Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New

The cold that arrived in Georgia on Christmas totally whitewashed my little town with its snowy presence.

I loved it.  Granted, I only enjoyed it for about an hour or two (I'm a summer girl, you see), but I loved it nonetheless.

I love that the snow somehow represents newness.  And at the juncture of a new year, there's something becoming about the end of old things in fall and winter, and the birth of new things that seep into winter's cold, harsh months.  The snow seemed to wash everything clean - and I think anyone can identify with a need to sate, renew, and clean parts of one's life.

I guess that's what makes New Year's Day so interesting and bittersweet.

I have a few New Year's resolutions.  They're pretty basic - echoed by many - and not really worth mentioning.  It's the same old stuff - be nicer, be more active, be this --- do that.

But more than good intentions, I always cling to spring's promise in the midst of bitter cold.  I'm so thankful I serve a God who chose to recycle and renew me - and that He continues to do so in spite of my failures.  I'm failure on my own.

I'm so thankful for new. So thankful for its presence, its promise, and its hope.

Here's to 2011, my friends...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas in Georgia

We had a great Christmas.

Amelia's favorite gift was from God.  She loved the snow.


Our house in the snow.
My new favorite picture of Jerm and Amelia.
Amelia got way too much for Christmas - most of it was from her grandparents.  I think she enjoyed being around her family, getting her toys, and eating lots of unhealthy food.  She's having trouble with her top molars and hasn't slept well lately, but this Christmas night she slept for 12 straight hours without a peep.  She was exhausted!

She was a lot of fun this Christmas.  She's such a little blessing.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Worst Christmas Songs....EVER

Over the holiday season, Americans are bombarded by an endless barrage of Christmas music.

Some of the Christmas music is good.  Some of it is great.  Some of it...well, some of it is terrible.

Here is my personal list of the worst Christmas songs (ever), as well as my reasoning for why they belong on this list.

1)  "Merry Christmas, Darling."  The Carpenters sing this little ditty.  The previous sentence alone should warrant the sheer atrociousness of this song, but it's the lyrics, simply oozing with smut and sappiness, that make this one a stinker.  The line, "logs on the fire/fill me with desire" is enough to make me want to go to the Macy's Great Tree...and jump off of the top of it.  It's a horrific song.  Simply appalling.  Here's the YouTube link ...listen if you dare....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSHevB1QZOM

2)  "The Christmas Shoes" has got to be one of the most depressing Christmas songs ever.  For some reason, middle-school age children love "The Christmas Shoes."  I wish they didn't - I hate listening to this song.  The story of a little boy too poor to buy shoes for his dying mother is sad, but more than that, it's cloyingly sad, like the writers of the song want to make you cry.  It's almost an artificial sad - I know there is no boy who went through this.  I know this isn't real. I know this was made up to make the world cry.  And yet, I find myself listening to this song and tearing up - they get to me, dang it!  They get to me!

3) "Baby, It's Cold Outside."  Yes, you read that correctly.  Have you ever listened to the words to this song?  I used to think it was just about a man who persuaded his date to stay in because it was so cold.  But ohhhhh, no.  Listen a little closer.  There's a lyric in there where he offers his date a drink, and the date accepts the drink.  A few stanzas later, she says, "Say, what's in this drink?"  I mean, maybe I've just been through Rape Response too many times, but this song sure does sound like it's about date rape.  I think he slipped her a Rufie.  Okay, maybe not.  But it's still a creepy song about a man getting his date drunk so she'll stay with him.  And that, my friends, has nothing to do with Christmas.
 
4) "Dominic the Donkey."  Have you ever heard this little gem?  No?  Be glad.  XM Radio's Christmas stations this year have been absolutely terrible.  The "Holiday Traditions" station constantly plays this song.  Apparently, someone paid XM to play this song every thirty minutes.  The song is about Dominic, the Italian Christmas donkey.  Throughout the song, you hear Dominic go "hee-haw, hee-haw!"  I mean, it's bad.  It might be the worst Christmas song ever.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok5rOO2v2dU.

5) Madonna's version of "Santa Baby" is simply evil.  Have you heard this?  Is she trying to sound like Betty Boop?  I like how Madonna constantly turns herself into other people.  Right now, she's British (snicker), but for this song, she sounds like a Jersey Girl gone horribly wrong.  It doesn't even sound like her.  Terrible.  Just terrible.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ycWObpi73Y&feature=player_embedded#!


6)  Nothing says "Christmas" quite like Run-DMC.  Right?  Ugh.  Their "Christmas in Hollis" is another song that XM Radio plays all of the time.  I always change the channel every time this song comes on.  I don't have a problem with Run-DMC necessarily, and I don't have a problem with hip-hop, but this song is just all sorts of wrong, filled with bad rhymes (It's Christmas time in Hollis, Queens/Mom's cookin' chicken and collard greens") and an odd, not-so-catchy beat.

7) I loathe "Where Are You, Christmas?" from the Grinch soundtrack.  The Jim Carrey version of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas just doesn't hold its weight next to the old, animated classic.  Not only that, but Faith Hill delivers us a stink-bomb of a song about Christmas - talking about it like it's a person.  I have no value for a song that equates Christmas to a persona and a feeling - and not to any kind of religious celebration.  This song literally makes me angry.  It's a song that just takes the over-commercialization and sappiness of Christmas way, way too far.


There we go, there's my list.  If you notice, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" isn't on it.  That's because it is Grammy-worthy next to this list of truly cringe-worthy songs.  And that, quite frankly, should tell you a whole lot about how I feel about the songs on this list.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Letter from a Cynic

Dear Santa,

I don't particularly like you.

It's really not your fault.  My mother equated you with evil when I was a child.  She told me Christmas wasn't about you (and let's be honest, she had a point), that it was about Jesus.

I never sat on your lap, had my picture made with you, or left you cookies. So, I realize that you and I don't really have the kind of relationship that warrants a letter like this.  A friend at school, however, is giving letters to Santa for the Make-A-Wish Foundation (through Macy's), and I would like to help her out.

An 8th grade teacher like me could ask for a lot for Christmas.  I could ask for quieter children, students who are more apt to learn, for immaturity to vanish when students return in January.  This list could be quite long.

Instead, I'd like to ask for something else.

I'd like to ask for people to open their eyes.

I've heard of a blue (blue, blue, blue) Christmas.  But what I'm having is a Green Christmas.  I'm feeling totally jaded this year.

See, Santa, as I get older, I realize that Christmas isn't all cocoa and tinsel - lights and stardust.  Christmas isn't about what you receive.  This Christmas, more than ever, I realize that people are hurting.  People around me lost loved ones, went through the terrible pain of divorce, lost their home and everything they had.  Children at my school made Christmas lists with "mechanical pencils" and "toothbrushes" scrawled on them in their tiny, handwritten letters.

My heart aches for them.

Christmas is so much more than that sweater my grandmother won't wear (that I spent forty dollars on).  Christmas is so much more than that box of useless sausage and cheese.  Christmas is more than the Xboxes, iPads and iPods we desire.  Christmas is supposed to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  And whether you are a Christian or not, Santa, I think you should know that Jesus lived a life focused on helping others.

Helping the sick.  Helping the poor.  Helping the needy.

The over -commercialization and the vapid consumerism of Christmas gets to me.  I watched a video on YouTube called Advent Conspiracy.  Ever heard of it?  Americans spend so much money on Christmas - over 400 billion - that we could pay for the world's water crisis ten times over.  People want to change a picture on Facebook, but they don't want to give money to kids who have been abused.  People feel somewhat empathetic for the poor people, but just walk on by the Salvation Army kettle because they have to save up for their child's iPad.  So many children wake up on Christmas morning to an explosion of gifts, while other children around the planet just want to wake up to clean water.

See what I mean?  This parallel giving isn't the kind of stuff that Christmas is supposed to be made of.  We've gotta be intentional and perpendicular in our giving.

And I'm guilty of it, too.  Did you see my blog post on the camera?  Yeah, put me on your naughty list.

So, my prayer this Christmas is that people will start to open their eyes a little bit to the world around them and give intentionally and relationally to those who need a true gift of compassion.

Santa, I'm thinking maybe you could help spread the word.

Sincerely,

Dana Cain Farr

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Snuggie, I love You

The Snuggie is, quite possibly, the dumbest invention ever.

Until you put one on.

Then, you realize what a true gift the Snuggie is.  It's more than a blanket with sleeves.  It keeps you warm.

The recent cold snap in Georgia has been and is insane.  Highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s and teens is not the kind of weather that makes a southern girl like me happy.  Monday, the high is supposed to be 27.  Can you believe that forecast?!  TWENTY-SEVEN DEGREES.  In GEOR-GUH.  I'm personally used to a 60-degree Christmas...and that's perfectly fine with me.

Cold weather + dumb, cold Georgia girl = a need for a Snuggie.

Snuggies have their disadvantages.  Sure, they need belts.  Sure, they attract pet hair.  Sure, they are waaaaaaay too long for the vertically challenged.  Sure, they create enough static to set one's house on fire.  Sure, they make you look like a really dumb Jedi-esque reject from DragonCon.


But, other than that, Snuggies are awesome.  You can turn the tv without getting your arm cold.  You can read a book without getting your arm cold (and read a book with that nifty book light that came with the first sets of Snuggies).   You can put a small box of Cheerios in the huge pocket in the front of your Snuggie and snack while on Facebook.  You can walk around the house - all without getting cold!  The Snuggie is a revelation, I tell you!  A revelation!

Not only that, but you can make aesthetically-pleasing choices regarding your Snuggie.  Does red wash you out?  Then try a blue, cloud-filled, designer Snuggie.  Want to talk a walk on the wild side?  Buy a leopard Snuggie.  Want to support your favorite college team?  Buy a Snuggie with your favorite team's logo emblazoned on it! If you just want to keep things simple, Snuggies are available in solid colors as well.  How can you honestly go wrong with a Snuggie?

I think the Fashion Police needs to issue a statement that assures all southerners that it is okay to wear Snuggies in public - just until the cold snap passes.  I mean, this is a temporary Snuggie-induced emergency, people!  I need my Snuggie!

Maybe I can wear one to work and scare all of the kids...?


Oh, wait.  I did that... 

(By the way, Snuggies are on sale at Kroger with your Kroger Plus Card right now - five dollars off!  It's the gift worth giving, I tell ya!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Things I'm Thankful For Right Now...

It's Thanksgiving.

It's more than just some holiday pie-eatin', football watchin' throwdown.

It's more than a meal that signifies that the Christmas season is here.

It's a time to be thankful.

I've really been touched by the Thanksgiving posts my friends have put on Facebook.  So, in the same kind of spirit, I'm adding a list of things I am thankful for.  Some of these things may sound superficial (see the previous post on the camera if you're looking for more of that), but this list comes genuinely from my heart.

1) I'm thankful for my sweet family.  I'm thankful for my gorgeous, crazy, into-everything-imaginable daughter.  I'm thankful for her energy, her questions ("Uuk!  Whatisthat!?"), and her ability to find happiness in so many facets of life.  I'm thankful that I have a husband who offers to help me out (most of the time - hehe), and puts up with my crankiness.  I'm thankful that he shaved his neck and doesn't look like Scary Joaquin Phoenix (as opposed to Normal Joaquin Phoenix, the one from "Walk the Line") anymore.  I love my parents, sister, and in-laws so much, too.  I am truly blessed with a wonderful family.

2)  I'm thankful for my friends.  I'm thankful that my best friends would do anything for me and that we have a friendship that surpasses conversation - we don't have to talk to "get" each other...it's a rare gift.  I'm thankful for work friends that don't mind hearing me gripe. I'm also thankful that all of my friends (in general) laugh at my jokes.  It's important to have people validate the fact that you are funny if you are attempting to be funny...heh.

3)  I'm thankful that Dancing With the Stars is over and that I can put 2-3 hours a week back to good use.

4) I'm thankful for my kitchen.  Especially at Thanksgiving.  While I'm at it, I'm thankful for heavy cream and the fact that it just makes Thanksgiving awesome.  I think I put it in every single thing I made this year.

5)  I'm thankful for my job.  Teaching children is an amazing responsibility.  It doesn't pay what it should, but, dang it, I go to work feeling like I do something valuable.  Oh, and I really do have the best boss in the world.  I'm not just saying that...it's true.

6)  I'm thankful in advance for those Zumba DVDs that I'm purchasing to combat the evils of the heavy cream (see #4).

7) I'm thankful for Starbucks.  'Nuff said.  Caffeine is important when you're a full-time mama and a full-time professional.

8) I'm thankful that I'm able to be a part of the choir at my church.  I'm thankful for the other sopranos who sing the part loudly so that I can mimic them.  I'm thankful that I don't have to sing by myself at church.  I'm thankful that I can go online and practice my part...even if I can't remember my part once I get online.  I'm thankful that Amelia finally adjusted to church and Wee Keepers and loves going to see "the big tree" at church.

9)  I'm thankful for books, warm cups of coffee on cold nights, and blankets to cuddle under on my couch.  Those help make the winter more livable.

10)  I'm thankful for faith, hope, and love.  I'm thankful that the greatest of these is love - love embodied by a Savior who gave it all.  My thankfulness is nothing in comparison to His goodness.

My Grown-Up Christmas List

My grown-up Christmas list is a little more selfish than the one Vanessa Williams sang about.

I want a camera.  A good one.  One that doesn't take blurry pictures of my child.

My current camera is okay.  It takes decent pictures if the desired object being photographed is 100% still.

Amelia, as we all know, is never 100% still.

So, this camera is on my Christmas list:


It's a Nikon D3000. I asked my mother and my father to go in on it - Dad found a good deal and got it on sale.  This camera is really all I've asked for (because, let's be honest - isn't this enough)?  It is supposed to be a good camera for a camera-illiterate amateur like me.

At the end of my life, all I will have to remember my life by will be the memories I make, the pictures I take, and the words I write.

I want my pictures to be good ones.

Life is too short for blurry pictures.

http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Products/Product/Digital-SLR-Cameras/25462/D3000.html

Just A Regular Saturday

Sometimes, on Saturday mornings, I'll make Amelia and me some yummy homemade banana nut muffins, courtesy of a Tyler Florence recipe.


A few weeks ago, we were having our regular banana nut muffin Saturday...

Until I heard the noise.

Yup, it was THAT NOISE.

I groaned, and looked outside.

I saw this:


Yup, the buzzards.  THOSE STUPID BUZZARDS made their return.

I called my mother-in-law.

"Hey, will you look outside and tell me how many buzzards you see on our roof?"

I heard her sigh in disgust.  This is a little tradition that the Farr Families endured since the buzzards decided to come and hang out on the Farr roofs over a year ago.  My mother-in-law and I call each other to do a "buzzard count."

"Oh, my Lord, those stupid buzzards!  I thought they were gone!  Why can't Tommy be here to take care of them!?  Let me see...um...well, you've got twelve buzzards."

Yes, we had 12 buzzards.  That isn't even close to the record number.  We've had over 20 on our roof before.

"You should tell Jeremy to deal with the buzzards," my mother-in-law says.  We both knew she was joking.  Jeremy doesn't do guns. She lamented (once again) the fact that my father-in-law wasn't around.  He is usually the Buzzard Remover around these parts.

Soon, however, the reinforcement came in.  A reinforcement just as capable as my father-in-law. 

His name?
Jerm is pretending to be manly and help out.  



Poppa.

That's right.  All sorts of Poppas out there have the ability to remove buzzards from roofs.  It's an ability given to anyone who lived through the World War II era.  Poppas kill snakes, fix engines, solve plumbing problems, plant gardens, wear cute hats that are bigger than their heads, and, dang it, they TAKE CARE OF BUZZARDS LIKE REAL MEN!

Ahem...

Poppa stepped out of his little pickup truck (with a gun bigger than he is) to handle our situation.

Within a few minutes, our buzzards were gone.

Yup, that's the power of a Poppa.

And they can do all of these things while still being as cute as a button.


(No buzzards were harmed in the removal of buzzards from the Farr Home. No laws were broken.  Thank you.)



By the way, while all of this buzzard ruckus was going on with Poppa, Amelia and I enjoyed our muffins.  I mean, what else can a lady, a baby, and six banana nut muffins do to prevent an onslaught of buzzards? We stayed in the house!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Singing in Skinny Jeans

I am a new member of my choir at church.  I haven't been a choir since the 10th grade, and it shows in my singing.  I don't remember the first thing about reading music (I wasn't so great at that, anyway).  I'm pretty terrible.

I am aware that I'm not really a singer. I can carry a tune, but I'm a mimicker - a repeater, if you will.  That has always been more of a talent of mine than singing.  I can hear a sound and repeat it back...hence my random impressions of people (characters from cartoons, Roma Downey from Touched by an Angel, my high school principal, etc).

My mockingbird skills aren't getting me very far.  Anyone can sing in the shower, in the car, or to their little ones.  But singing on a stage while someone else sings the "other" part in your ear presents a challenge for the musically illiterate (like myself).

Most choirs usually involve people who can read a scant bit of music.  Unfortunately, I've been able to find more grammatical errors in my music than musical notes that I recognize.   Maybe this is why I like to write...writing doesn't involve appearances or ambiguity.  Sentences are either correct or incorrect.  Words are what they are...and I find comfort in their intrinsic collaborations.

And, while I'm at it - do you know what isn't comfortable?  Skinny jeans.

I really want a new pair of cute boots.  Unfortunately, wearing a cute pair of boots would also require me to wear them with skinny jeans.

I loathe skinny jeans.  Why?  Because I have hips.  Hips and skinny jeans don't really go together - hips cancel out the whole "skinny" aspect of a skinny jean.  I've tried on a couple of pair of skinny jeans, and I just look like a top that's about to start spinning.

Yet, I see all of these girls wearing skinny jeans and boots - and they look really cute. I just really don't think I can pull that look off. I would say that I'm too old, but the Pioneer Woman (who is older than I am) tucks her jeans in her boots all of the time and she looks downright adorable.

Maybe there will be a day when I'll be able to sing my soprano part confidently in my skinny jeans and uber-cool Steve Madden boots (because I heart Steve Madden).

Until then, I'll wear my boot-cut jeans and try to listen a little better to music around me.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Book Club

I started a Jane Austen Book Club a few months ago.  I started it for many reasons.

1) I really am that dorky.  2) I haven't read all of Jane's books, and I felt like I needed to read them.  3)  I wanted people to come to my house and hang out.  (I felt like one of the "callings" on my life when God blessed me with my house was to SHARE my house.  When I lived in my condo it was very difficult to have people over, so I feel blessed to have the space to share with others.)  4)  Have I mentioned how I really LOVE Jane Austen?  This was a way to share her books, the movies based on her books, and gain insight from other people.  5)  I. Like. Food.

Surprisingly, 18 people signed up to read Jane's six novels - something that may be considered torture to some!

Our first meeting was over Sense and Sensibility.  Some people had other obligations and couldn't show up, but I think everyone who came had a lot of fun.  We ate some really yummy food (the theme for this meeting was "breakfast"), had a discussion over the book (among other things), and watched the 2008 BBC version of the movie.

Oh, Colonel Brandon.  Sigh.

I thought Sense and Sensibility was an easier read than some of the others...but I think I was wrong according to the feedback I received.  Oh well, I guess I know for next time.

My REAL best friend Kathi (who is cooler than my celebrity BFF...because...you know...she's real...) donated her book wreath to the festivities, giggled a little bit when she surrendered it, and told us to have fun.  The book wreath totally set the scene for the evening.


Our next reading is over Northanger Abbey, and our next meeting will be in January.  Northanger Abbey is already proving to be an easier read than Sense and Sensibility...now I feel bad.  You are more than welcome to pick up a copy (or browse through some SparkNotes) and come and join us! :)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Pretend BFF.

She's not really my bestie.  But if she was, we'd have some Starbucks together, talk about theology, and I'd ask her if I could afford any of her clothing choices.


I heart her.  I mean, I know this fact has already been established on this blog, but I thought I would say it again.

I just downloaded her new album, and it totally made me cry.  What kind of singer writes lyrics like,


"Who's at fault is not important/
Good intentions lie dormant/
And we're all to blame"


I mean, who writes stuff like that anymore!?  Who writes with a conscience -- a soul?

Definitely not John Mayer...just sayin'.

I totally dig music with a soul, and I'm so glad I stumbled upon the music of Brooke Fraser. 

I'm going to be my pretend BFF's PR person give her a plug on my blog ...that three people read....hmmm.

Anyway, you might be surprised at all the songs she has written (that you sing at church...she also writes and sings for Hillsong United).  You should totally check my pretend BFF out. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Moon

Amelia is obsessed with the moon.

The moon has been exceptionally bright lately - you can even see it in the afternoon, a glowing orb of wonderfulness in the sky.

Amelia recognizes it every single time.  She points at it, and says, "Uuuhk!  Uuuhk!  Whatisit?"  (That, translated, is, "Look!  Look!  What is that?")

I've been reading "Goodnight Moon" to her since she was a teeny tiny baby, so this may be why she gets so excited about it. She loves it when I talk like the little bunny and tell all of the things in the room good night (like mush...which is what I assume that little bunny is doing -- "Goodnight Moon" is a little odd).

The other day, I got a video of her looking look at the moon.  She was so excited.  She literally pushed Jeremy out of the way to get to the door.

She's growing up so much.  She's picking up new words and phrases all of the time, and they usually incorporate little hand gestures.  She loves to tell people, "HI!" when she sees them and she holds her hand up high.

She's starting to understand boundaries a little bit better - she's starting to understand what "no" means, which does help a lot when I'm trying to keep her from falling off the bed, jumping in a drawer full of razors, or diving head first into a bathtub of water.

She made it through the nursery last Wednesday night without crying the whole time.  I felt like that was a true breakthrough.  She needs to go, even if she hates it.   Social interaction is important.

I let her run around barefoot in a onesie last summer.  So now, of course, shoes, socks, and pants are a battle.  I'll have to keep working at it.

The whole world stops when "Yo Gabba Gabba" comes on.  I totally ate my words.  She watches it and LOVES it.  I'm pretty sure she would trade me and Jeremy for that scrawny DJ Lance any day of the week.

I'm amazed at how fast she's growing up, and how amazing (crazy, wild, loud, wonderful) she is.   

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Teenage Mutant Ninja Tooth

"Grr!"

"Would you like me to to ahead and pull this tooth for you?"

It sounded so simple.

My dentist presented this option to me like the cafeteria ladies present options in the lunchroom. (Life is so much easier when one has to decide between chicken nuggets or pizza.)

Unfortunately, this wasn't about chocolate or strawberry milk.

This was about THE TOOTH.  My icky, humongous, wisdom tooth on my bottom left side.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Tooth.

I named said tooth several years ago, when it was coming in and causing chaos and disorder in my mouth.  I said I would take it out then.

I didn't.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Tooth kept on a-comin'.  It made a little pup tent inside my mouth - it leaned against my other molar for dear life.  Flossing between my molar (2nd molar...?  Do they have names?) and TMNT was pure torture.

Finally, I called the dentist.

This was a big step for me.  I have a mouth full of veneers, you see.  Veneers are no fun.  Think of that time you puked on the school bus...wait....that wasn't you...think of that time you danced to Paula Abdul in front of your whole elementary....crap...still not you...

Think about something REALLY BAD.  Then, compare that experience to getting veneers.  I got veneers when I was fourteen.  I remember the sheer misery of the occasion.  I remember that it snowed outside the day I got them,  that I got to be out of school, and that I didn't care.  I just wanted to die.  I decided then and there:  dentist = pain.


Again, for me to call the dentist - well, it's a big deal.  I called to have the tooth looked at (because, foolishly, I believed that I would need some type of anesthesia and oral surgery...yesterday I also believed that the Fraternal Order of Police called me to get my debit card number...but that's another story entirely).  I just planned on a consultation.

So, when the dentist asked me if I wanted TMNT removed, I thought that sounded grand.  I thought, "right now?  No more tooth?  Sounds good!"

I succumbed with little persuasion.

Within a few minutes, a barrage of shots headed toward my mouth like a bunch of Patriot Missiles that had finally found Osama Bin Laden.   It was that fast.

After being numb for a few minutes, the dentist (who is a very nice fellow, I will concede) yanked out my tooth.  I think he used some sort of plier-esque contraption.

I felt okay.  TNMT was gone, at least.  I was pretty happy about the cost - sixty-six dollars!

The dentist called me the evening of the tooth removal to check on me.  I was doped up like a geek, watching "Dancing With the Stars" and laughing at the stupidity while he spoke.

"That's the drugs talkin',"  he said.

(He obviously doesn't encounter me on a regular basis.)

The foolishness of my decision didn't affect me until the next day.  I woke up the morning after the tooth removal feeling a little groggy, but okay.  I got into my car and thought, "I can do this."

By the time I got to school, I felt like I was going to die.

By the time my Dad got to school to pick me up, I was almost certain of my upcoming death.

By the time I puked near my alma mater (hearkening memories of the aforementioned school bus incident) I knew it for sure.  Yup, I was going to die.

I spent the next several days in a blur of medication, torture, and yuck.  Apparently, pain medicine and I do not jee-ha.  (How in the world does House do it?) I got a dry socket.  I felt dizzy and nauseous often.  Sickness, medicine, and a liquid diet will kill a healthy appetite like mine.  I dropped weight (don't worry, I'll gain it back...give me a few lattes) and became quite puny.  I'm pretty sure my students thought I was insane.

It's been over a week, and I'm just now starting to feel normal creeping back into my bones.

All because of a tooth.

Just one stupid, pesky tooth.

What makes this even more depressing is that my wisdom tooth on the other side is coming in sideways.  TMNT's brother, Shredder, will haunt me later.  I'll have to have Shredder pulled...probably sooner than later.

The moral of the story?  Whenever the dentist asks you something, just remember it isn't as easy as you may think.  We all do this in our various professions/life situations ("Kids, it's just a test, it's not that bad..." or "Amelia, carrots are yummy!") Things are different on the "other side."

Think with clarity.  Be the Nancy Reagan of your mouth.  Just say no.  NO!  No, I say!

But seriously...if a decision deals with tooth removal, you may want to think about being laid up in bed cryin' for a week.  I may be a wimp, but wimps still have to go to work and take care of their babies, and that can get tricky in the midst of wimpiness.

Decisions are important, yo.  Make them carefully.

(Oh, and if someone calls saying they're from the Fraternal Order of Police, don't believe them.  And don't give them your debit card number.  It's a hassle to cancel that booger.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Tribute

This year, I teamed up with a friend of mine at school to be the Relay for Life/American Cancer Society cheerleader/beggar/money taker-upper. 

Today, I began to think about those I loved who have been and are affected by cancer.  I jotted down a few lines in my head (yes, I write in my head before I write on paper), wrote my thoughts down in an e-mail, and sent it to the faculty at school.

My friend Kati has really been challenging her friends to blog concerning childhood cancer - I don't have the depth of experience to blog in the way I probably should, and some of the details were and are hazy, but this is what I wrote.  It's a tribute to her, as well as to a dear friend of mine who lost her battle with cancer over ten years ago.

I couldn't help but write about the polarities and parallels that tie these two incredible women together.

Why I give…

It was just a hurt ankle.
I was told that the day she sat in the stands, cheering us on during our performances.
We laughed at her crutches, we wished her well, and we hoped to see her out with us again, twirling her flag and smiling.
She always smiled.
Her senior year, she was the co-captain of the colorguard.  Our song set that year was from the band Chicago, and the song “Make Me Smile” always got her going.  She bounced her flag during the movements, laughing and smiling. 
Soon after the incident with her ankle, it was discovered that my friend, Tiffany Black, had a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma.
Tiffany missed a lot of school due to her treatments.  Her hair fell out, and she got a wig.   When most seniors worried about drama, college, athletics, and the rigors of high school, my friend fought for her very survival.  Her peers voted her the prom queen in May, but she was on crutches at that point because of the cancer attacking her body.  She went to New York City with the band – but in a wheelchair.
Around her birthday in August, she was given a jet ski by a charitable organization.  She only got to ride it for a short amount of time.
With the change of the seasons that year, life slowly faded from my beloved friend.  In December, my friend lost her fight with cancer.   I put a picture from our competition (with her smiling face, holding a trophy) in her casket.

She was 18 years old. 

She is why I give.



She has one leg, and she makes jokes about it.
When people told her that she couldn’t, she did.
She’s my hero.
Her name is Kati, and I loved her the moment I met her.
She joined my sorority, and became my “Little Sister,” but I was the younger one – the one who could learn from this old soul.
She was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at the age of eight.  She went to Camp Sunshine and made friends.  Those friendships supplied her heart with vigor and gave lifeblood to her soul.
But some of her friends didn’t make it.  She experienced a childhood fraught with many heartaches .
The chemo was rough on her.  Her heart was forever damaged.  The doctors told her that she wouldn’t have children.
Today, she holds her daughter Kennedy in her arms every night, a living example of defied odds.
Kati isn’t ashamed of her condition.  It means she made it – it means she survived.  When children point and ask, she explains her condition in ways they can understand.  She straps her baby in her carrier, grabs her crutches, and plows through life with a determination that I can only envy.

She is why I give.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Earth's Tilt

I'm going to be honest here.

I'm a summer girl.  I always have been.

I love the heat.  I love the freedom.  I love the quiet days.  I love going to the beach.

But now that I'm a mother, things are becoming a little more complicated.

The heat is oppressive to a baby.

I don't really have a lot of freedom anymore. Okay, I have no freedom.

My summer days really weren't quiet.  They were noisy, filled with the sounds of little feet, Yo Gabba Gabba, and the cries (good and bad) from my little one.

The last time I saw a beach was before I was pregnant.

Summer is starting to take on a whole new meaning, and I'm very ready for fall.  I'm longing for cooler weather, a warm cup of coffee, pleasant time outside, and the upcoming holidays.  And while I dread the time change, the super cold, and closed-toed shoes and socks (some things cannot be changed, you see), I'm still ready.

Sometimes a happy baby is a freedom of its own, and Amelia will be a much happier baby when she can enjoy the nice weather outside.

Yes.  Yes, it's time.

The Earth's tilt is beginning to change.  I wake up each morning and notice that my outside looks a little different, and the sun has moved from its summer position.  Fall is creeping in, whether I want it or not.

To wake up and see the world a little differently is often a neglected opportunity - one I hope I do not forsake.

"I close my eyes to surrender to sleep - knowing deep within, my soul's leaves are changing colors."
- Feeling Autumn, written in September 2001.

Monday, August 23, 2010

She's One. No, Really.

Amelia is one.

You know?  One?  Not a baby anymore, but a toddler?

Where did my time go?

She's one.  As in, "I'm going to get into everything humanly imaginable as soon as I possibly can" kind of one.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am exhausted.  The beginning of school + Amelia's first birthday = really, really drained.

Despite my exhaustion, it paid off.  Jeremy and I pulled off two great birthday parties to celebrate Amelia's birthday this year.  One was on her actual birthday.  Jeremy and I cooked pizza for our immediate family and they came over to enjoy the birthday girl.  We had a blast that evening - and Amelia had more fun than anyone.  I've never seen a baby so happy to have a birthday. She laughed, clapped, and ate her little cake like a champ.  She loved it when all of her family stood around and sang to her.  She thought that was just fabulous.

 





Then, she had a party with all of her friends (and family members, too).   It was a fun day! Amelia had a remarkable time blowing bubbles, playing with chalk, and seeing all of her friends.  She loves attention (naturally), so it made her day again when everyone sang to her.  The party was so much fun, but very, very crazy!


I only have myself to blame for the craziness. I'm the one who thought it would be a good idea to have the kids make their own goody baskets using big buckets of candy.  Yeah, that was me.  Poor Emery and Graham probably ate more candy in that one day than they had ever eaten before.
    The infamous buckets!
I'm so blessed with such a precious baby girl.  She's adventurous, rambunctious, and full of life - and I wouldn't have my girl any other way.  We've come a long way from our NICU days a year ago.  God is good.

Happy Girl!

Farr Family News

There's been a lot going on in the Farr Family that I really haven't got to chat much about.  The past month or so has really been quite a busy blur.

First of all, I finally have a wonderful new sister-in-law, Heather. She and Jeremy's brother, Lija, dated for years and tied the knot on a beautiful day in July.  It was a great wedding and a happy day for everyone.


I love sisters.  I have one, so --- ya know, they're awesome.  Everyone should have a sister.

Jeremy and I also have new little nephew, Cooper!  Jeremy's sister Heather (do not get confused - this is another Heather) welcomed him about 16 days after the wedding.  Cooper is such a little doll and a sweet blessing.  I know Amelia will really grow up very close to him - I can't wait until they are old enough to play together and love one another.



July was really a busy month for the Farrs!  I really can't wait for this fall.  Football season, cooler weather, and a little bit of relaxation will be a nice change for all of us. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's My Age Again?

(On an off note, I really like using song titles as blog titles...I don't have to think as much...heh.)

I've always called Amelia my "Intrepid Girl."

Her name, accurately enough, means "industrious."

It suits her.

She's always been, well, industrious.  In the NICU, I saw her eyes light up at the glimpses she gleaned from her little window.  I could just tell that my baby girl was going to love the outside.

When she was three weeks old, she was sitting in her Bumbo seat. She couldn't sit for long periods of time, but the fact that she sat up told me what I knew from the beginning:  this girl wants to MOVE.

Amelia started crawling at around the six-month mark, and at nine months, she took her first steps. 

Now, before her first birthday, she's started to RUN.  She loves to be outside.  She throws her hands up, says "aaaaaaayyyyy!" (like the Fonz...heh heh) and literally runs.  She's into absolutely everything now.  Yesterday when "Pammy" kept Amelia, Pammy turned around to discover that Amelia scaled a chair and completely conquered the coffee table.  Colton was never this much trouble.

Honestly, none of this surprises me.  I've heard stories about me as a baby.  I remember D'Anna as a baby.  We were rambunctious.  I think my mother used to go into corners in cry when we took naps.  I mean, why do you people think I waited so long to have a baby?  I knew!

So, she's gone from this...

(So little!)
To this...



And...here we go!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Old School

I had to take a long drive the other day that involved me, my car, and some mountain views.

Naturally, that car ride took me back to my college days, when I was younger (obviously), wilder (okay, not really), and free (yes, yes I was).  I did a lot of driving around in the mountains back in those days.  It was required for some of my former, illustrious professions that paid fifty bucks a week.

I'll be honest.  I can't drive worth a lick.  I'm terrible - absolutely terrible - at it.

But I love it, especially when it involves spectacular views and time to think.

Sometimes, a Mama needs a moment that renews her, and this was my moment.

While driving, I listened to two of my old school Caedmon's Call albums, their independent "My Calm//Your Storm," and their pinnacle (sorry, Caedmon's Call, but it's true) album "40 Acres," which may be my favorite record...ever. 

And as I listened to those songs, I thought about those days at Brenau in the ZTA House.  I thought about Kathi and I as two scared freshmen.  I thought about Kristi, and how I was in awe of her for being her own person.  Of course, I also thought about how she used to rant and rave about marrying the dreamy-eyed, lyrically-savvy Bebo Norman.  Sigh.  I miss Bebo...ahem...

I thought about my friend Tracy and how much I missed confiding in her...and how much I missed her in general.  I thought about crazy days with Kathi in the ZTA House when we danced on couches, spoke our own language, and acted foolish.  I thought about Michele and how we walked around the streets of Athens, dreaming dreams and avoiding homework.  I thought about summers away, a near-perfect childhood, and how much I learned during my coming-of-age years.

During that ride, I reminded myself that, "as I get older, life is getting harder."  So many of my friends (not necessarily those mentioned) had to endure and are still enduring the tragedies that life often brings.

So, for the brief span of a few Caedmon's Call songs, I remembered when life was a little bit easier...a little more simple...a little more carefree...for all of us.  Complications are a part of life, and no one would change them, but I think it is also okay to remember the past with love and appreciation.

Sometimes we have to "walk the rocks to see the mountain view," and my prayer is that I'll try to walk with "grace my feet, and faith my eyes."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I've always thought...

I've always thought that out of all of Jane Austen's characters, I most resembled Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice (by the way MLA people, there isn't an underline option on this blog, or I would underline the titles of my books...but I'm a Chicago Manual Style kind of girl).

Elizabeth is a somewhat-sarcastic, borderline impertinent, thoroughly stubborn woman who loves to make snap judgments, read books, laugh at life situations, and observe the world around her.  That describes me well.

Lately, however, I'm thinking I might be more like Emma Woodhouse from Austen's Emma.

Emma and Elizabeth share many qualities.  They are both stubborn, unwilling to settle for marriage unless it involves love, and full of pride (in their own ways).  Emma has a penchant for matchmaking, though...something she and I share.


I don't set people up often, but I've had two very successful cases.  One couple I set up got married several years ago, and the other...well, they got engaged last weekend!  (I'm not going to name names because I'm not sure if they want their names called out on this blog that three people read.) 

Needless to say, when I heard the news, I was pretty excited for my dear friend.  And, then, I had an Emma Woodhouse thought:  "who will be next to benefit from my help?"

That was a dangerous thought to think.  For anyone who has ever read Emma or watched the story (the BBC just came out with a fabulous version of it) knows that Emma's "help" is often unwarranted and disastrous. 

Yup, that does sound like me.

I'd better stop while I'm ahead...but I have ever really stopped?  Really?

Friday, July 9, 2010

And she says, "Baby, it's 3 a.m., I must be lonely."

Amelia woke up at 2:30ish this morning.

Like, wide awake.  Chatty.  Talkative.  Ready to go.

Did she not notice the dark outside?

I tried to tell her, "Go to sleep! It's dark!  Little girls have to go seep seep (my term for sleep) when it's dark!"

She just looked back and said, "Aroo?"

I don't know what "aroo" means.  I assume that it's some sort of version of "who, me?"  Maybe it's something way meaner...something I cannot repeat on this blog.

I find it funny that she already talks back to me, even as a baby.

I finally got her to sleep around 4:00.

I'm not used to this.  Amelia has slept through the night since she was about nine weeks old.  She's had a few issues here and there, but never like this.  She has spoiled me rotten, this formerly-sleeping child of mine.

I think I finally crashed at 5:30.

I made her wake up early this morning, just to make sure she doesn't become a little nocturnal baby.  She wasn't even grouchy.

Sleep is starting to become a non-issue for her.  Who needs sleep when you can PLAY??

I'm starting to think Amelia might be an only child.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Poem

 Thumbnail

Tonight, while I looked at
The velvet overlay of stars,
I spied the sliver of a crescent moon.
It was like the thumbnail of God
Pressed against the pulse of this world

And while that thought brought comfort,
The next brought on my pragmatism:

"Nah, He's probably bigger than that."

- DCF '10

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time and Space

"When time and space are through/I'll be found in You..."
- Brooke Fraser

I had to read an article in one of my master's degree history classes that dealt with the issue of time, space, and how the Industrial Revolution changed these concepts.  It's a really thought-provoking concept, and one I try to share with my students when we discuss the Industrial Revolution (some of them kind of get it, but I basically want to expose them to some higher-level thinking).

It is fairly obvious that time and space have changed over time.  The invention of the car undoubtedly made it easier to travel and get to places.  The invention of the airplane made international travel more available and made foreign places more tangible.  The invention of the computer (coupled with the internet) and telephone made communication all over the world possible.

Communication, publication, and travel were a totally different concept 200 years ago, when ten miles away seemed far, and Asia might has well have been on another planet.  Read a Jane Austen novel, and you'll understand that it took days upon days to travel miles, that simple things like indoor plumbing did not exist, and that letters took time to reach people.  (Bear with me, I'm getting to my  point.)

The time it took to get to places in the past - well, it was a long time.  Gainesville seems like a blink away from me now, but it must have seemed far away to Jeremy's ancestors who lived in the house next door to us.  Space changes, too.  Atlanta isn't that far away from me -and really, not many places are that far away from me in the continental United States when using a plane.  Jeremy and I got to Italy in nine hours.  Years ago, Gainesville was at least an hour away, Atlanta was a day away, and Italy probably seemed a lifetime away.  With technology, time and space changed.

Because of the advantages of technology, I have a lot more time.  I don't have to spend my time scrubbing clothes, washing dishes by hand, penning hand-written updates to family members.  I don't have to worry about my garden, where my next meal is going to come from, or where to get the supplies to take care of my child.

I also have the advantage of space.  I could hop on a plane and be just about anywhere in a 24-hour time span.  The world is more interconnected and accessible now.

I have time.  I have the advantage of space.

So, here's my point:  what am I doing about it?

I don't have to endure the rigorous chores of the past, so what am I doing to compensate for my extra time?  Am I using my time in an honorable way? Am I taking advantage of the fact that I could help others in faraway lands via the click of my computer mouse or through the purchase of a plane ticket? 

I  have the ability to use time and space to further goodness and God's greater purpose.

My prayer is that I'll be able to remember this and not be wasteful.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Six

Jeremy and I have been married for six years!

That's a long time.

I mean, it's not fifty years long, but it's a long time for someone who has only lived for 30 years.

Let me be clear:  I am very, very blessed to have Jeremy in my life.  I joke about him, I whine to him, I pick on him, and I am not nearly the wife I should be, and yet he endures all of my faults with such forbearance.  When I told him I was writing "Da Beard," he laughed and helped give me lines to write.  THAT'S my husband.  He's funny, smart, patient, and kind.  He isn't perfect, but neither am I.

Personally, I think we're getting better with age. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Da Beard

"Is it back?"

Jeremy asks me this question all of the time.

I know what he is talking about.  I choose to ignore him.

Okay, I don't ignore him.  Ignoring Jeremy is like ignoring a) sirens b) that incessant buzzing from vuvuzelas that goes on during World Cup games or c) that big zit that just WON'T GO AWAY.    Jeremy loves to push buttons. Ignoring him only makes him worse.

(Yeah, I said "zit."  I'm pretty sure that just dropped the maturity level of this blog down a few notches.)

Anyway, Jeremy asks me "is it back?" all of the time.


"Is what back?" I eventually answer back, playing along.

"DA BEAAARD!"  He says, and then he rubs his scratchy face/neck/whole head.

Jeremy always grows a beard during the summer.  I would like to tell you that it is his way of rebelling against those stringent teacher dress codes, but any dress code that allows Nike Shox is probably not as ferocious as one thinks.

I guess he grows a beard because he can.  It's summer.  Jeremy's thinking is a little catawampus.  For Jeremy, long-sleeved t-shirts and beards in the summer make sense.

This year, the beard is a little chaotic.  The beard has taken on a life of its own.  It is much, much longer than any beard I've ever seen on him, and we've been together for almost eight years.  It's starting to curl on the ends.    Seriously, this beard is out of control.

I found it ordering Domino's one day and had to stop it before another stinky pepperoni pizza entered our home (nothing against Domino's - their pizzas are just garlicky).  Amelia cried the other day when the beard tried to give her a kiss.  The beard even told me the other day that it's a little redundant to have Netflix AND the movie channels - we needed to choose one to save a little money. 

All joking aside...this beard is fierce.  And I don't mean "fierce" in a good way.

This beard, in addition to Jeremy's legendary bandana/do-rag, and his newly cracked tooth make him look a little like Willie Nelson. He looks like Jeremiah Johnson if Jeremiah Johnson decided to do P90X.  He looks like...well, you get the picture.  If not, here's a real picture for proof:














So, I'm asking for your help.  If you're one of the three people reading this blog, will you support my cause?  Please tell Jeremy he needs to shave.  Puh-lease.


He's scaring innocent children.  Do it for them.


















Scary.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Random Thoughts, Part III

...or is it part IV?  (Is this blog really prestigious enough to use Roman numerals?  Hmmm.)

1. Do you ever feel bad buying clothes from Forever 21?  I mean, you know that cute top should probably cost more than $13.80.  Do you ever feel like there's some ulterior-motive sketchiness involved with Forever 21?  I mean, I like their stuff, I just hope some kid in Pakistan isn't getting paid 4 cents an hour to make it...
2. Do you know what I liked to eat as a child?  Raw spaghetti.  Isn't that gross?  I also liked raw potatoes.

3.  I am seriously considering voting for some dead old guy from Georgia's history to be governor in this next election...just because I can. Honestly, can either candidate can fulfill his promises?  It would be seriously funny to type in "Eugene Talmadge," or "Zell Miller," or some other crap candidate on the ballot.

4.  My friend and co-worker Jenny (who I'm pretty sure won't read this) is the only one who might giggle at #4.   Sigh. All of that typing for naught...

5.    Why is it that only older people can kill snakes?  Jerm's mom found one in her garage today, and she called her dad (Jerm's Poppa) to come and kill it.  He came over with his hoe killed it - no problem.  When my sister found a snake in her room, she jumped on the bed and screamed.  Then, Mom thought she could kill the snake, but she couldn't do it.  Mom, D'Anna and I just stood on top of D'Anna's bed and screamed like scared little girls.  Mom called Granny.  Granny came over with her hoe, looked at the tiny snake, and said, "really?  Is this it?"  Compared to the Great Depression, maybe snakes aren't so bad.  I wish I had the unabashed fearlessness of snakes that the older folks have.  The only thing funny about snakes is that they were once on a plane with Samuel L. Jackson.

6.  Something about an evening like this one makes me think about VBS.  And cookies and Kool-Aid.  Felt pictures of Moses.  I love it.

7.  Amelia can blow kisses now and say "bottle."  She blows her kisses backward, with the front of her hand to her mouth.  When she says, "bottle," it is really more like, "bahh-uhhhl."  It sounds like she's a Cockney Brit.  I know that this is not technically a random thought --- but I had to mention how stinkin' cute my kid is.

8.  I would rather go flying head first into a whole pile of McRibs than to hear Dennis Miller utter anything.  He has, quite possibly, the most annoying voice on earth.  McRibs...ugh.  They make me shudder.  But Dennis Miller...well, he makes me shudder more.  (And I mention his name because Jeremy has been watching countless hours of his stand-up...ugh...shoot me now!)

9. What's so American about American cheese?  Is this really the cheese we have chosen to represent our country?  I mean...aren't there some excellent other decent American cheeses out there that could have the name "American?"  What about good ol' cheddar?  I'm saddened that the orange-ish, individually wrapped substance is the best America has to offer.  No wonder the French sniff at us.  (And I eat American cheese, by the way.  I eat all cheese.  But it is by far my least favorite...I guess I'm a cheese snob?)

10.  Did anyone else out there read the Sweet Pickles books?  Yeah.  Those were awesome.  Mentioning those also makes me think of that show Today's Special on Nickelodeon, where the mannequin-guy in a store turns into a person and dances around the store.  Don't ask me why those correlate in my head.

11. Whoever invented the fly flap should be awarded a special crown in heaven.  Is it just me, or are the flies insane this year?

12.  I would like to ride in a DeLorean - at least once.  Imagine what kind of flux-capacitating fun I could have!  There's something about the DeLorean - the "80s" and "the future" all in one car.  Ahhh.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This is Just Wrong

I like Michael Buble.  Jeremy bought me his new cd at Christmas (he thought it was his Christmas cd, but oh, well) and I've been listening to it lately.

While I like most of the cd, I've decided that there's something that a man from Canada should never do.

He sings a version of Georgia on My Mind that is criminal.  And I don't mean that in a good way.



Do you hear that??! Michael Buble can't say "Georgia" right!  It isn't Ge-yah-guh.  It's GEYOUR-GUH.  Why didn't get get a dialect coach to help him with the pronunciation of our state?  Has he even been to Georgia?  Has he even talked to someone from the South?

Maybe he's talking about the former Soviet Republic of Georgia? I've never been there, but I would think that version of "Georgia" might involve a reference to borscht.

I digress...

When Ray Charles sang the song (which, yes, I own that it was originally written for a girl named "Georgia"), he was able to evoke memories of my home.

Maybe next year, the  Georgia General Assembly could (take a break from axing education dollars and) write a bill that proclaims, "only people from the South should be allowed to sing our state song."  I think that would help matters.

Don't ya think?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When in Gainesville...

Every town has rules.

You know, the rules you need to follow to get around? There are definitely a few rules you need to abide by to get around in my hometown of Gainesville (G-Funk, Gainesvegas, etc).

I think a few Gainesvillians have forgotten these rules.  In the past week, I've had to honk my horn and say a few not-so-nice things to people.

So, I'm going to remind the three people that read my blog of a few basic, simple rules - a little Gainesville etiquette, if you will.  If you've never been to Gainesville, keep this Code of Gainesville on hand if you ever come and visit us.

1. Don't turn left on Green Street.  Ever.  I don't care if it's 4:28 on April 15th and you have to get your taxes to the post office - you don't turn left on Green Street!

2.  Speaking of Green Street, you do not harass the hundreds of runners who come barreling down the sidewalk as you pass them in your cars.  Hey, who cares if runners choose the most polluted street in American History?  It's their smog inhalation, not yours.

3.  Don't try to open a Mexican restaurant in Gainesville.   It's not going to work.  El Sombrero has a choke-hold on this town.  While I'm at it, your barbeque better be fabulous if you want the locals to choose it over Johnny's and Smokehouse.

4.  When you get to the end of Green Street heading south towards town, make sure you are in the correct lane.  Don't let that big tree/bush with all the Christmas lights distract you.  If you are in the wrong lane when that little green arrow lights up, and you are planning to go left instead of right - well, the locals are going to kill you.

5.  Longstreet is good.  It does not, however, require you to IMPEDE TRAFFIC to get a BISCUIT.  If you sit in the right lane trying to turn in to Longstreet between 7-8 am for more than ten seconds, you are going to have the wrath of Gainesville come down upon you!  Your need from a biscuit cannot make people late for work!  (This may drive me crazier than anything else!)

6.  If you want to start up your own restaurant, it would probably not be a good idea to not start it in the old Rio Bravo/Up the Creek/Smoky Bones/Sweetfire Grill location.  It's jinxed.

7.  Don't go to Wal-Mart.  Ever.  Go to Dawsonville, Oakwood, Dahlonega, Cumming - anywhere but the Gainesville Wal-Mart.  Only go to the Gainesville Wally World in the case of an extreme emergency.

8.  There is a shortcut to get to anywhere in Gainesville.  You just have to learn how to work the roads.

9.  If you see a funeral procession, stop.  It's still important to us.



(The opinions in this article represent the author alone and do not represent the official opinion of the city of Gainesville, GA.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's Important

This week is teacher appreciation week.

Tell a teacher you care.   It matters.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hidden Gem

I have XM/Sirius satellite radio, and I am totally in love with it.

Where else could you hear the top hits of the 40s?  You can listen to almost anything on satellite, with very few interruptions.

I have many favorite stations, but one of them that I've recently found is called "Praise."  It's description says, "urban contemporary gospel music."

Think the end of Diary of a Mad Black Woman, when they sing, "Father, Can You Hear Me?"

Oh yeah - I went "movie scene" on ya!


"Praise" is such a little treasure.  I've always wanted to go to a church like the one in Diary.  Hearing the songs on this station make me totally blissful.


Man, how could I have forgotten this scene when I made my list?  What a scene of healing, forgiveness, and redemption.  Wow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weird.

Weird.  It's just weird. Period.

I just don't think I can let Amelia watch it.

Who comes up with this cracked-out crud?

A Letter to My State Representatives....

Dear Senate Representative Hawkins and House Representative Collins:

The last time I wrote a letter to an official in government was in 1991. In 5th grade, I asked Zell Miller to attend my elementary school’s chicken pie supper. Therefore, you should ascertain that for me to write you this letter shows that I am a fairly concerned person.

I am a teacher who is very concerned about education in the state of Georgia.

Recently, teachers received many morale-crushing blows. We dealt and continue to deal with furloughs and pay cuts. We have faced and continue to face reductions in our staffs at our schools as well as the reduction of our resources. Our class sizes will increase (yet again) next year.

We used to live in a society where teachers were respected for their profession and given respect in the classroom. Society has changed. There are stories that flood the ears of the public concerning cheating allegations, improper conduct, and many other negative things concerning teachers. These, naturally, add to the public perspective. It seems to be a harsh reality that teachers in Georgia are no longer as respected as they once were.

Despite all of these things, most teachers still go to work with good attitudes. Despite all of these things, many teachers still spend hundreds of their own dollars to offer their children snacks during testing and rewards for good behavior. Despite all of these things, most teachers still stay after school and work, go to student athletic events, and write notes of encouragement to students who are undergoing the rigors of testing. Despite all of these things, most of us will do more with less.

However, the bill on merit pay that the Georgia General Assembly has “snuck in” at the last minute might be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back for many teachers.

In theory, merit pay is a good idea. Teachers should be rewarded on their performance. It is in the schematics where one can get confused.

I teach 8th grade Georgia Studies. How, pray tell, does one objectively measure “progress” in this subject area? Does one compare students from 7th grade to 8th grade? That would be like comparing apples to oranges, because students in 7th grade social studies learn about Africa and Asia. Would one compare Georgia Studies students from last year to Georgia Studies students ones from this year? Again, this seems unfair. The instrument for progress is at the crux of this argument. How would the state measure progress in subject areas like physical education, health, family and consumer science, and technology?

There are other problems with the merit pay measure. My husband teaches 7th grade social studies. His students didn’t even receive scores last year, and the state is still tweaking his Georgia Performance Standards. Social studies CRCT tests in Georgia are akin to playing Trivial Pursuit. The Georgia Performance Standards in social studies are written in a way that simply “lists” people, places, and events – they are not based on the “big ideas” in social studies. If students are not taught the correct fact about a certain person, place, event – well, they are sunk. Should my students and I be punished because we did not know where Eugene Talmadge liked to eat barbeque (and I’m being factitious here)?

Not only are there curriculum problems, but No Child Left Behind has made students believe that science and social studies “do not matter.” A science teacher at my school was even told, “Miss, I’m not going to even try on the social studies test. It doesn’t count.” NCLB has given our children the false assumption that science and social studies are unimportant, and abating apathy has become a burden in many schools. In grades where there is no accountability or consequences for students who fail, teachers will struggle with the general apathy. As long as there is little to no accountability placed on students to perform, teachers will struggle beyond comprehension to deal with the apathy that has plagued schools.

And yet, while I type this, I know that accountability for students can go too far. I saw a prayer request going around for a 3rd grade boy who wanted to do well on his CRCT. He had terrible test anxiety. I saw a girl in my homeroom break down crying during the math test because she was so overwhelmed. Too much accountability can foster negative results. There has to be a balance in this state for students – enough accountability to dissuade students that the test “doesn’t matter” and yet enough to prevent scaring the life out of them. The same can be said for merit pay – scaring teachers will not foster the greatest results.

Again, in theory, merit pay is a good idea. In a perfect world, good teachers should be rewarded and bad teachers should be punished. It makes sense. All teachers could agree that there are terrible teachers out there. However, there are terrible doctors, lawyers, workers at Burger King, gas station attendants, etc. There are members of the General Assembly who chose to take a 40,000 per diem (the salary for many teachers in the state) this year. I’d say they might need a new profession.

Sneaking in a merit pay bill at the last minute is a slap in the face to many teachers. It is, quite simply, not what teachers need right now. Teachers have been put through enough this year – a year full of furloughs, slander, and pay cuts. Our morale has had about as much as it can tolerate. Most teachers have just finished several exhausting days of testing (and if you have never tried to keep a room full of 8th graders quiet for four hours, you should try it sometime – you would instantly approve our pay raises). Honestly, we are tired. Because, like you, most of us come to work every day with the objective of doing our best to help the state of Georgia.

As our advocate for our district, I’m asking you for help. Please allow the merit pay bill to die until it is discussed further. This is not the kind of measure that should be thrown in at the last minute, but should be discussed and debated to determine schematics and to determine if it is truly the best measurable objective to determine the quality and worth of a teacher.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Dana Cain Farr

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I forgot a scene...

I noticed that no one commented on my post about the movies.

Not surprised.  I mean, I ain't the Pioneer Woman.

Oh, well.  I don't mind talking to myself in cyberspace.

This movie scene is one I meant to include, and it's worth mentioning:




Last of the Mohicans has recently become a favorite of mine, ever since I started reading Sara Donati's Wilderness series.  This ending of the movie is just completely stolen by Jodhi May, who plays Alice Munro (around the 4:30 point of the video clip).

Her father is dead, her love is dead, and she is taken by the evil Magua to be his new "wife."  Throughout the movie, Alice is much weaker than Cora, her sister.  She is still a child (Jodhi May was just a teenager when she portrayed Alice in this movie, by the way) in so many ways.

After Magua kills her love, Uncas, Alice starts teetering toward the edge of the cliff.  Magua, his eyes softening for the only part of the movie, motions her back to him - but he has the blood of Uncas on his hands as he does so.  When Alice looks at the camera, you no longer see the face of a girl, but a woman.  Words just can't describe this scene.  It's mesmerizing, gorgeous, and somewhat disturbing.  I'm not an advocate of suicide, but I understand why Alice jumps (she actually just kind of falls off...).  She feels trapped and knows that she can jump, or face a future of sexual torture, heartache, and possibly death. Cora's cry of grief just further marks the moment.  Ugh.  Seriously. The ending of this movie is just epic.

By the way, I used to think my mom and other ladies who thought Daniel Day-Lewis was so hot in this movie were crazy.  But I get it now.  I really do.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Salary

Despite all of her teeth issues...

Despite her refusal to nap at times...

Despite her temper tantrums, her big ol' poopy diapers, and her setting her angel monitor off ten times at night...

I get this.




Snuggle time truly is priceless.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Scenes that Resonate

Almost anyone who knows me knows that I have some definite favorite movies.

I'm the kind of person who can always read a book over and over again...or watch a movie over and over again.  I watch reruns of the U.S. version of The Office almost every time they come on TBS (I heart The Office...I really should devote a whole blog to it).  I like to catch the subtle stuff in the background the second (third...fourth...four thousandth) time around.  

And while some movies may not be in my "favorite" list, they have scenes that I'll never forget..scenes that make me cringe...scenes that I adore.  Those little slivers of film - those glimpses into life, real or imagined - make me simply think.  These are the scenes that keep me up past my bedtime, because I would rather wait up than avoid seeing them.

So here, in no particular order (and because you care), are some of my all-time favorite movie scenes:

(Be aware - there are some "spoilers" in this list!)

1.  The end of A League of Their Own, where the older female ballplayers are playing baseball on the field, has always stuck with me.  It is so nostalgic...it makes me sad for reasons I can't explain, and makes me wish I was part of a time period that has long passed.  It makes me think of youth, of a generation dying out, and of how life gets more difficult with age.

2.  Solaris is weird, cerebral, and uncommonly slow.  But, apart from this, it is haunting - it's the kind of movie that sucks my breath out and won't me go.  I can't get it out of my head.  It makes such a profound statement about relationships with others.  The scene that grips me is the one where George Clooney's character Chris is discussing his dead wife, Rheya, at the end of the film.  He is at a loss over the thought that he remembered her in the wrong way, and that the true Rheya may not be the one constructed in his memories.  It's such a thought-provoking scene...to wonder if people are who I think they are.  Ugh.  This movie gets me every time.  I think this is a movie everyone needs to see at least once...not because it's a "must-see," but because I'm selfish and want you to come over to my house and discuss what you think of the ending.  It's that vague.



3.  While I'm on Clooney, I have to say that his scene with J-Lo in Out of Sight where they're hanging out in the back trunk of her car is a killer scene.  Who knew that the two of them would have so much chemistry?  Who knew Jennifer Lopez could act?


4.  I love the end of My Fair Lady.  Something about the way Rex Harrison softens his face when he sings "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" turns me in to a big pile of mush.  I love how Rex Harrison talks through the song and never really sings.  I love the words to the song - the song was played at my wedding.  The final scene is such a quirky end to such an epic movie, and yet it somehow works.  While Henry Higgins may be saying,  "Eliza, where the devil are my slippers?" what he really means is, "I love you...I'm so glad you came back to me."  I love Rex Harrison in the movie...and in general.  Love, love, love him.


5.  Gene Kelly's dance while he's Singin' in the Rain is so jubilant and perfect.  It's one of those scenes that transcends time.  It actually makes me thankful that I was privileged enough to see it.  The choreography is flawless.   A love that makes one dance in the rain is a true love, indeed.



6.  Tom Hanks's speech to Matt Damon in Saving Private Ryan is such a simple, tragic statement:  "earn this."  I cry buckets of tears every time I see that scene.  I think of those who lost their lives fighting for our country. I think of my grandfather and his sacrifices.  I think (again) of a generation that is slowly fading -- and what a great generation it is.

7.  I won't go into the schematics of the end of Schindler's List, but the scene at the end that involves Liam Neeson's character, Oskar Schindler, as he is preparing to flee the Allies is amazing. The speech that he gives ("I could have done more!") is so poignant.  Oh, what a scene...

8.    I don't think this would be a Dana Blog without some Jane Austen thrown in there... so I will go ahead and say that while I do enjoy all of the Pride and Prejudice scenes that involve the handsome (sexy, drool-worthy) Mr. Darcy, the scene that sticks with me in the 2005 version is the one where Lizzy tells her father she is in love.  Donald Sutherland should have gotten an Oscar nod for that scene alone.  I get moved to tears every single time I watch Mr. Bennet tear up at the thought of his Lizzy, his prize, being truly in love.



I have some others ...I may post them later...feel free to comment and post some of your favorite movie scenes!