Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December Fool

Today the temperature will get to 61 degrees.

I swear I saw Daffodils popping up at Kathi's house yesterday.

I went and got a pedicure. Afterward, I wore flip flops and Chacos around to make sure my nails dried out. My feet never got cold. Yesterday was like a little gift from God. I think today will be just as wonderful.

Anyone that reads my blogs or knows me on the most basic level possible knows that I hate the cold. I like cold on Christmas. That's about it. I could live in Miami or Hawaii and not blink an eye. I want to cry for those people in Minnesota who get 402 inches of snow and still have to go to school. I am a summer girl and always will be.

Yesterday reminded me a little of the good stuff. Freedom. Open-toed shoes. Simple little dresses that don't need ironing and aren't constricting. Deep green landscapes and Georgia at its most beautiful.

Then, I remembered. I remembered that we are still in the month of December. January, the month of pure cold and blah, is just around the corner. Tomorrow, the high will be in the 40's.

This December heat wave fooled me once again. Why am I always falling for this stuff? Sigh.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Homeless and Changing

Jeremy and I are officially homeless.

We sold our condo a few months ago and closed on it almost two weeks ago.

We are living with the in-laws while we build across the street, and this makes for a very "Everybody Loves Raymond" experience.

There are so many things changing in our lives right now. We are excited about the future God has for us. We are incredibly blessed. We may not have a Christmas tree this year, or a house to celebrate Christmas in that is officially "ours," but God's provision has been so evident and it overwhelms us.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Art of Old Navy

Kathi and I went to Old Navy this evening.

Here are deep and profound truths I realized about Old Navy today while I waited in line:

1. There are about 200 employees at each Old Navy store.

2. About 196 of these employees are supposed to stand around and fold sweaters. I think that "sweater folding" is on the job requirement section of the application to Old Navy. ("Are you a great sweater folder? Then you'll fit right in here with us at Old Navy!")

3. There is one employee who runs the dressing room.

4. There are two employees who tirelessly run the register while a horrendous line forms.

5. There is one employee who stands and works behind the people who run the registers. This employee folds sweaters and walks around aimlessly. This person does this because a) he/she thinks it's cool and necessary to fold sweaters and b) he/she must want to bug the absolute junk out of those of us in line. If you are an employee of a store and the store is busy with people in line, wouldn't you turn around and start running a register - I mean, as opposed to folding stinkin' sweaters??!

I worked in a grocery store a long, long time ago. When it got busy, the manager, the bookeeper - everyone - stepped in to get people out of there as soon as possible. You want people to leave your store with purchases. It's good customer service.

I just don't get Old Navy. Is their policy to have the neatest stacks of sweaters or to actually sell people the junk on the shelves? Ugh.

(Disclaimer: By the way, the Mall of Georgia Old Navy is usually a little more efficient than the one in lovely Gainesville. But, most things in general are more efficient than those in Gainesville. Oh, and if you are an employee of Old Navy, I apologize. I'm sure you're one of the ones who actually works the register or the dressing room.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stomach Virus + Thanksgiving = Sad.

I had a stomach virus the day before Thanksgiving this year. That, coupled with a really bad cold (that I am still suffering from - it actually felt like strep for a few days), a fever, a coughing fit, and numerous other symptoms made for a really interesting Thanksgiving this year.

One of the reasons that Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart is because it is centered around food. I really love food. I love to make food. I love to watch people on tv make food. I think about what I'm going to eat when I wake up. Sometimes I remember places by what I ate (like that street in Rome that had the best Roman fold-over pizza EVER!). Like I said, food and I get along like Rachael Ray and Dunkin' Donuts.

I felt better on Thanksgiving. But after a stomach virus/nasty cold, there wasn't much that sounded appetizing. In fact, I think I would have been content to never eat AGAIN. I ate a little turkey and some pretty bland things. But my grandmother's dressing, always filled with its sagey goodness, was hard for me to swallow.

I was kinda bummed out. Thanksgiving, the holiday that celebrates food, the holiday that I as a "foodie" always enjoyed, was pretty much a let-down yesterday.

Oh, well. There are better things on the horizon.

Oh, and I am NEVER eating PF Chang's again. Ever. Never ever. Okay, so I probably will. But not for a long, long, time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Santa Identity

The Christmas season is soon approaching, so I am going to provide some of my life-long musings about one of its most prolific characters, Santa Claus.

(Warning: there are some "Santa Spoilers" in this post...you may not want to read it if you don't already know "the truth" about Santa.)

I have mixed feelings about Santa. I'm not quite sure what to think about this mysterious character who is based on a real-life man.

When I was a child, I was told that Santa Claus didn't exist, so that made me different from most kids. When I was in Kindergarten, I asked my mother about Santa, since all of the other children at school were talking about him. Her reply?

"Santa isn't real! Christmas is about JESUS, not Santa! Me and your Dad buy you presents because we LOVE you, not because of SANTA!!"

There are other mothers who choose not to tell their children about Santa as well, though they are few and far between. I worked with a lady a few years ago who pretty much said -

"Have you ever noticed that if you take the letters of Santa and mix them around, they spell SATAN? Coincidence? I think not."

While I grew up with a mother who delivered me anti-Santa propaganda all throughout Christmastime, I often think about what I will tell my own children about him one day.

I mean, let's be honest. The whole concept of Santa is kind of creepy. He kind of sounds like a bizarre stalker. I mean, "he sees you when you're sleeping/he knows when you're awake/he knows when you've been bad or good..."

Really? Seriously? That is CREEPY! I personally don't want my future children to know that some old guy with a fetish for cookies and reindeer is going to be WATCHING them at night.

Some families even go so far as to buy these little elf dolls that sit around the house. These dolls are supposed to "watch" the children and report any bad behavior to Santa. Parents are supposed to move these dolls around at night to show the children that the elves are "alive."

I mean, I've only seen 10 minutes of a Chucky movie...but that's enough. My friend had a Cricket doll in the 80s that would sporadically blink its eyes when turned off. That was creepy enough. But DOLLS THAT FOLLOW YOU?!? I shudder just thinking about it!

But, on the other hand, I think Santa adds whimsy to Christmas. Kathi loves to call Santa on her phone in her Kindergarten class - it instantly changes their behavior, because they think he is watching them. I'll be honest -I can't wait to see Colton get all excited about Santa this year. I think Santa adds some excitement to the season. It can definitely be fun to watch children react to the idea of Santa.

Will I tell my children about him? I don't know at this point. I don't think I'll be as negative as my mother, although I will probably them the truth about the Santa Identity. I want to celebrate Christmas for the right reasons, and give as Christ so willingly gave to us. I want my children to help others, and to understand that not all children get what they want for Christmas. I hope I can get them to turn their eyes from the greed that consumes us during this time of year. I pray for them already, and that I can raise them to be their own little versions of Santa - givers who do so unashamedly.

But I don't want them to be creepy like Santa - you know, stalking people. That's just weird. Seriously.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Veteran's Day Tribute

I do not think that I could let the week of Veteran's Day pass without mentioning a few of my own heroes.

I come from a family full of military men. I am so thankful and so proud that I come from a family where men served bravely for their country. I am going to list a few of my family members and include their stories and pictures. If you haven't thanked a veteran this week, please do so.

I know very little about my uncle Jim's experience in Vietnam. My cousin Candice could probably offer more insight to his tour of Vietnam. I do know that he joined the Navy around 1969 or 1970. He fought during Vietnam and was a crew member on the USS Oriskany. He came home due to health problems.

My Dad, Joe Cain, fought a tour in Vietnam from 1970-1971. Dad was cautious about discussing his war experience when I was younger. I never heard anything about what he actually did until he came to talk to my students about it a few years ago. He worked for the Navy on a riverboat. His responsibility was to man the dual 50-caliber machine guns in the back of the boat, as well as to fix the boat if anything happened to it. He ate the food of the locals, patrolled the river for "foreign objects," and, of course, defended his men and his country. He said that during the day, he would mostly stay idle for 23 hours of the day and fight for one hour. Those hours were the longest and most horrible of his life. He lost his best friend in the Navy. He came back home to the scorn of a generation who did not love those who fought for their country.

My beloved "Grandpaw," T.J. Cain, served in World War II from 1941-1945. He was drafted into the US Army when he was 21, and became a part of the 464th Anti-Aircraft Battalion. He received his training in North Carolina, and then he traveled to Burma (Myanmar), where he and his men helped build portions of the Burma-Ledo Road. He served most of his time as a truck driver - he carried anti-aircraft weapons on the road to the US Servicemen. He endured fourteen days during the monsoon season with no food. He went on a special mission to scout out territory - what exactly went on was something he was never supposed to tell. Toward the end of the war, he drove over the famous Himalayan "Hump," to deliver his trucks to the Chinese (who were democratic during this time period under Chiang Kai-Shek). He caught a plane, flew over the "hump," and then drove another truck back over. He said men kissed the ground on their return home. (Four years immersed in war would make anyone kiss the ground.) A book was written about Grandpaw's battalion, called The Burma Roadsters. He probably read that book fifty times.
I also know very little about my great-uncle Ray Dean's experiences. He served in the Korean War and was placed on the front lines of battle. In a letter written to my grandmother (who was his sister), he mentioned that he was placed in battles that seemed "like Hell." He went MIA in October 30th of 1950. He was never found. He never made it home.
For those who fought, those who came back emotionally different, those who came back permanently injured, those who were never found, and for those who never made it home - thank you. My thanks is a small token for your sacrifice.


I am facing a time in my life when so many things are unknown. I simply do not know the answers.

I have a car full of boxes in the back of my car with nothing packed in them. I don't know when we will move. We do not have a closing date set yet. (We do have money, though - so it is nice to think that we'll at least have some money if this all falls through.)

I have a map that leads to nowhere when we actually do move - I don't know if we will build a house, buy a house, live with family for the next few months to see if the economy stabilizes, or just simply rent for awhile. I don't know. We haven't figured it out yet.

I have a heart's desire for something that I know may never happen. The answer to this question is out of my hands. The answer for the last six months has not been the one I wanted.

Living without plans seems foolish, and yet I know that this type of lifestyle unfurls my trust in God. While my brain cannot wrap around the future, while my heart cannot steady itself at times, while my fingers diligently type up questions with no answers - He is writing my life story. The unknown, with all of its fears, is known to Him.

So I wait with a prayerful heart. And I cry.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Brave New World

It's a sad, sad, day when one has to put away one's Chacos for one's socks and shoes. The cold weather has finally forced me into practicality. I had to break down and wear socks and closed-toed shoes today.

I loathe socks. I loathe closed-toed shoes.

Sniffle. I'm so sad.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Eyes Have It

Thursday night, my eye really started bothering me.

This isn't anything new. My allergies have progressively taken over my body for the past couple of years, and during this time of year I usually get allergy-induced pink eye. I even have some drops for this that I'll put in to heal my eye up.

I put some drops in Thursday night before I went to bed. When I woke up Friday, the problem was worse. The drops did not work. I went to school anyway, thinking I probably had the "real" pink eye, since I do work at a middle school with lots of germy children.

Apparently, my eye looked so heinous that my 3rd period kids kept freaking out about it (this is a really mature group, have I mentioned this?). I had to wear sunglasses in 3rd period just so they would quit whining about how weird my eye looked. I thought the sunglasses might make it worse, but the kids got over it and got to work, so apparently it was better to look like a reject from "Miami Vice" than a freak from the circus.

Today, I woke up with gunk in my eye and no signs of improvement. I decided that it was finally time to make that dreaded trip to Quick Care to pay $45 to get a pink eye diagnosis, as well as a written prescription to take care of the problem.

After telling the people at Quick Care that I probably had pink eye (I mean, let's be honest - the allergy drops didn't work and several kids at school had it) I was proven wrong.

I have an ULCER on my cornea. You can't see it. My eye is just obnoxiously red around the cornea and in a lot of pain. The doctor determined this by putting some bright orange drops in my eye. After that, he looked at my eye with a red light. Afterward, I went home and it looked like I had been beaten by an Ooomph-Loomph. I had a HUGE orange ring around my eye.

After my diagnosis, he game me my prescription. This was the most sadistic prescription I have ever heard of. I was told to put antibiotic eye drops in my eye every fifteen minutes. Yes, you read that correctly. Every fifteen minutes. I had to do that for six hours, and then I had to take the drops every thirty minutes. These peopled expected get up every thirty minutes during my sleep time and put drops in my eyes??!! Really?!?

Of course, after I told my Mom that they could keep dreaming, this is the conversation that we had:

Mom: I've been thinking about those eye drops. You need to wake up every thirty minutes and take them tonight. Make Jeremy wake you up.

Me: Mom, are you kidding me?? I'm not going to do that! I'll get up every few hours or so, but not every thirty minutes. I wouldn't even get to sleep. I need the weekends to sleep - I work during the week!

Mom: You need to do this! This is serious! You only have two eyes and you need to take care of them! If you don't do this, I'm going to call you every thirty minutes tonight and make sure that you take them!!! Do you hear me?!?!!

Me: Okay, Mom - geez.

Mom: You said, "okay, Mom." That means you PROMISED me you would wake up every thirty minutes and take those eye drops.

Anyway, after explaining that "Okay, Mom -geez" did not mean that I would promise her to take eye drops every thirty minutes, we came to a compromise that I would wake up every few hours or so to take them.

Anyway, that was my night. Jeremy and I are pretty tired this morning. There were some blips of two hours when I really didn't get any sleep at all because (somehow, I can't explain it) the medicine found a way to run down my throat and it made me pretty nauseous.

Needless to say, I'll be in my glasses for awhile. At this point I don't think I'll ever be able to wear contacts again. I have to go to my real eye doctor tomorrow to see if there has been any improvement, and if not more drastic measures may be taken.

I did read on Web MD that they can do a corneal transplant, which doesn't sound too bad at this point. Unfortunately, who takes Web MD seriously?

Monday, September 29, 2008

I heart alliteration.

Apparently, I love alliteration. My last blogs are titled, "Fading Fire and Future Fury," and, "Fashionistas or Fascists?" I must really love the letter "F."

Maybe my blog can be brought to you by the letter "F," kind of like Sesame Street. The letter could be a friendly, green, F-Shaped Muppet that teaches you all about the greatness of sounds. Hmmm.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fading Fire and Future Fury

My grandparents, all four of them, lived through some of the most difficult and trying years in American history.

My Papa Hulsey heard the Gainesville tornado from his rural North Hall farm - he ran (yes, ran) into town to help those who needed help that day, and he watched a town in ruin slowly recover. My Granny Hulsey lived in South Georgia during some of the darkest days of the depression - her past is shrouded in mystery, but we do know that she moved very quickly with her family to Hall County. Was her father escaping debt? What happened to make her family leave so quickly? My Grandpaw Cain never forgot the Great Depression - he was always grateful to Franklin Roosevelt and the Democrats for helping him out. He was so grateful, in fact, that he voted for Democrats in every major election since Roosevelt. The fact that he voted for Jimmy Carter speaks for itself.

But it is my Grandmother Cain, more affectionately known as "Memama," whose stories of the Great Depression resonate the most with me. She lost her father to cancer at eight years old. Her mother was placed in a sanatorium for tuberculosis a few years later. At a young age, she was left with no one but her older brothers and sisters to take care of her. Her brother Don worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps (the CCC) and her brother Fred worked for the Merchant Marines; both of her brothers would send their unfortunate siblings money when they needed it. Her family relied mostly on the charity of others to survive the dark, terrible years of depression.

All of this being said, I have a deep and heartfelt respect for those who lived through some of the most trying times in American history. The resilience of such a generation was displayed by the way they dealt with a terrible economic crisis coupled with the horrors of World War II.

And I watch as the stocks rise and fall, as President Bush makes his predictions, as the gas prices exponentially rise, and finally, I watch as those in the House and Senate debate on a 700 billion-dollar recovery plan to rescue our desperately failing economy.

Those who suffered through the worst are slowing dwindling away. Both my grandfathers are gone. My Grandpaw's life especially encompassed the meaning of work and sacrifice. I described the end of his life as a "fading fire" in his obituary. The Greatest Generation is leaving us.

Let me be honest - I am a part of a generation that is often self-absorbed, comfort-centered, and patience-lacking. I readily admit that I possess all of these traits.

My generation is spoiled by the America built by our forefathers. If the time comes where we must be more sacrificial, will we be ready? We are now the adults of this world. Can our generation handle the loss that may or may not come in our futures? Empires rise and fall - as a historian, I know this is true. Can my generation handle the day where America is no longer the lone superpower of the world?

I hope we can. I pray that God gives us the strength that He gave my ancestors. Until then, I watch with trepidation, thankful that my Grandpaw will not have to live through future fury that may come.

(Sorry I am so depressing...I will try to lighten the next one up a little.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fashionistas or Fascists?

In the past, I liked to peruse the pages of the lovely In Style Magazine. I found it fun to look through, colorful, and it often provided some great insight into my wardrobe.

I haven't always followed the newest fashion trends, and there are many, many that I have avoided (thank goodness - I'm sorry, skinny jeans don't look good on curvy women - they are called "skinny" for a reason). In high school and college, when t-shirts and jeans made up a majority of my wardrobe, I wasn't very fashionable.

When I became a working girl, I realized that I needed to up the pizazz factor a little bit, so I started looking for classic, sometimes slightly trendy pieces to accent my wardrobe. I made a few fashion faux pas, but for the most part I had fun trying to be a little trendy.

Until now.
I picked up my sister-in-law's copy of In Style on Saturday, and I found the five new pants styles for Autumn. I was and still am absolutely appalled.
I am listing them, along with some fake In Style commentary. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Cropped pants - "Now you too can look like Steve Urkel in these sexy cropped pants! People will wonder - do your pants fit, or are you just wearing them that high? Add an aura of mystery to your wardrobe!"

2. Skinny pants - "Yes, curvy girls - it's your worst nightmare come true! We let you have a few years with flared jeans - now the size zeros want to rule the world! These only look good on 1% of the population, and that includes all three Jonas Brothers!"
3. Pleated pants - "Girls, you can really go and raid your Mom's closet with this one. Remember those pants she wore in the 80's that you swear you'd ever wear again? Get 'em out, dust 'em off, and get ready to be stylish!"

4. High-waisted pants - "No more booties and muffins! With these pants, your belly will look like a million bucks (okay, everyone in Georgia will notice when you are bloated, but they look great on Victoria Beckham!). Grandma knew what she was thinking when she wore these!"
And, finally -

(oh, I dread it...)

5. HAREM PANTS. "We laughed when we watched M.C. Hammer dance around in his Hammer Pants, but who knew that he could be so fashionable? Add a cute Chanel Jacket, a few pieces of Prada jewelry, and you've got the cutest ensemble since Hammertime!"

I'm sorry. Harem Pants? Really?? These are the new Fall Fashion Trends??? Can someone shoot me now? I think I'm going to do like Audrey Hepburn did in the 80s and wear black, white, and classic pieces until this phase passes.

Those t-shirts and jeans are looking mighty nice right now...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Equation of Trust

Brooke Fraser singing "Faithful" at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta - August 12th.

I have always been a nosy person. I attribute this quality to my grandmother and my father, who are two of the nosiest people I have ever met. (My Dad scared the living junk out of the two dates I had in high school with all of his questioning.) I am good at asking questions and finding out various little tidbits of curiosity.

My nosiness makes me unusually and obnoxiously impatient. Here lately, Jeremy and I are stuck in a time period in our lives where our questions are many and our answers are few. I want God to spell life for me as soon as possible - I want answers to questions that may never truly come in the neat, box-like way I want them to be answered.

And lately, my thoughts are often with the answers. I'm obsessed with answers. My nosiness leads me into a season that is driven by a desire to know my future, even though I know this is wrong. I know that I am not supposed to worry about tomorrow, and yet I find myself subscribing to any and every sign I can find.

My friend Kelley and I attended the Brooke Fraser concert a couple of weeks ago, and we talked about our futures. She's still waiting on some answers in her life, and I told her about my questions that need answering. During the concert, Brooke (because Brooke and I are on a first-name basis now) sang a song called, "Faithful." It was a song I usually skipped on her "Albertine" CD, but this song really spoke to me at that moment:

"When I can’t feel you/I have learned to reach out just the same/When I can’t hear you/I know you still hear every word I pray/And I want you/ More than I want to live another day/And as I wait for you/Maybe I’m made more faithful"

When she ended the song, tears flooded my eyes. At that moment, I thought, "Oh, God - Where is my trust for You in this moment? Where is my trust?"

So much of my life is focused on the addition of things I do not have, the things I want, and the things I know I do not deserve. My patience is nonexistent. I do not have the trust to wait for those moments where the parallel meets the perpendicular.

The subtraction of my trust has led to the addition of my impatience. I am constantly in fear over non-issues in my life.

This song serves as a reminder that I must remember the One to whom I owe everything. I am not guaranteed another breath in this life. I am not guaranteed any answers to my questions. I have to remember with a hopeful heart that "in all things God works to the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28)." He is the granter of answers, the nexus of patience, the one who guarantees. He is One who gives me the hindsight of the past to understand the purpose of my future.

I hope I remember that as I continue to seek His face and His wisdom. Through the additions and subtractions of my life, I hope that the equation of trust will make me a more obedient servant to Him.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thoughts on a Supercell

So, the weather was quite feisty here in Hall County today.

As soon as the kids were dismissed at school, several teachers (along with a few gifted kids who stayed after school for advanced math tutoring) high-tailed it into a not-so-secure teacher's lounge. I sat around and nervously waited for the "all clear" sign. I was not comforted by the "take shelter! take shelter!" announcement that our secretary made. While text messaging and trying to find the radar on my phone, I pondered over these things:

1) Risograph machines, coffee pot, televisions, and cabinets...hmmm....this isn't very safe.

2) This area has more rain in one day than it saw in all of 2007.

3) Tornadoes love Hall County.

4) Gifted kids need tutoring? Interesting. At least this didn't happen during 6th period.

5) Attempting to purchase a house absolutely stinks.

6) I'm glad I canceled cross country practice.

7) That husband of mine is going to try and look at the tornado.

8) Why exactly is Hall County real estate so expensive? Do we hear about tornadoes hitting Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties all the time?? No! Then why is Hall County real estate more expensive than those affluent counties? Why is it that real estate is the most expensive on and around MOUNT VERNON ROAD, aka Tornado Alley? Don't people know that the houses are more likely to blow away in Hall County?

9) I have seen a tornado once. I don't ever want to see one again.

10) I hope my friends on the road are okay.

11) If these kids had been at North Hall ten years ago, they wouldn't be laughing about this tornado warning right now.

Anyway...just some random thoughts from my very random day. Schools are very interesting places to be on days like this. I'm thankful for the rain, I just hope that it comes without any of its storm-filled friends tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I have a job?

Sometimes - when I am lost in the luster of Turnstile, summer sun, and swimming pools - I forget that I have a job.

Then I go to pre-planning and realize that I do have a job. Not only that, but my job is one of the most under-appreciated jobs on the planet. I toil away, getting ready to teach children who are sometimes disrespectful, always complicated, and often completely wonderful. It is exhausting to be a teacher (and sometimes a second mother) to these children...just being their secretary right now is driving me to the breaking point.

I sweat thinking about the dreaded first day of school. I start to miss my old kids and the security of their smiles. I miss my intrepid student who read Pride and Prejudice after she heard I liked it. I miss my sweet male student who answered every question with "yes, ma'am" and cried the day he left my classroom. I miss my student who feels like one of my own children. I realize that I am not a mother, but I feel awfully maternal toward this precious child who doesn't have a mother who has the time to talk to her about being a woman, to tell her boys are evil, or to encourage her tremendous talent.
And through the struggles with exhaustion, slander, bureaucratic jargon, and pain - I realize that my effort is for them. The children of the past and those of the future are the calling of my life. I do have a job, and I have made the teaching of children my life's handiwork.
So, to all of you teachers out there - I hope this helps to encourage you a little. Going back to school is always difficult, but witnessing the achievements of those we pour our lives into make our efforts worthy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weaving A New Extension of Myself

I have pondered the idea of acquiring a lovely set of hair extensions for a long time.

I think I would like to try them.

Now, before you start laughing at me, let me go ahead and tell you that I have been laughed at a-plenty in my lifetime, so your sassy commentary and mocking will have no effect on me. (I watched cartoons in high school and no one's commentary bothered me then, and that was probably way worse than extensions. Maybe.)

I already hate my hair (see my aforementioned blog concerning this to know all of the intricate little details surrounding this notion) so hating it even more wouldn't necessarily bother me, either. In other words, if I tried extensions and did not like them, it wouldn't be too bad - I already loathe my hair, anyway. What do I have to lose?

Several of my friends (school friends, family friends, best friends) giggled and protested when I mentioned getting extensions. They told me I would look different. They told me I would look fake. Can I mention that all of these women who giggled and protested have REALLY GREAT HAIR?? Of course they giggled! Why would you get extensions when you have really great hair??? The aristocracy of hair will always think differently of the hair-challenged proletariat.

As for the comment about me looking fake - let's take this into perspective, people. There isn't a whole lot of "real" left on me. I have a reconstructed nose (yes, that means plastic surgery) that was the result of an unfortunate incident at my Mom's pool in the summer before 8th grade. I have a reconstructed mouth full of veneers after an unfortunate incident on my Mom's front porch when I was a baby (concrete stairs can be a killer). I have highlighted hair, plucked eyebrows, and I love to use Jergen's fake tanner. I'm already a fakey. A set of extensions really wouldn't damage my reputation too much.

Will I get extensions? Probably not. I actually think my hair may be too thin to hold them (another reason as to why I hate my hair). They cost a fortune as well, and I don't think I could see myself spending a fortune on fake pieces of hair that may or may not work on my pea head.

I may change my mind. I may get them one day. And when I do, all of you who have giggled and protested will say, "Wow, I was wrong! Dana's hair extensions make her look like a blond Jessica Alba! Not Fantastic Four Jessica Alba, just an amazing, blond one!" My hair of stunningly beautiful Hollywood hair will make everyone jealous....right? Right?

Stop giggling!!!

See how great I would look???

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When life calls for chocolate...and Kathi.

There are few things in life that are better than chocolate and summer. I can name a few. Mr. Darcy might be better...but he isn't real and therefore shouldn't be used in this circumstance.

I just realized that I really adore dark chocolate. I don't know what it is. I bought some chocolate truffles from Target (that Hershey's Cacao stuff...it's not the greatest but it'll do) and I've been hooked ever since. I have dreams about those chocolate-dipped strawberries at Godiva. Oh, my goodness...I could eat a whole plate of those twenty-dollar bits of bliss.

I also think about summer often. I often think that my recent indolence could really develop into a life-long habit. I think I could spend the rest of my days nibbling on chocolate, hanging out by the pool, having fun with Jeremy, and taking those wonderful trips to Turnstile with Kathi. I don't really want it to end.

I know that after awhile I would feel guilty for my laziness - convicted, even. I don't think I could live without something to do. I don't think weekly bridge, time with a personal trainer, and living the so-called "good life" is a life I really want to experience. I cannot imagine living a life that does not help a child.

But for now, while the summer sun hangs low in the sky and its vestige reminds me of summers long past, I'll enjoy the few days of freedom I have left.

The hallways of school, shimmering with their waxy newness, are calling me back to reality. Gratefully, that reality has plenty of chocolate and Kathi to help me through it. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh yes, Wii did...

Ooohhh....what to play next??

Jerm and I broke down and bought the ever-so-difficult-to-find Wii. Heather Reed's Dad found on in Hiram and asked if we wanted it. I decided that if fate connected us with a Wii that we would take the plunge and get one!! I wasn't expecting to get my hands on one for some time, but we were appreciative and surprised!

The Wii, for those of you that may not know what a Wii is, is one of the greatest video game systems ever. To me, it ranks right up there with the original Nintendo (you know, the one that you had to beat on and blow on to get it to work?). Wiis are motion-activated, so you can play tennis like one would really play tennis, baseball similar to the way one would play baseball, etc. You can even go online and download Nintendo games from the past. So far, we have Zelda, Double Dragon and Punch-Out (But not Mike Tyson's Punch-Out....you can't get that one after Tyson proved to be an abuser and an all-around jerk back in the day. This one has a white guy that looks suspiciously like a white Mike Tyson).

Ahem. Anyway, we are pretty obsessed. Jeremy and I have been having Wii competitions up until the wii hours of the night (hahaha...sorry, couldn't resist). I have to say that this has been a great way to spend time with my husband. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, right? We have a great group of friends that we hope will come and play with us soon. Please come and play Wii with us! We hope to get our hands on that mysterious Wii Fit soon!

So, yes - this is all I have to talk about right now. The summer has been good to us and I am enjoying every sunlit minute of it.

This may be worse than coffee...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lois Lane, Where Are You?

Check this out:


It is an article featuring the females in my family. We are all North Hall Beauties, which apparently must be newsworthy to someone. I'm not quite sure who would find this amusing. This article took me by surprise. Didn't The Times have anything else to report on? They must have needed the article space when JG carwash backed out of their ad for the week...ugh.

I was once a journalism major. I studied under a wonderful lady at Brenau who worked for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She once said the most important thing for a journalist to do was to "tell the truth."

Well, this article says I graduated in 1989 (I really graduated in 1998, which makes me feel old enough as it is) and that I teach at East Hall HIGH School, not the middle school.

Journalistic integrity has gone down the drain. A simple phone call could have cleared all of this up.

Where is Lois Lane when you need her?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Fantastic Four

We have been married for four years.

Four years!! I know that isn't really a long time...but it seems like I walked down the aisle a couple of days ago. I still feel like we're newlyweds. I think we have been married longer than Jessica Simpson was married to Nick Lachey. Hmmm...there's a goal I always wanted to accomplish in life...

Being married is awesome. Being married to my best friend is incredible. Who else could make me laugh at 2 a.m. about the dumbest things imaginable? Hanging out with Jeremy is truly one of life's greatest blessings.

Here's to us, S.B. One day when we're old (and arguing over Hitler's reasons for suicide, vitamins, and water aerobics) we'll remember the days when we lived in our little condo and were wild and free. ;) Love you.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things I Re-Learn in Summertime

1. Vacation Bible School awakens nostalgia. There is something about the sight of VBS signs in front of churches that brings back memories. I hear the clang of the New Bridge/Straightway pianos banging out "Onward, Christian Soldiers." I remember the Bible studies and songs about Jesus that I can still recite/sing to this day. I remember my ineptitude at crafts, the pleather of the church bus, and the amazing happiness that two sandwich cookies and a cup of Kool-Aid brought to my face. The memories are bittersweet - I can't remember them without picturing my Grandpaw right there beside me. He was an integral part of my childhood summers. Sometimes I miss him so much I ache.

Switching gears...

2. Wasps love pool water. They constantly hover over pools (at least they do this at Mom's) to get them a drink of water. This was Dad's theory, anyway. He always said that whenever the sight of a wasp sent me or my sister into a panic. "Leave 'em alone! He's just gettin' 'em a drink of wutter!"

And, while we're at it...

3. Sweat bees are pure evil. Plain and simple. Before I vote, I would like to know Obama and McCain's plans for sweat bee termination. Maybe CNN can do a Gallup Poll. Hmm. Ahem. Back to my plan for sweat bee annihilation: I plan to attack them and their horrid little underground nests one day...if I can ever find them. You may think I'm being a little melodramatic (me? NEVER!), but if several of them sting you one day you will map out your sweat bee termination plan, too.

Then, of course...

4. The world relaxes. People go on vacation. Businesses take breaks, too (you should see Longstreet the week they close...it's like Armageddon hits Gainesvegas). The high tides of restaurant patrons around Christmastime ebb away during the summer. People head to the lake (or what's left of it), the pool - or to a barbecue in their own backyards. Flip-flops become kosher. It's a great time of year.

Let's not forget...

5. Pools are awesome. I happen to know this because my mother owns one. I could go to a pool every day of summertime and be happy. D'Anna, Spanky, Layla, and myself are planning some great times hanging out by the pool. We're going to listen to the 97.1 The River and pretend we're cool enough to know all of Boston's songs.

Oh, and ...

6. Strawberries are divine. YUM! What would I do without a good strawberry? I'll take them in shakes, smoothies, raw, or in a salad. Summertime strawberries are the best. I hope that they can stay salmonella-free this summer. Oh, and while I'm at it - ice cream is sooooo amazing in summertime. I could live off the stuff.


7. There are a few great bugs on this earth. Really! I love the sound that crickets make during those hazy summertime nights. One of the things I miss the most about living in a rural area is hearing the crickets. They practically put me to sleep at Mom's. Lightning bugs are fun, too. I love watching a summertime dusk that is glazed over with the remnants of day, because this is when little lightning bugs feign the incoming starlight. Ahh, just the sight of those little critters takes me back to childhood.

Okay, that's all I have to say for now. I know, I never shut up. What can I say? Summertime makes me happy.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Oh, NBA (Not Basketball!! Again??).

LeBron, Dirk, Kobe, Shaq, Peja, Larry, Michael, Carmelo, Derick, Dwayne.

No, these are not the names of my family members. These are the names of people who are in the NBA.

These are the names of people I never knew until I met Jeremy C. Farr, my wonderful husband of almost four years.

My husband loves the NBA.

This is a special year (if you believe in those) for the NBA. The Boston Celtics are playing the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals. The NBA Finals are like the Superbowl of the NBA for those of you that are luckily NBA-illiterate.

Jeremy, in fact, is so pumped about the Lakers/Celtics Finals that he has 1) played out an XBox NBA Live match-up to see how the games might play out 2) watched all of the old Celtics/Lakers match ups on ESPN Classic in preparation for the game 3) changed his Facebook status numerous times, all giving his infinite NBA wisdom and, of course, he 4) watched all of the windbags on ESPN rant and rave about who might win.

Now, some may think this borders on obsession, but I think he's just a really devoted fan. :)

As for myself, I equate the Lakers/Celtics NBA Finals to the finest episode of "Saved by the Bell: The New Class." Both are things that I have heard of, things I don't really care to watch in my lifetime, things that portray terrible acting, things that last forever, and both are fairly reminiscent to watching paint dry. (The only difference is that one of them has Screech, which somehow might make the NBA a little better than Saved by the Bell 2.o....)

The whole concept of the NBA is one that I find a little tenuous and long-winded. First of all, its season lasts for way too long. As soon as one NBA season ends, training begins for the next season. The play-offs never end. Each round can have up to SEVEN games. The finals, of course, can have up to seven as well. The seasons typically last from October to June (and I am not being the least bit sarcastic here). There is always an NBA game on, and you can hear it before the channel even comes into focus. The infamous squeak-squeak sound of sneakers on hardwood floors haunts me at night.

Secondly, the drama that infiltrates the NBA is simply ridiculous. It's all about the drama - faking injuries to get a charge called, acting like a baby so that a foul will be called - I mean, enough with the drama! Case and point: I had to endure the NBA Finals last night, and some guy for the Celtics named Pierce was carried off the court because of a knee injury. Ten minutes later, he's back! He feels great! He's just fine! He wins the game for the Celtics!! HUH??

I just find it somewhat ludicrous that someone gets paid millions of dollars for acting like a self-centered, spoiled brat on television. I could find some 8th graders to do that - and play for free!

Thirdly (Jeremy likes list his points this way, so I'm doing it), the NBA is overrated. Yes, that's right. You heard me right. You know why? What kind of talent is required to be in the NBA? I mean, sure - you have some good players, but you have some iffy ones as well. If I was a 7-foot male, I could probably shoot some hoops, too! If I was as big as Shaq, how else could I make my living?? What else would Shaq do with his life?? Rap?? Sell salad dressing?? Go to Harvard Law School??

Finally, does anyone around here actually care about the NBA?? Do we ever really hear people talk about the NBA finals?? No!!!!!!! There are two reasons 1) the NBA stinks and people prefer college basketball and 2) the Atlanta Hawks had a winning season the last time Paris Hilton admitted to being narcissistic.

I mean, if someone is going to pick a sport to love, let them pick college football. College football players compete with guts for glory alone - and dazzle the heck out of their audiences. I get excited just going to a Georgia game and seeing the pure passion out on the field. I watch an NBA player and I just want to roll my eyes at a hyper-inflated premadonna who whines about his million dollar contract.

So, all of this to say....

My dear Jeremy - I love you. I really do. I know I will watch the NBA for the rest of my life because you love it so much. I will hopefully do this with a smile (and a book in my hand) because I know it makes you happy to watch these games. (But...after reading this...don't you see my point?? I mean...come on...isn't college football way better???...Oh, wait...I digress...I love you. :)

But, just to be a little mean...


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Coming Out of the Dark

Today is a special day.

My beloved East Hall Middle School, for the first time in No Child Left Behind's (controversial, torrid, and angst-ridden) history, has made Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP. It has taken eight years to get to this point.

Eight long years.

For those of you that do not speak teacher, No Child Left Behind basically requires that a percentage of students pass state-mandated tests. The goal is for all students to pass all tests by 2014. Schools have to have show that students have made a certain amount of gains each year to make AYP.

But, for those of you that speak teacher, you know that NCLB is short-sighted. It labels schools like mine as a "failing school" when the school doesn't make the progress it is required to make within a year. Often, schools that lack diversity or that do not have special-education populations make the bar. The more diverse a school is, the harder it can be to attain the title of a "passing school." As a school with large special education, ESOL, and economically disadvantaged populations, East Hall has had to fight an uphill battle.

This battle was fought for eight long years. Some of those eight years were very dark for our school. I can honestly say that my school had to endure situations and devastations that no school should ever have to endure. The label of a "failing school" and other incidents wounded the psyche of my school.
There were moments I never thought we would make it. There were moments when I never thought I would see this day. As someone with a political science background, I have often thought that the SYSTEM needed to change - not our school. I have watched our teachers work their fingers to the bone, demand more of their students, and raise standards as high as they could - all while dealing with an age group that many define as "unteachable."
Now, however, I hope that our teachers, our community, and our students will usher in an era of change. We made it! We did what few in our county thought we could do. It is a day to celebrate and be thankful!
Through all of this, I am directed back to the words of Jesus, who says in John, "Did I not say to you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" Through my abject pessimism, it has been hard to see. Through the daily work and grind of my life, it has been hard to see.
But hindsight has always been the most thorough way I view the world. I now understand God's hand in my school's hard work and our drive to make our community a place that our students not only admire, but take refuge in.
I have prayed for a school that offers broken children (and so many of them are broken) a place of hope.
I believe my prayers have been answered.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"In the not too distant future..."

Sometimes, I amuse myself with the notion that I am a mature, responsible grown-up. It makes me feel better.

Then, I have moments where I know that this simply isn't true.

Take today, for instance. I had one minute little sliver of free time in my day - and what did I decide to do? I flipped through on-demand to discover that the Mystery Science Theater Movie was available on Cinemax's on-demand channel. And, much to my dismay, the movie was going to expire. I knew that I wouldn't get another opportunity. The movie isn't available on DVD (or it wasn't the last time I checked).

Well, what do you think I did?
I curled up on my sofa, closed my eyes, and realized that sometimes I just need to have an adolecent moment. Oh, let's be honest - I tend to have adolecent moments often. Despite my grown-upness, there are times when I feel about 15 years old.
So, I hopped into my time machine, re-lived my 1996-ish life, and laughed like I had never seen the movie before. I laughed even harder when I remembered that I subjected my poor cousins to hours and hours of Mystery Science Theater love.

Even still - guess what? It was still pretty darn funny, even after all of these years.

..so much for growing up...

(I think this is their comment: "Is that alien wearing slacks?")

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Good News!

After months of prayer and searching, Jeremy has found a job close to home - at my school!

We are so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It will be strange, having my husband home at 4:10 most days out of the week. It will be strange to eat lunch with him on pre-planning and post-planning days. It will be slightly odd to think that if I need that dollar, I can run down to the next wing and hit him up for money. (Haha!)

Oh, I loooooooooove this new strangeness. I can't wait to get to see more of my wonderful, hard-working husband!!

Jeremy's new job and our economic stimulus money made for one amazing day yesterday.

We are so thankful to God for these blessings. We deserve none of them, but accept them and give Him the praise.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Little Scare

Jeremy and I had to make a little trip to the ER this morning.

He woke me up about 4am last night complaining about a migraine. He has migraines from time to time, so I didn't really think much of it at first. However, I noticed he was shaking, nauseous, moaning from the pain, and ready to throw himself out the window. He complained that he felt worse than he had ever felt in his life. We waited a little while longer to see if his symptoms would recede - and when they didn't, we decided to head to the ER.

I have heard too many stories about people with aneurysms, busted blood vessels, and brain tumors to ignore the symptoms. I told myself it was probably a bad migraine, but I felt that I needed to err on the side of caution.

After several hours, an IV full of drugs, a couple of bouts of vomiting, blood tests, and a CT scan, Jeremy is fine. He just had the worst migraine of his life.

While watching him sleep in that tiny hospital room, I remembered and how nothing is guaranteed to us in this life. I held Jeremy's hand for a moment, and my wedding band hit his. I looked down at both of our hands and thought about how much I love him, and how I vowed to be committed to him no matter what. I don't know what I would do or where I would be without my patient, loving husband.

Thankful and blessed. I am thankful and blessed.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Miss Italia

Last night, Jeremy and I were watching the Travel Channel. For some reason, we were watching a show about the most unusual McDonald's in the world. The most unusual McDonald's was one we have actually seen - it is made of marble and is at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Of course, they showed one of this McDonald's most extraordinary features - its gelato.

Gelato is Italian ice cream, more often referred to as Italian Heaven. It doesn't have as much fat or air, so you don't eat as much or feel as guilty eating it, but the taste and texture creates an ultra-decadent smoothness. It feels like cold, unwavering silk going down your throat.

The mere sight of gelato on television brought us both back to this wonderful place in Florence (Firenze for the Italians) called Gelateria Neri, which was close to our hotel. There, they had almost every form of gelato available. I got Fragola (Strawberry, about the only Italian word I still remember), and Jeremy got "Cookies." Actually, that was the first thing he said when he looked at the gelato on the television - "Oh, cookies! Man."
We immediately picked up my laptop and started searching for spots that might have gelato near Atlanta. We realized it wouldn't be the same, and that the American gelato wouldn't really sate us, but we thought it might be a fun venture.
This morning, I found some of our pictures from the Italian vacation, and it brings back happy memories. I remember getting lost in Venice (don't stay there too long if you can help it), thinking I could live forever in Florence, and watching the most perfect sunset I have ever seen at the coliseum in Rome. I think about that night, tinged with pinkish-purple perfection, and wish I could relive it.

There are many things I miss about Italy. I miss the simplicity of the Italians - their worlds focus on dolce vita - the good life. They like to eat, drink and siesta. Many of them talk like I do, with focused, animated gestures and big stories. They are friendly to Americans, and most of them even speak English. They are passionate about their food - and the result is astounding. I would be happy eating prosciutto, good pizza, panino, gelato, tiramisu, ribolita and pasta for the rest of my life. I even pick up Under the Tuscan Sun every once in awhile to remind me of how blessed I was to go to this country.

And while I do miss the cobblestone streets, the fabulous art, the architecture, the way of life, the food and the people, I'm still a Georgia Girl at heart. I know that if I lived in Italy, I would miss the Southern life. I would miss biscuits, sweet tea, rolling hills of red clay, the accents, the serenity of the mountains, the beauty of the seasons and the friendliness of the people here. Most of all, I would miss my family and friends, who truly make a home a place to live.

(one of my favorite pictures of us - we were so tan!)

Even though I know I will never live in Italy, I hope that I might return one day. I want to go back to the fast-paced, friendly world of Rome. I want to go back to the beauty of the Alps. I want to go back to Gelataria Neri. I want to go back and see the indescribable wonder of Botticelli's Venus. And most of all, I want to soak that country in like a sponge and experience (once again) how heavenly life can be.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Why I Hate My Hair

(Ugh...I'm embarrassed to even show these. Oh, well. Think of them as evidence.)

The other day, when I visited my grandmother, my uncle called to tell Granny that he wanted her to participate in a "Five Generations" picture. This picture included her, as she is the matriarch of my Mom's side of the family. My uncle told my Granny of this decision on the same day he decided to have the picture taken. With a few minutes to spare, she went into her little bathroom and started curling her hair. I decided to end my visit before the picture was taken, so I went into her bathroom to say good-bye.

On top of her head sat four cute little curls. Each one had been tended with the utmost care. She had (and still has...who am I kidding), without a doubt, the thinnest head of hair I have ever seen. I realized, at that moment, that my follicles were a gift of genetics. I also realized that I, too, would be wrestling with the curlers in my old age in an attempt to create a full head of hair. I fear, however, that my situation will be much worse than hers when I am her age.

I absolutely hate my hair. Why do I hate my hair? In a Shakespearean bout of frustration, let me count the ways:

1. My hair is thin. Let me rephrase that. My hair is EXTREMELY thin. It is so thin that it can be curled, flat ironed or dried within seconds. If I sat with wet hair for more than 20 minutes, my hair would be a completely frazzled mess of thinness, similar to a plate of linguine from Caruso's that you know you shouldn't have had (let's be honest here...one should never eat at Caruso's). My hair is so thin that I have taken hairstyles to various hairstylists to hear them say, "Oh, Dana...you can't do that. That would never work with your hair!" This ponytail explains it all:

2. My hair is fine. No, I'm not talking about "Will-Smith-Dang-You-Fine-Girl" fine, I am talking about the fact that my hair is so fine that the people who invented fiber optic cables are looking into my hair as a lightweight option to their current model. The Dana Farr Cable might be heading to your home soon, carrying with it all sorts of HDTV goodness.

3. My hair is greasy. And yet, my hair is also dry. Can someone explain to me how this happens? How does hair fluff out into dry tufts of nothingness, and then at the same time form greasy strings? Can anyone explain this phenomena to me? I usually find that even on a "good hair day" I'll spend time on my hair, get it just the way I want it...and then look in the mirror later to find that it looks terrible. It hangs in fluffy, odd little strands. They look like individual pencils, writing out disaster.

4. The right side. It won't curl in when I try to curl it under. It won't curl out when I try to curl it out. The right side of my hair read all of those history books I endured for my Master's Degree program and changed its democracy-loving ways. The right side of my hair has adopted Bolshevism, and my left side's policy of Containment isn't helping (because, really - did "Containment" ever work?).

Now, I realize that I should be thankful for my hair. Any hair is better than no hair at all. My father-in-law, uncles, and many of my cousins may not appreciate my little tirade. I do understand this. But, I also realize that ranting about it makes me feel better, and in an American, "do what feels right" culture, it just feels good to rant and rave about my hair.

Besides, that's better than being depressed about job situations...right?


(My apologies to my lovely, wonderful, tenderhearted, and amazing Granny. Her hair is much better-looking than mine - I just know that I had to get this thin hair from somewhere.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

You can't always get what you want.

(I wanted Jeremy to smile for this picture. I didn't get what I wanted.)

So, I've been told (via Mick Jagger) that you can't always get what you want. How true is that?

Before I further pontificate on the proverbial, enlightened words of the Rolling Stones, I think I should add that Jeremy and I got the answers to one of our questions. And that answer was a big, fat, "no." Jeremy's shot at a local job didn't work out.

After a day of being angry, wondering when our turn would come, and pretty much wanting to cry, I decided that there is nothing that I can do that would change this situation. God will give us what we need when we need it. I'm not always going to get the happy ending I want or think I deserve just because I want or think I deserve it. Life is difficult, and I should be thankful for what takes away from its aggravations.

I realize that some of what I say is the same stuff over and over again, but I think I have spiritual ADD at times (I probably have real ADD - so why not spiritual ADD?), and I need to retrace my steps often.

...and that's my public service announcement for today. Stay tuned for my future blog, "Why I Hate My Hair." (I'm not kidding...I need to lighten this puppy up.)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Growing Impatience

Jacob had to wait seven years for Rachael, and then had to wait seven more years. I know women whose husbands left for Iraq. They sat at home, kept busy, made the most of their lives, and waited for their husbands to return. My wonderful, beautiful, best friend, Kathi, has a story that makes me stand in awe of her patience and love. Simply put, people with patience are amazing.

I hear patience is a virtue. I wonder what it must be like to be so virtuous.

I wrote the blog on March 1st (see below) in a good mood. It was a warm day. I was looking forward to a happy spring with some hopeful answers.

Today, it is cold. There is a threat of snow. The high might reach the upper 30's, if we are lucky. Jack Frost's hand has slapped me across the face and drained me of my optimisim. I sit at my computer and wonder - where are our answers?

It has been two weeks, and we still haven't had any of the answers that we have been seeking. I don't know if we will sell this condo, I don't know if Jeremy will get a job in Hall County (or goodness, just at least in a county that touches Hall- that would be something!), and I don't know if any of our other questions will be answered. I am the kind of person who would rather hear an answer than to be stuck in limbo. I guess it's the former journalist in me that has molded my persona into a constant seeker of answers.

What I do know is that I am impatient, that it is March 8th, and I am worried about things that I shouldn't be worried about at all.

My worrying is a large flaw - a crutch that weakens my faith. Why do I worry? Why can't I trust God to give Jeremy that job that we so desprately desire? Why do I sit around and fret about the things that I cannot change?

From now on, I need to focus on the things I can change. I can be a better wife, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher. I can take my focus off of worrying, and focus on trusting God. I can take my focus off of the petty things in life that will not matter in ten years.

Maybe then, I can take away the seeds of impatience and replace them with faith, hope, and love.

(By the way, the title is a pun...Impatiens are flowers. Ha ha.)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Spring in my Step

"Again and again, the light brings me life."
- Photosynthesis, 2002.

Can you feel it?

That little bit of change is stirring the air. There are plants budding. The stores are switching their wardrobe selections. Heck, the tree at Rudolph's is already ready blooming fantastically, as if someone forgot to tell it when to make its debut.

I can sense the change of Spring all around me.

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Winter is taking its final bow. The days of cold, harsh winds, dry skin, static electricity, and itchy sweaters are numbered. The days of happy feet (mine don't look so happy at the moment) in Chacos, flowers, days spent outside, shorts, tank tops, and windows rolled down are coming.

I can hardly wait.

This Spring, there are so many decisions for Jeremy and I to make, and there are so many questions that we would like to have answered. Will Jeremy get a job closer to home? Will we finally purchase that elusive house? Will we be able to sell our condo? What is Jeremy going to get me for my birthday (okay...that's not really an important question)? There are so many other questions and decisions to consider, and I hope this is the year we can work out a few answers.

There is a renewing feeling that comes with the smell of Daffodils. The leaves being born around me lighten my spirit. Spring symbolizes rebirth and change, and I hope and pray that this is the Spring that brings God-centered changes to our lives.

Monday, February 18, 2008

This explains so much...

Many people have asked me why Jeremy never smiles in pictures.

I have often wondered this myself. Why doesn't he smile? Is he unhappy? Is he trying to be serious? Does he think he is too cool to smile?

Well, now I know.

I pressured him into smiling for a picture, and this is what I got:

The poor fellow just can't smile for pictures. It requires too much of him. So, in the future, expect to see tight-lipped Jeremy giving his "I'm a manly man" look. Trust me...it's better.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Stupid Tuesday

Okay, so I'm just going to say it...

Hillary Clinton and John McCain? Are people serious? Is this some big, practical joke that the world is trying to play on us? Is Osama Bin Laden rigging the polls?

Hillary Clinton and John McCain?

I feel like I've been transported in a time warp and put back into 1993. We've been talking about Hillary Clinton and John McCain for over ten years now. These people are similar to terrible recurring characters on shows like "Law and Order" that always wreak havoc when they come around.

Oh, Hillary....I read a bumper sticker that said, "Monica Lewinsky's ex-boyfriend's wife for president." Really. Have people thought about that? THAT is who people are voting for. She has already had her eight years in office.

And don't even get me started on McCain. He fought in WWI with the Doughboys and was trading stocks on the floor of the NYSE when the market crashed in 1929. As my dad has said, "He's older than kerosene!" I worried enough about Dick Cheney - I really don't want to see McCain fall to the ground dead during the State of the Union! He has to be at least 108 years old.

Last summer, my political science professors pretty much said that the person with the most campaign money would be president. That person at the time was Hillary Clinton. While everyone argued with them, they basically said, "Look, it's going to be Hillary. She's going to be the next president. Get used to it." We all laughed at them and said it was too early to tell.

No one is laughing now.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fergie Said That It’s Hard to be a Big Girl…

Well, we had a chance to purchase a house this past weekend, and it didn’t work out at all.

For those of you who know anything about my relationship with houses, you’ll know that I’ve wanted to purchase a house for the past three years or so. Jeremy’s job and other factors have made it pretty much impossible.

Jeremy and I currently own and live in a perfectly suitable townhouse in the city limits of Gainesville. It provides all the comforts of city life, gives us somewhere to sleep, and allows us to cook a meal every once in awhile. It is really the perfect place for us.

And I want out. Desperately.

Why? Why do I dream of owning a house? Somewhere behind the doors of this elusive house of mine stands the illusion that once I become a homeowner I’ll grow up a little, have more room, make grown-up decisions. It’s a part of the American dream for people to want to own houses and have families. I also want to be taken seriously in this world, and I sometimes think that this concept may be more elusive than the dream home that I think of from time to time. Why do Americans think that things make them successful?

Then there is the other part of me, saying the American Dream is unabashedly selfish, that I have no right to need or want anything that I don’t already have, and that I shouldn’t overstep my boundaries. God will provide what I need, and I shouldn’t worry about anything else, such as kitchens with fabulous countertops (I dream about kitchens…I’m such a Food Network junkie). I know that it is okay to have nice things, but wrong to dwell on wanting them.

So, I’m going to try and listen to “Faith My Eyes” a little more often for the next few weeks or so, and reverberate those great Derek Webb lines through my head:

“I get turned around/and I mistake my happiness for blessing/and I’m blessed as the poor/still I judge success by how I’m dressing/ so keep on coming with these lines on the road/ and keep me responsible, be it a light or heavy load/and keep me guessing these blessings in disguise/I’ll walk with grace my feet/and faith my eyes.”

I worry so much about being grown-up and taken seriously when I forget what really makes me an adult.

Kindness, thankfulness, humility: that’s the stuff big girls are made of.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Was Blind, But Now, I See..."

Memama had us go through some of Grandpaw's things yesterday. It was sad to walk into his room and think about him never coming back to it. I looked at the pictures of his battalion on the wall, his grandmother, and his family. I tried my best not to cry.

I found a Bible that Grandpaw had bought a few years back. Each chapter of the Bible had a star by scrawled beside it, and each book of the Bible had a date written next to it. Apparently, he wanted to read the entire Bible through before he went blind. On the last page of the book of Revelation, I found this entry written with his shaky hand:

"On July 26th, 2002 I began to read through the Bible and on this day of September 30th, 2003 I fished reading every verse, chapter and book. I tried and for the most part I would at least [read] a chapter a a day or night. And may I say that it has been a great blessing to read the Bible again. So on this morning of September 30th, 2003 at 1:07 AM [Grandpaw always was a night owl] it is finished. I'll never read through it again. May God bless the reading of His word."

Such faith amazes and inspires me.

I wonder what he sees now...

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I lost my grandfather this week, and sometimes the sadness of losing him is overwhelming. I lost a grandparent before, but something about my Grandpaw was inordinately wonderful and special.

I loved him almost more than I loved my own parents when I was growing up. For many years, I was the only Cain grandchild, and I was spoiled rotten by the Cain side of the family.
Grandpaw and Memama would come and pick me up on Mondays or Tuesdays during the summer and take me to breakfast, to the grocery store, and even to the mall sometimes. They were so much fun - I remember how they used to drive each other crazy. Looking back, I think they teased each other on purpose.

Grandpaw was always one of my strongest defenders. One time I stuck my finger in ice cream at my grandparent's house, and Memama slapped my hand. Well, Grandpaw was very upset. He didn't think I deserved such a treacherous punishment. He took the section of the ice cream sullied by my finger and ate every single bit of it. It wasn't dirty to him.

He had the best sense of humor. He used to pick me up to take me to his beloved church, New Bridge, during Vacation Bible School and on Wednesday nights. One year, he told me that everyone needed to have shots to go to Bible School. I was so scared to go! I remember I climbed into his little white truck and froze with fear. I was about to cry when he had to break down and tell me that I wasn't going to get a shot. At the moment, I didn't think it was particularly funny, but I always look back on the incident and laugh. Grandpaw was always full of funny stories and jokes.

I know he loved me, and I know that he loved God more than anything else on this earth. I remember telling him about my decision to become a Christian. It was the only time I ever saw him cry in my twenty-seven years of knowing him. There was rarely a time when he wasn't at church. During the last years of his life, he became inundated with blindness due to his Diabetes. He was depressed because he wasn't able to read his Bible anymore. I take joy in knowing that he can see everything clearly now.

Grandpaw was my hero. He fought for our country in World War II and survived missions that would make most men quiver at the knees. He was a Godly man of integrity and worth. I know he is in a better place, but I also admit that I am a selfish person. Such a treasure is not to be relinquished without a heavy heart. I ache for one more conversation with him, one more hug, or one more moment.

For now, I value my memories and hold fast to the assurance I have in Christ. I wait patiently for the day I will see him again.

Everyone Else is Doing It...

So, I thought I would try to actually create a site for my blogs, since writing and ranting keeps me happy. Maybe I can look back at these in ten years and laugh at my own stupidity - who knows?

I put Jeremy's name on here, but I seriously doubt he'll ever blog about anything. Well, he might come on here and talk about basketball or recite lines from "Pulp Fiction." Other than that, don't expect much out of him.