Tuesday, January 31, 2006

We hung out at the autism clinic office all day while I displayed my boy to those who seemed very interested with notepad in hand.

See, how he smiles, jokes, asks questions brightly? See his knee jerk to the reflex hammer? See his spine notched more perfectly than a crocheter's chain stitch? See his hands with a slightly curved pinkie?

Make him say "Ah", hug his arm, mine his ear, review his thick records.

Three and a half hours later ....

"Your boy will marry one day, hold a job, go to college if he wants -- he has much potential despite the acknowledged high functioning autism (Asperger term for the schools). I think he's a wonderful kid. You are making a good choice to homeschool him since you have the option to do so. Call me for a follow up app't in six months."

We waited one year for an appointment to receive new information, and the doctor told us everything we already knew! I felt like Dorothy after a lengthy dangerous journey to beseech the legendary Oz. I wanted to say, "Wait: they said along the path that you could help us." But, I reckon the doctor did help us, for with her expensive incantation, we became officially "autism spectrum" kid and parents, and were given a blessing for the future. Hmmmm.... I think we still need to search for the straw broom, the reason why. The doctor has pointed us in a certain direction (a research direction for her), yet it seems like the cause, thus the cure, for autism spectrum, still sleeps in the poppy field. But, my boy displayed well, and I'm content to rest for a while on simply his possibilities. That's a good place. Yeah!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A woman at a morning Bible study at my church once commented that believers read too many of the interpretive Christian books that are produced, marketed, sold everywhere these days. She believed that these could lead believers astray from reading the Bible itself. I found some sense in what she said (particularly because some of the books I read were just repetitive and shallow and were like noise going in one ear and out the other -- there were definite exceptions though which helped me understand more of the spiritual walk process.) Therefore, for the past two or three years, I've been focusing on primary text reading. However, I decided to pick up the old classic "True Spirituality" by Francis Schaeffer yesterday, and so far, it's delightful and speaks to what inward spirituality looks like (according to him in how he interprets the Bible).

He talks in the first chapter about the negatives and the positive statements found within the Bible. For example, he quotes a negative found in Galatians 5:15: "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." With a parallel positive verse: "For all th law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." And the positives, " But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodenss, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Both are a consideration in the Christian life.

So far, so good. Inner spirituality produces outward harmony toward others, one in which you love them as yourself. Equals. I definitely need to be reminded of this more.

Reading on ........

Friday, January 27, 2006

While Cody practices his group skills for an hour twice a week at his local elementary school (he takes music and p.e.), I typically slide off to a nearby coffee shop and invite a book or a friend. Today, my Taiwanese friend joined me. We met when I volunteered for the Literacy Action Corp about four years ago. We were both equally lonely and in need of a friend, and she turned out to be a gracious, warm concientious person. We always have lots to talk about either children, customs, Taiwanese/Chinese politics, husbands' careers. Today, we looked over an article in the Columbia Missourian (by Allison Ross) which I found in the few minutes I waited for her. It covered the Chinese New Year customs and so I quizzed her about how she participated in each one of them. Saying "jiaozi" together was the funniest part! Fortunately, she didn't ask how I found the Nian Gao that she brought to my house on Wednesday (sticky rice formed into cake?). Here's a list found in the article and confirmed by my friend of the Chinese new year's celebration:

House cleaning: Usually, a week before the New Year begins, people clean their homes thoroughly. In addition to symbolizing a new start, cleaning also allows people to get the mundane jobs out of the way before the New Year begins so they can actually celebrate.

Symbols of longevity: Chinese people try to incorporate “long things” into their celebrations to represent longevity. People get haircuts so they don’t “cut off their luck” in the first few weeks of the new year. Long noodles, also a symbol of longevity, are often served with the traditional Chinese New Year meal, which varies from region to region.

Fish: Traditional in Southern China, fish is a symbol of prosperity. In fact, the word for fish has the same meaning as “have enough, have more than you need, have left over,” said Mike Wong, owner of Hong Kong Market in Columbia. Fish (yu) sounds similar to the word meaning abundance, or riches.

Nian Gao: This sticky rice dessert translates to “annual cake” and is found more in the southern part of China. Superstition has it that the kitchen god returns to heaven a week before the New Year to report on the family he has been watching. Chinese people feed him Nian Gao — either to get him to give a favorable evaluation or to make his mouth too full to say much when he returns to heaven.

Gifts: Traditionally, money is given out in red envelopes, called Hong Bao, to children and older people. If you are visiting another person’s home, you bring a gift for good fortune, which can range from flowers to fruits.

Reunion dinner: The New Year is a chance to reconnect with family. Shaoming Zou, president of the Mid-Missouri Chinese Association, said that the new year is the busiest traveling time for people going to and from China for celebrations and reunion dinners. “Right now in China is big rush to go home,” he said.

Nian: The dragon-like monster, so often the symbol of Chinese New Year celebrations, comes from an old myth about a monster that terrorized villagers. Nian is frightened by the color red and loud noises, which is why people decorate their homes in red and set off fireworks.

Jiaozi: A boiled dumpling, Jiaozi is traditionally eaten right after midnight at the beginning of the new year. A coin is hidden inside one of the dumplings, and the person who bites into it is said to be the luckiest person of the upcoming year.

Round foods: Luck is round in China, says Phil Wood, a member of the Mid-Missouri Chinese Association. Because the calendar is based on the lunar cycle, Chinese cuisine features many round items during the New Year celebration. Hard-boiled eggs cooked in tea and fruit — especially oranges (symbolizing wealth) and tangerines (for good luck) are especially popular.
(property of Columbia Missourian)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'm dewinding from a 2.5 hour whirlwind trip out and back to see my lovely (tall) niece play her senior basketball game at her high school in Illinois. And, my other niece play on the team as well.

Cody went with me and we sang Christmas songs at the top of our lungs. At a c-store, he told the clerk he liked alternative music like Reliant K, and she shared her favorites too (Nickelback).

At the ballgame, his shrill voice was heard by his cousins on the court who smiled and looked up when he said things like: "Be a legend, Meagen!" "Do it for Elvira, Micah!" (Elvira is their grandfather's mule) I'm used to people turning their heads and smiling at the funny audible kid whom I should gag at times. But, unfortunately, I'm laughing at the things he comes up with too.

Then on the way home, as we passed the Arch glowing in the air, above the dark rippled Mississippi, Cody commented: "It's soooo beautiful .... Woooo, the arch is hot! Those big buildings want to marry it and have babies."

Which led him to asking the question: Why did God make girls so, you know, pretty?

And then he wanted me to tell him the story of Rudy, the Notre Dame football player, for about 30 miles. He astutely commented that Rudy was a good rare person.

As we were drivng down our road on the final leg, we talked about his sister's moods, and I said that I worried about her. My little godsend said, "She'll be alright, Mom; she's just a teenager right now and she'll grow up to be a good person like you one day."

Ah, my heart is full of interstate wonder at such a cool gift of a kid. I think more road trips are in order.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I went heavily to my obligation this evening at church. All day long, I tried to maintain the perfect mother routine, particularly with my teenager who seriously betrayed my trust yesterday. I am a newly-exited Parenting Your Teenager short course graduate, and I've been trying to apply the principles of: empathy; personal warmth; and being genuine for a week now. I've been going out of my way to be a loving mother to her and to be present in a positive way. So, when the school called, and I had to confront her, I was so happy with how the confrontation was more of a directed concern discussion, with how I tried to understand, accept, walk on eggshells, assist; I held in my frustration and disappointment and tried to continue serving her. She responded openly, moreso than with my anger.

Truly. For half a day, I felt as if I had figured this all out. Like I was an uninformed idiot before. Then, when I calmly set out some consequences and she went berserk, I felt that old familiar strain inside of me. Heaviness. The feeling that something has gone wrong. That this child will learn hard, painful things and point to me as her accomplice.

So I drove to church, talking to my out-of-town husband on the cell phone, talking with the frustration that I kept from her, letting the ugly out. Bemoaning the imperfection I display as a mother by not knowing what to do in the fix-all way to help her get through this muck she's in, which I dive into also. I cleaned up my language before I went into the doors of our well-lit church to fulfill my obligation and serve.

I was given the bread, my partner the juice. And we stood at the front while the mid-section came up to us. And I said over and over again:

"This is the body of Christ broken for you."
"This is the body of Christ broken for you."
"This is the body of Christ broken for you."
"This is the body of Christ broken for you."

Half way through, as the implied suffering, love, and empathy enveloped me, I felt as if my tears were going to spill out, but I needed to continue blessing, reminding, looking into the eyes with as much love as Christ could muster into me as he reminded me of his love and sacrifice. I looked into the caring eyes of strangers, darting eyes of the uncertain, brimming eyes of women friends who mean much to me, the heavy, the downtrodden, the parents of teens, the sick, the harried, and I was given assurance that I too had a body of a prince broken for me, broken for me, in all of my parenting ignorance and trials, in all of my future heartbreaks.

I walked away and cried in the dim recesses of the church. When I exited and sat beside my young exhurberant friend, Trisha, we sang and cried together, and she gave me a huge hug of comfort afterwards.

I so needed the reminder that his grace is all that I need. Grateful.

Monday, January 23, 2006

This is our beloved drum set. The button container especially sounds crisp on a quiet winter morning. Those pencils with their broken lead really pop a cadence. Inside the green tupperware is a camera we never use which gives a nice little residual rattle when Cody practices his paradiddles (who knew drum language could be so just-right?). The rubber pad tests Cody's commitment to a more pricey snare. The rubber pad tests my commitment to a snare.

Here I am smiling at the thought of sleeping under the tent on the hard floor all night and practicing the drum with Cody tomorrow. A mother's bliss, it's called.

Before drum practice, we had tent day today which added to my overwhelming sense of parental accomplishment and collapse. Here is Cody under the red sheets displayed to the heavens. We built it against the balcony that overlooks the stairwell going into the lower level. Tonight he wants to try it out like a campsite in the wilderness. All I can think about are my soft flannel sheets for my soft weary body. However, the boy exhorts quite convincingly, I'm afraid.

I just finished drum practice with Cody which makes me long for hot tea, hot bath, hot toddies. In order to keep him focused, he insists that I do the lessons with him. So I sit on my haunches with two yellow wooden #2 pencils poised for sixteenth notes, half rests, eighth notes, dig a da dahs, which are performed, without help of training, on the lid of my button container. Beside me, on the other side of the chair seat, Cody pounds on his rubber pad (or sometimes batter bowl&lid) hyperactively which causes my right eyeball to repeatedly squint in expectation of getting pierced&rolled. By the time the exercises are all over, I'm ready for collapse. Ah the rhapsodical pain enacted around this house ... tomorrow during our lessons, our teachers will either nod approvingly or refuse to take any more lesson money from us. (please let it be the latter....)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Greg Boyd. Heard of him? Read him? Struggled with tough questions? He's the author of "Letters From a Skeptic" and "Is God to Blame: Moving beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Evil". A sharp defender of the faith. A graduate of ivy league schools. He's debated atheists, agnostics, doctrinaires.

We were priviledged to have him speak at our church this weekend. I actually heard him twice since I returned with my daughter as her schedule allowed this morning. Twice a treat.

The name of his talk was "Hurricanes, Tsunamis and the Wrath of a Ticked-Off God" He lamblasted the idea of the wrath of God causing destruction (Mayor Nagin, Pat Robertson, Holocaust, aids) on certain people or groups and picked that apart with a tolerant compassionate rational argument. He talked a lot about suffering and why (or how best we can know why) it happens.

His views were orthodox filtered through the view that original sin caused bondage, which causes decay -- 2nd law of thermodynamics, a natural law as well -- which causes suffering in some cases, which has been redeemed by a savior Jesus Christ in a positive ending for those who believe. But his views were tough and well delivered on the fact that to attribute evil to God is arrogant, wrong, intolerant and one of those common half-lies which cause disbelief in God's goodness.

He says if we belive that God caused these ill events to teach a lesson then we should consider this:

* Why is the punishment so arbitrary then? Why do schoolchildren get smothered by a mudslide or buried by an earthquake ... surely that isn't to teach anyone a lesson (and if so we should bow out of this belief system). Suffering happens. Christ promises suffering, in fact, to those who follow him. It's the law of the world.

* Is this a loving and effective pedagogy (way of teaching)? No -- God has a track record of at least telling or warning those of punishment-for-lesson sake in the OT. Prophets wailed on forever (it seems when you're reading them at least!) about repentance and change or else bad things would happen. God, Boyd says, wouldn't have blessing and disaster buttons nearby to arbitrarily push in order to teach a lesson that no one can figure out. This whole belief would undermine the character of God that is presented.

* What about Jesus? He never talks about disaster or illness as a punishment for sins. In Luke chapter 13, he tells about a tower that fell over and crushed some people and asks the question, "Were they greater sinners than anyone else ... " No, the thing just fell over without correlation to a person's sinfulness. Jesus explicitly negates the punishment theology, and he took care of the punishment of sins by love, by sarifice.

He ended by saying that God is good, evil has another source other than God. Freewill can bring about increased evil by choice. The hope of faith is that God wins in the end but right now the world is in bondage, constantly groaning for redemption which a loving only God provides.

The talk was wonderful and I just want to record it. I'm so grateful for Christian thinkers.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I've been in this semi- (no not in the sense of the word 'diesel') state of being for so long. What I mean by this is that I feel like I do not focus fully on one aspect or technique of anything long enough to master it. I have these fleeting passions and obsessions that are circular but not linear, so therefore, I rarely progress from A to M, much less from A to Z in hardly anything. I go from A to D then back to B then on to E. It drives me crazy because I could be grandiose in some category, I'm sure of it, if only I could focus and choose one thing.
For instance, chances are when I am an old lady I will not cross stitch, but I will still be at an intermediate, novel, hobbyist level on the guitar. I choose the same hobby, but yet I skip around much and so, therefore, while I could be Bonnie Raitt, I will be pitiful Grandma Teri playing "This Land is Your Land" in twenty variations, learned from the past 20 years, with grandchildren smiling sideways at one another.

Currently, every weekend at church, I glare at and adore our church acoustic guitarist who is masterful, mindful, marvelous on his runs and strums and plucks. Ah, if only I could concentrate, I too could understand all there is to know about position and composition and interpretation. Every string would have a clear response to a finger, and I would be lost in the creation of the intricate but connected song. Like him. Why him? I need forgiveness.

But then I know my pattern. Spring will come, and I'll get the rush to plant. For about six years, I learned all about flowers to where now I pass a bed and unconsciously rattle off common and (sometimes) Latin names of the plantings. I would sleep with the winter catalogues; I would plan dream gardens on sketch pads; I had full grow tables in my basement; I toured nurseries and gardens with similar sprouting budheads (friends). I was obsessed.

Then I would get carried away with ministry of some sort, or writing, or teaching Hamlet at a high school, or going to coffee with friends, or taking a drama class, or training for a ridiculously torturous run, or homeschooling plans.

But now, every night, my guitar has recaptured me for another round. I practice my lessons for Tuesday where I show my teacher everything he taught me the week before. My left hand is sore from stretching from the first to the fourth position, but I feel focused (for awhile) once again. Happily in pain.

Teri Raitt, Teri Crow, just Teri (like Jewel), Teri Clapton, Teri Flatt.

Well, regardless, I've hopped at least one more letter down the musical alphabet for the future grandkids for now!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I've been tagged by Jennifer (soon to be on my blog roll!) to answer the following. So, here goes!

Four movies you could watch over and over:

1. LOTR trilogy
2. Braveheart
3. That Thing You Do (fun, musical)
4. About a Boy

Four places you have lived:

1. Mtn. Grove, Missouri
2. Boston, Massachusetts
3. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Springfield, Missouri

Four television shows you love to watch:
1. Gilmore Girls
2. American Idol
3. Amazing Race
4. Survivor

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
2. Paris, France
3. London, England
4. Destin, Florida

Four websites you visit daily (Other than blogs):
1. cnn.com
2. Columbia Tribune
3. hotmail

Four of your favorite foods:
1. Chocolate chip cookies
2. Bread
3. Fresh fruit
4. Pie

Four places you would rather be right now:
1. Beach
2. Europe
3. Hiking in the woods
4. At a gathering with friends

Bloggers you are tagging to do this:
1. Beth
2. Laura

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

National Geographic's latest edition is titled "Love" -- February is coming up. My 14th anniversary slides into place. And, although I, once again, accused my husband of not really listening to me tonight, I know that we're steady and strong, despite lapses. Know, strong verb, aiii .......

This morning I attempted to engineer the love quotient between two opposite sex friends. Engineer is too strong. I said he will be here now, will you? And, she and he both showed up, and I attempted to make them talk to one another. "Did you know that blah blah blah?" I am worn out now with something so potentially huge. Will she hurt him because she's much younger and doesn't know herself yet? Will he not reach out assertively enough?

Okay, too much responsibility. They'll have to take it from here. No use fretting (it's funny but now that I'm playing the guitar nightly with my lessons, I want it when I'm bothered a bit, like now, over something I have no control over. My teacher would be happy to hear of this productive therapy.)

Then, I went to my parenting teen class which has been most beneficial. Tonight, it was all about allowing your teen opportunities to grow and learn and doubt and fail. We shared, commisserated, and I gained much motivation to keep on hoping that the outcome will be positive. Truthfully, it felt so good to gain helpful instruction again in a small group setting. It's good to not be leading a small group during our Wednesday evenings.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I have two sets which I try to blend.

One group consists of those who know me in church, in ministry, at coffee where we talk deeply upon spiritual matters.

The other groups consists of those who know me in my book club, through old times of employment, through a trip to Europe, at coffee where we talk politics.

One group talks of rigid rules, boundaries as parents. The others do so in a lessened form.

One group met at church last night for the beginning of supplemental, spiritual development courses (I'm in one on parenting teens).

The other met yesterday for drinks and a trip to see "Brokeback Mountain."

I was in the middle of both. Drinks. Gay cowboys. Church. I even brought one of my church friends to the other gathering, and she and I sped off to our church courses afterwards. It was an interesting blend and caused me to think today of that old Francis Schaeffer concept of 'integration' or "all truth is God's truth wherever it may be found."

So often in my upbringing, I was taught to separate from those who viewed things differently than me. Now, I know that I simply can't do that. I'm too interested in other's viewpoints and how God interacts sans formula in people's lives or how people invite or discard Personal transcendence. Or, just how life works without specific definitions which I've adopted or been trained to see.

I guess that I should worry about being influenced negatively. However, I'm not and feel comfortable in my two groups which I hope to bridge even more, if the established thoughts on both sides allow it. It's interesting, though, how we dichotomize as a way of establishing footing.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

There’s nothing like an insistent eleven year old to force an overdue family night. Cody took charge. As matter of fact, he did without even wearing his favorite “I decided to put myself in charge" shirt.

At promptly 5:30, we were upstairs with the boys on one side of the couch and the girls on the other for a volatile game of balloon volleyball. The boys, being ones who care about winning, quickly dissolved into verbal squabbling with each other. “Dad, you’re not working as a team!” “Cody, quit talking so much and PLAY!” It was quite entertaining as usual for the female side of the couch, even though we lost by two points.

Then, we hopped in our new little Corolla (great for tight family units where the kids, unlike ours don't scream, "Shut up!" and "Quit hitting me!") and headed to Applebee’s where Cody hugged us tightly all the way to our table, almost knocking each one of us over. While we were waiting for our food, Cody engineered the conversation which went something like this, “Who do you think is cute in here besides any of us?” He had spotted a homeschool cutie crush there of his own. My husband refused to play probably because of his Friday morning men’s accountability group. Good man. I chose the Tiger head football coach who was sitting in the corner with his wife. The teenager chose the waiter. Cody cackled with insane romantic laughter. Then about 30 minutes later during another topic, he chanted quite loudly in his voice that carries, “Mom’s in love with the co-ach, Mom’s in love with the co-ach.”

He was threatened for the upteenth time with a video game ban. Finally, the dinner was over. Then Cody wanted to either hang out at Toys R Us or play tag in the cul-de-sac in the cold dark night. Alas, his coordination time had expired.

To make up for his disappointment, I watched the Muppets’ Oz with him until I fell asleep on the couch. Ah family life ... all in all, an excellent evening. When I tucked Cody in, I realized what a special little family force we have. Thanksful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"Great peace have they who love your law," says the Psalmist. Sounds like a promise to absorb into one's whole being. I love this about faith; no matter how much I toss and turn, flow and eb, I always know that belief offers something back in return when I pause to refocus. So, this morning (after a six a.m. run on icy streets with the killer pace setting neighbor mom), I made a cup of latte and sat down to the Psalms again to receive my portion, placed on my tongue for ingestion into a distracted and restless spirit. I even wrote out a two page prayer which captured all that seemed to be in particles pressing down my perception, making me feel listless and depressed.

Ah, He is a constant source of help in dark tunnels. Thankful.

Monday, January 09, 2006

"Remember Gilgamesh?"

"And Enkidu! Please, Mom, read this story again!"

This is from a kid who had a bearthick academic-issue-folder (and six grim teachers to back it up) last year in public school. I'm loving the contrast. And, the contrast of teaching Gilgamesh to high school sophomores who hated anything ancient middleeastern, especially the literature.

So, today, we celebrate our decision of a year ago to pull Cody out. It has made such an incredible positive difference.

Back to it!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Alright. Teary at the end. I closed the book on companions with whom I've never been with and most likely will never meet. Yet I could've been there with them, speaking of life, love, and literature in the context of a cultural cloister. Huddled together, fighting the forces, with imagination and spark.

Teary due to a final page and my return to only my life.

If I open to the beginning to read again, will the connection be recreated? Will I continue to share their life in an immediate sense that the reader agrees to upon the opening of the page and the soaking of the words? I appreciate that immersion, have willfully removed my clothes time and time again for the drop into other creeks (this autobiographical one: Iran).

Yes, I think I'll do it. Plus there's lots within the book that begs to be noted or quoted. I still have many more rabbit trails to skip down (naked in continuation of the metaphor? that's imaginative) in various sections. I still want to understand more. I still need acknowledgement of likeminded thinking people and how they flourish, or flounder.

The book is next to me -- the women in careless veils with hair showing. Thank you, Azar Nafisi, for writing your recollections ("Reading Lolita in Tehran") to bequeath companions, and thoughts on freedom and the 'reality' of art.

I've been enhanced!

We returned from Little Rock today; me with lots of thoughts bumping together about the move in a year and a half. A scheduled loneliness, lostness. Must think of the resources that I know about and begin to mull a plan.

The city itself, however, appears appealing. Cody and I visited the state capitol (empty granite, lots of pictures of men on the walls, Governor Huckabee's office, accessible, everyone 'helloed' as we walked by). We drove by the Clinton library and then decided that visiting the monkeys in the zoo would be more interesting. And they were! Especially the Siamang monkeys bellowing, croacking, racketing like bullfrogs in a moss-covered pond at night. The zoo was small-scale, and we talked to the giraffe who was almost touchable. We woke up the lions with our jacket zipper sounds. We communicated ; we networked for the future? There probably were only ten other people there as it was a cold day in Arkansas (46).

We visited Hot Springs' bath houses and wax museum and we stomped up a mountain tower in cool wind (exhilerating). It's a beautiful area. I wasn't aware until later that day when I was reading US Today that HS had a forest fire the day we were there. C'mon, we were up in the tower and didn't see anything. However, I believe that it was small and put out quickly Reminds me of how the news works at times.

Hubby and I talked much about the type of church we would choose once there. I'm up in the air about church in general (however, I commit to going because of the duty, and, hopefully, delight?). It's just hard to move aside this cloud of cynicism regarding organized religion these days (I just heard that my parent's church/denomination just began a bank and built a huge entertainment complex in Branson while the home church is losing their pastor, possibly because of a dismal, dismal salary and not much support from the rich headquarters. The congretation has been shrinking for the last ten years to bare pews. Why are churches getting into business so much these days? Such a scary mix. Why do people just sit around and not demand more from the 'authorities' of faith? Pat Robertson too lately just reminds me of the eternal damage that is inflicted by people like him. Sigh.) Anyway, sorry for that, there's much to consider. We both know that we like more the simple and compassionate style. We'll see.

Lots to look toward.

May God comfort the miners' families during this difficult time.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Do oatmeal packets have an expiration date? Every year for the past several years, I've probably eaten a packet every January 2nd, thinking that I will develop a taste for the highly touted glop. I think I have a supply for five more years.

Cindy over at Quotidian Light made it through my dull resolution list of the other day and discovered the promise of a horse biscuit joke which she eagerly requested. So, Cindy, prepare to either be delighted with a giggle or appalled with a guffaw and an ewwww ... let me know.:) (This must be an old Ozarkian joke btw so you've probably heard it.) Hold on to your hat ..........

There were two drunk hungry homeless bums who had just woken up in a ditch. (Pulls at the ole heartstrings already, eh?). One bum said, "Man, I shore am hungry!" The other one agreed and said, "See that house over yonder? I bet that I can find a way to get a nice hot meal." The ole bum picked up a cold horse biscuit that was laying nearby, and he went up to the door of the house and knocked.

The lady of the house answered, and the bum looked up at her and said, "Ma'am, I am just wondering if you could spare a little bit of butter for my cold biscuit here." The good lady took one look at his horse biscuit and said, "There ain't no way that I'm lettin' you eat that for breakfast! C'mon in here and I'll fix you right up in a proper way." She commenced to fixing him a big hot breakfast of sausage and biscuits and gravy with a cup of coffee to boot.

The bum sauntered back to his buddy all full and pleased with himself. So, the other guy decided he would try out his luck on the next house down. He grabbed an old horse biscuit, went to the door, and knocked. The good lady of the home answered, and he said, "Ma'am, I am just wonderin' if you could spare some butter for my cold biscuit here." She took one look down at it and with a voice full of what seemed like pity said, "No, I can't but you can help yourself to some hot ones right back there in the barn."

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Just came across this apt Mills quote in an interesting editorial essay in the NYTimes by Kwame Anthony Appiah, a native Ghanian who now teaches at Princeton. (Strangely, I had the most vivid dream the other night that I was being shown around Ghana by a woman who acted as a guide and attempted to answer all of my questions.) The essay is called "The Case for Contamination", which raises interesting points about cultural protectionism. Here's the link but you may have to subscribe (free) to gain access http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/magazine/01cosmopolitan.html?th&emc=th

"If it were only that people have diversities of taste, that is reason enough for not attempting to shape them all after one model. But different persons also require different conditions for their spiritual development; and can no more exist healthily in the same moral, than all the variety of plants can exist in the same physical, atmosphere and climate. The same things which are helps to one person towards the cultivation of his higher nature, are hindrances to another.. . .Unless there is a corresponding diversity in their modes of life, they neither obtain their fair share of happiness, nor grow up to the mental, moral, and aesthetic stature of which their nature is capable."

John Stuart Mill