In Which I Got 99 Problems (but you only have to read about 7 of them)

by | Feb 21, 2014 | 7 Quick Takes | 34 comments

Sean McCabe
I’ve got problems. They are lame problems, but they are MY problems. It’s a real . . . well, let’s just get on with it.
Grocery Bag Problems

My biggest problem in the whole world right now is the county (and soon-to-be state) -wide ban on “single use” bags in stores. 

Which maybe says more about how soft my life is than about how terrible it is to have to remember to bring my own bags every time I go shopping. 

As I sit here trying to type this up, I realize that it’s completely counter to how I usually roll for this to be so disruptive for me. I’m all about reusing things and minimizing waste. But don’t they have anything better to do and this is totally driving me nuts. 

I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Costco and Trader Joe’s, and neither of those stores offer plastic bags anyway. But I also shop at Target and Party City and shoe stores and whatnot and it didn’t used to be AGAINST THE LAW for them to give me a bag.

I understand the desire to minimize trash on California beaches, but asking people to pay 10 cents per bag (which I will not do) or bring their own bags (which I mean to do) or carry their purchases out to the car one precarious armload at a time (which I mostly do) seems to be a case of misplaced priorities.

It makes me want to do all my shopping on Amazon just to avoid the hassle. The problem there is that the milk on Amazon is a little to fancy for my taste. 

The reviewers seem to like it though. We should probably just get a cow.

Author Problems
Next problem: Copies of A Little Book about Confession for Children are being shipped, which is great. BUT *I* haven’t seen it yet. My publisher assures me that they plan to send me some copies just as soon as they possibly get around to it. :o|
But Simcha likes it! And Jenny gave it a glowing review on Amazon. Thanks ladies! If you’ve gotten a copy and like it and would review it on Amazon that would be really great. If you don’t like it, you should just keep your opinions to yourself, thank you very much.

Vendor Problems

I’m going to be at the Behold Conference in Peoria, IL on March 1st. And my book
and I will have a table. I’m not all that familiar with conventions (or vending), but in my mind vendor tables look like this:
and MY table is going to look like this:
only I’ll be a brunette. And a grown up.

Life Goal Problems

I set some rather arbitrary blog goals for myself in 2014. It’s good to have some things to shoot for, no? 
My goals were:
1. Have Jen Fulwiler link to one of my posts.
2. Have Simcha Fisher link to one of my posts.
3. Get 942 likes on Facebook (just kidding it was 1,000, but 942 is pretty close).
Check, check, (almost) check, and check. So what do you do when, against all odds, you accidentally acheived all of your goals by February? Quit blogging? Run for president? Take up biathlon? I just don’t know what to do with myself.

— 5 —
Lego Problems

We are a devoted Lego family. But I have a HUGE problem with the Lego Friends “girl Lego” sets. 

The Lego Friends figures are basically just tiny Bratz dolls, totally lame in comparison with the iconic Lego Minifigures.

I remember when girls could play with all the Legos, not just the pink ones.

The little girl from this 1981 Lego ad is now a doctor, practicing medicine in Seattle. 

You can read more here:

The Little Girl from the 1981 LEGO Ad is All Grown Up, and She’s Got Something to Say

My girls aren’t as interested in Legos as the boys, but when they do play with Legos, the real thing will do them just fine.
— 6 —
Olympic Problems
We love the Olympics, but I get mad at the judged sports. My kids understand my basic points about Truth and Objectivity and Outfits Not Counting. But they still like “slopestyle” and ice dancing best. Jeesh.

But we ALL loved the Ladies Skeleton.

I was so excited to follow Noelle Pikus Pace’s Olympic story, and see the way she balances her family life with her personal goals.

Her races were one of the highlights of our family Olympics-watching so far.

— 7 —
Purse Problems

I’m cleaning out my purse. Who’s with me?!
I know some of you will be participating in Jen’s 7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge. Looking for a post idea? Next Tuesday (4/25) I’ll open a link-up here which will be open all week. 
It’s pretty complicated: Dump out your purse, take some photos, link it up.
You may wish to include the following . . . 
  • It’s my favorite thing in here.
  • Wow, I really have a lot of these.
  • I’ve been looking for those.
  • Huh. THAT shouldn’t be in there.

The fine print (which I’m keeping big so you can read it): NO CHEATING. No early tidying. No funny planted stuff. God is watching you.

Hope to see you there. happy weekend everyone!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Jenny Cook

    #1–Multnomah County in Oregon (AKA home of Portlandia) is the same way with plastic bags. Joke's on them, though, because I live in Clackamas County, where we tastefully festoon our huge gas-guzzling trucks in plastic bags just to make the people in Multnomah County indignant.
    #2– 🙂
    #4–I can't even imagine a page view number that big in relation to anything I write. My computer might short circuit. Way to go!
    #7–Is it a problem that I don't even have a purse? I have a backpack which masquerades as a diaper bag which masquerades as a purse. I will still clean it out though.

  2. Christine

    ooh – love the purse idea! It's kind of like when you play that game at bridal showers where you get more points for having weird or uncommon things in there…like a rock (which, actually, I may well have in my purse right now, since my son is always asking me to hold onto them for him…)

    I can't imagine not being given bags at stores anymore! We primarily do our grocery shopping at Aldi, so I'm used to bringing re-useable bags for that. But we rely on the free plastic ones from stores as bathroom trash liners, dirty diaper holders, and – most importantly – scooping the cat litter!

    • Kendra

      Oh yeah. Somehow I left that out. They are not single use for us! We reuse every one.

  3. Micaela Darr

    Dang it, dang it, dang it! I just emptied out my purse tonight! Why oh why am I not good at telling the future?!

    I just got your book today! Will Amazon review it this weekend and blog review it next week. 🙂

  4. Renee


    How do people pick up their dog's poop when they go for a walk, if they don't have an ample supply of left over plastic bags?

    Serious question.

    • Amelia Bentrup

      Yeah…I want to know that too. PLEASE tell me that the state of California is not insisting on re-usable pooper scooper bags.

  5. Christine

    Very few "remade" toys are as good as the original. Why, oh why did Lego have to go down that trail?

    I'm so glad I live in the midwest, where bringing your own bags is encouraged, but it's understand that sometimes, you just need a plastic bag.

    I enjoy the idea of slopestyle, but when I watched it all I could do is yell at the screen for the guys to get some clothes that fit! They might perform better if their pants weren't falling down around their knees.

    Congrats on achieving your blog goals.

    Have fun at the conference!

  6. Molly

    The lego thing – I totally agree. If any future daughter wants to play with dinosaurs or trains she'll play with regular old dinosaurs and trains, not special "girl" dinosaurs and trains (just like I did). Same goes for legos.

  7. Annery

    Thinking about the contents of my purse, Tuesday might read a little like a confession of a boarder!

  8. Theresa @ OrdinaryLovely

    No 3 – I keep checking back at Amazon to see if they'll put up an "inside preview" of your book. Do you think they will?? My oldest is making his first penance month so we've been on the hunt for good resources!
    No. 5 – Don't even get me started… it drives me nuts how many toys have "pink" alternatives. Since when were girls unable to enjoy red, blue, and yellow toys???? It's a shameless money-making ploy. "It's not enough to have ONE set of Legos (or whatever). Now you need to have TWO (one in PINK) so that your daughter has her own. We may even put princesses and ponies on it to make it MORE *gag* appealing!" (This also ensures that if you buy the pink one first and THEN have a boy, you'll be uncomfortable enough letting him use it that you'll actually go out to buy the ORIGINAL version…) Ok, I'll stop now.
    No. 7 – My mom used to call her mom purse a "duffle purse" due to the size and variety of contents therein. In my purse I'd be more likely to find a half-eaten crayon and a lollipop that I would eat on the spot 🙂

    • Kendra

      I'm not sure, I'll ask. I also wish they'd put in in some categories so I wasn't #18,000 on the best selling list of "all the books on Amazon"

  9. Anonymous

    I have been thinking a lot about #5. As an engineering professor and a mother of two daughters, I care about encouraging creative building-type play in young girls. Over the last few years I have been noticing two things.

    One, my younger daughter really, really likes pink, and she prefers dolls that seem like girls to ones that don't. But she also takes taking things apart, seeing how they work, building things, etc. So from that standpoint, I'm perfectly happy to have the pink and girly legos for her because they really fit her interests. I don't love the vapid quality of the Lego Friends line, but at the same time I doubt my daughter would be interested in the video-game or comic based Lego kits for older kids (boys?) either. So just the bricks are fine, and it's great that you can get a whole set in her favorite colors and with characters that she thinks are cute and fun.

    The second thing is that I have noticed that the girls in my freshman engineering class who are most likely to leave engineering before I see them again as juniors/seniors are the ones who are the girliest. The ones with adorable faces who like to socialize with their friends, who care about their hair, who giggle, etc. The literature suggests that a major factor in the so-called "leaky pipeline" of women in engineering is "culture" – women not feeling like they fit in with the vibe (or sometimes that the vibe is openly hostile to them, although I think and hope the latter is becoming less frequent). So now I can see the possible long-term benefit of having science and engineering type toys that are not EXCLUSIVELY gender neutral. Because, it's okay to be in engineering and be really girly. Like: Do you like pink stuff, and shopping, and clothes? You can still be an engineer.

    • Kendra

      These are good points. And really, the friends line IS more interesting to my daughter than regular Legos. But I just hate that the girl version just seems dumbed down. But you're right, we do want women to be able to be feminine AND still be able to pursue traditionally male careers. As a pilot I definitely felt pressure from other female pilots to be more masculine.

  10. Colleen

    Wow, I wouldn't even know what to do with myself if THAT many people read a post of mine. Did you have a party??? I love the purse idea, and I'm in if I can remember 🙂

  11. Sarah

    Those sound like some great life goal problems to have!! 🙂

  12. Christine Hutchinson

    I'm scared…but looking forward to linking up for the purse dump. We also loved Women's skeleton and loved following Pikus-Pace's story. Love her! And way to go on hitting those blog goals–I've just recently found you and loving what I see so far!

  13. Anna Ilona Mussmann

    The plastic bag thing reminds me of how when we were visiting my mom's family in Finland, we always looked like dumb foreigners because we'd go shopping without bringing our own bags (and thus face the dilemma that you describe). I prefer the way that my local Target rewards me with 5 cents off for every bag I bring!

  14. Anonymous

    re#1: I thought about this awhile ago, and I'm thinking about how I'd love to be obnoxious, but unfortunately, it would affect the wrong people. Basically, I'd have the cashier restock my cart, and ask for helping hands for someone to stock my car. Of course, I'd have to get it all back in to the house, and like I said, I'd only be punishing the innocent and forever become known as "that lady."

    #7: awesome. I'm in!

  15. Caitlin

    Target was already effectively charging you by offering discounts to those who bring reusable bags. Funny how psychology works, huh? But at least you've got all those kids to help you carry stuff to the parking lot, ha!

    • Kendra

      It's true, but I prefer the carrot to the stick! I'm so conflicted on the whole thing. I am a stuff and especially packaging minimalist, but it seems somehow unAmerican to force it like this.

  16. E

    We went to Seattle this past fall and man was that bag thing really, really annoying. I don't know why but every time I went to the store I wanted to scream you have the dumbest laws in this state, you legalize really, really bad things for the soul but I have to pay for a grocery bag!??!?!? UGH. Sorry this is coming your way. :Rant over:

  17. Nanacamille

    You just need to move to San Diego as we still have plastic and paper bags for free

  18. The Sweet Wonder

    Ooh I love a good purse dump!

    Congratulations on all your big blogging achievements! Looks like you've got to think of some equally great goals for every 2 months for the rest of the year 😉

  19. Anna Yager

    In NorCal a lot of the "better" grocery stores (like Whole Foods & the local stores) sell ChicoBags. These are TOTALLY the answer to the "bring your own bag" issue, because they squnch into small rolls (maybe 1.5" x 3") and you can easily fit several into your purse. I keep 3 in my purse at all times, with some backups in the car. They're also very sturdy (made of parachute cloth or something similar) – much more so than plastic bags – so you don't need to worry about them ripping open if the contents are too heavy.

  20. jen

    My parents live in San Jose which has a plastic bag ban. The way they deal is they keep all the reusable grocery bags in the car so they have them every time they go shopping. It drives me crazy though because I actually *use* the plastic bags for stuff!

  21. Genevieve

    Hi Kendra! First time comment-er here. Anyways, I found this really cool site while looking for a brainy-educational gift for my niece. It fosters girls to be engineer, constructors, and build things, etc. but I do agree with you that the original legos are better.
    Yes, the plastic bag ban is annoying. Even though I have the reusable bags in my car….I STILL forget to bring them INTO the grocery store until I am paying for my groceries. By the way, looks like we are neighbors! My hubs and I live in Granada Hills. We have not attended mass at the SF mission yet but attend mass at St. John the Baptist de la Salle.

    • Kendra

      That IS cool, I'm glad to know it exists.

      We are really close! If you ever come by the Old Mission for 10:30 Mass, please say hi! (except next week I'll be at Behold).

  22. JenniferM

    No plastic bags?? What would I use for dirty diapers?
    We almost moved up our shopping day this week when we ran out of "trash bags".

  23. Andrea

    I found your blog via your book, which we got last week. I have two girls preparing for first penance and fhc, we are enjoying it very much. Just on Friday, the q&a gave my daughter and I an opportunity for wonderful, fruitful conversation!
    As the mother of four daughters, I will have go say we are mega fans of Lego friends. My daughters would have had zero interest in Lego without them, and interestingly, they appreciate the little animals much more than the girls. Now that we have a son, I imagine more gender neutral and boy-centric (which, let's face it, most of the sets are- we are frequent visitors to the Lego store) will show up, and they will like them equally. They play with Lego's every day because we have these sets and I LOVE that! 🙂

    I think I'll join the purse dump tomorrow! Sounds fun.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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