim light filtered through the room. The sun I had watched rise that morning was long gone, slumbering until the next day. Around me, the room buzzed with activity.


I was inspired, briefly, to write a story of my daughter's birth. It would have been filled with lots of descriptive adjectives and active verbs. Only I got stuck after the opening bit above and never seemed to get the inspiration back.

Happy birthday, anyway, Babygirl. If you go after your third year with as much gusto as you have your second, I'm sure we'll have a great, scary year. Enjoy being two! Love, Mamie.

Wednesday, February 14

Works for Me: 22nd Time Out

I have some real posts brewing, I promise. Meanwhile...

Yes, it's really the 20-second time out, like in basketball. I know. I just like to amuse myself.

Let me begin by saying, before I was a parent myself, I thought time outs were, well, unimaginative. I was a big believer in "let the punishment fit the crime" and figured all the parents out there who relied on such things were not putting forth their effort wisely and were denying their children creative discipline.

Okay, you can stop laughing now. I'm learning my lesson. I never counted on the fact that young children #1: need immediate consequences and #2: get into some very challenging messes. What precisely would fit the "crime" of climbing atop of the piano, crawling across to the other side, and flinging down dvds her daddy and I had unthinkingly left up there? I mean, really?

Thus, time outs have made their way into our regular discipline repertoire. But, here's the deal. Sometimes I have promised my daughter a time out for whatever errant behavior I can see brewing behind those pretty blue eyes, then she goes and messes with me by doing something good that I want to reward.

Like this morning, she was sitting next to me at the computer, looking longingly at the top of the piano. I told her if she climbed up on the piano again (I've pulled her down twice already today), she would get a time out. She made it up onto the piano, but as soon as I called her name she compliantly climbed back down.

I faced a dilemma. I wanted to encourage her prompt response to my request, but at the same time I wanted to be consistent, honoring my word and giving her a time out for climbing up there in the first place.

Out of the carpetbag (just like Mary Poppins) comes the 20-second time out. Long enough she knows that she did something wrong, but shorter than if she'd refused to come down on her own. I like to think of it as time off for good behavior.

Now, can anybody tell me why God would bless me with a child who thinks it's fun to climb up on top of the piano in the first place? Really. I saved my childhood climbing for in the basement, stacking chairs on top of my wobbly kid-sized kitchen table. My mother never had any idea. Surely I deserve as much consideration from my daughter. Don't I?

For more tips, tricks, and techniques, visit Rocks in my Dryer.

Saturday, February 10

Showing Off Satchels

This post originally appeared on By Hook or By Cook.

I made a couple of satchels for my nieces. Ostensibly, they were for Christmas, but since Christmas was six weeks ago now and I'm just getting them into the mail, perhaps I should call them "Valentine's Day Gifts" instead.

There won't be any patterns posted for these particular items, since I began them before starting this blog and I wasn't keeping a record of my pattern. But I'm sharing the pictures just to taunt you (kidding, only kidding...).

Tunisian Satchel

This bag was worked in two main                      click photo for larger image
pieces, the body and the handle, both using tunisian stitch. I crocheted the button-hole tabs right onto the top flap once I'd sewn the body and strap together. Both yarns I used were left over from other projects and had long since lost their wrappers, so I can only say the maroon color is worsted weight acrylic and the camel color is a heavier yarn, also synthetic, but meant to resemble mohair.

Ribbed Satchel

I had tried a pattern once using this ribbed technique on the cuffs, but the description wasn't very clear and my project didn't turn out very well. Searching for something else entirely one day, I discovered this tutorial for working
around the posts in double crochet. So simple, yet so fabulous. This bag is worked all in one piece, since I hate to tie ends in. The ribbed pattern is created by two front-post dcs followed by two back-post dcs. The bottom, front flap, and corners are standard dcs. I used an entire skein of worsted weight acrylic for this bag. I lost the wrapper for this one too (or, more accurately, my daughter tore it off and threw it away) so I don't know the specifics of this yarn either, though I believe it's Red Heart Super Saver.

Thursday, February 8

Thursday Thirteen #15: Football Movies

With the season now officially over, I've been a little afraid of going through football withdrawal. However, I started searching through the film archives and I've discovered all sorts of football movies (many of which I didn't even know existed) to help me get through the off season.

Thirteen football movies I had never heard of but look interesting

The Best of Times (1986)
Robin Williams as a high school football player (now all grown up) who wants the chance to replay his worst moment, when he fumbled the ball in the big game.

Code Breakers (2005)
Based on the true story of a cheating scandal at West Point in 1951 which eventually led to the expulsion of 83 cadets, including Coach "Red" Blaik's son.

Facing the Giants (2006)
When a losing high school football coach learns he is facing infertility and discovers a group of parents are looking to get him fired, he turns to his faith in order to fight his fears and failures.

Go Tigers! (2001)
A documentary following the 1999 football season of the Massillon, Ohio Tigers. You can also check out the team's website.

The Junction Boys (2002)
A made-for-ESPN movie starring Tom Berenger as legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant during his time at Texas A&M.

Knute Rockne All American (1940)
The life story of Notre Dame player and coach Knute Rockne. Features Ronald Reagan as Notre Dame's first All-American player, George "The Gipper" Gipp.

The Last Game (2002)
Documentary made about the CB West High School football team in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and their extraordinary 1999 season. You can reach the team's website here.

North Dallas Forty (1979)
Nick Nolte stars as a player on a fictional Texas football team who stuggles with the team's prohibition of recreational drug use, but prescription of multiple drugs to increase players' ability to perform on the field.

Possums (1998)
The town of Nowata has cancelled their losing football program. The local radio announcer decides to keep broadcasting an imaginary season, sending the Possums to the state championship--until the real state champs challenge them to a game.

10·Second String (2002)
Made-for-TV movie along the lines of The Replacements. The Buffalo Bills are well on their way to the Superbowl when all the players come down with food poisoning and a new team must be brought in for the playoffs.

11·Semi-Tough (1977)
Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson play professional football players whose friendship is threatened by their competition for the affection of the team owner's daughter.

12·Something for Joey (1977)
Fact-based TV movie about the relationship between 1973 Heisman Trophy winner John Cappeletti and his younger brother, Joey, who battled leukemia.

13·Weapons of Mass Distraction (1997)
Another made-for-TV movie, but this one stars Gabriel Byrne and Ben Kingsley along with half a dozen other people I've heard of before. Kingsley and Byrne play competing media big wigs fighting to own a professional football team at any cost.

Check out other thirteeners at

Wednesday, February 7

Works for Me: Virtual Valentines

I'm always on the look out for free gifts that are worth more than you pay for them. E-cards have long been the standard internet holiday greeting. Unfortunately, Valentine's Day seems to be a bit too much for to handle. So in an effort to cut down on the traffic to their site, I offer some alternatives for a unique virtual valentine.

Are you looking to share your love story? Make a virtual romance novel cover using a picture of you and your sweetheart. Take a look here. You can create your own title, write a tagline, and even choose what color it will be.

If you want to tell your sweetie just how sweet he (or she) is, say it with candy hearts! No, not those chalky ones they have on sale at the grocery store. Write your own message on a virtual candy heart at this site. Zero calories and no trans fat!

Sappy romantic gestures aren't your thing? No problem. Just check out the silliness here. Create your own "love poem" using a Mad Libs-type verse generator. Have your honey rolling on the floor laughing, or at least raising one eyebrow quizzically.

By far the coolest site I found, this one let's you create your own magic 3D images. You know, the ones that you have to cross your eyes to see? You can write messages or draw pictures. The site offers multiple brush sizes, a depth indicator, and color choices for your finished product. I should probably mention that this site is addictive. You've been warned.

If after all this, you'd still like to send virtual flowers, candy or the "traditional" e-card, there are numerous sites out there which offer them. Don't be restricted to the big guys. Take some time to search in order to find what suits you best (and your valentine will thank you when he--or she--can pick up your virtual gift on February 14th).

Find more tips on love this week at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, February 6

Did You Cut Your Hair?

I am so excited about my new look!

Though I'd love to rave on and on about the designer, I put it together myself. Somehow, sharing about how wonderful I am doesn't seem quite kosher. I will tell you how hard (and easy) it was, though. I put the header graphic together a few weeks ago, but I wasn't sure how to get the picture to show up as a part of the blog design.

I was awake until nearly 4:00 this morning trying to figure out what I needed to do in order to put the graphic up, but get rid of all the heading text. I didn't find Blogger's tutorials especially helpful in this area. They seem to have been written for people who already know what they're doing, not those of us blogging by the seat of our pants, so to speak.

However, after a quick Google search, I found this tutorial which really gave me a head start where the official Blogger people left me behind.

Once I had that piece in place, it only took me about 5 minutes to put it all together and make the hyperlink work. Then another hour or so admiring my handiwork and polishing up the edges (or in this case, the sidebar).

So, she asks, shyly, do you like it?

Monday, February 5

Football and Updates

Yes, there is something sad about "your home team" (whether that's where you currently call home or not) losing and losing big. Congratulations to all the Colts fans out there. Your team did a much better job than ours did. Enjoy your bragging rights.

And to my home team, the Bears. You started out great! We were all cheering with that Devon Hester return in the opening seconds of the game. How exciting! But after that first quarter, everything sort of fizzled. Your play, our excitement.... Next year, let's make it back to the big BOWL and win, darn it.

Now, on to the updates, I promised.

About that job I was offered...I turned it down. Politely but firmly. After Adam was offered his new job, I realized the only reason I was considering taking it was because of the money. Now, with that need lessened, I had no desire to take the job, just a small fear of looking bad or being thought of poorly if I didn't accept. But, in the end, that wasn't a problem at all. In fact, I've actually been offered a completely different job with an organization I did some temp work for years and years ago. It's much more up my alley and a specified amount of work a few times a year. I'm probably going to accept that one, but I'm waiting for the answers to a few questions first.

I still haven't gotten the dvds I was working on to work yet. Thanks to my friend Mark (well, okay, mostly Adam's friend Mark) for all his advice. I may have to e-mail you for some additional pointers, since what I've been trying so far hasn't been successful. I haven't had the energy (or the level of tolerance for frustration) for the past several days, but I expect I'll start working on it again this week sometime.

As for my new year's new diet plan, it's not been going so well. Vegetables aren't much of a comfort food when they're not bathed in bread crumbs and deep fried. Actually, they're not much comfort then either, but they are yummy. I think part of my problem is motivation. I'm not sure how to motivate myself to accomplish something that I've never successfully completed before (though I've failed many times) and is going to take a very long time. Any diet ideas out there? How can I keep motivated when the going is slow? And what helped you get used to a new eating program without feeling deprived?

We're doing a bit better on the crib sheet front. It's still up and down, though--no pun intended. I got home from a day away this past week (I'll write more about that in another post) to find that our daughter had stripped off her clothes and diaper in her crib; relieved herself in, ah, solid form; then proceeded to smear it on her fingers, the sheets, and the sides of the crib. Yuck. Since then, however, she's kept her diaper on.

Sunday, February 4

Reading List

Having taken a look at my sidebar, I began to realize that if I kept up the reading at my current pace, I'll have read well over 100 books this year. And, I may still not have finished Knowing God's Will. ***Updated to add: But I did! Now if I ever get the gumption to try slogging through Son of Laughter again....

In any case, I've decided that's entirely too long a list to keep in my sidebar all year, so I'm officially cutting off the Already Reads. However, since I'm interested in continuing my tally, and some of you may be interested in keeping an eye out on what fluff I've read in between blog revisions, I'm posting my list here now.

I'll be updating as I finish more books, so this will be the official page for what I've been reading. For now, you're just getting titles, but I may add comments or reviews (or possibly photos) at some later point.

UPDATED 1/2/08: Okay, I'm going ahead and closing up shop here. I didn't make the "over 100" I was predicting, but 73 isn't too bad a number! I'm working on a couple books at the moment. As soon as I finish another title, I'll start my list for 2008.

Happy reading!

73. RV There Yet? by Diann Hunt
72. Aaron's Way by Kendra Smiley with Aaron Smiley
71. Dreaming in Technicolor by Laura Jensen Walker
70. Dreaming in Black & White by Laura Jensen Walker
69. Full of Grace by Dorthea Benton Frank
68. Dakota Home by Debbie Macomber
67. Dakota Born by Debbie Macomber
66. Glad Tidings by Debbie Macomber
65. Party Princess by Meg Cabot
64. Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
63. Princess in Training by Meg Cabot
62. Diary of a Mad Mom-to-Be by Laura Wolf
61. Flabbergasted by Ray Blackstone
60. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
      by Robert Fulghum
59. Shopaholic & Sister by Sophie Kinsella
58. 74 Seaside Avenue by Debbie Macomber
57. Emily Ever After by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt
56. Sisterchicks in Sombreros by Robin Jones Gunn
55. Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary
54. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
53. The Art of Standing Still by Penny Culliford
52. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
51. Sisterchicks on the Loose by Robin Jones Gunn
50. Putting Away Childish Things David A. Seamands
49. First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
48. Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
47. My Life as a Doormat by Rene Gutteridge
46. The Good Wife Strikes Back by Elizabeth Buchan
45. Sierra Jensen Collection, Vol 2 by Robin Jones Gunn
44. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
43. The Things We Do for Love by Kristin Hannah
42. Call Waiting by Michelle Cunnah
41. The Not-So-Perfect Man by Valerie Frankel
40. Michigan Weddings by Mary Eileen Davis
39. For Men Only by Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn
38. For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
37. A Royal Pain by Ellen Conford
36. Hip to Be Square by Hope Lyda
35. San Francisco by Kristin Billerbeck
34. Theordora's Wedding by Penny Culliford
33. Passport Diaries by Tamara T. Gregory
32. Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
31. The $ex Lives of C@nnib@ls by J. Maarten Troost
      [trying to avoid weird searches on this one]
30. A Girl's Best Friend by Kristin Billerbeck
29. She's All That by Kristin Billerbeck
28. I Promise by Robin Jones Gunn
27. Calm, Cool & Adjusted by Kristin Billerbeck
26. 6 Rainier Drive by Debbie Macomber
25. Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
24. I Love Being a Woman by Patsy Clairmont
23. A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber
22. The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
21. Sweetwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons
20. Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
19. As You Wish by Robin Jones Gunn
18. In The Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado
17. Mama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White
16. Aunt Erma's Cope Book by Erma Bombeck
15. Knowing God's Will by M. Blaine Smith
14. The Things I Did for Love by Ellen Conford
13. Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern
12. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
11. Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares
10. Theordora's Diary by Penny Culliford
9. Normal is Just a Setting on Your Dryer by Patsy Clairmont
8. The Brethren by Beverly Lewis
7. With This Ring, I'm Confused by Kristin Billerbeck
6. The Englisher by Beverly Lewis
5. You Matter More Than You Think by Dr. Leslie Parrott
4. Stark Raving Dad by Dave Meurer
3. Sierra Jensen Collection, Vol 4 by Robin Jones Gunn
2. Sisterchicks do the Hula! by Robin Jones Gunn
1. The Preacher's Daughter by Beverly Lewis

Books I started but didn't finish in 2007

8. After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart
7. A Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II
6. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
5. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
4. First Time Mom by Kevin Leman
3. Trading Up by Candace Bushnell
2. Shame and Grace by Lewis B. Smedes
1. Son of Laughter by Frederick Buechner

Friday, February 2

Meme of the Arts

Jeanne from At a Hen's Pace has invited her readers to join her in this arts meme. I don't have much experience with memes (I think this is just my second), but I always loved those e-mail forwards where you had to share interesting things about yourself, like what color socks your wearing and who did you talk to last on the phone.

1. Name a book that you want to share so much that you keep giving away copies.
I think the only books of mine I've ever given away more than once because I liked them were the Bible and Outlander by Dianna Gabaldon.

If the question is meant to get to the heart of what my all-time favorite book is, however, I'm not sure it does. In fact, I'm not sure what book that might be. Maybe something by Beverly Cleary, like Ramona Forever. Actually, come to think of it, I have given that book to other people, just not my copy.

2. Name a piece of music that changed the way you listen to music.
The one that comes most readily to mind is the song Adam wrote for me. The first time I heard it (I'm sheepish to admit) I didn't like it very much. Adam is a classically-trained pianist. So, naturally, he wrote "classical" music. I use the quotes because it is not classical in the official sense (i.e., Mozart is classical, but Beethoven is romantic) but in the general cultural meaning (i.e., Beethoven is classical, but Garth Brooks is country). For me, "classical" music was all about needing to understand it, analyze it, and compare opinions about it using specific technical terms. Music theory, if you will. But listening to the song again, especially coming to grips with the fact that, while not in my preferred style, it was written in love for me, I really started to appreciate it. Now I only wish we had a decent recording of it. Unfortunately, the sound tech at our wedding had to turn the tape over at that point, so we never got the full song.

3. Name a film you can watch again and again without fatigue.
Ooh, there are lots. Most of them goofy romantic comedies like While You Were Sleeping, My Best Friend's Wedding, and The Parent Trap remake (I like the original, too, but I wouldn't watch it as much). Probably my favorite non-romantic comedy watch it over and over film would be The Rookie.

4. Name a performer for whom you suspend all disbelief.
Uhm...David Copperfield? Or is this supposed to be somebody I like so much that I'm willing to sit through their not-so-inspired movie (or listen to their second-rate CD) just because it's that person. Hmmm.... I'm not sure there is anybody like that. Maybe Tom Hanks. I tend to put up with a lot from him. (On the random facts front, did you know when he was just a young thespian, he went by "Thom"?)

5. Name a work of art you’d like to live with.
Does Adam count? He's already in my house, though. Probably one that would mean a lot to me would be a scale model of Alexander Calder's La Grande Vitesse (more images here). I was born in Grand Rapids and the big orange "Calder" is an indelible mark on my childhood. It would be rather nostalgic to have one in my living room.

6. Name a work of fiction which has penetrated your real life.
Sisterchicks on the Loose. The first of the Sisterchicks books by Robin Jones Gunn. I was reading it shortly after my daughter was born and it was the first grown-up book I'd read in quite a while (I spent most of my pregnancy re-reading some of my favorite children's books). Even though I had virtually nothing in common with the characters, I loved the travel and the interweaving of faith and life--unlike so many examples of Christian fiction that read more like expanded gospel tracts. I think I read it three or four times right in a row, just to absorb everything.

The second book in the series, Siterchicks do the Hula! is also a light and fluffy really deep book that does a great job of showing life and faith as a whole, not two separate pieces.

7. Name a punchline that always makes you laugh.
Okay, bear with me. I was visiting Cornwall a few years back, and I watched the local news one evening. They had a story about a nearby football (soccer) team that had gotten into trouble because their ball boy was wearing shorts on a cold game day. Some official body was giving the team management grief about it. I probably missed some of the details, since I don't understand UK organized (or should I say "organised") football, but I was under the impression that the big concern was the ball boy's age and making sure he wasn't working under unduly harsh conditions.

At any rate, the news show had an interview with the team's manager and he pointed out that the boy had been wearing plenty of other warm clothing (mittens and wool socks and a jacket and so forth) and he never even complained of the cold. The interviewer asked some question about the upcoming game and what the plans had been made to be sure the ball boys kept toasty.

The team manager kept a completely straight face and said, "Well, if the boys get cold, we can just wrap their legs in red tape."

That kills me!