The phase “I’m an outdoors person.”

If so, then why do we refer to it in terms of not being inside of doors, which came…kinda…secondary?

Advertisements that proclaim


make me have the following thought process:

UP to 40% off?

How many items, exactly, are actually 40% off, and how many items are more like 1% off?

(And also, do you realize that you just let me know that you have nothing in the store that is over 40% off? It’s kind of a bummer.)

Could you have a bell curve that shows the complete distribution of your percentage-off data points so that I can make an informed decision?

Or if that’s too much to ask, you could simply clue me in on the minimum percentage off.

In fact, I’d be much more likely to enter your store if it said,


Not that I tend to overthink.

Pap Smear.

The term doesn’t puzzle me – it just emphatically disgusts me.

Could we call it a Pap Swatch instead?

It sounds so much friendlier. And like something you wouldn’t mind wearing on your wrist.

OCD Medication.

My husband is OCD.

He knows he is OCD.

He has a deep reverence for his gift of OCD.

After an especially long episode of his nightly routine of triple-checking the locks, stove, coffeepot, and curling iron before bed, I told him,

“You know they make pills for that.”

And he laughed at me.

Because he is convinced that if he took a pill for that, then most assuredly the doors would all be wide open where thieves would come and go at will, all four stove eyes and the oven would be flaming despite the fact that I hadn’t cooked in a week, the coffeepot would be spewing eternal amounts of boiling water all night long, and the curling iron would melt the countertop off.

No OCD person would prefer not to be OCD – at least as long as they’re OCD, anyway.

Bobs shoes.

The Scene: The Skechers Boardroom.

The top executives are all sitting around, discussing ideas.

Exec 1: “How are we going to gain a competitive edge this year?”

Exec 2: “We have all sorts of fabulous marketing ideas! We will sell backwards-soled shoes that claim to make you lose weight because they’re so awkward to use. We will buy an extraordinarily cheesy advertising spot during the Miss America Pageant where they show all of the contestants wearing our shoes for a shopping trip and thereby proving that even they can go without stilettos when they find comfort in our fabulous shoes.”

Exec 1: “Yes, but how are we going to compete in the philanthropic market? Toms are killing us. Have you SEEN their slogans? People are drooling all over them because of how they give away a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair bought!”


Exec 3: “I have an idea. It’s brilliant. It’s edgy. It’s original.”

Exec 1: “What?? What??”

Exec 3: “Let’s come out with an entirely new shoe line. Let’s make them look simple – kind of like a roll of toilet paper wrapped around a shoe sole. And let’s… are you ready for this? For every pair sold, let’s give away a pair to a child in need.”

Exec 1: “Genius!! Where did you come up with that inventive idea??”

Exec 3: “Sometimes my mind starts reeling and I just can’t help myself.”

Exec 1: “And what should we call these innovative new philanthropic shoes?”

Exec 3:Bobs.”


Bobs Vs Toms Back


Bobs Vs Toms Side

Clothes that are black and white.

Do fabric manufacturers not understand how laundry loads work?? In which load do these dichotomous items belong – in the whites, darks, or lights??

I have been pondering this question my entire life, and I can say with certainty that there is no right answer.

What’s been puzzling you lately?

53 thoughts on “Things By Which I Puzzle.

  1. It’s called a pap smear because they make a smear slide which is then used for testing. Not any less gross sounding, but there it is.

  2. Oh man I hate Toms!

    – They are ugly.
    – They are expensive.
    – They are (pardon my abbreviations) a P.O.S. and fall apart and can’t stand up to anything except perfect weather and smooth concrete.
    – They encourage faux-charity which drives me nuts. If you want to help people, then HELP PEOPLE. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need and pat yourself on the back because the company you bought from claims they are donating. And if you do want to donate shoes (which is a great cause!!) then there are lots of organizations that do just that. One World Running is a good one.

    And I hate Bobs even more because not only are they just as ugly and as faux-charitable, they are copycats!

    (Also you bring up a good point about OCD meds…:))

    1. I’m with you 100% on the “faux-charity” – that stuff drives me crazy. Someone in those villages/towns was probably a shoe maker, then someone comes along and gives away free shoes – now they’re out of business. People just don’t think things through.

  3. I really thought you made “Bobs” up.

    And no way would I wear a “pap swatch.”

    The up to 40% thing bothers me too. You just know that the only thing that is ACTUALLY 40% off is that dusty fake begonia in the corner, and anything that you actually WANT is in the 1% pile.

  4. Oh man, Bobs make me mad. At first, I didn’t even know they gave away any shoes. And for those who aren’t aware, Toms is actually a great company. I don’t really think they are putting any village shoemakers out of business – their point is giving shoes to children who otherwise would be barefoot because they cannot afford shoes. If you think every child in third world countries has a pair of shoes made by the local cobbler, you would be incorrect. Also, Toms has a new branch that donates eyeglasses as well. So saying that it is a faux-charity isn’t really fair. Maybe people wouldn’t think capitalism was so evil if more corporate companies worked as much giving into their business model.
    On another note, the Toms I have owned lasted me a long time – even with being thrown in the washing machine. Plus they are really comfy. Although I will concede that they aren’t the most attractive footwear :)
    Ok sorry, done now. :)

    1. I have to say that I have no educated opinion on the efficacy of Tom’s charity work, but I’ve enjoyed the discussion in the comment section today! :-)

  5. Do you read Llama Llama Books? If you don’t then you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. My children love them! But what really (really!) puzzles me is… where the heck is Llama Daddy?
    That poor Mama Llama does everything for Baby Llama!

    1. I can’t stand the Llama Llama books! Mama Llama has horrible disciplinary strategies, and Baby Llama is a brat.

      I guess I’ve been too distracted by their behavior to notice the lacking of Daddy Llama.

    2. SO many kids things are missing a dad or any parents. And no explanation at all! We’ve been watching the Lorax NONSTOP and he’s got a mom and grandma, no dad.

  6. funny list! One thing I am constantly puzzled over — with all of the technology that exists in the world, when are we going to design a pair of socks that will stay on a baby’s feet? My sweet little munchkin pulls off her socks or somehow shimmies out of them and her feet are like tiny ice cubes all. the. time.

      1. Butt Glue for baby socks? GENIUS! With #3 on the way, I personally volunteer to be your product tester for this.

  7. Oh yes, black and white clothes totally throw me off too. I have never heard of Bobs and I don’t own Toms b/c they look so expensive and would only be good for summer up here in which case I’m in flip flops. They DO look like toilet paper wrapped shoes now that you mention it! Haha :) lots of kid’s stuff puzzles me. Like why do they make infant clothing w/teeny buttons in the back? So hard to button.

  8. I have heard of Toms, but had never seen them until now. They look like bedroom slippers to me, not something to wear out in public.

  9. Really? Sketchers did not have a single person in their creative think-tank gutsy enough to suggest maaaaaybe this could backfire because people would recognize it as a ripoff of TOMS and not want anything to do with it?

    On the clothing issue, I will never understand why they mix red and white. Makes. Me. CRAZY. One wash and it’s red and pink. Grrrrr.

  10. I once saw a sign outside a store that said, “Everything $1 and up!” No joke. But bonus points to their marketing person for finding a creative way to say, “There’s not really anything on sale today.”

  11. What gets me worse than the black and white clothes is RED and white clothes, which as Alabama fans we have a lot of, I’m scared to wash them with whites for fear they will turn them pink, and I’m scared to wash them with reds for fear they themselves will turn pink. So I usually wind up washing them by themselves.

  12. BOBS! LOL That is hilarious.

    Here in Korea, shops tell you the range of discounts when they have a sale, starting with the maximum, like 70~30% off. As in the US, you can pretty well guarantee that the 30% off items will far outnumber the 70% off ones.

  13. I agree with the BOBS thing. I have to say that it is so stupidly obvious that I wonder if they are mocking TOMS. At least all the UGGS knock-offs aren’t called BUGGS.

    The kind of thing I wonder about is who thought of inventing marshmallows and jello?

    1. LOL – I wish they were called BUGGS. Although I always thought the name UGGS was secretly code for “Uglies”. But I really have no room to talk, apparently, since I own two pairs of Toms ;)

    2. Hmm, Marshmallows have been my friend lately. They’re super sweet, so they quench my need for sugar, but they’re quite low cal.

      So whoever that was, I’d like to thank them.

  14. you DO over think things don’t you? i wonder if my first born is like you? he’s always day dreaming. i have never thought of all these things. simpleton me ;) i have never been interested in toms or bobs b/c they just appear like they would be SO stinky and sweat inducing. either i have to feel the air on my feet like a proper sandal or wear socks. i’m not into those weird half sock things either, but perhaps i should be. i’d probably look less stupid in some of my shoes…

  15. I had to laugh at your PAP smear – I got a letter from my Dr. (a chinese woman) that said “Your pap smear results were negative. It was a pleasure to see you again.” HAHA..

    I am enjoying your denim articles – I think I understand how that works! I am still puzzling over how differently cut the juniors jeans are. I CANNOT wear them. ANyway, thanks for all that hard work.

  16. I had to laugh at your PAP smear – I got a letter from my Dr. (a chinese woman) that said “Your pap smear results were negative. It was a pleasure to see you again.” HAHA..

    I am enjoying your denim articles – I think I understand how that works! I am still puzzling over how differently cut the juniors jeans are. I CANNOT wear them. ANyway, thanks for all that hard work.

  17. I love my TOMS! They are like going barefoot when you are somewhere that barefoot (or flip flops) is not allowed. (like work). I do wonder about the children that recieve the free ones though. If they do not have shoes, and we send them these flimsy cloth things with very thin soles, I can imagine them looking at them and saying ‘I don’t see why people think shoes are such a big deal”.

  18. Granted, I do live in the country that makes a living on manufacturing “Prado”, “Guchi”, and “7 For All Menkind”, BUT the TOMS that I bought for 26 kuai (5 bucks) the other day look spic and span EXACTLY like the legit $45 TOMS. So I have 2 theories:
    1. The real TOMS are total ripoffs and are made for about $3.50 a pair (or cheaper if they’re using old toilet paper rolls) and then sold for a crazy exorbitant amount. More or less if you add glitter.

    2. The “give away” pair is resold at cost on the other side of the world to make sure to cover all those shipping expenses to Ecuador, Katmandu, etc…

    But in all seriousness…they’re probably totally just bootleg TOMS. Which in essence is BOBS, right?

  19. I think a pair of bootleg TOMS is in order for you, Rach. What’s your size? Cuz I’ll get you a pair and bring them your way in March. Oh…didn’t I mention I’m coming to B-ham in March?! Wha?What?!

  20. I am constantly over thinking things, but now that you put me on the spot, I can’t really think of something. Although, i did overthink my clothing-to-productivity ratio and posted about it the other day. (see here: (By the way, I’m not trying to shamelessly plug my blog, I just thought it might be interesting to a fellow over-thinker.) My mom is always telling me I think about things too much.

    On the OCD note, I have a sister with OCD who does take medication for it. There are definitely more serious forms of OCD than just washing hands or checking locks. For my sister, her compulsions are a means of ignoring negative emotions/thoughts and it deals with (very mild) self infliction of pain. Perhaps there is more to your husbands than you let on, I don’t know, but for some people, they don’t want to be OCD.

    And I am always wondering about black and white shirts too. I usually end up putting it in the “colors” batch for things like bright yellow or medium blues. Seems like I’m just going half way on both accounts.

    1. I love your graph!! That is beyond true.

      I understand that there are more serious forms of OCD, and I certainly didn’t mean to come across as poking fun at it…mainly just poking fun at my husband.

  21. Where does the Pap part come from???

    As a side note, I am puzzled that the Academy Awards JUST changed its name to The Oscars. Really, that wasn’t official? Is this news to anybody but me?

    1. Is it bad I thought the Academy Awards and The Oscars were two separate things? Shows you how much I pay attention…

      And as a new mom with a squirmy 5 1/2 month old little girl who manages to NEVER keep her socks on, I love the butt glue idea :D Instead of socks, I just munch on her toes and it makes her giggle, so it is equally appropriate, right??

    2. Interesting! I hadn’t heard that they did. I really should wikipedia that whole thing and see where the nickname came from to begin with…but I’ll probably be too lazy.

  22. The laundry is why I just do lights and darks… then again I am 20, single and live at home during summer breaek, so that might change when I’m a mom.

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