Dear Mr. Prime Minister of Spain #2

What a week you have had! Between the press conferences and committee meetings I am surprised that you had time to do anything but brush your teeth and respond to my letters – obviously both of great importance for your personal image. I would not recommend ignoring either of those. However, we both know that if one had to go, which you would chose! On a side note, have you noticed that dentures have come such a long way in the past 50 years? But back to topic. Below I have provided you with a couple more issues to address with your cabinet and staff. I would much appreciate if you could handle these in a more timely fashion than my previous requests. Really, hombre. Priorities!

Parking: Why is there such a fascination with double parking – in the middle of the traffic lane – during the times of heavy traffic? I know it will only be for “one minute”, but nearly every Spaniard is much too friendly to get in and out of any store in a reasonable amount of time. If the driver is anywhere near as conversational with everyone else as they are with me, a complete stranger, they may want to find a parking spot and put a few euros in the meter.

You may want to talk with the folks down at the dictionary office about this one. Everyone keeps using this word, and I don’t think it means what they think it means. “Claro” obviously does not mean “clearly” because if it really were “claro”, I would not be asking the question or so surprised by the answer. Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time someone told me “claro” about something that continues to confuse me, I could have paid someone to do all the running back and forth for my visa paperwork. Obviously.
On a personal note, I would like to recommend a slight toning down of the “tactical force” to deal with the barking dog next door. I agree, we have all wanted to, but just because you “can” does not mean you “should.” Calling in the “heavy artillery”, while effective, may be frowned upon. Again, just my opinion.
I will see you next week

Befuddled in Bierzo,


Sometimes I can’t stop sarcastic comments from coming from my mouth. We were walking through the airport in Madrid after 20 hours of traveling, missing a night of sleep, and the normal joys of airports when a friendly passenger looked down at the guitar I was lugging under my arms loaded down with a stroller, carryon, and car seat, and said, “You must play guitar or something?”
And I couldn’t stop myself…
“No, I just like to pack my clothes in a guitar case…”

At least we both laughed about it.


Tips to turn “Travel” into “Adventure”

The problem with traveling is that it can get tedious. We have put on plenty of miles in the last 15 months, and miles can be boring…unless you plan. If you want to turn your ordinary road trip into something memorable, follow these tried-and-true steps.


1. Play Russian roulette with gas station bathrooms.” There will be another option closer to the highway!” Let that be your motto no matter what tears are shed or verbal abuse given from your passengers.


2. Only look down at your gas gauge once every hundred miles or so. The anticipation of wondering when the light came on is exhilarating.


3. Drive late at night after a heavy meal of a Culver’s meal basket which leaves you in a grease coma.


4. Drive INTO the storms that look like the coming apocalypse.


5. Store water bottles, small toys, or assorted Tupperware under the drivers seat. That way when you try to come to a quick stop or accelerate into traffic they roll around and get stuck under your pedals. Awesome.


6. Forget semi-important items at home, such as passports, presentation materials…or your shoes. Don’t ask.


Remember, to fail to plan is to plan to fail.

A simple guide to starting your own heresy: or, “Dan Brown’s template”

1. Obtain an ancient document (preferably one that people are familiar with and have some connection to)
book2. Find an obscure passage in above document

3. Find a ridiculous and previously disproven interpretation of above passage

  • If you don’t have time to do this, don’t worry. Most just invent the interpretation and claim that the original documentation was burned, lost, covered up, or hidden under some highly guarded monument. That is acceptable.)

4. Explain how everyone prior to you has been too ignorant/ racist/ chauvinistic/ embarrassed/ prejudice/ power-hungry to embrace and propagate your interpretation

5. Repeat this process quickly enough that by the time your heresy has been sufficiently refuted, you are selling books on another one.

Note: Check out “5 Things You Need to Know About Camels and Biblical Accuracy” by Jan Verbruggen to see how one ought to go about dealing with all the “Breaking News” that is regularly published.

Email Etiquette

I think our world would spin just a little bit more consistently if everyone who has an email account would agree to live by these few rules.

I, as holder of an email account and passing on the address thereof to others in a manner of seeking communication, and being of sound mind and able fingers, agree to the following articles under pain of death, or at least sharp criticism in the form of a specialized blog post:

I will:

Respond in an appropriate amount of time with an appropriate answer.

Not clog your email by responding when your email did not require a response, such as when you say “there is no need to respond.”

Not assume the question for which you asked my response was rhetorical, such as “When can we meet tomorrow?”

Not put you in my spam folder because you asked me numerous “rhetorical” questions.

Responding to all when you ask all of us to “respond to all.”

At least make an attempt at punctuation and capitalization.

Listen to my spell checker.

Turn off the signature that says “I sent this from my really expensive device that you are too poor to own while on my vacation to someplace you will never go.”

Make sure the caps lock is not in use SINCE YELLING AT YOU WILL NOT MAKE YOU RESPOND ANY FASTER.

Refuse to forward you any chain emails with blocks of addresses and numerous additional comments about testing whether you love God or your country because you don’t forward it again

Never use the abbreviation “IDK” as a response unless I have recently had a severe accident which left my entire body paralyzed and am responding to your message by using a chopstick between my teeth to type a message.


This is my attempt at speaking the truth in love…I’ll use sarcasm when love doesn’t seem to be cutting it.


You said what?!

Series note: The “You said what?!” posts are my effort to make life on this little round earth a little more bearable. I seek to shame those who say stupid things. If you are one of those people, please take offense and say something that I can write about next post.


“Well, at least…”

We were without a home for awhile. It was a messy ordeal, but we have survived with only mild side affects (a nervous tick and a deadly fear of moving trucks).

The story is simple. Put in an offer on a foreclosure. Offer accepted by bank. Closing date set for first week of July. Terminate our apartment lease. Pack everything up. Get call from bank saying we have to wait a week. Move all our stuff to the garage of new place. Camp out in old apartment. Move to our pastor’s home for the few days before closing. Bank delays. About two months after original date, close on the house (a day after putting a deposit in on another apartment). You know, the normal.


One of the comments we cherished during that time was… “Well, at least you don’t have kids…”

Thank you for that. My hat goes off to you, Pessimist Person, for showing me my good forture.

This comment, “Well, at least…” is a real gumdrop. It is normally uttered by the pessimist trying to convince you that things could be worse. I say it is a pessimist, because who else would walk through the hallways of their mind looking for a way things could be worse?

The “Well, at least…” game is great fun. We could play it all day long! At least I don’t weigh a thousand pounds. At least I don’t have four arms. At least I don’t have a nervous tick…well, too late.

Dear Pessimist Person, your “well, at least..” may be your attempt at pointing me to some silver lining, but maybe it is making me miss it. Maybe I don’t need to know how bad things could be, or imagine what I would look like with four arms (more nervous ticks enter here). Maybe instead of “well, at least…” you could just say “that’s tough,” or “I’m sorry you have to face that.” How about instead of “well, at least…” you could just pray with me.

Instead of the “Well, at least…” gem, how have people encouraged you in tough circumstances?

Later this week I would like to look at comfort. Some understand it. Some don’t.

You said WHAT?! The “Concerned” Put-down

Sometimes people say the strangest things, and it is not until afterwards that you think of a good response. This post will equip you to respond to one of those sayings.

The “Concerned” Put-Down

I like to think of this little dandy as being offered by an individual who really is trying to show a form of concern, but in the process pokes you in the eye. You normally don’t catch this until too late, but now you will be prepared.



  1. What it looks like: “You look REALLY tired today, are you doing ok?”
  2. Translated:
    • “The bags under your eyes are so distracting I can hardly carry on a conversation with you.”
    • “You must be in over your head judging how AWEFUL you look today.”
  3. Appropriate* Response
    • “No, I naturally have saggy eyes.”
    • “Crazy! I was about to say the same thing to you.”
    • “I was up all night praying for your soul. What were you doing last night with your precious hours?”
    • “Yes, actually, I am. I really need help cleaning my house/finishing a paper/doing laundry/washing our dog/sorting my bug collection alphabetically by latin species name. And since you are volunteering to help, you can come over tonight at 7 pm. Bring protective eyewear.


  • Alternative – Why don’t we stop making the “concerned” put-down and just ask how people are doing.


*”Appropriate” is based on the “Seth Standard of Sarcasm”


Let me know – What do you say?