Tuesday, February 28, 2006

You Can Take the Girl Out of the South

So you've heard the saying "You can take the girl out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the girl." Well, it probably wasn't "the South" originally, but it has pretty much been my silent battle cry (ironic isn't it?) whilst living above the Mason Dixon line (or dangerously close to it, depending on your understanding of the line). So tonight we had dinner with friends, Southerners actually, who are fixing to graduate from seminary and begin ministry in New York City. At one point, the idea was entertained that George and I might not end up back down South. For me, this was about like considering that I may one day have to breathe relying on some sort of respirator or that some horrible act of nature could wipe out much of the modern world and we would all be living like pioneers again- totally within the realm of possibility, but never a realistic fear to have worried over.

I mean, I spent a good part of last year fighting for my right to be Southern: taken aback by strangers who didn't smile, looking for that great shop where I can buy all the darling jon jons and bishop dresses, stewing over all the restaurants that serve that nasty Pepsi stuff, and counting down days until we packed up and went back to Alabamy. Even a few months ago, when asked by our associate pastor and his wife if we planned to head back down South, or did that matter, I said in no uncertain terms "Oh it matters!" And here's where Rick comes in. Rick is my brother in law who I hope will read this and then decide to be nice and mericful to me anyway. Rick says "Well, you just never know where God's going to call you. I mean, maybe he could really use y'all in Minnesota." To which I usually reply "But God is a good God."

So back to our evening. For the first time I really considered the idea of moving to some foreign place, outside of Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee/Georgia/Carolina country, and I didn't mind. Okay, calm down. I could be temporarily insane. It could be crazy pregnancy hormones playing tricks on all of us. But really, I started thinking about people. I started thinking about the lovely women I am getting to know from places like California, Virginia, Texas, and Missouri. And let's not forget that I married and adore a man from Michigan! I mean, it may sound silly to you, but I have not really considered that I could find a home with people who were not from Home. People think that Southerners are gushy and fake, but to Southerners it is polite and welcoming; it sets you at ease. And if you strip that away, it is easy to feel unwelcome and ill at ease. So my "battle" has been against a place that in the end, is home to many really lovely people; it just hasn't been home to me. But I am starting to feel a little more at ease. And now that I realize that people from anywhere can be welcoming and kind, and that I have become seamstress extraodinaire and can make all the darling little jon jons and bishop dresses myself (if I could just find a good fabric shop...) and that Bono says (yeah, still reading it; it's good!) you can even find Coca Cola in the most desolate of third world countries, there really is no reason to feel like I have to go back Home. Okay, so the coke and clothes might seem a little shallow, but we're talking about my way of life here!

See that's where the second part of the little quip comes in. You can take me out of the South as I just said (really, calm down). But you can't take the South out of me. And that's why it's not a sad thing. It's still going to be part of me. As long as "old times there are not forgotten," as long as I keep saying "y'all" and "fixin' to" which I couldn't stop if I tried, and as long as I can dress up my kids, make a batch of cheese grits and a pitcher of sweet tea, and cheer for Auburn football (even if they don't show a single game all season), I reckon I can go anywhere. The South won't leave me.

Well, we could end up at some little church in Wetumpka, Alabama anyway. But I think it is dangerous to have my heart closed to anything but that (although I really have no desire to be in Wetumpka anyway, but don't Alabama towns have funny names? Like Notasulga, Loachapoka, even Choccolocco and Hatchechubbee!). So I'm going on the record as saying that if it comes to it, I'm okay with Minnesota. I mean, we'd probably have to get dogs named Lee and Jackson and some serious winter coats, but I'd be okay. We've got a couple of years. And in the meantime, I will be okay with St. Louis- although I still really wish they would hang it up with all the local programming. And Rick, if you're reading this, try not to rub it in- oh, and thanks for the phone from me too.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Road to Recovery (or at least shaking some things off for a spell)

I really appreciate all the sympathetic and kind responses to my last entry. I never realize how many people are reading (because y'all don't comment!- yeah, but I don't comment on people's blogs too often either, I understand) until I hear at church or through someone else that there's all these people I had no idea were reading. So although it kinda makes me think "hmmmm who is it that I am being so honest and open with?" It also makes me encouraged that people still read and talk to me, even though I am a mess! So to everyone who posted or asked me about things at church or through email or a phonecall, thanks!

I feel a little better having talked to so many of you. I feel better because my sick child is better. I also feel better because I slept until noon yesterday, went to bed at eleven last night, and slept until ten this morning! I know that sounds just self indulgent and decadent, but after having been woken up at least twice a night, usually with a start that brings a couple of hours of wakefulness during the middle of the night, for several weeks, I was headed for a breakdown. So hurray for my gracious husband who said "Go to bed. Stay in bed." I also enjoyed a nice walk yesterday thanks to more sunny, mild weather, and rocked out to Oasis. Yes, I said rocked out. And yes, Oasis. I love those guys! I love a lot of "Brit pop": the Cure, the Smiths, Gene, Morrissey, Pulp, the London Suede. There's some obscure ones in there, I know. I credit all of it to old boyfriends. And that is unfortunate because most of it is rather melancholy(yet also lively- like ME!) and many of those bands are no longer putting new work out there. So what happens is that you find the music kinda taking you back. And I don't want to go back there. Fortunately for me, Oasis is still making great music and boyfriends of the past can't haunt me with music that came after they were gone.

Oh wait, did I say "boyfriends?" Just in case my blog ever gets haunted, I should be clear that one such person was a friend who was a boy, and not a "boyfriend."

Who, incidentally, was a complete arse throughout the duration of the "friendship" whilst also exploiting my obvious feelings and then dumped me hard in the end- and who dumps friends?- And then later blamed me because he claimed that people had told him that I said we were dating, which I never said, though I (along with everyone else) was quite confused about what exactly we were doing. And I did certainly say that he dumped me. But I couldn't have said that until after he did so, so it couldn't have been a reason for him doing so. And I obviously have not quite shaken that either.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

From the Depths of Woe

Well, I have been a little silly lately. Or maybe just not real serious. And that's not how I want my blog to be. Well, I guess there's a sort of tension. I am a thinker, no worse, a brooder. I get down and I get real down, I think about things long after I should just "make a bubble" or let it go. I have a hard time feeling better when something hurts my feelings; I have a real need to hash out everything. So I have a hard time when someone simply says "I'm sorry" and wants to forget the whole thing (or worse-"that's just how this person is"), because I know I need to forgive, but I also have a need to understand and discuss what happened. Some people criticize this and think that I am just trying to belabor things or that I am really unforgiving. I don't think that I don't want to forgive people, I just want to also understand people and be understood. Unfortunately for me and fortunately for the world at the same time, this seems to be really different from most people. I feel like I exhaust the people I know well because I am always sorting through things and hammering things out. I have a few friends who are really gracious to this trait, and in the end, I always feel really blessed, but also a little ridiculous, because I seem to be so slow to resolve myself to an understanding. So while I would love to have a blog where I can sort through things, not just personal conflicts, but legitimate struggling and questions about people, God, and pain, it seems like that is perceived as kinda weird on a blog. It seems like people want to talk more about recipes and the stuff of Seinfeld episodes, which is definitely a lot more fun and a lot easier.

So where do I go? Where do I go for this need to be real raw about things and have the helpful, hard, honest discussions? People tell me a lot how honest I am. And I think it can be a little shocking for someone to just point blank say that they are going through a really difficult season in life. We want to tell that person not to complain. And then we hear, and we think that we get why it's tough, but we also see all their bad attitudes and their lack of faith and self centeredness, and we don't really maybe want to identify with that guy. I mean, I remember that guy; that guy is a drain. But it seems like I have kind of been that guy for a while now. The cultural solution seems to be to send people to a counselor. I never trusted my counselors. To me it felt like I had been rejected by everyone else so now I was having to buy a new friend- a new friend who doesn't tell me anything about herself, who sees me less than an hour a week and a bunch of other people too so she never really gets to know me and even confuses me with other people, who cuts me off when "time's up," who gets paid $80 an hour to do what the church should somehow be doing for free (not going to pretend like I know the solution to that, but wouldn't it be great if every church had some wise, compassionate soul on staff who was available to talk to the people in the Body without charge or 50 minute time constraint?). Plus, where is she coming from? I know nothing about her, so how do I know how she views God's sovereignty or His goodness or any of the things that come into giving wise counsel?

Of course, the rejection comment is somewhat unfair. Most of us have our own unsolvable problems or else we can't conceive of the difficulty someone else is going through, either way making us feel very ill equipped to handle a sorrowful individual. I have actually been told by someone in my church body that she did not think I should go to counseling because the people of the church should stand in the gap. I totally agree with that idea, except that I was the person in need, without anyone (even the person offering this opinion) offering to help, so what was I supposed to do? How do we learn how to help people? A lot of the things that you get from counselors is a little too self appreciating anyway. How do we learn to treat people with sincere compassion, but still be honest about their sin and their contribution to their own pain?

Someone who doesn't understand what I mean will think that I am talking all about sin. I get kind of sick of talking about sin because it is so overwhelming. It's there. I've got it. I feel bad about it. I'm working on it. But there is the whole other issue of pain. I am not dealing with pain rightly and therefore I sin more. I have a fight with my mom so I snap at my kids. I feel like one friend really hurt me so I am completely oversensitive with another friend. Obviously, a lot of sin comes from pain: an alcoholic who's trying to drown his sorrows, a prostitute who was victimized as a child, an angry husband who is overwhelmed by bills he can't pay as they begin piling up, whatever. And we rebuke these people. And I know there is room for rebuke. But I guess we have to know the person. Are they insisting that they are right? Or are they desperate for some answers? Do they really want some help? Just because that's not our particular problem, doesn't mean it's not a real source of sorrow for them. I can't conceive of a road that leads to being a prostitute, but maybe I don't know that person's pain.

Here's what I'm not saying: that it's okay to be in sin if you're really sad and can't help it, that our pain justifies our actions. Here's what I am saying. We are hard on people. A lot of people know about their sin. A lot of people are overwhelmed by sin. When the preacher stands from the pulpit week after week and tells people to repent, to humble themselves before the Lord, it can be helpful. But to the person who feels helpless, to be shouted at and told to do better because they need Jesus, when they so desperately want to do and feel better and are really ready for Jesus to show up in a lifechanging way, we are just pouring salt on their wound- and lemon juice and vinegar and everything else. There has to be a way to help people. There has to be a way to help me.

I'm not really expecting any comments. I know this isn't my usual funny post. It's been a bad week. The Edemas are tired, broken, beaten down. Abby is tired and sick and poor and comes from a lousy lousy beginning. But it's not just me. There have to be so many people like me who are just quieter or maybe just more easily push their thoughts and feelings aside. I want so much to help those people, but I am one of those people. Are we all one of those people? I feel really different from the rest of the world. I feel maladjusted, overly emmotional, hypersensitive. I don't like being that way, but I don't know how to be different. I can tell that it is difficult for those who are involved in my life for me to be that way too. So there are my troubles, and then there is the trouble of how very troubled I am by them. Just being honest.... Y'all have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

"We Need to Talk about Your TPS Reports"

Ummm, yeah, six comments is not going to be enough on the American Idol post, so y'all are going to have to come up with some more. Also, ummm, I think that there are things to say to victims of road rage, sympathies to express, and there have been none of those. I also find your lack in interest of my child's bladder control development quite disappointing. Did you get that memo? So there will not be a post today so that you can all have time to think of exciting and validating things to say. Also, I'm gonna need you to come in on Sunday. Thanks....

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Let's All Have Much to Say About American Idol

Alrighty then. I have got to say that I am glad I am not in Birmingham for the next month or so. Let me just say that as hyper as St. Louis is about being St. Louis, they do have some snazzy things going for them and they are a fairly large city. The thing about the Ham is that it is just a dinky city in Alabama. And though Alabama is perfectly lovely to all who call it home, including me, it is not a real showstopping sort of place. So when a Birminghamian gets on American Idol, watch out people, because living in Birmingham is like living in a pep rally for that one contestant. Birmingham is on the map for a season and they are going to make the most of it!

It all started with Reuben Studdard. I had been determined never to watch a show called American Idol and hosted by a super geek. I mean really, let's draw some lines somewhere: Days of Our Lives? Questionable, trashy, complete waste of time... but we have been following it since our junior year in highschool. Phil of the Future on ABC kids Saturday morning?(I know, I mean that is just embarrassing) Delightfully cute for a sci-fi junior high sort of show, and directed by Fred Savage (aka Kevin Arnold) to whom I am unswervingly devoted. American Idol? No! [I think I am revealing my odd inner drive to do things differently from most ordinary people.] But during season 2, you just couldn't get by even one day in Birmingham if you didn't follow Reuben. And it was seriously insane because, if you have noticed, Clay Aiken is the real famous guy from that season; I mean who has ever heard of Reuben Studdard since? But it was just this bizarro campaign run by all of the local television and radio stations to "Vote for Reuben!" Everyone did, but then I think they forgot to campaign for "Buy Reuben's album" or even "Remember Reuben!" And who knows what happened to him? Last year we were not there for the Bo Bice extravaganza, but I have heard it was a doozy.

Anyway, we have been sort of casual Idol viewers since Reuben. I now see why everyone does enjoy it so much, although I don't really get into it until this point, where the finalists have all been determined. So we tuned in for the total of four hours tonight and last night- quite a lot of tv, I'll grant you; but really good tv when you are up dancing with your two year old and hearing cute little remarks from your four year old ("well, maybe he's a really nice person... we just don't like his hair."). I have got to say that I am so unimpressed. It usually seems like I tune in around the last 12, half of the number of people competing at this point, and there are some stand out people and then some pretty good people, and maybe one or two stragglers. But I got the feeling from these two nights that there is just going to be cut, cut, cut for a while, that we will be bored just waiting for the stinkers to be weeded out. I actually felt almost completely on the same page as Simon, who was really kind with his criticism for the most part (I don't think it is until later when he really expects good singers and rips the bad ones to shreds). He commented that there were only four really good performances last night for the women's competition, and I totally agreed. Then tonight, he seemed to only like about the same number of men, and I had to agree with him almost completely again. So I'm gonna put a link to the contestants so you can visualize these people and then try to give a rundown of what I thought. Hopefully it will be fun. Even if you don't want to read my review and don't care about the show, just click on the link and pick the most attractive or something.

Mandisa- sang "Never" by Heart and did a great job vocally and had a lot of charisma/soul.
Kelly Pickler- sang "How Far" by Martina McBride, seemed sweet and sad and like she never really found her strength, kind of whisper-y, but you still believed she was for real.
Becky O'Donohue- sang "Because the Night" which I love from Natalie Merchant, (but it is probably someone else's) horrible, horrible, horrible, like she was shouting off key, horrible
Ayla Brown- sang "Reflections" by Christina Aguilera which was well done but forgettable and nondescript, who picks Christina Aguilera anyway?
Paris Bennett- sang "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Night and was quite spunky, almost overly so, but I liked her and asked George why Tutti from Facts of Life is on American Idol.
Stevie Scott- sang "To where You Are" by Josh Groban (don't worry, I don't know a lot of these songs either) and just needs to be put out of her misery; she is an opera singer and has absolutely no "soul" or whatever it is that makes someone charismatic and enjoyable.
Brenna Gethers- sang "You are the Sunshine of My Life" by Stevie Wonder, quite possibly the worst song ever, so how could it be any less than awful. Even Stevie Wonder should not be allowed to sing it.
Heather Cox- sang "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" or so says idolspot.com. I vaguely remember this performance which Simon called "forgettable"- guess he was right!
Melissa McGhee- sang "When the Lights Go Down" by Faith Hill. I liked her, but not her performance so much; it took me a minute to remember her, and what I remember was her funky black and white shirt and her personality, not her song or performance.
Lisa Tucker- sang "I Am Changing" by Jennifer Holiday and was quite elegant and poised and perfect.
Kinnik Sky- sang "Get Here" by Oleta Adams, and after I finished gagging on her cheesey choice, I realized that she was doing those silly showy things with her voice that Christina Aguilera does, and that she never really sang a note of melody. It just doesn't sound controlled; George said it was like she was just kind of shooting in the dark for the right note or something.
Katherine McPhee- sang "Since I Fell For You" by Barbara Streisand, who I cannot stand, but Babs and all, she was the best. If I ever actually wasted my time calling in, it would have been for her, hands down.

Patrick Hall
- sang "Come to My Window" by Melissa Etheridge and made a bad song worse.
David Radford- sang "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen and just didn't pull it off very well vocally, although he was charismatic and fun. He is supposed to be the "crooner" type so maybe he'll eek through and be more true to his style next week.
Bucky Covington- sang "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and was awful, like he just rolled out of bed and has something in his throat, like please stop groaning and droaning, like how did he ever get this far, awful.
William Makar- sang "Give Me One More Chance" by the Jackson 5 and was just super cute and had a lot of fun, but was not very much here or there vocally. Simon called him average, but he is so cutey that he will surely get through and have a chance to do better next time.
Jose Penala- sang "Reasons" by Earth Wind and Fire like a girl and has himself a little nickname in quotation marks, and many of you know that I am very anti self imposed nicknames, so I am not going to participate in his little gimmick. No thanks to his song, his tacky white pimp hat or his gimmicky nickname.
Chris Daughtry- sang "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi and did a great job in spite of a crappy song.
Kevin Covais- sang "One Last Cry" by Brian McKnight and is only 16. He makes me sad because he is way too old for his age and doesn't really seem to know himself at all. He has a great command over his voice, but he didn't show any personality or oddly enough, youth. I did notice him earlier when I saw auditions one night though, and thought he was darling. So maybe it was just a nervous night for him.
Gedeon McKinney- sang "Shout" like a great demo tape, but with absolutely no soul. He is one of these guys who struts around thinking he deserves recognition and spelling his name all wrong. He didn't seem to have a personality, just arrogance and lip service. No thanks.
Elliot Yamin- sang "If You Really Love Me" also by Stevie Wonder and received very high praise from Simon, that he might be the best male vocal they have ever had. I thought he did well, but didn't jump out of my seat. Then again, Stevie Wonder? Really?
Bobby Bennett- sang "Copa Cabana" by Barry Manilow and could only have saved himself if he had said "Just Kidding" when he finished. He seemed sweet, but picture Dan Akroyd kind of scooting around the stage sort of talking the song like a Jimmy Durante impression or something. Yeah, it was just like that.
Ace Young- sang "Father Figure" by George Michael which is just a gross song. And Ace? Right. Well, he was the total package, as in he looked like he just wants to be famous and is acting like famous people from magazines from head to toe. Totally unoriginal, totally unreal.
Taylor Hicks- sang "Levon" by Elton John and was fabulous. He is the reason we should be glad if we are not in Birmingham, because he will do well. He had played harmonica with so much vivacity when I caught him for the first time a few weeks ago, and George and I waited all night for him. Ironically, he is the reason we are into the season this time, and we aren't even getting the hype from the Ham. The best performer was last again, although I think he is better than he was even tonight. And again, if I did the votin' thing, he'd be my guy.

Here's the link so you can picture everyone. And you had all better post a comment because this took me like an hour to write. Don't let me realize that I'm wasting my time! I already spent the four hours watching the show!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Road Ruckus

My car is making noise. A horrible, worse than nails on a chalkboard, sounds like something is churning around and cutting through the metal of the undercarriage and then scraping a furrow out of the street beneath me every time I brake, cacophonous racket! No, I am not exaggerating. George says it is the rotor, and has said so for over a month. I don't know what a rotor is, but evidently my life and the lives of my two and a quarter children are not in any danger as we screech through the highways and biways of metropolitain St. Louis. Of course, we plan to take it in. But that would involve George being able to take it in with me (so we could leave it) and bring the family back home. With all the class and work he has had lately, there hasn't really been a time. But I decided after what happened today that we are taking it on Thursday. And not only that, but that he is driving it until then!

I think the sound is getting worse because it usually gets a bit quieter as we drive. But as I pulled into Sam's this afternoon, the horrified looks of pedestrians in the parking lot assured me that it was just as loud as I feared, possibly even worse as I might be hearing a muffled version from within the car's interior. But I'm learning a bit of humility here and there and it's good for me, you know, the spoiled kid from upper class America. So I proceeded with my shopping and quite forgot about the sound until we pulled out, and again received many a shocked stare from all of those within earshot. And I noticed something as I hit each of the next five or so stoplights- that the sound is worse the harder I brake.

So as I approached the green light where I turn left to go up the hill to my neighborhood, I tried to brake gradually, which sent me slightly, only very slightly but also unpurposefully, over the white line into the intersection. The car behind me pulled all the way up, so I feared I had committed to the intersection. As the traffic never cleared (and rarely does at this particular intersection), I began to judge how far I really was into the intersection. I concluded that because the cars that would need to cross the intersection from my left could get across without having to stear away, I was safely able to stay put rather than run the light right at the change. Well, they came from the left just fine, I really was plenty out of the way. But then they came from the right on an arrow and had to turn across me. And I was in the way for that. Most people had no problem with it, but they had not anticipated having to make such a wide turn so they just had to slow down a second. But one man, who looked and drove a car not unlike Frank Costanza and his car, decided that it was his job to slow down almost to a stop and shake his finger at me while shouting who knows what like I had single handedly destroyed the entire St. Louis traffic flow, causing immeasurable delays. Okay, so not the best driving, I know, but who are these people that think it is their job to publicly shame people for minimal mistakes that have nothing but the slightest consequences. I mean, I assure you, I was not blocking the intersection, it was fully navigable; it just took a little tap of the brakes and a twist of the wheel.

I know it sounds like I'm fighting that humility. It is just the all too familair situation of being willing to accept responsibility and blame, but not quite ready to stand nor deserving of ridicule and shame. So I mouthed a paniced and mortified "sorry" so that he would please move on and all the other drivers wouldn't be even more mad at me. (My arrow was next, and I just wanted the whole thing over with!) The guy behind him was probably just a couple of years older than me, and very professional looking, and just sort of smiled to himself and kind of sideways at me as he pulled by easily. I guess he saw the exchange, or at least my frazzled response and recognized that Frank Costanza was being a jerk as usual.

Well, anyway, thank goodness most drivers are merciful and can handle an airheaded pregnant lady trying to keep her car from a creating a piercing squeal at the red light. I know that one guy should not make me lose heart, no one else even beeped at me. I just find those things hard to shake. A few months ago, I was backing out of a parking spot to go left while a man was coming from the left across the parking lot (so he was going right). In my mind, with two cars able to pass in the parking lot, I was fine to pull out and not be in his way in the slightest, but he didn't see it that way, and before I even pulled out was laying on his horn and gesturing and cursing from within his very nice Lexus SUV. I actually let that guy make me cry. I kind of hope people like that don't have children. I mean, if they are so merciless and unbending with complete strangers in traffic, what happens when their kid does something boneheaded or even simply childish? I know what happens.

Well, I guess to avoid contact with future road ragers and deafened passers by, we'll keep the car in the drive until we can get it to the mechanic. He gives a seminary student discount; let's just hope rotors aren't a huge deal!

Coffee Conundrum

I've been off the juice, coffee that is, for about five weeks now. I had various reasons for quitting. First of all, my teeth used to be white. Second, I learned about gum chewing being tacky which was my biggest weapon against coffee breath (mints come and go, but gum "lasts an extra long time"). My doc for the first two pregnancies was pretty open to most food substances in moderation during pregnancy, but I know a lot of t-totalers when it comes to caffeine during pregnancy and I reckon less caffeine couldn't hurt. I also seemed to be breaking out like c-razy so I thought cutting out the coffee might be helpful (turns out, it has been). And then what really made it easy was that coffee too has sounded absolutely inconsumable to me for the past month or so. Don't get me wrong, I usually love the stuff and have no problem with anyone, including me, having a coffee "addiction." But for now, it seems a good thing to stay away from. But I am sort of sad at that.

So I had some today. I am confused about how much I actually have at any given time. My coffee maker says 4 cups when I fill it, the minimum they recommend making (whatever). But somehow, it only fills two very normal sized mugs. I use the mugs from my everyday tableware set from Pottery Barn. So I am thinking my mugs must be 12 ounces and the coffee maker considers a cup 6 ounces, when we all know a true cup is 8 ounces (so they are both wrong). It sort of reminds me of George Banks in Father of the Bride freaking out over the 12 bun packages of hot dog buns compared with the 8 count hot dog packages. Why don't we all get on the same page? Anyway, I had about a mug and a half today, whatever that is. It was delightful! I feel so much more awake than I have been. And with each member of my family, including the cat, waking me up at least once a night, I could use a little jump start! But is that alertness worth stained teeth, bad breath, and break outs? Millions of people think so! And as I tend to think moderation could solve this problem, is it possible for me to drink coffee occasionally as opposed to all day every day like I have in the past? All of these are good questions for me. But right now, I am in sweet sweet coffee bliss even 4 hours after my last sip. However, having my giant sized teeth white again is truly a beautiful thing! So much to ponder...

Oh and P.S. we have not enjoyed continued success thus far today with Mr. August. However, he still has much to say about the subject, particularly about the candy.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Huggin' the Huggies Good-bye

I didn't do much today. And as a result, I don't have much to say. Bono says when he has nothing to say, that he makes that the first line of the song. So I guess I'm in good company. And all of this nothing is quite nice for a change. I wish I felt better so I could enjoy it, but then I would have to do a bunch of stuff, thus leaving no "nothing" to enjoy.

There were a few events in the Edema home today. Miss Amabel has a fever. I think that added to the nothing because she wasn't begging for an occupation. She was mostly content to look at books or play her little letter and number computer quietly. I hope it was just a 24 hour thing and will be all gone by morning. And Mr. August went tee tee on the poddy for the very first time! Is that okay to post? Well, maybe not with him in ten years, but it really is quite the accomplishment! He really seems motivated by the candy reward. For some reason Amabel never got real fired up about the candy insentive. But Aug, he wants candy so much that he went three times from late afternoon until bedtime. He was quite proud of himself and called both grandmothers and his aunt Katie to share the news. Unfortunately, none of them actually received the call because of a lot of superfulous button pushing. But nonetheless, there were three special ladies on his mind that he wanted to share the big news with. I think we ultimately owe the coaching credits to George who was home today for President's Day (hurray for bank holidays!). And I hope that in his absence, we will continue to make progress. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have one out of diapers before the next one arrives? I suppose we have plenty of time for that, but it is a luxury I did not have last go 'round so I did not take it for granted this time. But three times today says nothing about tomorrow....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Every Girl Should Have a George

I just have to say, my husband is pretty great. I feel like crap. I never really feel like I have bad pregnancies, especially compared with people who just keep throwing up all the time. My problem is that I think I would feel much better if I did throw up. I also feel like I am in need of about eight hours of sleep, even when I just woke up from eight hours of sleep. I have had a few good days. So if you asked me and I said I was fine, maybe I was, or more likely, I just hate to complain. Well, I just don't think I have much grounds for complaining compared to my thin and frail friends who seem to handle pregnancy with so much fainting and throwing up. I am hearty. I almost never get sick. So maybe I just handle slight sickness badly. But this time it feels worse than before. This time it feels bad, man.

Anyway, back to George. George is my hero. I had a craving for a cheeseburger one night when I was pregnant with Amabel and George refused to get it for me. I don't know if he remembers that, but it was sort of a lone craving and a lone refusal. I tend to think that if he got me into this predicament, he could help out with some of the kinks. Ya know? Well, now that I have these odd aversions, where only one thing in the world doesn't sound like it would make me throw up (and that one thing changes on a daily basis), George has become my champion of fetching food. He has even now, just come home from Schnucks ( grocery store ) with the makings for strawberry daquiris and the tomatoes I just had to have for a salad. I love George. Yesterday he took me out for cheeseburgers. In the past few weeks, he also has been to McAlister's, Chick-fil-A, Mr. Goodcents, and Qdoba for me in search of something I could stomach. And that's not to mention all the trips to the grocery that I can't even count. George is the best. He has school. He has work. He has to study. And he still lets me take a four hour nap on Sunday and then goes to the grocery when I wake up from a dream about daquiris. And what do I do? I wait for him to make the daquiris.

I know this post of gratitude doesn't make up for all that he does for me. I hope that I will eventually begin cooking supper again, ironing his pants again, and waking up with the kids at unruly hours of the night. But George says it's alright. And that's probably the best thing about it. He doesn't complain. He doesn't tell me to pull myself together. He just does what has to be done, and says not to worry about the rest. So I won't. How did I get so lucky?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Take You to the Vet"

I just don't know about these police and state trooper and sheriff's department fund drives. We are on the "do not call" list like most of you probably are. But we still get those calls, and with three different law enforcement branches making them plus the fire department, it is kind of a lot of calls. I mean, how hard is it really to tell someone "sorry" and hang up? For no confidence Abby, pretty darn hard! These calls usually cause me quite a bit of anxiety (wonder if I could sue? Ha ha!). I usually nervously stammer something about my husband being a fulltime student and our two kids and get off fairly quickly. My mom gets really mad when she gets these calls and pledges money with obvious anger in her voice. I wonder if this happens a lot of the time. My mom says you can't very well turn away the people who you hope will help you out someday if you need it. I guess she thinks they keep a list (and they might for all I know) and she is buying some type of insurance. I think what makes her mad is that they don't call it a donation, it's not tax detuctible, and it doesn't really feel like a choice.

Truly, these people are the hardest in the world to get to leave you alone. I think if they saved all the money they hire these telemarketers with and all the postage they issue to send out the decals and the three other reminders, they might not need a fund drive! I once went ahead and said I would send the money when George was actually unemployed just to get off the phone. They gave me a minimum of a $25 pledge and I told them I couldn't afford to send more than $10. I thought they'd say nevermind but they were good with that- so why do they ask for a minimum of $25? Then I thought I'd get one notice, ignore it and then just wouldn't receive my sporty little decal. They must've spent $4 in postage reminding me again and again to send the $10. But because they call as "Unknown Out of Area" there is no way to let them know that you aren't going to send it. So I handled it poorly, a little mercy for the deer in headlights, please :)

So George is in class tonight or I would've deferred to him (Best thing about being a girl? Saying "Oh, you'll need to talk to my husband about that!" -another awkward situation sent to the man who knows how to handle it. Phew!) when the state trooper fund raiser guy called. Earlier today I received a call from "Unknown Out of Area" and answered to a delay (and that's the tip off) and then "Miss Mayfield?" I fully expected a spiel even after I explained that there is no Miss Mayfield at this number; but I got nothing, not even an "okay, we'll make a note of it". So when "Unknown Out of Area" called again tonight, I thought that it better not be for Miss Mayfield but that since it probably would be, I would make sure the number got changed this time. Oh, but this time I got the spiel. And what a spiel it was!

Well, evidently that my husband is a student is of no concern to the state troopers because they aren't asking for a donation. No, they want to invite me to a Restless Heart concert, the greatest band in the world. (Who is Restless Heart? I believe he mentioned the song "When She Cries," and I'm always afraid of a band known for just one song, especially if that is the song I am thinking it is.) And isn't it important that our State Troopers have the best and most up to date equipment for all of our safety? Long pause... Oh! He's waiting for me, "sure." Of course it is! And this is just such an easy way to insure that and to get to see Restless Heart! And they are going to send me a couple of tickets and a great little decal to display proudly on my vehicle. And if I don't want to see Restless Heart, which is a really such great band (their four Grammy nominations should tell me that), then I can just sign the tickets and send them back with a check. Then they will give the tickets to people in nursing homes (Really? I'm sure they'll love that) and cancer patients and underpriveleged children. They sure do like to do something special for those underpriveleged kids and they know I want to too. Okay?

So deer in headlights is now having a Tommy Boy moment where I decide that I am not a dead, rotting deer carcass (hope you've seen the movie) and am not ready to be taken to the vet (or to the cleaners, or for a fool, or advantage of, or whatever metaphor you prefer) but that I have a few things to say, windows to break, what have you. So I answered his question. "No, not okay. I just explained to you that my husband is a fulltime student and that we don't have extra money free right now. My children are underpriveleged children!" I would just like to make a side note that I find it unfair that I have to use this type of a) personal information to defend myself to a complete stranger and b) self humiliation (basically pleading "we're poor!") to excuse myself from supporting a cause my tax dollars already go to (except that we don't pay taxes because our current income, like any other student's, is less than the standard deduction). Anyway, I continued in my rant about how he was wasting my time and that it was ridiculous for him to call me in my home and refuse to listen to my obvious and polite "no" and that if he was going to have a job where he put people in such awkward situations he really needed to learn to listen and to stop patronizing. And right around there was when I heard the click. So I hope I didn't ruin the poor guy's day. I know he is just trying to make a buck. But for heaven's sake, let a person go before they are busting glass mad. But in light of my previous posts about how I never speak up along with my history of negotiating a minimum pledge, I do tend to look at the conversation and say, in the words of Tommy Boy himself, "That was.... Awe-some."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Lone Read

I wish I read more. I really do read quite a bit every day: Blueberries for Sal, Bear Snores On, at least a couple of the eleven or so train books that August loves so much these days, Frog and Toad, The Big Picture Story Bible, Chronicles of Narnia or Little House books, etc. And as I am always interested in good book choices for children, I may try and see if there is a way to set up a little book list on here.

But what I wish I read more of was the sophisticated adult reading I hear so much about. I start books, but I forget what they are about and never get back to them. Even my most recent Real Simple has been sitting on the top of our tv cabinet for weeks, unopened. George got me Bono in conversation with Michka Assayas for Valentine's Day. I am fired up! And I hope it will get me on a sort of "roll" and I will start reading more in general. I read the foreword (by Bono, himself) and the introduction tonight. It looks like it is going to be an excellent read. I promise a review/report when I finish. In the meantime, I welcome suggestions for future reads.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Directory Assistance

Georgie is going to put some links on here for me so my blog isn't all lame with "edit me" "edit me" right beside the current post. I mean, it will still be lame, let's not get our hopes up, I will now just have some cool people, who will be embarrassed to claim me (so sorry ahead of time, friends), to link you to. So far, it's just people I know personally.

Check out Annie's and Jessie's blogs; they go to my church and have oh-so-studious husbands just like mine. Annie's blog is great when she posts (hint hint, Annie!) -anything from recipes to humorous anecdotes to helpful insights into the life of a wise lady. Her husband is the famous Jon Barlow and everyone has a link to him, including George and Annie, so you can find him through theirs. If you are among the four people who still haven't read his blog, it is definitely worth a look. And Jessie's husband is at Covenant with George, and her blog is way better than mine, so don't abandon me once you read hers. Also, check out her link to "the big yellow house" because it is a hilarious blog and is updated every day.

Also, my great friends Whitney and Lauren from Birmingham each have their own fabulous stationery business and design anything you need from baby announcements to gift enclosures to cutie personalized notecards. Whitney's company, Piklpaper, is whimsical and modern and incorporates a lot of photography and graphics. I have already reserved her to do my baby announcements in the fall. Lauren did August's baby announcements which were lovely. She has quite a portfolio as she has been in the biz for a while. She has done a lot of great things for me in exchange for smocked dresses or jon jons, so if you have a special skill, she might be interested in a trade, though her prices are reasonable anyway. Both girls work from home (trying to help out their families in this crazy two income society we live in) and have precious precious children. Come to mention it, so do Annie and Jessie. People with precious kids, that's what I'm about... Oh, speaking of, check out the other blog listed under Georgie, Mumblety Peg; he has pretty wonderful children too!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The "Mound" and the Fury

It's no big secret that St. Louis and I don't get along. What really bugs me is how personally St. Louisians take this. I am basically not allowed to dislike St. Louis, although when you first move to a place, for at least a year, all you get is, "How do you like it?" I always try to be tasteful. I never holler "Boo!" or say that I would rather live in a third world country or that what I really think is that the geography itself isn't too bad as long as you dump all the Yankees out and bring in some Southerners. I don't know why, but no one cares for those sorts of comments.

Well, really it isn't about St. Louis. Mostly it is just not home. What does make me want to blame it on St. Louis is how fond they are of themselves. Living in St. Louis is pretty much like living in a pep rally. It's like I want to just sort of dwell and get through my time here with indifference, but they just keep shoving St. Louis in my face. The amount of local programming here is astounding! There is a St. Louis zoo show, relentless local newscasting (6:00, 10:00, 12:00, 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 and lots of "updates."Please!), a Show Me St. Louis show (okay, that one is not so bad except that it is on twice a day!), and no Saturday morning cartoons until 10:30 because of NEWS! (lots of weekend specials). The Arch is everywhere and on everything, so much so that I was determined never to go until some out of town guests requested a visit (and it is neat, just nothing I want to have tattooed on my forehead or anything). The Cardinals, which are a fine team I know, are like a religion here. All of these things are okay in doses, but it is always this over the top gusto that makes you want to fight back: "It's not the greatest place on earth!"

So when you're homesick, when every little thing is different and strange- No one's ever heard of Auburn or the SEC. There is nowhere to purchase a jon jon, sweet tea, smocking supplies, a real pizza("St. Louis style pizza" is a foul combination of weirdo proccessed cheese called Provel on a crust as thin as a cracker), or fast food chicken fingers with special sauce (who knew Guthrie's was such a valuable part of our lives?). And I can't speak for long without getting "Where are you from? You said y'all!" or "You said 'fixin' to;' it's 'getting ready to!'" - you don't really want to learn to embrace the city that demands to be embraced but rejects all that you already embrace (even *gasp* Coca Cola!). They like what they like. I like what I like. Sure it's a bad attitude, but they brought me to it. They were not willing to leave me in my indifference or in my preference for home, so I fought for my right to hate it!

Now I sound like a jerk. I always think I sound like a jerk on here. Please know I am kidding- kidding about the truth, but kidding. And it all brings me to a little tribute of sorts to St. Louis. Or rather, a tribute to a little St. Louis quirk that hasn't been shoved in my face, just something I discovered on my own, which makes it charming. It is cole slaw. And I know that you think that Southerners make cole slaw and that it has something to do with cabbage and white stuff (mayonnaise, I think) and that it shows up at picnics and on the Fourth of July always with potato salad, fried chicken or hamburgers, lemonade, and brownies. Well, that is true and long may it be so. But St. Louis has a different offering by the same name and it shows up at every meal. Every meal? Well, every luncheon anyway. I have been fortunate to have been invited over to many homes since arriving in St. Louis, and there has not been a single native St. Louisian who did not have cole slaw on the table. It has been served with burgers, steaks, grilled chicken, Easter ham, stir fry, you name it. Being the polite person we all know me to be, I have always served myself a little in spite of being not so found of cabbage. However, it has grown on me, and with any luck, the rest of St. Louis will too. Nah, who am I kidding?

I called my mother in law, native St. Louisian and cook after that rite, for her recipe for the briney concoction I have come to enjoy. She is sort of a cook from memory with a catalogue of recipes she is eager to share. But as such, there is nothing actually written down to copy so you get it in sentence form. Here's her version: Take a bag of cole slaw and some chopped onions and mix them together. Pour vinegar and oil over it, more vinegar than oil, and salt and pepper it. You can also add carraway seed. You have to make it ahead so you can chill it and stir it every now and then until it is evenly coated, but it will keep for days. That's it. Well, no wonder everyone serves it, how easy is that? I am sure there are variations, but the cabbage in vinegar and oil is the main idea. As the French would say, and they are responsible for this "Mound City" (Ha! Seriously, that's it's nickname, click on it for the link!), Bon Apetit!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

August's Growing Pains

My son is growing all of the sudden! He has passed the 3 foot mark and I have moved all the buttons on his jon jons to try to accomodate for his two inches of growth, with not a whole lot of success. It's looking like he will be a 4T(the highest size in most of the toddler lines I look for) this spring before he even turns 3 in the fall. He will supposedly never be the giant that his sister is. Have you heard the old tale about if you double their height when they are 2, it is the approximation of their final stature? I asked the doctor about this, because I thought it was a wive's tale, but he said it is actually pretty true to life. So if it turns out to be the case with both of mine, Amabel will be 6'2" while August will be a squatty 5'10." No offense to those of the very respectable height of 5'10"; I am only 5'4" myself! But this is the Edema family where all the men are a good 6'3" at least. However, Aug has caught up to that 37 inches that Amabel was in just a few months past his 2 year mark. And now that I think about it, I am pretty sure Amabel's two year check up was a few months late because we decided to wait until baby brother was born and go for both check ups at once. So there you have it, Aug just might be a monstrosity as well!

We have been trying to find him new shoes this week as his feet have also grown. When I take his socks of, his little toes have an imprint in each other where they have been smooshed together inside his shoe. But what I thought was odd was that the shoe store "expert" said he only needs to go up half a size- half a size from shoes that are crammed (He has actually been saying "Peet hurt!" and holding up his little foot in the air)? That sounds like a fine solution for someone whose feet are all finished growing. But he is two, and they were $50 shoes! And she wants me to just come buy another pair in a month I guess? Why the $50 variety, you ask? Well, he has what most shoe companies like to call an "extra extra wide." Not a whole lot of shoes come in XXW. Being a person with wide feet myself, I have much sympathy for the person wearing shoes too narrow for his feet. So we pay top dollar for XXW wherever we can find them! That is usually Stride Rite, and only select varieties there. So while all his other little buddies are running around in cute little navy or red Keds, we are stuck with something a little bit more like big boy shoes. And big boy shoes are fine for big boys. But my boy is still a baby (for 32 more weeks anyway)! So I was not too thrilled with their selection of athletic shoes, in spite of her efforts to push the light up bulldozer pair on me.

Later, I came home and found these on the internet. (Do y'all ever see my links? "these" is a link to the shoes I found). They only come in XW, but in a Stride Rite, that is usually pretty adequate. Plus, they are only $30! I'm not quite sure why they didn't have them at the store here, maybe they aren't St. Louis enough? (Don't get me started on the horrible selection of children's clothing in this city...) Anyway, the important thing is that cuteness prevails, for one more season at least! And then, I guess he really will be a big boy.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Crazy Cravings and Annoying Aversions

I have only just now hit the eight week mark in my pregnancy, but my body has been full swing into psychotic symptoms for at least three weeks. While I was expecting Amabel, I had an aversion to chicken. While I was expecting Aug, it was meat. I couldn't even think about those foods without feeling nauseated, but everything else was manageable. This time is completely bizarre and all over the map in just a few weeks. At first I had crazy cravings: pistachio pudding, coconut cake, chicken wings, KFC biscuits, mashed potatoes. After that, for about a week, nothing sounded at all edible except rice, potatoes, fresh fruit, and creamy desserts. And this week it seems I have used up all of those options and cannot think of anything that I could possibly eat. Now, it could be Divine intervention as I am about 20 pounds up from where I started my other two pregnancies (thanks to a major M&M binge when we first moved to Misery- aka Misouri). And if I can manage to just gain the minimal 15 pounds (which is totally healthy for someone like me, as I have a few pounds to spare for the baby- or you, if you need it!) I will be very grateful. George says I have the metabolism of a bear though; my body just loves to store up all that extra for the "winter." So I think that pretty much anything I eat will stay with me, and I likely will eat more than 15 pounds of food in the next 32 weeks. But if I keep this rate, I may just stay in my usual range.

Just to note some oddities, especially for those of you who know me well: I made cookies with the kids yesterday and didn't eat any dough! I have had the same piece of Godiva cheesecake in my refrigerator for almost a week! I tried a taste of the kids' Cheerios at breakfast and tasted a distinct nail polish remover flavor. Later, I bought a shake from McDonald's because it was the only thing that sounded like I might could stomach it; I took three sips and all I could taste was the corn syrrup so I tossed it. Thinking that some protein might do me good after four days of rice and potatoes, I ordered a plain cheeseburger which ended up tasting like pure pepper, so I let the kids share it. The whole thing is very odd, but maybe common? Anyway, not to worry, I managed to eat a kids quesadilla from Qdoba for dinner and actually feel much better for now. But even that, my favorite Mexican dish, was just kinda okay. Well, at least I don't have to worry about another M&M binge (or any other kind for that matter) anytime soon!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Vote of No Confidence

This may be kind of a rant. And I may get in trouble for it. You're intrigued now aren't you?

I don't command much confidence. As a matter of fact, I have a terrible habit, as does my father, of playing dumb (I guess to be polite and mainly non-confrontational). I go to the doctor for my children's check ups and listen intently as I am told how to discipline my children and what to feed them, like I am as clueless as this doctor is treating me and have no convictions on the training and health of my children. I think he ends up telling me more than he would because I act so dumb. Last time I went for August, he told me that the passy (or as Aug calls it, "money") had to go and that he needed to see a speech pathologist. I actually stayed dumb for a few days. But here I am, four months later, giving my two year old his "money" every nap, night, and church service and completely content with his growing vocabulary that now consists of phrases (which we are pretty sure he thinks are all one word) like: "Inunno" and "Iwangeout" and "WhereBabelgo?" (I don't know, I want to get out, Where did Amabel go?)

Some of my family members come over, as do some of my friends and on occasion my husband, and start telling me how to cook. "Shouldn't you start on such and such now?" "It would be better if you fixed it this way." Even just that they start looking in pots or in the oven is so frustrating to me. I have no idea why I am such an easy target. It's like all of the sudden, my planning and preparation means nothing, not to mention the six years I have been preparing daily meals and experimenting with various recipes and techniques. Of course, I am no chef, But I'm also not an idiot. They have no confidence in me.

Some others of my family members, and again some of my friends, have a lot to say about education. In some cases, they are actually trained educators. In other cases, they are friends with no qualifications with which to educate and have no children themselves. But really, why does anyone feel the need to argue me about the decisions we have made for our children's education? I am so sick of having to defend homeschooling and Classical Christian Education. Everyone has something to say about my children's exposure to the world or about their social skills or even the fun factor in their education. As if they care about my children even a fraction as much as I do! But they have no confidence in me.

Then there is the issue of discipline. And the issue of how I dress my children. Or even categorically personal things like birth control or where we go to church. Ugh! Forget it. I guess I have said before that I hate ungracious advice. It's not that I can't be wrong. I am just too scared to stick up for myself when I'm not, too unsure when faced with someone challenging me, to stand up for myself. I often describe it as feeling like a deer in headlights. Only later do I have all the appropriate responses and recollect my own feelings and convictions to be again certain of what I think. And besides, when someone has no business challenging me in the first place- and I'm pretty sure all of these examples fall under that- it really burns me up. When it comes to my house or my children, I say shut up! Only what I do is make a joke or modestly defend with lots of "unoffensive" language and use a sort of philosophy of "relativity" - basically just behave in a manner completely untrue to myself- or in an extreme situation, completely lose my temper and fly off the handle.

In a comment from a previous post, I mentioned the thing about people in the grocery store telling my children how to sit in the buggy. That's the small end of the spectrum. The bigger end is that even my four year old has an argument or question for every thing I decree. I guess it is the combo of people who have no right and people who are bossy. I can't handle it. On the other hand, I love the gracious "well, bless your heart, darlin' " attitude that lets people be who they are and is supportive of that. And I am even to the point where I really don't see how it can be loving to treat people otherwise. Of course, this is without the problem of someone in sin or causing harm. If I were going to ship my four year old off to boarding school, if I were putting nuts in the salad when someone present is allergic to nuts, if I were dressing my children in something horribly inappropriate- I don't know, putting them in pageants or something- by all means, correct me.

But to the guy who just thinks he knows a good way, who just thinks I need to be educated by him, who just has no confidence in me because he's real confident in himself, please quit treating me like an idiot. I actually am pretty smart- despite my poor GPA from a fairly unchallenging (but altogether lovely) university :) And to myself, learn to command confidence! Okay, you can advise me there, because I really am clueless about that.

Monday, February 06, 2006

What is rude?

Merriam Webster's defines rude as lacking refinement or delicacy, offensive in manner or action. I am just wondering what y'all think about rudeness. I am a Southern girl with society grandparents- my parents both sort of shunned their hoity toity upbringing, but I always knew what to do when my grandfather took us to Stones River Country Club. I was well trained to pass the pepper with the salt, keep my elbows off the table, cut one small bite of food at a time, and leave a little something on my plate. What I was never taught, now to my great embarrassment, is how tacky gum chewing is considered. My mother said she never cared because she chewed it all the time. Consequently, I chew it all the time. So how rude is it? Don't be afraid to offend me; I am fine with getting Altoids next time. I probably will no matter what.

I caught a couple of minutes of 20/20 (or some such program) on Friday evening. It was supposed to be all about "Rude America," but the piece I caught was on cell phone use. I hear the gripe all the time about talking on cell phones in public. I am just not sure what good they are if you can't use them in public. Now, it is one thing to be in a sit down restaurant or a small store and be chatting away where all can hear. Obviously, that's pretty tacky. But it seems like a line should be drawn between a 20 minute catch up chat with a girlfriend and a 2 minute check in with the baby sitter in almost any setting. The major exception seems to be talking or even hearing a ring in a movie theater or any other type of performance or service- that is just never okay. There was one lady doing an interview that has not been invited to any family weddings since she took a call during one, and refused to promise it wouldn't happen again. That woman is a jerk. But most people are not that exteme. However, the reporter people seemed to think that talking in an airport, for example, was rude. How is that rude? An airport is a giant, loud place. Why should anyone care if someone is on their phone? I suppose it is awkward to have someone sitting right next to you having a personal conversation. But how is it any less awkward than them sitting with a friend next to you having a personal conversation? No one would think that was rude.

So I am just wondering. What is rude? What really burns you up? I think it odd that we draw these lines like no chewing gum or talking on phones or putting elbows on the table, but people don't greet you when seeing you in the neighborhood or passing your buggy in the grocery store. I would much rather see that someone is busy on their phone than just ignoring me for no good reason. It especially hacks me off to be ignored or dealt with minimally (like I am really annoying them to need some assistance) when the person is in some sort of service position, like the deli lady at the grocery or the sales girl at the Gap. And is that rude or just impolite? If someone has you over for dinner and you don't bring them a hostess gift, it is not rude. It is, however, polite to do so (although I forget sometimes and I always feel kinda jerky later). So just because one thing is polite doesn't make the opposite rude- or I don't think so. But if the heart of the matter is refinement and delicacy, it doesn't seem like we can really put a bunch of rules out there that make or break you. Refinement and delicacy is just going to come across in someone's general manner of treating people whether they pass the pepper with the salt or not.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I'm not gonna get ripped off this year

While Easter is still 73 days away, Valentine's Day is just 12 days away. We have spent the past several days making glittery heart shaped Valentine's for the children's aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents. And we spent yesterday cutting, baking, and decorating heart shaped cookies to send to their aunt and uncle away at school (and for George because he loves iced sugar cookies).

Valentine's Day at school was a very noticeable day as florists and beaus were in and out of the dorms all day bearing an array of enviable arrangements and gifts; and the day often ended in at least one pinning or engagement. We had one dad of a sorority sister who would send cookies or some sort of treat to the entire sorority, so we were guaranteed not to be neglected. College was also during the divorced years for my parents, so my dad was more attentive and always sent something extravagant, as did my mother. So although Valentine's Day might have been a dreaded reminder of my distance form the altar (we were all somewhat obsessed with getting married), I tended to make out with a pretty good haul. And now I always try to send something for my sister-in-law both because it is fun and it adds to her tally. Especially if you are not dating someone, and I am never quite sure whether she is or not, you don't want to feel like the only girl in all of Auburn without a Valentine.

But isn't it silly? We aren't all Catholic. So isn't really just a day where the card and candy companies got together and realized they could really capitalize on a big holiday just for honeys (and then the resturants and florists said Amen!)? Well, it is, really. And I have married a philosopher. And he is certain that we should not contribute to the silliness of such a concocted holiday. Except that the children are sent goodies from aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great grandparents alike, so of course we have to get them a little something as well. I always pick up those little somethings from the both of us; and usually, being in the "holiday spirit," find some little something for my husband as well (though I know he will consider it very silly). So as it happens, I am the only one who doesn't get a Valentine. I have been fine with this for years, really until last year I think, when I decided that my heart does in fact rule my head ( though this I always really knew) and it does hurt my heart, or (more linguistically accurately) my feelings, to be the only chump out there without a dinner date or a bite of chocolate or sprig of flowers who is rightfully entitled to such as signified by the ring on the third finger of my left hand. So silly or not (and I maintain my stand for "silly"), I want a Valentine this year. I have reached the altar, nearly six years hence, and it is time for that one little day out of the year where there is a guaranteed payoff. (I know, there is a payoff every single day when you have a husband like mine, but this is the day when it is pink and in the shape of a heart).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

There's Something in a Name

I was talking to a friend who does think there is something to birth order (why don't you people defend me here?!) and we got to talking about how there is also something to a name. Well, now I'm really stretching things huh? Think about this though: have you ever met an Abby you didn't like?! I never knew any Abby's growing up, though now it is in the national top 10, until my best friend from eighth grade went to a different high school and became great friends with another Abby. We were thrown together often throughout highschool and got along splendidly as we were much alike. I also tend to get along very well, or have in the past, with more than one Sarah, Katie, Holly, Rebekah, and even Andrew (let's try to forget them though). I wonder if spelling makes a difference though, or nicknames. Hmmm.

Anyway, from the beginning I have adored President Bush for reasons I cannot account for. I have read his biography which encouraged my devotion, but I have always ignored criticism of him (so it's no use trying) even when I knew little of him. Perhaps there is something to a George. Clooney? Sure. Curious? Definitely. Harrison? Of course. Gershwin? Delightful! Costanza? The best! I suppose there is the problem of George Michael and Boy George, but there are bigger problems there than we want to discuss. Not too many Amabel's and Augustine's floating around, but I am sure that wherever they are, they are delightful people!

Of course this can all be shot out of the water when I consider that one of my best friends growing up was a Shannon and my worst ever enemy was named the same. But there must be something to it or we wouldn't get all those nasty comments when we tell what we are thinking of naming our children ( "I knew a so and so before and she was a total witch; don't name her that!"). Maybe it's more that we live up to the meaning of our names. Wait a minute, George means "farmer." Well, there's something to it, I'm just not sure what!

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