Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Of hedgehogs and ice cream

My sister has a porcupine in her house! Well, really it's a hedgehog, and it lives in her garage. How cute is that?! It did prompt me to wonder what the difference is between hedgehogs and porcupines. And one big difference is that porcupines have needle sharp, often five inch long, barbed quills that become easily detached from their bodies. Hedgehogs have quills that are almost never longer than one half inch long and do not detach from their bodies. Basically, if you were going to have one or the other hanging out at your house, you would totally want the hedgehog. Another difference is that porcupines are herbivores, but hedgehogs are insectivorous (nice word!) so that is why people over yonder (in France) don't mind them hanging around to eat the bugs out of their gardens. Just thought you might like to know. I'll put a real soul bearing, juicy post up for y'all soon, don't worry :) I know how you love those! Maybe something hilarious will happen to me on the way to Baskin Robbins. It's 31 cent cone day today. Where'd everybody go? Baskin Robbins ice cream sale! I think yesterday was Ben & Jerry's free day. So if you missed that (like my crew), scrounge up some change, because Baskin Robbins is back! I've seen like three new locations in St. Louey lately. Er, one at least. Anyway, from 5-10 tonight, eat some ice cream. I highly recommend the peanut butter and chocolate.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tag

I am not sure I have ever been tagged before. I guess people don't really need to ask more about me, I am always prattling away about myself anyhow! So aren't you glad someone asked? That's right, I've been tagged by Jennie. Jennie is my best friend for those who don't know. We went to high school together, at the tiniest high school ever, and still managed to only talk to each other a handful of times in four years. It wasn't until she came through Rush at Auburn that we became close friends and eventually sisters (oh, the cheese!). That's right, more sorority stuff! Anyway, if your best friend won't tag you, who will? Enjoy.

What were you doing ten years ago? I thought it would be fun to look it up in an old journal to be exact. I forgot that it was a total mistake last time. On April 24, 1998, I registered for fall classes for my senior year at Auburn. I was living in an apartment off campus with my friend Sara who was just months away from getting married. Meanwhile, I had just broken up with my boyfriend of two years right before Spring Formal. Like, I was dressed and ready to go in a brand new dress and shoes and he called from an hour away and said he wasn't coming, and we broke up. Nice story eh? So that was like four days before so my journal is the lament of someone who is overly devastated after getting out of a way too serious relationship for a junior in college. Little did I know that the classes I just registered for would be classes I would have with a young George Edema, who, incidentally, also would not take me to Winter or Spring Formal. Geez, what does a girl have to do to get a decent formal date?!

5 things on my to do list today:
1. Scrubs
2. The Office
3. 30 Rock
4. Lost
5. smock whilst watching the above

It is Thursday, people. And it is also 6:15 on Thursday evening, so there isn't anything left. Still, way too much tv for one night. We don't care. Tomorrow is another story:
1. 6 miles
2. Get August's hair cut
3. Pick up monogramming order
4. Go to grocery
5. Get food ready for picnic on Saturday
That is actually rather helpful. I also have to manage to get a birthday gift and get to a birthday party for the kids in the afternoon.

5 snacks I enjoy:
Really? Just 5?
1.Chips and salsa
2. baby carrots
3. m&m's
4. cookies
5. popcorn
but not in that order :)

5 things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. pay off student loans and make arrangements for the future (everyone says that, but mine includes actually having a home, so this is sort of all encompassing take care of the mundane things one)
2. help out the long list of families we know in need and/or in ministry (why do those two things so often go together, neediness and ministry?)
3. I always thought it would be cool to buy little parish houses (on Payne Street or somewhere) for the RUF campus ministers and interns at Auburn. Hey Auburn RUF, we've got your back! Oh, and with a billion dollars, we could do that for RUF in the entire SEC. As an ex-intern, I have to say that finding housing in a timely fashion when you're not sure if you will even get all of your support to go in the first place is a pain in the butt. How nice to just have the fully furnished RUF cottage waiting for you, in walking distance from campus! I wonder what Rod Mayes would say to that?
4. liposuction. No, I am not kidding. You try running six miles a day and looking like this and see what you think.
5. servants. Also not kidding. I could totally use a personal assistant, a maid, and a nanny.
Okay, so I am kind of kidding about number 5. But I think there isn't any big ticket thing I want, it would just be nice to be able to go out with a bunch of friends and hire babysitters for all our kids or all go on vacation and bring a couple of girls to watch the kids when we want to go for dinner. Oh, and have people to shop for me. See, servants really would be awesome!

5 bad habits:
1. coke, coffee, chocolate (I had these as three different ones, but I ran out of room for the rest)
2. complaining- or didn't you notice? ;)
3. exaggerating, generalizing, dramatizing- y'all know how I roll.
4. lateness- this includes not only being late myself but detaining others, sending/returning things late, etc.
5. never, ever, ever fixing my hair. But honestly, this mop!
I could go on and on: cursing, gossiping, snapping at my kids, letting a kid wander around in a diaper that clearly needs to be changed (like right now), ignoring people so I can blog (again, like right now), and super sloppy penmanship. On the other hand, I have excellent dental hygiene, and have totally quit watching soap operas. So, not all bad...

5 places I have lived:
1. In St. Petersburg, Florida. You know, where people have sand and rocks instead of grass, and where your parents are in a constant state of road rage because they are always behind some retired guy in a Buick the size of a boat. Or that's what I remember about it anyway.
2. In Macon, Georgia, in a neighborhood where every street is lined with beautiful cherry blossom trees that bloom in March and litter the ground with the loveliest pink petals so that it looks as if the world has been dusted with a fragrant pink snow. Essentially, the most beautiful place in the world for one week out of every year.
3. In the Loveliest Village on the Plains, the happiest place in all the world- particularly from late August through November. Dorm, apartment, charming cottage, or part of a dilapidated house that may or may not be fixing to collapse or burn down from ancient and faulty electrical wiring, it doesn't matter, there's no place like home.
4. In a tiny house on the side of a cliff in Oxford, Mississippi, about five miles from campus. See where I'm comin' from?!
5. Misery. Er, um Missouri. Yeah, that's what I meant.
Honorable mentions: Birmingham, Alabama, Franklin, Tennessee, and Mobile, Alabama

5 jobs I have had:
1. My very first job, working at Heavenly Ham. It was not heavenly, and I never really had much of anything to do with the actual ham either. But I think I only worked there a week.
2. Wee Care Daycare, a tragic exposure to the daycare situation in our country. A secondary, and "high class" exposure came from being a nanny. Both jobs were no less than heartbreaking.
3. The Bombay Company. The best job ever. Horribly ugly furniture though. I don't know why, but I find gay guys to be really easy to be friends with. I have never had so much fun at work. I think about those guys often. I really hope they have been saved from that lifestyle. I really learned a lot being the straight, virgin, Christian girl surrounded by my complete opposites. In particular, how to love people who are your complete opposites. Okay, still learning that one...
4. Pediatric Clinic. A frustrating, mindless job for someone just out of college and ready to conquer the world. There isn't much of a job market in Auburn, Alabama though. And it was a lot more respectable, you know to tell your parents and your fiance's parents, than retail or waitressing. I've never actually been a waitress...
5. The Pink Tulip. When I finally got to "the big city" of Birmingham, Alabama, I was four and a half months pregnant, and showing. I didn't really see a big future in a four month career so I just went for women's clothing retail (why? I couldn't even wear it!). It was hard being on my feet all the time, and I worked with some real back stabbers (that's women in the workplace for you though); I often wish mean people on them for when they're pregnant hoping they will remember how they picked on me! I so should've applied at Baby Gap!
Honorable mentions: Metropolitan Deluxe, Four Seasons Cleaners, (the obvious) RUF intern, various other childcare employment (why must I continue to torture myself?!)

I want to know more about:
Hmmm, I can imagine most of y'all will not appreciate being tagged. I am going to say:
1. Rebekah
2. Olive- we're ready for you to start up again!
3. Missy, Janet, Kat, Emily or any other neighborhood moms who have admitted (or not) to lurking and never leave comments. You will have to leave a comment (just this once!) with a link though, you know, or how else will I find you.
4. Laura- I have totally lost you. Do you still read? If so, give me a comment (just say "hi" so I have your link again).
5. Katherine- maybe this will keep you from being too serious as you feared? I keep meaning to comment, by the way, but you are like a blogging machine! I can't keep up!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lemony Lime Extrovert

I have been kind of a stress case lately. Partly because I am so dramatic. I sign myself up for stuff and then panic because it's a lot to do. It's ridiculous, I know. Even worse, my panic manifests itself as verbally fretting to passersby. I have heard that there is a common misunderstanding of what an extrovert is. Most people think extroverts are just outgoing people, but extroverts can actually be fairly shy (though I, generally, am not). The point is that they get their energy from being around people while introverts get their energy from their alone time. So introverts can be really outgoing too. Not that you don't all probably know that. But I didn't realize another thing about extroverts is that they process thought verbally. I knew I did, but I didn't know it was typical of a lot of people, of all extroverts. They, or I should say we, don't sit and think well; we have to talk through things. I know, this is exhausting, even for us. One source put it concisely, "Extroverts tend to think as they speak, unlike introverts who are far more likely to think before they speak. Extroverts often think better when they are talking. Concepts just don't seem real to them unless they can talk about them; reflecting on them isn't enough." So there ya have it, that is why I am so blog-y and phone-y and all around chatty. I am just thinking out loud. I would say feel free to tune me out, but unfortunately, you are part of the process. Man, how do I have any friends? Anyway, I have tried to spare the blog world from being passersby, but if you have been in my wake the last week and gotten an ear full of barbecue suppers, visits from my sister, a four hour argument with my mom, or whatever else I have been hemming and hawing over, I do apologize. But honestly, it's just kind of me, so take it or leave it. Although honestly, I wish I could leave it. It is the one thing about me that I have been picked on for for as long as I can remember. It is frustrating to feel that I exhaust people by just being myself. Not that most people aren't very kind- kind, but weary. The more I think it about it, the more I think most of my friends are introverted. I could be wrong. Give me a shout out if you're an extrovert.

My, isn't this a strange and bittersweet post? Perhaps not enough sweet. That is why I have recipes! Delicious recipes. And two are deliciously sweet.

Lemon Daisy Cake
from Williams Sonoma. I actually have a daisy cake pan, but it is supposed to hold a standard 9x13.

For the cake:
2 c. all purpose flour
2T baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8T unsalted butter
1 1/2c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
4 eggs plus 2 yolks (Do y'all know to have your eggs at room temperature? Accomplish this quickly with refrigerated eggs by putting cold eggs in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes)
1c. buttermilk
For the glaze:
1/4 c. water
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/3 c. sugar
1T rum

-Grease and flour pan (A good release can be made with equal parts melted butter and flour-1T of each should be enough. Brush it on with a pastry brush. This is especially good in pans that have lots of nooks and crannies like the daisy pan). Preheat oven to 325.
-Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
-Beat butter on medium high until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vanilla and lemon zest and continue to beat. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
-Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions.
-Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake 50 minutes (or until toothpick...)
-Transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Release cake a brush glaze(made by whisking glaze ingredients until sugar dissolves) on warm cake. Let cake cool completely before serving.

Lime Squares With Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust
from Everyday Baking on PBS. I made these for the first time yesterday; they are scrumptious!

For the crust:
4T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 c. shelled pistachios
1 c. (4oz.- that's 8 whole graham crackers; I measured it) graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1T grated lime zest
For the filling:
2 large egg yolks
1 14oz. can sweetened, condensed milk
1/2c. fresh lime juice

-Preheat oven to 350. Brush an 8 inch square baking dish with butter, and line bottom with parchment, leaving a two inch overhang on two sides.
-Process nuts, crackers, sugar and zest in food processor until finely ground. Mix in butter. Press mixture into bottom of pan and bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
-Mix eggs and condensed milk together, then add juice and whisk until smooth. Pour filling over cooled crust. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool in pan on rack . Chill at least one hour before lifting parchment out of pan, cutting, and serving.

Salmon with Herbs and Lemon Butter
from Dierbergs (It's a grocery store. I think they had this recipe in the sale flyer a few years back). I know you are thinking salmon is expensive. But this recipe is so delicious and quick, and the other ingredients are so inexpensive, that it is a bargain! Salmon is on special at Shnucks this week for $6.99 a pound, too.

1 1/2 lb. salmon fillet (You may have to adjust the recipe to fit your crowd. You do not need the whole 1/2 pound per person like they tell you because you have spinach and pasta in the dish too.)
2T butter
2T lemon juice
2T chopped parsley
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed (it is really better to use fresh if you have it on hand, but you need to use more of fresh)
1/4 tsp. salt
ground black pepper

-Rinse fillet and pat dry.
-Melt butter in saute pan over medium high heat, blend in herbs and lemon juice, saute fillet on both sides until done.
-Cover a serving dish with baby spinach. Place cooked angel hair pasta (I like that multi-grain Barilla kind in the yellow box) on top of spinach. Place cooked salmon on top of pasta. Drizzle herbs and butter from pan over salmon, and squeeze extra lemon juice if desired.

Okay, that is bad recipe writing, but I actually changed this to an indoor recipe from an outdoor recipe, and the directions are in my head. Originally it was a grilling recipe which read like this:
-Place salmon skin side down (and see, I always have them take the skin off at the fish counter) 4 and 1/2 inches over hot coals.
-Melt butter and mix in seasonings. Brush over salmon.
-Cook salmon, basting frequently, 10 minutes per 1 inch thickness.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Me, Wasting Your Time

My mother-in-law has the kids for the day (they are off school) and instead of mopping and baking a lemon cake like I had planned, I am down here on the computer totally wasting my time with Blogthings. I have no idea why. I do think I am beginning to realize why I don't sew anymore. I think I quit sewing right around the time I started blogging. Not that I am blogging about anything serious today. Nope, just acting like I'm in ninth grade all over again doing YM quizzes with Lindsey about what kind of animal you are or what your dreams mean or which movie star would be your ideal boyfriend. They don't even make any sense! But here I am, sharing the results, wasting your time too. You're welcome.




You Are a Yellow Flower



A yellow flower tends to represent joy, friendship, and playfulness.

At times, you are childlike, as a buttercup is.

And at other times, you are fickle, like a dahlia.

And more than you wish, you tend to feel bittersweet, like a marigold.




What Your Taste in Chocolate Says About You



You are sophisticated, modern, and high class.

Your taste is refined, but you are not picky.

You are often the first to try something new.



You are energetic and quick to act.

You are open minded, and you easily adopt new social causes.

While your heart is in the right place, you often can't follow through with your dreams.



You love being around people. Friendships are important to you.

You feel lost when you're by yourself... so you tend to avoid being alone.


Not picky? They don't know me at all!





You Are 75% Open



You're a pretty open person - and you don't mind sharing the good, bad, and sometimes ugly.

And while sometimes you do catch yourself blabbing on, you usually exhibit restraint.

You're openness is quite refreshing, and it encourages other people to be open with you!



Wouldn't you hate to run into someone 100% open?! Yowsa!




Your Birthdate: December 5



You have many talents, and you are great at sharing those talents with others.

Most people would be jealous of your clever intellect, but you're just too likeable to elicit jealousy.

Progressive and original, you're usually thinking up cutting edge ideas.

Quick witted and fast thinking, you have difficulty finding new challenges.



Your strength: Your superhuman brainpower



Your weakness: Your susceptibility to boredom



Your power color: Tangerine



Your power symbol: Ace



Your power month: May



Hey hey, May is my power month! It's coming up! And who knew my power color was tangerine? No wonder things haven't been going so well for me lately, I have had a shocking lack of tangerine in my life! (Note my tangerine-y colored title and side bars. Eh?) They are right about the superhuman brainpower though. I know, you'd all be so jealous if I wasn't so darn likeable! C'mon y'all, you know you want to take some quizzes! Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Young@Heart

I saw a piece on this choir on two different news shows lately, so maybe y'all have seen these folks before, but I didn't want anyone to miss them in case. They are a group of elderly folks from Northhampton, Massachusetts who, evidently, perform in Europe and Australia, but are relatively unknown in the US. They are gaining a lot more recognition now because of a documentary, previously released in England on "Channel 4" (it's kind of fun to look at a British TV website), coming to the US. The documentary was released in theaters in New York and LA last week, but will not be in St. Louis until April 25th, Charlotte until May 2nd, Nashville until May 9th, and Birmingham until May 16th. If you live somewhere else, check here.

I have this Coldplay song stuck in my head all the time lately, mostly because the first line seems to be my life story lately! And I keep remembering the story of this man, Fred Knittle, and the man he was supposed to sing a duet with, Bob Salvini, who died only a few days before the scheduled performance (if I remember correctly). Seeing the video makes the first line from the bridge ring a little more true ("tears streaming down your face"), as it is already a sad song, with a new sad story behind it, sung by this dear elderly man who is singing his friend's part as well as his own while hooked up to oxygen. But you should see it, just have some Kleenex. I don't know how to put YouTube thingys on my blog, so just click this- Young@Heart:Fix You. Alternatively, "Stayin' Alive" and "I Wanna Be Sedated" are slightly funnier, still with a sad undertone, if you think about it.

I can't remember what news programs I saw them on, but in case you have missed the story, here is more:
Nightline
Today

You can find most of these links, and more, under the documentary link.

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's a Two-for

I just ended my post today with a phrase containing the word "yeah." And that reminded me of another thing that really gets on my nerves. People get this wrong all the time, and I think they need not to. I may actually be thinking of some of you this time. Andy Rooney style, that's right.

"Yeah" (pronounced pretty much like it looks) means "yes."
"Yea" (pronounced yay) means "hurray." (also means "yes" in a vote- yea or nay- or in older English- like the King James Version of the Bible)

Somehow, I know these things, but I looked it up just to make sure. Links for those who won't take my word for it.
link
link
link
link
Carry on then.

I Totally Sound Like Andy Rooney

And believe it or not, I do a pretty good impression of him. But at the risk of being confused with a grumpy, nasally, old man, here it goes.

Buying coffee seems to me to be something of a gamble. I am sitting here now with a cup of "Seattle's Best" wondering how many people from Seattle must really resent that name. Because it is terrible! And while I'm at it, let me just say that Starbucks, at least some varieties because I never can remember what kind to get, is equally terrible. It's that burnt taste. What is the deal with the burnt taste? I mean, I am no coffee connoisseur so maybe I don't know what coffee is supposed to taste like. Except that there is plenty of coffee that does not taste burnt to me. I generally stick to fancy coffee drinks when ordering out somewhere, a very expensive habit, but I got something like $60 in Starbucks gift cards for Christmas so I'm good. I am pretty sure the espresso is spared the burning process, and even if it's not it has the milk and the chocolate to mask it. However, I am drinking a cup of "Seattle's Best" and even the envelope of hot chocolate I mixed with it does not make it taste good.

And why did we buy Seattle's Best? Because that's what Borders serves, even though I don't even like the mochas from Borders. It was on special. And George was doing the shopping. He did call to check, evidently there was no Kaldi's at the grocery store. Kaldi's is the local coffee company that is, to me, the best thing about St. Louis. They now sell their coffee at Shnucks, except, evidently, not at the Overland Shnucks which is, as I have said before, a complete waste of space. I never shop there, but George is usually the one who "runs out for a couple of things" at the last minute and I don't blame him for going closer. Except that it's also a waste of time because they never have anything we need, or if they do it's spoiled, and the wait in one of two open lanes is longer than the drive to the Ladue Shnucks. Can you tell I really hate the Overland Shnucks? But back to coffee. That Kaldi's is the best thing about St. Louis is a slight exaggeration, but what I want to know is why they don't carry it at all the Shnuckses, why there aren't more locations, why there aren't drive through locations (because a Starbucks without a drive through is also kind of a waste of space for a mom with three kids in tow), and how Starbucks even survives in St. Louis with Kaldi's here. Heaven knows no delis survive with St. Louis Bread Company here! Incidentally, St. Louis Bread (Panera Bread) also has pretty good coffee, but again, no drive through. And see there's another thing about Seattle's Best and Starbucks, how ingenious was it to team up with a bookstore? I know it's been that way for a while, but I love that there is coffee at the bookstore. The only place more convenient to have coffee places, and they do have this in the Birmingham and Brentwood (Tennessee, sorry, not Missouri) locations, is Target. Starbucks in a Target. I love it. Oooh, they should put Kaldi at the Brentwood Target! Mmmmm.

But maybe you're wondering why I am drinking coffee because maybe you remember one of the many times I gave it up. I always come back to it. It's like a friend welcoming me into my day. It really is kind of an emotional dependency situation. Because every time I give up coffee, it's like I have nothing to look forward to. Seriously. I know; it's pathetic. But having bad coffee right now is worse than no coffee, because it's such a let down! But not having Kaldi's at the Overland Shnucks is a sort of wake up call; there will not be Kaldi's wherever we move in the next couple of months (My current prayer is something along the lines of "anywhere but here!" Post about that forthcoming).

So what does one drink? My dad swears by Dunkin Donuts. I have to say this is slightly annoying to me as the reason he swears by it is because Consumer Reports says it's good. And I just can't get behind the people who rate cars, major appliances, and electronics also supposedly knowing everything there is to know about food, cosmetics, and medicine. I mean, there some things that can be scientifically tested, you know, beaten, battered, overused, etc. We want to know how our car seats, refrigerators, and cell phones will hold up over time; we want to refer to something before making a big purchase. And I appreciate Consumer Reports in those situations. But to me food is a matter of taste. Unless I know the person and I have similar tastes, I don't care what they like (with all due respect). I mean, there are people out there who like licorice! And some people think tuna fish sandwiches are a tasty lunch. And tuna fish sandwiches are never tasty. So see, I don't know how much I trust the random Consumer Reports dudes in that situation. And that is slightly hypocritical because I tend to swear by Cook's Illustrated. But they, at least, are food people. I have written this portion of this post in another post before, so I'll stop now. But anyway, now that I have said I think food is a matter of taste and you can't trust any old person, I do kinda want to know what kind of coffee y'all like. And also, does anyone know what I am talking about with the burnt taste? I just Googled it, and yeah, people know.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

News Flash

I'm sure y'all remember the little things your parents would say again and again. While there were plenty that were driven into the ground on sitcoms, "money doesn't grow on trees," the whole walking to school uphill both ways bit, and all of those sorts of things, there were plenty that were unique just to our own mom or dad. At least I think so. My dad has lots of little speeches he likes to give. But as for little catch phrases, his most memorable one had to be, "Dontcha be fussin' now." This always did stop us from fussing, if we even were, because we would immediately be united in annoyance and/or amusement with my dad for saying that. I hear George sometimes and I have a pretty good idea that his, "what's going on here?!" will be the same type of thing for our kids.

My mom always had polite ways of saying "get out of here!" Of course, I got her meaning and sometimes got my feelings hurt, but having three children of my own now, I can understand exactly how she must've felt. I am, after all, rather chatty. She would say things like "run on, now," or even "you're driving me bonkees" in a silly voice meant to soften the blow. For the most part, she could be pretty calm with all the noise that came from the three of us. I have a hard time with that. I tend to just level with the kids, just to let them in my world. I just let them know that Mommy is tired and a little grumpy and that it's not their fault but I need them to be a little quieter. Now often, I don't give them the whole spiel, but I think they've heard the spiel enough to fill in the blanks. Clearly, because my oldest child is writing me notes about my crankiness. She has gotten to the point where if I am not laughing and joking around, she thinks I'm cranky. Oh well. Anyway, I guess they will probably remember my little speech about needing some peace, I actually heard August trying to pull something similar on Amabel in the car yesterday, "I just need a little bit of quiet time."

But I think the thing that will both annoy them and amuse them later will be this little ditty which seems to be coming out of my mouth more and more often before I even know it, "I am not a clown." There is a little spiel that goes with it, something about how I need to work (complete with a list of all the things I have to do) and don't always have time to do everything they want to do. It is usually in response to their, "Can we do something fun today?" "What are we going to do after this?" "I want to go somewhere!" And all that comes to mind is "I am not a clown?" Somewhere in my mind I must be thinking they expect me to be a clown? Well, just so y'all know, I'm not a clown.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Rest of the Story

I am working on a new post, I promise. I love what everyone had to say about the last one. You were all so gracious and honest. It has been so refreshing to read what everyone has had to say! You people really should comment more, you all have great things to add. And it was fun to discover that almost all the people I thought had stopped reading evidently still do, at least sometimes. Thanks for all the comments and emails. I appreciated everyone's vulnerability about their own lives so much, and your encouragement about my life too! I especially appreciated what Jennifer said about how we don't know the whole story when it comes to other people. That is so true and just that one little piece of wisdom can get us miles and miles with patience, understanding, and compassion. Because why does that family go to that church? Why is that girl always late (who? me?)? Why are those people always worried? Why do they dress that way? Why do they send their kids to school there? Why do they make such a big deal out of that? Whatever it is that bugs us about other people, we don't know what their life is like. But just knowing that general truth, that we don't know, can save us from being overly judgmental, proud, or just downright rude. I am, of course, not thinking of any of you, but it is something that I think I have been learning ever since that dreadful day, you all know it, you all love it, the day I graduated from college and my life completely fell apart. Now I'm just making fun. But truly, I am learning more about what I don't know and about "gray area" and about being gracious to people who are completely different from me all the time. I have no idea why it took me graduating from college to start learning this. Let's blame it on sororities. Er, um, just being a plain old, garden variety spoiled brat. Yeah, that sounds right. But it has been rather earth shattering to realize everyone is not like me. And that is confusing too as I seem to be somewhat narcissistic in my feelings that no one else is quite as weird or troubled as me. No wait, those two are the same thing. Ugh. It is far too late to be hashing out all my worst faults on the world wide web. But if I were going to, I would probably get all sympathy and encouragement from y'all. Anyway, just wanted to issue a post of gratitude and give y'all a little something to chew on until I can get a new post up. (I guessed y'all were probably sick of seeing the same thing when you swung by).

Monday, April 07, 2008

Can I Get A Witness?

I am getting grumpier every day lately. I'm in a serious funk and I don't know why. I feel like Tom Hanks at the end of the Burbs when he is trying to pull the gurney out to get on the ambulance, or maybe a little like Steve Martin when he flips out in the grocery store in Father of the Bride. I'm just in the "I have had it!" portion of my life I suppose. Don't mind me! Alternate titles for this post included "Greetings from the Valley of the Diapers" (that one I may have used before), "I'm sick of this poop! (literally),"Mary, Mary, Why ya Buggin'?"

I am half tempted to put a poll on here. Who thinks Abby should have more kids? My personal vote is a split vote. Fortunately, I don't have to decide right now. We decided not to even think about the next baby until we have our post-graduation plans secure. But I think about it all the time anyway. I have always wanted a lot of kids. I have said "four at the least" for most of my life. And of course, once I had kids it became just "four." No "at least," because I was quick to realize that I am just not good at this. I would rather do my best with less than have a bunch and be the crazy mom. The problem is, times like this I already am the crazy mom. Is having a crazy mom that bad? I don't know. We could ask my four year old son, the one I drove to tears just a little while ago because of how many pairs of underwear he goes through in a day due to "improper cleanup," shall we say? It's so gross. But he's only four. We could ask my six year old daughter, the one who colored me a picture with this inscription just the other day, "Dear Mommy, I love you. I am sorry you are so grumpy. Love, Amabel" Or we can ask my eighteen month old, the one who was recently traumatized when I, as George put it, "screamed like a crazy person" when I discovered her with the fifth lipstick this month, a brand new one I had just bought to replace the other four and left in the box in my purse (heaven knows how she found it and opened it!), smeared into carpet, hair, and hand smocked dress.

It's like I think we might all actually benefit if I was put on a gurney and wheeled away sometime! You know how the stars "check themselves in" at these "mental health" spa places for "exhaustion?" Give me some of that action! Give my family some of that action!

So I just wonder if I have an incredibly low tolerance for daily living, or does everyone just get in a funk now and then? I am guessing most people go through stages where they are not 100%, but for me it seems to be 1)for no particular reason (unless you count the stress of having less than 40 days until graduation with nothing on the horizon which is not nearly so bad as it will be when there are less than 4 days until graduation so I at least don't think I'm justified in that reason even if it is the reason) and 2)much to the chagrin of other people. I don't much like myself when I get like this. Ah well, self love, it's so overrated. But seriously, can anyone relate to this?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Early Morning, April 4th

I am not sure why the words to the U2 song say "early morning" when the "shot rang out in the Memphis sky" at 6:01PM. Dublin time is six hours ahead of Memphis time, so it was early morning in Ireland, but not April 4th. Anyway, I saw some really amazing footage of Martin Luther King's protests and speeches on the news last night. (Note, I was watching the news!) I have to say that the emotion that overwhelmed me made it hard to keep running (I was at the Y) and I found tears mixing with sweat. Even writing this, which I am doing a terrible job doing, is really difficult. So let me just be blunt. I am a white Southerner. And to see white Southerners, even if it was fifty years ago, with their horrible flags waving and their fists raised, was just mortifying. I feel so ashamed. I think Southerners can be really insensitive and really oblivious. I confess that I was. It took moving out of the South for me to "get" what the big deal was. I would have sworn up and down that I was not a racist, but it was so easy when white people and black people in the South don't attend the same churches, shop in the same stores, or go to the same restaurants simply because they don't live in the same part of town. Or such has been my experience. Maybe I didn't have hateful feelings toward the black community, but there was certainly some apathy there. And I don't know what the solution is, but I just have to say it is all too sickeningly comfortable. I had no idea how the song "Dixie" conveyed racist ideas or that the Confederate flag was offensive to black people (it was offensive to me because it is redneck, but that was out of snobbery and not out of compassion and understanding). I will tell you that the South is mostly not like A Time to Kill, that it is not composed of blatantly racist rednecks and poor African Americans, which is how I think non-Southerners view it. (I know there are educated white people in A Time to Kill, I am just thinking of the bad guys, because I think that's sort of what other people think of) I would say that there are all types of people from all types of socio-economic backgrounds and educational backgrounds, but that for some reason the South gets this reputation, possibly because our lack of action and understanding makes us all come across as racist and ignorant rednecks. This post would have been very offensive to me as a Southerner before I moved to St. Louis and put my children in a school where white children are the minority, and I, for the first time in my life, see "little black boys and girls...join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers." Because I just didn't know. I know I still don't know. I am still learning. I have had a lifetime of not walking together as sisters and brothers.

And one thing I will address, and feel free to disagree or discuss, by the way. One thing that Southerners use to defend their practice of racially offensive behavior is that they value their heritage. They can play "Dixie" and fly flags and erect statues of Civil War Confederate "Heroes" because of "heritage." And I get that on some level. I really do. Because, and some of y'all are probably snickering because you know this but it is really embarrassing, my parents live on a street named for a Confederate general. There are cannons outside their neighborhood, and the doorbell used to play "Dixie." We went to Stone Mountain on field trips when I was a little girl growing up in Macon, Georgia. And I am descendant on both sides from plantation owners, one of which is a historical home on the National Register of Historic Places. And I don't know which of all of these things are unbearably offensive and which of these things, if any, are passable, and obviously, some can't be helped (like ancestry). I guess we should ask the people who are offended. There is a beautiful part of the country called the South which I call home. But so much of the history there is tragic. Its "glory days" were dependent on the enslavement and oppression of an entire race. And I just don't think that should be celebrated. I am still a Southerner. I still love the South, but the South can still be the South and be sensitive and aware and proactive. This is all kind of the overflow of my heart right now, so I am open to other opinions or elaborations, etc. I have been wanting to say something like this since February though, since we saw some really powerful programming during Black History Month, something I used to resent somewhat- again, because I didn't get it.

Please share thoughts if you have them. Sorry this is sort of disorganized, stream of consciousness fare. I have to go make pizza for my family now.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My Wasted IQ

Well, I guess it isn't really writer's block or not knowing how to tell stories that is keeping me from posting. I just feel boring lately. Not bored. Just boring. I get up, I work out, I clean, I cook, I change diapers, I wash clothes, I watch a little something on TV, I go to bed. I can often spin these things in a funny or thoughtful direction for you all, but not so much lately. I also feel really sad about my stagnation of knowledge. Can you say that? Yes, I believe you can. "My stagnation of knowledge."

There are all these people out there with these ideas and opinions on things. "Well, I think Obama blah blah ba blah." Or, "I think the economy blahbity blah blah bleh." And I'm like "Who?" or "Is that bad?" Seriously, where do y'all get your news? Because you know me, I am a daytime TV person. I iron or fold laundry or work out during the hours of The Today Show and The View. Now what I can say is that I have learned not to watch these shows. I used to get really fired up, especially when Rosie was on The View. But now I know that no one else cares or watches these things or gives any credence to the opinions expressed on such shows. Plus, they're like 60% commercials. So I tried a little NPR because you know all the cool people listen to NPR. And it bores me to tears. Probably because I can't follow it because I'm so far out of the loop. You really have to dumb things down for me. Which is why something like Fox News would probably be perfect for me. It's like Teletubbies, they just repeat the same stories all day long ("Again!Again!") on like a fifteen minute loop. But alas, we don't have cable. And I don't know who to trust anyway. I mean, people on a lot of shows are just blatantly liberal. Or even the St. Louis paper openly endorses Obama. I mean, what happened to unbiased journalism? Because when I took Journalism classes, not very long ago, they told us to be unbiased. Of course, they also acknowledged that after a while you will likely be true to yourself in one way or another (but that example was more for PR stuff). Anyway, at least a paper that openly endorses a candidate is letting everyone know where they stand. So when you read about this or that, you know with which political ideology they identify. Other papers might slip their opinions in through the back door, so to speak. On the other hand, I don't like the idea of reading crazy right wing extremist stuff that is so often perpetuated by the hard hearted and close minded.

I am so not a grown up. I say this a lot. I know. But I am just not a responsible adult, really. I have no idea what's going on in the world, and really nothing about the world in general. I watch Cash Cab a lot when I'm at the Y, because Cash Cab is just good fun. But I never know the answers. Now maybe I am not someone who can pull trivia-esque answers to mind on the fly. I know I'm not. Today there was a picture of the Kremlin and it was described as the residence of the President of Russian and the cathedrals and palaces were all mentioned and I was like "Doh!" But when the girl guessed the Kremlin, I immediately knew she was right. So that's something, I know what the Kremlin is, sort of. And not much else. I didn't know the last five states admitted to the US. I knew the last two, but everyone knows that. I don't know anything about world geography especially. I should travel. I should get out and meet people. I should buy a money tree and grow it in my back yard and harvest the money every spring to fund my world travels. Or maybe I should just read. Grown ups read. So what do y'all read?

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