Friday, March 31, 2006

A Spring of Hope?

For everyone who is waiting on the edge of your seats, the ebay rant is still to come, it is on hold until a few issues are resolved (yeah folks, this is serious!).

Today I have more pleasant tidings. We have just come back from our first walk in a week or two. It is spring, I believe. Or have I already said that? A while back, it did seem like spring. And so I started this routine where I would pile my 45 and 35 pound children into a 20 pound (at least) two seater jogger stroller (right, so 45+35+20=100 pounds) and walk a couple of miles in the mornings while teaching Amabel flower names and answering the first hundred or so of her 437 questions for the day, pointing out the robins and squirrels to her and her brother, and secretly enjoying a little Jack Johnson or Oasis from my all important headphones to maintain my sanity. Then came the cold. And I suppose it has been about two weeks; we even have had some snow. But the daffodils and hyacinths were undeterred. It was amazing to see the little guys all hunkered down with icicles one week and the next week waving gently in the breeze of today's 75 degree afternoon. The children always try to reach them from their stroller which is hilarious to me. They stick their little arms out, August's is this pudgy little 12 inch guy, trying to reach flowers that are a foot down toward the ground from the stroller and 4 feet away from the sidewalk on which the stroller is being pushed. But when they mange to grab hold of a juniper bush or boxwood, such laughter, such triumph, "I touched it!" "I touched it!"

One such bush had a nest in it today. Amabel asked if there were any eggs. My initial reaction was that we shouldn't even get close enough to see lest we leave our scent or somehow contaminate the nest and the mother is forced to abandon her unborn children. And then I remembered that that is a wives tale. We have heard it so often (another thing I have often heard that is a complete myth is that women still have one extra rib than men because of Adam's rib- George actually burst out laughing at me for asserting this was true one time, but you'd think my biology teacher would've been right...). But last year we had this really ugly terra cotta bird house on our porch when we moved in. We would've trashed it, but there were four newborn babies inside, so we thought we'd better leave it alone. When one of the babies fell out (their house was rather small), we were concerned about how to get them back home to be cared for without sealing a deadly fate for all of its cyblings. I called a veterinarians office about how we could care for the baby ourselves and they directed me to our local bird sanctuary. The conservationist at the bird sanctuary let me know that we could scoop the baby up and put him right back in the house. Or if we feared he might not survive another fall, or if it had been a nest too high for us to return the baby to, we could have just put the baby in some sort of bowl near the nest and the mother would find it. I guessed maybe the contamination rumor was true of eggs and had just been assumed for babies as well. She said it was not true of eggs either, and that they had had a mother who died and so they put her eggs in with another nest and they hatched and were cared for just fine by the foster mother. Pretty cool. It kind of makes the passage about not even a sparrow falling to the ground apart from the Father's will (Matthew 10:29) seem more real; no matter what, they will be cared for. And I guess the bigger point of the passage is that we "are worth more than many sparrows."

I confess that it is harder and harder for me to trust that. Sorry, people, had to get all weird again. I am encouraged when I see God caring for others, even daffodils and baby birds. I am encouraged that George's tution reimbursement check came in the mail today. I am encouraged that I found my favorite tea bags for sweet tea at the grocery today. I am encouraged when I think I might feel the tiniest little thump of the a baby kicking her leg inside me (no, we don't know if it's a boy or a girl, but "it" is being called "she"). So I am not totally Eeyore. It does seem a little slow going in the house hunting area; I suppose that is to be expected when we are only considering places with free or very cheap rent (for anyone who doesn't know, we have to be out of our current free housing in two months and really don't have much to work with as far as paying rent). And there is the minivan we will have to somehow afford before we have a third child traveling with us. And there are other things... Not to whine, just to be real. I know y'all have troubles too. You are not alone. I feel alone sometimes. But if I were reading this, and it weren't my own self writing but someone else who also had troubles and difficulty trusting in God's timing and provision, I would be glad. So be glad, struggling and troubled people, you are not alone and you are worth more than many sparrows. Be hopeful. Spring is here!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hodgepodge

Don't want to be too American Idol-y but I wanted to mention that Lisa Tucker was voted off. I actually had forgotten about her. So I guess it is good that she goes back to highschool and tries again later. She really did so well the first time I saw her, but she seemed to lose steam. The article I read, because of course I was watching Lost last night and not the American Idol results show, said that she seemed to be relieved. And that is what I had guessed Kevin Covais would feel when he was voted off as well. He went last week, and though he was darling, it was inevitable because he was not an "Idol" (wish we used a different word...). So there are 9 left, 7 of them Southerners if Virginia counts as Southern. Just thought I'd mention that. It's not really surprising as Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Bo Bice, Clay Aiken, and Diana DeGarmo (if you remember her as second place from the very boring season 3) were all Southerners. I wonder why that is?

Speaking of the Southland, I was sort of bemoaning another St. Louis oddity today that I thought I would share. When you go to buy sandwich meat at the deli counter in the grocery store here, there are all these piles of sliced meat everywhere! This is just the craziest thing. In every other place I have lived as a grocery shopper (Nashville, Tennessee, both Auburn and Birmingham, Alabama, and Oxford, Mississippi), and at every grocery store, they ask you how much you would like and how you would like it sliced: thin, thick, shaved etc. and slice it for you in front of you. I actually know that they do this at the beach down in Destin and Southern Alabama too. So what is up with the mounds of meat? No thanks, I don't want some from a stack of slices that has been sitting out all day (okay, it's in a cooler, but still). And I am of the super thin, almost shaved persuasion, so I would also like some thinner slices than your one size fits all chunks. But they just pull a handful off their gigantic stack and stick it in the sack for you. Why is this gross to me? It just is. Does anyone else find this bizarre?

Also, I would like to congratulate my dear friend Rebekah who had a baby girl at two o'clock this morning after something awful like 40 hours of labor (maybe more). I would tell more, but I never know who is concerned about privacy and what have you. Anyway, our family is very excited to welcome a new "cousin" into our extended family. We cannot wait to meet her and know her well!

George's spring break has been going well for us, though it seems we have not gotten a lot done. We always have grandiose ideas of painting garage sale furniture and George getting ahead on school work and me finishing up my sewing projects- so silly, if you know us at all, that we think any of these things will really get done! However, we have gotten to rest and play a lot. And our stressed out family needs rest and playtime. Thank goodness for free family entertainment around town! But I do hope we will get some stuff done so we can head back to "the grind" with a little off our plates. Anyone want to come watch our kids until Tuesday?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Taylor Rocks!

American Idol is not even over yet, but Taylor is the best, so there! He sang one of my favorite songs lately, "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne. I have been comparing Taylor's talent with Ray's, sort of on a hunch that they had similar styles. And I guess I was right. Love both those guys.

Chris Daughtry, on the other hand, showed his true colors as well, but they were butt ugly. He sang a really rocky rock song that was the kind of song I like to call "noise." Too bad, Chris.

No one else really struck me one way or the other tonight. But I wasn't paying much attention. We're still weeding out you know. As long as Bucky and Ace are still around, you know there's no big threat to the real tallent. Man, I'm a jerk. But that's what makes it so funny!

Taylor Rocks!

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Good Long Talk About "The Gateway City"

I think someone has sent me a gift subcription to St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles magazine as a joke. It came a little while back and I thought it was a free preview issue. But here it is again today, the April issue this time, with my name and address on the sticker. I checked the website to make sure it is not a free publication (click website for a link). It's not. It costs like $18 a year. So very good, though expensive, joke, whoever sent it. Or, if it was my mother-in-law or someone that sincerely thought I would enjoy it, it really is very pretty, and I am enjoying it. And that brings me to some orders of business.

I really enjoy sewing. I love taking a folded piece of fabric, cutting it up, piecing it with other cut pieces, runing it through my astonishing machine, and taking out a beautiful garment for one of my beautiful children. Such accomplishment! From a piece of cloth, to a piece of clothes! Amazing! But I hate mending. Oh, I hate mending! I hate moving buttons. I hate when the lace starts to pull away from a sleeve. I hate when Amabel steps on her dress and the hem pulls out. I hate when Aug does baby gymnastics in his church clothes and bursts a seam between the legs. There is no creative process here, no new end, just fixing what I already did to reach the same end. But it must be done. This post will be a little like mending, but I think it will also be creative, even fun!

So I said some mean things about St. Louis. I was kidding. But, it was pretty mean. I don't really think I said anything untrue, but I didn't really hold back on the bad or the sarcastic tone and I did leave the good things out. And as I now realize that I actually have several St. Louis readers (I mean, as far as I'm concerned, I have like 12 readers because that's the maximum who have ever posted, but evidently, more people are peeking in than I guessed- probably not very often, but they know stuff!) and they are really nice people, I feel it is only fair to tell the rest of the story and mend any feelings that may've been hurt or bridges that may've been burned (or should it be burnt? someone needs to send me a Strunk and White as a joke!). I also want to be fair and say that I do not think the South anything like perfection, and that I am very grateful for the perspective I have gotten since being in St. Louis, and that, should we go back, I will be bringing very valuable lessons away which I could only have learned by getting out of Dixie for a while. But that is all for another post. 'Cause I said this post would be fun. And I know you people hate when I get all serious and melancholy and concerned about the world and loving each other and stuff!

So here I go, saying all kinds of nice things about St. Louis! First of all, anyone can appreciate all the great free things. The zoo is a bazillion times better (actually ranked #1 in the nation by Zagat Survey) than the Birmingham zoo which costs $9 a person. But the zoo here is free! We love the St. Louis Zoo. We are planning to go this week. We especially love seeing the hippos; it is a fantastic exhibit and, as you know, Happy is a hippo and likes to visit her kin. We love Forest Park, the gigantic area where you can find the St. Louis Zoo as well as the History Museum, Science Center, and Art Museum, all places we have had a great time visiting as a family for free. And it wasn't just fun because it was free. The art museum has Monets and Van Goughs, and pieces by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Mondrian, real people and beautiful pieces you have heard of and admire (I am obviously not an art expert, but I don't believe Birmingham or Nashville has anything like the collection here). The history museum had a great exhibit on baseball last year which we all enjoyed to a degree. George wanted to spend some extra time really taking it in, so I took the kiddos upstairs where there were lots of interesting and interactive things they could do. The baseball exhibit wasn't free, but the part the kids and I had the most fun seeing was. And any science center is bound to be great for kids. I went with a friend just last week (the dinosaur is down for repairs; if any of y'all were thinking of going, you might want to call and see if he's okay as he is quite a big attraction) for the second time and the kids really enjoyed it. There is an enclosed bridge that crosses from one side of the interstate to the other (the museum is on both sides) and there are huge windows in the floor so that the children can see the cars travelling below. It makes me very nauseated and nervous to take notice of these windows; but August enjoys getting right on top of them and stomping or pressing his face up to the glass, so that helps mommy's fear of heights just great. And those are just the free things in beautiful Forest Park.

Even the pay places have free hours every now and then. The Butterfly House has a free morning each month and the children really enjoy feeling the butterflies land on their heads and watching all the beautiful colors flying by. There is an outdoor garden there that I am sure will be very lovely in the next month or so. The Botanical Gardens also has a free morning, each week I think, and it is really a beautiful place to visit. There is usually a seasonal event that is not part of general admission so it is not free on the free mornings, but is very inexpensive to visit. At Christmas time it was the fantastic train exhibit and I think August would have burst with joy if ever that were possible. Even other kids' grandparents were commenting on how hilariously enthusiastic he was when another train came around. I have not gotten to visit when the gardens were really all in bloom during spring or summer, but even in the dead of winter, the indoor gardens are breathtaking. I especially enjoy the Temperate house which is sort of Mediterranean looking with its architecture and the olive, acacia, and citrus trees. Either place is worth paying to go on a normal day, but we could not enjoy them nearly so often if we didn't take advantage of the free days.

Moving on then, what else is great about St. Louis? Well, St. Louis is huge. So if you like huge, if you like shopping and lots of resources and all of that, it is really nice. It kinda overwhelms me. I am sure the St. Louis people think I am crazy to even sort of compare it to Birmingham. The St. Louis city and surrounding area, according to Wiklpedia, has roughly 2,700,000 people. While Birmingham city and surrounding area brags just over 1 million. Nashville has 1,300,000. So St. Louis is ginormous. And just for fun, if you knew George was looking at a job in Dothan, Alabama, they have under 60,000. Goodbye Picasso and hippos and even Starbucks (there are only 12 in Alabama, 11 of which are in the Ham; there are 31 in St. Louis); welcome to Dothan!

But if we should get to stay in St. Louis, find ourselves some other free living quarters or what have you, we shall also enjoy another Cardinals season (which will exhaust me well before it's over, but will also be lots of fun with the new stadium and the excellent team and all), a new playground at Faust Park where the Butterfly house and Carousel (rides for $1) already attract, a new play area at the Botanical Gardens, strawberry picking at nearby Eckert's farm, and stronger friendships with some great folks from Covenant Theological Seminary and Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church. In the fall, every little area has a "homecoming" which kind of cracks me up but also brings cute little craft shows and fair type rides, lights, and foods, plus some great little parades and fireworks shows just about every weekend during August and September. And then, it's apple and pumpkin picking time, my favorite time of year. Pumpkin patches are all over the place up here with hayrides and funnel cakes and corn mazes and all the delightful fallish things that take place truly during the fall instead of in the heat of an Alabama October. I do so enjoy seasons, something Alabamians are deprived of their whole lives. I love that it's cold out now; even though that means that it's cold. I love that we sent a Christmas card out this year with our kids in real snow, probably one of the only times I have even seen real snow! I love that we can go apple picking because it gets cold enough to grow apples. And that we have use for a sled, and that wool sweaters are not a waste of money, and that snow is expected so it does not cause widespread panic as it does down in Nashville (This panic is somewhat legitimate because it is not ever cold enough to not start melting during the day, but then it freezes at night, and there are hardly any plows or salt trucks, so the whole city is iced over; it happens at least once every year. There is no snow in Alabamy).

This is a super long post, but I owed ya, St. Louis. I have chosen the more common and celebrated nickname for my title this time. They really like Lewis and Clark around these parts and the Arch is a memorial after that esteem that celebrates westward expansion which St. Louis is said gateway to. And can ya mention St. Louis without thinking "Anheuser Busch St. Louis, Missouri?" Our favorite St. Louis destination is Grant's Farm which is a wildlife reserve and sort of zoo owned by the Busch family. They have all kinds of animals from African elephants and kangaroos to darling baby goats that children can feed a bottle to for a dollar. The parking fee is $8 but admission is free, and there is a season parking pass available for less than what four visits costs. It is a place you really want to go at least four times in the spring and summer with a nice ride through the animal reserve (early in the morning, almost no one is there yet and there is always a nice coolness from the trees, even in July), the sweet baby farm animals to feed, as well as the other animals ( the Budweiser Clydesdales too!), and the best part is two free beers for all adults! You're kidding! No, I'm not. Free beer on tap. Obviously, the driver might wanna pass on the second beer if she's me, but that makes three beers for George! Well, I'm kidding about it being the best part, but what a great day to spend in St. Louis. I mean, if you have to be in St. Louis... Just Kiddin'!

Sometime in the near future I will try to write about the people in St. Louis and what I have learned from them. These are people I may have erroneously referred to as "damn Yankees" in the past. But that doesn't sound like me! :) They are not the same type of folk one finds down South, but I am now certain that is not necessarily a bad thing, and might even be a pretty good thing! You're intrigued now aren't you? Well, just come back in a few days. In the meantime, more of the usual. I have a rant about ebay on the rise and sort of feel like making fun of the way golfers dress since the Bank of America people have George dressed like that for some sort of special promo day today. Probably definitely the first, maybe not so much of the second, not after the anti-facial hair post from this weekend. Suffice it to say, I am anti black pants for men unless they are suit pants and short sleeves should be short, not at or below elbow length! But that has nothing to do with St. Louis.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Fighting the Fuzz

I turned on the Today show this morning for another chance at snoozing on the couch and a little check of the weather before starting our day. I caught a little piece on mustaches that was quite...uh... disturbing, actually(and if you saw it too, I just gave away how late I was in getting going this morning!).

There's some twenty something group of guys out there trying to bring the mustache back. They did a documentary about their successes and failures as they grew their faical hair. Click documentary for link and watch the trailer (be forewarned, there is a lot of language- yeah, even in the trailer). Besides the initial ha ha I get from the familiarity of the situation- afterall my husband is founder of no-shave November, a phenomenon that has swept the campuses of Auburn University and Covenant Theological Seminary (okay, "swept" is a little strong, and thank goodness for that)- I am really a little worried. These guys are trying to bring back the moustache (it can be spelled either way; I checked) and are evidently having some success.

I am not surprised at the amount of guys who are eager to sport the "stache," as they call it. George and his buddies usually start no-shave November halfway through October (and are talking about it long before), and the only reason George's is gone before Christmas is because my birthday is December 5th and there will be no facial hair on Abby's birthday. It is always a full blown beard that the guys are after. And because George has such a slender and angular face, he really does look better than a lot of young guys do, but better does not mean that he looks good. It just means that he doesn't look like Al Borland from Home Improvement or Mr. Edwards from Little House on the Prarie (who, by the way, looks nothing like he is described in the books) the way that a lot of guys do who have a rounder face. One year, one of the guys thought it would be cool to shave the beard but leave the moustache, which he even enjoyed pronouncing more like "moostache" with the accent on the last syllable. I think it must've been left over from Christmas break because I found myself really embarrassed to have a class with him on the first day of classes, knowing that he really was a very good looking guy, not to mention a good friend, but at the moment was having a bit of an identity crisis. Actually, he was kidding, but it was heinous. Fortunately, he shaved, and then I felt a little better about sitting next to him in class (I know, it sounds vain, but y'all didn't see it!). I am glad because he ended up being in our wedding about a year and a half later, and we certainly didn't want that in our wedding pictures.

But imagine if it does come back. Imagine if it does end up in our pictures, on our friends, on our husbands! I think most husbands know that there will be no kissing with sandpaper faces. But why is my husband still not deterred? It is because of all the compliments from other guys. It's a conspiracy! He is forever being told that he looks so great in a beard (compared to everyone else, which, as I said, is not an actual compliment) and therefore associates his beard with some sort of confidence and strength. And many of you who have seen him in the past two months (yes, two months!) are scratching your heads because it's not November! It's nowhere close! Why has he brought that horrible thing back in February and March? Well, it is because of preaching class. He thinks that his beard will give him confidence for preaching class. And it probably will. So I am trying to be patient. But what was supposed to be a sermon at the end of February got swapped to being a sermon at the end of April! And here at the end of March I can't take it anymore!

If he keeps it trim, it's a little more bearable, but also more prickly. Once it gets longer, it starts to kind of curl and gets highlights in various spots. Okay, I'm going to be sick! Maybe it's just that, thinking as a woman, there is something wrong about hair coming out of your face. But, the idea of shaving doesn't bother me; it's the not shaving that makes my skin crawl. Sorry if anyone else's husband has a beard. I guess you don't care that I don't find your husband attractive; that's as it should be. And I really have a hard time thinking that you think your husband is attractive with his face all prickly and covered up. Mine sure isn't. Any time a man shaves facial hair, you will find me cheering. Some guys can handle it better than others. There are some men with facial hair that I don't find myself screaming "SHAVE!" from within when I look at them. Almost anyone over the age of forty is generally in the clear; I don't expect that generation to get it (although I heard a creepy rumor that Steve Malone has some sort of facial hair now). I also, with the rest of the world, think that if anyone can wear a moustache well and still be very attractive, it's Tom Selleck. The problem with saying that is that it proves that all facial hair is not out and out nasty. And then all guys will start thinking they are the exception to the rule. And they encourage each other that they really do look alright. And my thing is, even if you look alright, even if we're not all screaming "shave" from within (take Brad Pitt for example), you probably look much better without it! Tom Selleck does not look much better without it. But everyone else, they make a razor with five blades on it now! Sounds exciting! Maybe you should try it. George Edema, this goes double for you!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Discontinued

When I took the children to McDonald's a couple of weeks ago, the day Happy got left behind, I tried to order a strawberry sundae. I got a very confused look and then went through the dessert menu with my counter person: "No, not a hot fudge sundae." "No, not a strawberry shake." "No, not a caramel sundae." Evidently, they don't make the strawberry sundae anymore. And what's more, it has been so long that the seasoned McDonald's employee I was dealing with had never even heard of it. Well, it did exist. I ordered them every time I was offered one as a child. After a while, I turned into more of a chocolate eater, due to my mother's urging (who tries to get their kid to like different desserts more than others?). So it has been over 15 years since I would last have enjoyed the McDonald's strawberry sundae. Could it have been 15 years since they last made them? I felt like I lost an old friend. And I even knew that I was the one to abandon it, not the other way around. Sorry, strawberry sundae; you will be missed.

But it usually happens the other way, our favorite thing is suddenly snatched from under us and there is little we can do but just move on. In highschool, it was Pert Plus. I have a lot of hair. It is super thick; and in highschool, like everyone else, I wore it really long. I have always had kind of oily hair too, and not a whole lot of people have that problem. Consequently, there is not a whole lot of shampoo made for people with oily hair, and especially for people who don't need volume (please, no more volume!). My dad swears by Consumer Reports which rated Pert Plus as the best shampoo (weird, I know), and since I enjoyed the quick 2 in 1 combo which came in a formula for oily hair, I was a big fan of Pert. Well, all of the sudden, Pert got a wild hair to change everything: the packaging, the smell, and something about the texture of the shampoo. That was just not okay. So I have spent the years since highschool trying to settle on a shampoo I like, and nothing suits. I recently decided to give Pert Plus another chance, and now they have added some horrible "cooling agent" that feels like you have rubbed your scalp with Vick's vapor rub! No thanks!

We have also had some trouble with the cookie aisle. Does anyone remember the Keebler oatmeal raisin bars? They were so good. They were oatmeal raisin cookies that were iced the way fudge striped cookies are iced only with a white icing. All of the sudden, probably 12 years ago now, they quit making them. I have found that the cranberry oatmeal dunkers from Trader Joe's are similar. But they are not quite the same. My other favorite was Danish wedding cookies. I think they were made by Keebler too. A lot of people think they are too sweet. And I guess that's why they no longer exist. This experience was a little like the strawberry sundaes. I had a major craving a few weeks ago and went to three different grocery stores with no luck. When did it happen? I don't know. I haven't had them since college. But they are gone. I called my dad to see when he had last had them as they were his favorite too. He said it had been years but that he thought he had seen them on the shelves recently (it's weird to think of my dad at the grocery store). He said he'd check it out down in the Nash. So maybe it is just a regional neglect of a great cookie. We have had a similar struggle with Clifford crackers which are made by Teddy Grahams but are flat like crackers, and are a great little substitute for Nilla Wafers when momma likes to have a few too (not a fan of the Nilla Wafer). We have bought them for years, and in the last few months, the stores have collectively become a Clifford crackerless wasteland.

There are other disappointing changes too. Starbucks mints changed their packaging so now they fall out of the box and all over my purse; they're still the same unbeatable mint, just covered with purse lint now. The same thing has happened with Trident gum (but I quit chewing, so it's okay now). Dove chocolates changed the Christmas shape from a bell to a present a while back. The present is the same shape they have year around only with Christmas colors, so much less festive (and chocolatey) than the bell. J. Alexander's, one of my favorite resturants in Nashville and Birmingham, has quit making their chocolate milkshake. For a while, they'd make it for you anyway if the bartender wasn't too busy. But I think now it's just gone. It was a milkshake like none other, and it is already very missed.

And lastly, it's TV. Okay, so there are plenty of TV haters out there; we get that from Mumblety Peg. But what I don't get is how some of the great shows get cancelled, but there is room for four Law and Orders a week. Law and Order ticks me off. Not that I have ever seen it, just that it exists. But, that's a tangent. Anyway, Arrested Development is cancelled and that is beyond sense to me. Perhaps it is because it was on Fox and Fox is for people who watch the OC and the Family Guy (two other shows I haven't ever seen, incidentally), not necesarily the same people who enjoy clever and witty comedy. I just don't get how there are so many indifferent shows, but somehow there's no room for a well done, intelligent show. Not quite so well done or intelligent, a few years ago there was a show called Mismatch with Alicia Silverstone. Ever since Clueless, I am a fan of hers, and the show itself was cute too. It wasn't genious or anything, just a twenty-something girl practicing law and becoming a bit of a match maker on the side. It seemed odd to me that a show with such a known actress with all the trendy clothes and fun singles wouldn't make it. It wasn't a comedy, there was no laugh track, it was fairly well done in that regard. It was just an hour long light drama. I wonder if the problem is that they put it on Friday night and never tried another night. Supposedly Friday night is the hardest night to get a show to survive on, and I can imagine that the bigger part of the twenty-something demographic is not at home nursing their babies (as I was at the time), but living a similar life to the characters on the show. Well, anyway, it was cancelled, and that happens a lot.

I feel like I must not represent a normal slice of the population (can you believe it took me this long to realize that) as this is a pretty constant occurence in one way or the other. People don't like the things I like. Hmmm. Well, maybe that explains why no one ever comments on my blog either! Giving a little thought to discontinuing "Pretty Funny for a Girl." But that's not a threat, I just feel like a weirdo when no one likes my sundae or my show or my shampoo anymore. "Old habits die hard" and all of that. Anyone else mourning a loss?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Pretty Melancholy For a Girl

I was reading some blogs today that I haven't caught up with in a while: Keel the Pot, Half Pint House, and This Classical Life (links to all by clicking on their titles if you are looking for something new to read). I found that one had referenced this hilarious quiz (again click to link) to determine which Bible character you are. I thought it was too too funny just as an idea; but once I answered the quick 12 or so questions, I found myself utterly amused by my results. A fair warning: it is made up of scenario type questions where there are a lot of weird answers and you probably wouldn't really do any of them. However, in spite of the weird scenarios and answers, it pegged me pretty well. I am sure it will not surprise anyone who has read even just one of my posts, and will have everyone who knows me even a little well laughing out loud to know that I got Job. Well, the test pretty much translates it to a Biblical Eeyore. It says only 4% of the people get Job. So presuming y'all are not in the grumpy 4% of the test taking population, I'll tell you it mentions something about being honest and caring (which I dare to hope is true) and then "quick to correct or rebuke, but tends to be down and have low expectations." Funny what even twelve silly questions will reveal about oneself! Okay, so now you all have to take it and tell me what you got. Obviously, this is not scientific or even real, just be silly and take the thing! Then be even sillier and post what you got.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Seven Years' War

I graduated from Auburn University this day seven years ago. Seven is sort of a popular number: seven year itch, seven days in the week (on the seventh day, God rested), seven wonders of the world, 007, seven deadly sins, seven seas, 7up, seventy times seven, seven continents, seven dwarves, seven colors in the rainbow, the Magnificent Seven. Seven looks weird when you write it that many times. George says seven is a number of completion. There is a ton of Biblical reference and significance (but I am not the one in seminary, so forget it) to seven. Seven years does seem to be a pretty common trial period or sentencing (and better than 40): seven years for Jacob to work for Leah, seven more to work for Rachel, seven years of famine, Solomon built the temple in seven years, Nebuchadnezzar loses his mind for seven years. I sort of feel like I've been sentenced. Well, I think the title is more accurate; I feel like I've been at war! As far as being sentenced or tried, I'm not exactly sure what I would be working toward or paying for.

But there seems to be some battling. I guess it is pretty normal that our lives change completely when we graduate and move out into the "real world." I had no idea it would be so much harder. I was a pretty lazy student, mostly in college to hang out and find a husband (mission accomplished), so I guess to say "harder" implies that college was even remotely hard. And college was, as trite and silly as it sounds, the time of my life. I had built in friends. You live with your friends, you eat with your friends, you spend all day with your friends; it only follows that you will end up with really close, really great friends. I had a built in workout. You walk to class, all over campus, home from class, all around downtown (if you go to Auburn), and then you have the entire afternoon to easily work in a seven mile run (as was my daily habit). I am always running into people I knew at Auburn who have lost what looks like 20 or so pounds I didn't even know they could lose. I, on the other hand, am convinced that I will never in my life be so slim and in shape as I was when I was 19 working out for an hour and a half every day. I had a built in income. I called it "Daddy." I had all the free time in the world, great friends to spend it on, plenty of cash to spend on it, and was as cute as can be to boot.

So it isn't saying a whole lot to say life is harder. But I mean, really. Friends are harder to make, and equally hard to really stay in touch with; they live across town, or across the country, or across a giant chasm that seems to be between the married with children and the single and swingin'. You can't just walk down the hall and knock on the door to see who wants to go to Breezeway anymore. For one thing, Breezeway is a 10 hour drive now; for another thing, so is my best friend. And all the great girls I've known since Auburn have kids and husbands and housework and budgets and absolutely no time to run out and play at a moment's notice. And that hour and a half jog is just something I can't be doing with two whiney toddlers in a stroller totalling over 100 pounds! In short, we've been stripped of our free time, our money, our proximity/community, our "carefree-ness," and for me, my cute little figure. And I am fighting it!!!

I keep wondering when I will get over it. And part of me keeps hoping it will get easier. Surely we will have more time when the kids are in school. Surely it will be easier to make friends when we are not doing the constant work of caring for toddlers. Surely someday I will have some extra money to spend on a girlfriends' date every now and then. Surely I will be able to find the energy and time to work out for an hour when my children are not waking me up during the night and then up at dawn in need of constant supervision and care. Surely when my husband gets a job and there is a steady salary coming in, some of this stress will go away. But maybe not. I feel better when I think there might be an end to it. When I think it is just a war, a tough season that is compounded by being uprooted and moved seven times in seven years and having our finances in dire straits several times due to unemployment and George's fulltime studies, I feel a little more able to withstand for the next little while. But if it's the rest of my life, if my time in Auburn was the best it ever gets and it just spirals down from there, HELP!

I know a lot of my lifestyle in Auburn was selfish, not something I should look back at longingly. But I also remember the great friendships, the excitement, the growth, the way I could see God at work in my life, the way I could see His faithful work in the lives of my friends, and how much easier it was to trust and hope even when things totally sucked (because even in The Loveliest Village on The Plains, there were still some super stinky times!). These days I often find myself feeling much like the Psalmist, "how long, O LORD?" How long just until a break from exhaustion! Seven years and running! Well, U2 puts the words of Psalm 40 into a beautiful song, the song they close most of their concerts with. I reckon I'll close my sad old post with them too:

I waited patiently for the LORD
He inclined and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit
Out of the miry clay

He set my feet upon a rock
And made my footsteps firm
Many will see
Many will see and fear

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

My Splendid Splurge

I went to the grocery store for the first time in so long yesterday. It was so nice to be able to think about a meal plan and not feel like I was going to be sick. I decided we were just going to get everything as we were pretty much down to condiments in the refrigerator and a big box of granola bars from Sam's in the pantry. I went to the big Schnucks, the one in Des Peres, because it is much larger and more pleasant than our Shnucks and usually has Chick-fil-A coupons printed on the back of the receipts. I usually vow to never shop at a grocery store again after I go; it seems there is always some basic item that is not stocked or some necesary item that is priced about double what I have ever paid in the past or only two lanes are open or some rude counter person that makes me feel like crying, and I come home thinking that there must be somewhere that is not an absolute nightmare to shop. The Des Peres Shnucks seems to do me right though, and it really isn't too far (it's just that we could walk to the Shnucks near our house, but it would be a waste of a walk as one or all of those problems usually applies). Anyway, it was a pretty good shopping trip, even if I did have to bribe the kids to shut up by giving them Reese's Easter eggs.

I decided that $5 was a pretty good price for a bunch of paperwhites. They were so lovely and fragrant. And then I noticed that daffodils were $2 a bunch and I thought how beautifully they would mingle in an arrangement with the paperwhites, so I bought two bunches because paperwhites have so many more blooms per stem, so I needed more of the daffodils. So it was a pretty big splurge, especially for the sort of flowers that will not last for long, but I just got carried away. I was so excited as I arranged them in the vase. The children were inhaling deep breaths of their fabulous scent and asking to put the blooms in for me. I felt like we were in that magazine I always dream we are in right before someone gets food smeared in their hair or starts whining to do something else or falls off their chair. And I triumphantly placed the vase on the table and went about my work, stopping every now and then to admire my lovely, though possibly frivolous, purchase.

So dinner time rolled around and I set the meal out on the table, the first meal our family has been able to eat all together in weeks. The children were in their chairs, everyone was just waiting on Daddy. So he comes in and sort of looks around confusedly and sniffs a little. He walks around the table, kind of looking around, picks August up and starts smelling his backside. Evidently, that wasn't what he was after. He puts August down and starts around the other side of the table, still sort of looking around; and then, like a light turning on in a very disappointing way, catches the flowers in his field of vision and leans in a little over the table, quickly backs up and says, "Oh! It's the flowers!" Thanks George! Thanks a lot! $10 for something that may or may not be our son's stinky diaper. Money well spent, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A trend gone horribly wrong

I have a problem with all of these new, hip maternity clothes. In the first place, everyone is always hanging on, waiting until the very last minute to wear maternity clothes. And then, they buy the new tight stuff that just sits right on them like roomier regular clothes. And my problem is that they look fat. They do. Even the skinniest girls I know, once they start showing and wear clothes with regular lines, look like they have a big old beer gut. I know you're pregnant, but that guy over there and those two girls over there, they just think you have a very unfortunate trouble spot. But you know, it's the thing- no panels, no a-line shirts, just wear your loosest stuff a little while longer and then get the wider regular cut clothes from the maternity store.

And I understand the thinking. It is always a little too early on my watch when I start realizing I'm going to have to start sporting the big stuff. And it would be nice to have the resemblance of my old self for a little while longer. Plus, the trend makes the big roomy stuff look frumpy- especially when it's five years old in the first place. So I thought I would give it a try... I look fat, people! Okay, so I am already pretty much a poster child for the chub club, but I really don't need a pair of giant jeans that comes all the way out around my growing belly, topped with a short little shirt. Why? So everyone can see, I may be pregnant, but I have a fly!!! Who cares about a fly anyway? As delightful as it is to read my regular size number, and then pull on a pair of jeans that I could slide August into with me if need be, I'd much rather go for the good old elastic with a hidden drawstring, S M L and XL (that's me, XL, and that's just the way it is!). And no one has to feel embarrassed about asking me when I'm due- except me, because I have to say September and they realize that I'm showing big time at 13 weeks- because I will be obviously pregnant. And no one has to feel sorry for me that I am so young and have so much promise, if I just didn't have that extra weight all in my belly. Well, maybe people don't really think like that, but I do tend to feel bad for people who hoard all their extra weight into one spot on their body- 'cause I know the feeling! So you will not catch me in the oh-so-trendy maternity clothes with a regular waist line. I prefer to tuck that baby under a nice big panel on my pants, covered by a big momma shirt. I'll take frumpy and definitely pregnant over trendy but odd-shaped and possibly fat. I think we all should.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Pink is usually a good thing

I had my first doctor's appointment today- less than a week away from the second trimester, but better late than never. It was not a great appointment. For one thing, they weigh you in the hall. This seems so odd to me. You have to wait in line to get weighed. Call me crazy, but that's the last thing I want to wait in line for. And I only lost 1 pound! 12 weeks of hardly being able to eat, and eating almost no sweets or breads especially, and I only lost one tiny pound. I thought I was supposed to be burning 300 extra calories a day!

And I'm pretty sure at least half of the pound can be accounted for with loss of brain cells! I have become a world class flake in the past week: locked my keys in the car and had to call George to come home and open it, was an hour late to a birthday party that I thought started at 3:00 when it actually ended at 3:00 (and started at 1:30- while my kids were in the tub), left all of my coupons (which I clip dutifully every week and file by category) including the ones I was planning to use at the checkout somewhere in Target, washed at least one load of laundry without actually putting in the detergent, and the week has just begun!

So back to the appointment; my doctor was in a hurry, as doctors usually tend to be. She let me know that it was because I was late. Okay, I was late. I am always late. But usually not to doctors appointments. I left the house in plenty of time and then ran into gridlock and ambulances about a mile from the on ramp to the interstate. So I had to turn around and backtrack and take the long way; and then of course, find a parking spot and navigate through the hospital (but I planned on that if I had not lost so much time on the road). In the meantime I called to let them know I was stuck, but I guess the office people think that is for their benefit and not for the benefit of the doctor, as she obviously had not heard and didn't seem to care anyway. I have met her once before and liked her. But today, she was mad at me and had garish pink eyeshadow on that really threw me for a loop. For whatever reason, I was already nervous about the appointment, but her snappy tone and hurried pace and that flashy fuschia was causing me to be extra jittery. Not to mention that the first appointment for pregnancy is generally the most humiliating appointment- I especially like how they give a pregnancy test just in case you are absolutely retarded and can't read one yourself/just dreamed that you were pregnant (it's almost as much fun as the one when they think you don't know when your water broke, 'cause maybe you just peed your pants!). But it is confirmed, there's a little baby in there and I even heard his/her little heartbeat (lately I've got a hunch it's a girl).

So all is well, except that I still only have a 15 pound margin before max pregnancy weight (it was the same with both babies) and 27 weeks left to go, and that my doctor wears scary makeup. I apologized again for being late when she left and she seemed like she was over it. I guess she forgot that the third time moms don't need the super long first appointment to go over all the "rules" until it was all over (in five minutes), and then realized she hadn't lost that much time. Well, we could've saved a little time if we didn't have to wait in the scale line... but I'll try not to get stuck in ambulance gridlock next time! And oh okay, I'll leave earlier just in case!

Here I Go Again

I try not to do a whole lot of repeat of what George says on his blog. But anyway, I wanted to mention that he had to give a little homily of sorts tonight at our small group. Well, I am not exactly sure what you would call it, some sort of brief one point teaching on a passage of Scripture. Homily okay? So anyway, he started out sort of slow, but as soon as he started talking about people, he was much more comfortable. He was talking about Hebrews 10:24, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." And his idea was that we do have to consider how to do this, how to reach people and love people the way they need to be loved (George said that he may have veered away from the essence of the entire passage in the end, but that the idea is still an important one and a Biblical one). He mentioned that we often consider love as friendliness or even service, but that we don't often get down in the dirt with people and really consider their needs and what we can do to love them. It seems to be such a foreign idea that no one really knew how this might look, and I sort of got the feeling that they almost weren't even sure what he meant. And I, for one, can't think how it looks either. I know that people are different and that wisdom is needed to treat them with the type of love that they need, be it mourning with those who mourn or offering tangible help or holding someone struggling with a particular sin accountable. But how do we know what a person needs? I have been saying forever that if we would just be vulnerable and honest that we would get somewhere, but I am as honest and out there as I can be and it isn't really helping me, nor is it promoting the rest of the world to be the same way. So I think I am wrong about that.

I know I have mentioned Paul Miller's book, Love Walked Among Us in other posts. It is a book unlike any I have ever read. I started reading it again a little while ago, and then Bono came along and bullied his way in. And, as I have also said, I do not read real adult books often, so who knows when I'll get to it again. But I want to get to it again, because it is all about this idea. The subtitle is "Learning to Love Like Jesus." And I know it could aid us in getting to the bottom of how love in the Body looks. I think that we often think of the things that Jesus did as things done by God that are totally unattainable. Of course, he was fully God. But I forget that he was also fully man. And there must be ways that we can imitate him and his compassion that does not involve omniscience and omnipotence. For me, the idea of his compassion was the real reason I read the book in the first place. I was not looking to love like Jesus myself so much as to prove that Jesus really did love. So often we make him the guy who went around rebuking people. As a grown up child from a home situation where unjust rebuke and blame was on the daily menu, I had great difficulty stomaching more when I was trying to do better. The good thing about Jesus is that he isn't all rebuke and legality. If you read George's other post on sin, it was a little confusing, but I think he was trying to get at some of this too; that Jesus loves us and treats us as people and brothers, not as criminals. Our sin kept us apart from a right relationship, but now that we are in Christ, even our sin is part of the relationship. We are free to sin and know that we are still loved and pursued (So should we sin so that grace may abound? May it never be!- please don't jump on some "Abby's saying we shouldn't worry about our sin" bandwagon).

Anyway, I guess my point is that I want to know how we love people. People sin. People have issues. I am one of those people. I hate being one of those people because in the future, I may be a (gasp) pastor's wife! And I will be a very visible person in my church (where now I can just sort of cruise below the radar) and I will be expected to love people. I mean, everyone should be expected to love people. And how do I help other people with the muck in their lives when my own life is full of muck? And how would I do it even if my life was perfect? And will it be a problem that my life is not perfect? Because we seem to treat people like their lives are perfect. There is acceptable imperfection: any type of sin that can be casually discussed over a meal and sort fo laughed about, and any type of minor to major affliction: sickness, death in the family, loss of a job, etc. But there is real dirt in people's lives. Can they talk about it? What would we say to them if they did? I don't know.

I guess this is a theme for me: digging deeper, really having community with people, hashing things out and getting our hands dirty. I know that is what Jesus did. I also know that he had a pretty crappy life. And I do not want a crappy life. But he had a full life, and he loved God and loved people. And that part is not crappy. But I don't know how to do what he did. I'm a mess, man! And I'm selfish. And I don't really care about people. George does. George amazes me how he gets in there with people and starts seeing who they are and where they are coming from. Maybe it's a gift and we can't all do that for each other. But I want to head that way anyway.

This is a totally different post than I started out writing. I was going to say how I think George will do great once he gets into ministry because of how he cares about people and because of how much he is growing and has grown. And then I was going to say that that stinks for me because I feel like a crazy lady that will embarrass him or drag him down and make everyone in his ministry scratch their heads and say "Her?" (a little Arrested Development humor there). Anyway, I want to be different. I hope I am moving somewhere. I still feel a real panicy sense of "where is God in all of this?" most of the time. I want to get over myself and care about other people, but myself and my troubles seem so big! I guess that the more I embrace that Jesus is loving and compassionate, and the more I really get involved in that relationship (not in that surreal quiet timey way that we hear about so much), the more I will feel my own troubles being cared for and forgiven; and that will free me up to really care about others, where now I am wasting all of my energy on anxiety and guilt over my own life. And at the same time, the more I understand how Jesus loves me as a real live struggling person, the more I will be able to turn around and imitate that love toward other real live struggling people.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Let's Play 20 Questions... 22 Times a Day!

I saw this interesting little fact yesterday, in the form of question and answer:

What does the average four year old do 437 times a day?

Asks a question.

Thanks goodness, it's not just my four year old! It makes me a little less impatient with her- she's just being four- and a little more gracious to myself- no wonder I am losing my mind! I am being asked 437 questions a day!!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Much to say about Happy and therefore Less about American Idol

Sorry I have not posted lately. I have felt pretty rotten the last several days. Fortunately, I felt great today, though I hope I don't make up for it by feeling extra extra bad tomorrow. Anyway, I have certainly had my fair share of lying around and parenting from bed. And every now and then I move into the living room and try to distract myself with magazines or tv. One such distraction has again been American Idol. And I thought it might be fun to bring that topic back up.

I missed the girls last week. And I missed the first three girls this week because Happy was discovered missing right as we turned the lights out on Tuesday night. For those who don't know, Happy is Amabel's "best baby," a pink stuffed hippo- often mistaken for a pig- with a rattle inside. Build a Bear clothes fit her fairly well as do newborn real baby clothes, so she is often dressed as a real baby (nevermind the very nice Carolle baby dolls that actually look like babies, and thus live their days as knick knacks in the baby cradle beside Amabel's bed- unless of course, August wants to be their "mommy."). She was given to me right before Amabel was born by my college roommate, who Amabel likes to call to thank on Happy's (Amabel's) birthday. And gifts are always requested for Happy as well, including a high chair, clothes, and shoes. Happy has a sidekick, Laura, a stuffed lamb about one third Happy's size, who Amabel received from George's mom's friends for her three year old birthday. (Isn't it strange who becomes a favorite?) A few years ago (before Laura), Happy was left at J&M Bookstore in Auburn when we visited from Birmingham for the day. She was not discovered missing until the dark ride home, long after J&M had closed, and it was a very long two days until UPS brought her safely home to Birmingham. In the meantime we tried to explain to Amabel that Happy had not finished shoppping, though even I was quite nervous until the pink puffball arrived all in one piece.

So fast forward to Tuesday when I felt so sick I could hardly stand up, and I decided that I needed to occupy the children while still being able to sit, myself. I opted for the McDonald's playground just down the road and icecream sundaes as I knew they were really feeling my absence from all the time I rested while they watched television or colored by themselves. It proved to be perfect because the playground is separate from the restaurant so I didn't have to smell or see any food except their icecream. The playground at this McDonald's is like what most of them have become (though a far cry from the basic fry guy rocking toys and bright yellow curvy slide we had when I was a kid) : a large network of colorful climbing surfaces, tubes, and slides that make it very hard to fetch a child (or stuffed animal) who has made it up and is afraid to come down. Fortunately, we are in a stage where Amabel is good with both the up and down and August will have none of it, so we do not have to test the weight and size limits by climbing through to retrieve a frightened child. As I made the drive back to McDonald's on Tuesday night without Amabel, I was quite worried I would have to squeeze my pregnant self through the interworkings of the playground in search of Happy. I was thrilled to find her sitting alone at a table, and figured that either she is not as precious to the descriminating eye as she is to our family (sort of like how every mom thinks her child IS the most beautiful child ever born, and the rest of us know otherwise) or that God had intervened between every little girl that could have made it to her carseat with her, either by having a wise parent know she must be someone's dear one or an also wise parent recognizing that there's no telling where she's been! Happy made it home safely again! But like I said, I missed almost half of American Idol.

So this post is really more about Happy than American Idol, because I don't know all of the competition well enough at this point. I also find it difficult to form a strong opinion with George, Randy, Paula, and Simon all eagerly voicing their own criticisms and praises. The top 12 was announced tonight and so far, I think the cuts have been right on. I will say that I found Will Makar, though obviously not an "Idol," much more palatable than Bucky, who just grosses me out, but I suppose he will go soon enough too.

So here's the top 12 and any strong feelings I have either way. Feel free to agree or disagree, or to share your favorite thoughts about Happy :)
Taylor Hicks- I really want to like my fellow Birminghamian. But I have no problem being grossed out by Bo Bice. And I am on my way to having no problem being cheesed out by Taylor Hicks. He needs to take it down a notch; surely he is not really such a spaz! But with Birmingham backing him for their yearly Idol craze, I'm sure he knows he will be around for a while.
Ace Young- I cannot stand him! He is such a copycat of the Brad Pitt, Abercrombie and Fitch, stupid teeny bopper idea of what "cool" is. Totally unoriginal, totally yuck! "Ace?" Really? Unfortunately, I think he is going to be around for a while.
Kevin Covais- Cute little guy, but so not what they are looking for. He always looks like he is white knuckling it, like it is so very hard and unnatural for him to be hanging in there- it reminds me of myself at Alpha Gam rush parties. I think he will be strangely relieved when he is cut.
Bucky Covington- I cannot believe there are two of him!!!! Stop the madness! Vote him off!
Chris Daughtry- will be around for a while
Elliot Yamin- will be around for a while
Melissa McGhee - missed
Parris Bennett- missed
Lisa Tucker- missed, but seems boring
Mandisa - will be around a while, I guess, but makes me think "there's nothing new under the sun." You know?
Kellie Pickler - Seems to be getting by on being sympathetic and likeable, doesn't seem to be a real real strong singer, but I'm sure she'll stick it out for a while too.
Katherine McPhee - my favorite at this point, but George is really biased in her favor, so maybe I'm not seeing the tallents all in the same light (Robin Williams was one of my favorite actors when we got married. I have since joined George's ranks in really not liking him, so much so that I can't remember why I liked him in the first place. What can I say? I am very impressionable!)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Rapid Eye Movement

Another thing that is notorious about pregnancy (aside from cravings and aversions and swollen ankles) is bizarre dreams. Last night I experienced a smorgasbord of these delights and woke up feeling like I never even really slept. I probably didn't get into a deep sleep because dreaming occurs in a light sleep stage, and I had enough to fill most of the night. Added to my frustration is that I saw a little snippet of the Today Show this week in which Katie Couric interviewed a dream expert. So when I woke up in the middle of the night to run to the restroom, as is also part of the pregnancy ritual, with my state of heightened consciousness I recalled this dream expert and began to analyze my own dreams. Ugh! This had me awake for several hours; and when I finally fell back asleep, I enjoyed even more light sleep and heavy dreaming.

So here's what are now funny and fuzzy clips, which I am sure mean something, if nothing more than that I need to get a new pillow:

The first dream was that my highschool classmates (and some various others from my 6 different schools growing up) were getting together for a reunion, which was in someone's driveway, for the first time in years (ten in reality) and there was a birthday cake for people with birthdays from January to July. And all the people with birthdays in those months were supposed to come up and make a wish and blow out candles while the rest of us sang "Happy Birthday." Dr. Phil was also there and his birthday was in the applicable months so he and most everyone else (we only had 22 people in my graduating class) went up to enjoy cake and birthday wishes. My birthday is in December and I was a little irritated that there was no celebration for the rest of us, as we had not gotten together and would not get together again for years. The person in charge of this odd celebration was a girl I did not particularly get along with in highschool whose birthday was (in the dream anyway) in the celebratory section of the year, so she did not see the trouble. I think even in the dream I knew it was a stupid thing to make a big deal out of, and I suppose it is also a stupid thing to blog about. But what's up with Dr. Phil?

Moving on then, another dream was that my sister had a party at her apartment in Auburn (where she has not lived for twelve years) and invited all of my friends and not me. She brought me the pictures from the party of all of my friends without me and said that she was sorry she didn't invite me, she just didn't think about it, but that everyone had a great time.

Another dream was basically a dream of me in pursuit of a maternity coat that I just had to have (though the entirity of my need for maternity clothes will be spent in warm weather). It was a short waisted, big buttoned little jacket that I dreamed up, somewhat reminiscent of something Jackie Kennedy would have worn. I never found it.

The last one I remember was that there was a giant, human sized tree sloth (which I described to George as a "beaver sloth" when I first woke up from it) that was trying to get into my house and I was terrified. It was standing on its hind legs in my driveway in front of the garage door, and I was facing it from inside the door that leads from the garage into the kitchen. I could not bring myself to shout for George or some other help because it was in the middle of the night and I didn't want to wake up the children. I was afraid to turn my back on it to go inside the house because I didn't know how quick it could get to me (a sloth? quick?). I finally found the courage to back into the house and shut the door when the animal got distracted with putting on a pair of white gloves. The next day, we had a lot of children and moms in our backyard playing and I noticed that the tree sloth actually lived in a tree right above my house (in reality, we have no trees at our house), and for some reason this was not alarming to me. I just thought "Oh, so that's where he came from."

My initial insight is that the first two dreams show some sort of fear of being left out, but I can't think of what situation they would translate to in my real life. The third one is your basic looking for something beyond reach- this could easily translate to our family's current quest to find new housing quickly. And the last dream just sort of cracks me up and creeps me out at the same time. I have no idea what to make of it, especially the part about the white gloves. Any weird dreams to share? Insightful analysis into the tree sloth or the other three?

Y'all sleep good tonight!

Friday, March 03, 2006

In Search of a New "Oscar"

I usually debate a little bit about whether or not to watch the Academy Awards. I love to see all the dresses, but I hate the inflated view of Hollywood personalities in our country. I don't really like to support the big Hollywood propaganda show. But even amongst a group of not-my-favorites, I still have favorites. That being said, it sort of crept up on me this year; and now all of the sudden, the Oscars are on Sunday night. I looked up the nominees and realized that I have no business having favorites this year as I have seen none of movies up for best picture, nor any of those from which the best leading or supporting actors or actresses were nominated (except Pride and Prejudice). So it probably would have been a waste of time either way, but I think I am going to have to keep myself from watching.

The nominations for Best Picture are Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night and Good Luck, and Munich. I don't feel that I have missed a thing by missing any of these films. I won't bore us all with all the actor and actress nominations, but I pretty much am only interested in Walk the Line from all of those. I'd love to hear what anyone else has to say. Am I out of the loop or was this just a crazy year? I looked back at the last several years' nominations and found that I have only seen two of the nominees for best picture in 2005(Finding Neverland and Sideways), compared with four from both 2003 and 2004 and all five from 2002. I am not sure that this has as much to do with movies getting worse as with me getting more discriminating. I would have to say that The Hours, The Pianist, and Chicago (all from 2003) are among the worst movies I have ever seen- but that is a really big pool, the worst movies I've ever seen. Well, maybe I am rambling, or maybe y'all feel the same way. What good movies did y'all see this year?

I guess it is also worth saying that there is a good entertaining movie that might not be Oscar (or whatever better award we could come up with) caliber- like The Three Amigos or When Harry Met Sally (though screenwriter Nora Ephron was nominated for writing). I am interested in both art and entertainment, but really more in entertainment. I am sure that there was a very nice art to The Pianist, but who could see it for all the depressing silence while watching a man nearly starve?! I suppose it could be argued that the very best movies, like Moulin Rouge (nominated 2002) or Master and Commander (nominated 2004), would be both entertaining as well as beautifully and artistically done. Those seem like little jewels that don't often come along. At this point, I am certain that the Academy does not hold the standard for the well done film, in spite of its lucky guesses in the past, so please let me know what great movies are out there that the rest of us (and particularly "The Academy") may have overlooked. Maybe we'll name an award after you!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Amabel and Augustine

Let me preface this by saying that I have heard Letterman and other people joke about people who send Christmas cards with pictures of their kids. I am not sure why anyone would mind this or even think it anything less than delightful. I, for one, love getting pictures of my friends' families, new babies, and growing children at Christmas, for birth announcements, over emails, whenever. I don't often send out pictures of my own children- really just at Christmas- because it is so hard to get two children to smile and not run away or squint or cry at the same time. So this post is a little snapshot of my children this day. If you are among the Letterman persuasion, feel free to stop right here.

I just glanced outside to check on the kids before running the vacuum and saw my four year old daughter pushing my two year old son in the swing. For all of her bossiness and trying to be the momma, she really is a very caring big sister. Such a sweet sight to see my two little darlings, both in overalls, their blonde hair catching the sunlight in such a lovely way, playing together like best friends. And of course they are best friends. I hope that will always be true. Of course, any minute, I fully expect one of them to come into the house screaming and hollering about something. They will not be best friends for about thirty seconds. Then August will say "sorry Babel," and kiss his sister. And Amabel will say "I'm sorry, Buddy. I love you," and pick him up while squeezing him so tight he will flinch but say nothing because he knows it's meant to be a loving gesture. Then they will both fall over onto the floor, get up laughing, and run out the door to play again. Well, it will be something like that. They are drinking "tea" together in the wagon now so I suppose I should take the opportunity to get that vacuuming done.

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