28 February 2007

Me Meez

How fun is this? Like I could ever krump in real life.

26 February 2007

Bachman here!

My grandfather retired from the Air Force at the highest non-commissioned rank and then began a history of complicated hobbies: art collection, baking, needlepoint, genealogy, computer-virus quarantining, hypochondria, etc. Pa (as my sister and I call him) has a wonderful mind, but it comes with a terrific talent for recalling specific details that may or may not be correct. (My mother, therefore, is her father's daughter.)

This is where our story begins.

My Aunt Vicki, who is her father's keeper, took Pa to a new doctor Friday. As they discussed his medical history, the doctor asked if Pa had experienced any significant weight changes over the past few years.

"Oh, gad, yes," he said. "Few years ago, lost 140 pounds."

Vicki showed her astonishment with wide eyes, so Pa reconsidered his number: "100. 80? Don't you remember, you all said I looked gaunt." He stroked his cheeks to demonstrate the location of the gauntness but submitted to Vicki's revision of the number.

Egad! do we love Pa.

22 February 2007

Witches on Foot

Kudos to Wikipedia's co-founder for supporting the ax Middlebury just sharpened against the famous user-edited encyclopedia as a source for academic papers and exams.

I mean, I love Wikipedia as much as the next gal, because it's easy to use and indeed informative, but it's not an appropriate academic source. Middlebury Russian prof Beyer says it perfectly in this New York Times article: “I guess I am not terribly impressed by anyone citing an encyclopedia as a reference point, but I am not against using it as a starting point.” Starting point? That presumes students have have multiple points in their research. We live in a world where first-year college students know how to share music and stalk friends on MySpace but not discern whether or not some site they find is accurate or reliable. They must be taught such information fluency.

Countless examples abound in my own experience alone, witless frosh struggling with MLA documentation and grimacing when I tell them it would be a lot easier to cite their sources if they used books rather than AOL personal homepages. Real books, like from the library, that building on campus with the computers on the first floor.

But rather than complain about first-year dopes, I'd like to tell a borrowed story. Arthur Jackson once text-messaged me in the middle of a class he was taking because the prof, Dr. Lake, had just interrupted a woman making a class presentation. He wanted her to explain the source she had mentioned: "What's Wikipedia?" he asked. "Witches on foot?"


Arthur, don't be alarmed if we're late to your place for the Oscars: it might take a little while to finish my Botox neck lift, but I want to look my best, so it's worth it.

21 February 2007


Thanks to Shannon Stevens for introducing me to Heather Jamison's blog, and thanks to Heather for telling this story about becoming absorbed into their surrounding culture so that the locals presume they just belong. How does a family of white Americans dissolve themselves on a backdrop of black Kenyans for a ministry of love and learning? Let's learn and do it too, white Baptists worshiping in a black neighborhood (as I wrote before).

Surely we at Springs of Grace will also need to take a clue from SOG Tulsa, where their largely white church sweats (literally) long hours (but they like that) to establish real relationships with their neighbors. Hopefully, Lin won't mind my posting this photo of her and Chrissy, a Tulsa girl who joined us for a sports camp at her apartment complex two summers ago. It's precious ministry, walking so near the sun (my oh my, it's HOT there) just to love some kids. Let's carry more strangers on our backs.

17 February 2007


Last week, I joined four other women and their babies (one is still in utero) as show-and-tell for a Human Growth and Development class at Centenary. We began by telling a little about ourselves . . . pregnancy, birth, and post-birth. Since I was last and the other women had already introduced the subjects of natural childbirth and breastfeeding, I quickly told my labor story and then improvised some comments about how amazed and pleased I was at the automatic and powerfully natural love I felt for Noel immediately upon his birth.

The comments went something like this: "I was never a baby person before, never babysat, never had those oogly eyes some women especially just have for babies. Of course, I was excited that our baby was on the way, but I still didn't feel any particular bonding with Noel while he was in the womb. But when Noel appeared in the world, I felt a complete love for him that I cannot explain except that this is how God makes mothers."

But that's not what the class heard.

I saw the professor the other day, and she said that the written reports the students submitted after our visit expressed much concern for baby Noel. They heard the first clause: "I was never a baby person before," at which point I noticed a collective dropping of heads, each student writing that down in the class notes. But they quit listening at that point and apparently presumed I meant, "I was never a baby person before, and I'm still not, and I'm thinking of leaving Noel out in the snow to fend for himself."

Good thing we don't have snow around here. Good night, Irene.

14 February 2007

Once upon a time . . .

there was a fussy boy named Noel. He was the most precious baby in all the land, even if he had lately learned to scream (at least he learned to smile first).

One day, his parents went out for their first hot date since Noel was born. They made reservations at Superior's Steakhouse and filled their pockets with the gift certificate a friend had given them plus the cash Opa had given them, just for this purpose. When Aunt Emily came to babysit, she found neither parent ready, but they quickly gussied up, showed her the ropes of cloth diapering and bottle warming, and then drove away.

At the restaurant, Noel's parents were seated in the cigar room, where they feasted on Cabernet (which the wine steward recommended), bisque, spinach salad, ribeye, Dijon-crusted mahi-mahi, creamed spinach, and braised mushrooms. Meanwhile, a very tall woman sat on the leather couch with her floor-length fur coat and a glass of champagne. The men at the next table ate raw oysters. A couple nearby took a thousand pictures of each other with their one-candled cheesecake; Noel's dad said they didn't seem to speak good English, but Noel's mom still felt oddly out of her league.

An hour and a half later, they left sated and happy. Because the wind had not yet pierced their skin, Noel's parents decided they would go out for ice cream before returning home, but they first called Aunt Emily to see if she would like for them to bring her some home. She didn't answer; not a good sign. And when she called back, Noel was wailing in the background with the long, pitiful wail that says "I'm not happy, and I've not been happy for some time. I'm not hungry and my diaper is fine, and I refuse to be comforted by this aunt person, even if she was there the moment I was born. So there."

Noel's parents offered to come home, but Emily said she was fine and we should go. Good soul, patient soul. By then, Noel's parents were in their car, but they were still shivering from the cold wind and they realized they would be crazy to get ice cream, lest they remain frozen until March. Hot chocolate was what they really wanted, and they had that at home.

So, home they went. Uncle Craig was on the couch, playing a football video game, and Emily did not even look wearied, trying unsuccessfully to feed Noel a bottle. Noel's mom changed clothes quickly and held the wailer, who calmed in about five minutes and fell asleep from exhaustion.

The moral of this story: Noel is a mama's boy. But it's probably okay to be that way when you're barely over two months old.

The end.

12 February 2007

Raw, but it doesn't hurt. Really.

In the first (and probably only) online-shopping recommendation here, I point you toward Uncooked: The Store. I don't know who came up with this, but I'm pretty sure he or she must be related to Little Sic: looking through the cards this morning, the voice I heard in my head reading the awkwardly funny card fronts was definitely his, because these things sound like what he would just concoct. Sic, you missed your calling! Well, maybe not, but these made me laugh lots. And that's kind of something. Sort of.

07 February 2007

Who Those Feet?

Cherish (I'll refrain from referring to her by an appellation I prefer) has asked in a comment to the last post about those janky feet, so I figure the explanation deserves a post of its own.

These feet belong to a woman affectionately called "Hobbit" who was one of us four who walked Wainwright's Coast to Coast in England together. This photo was taken at the end of our penultimate hiking day, a day whose path goes along an old mineral railway for miles; the black minerals make you filthy, and Hobbit's feet show that well. (The photo here shows another view of the path; what you can't see here is the back of my legs getting a horrible sunburn that same day.)

Because her boots blistered her feet horribly, Hobbit had abandoned them well before the ghost of that railway dirtied us. As I recall, she ended up walking almost the last 50 miles in those flip flops.

But no matter how proper your boots, the minerals crept between all your toes. Just before entering the idyllic Grosmont where we planned to eat dinner, we crossed a creek, pulled out our sandals, and washed our feet in the running stream. Good thing we did, because the pub turned out rather fancy; we were nevertheless grateful that they let us eat outside, something many places did not allow.

So, I'm proud of those janky feet, Cherish! Might have been even prouder if they were my own. . . .

02 February 2007

Yet another way to love my books

Check this out. Beware jealousy as to my current reading pile. I'll just go from this point forward; backtracking would take way too long.