Here are a few random things I learned during the holidays:

1.You can cook on a hotel iron. Also, I really like that I got this information from a site that reviews consumer products. The photos on the site are great. Each iron has its pros and cons as a skillet. I had never imagined an egg on an iron, but it turns out it’s not that far-fetched, and people also cook with hair driers.

2. Arab flags all have the same colors. I learned this from clicking around on a jobs site that emailed me. There’s a page with a bunch of flags from the Middle East. And I guess I’ve never seen them all lined up before because I never noticed they are all green, red and black, which, it turns out, are the Pan-Arab colors.

3. Sanctimonious means self-righteous, holier than thou. I had heard the word before. I think I thought it meant gratuitous. Which is sort of part of the meaning but not all of it. I had to look up the word because Tracy – a reader who told me, in this comment, that she likes this blog but she doesn’t like when I get sanctimonious.

First of all, I know Tracy pretty well, through comments, and courses and coaching. And I know she is smart and insightful, and if she’s telling me I’m sanctimonious, I need to listen.

Also, though other people have said this, I try to brush it off. But you can’t just brush off criticism from someone who really likes your work. I’ve written before about how the best way to get better at your job is to listen to your critics. But you have to know which ones to listen to: if they hate you then they don’t understand you. But if they are fans, then you really need to listen to the criticism.

So starting this year I am going to try to not be on a soap box. I am going to just dole out information and insight in a really useful way so that you can’t help but be sucked in by the posts because you are learning so much.

If I can’t get you to put your kids in an engaging environment, the least I could do is make an engaging environment for you, right?

See this photo?

Artist Suzanne Heintz has spent fourteen years living with her mannequin family, and taking pictures with them “to show that single people can be happy too”.

She takes photos of herself doing all sorts of normal, every day things that many people assume would only be enjoyable with kids.

I like the photo because it reminds me that I should write for everyone, not just people with kids. Kids is a job. But some people give themselves completely to their jobs, just as people can give themselves completely to kids.

Suzanne Heintz is making a point here. She is sick of people thinking you need to have a family to have a full life. She is making fun of that. But she does it with such grace and passion that even though I don’t think like her, I listen to her.

I want to be that person, one who is full of grace and passion so you want to listen whether you agree with me or not. And I have a feeling it’ll be good for me, because the deeper inside myself I dig for the truth, the harder it is to be sanctimonious.