March 31, 2009

California Dreamin'

Well apparently Allen has made it past two of the door keepers and will be heading off to beard the dragon in his lair sometime in the next two weeks. Translated: they're flying both Allen and me out to Cali including car rental and two nights stay. I'm pretty excited about it because it means that no matter what happens with that interview I get to see the Pacific Ocean! It's been on my to do list, and I had no idea when I'd ever get the chance. Looks like I'm getting it now.

Seriously though, as much as I would hate leaving my church, family, friends, the South -I really hope Allen gets this job. It's really time someone started paying him what he's worth. The guys he works with now are really wonderful guys who I would love to see him work with again in the future, but right now I want to see Allen have the satisfaction of earning what he's worth. So while I don't really feel so much better about being all the way across the country, I'm really excited about this opportunity.

Also, I'm really, really addicted to the word "really." Really!

March 30, 2009


So everyone once in a while it seems like the world is about to go all topsy turvy on me. It's been a close to a year though, and really moving to Boston area didn't sound all that bad as far as ripping yourself up by roots and heading up into yankee territory goes. I could see advantages to it. Well, apparently it's that time of year again. By all accounts it would be quite the career coup if Allen swung this job. By his estimation there are about 3-4 equally or better qualified than him -all he believes to be happily employed. So it would appear that Allen has a pretty good shot at it. It would mean promotion, a HUGE salary increase, a very sweet entry on his resume, an opportunity to work with something he's helped develop over that past half dozen years, and (the biggie) a move to Silicon Valley.

Wifey dearest is mildly freaking out. Which is to say I'm exhausted just thinking about it. There is this huge part of me that really hopes Allen gets this job and makes good in a huge way. For one thing we could use a few more pennies in our piggy bank, but I would really love to see Allen come into his own as a respected figure in his field. If that means moving to California I'm all for it. (That was the proud, loyal wife speaking.) There is this other part of me that is absolutely screaming, fists pounding on the floor, at the thought of moving to California. Visit? Yes. Move? No. I actually like Alabama thank you very much. Granny and Mamaw and Grandmom and Granddad all live here. Not to mention siblings, parents, cousins, etc. Did I mention my church? I'd have to leave my church. And I'd end up in California. There's a part of me that's ready for something to happen -for us to really grow into our married lives and for Allen to grow into his career. I just never thought that would involve us moving to California. Never. Nope. (Ok, being a programmer's wife I knew Silicon Valley might loom in my future, but most of the geeks I know are perfectly able to get along without it.) Erg.

Anyway, this is all tentative, speculative, don't know what is actually going to happen, etc. But I'm still sort of freaking out. And my natural response to such freakoutery is to want to curl up in bed and sleep until there's an actual decision to be made. Not exactly an awesome thing to do.

(See when I say I like adventures it's more the "choose your own" type. I don't do so well being airlifted into them."

March 26, 2009

things that hurt

I'm just going to put it out there. It's hard to see people taking for granted things I never had -especially relationships. We recently found out that one of Allen's cousins eloped a year ago. No one knew anything about until a week or so ago. They flew in for Christmas at her parent's house and nobody realized they were actually married. (And just in case you're thinking it, no one thought they were living together either. This isn't cart before the horse.) Anyway, we all just found out that they've been married nearly a year, and NOW they're planning a wedding. I honestly don't get this. Her dad says he wants to give her away. What? Didn't that train leave the station long ago?

What really makes this so hard for me to see is that she gets to elope without telling her parents, not tell them for nearly a year, and still have her big family wedding. On the other hand, I really did try to do everything I could to placate my parents, but in the end I either had to walk away or be smothered into virtual nonexistence. I chose to leave. That meant my dad telling me he would not being giving me away (because by reaching out for my own, separate existence I had in my father's eyes nullified his authority) and my whole family in general having nothing to do with the wedding. They did come, but even then they tried to get away without speaking to us. Our cousin, on the other hand, voluntarily left her family out of her plans, and then gets everything I desperately wanted. It's hard. There have been times in the past few days when I've really wanted to lash into her -to point out how absolutely inconsiderate I think she's acted and loudly protest the unfairness of it all. But I can't. It's not her fault that my family acted the way they did. I'm a Christian for crying out loud. It shouldn't be in me to complain about someone else receiving an extra ounce of temporal grace and mercy when I myself have received so much. And yet it still hurts. However usual Allen and I may find weddings that take place after first anniversaries, the truth is that it just hurts to see her able to have her big family wedding after all of this. A reception to publicly announce their daughter's marriage? Sure. A wedding? Ouch. And I know that part of this whole wedding thing is for the parents and grandparents who have long looked forward to her wedding. I understand that. Of course it doesn't make me feel so much better because my parents rather easily dispensed with that side of things. Anyway, like I said it's not her fault I'm having this emotional reaction to everything.

Reading through this again I think a few caveats are in order. First, I don't have anything against elopements. If you want to be together and don't want to wait until everyone can dress up and traipse down the aisle with you then please go ahead and get married. Just tell someone afterwards. It doesn't seem quite kosher to me to, post elopement, come hang out with the family over six months later disporting yourselves as a dating couple. Second, maybe I have an odd view of sacraments (and related such things), but I honestly don't see a whole lot of point in going through the vows a second time. But then again I also don't see the point in getting baptized again because the first one "didn't take." Of course it took -you just weren't faithful to your covenant obligations. Thirdly, I realize that my opinions about all such things have absolutely no bearing on what her family should or should not do. There's no law in heaven or on earth against any of this. If I have a problem with any of this it's just that -my problem. All that aside, her husband seems pretty cool, and I hope they will be very happy together.

March 24, 2009

thoughts on sacraments

In the car this evening Allen and I ended up talking about people's approach (namely in our church) the the sacraments -specifically communion. We tend to lean rather towards the paedo end of things ourselves. For those who aren't familiar with the debate going on in some circles, there are people of the baby baptizing persuasion who believe that all baptized children capable of eating and drinking should be permitted/encouraged/brought forward to take communion barring extraordinary behavior on the child's part (such as the sort which would bar any other Christian from the Table). The way I understand it, the argument goes thusly:

1. Infant baptism recognizes/affirms that "the promise is to you and to your children" and that simply being born to believing parents puts a child in a particular covenantal relationship with God. In this way baptism is analogous to circumcision. Like the Jewish born child born under the old covenant, a baptized infant born to believing parents today is born into certain obligations towards God -namely to love God and keep His commandments.

2. God ordained the Lord's Table for the benefit of those in His family -those people in covenantal relationship with Him.

3. Since we believe baptized infants are in a real sense part of God's family and under covanental obligations we shouldn't bar them from receiving this very real means of grace.

All that to say that Allen and I tend towards the "bring 'em young" approach. If they can articulate a basic love of God and understanding of salvation I really don't see the problem letting take communion. What I do see a problem with is people who don't teach their kids (or their congregations) that communion is something we need to be anticipating. In the Table we encounter God's grace in a tangible way and receive strength to in the petty glories of life on earth. Whether you think your kid should come to the table at 3 or 12, letting them remain apathetic about communion doesn't seem like a good option. And of course I say this having (for an evangelical) a pretty high view of communion. I honestly don't understand churches who don't have weekly communion. I've heard the arguments for infrequent communion, and I don't buy them. I must admit that one of the silliest arguments I've heard is that it will make visiting non-believers feel excluded. Seriously, what do you say to that? The Gospel is an invitation -a command even- to put away our sinful, rebellious ways and come to Christ. You who are not sons and daughters may now become children of God. You who stand outside the doors hungry and naked may come to be clothed and fed. That's not exclusive, but communion is?

Anyway, all that to say I'm really glad I go to a church that values communion so highly and invites us week after week to meet Christ where He presides over the table He has laid for His children, and every week I love watching a certain little girl dancing in the aisle as she waits to dip her bit of bread in the wine cup. The eagerness in her upturned face confronts my jadedness and reminds me what it means to approach God with the joyous expectation of a child.

March 23, 2009

Speaking of hair....

I cut mine today. By which I don't mean that I plunked down cash at some salon or ever convinced a friend cut it for me. I mean I cut it. Myself. Mostly myself anyway. I asked Allen to check the back to make sure it was even. Other than that I just spent an unearthly amount of time combing and snipping until I got something that looked about right. Overall I ended up taking off about 2-3 inches, but since my hair was approaching hip length anyway I wasn't too worried about snipping it all too short trying to get things even. At any rate I figured I couldn't do worse than my last hair cut which I ended up recutting a couple of days after visiting the salon. Plus, this way I can spend my mad money on something I want (and can't make myself).

March 21, 2009

Salmon with Cheesy Grits

Since Allen can't eat fish I've started making this for my lunch a couple times a week. It might sound a little odd, but it's really very, very good.


1 Salmon burger (I found mine at Whole Foods)
large pinch each cumin, garlic salt, and onion powder
dash cayenne
1-2 tbs grape seed oil

1/2c grits
1 1/2c water
sharp cheddar cheese (handful grated)
2tbs butter


Mix seasoning together with grape seed oil and saute salmon on med/low heat until done. While the burger is cooking bring the water to a boil and add the grits along with a pinch of salt and good grinding of pepper. Once the grits have started to thicken stir in cheese and butter. Adjust seasonings as necessary. After reaching the desired consistency, pour the grits into a bowl, lay the salmon on top, lick the spoon you used to stir the grits, and enjoy.

March 19, 2009

what not to grow

Just saw a picture of our pastor "back in the day" sporting a goatee, it reminded me how much I like Allen's beard. (A few years about when he came back after having grown out his beard I promptly told him he wasn't allowed to shave. Dear thing that he is he hasn't.) I have to say that for most guys the goatee just isn't a good look. Brian Murphy gets away with it best of anyone I can recall. Must be his ninja barber.

March 17, 2009

laundry list of jazz moves

The instructor said she'd e-mail me a list of all the jazz moves she covered in her class, but I thought I would go ahead and post all the names I can remember. If any of you out there know of good links or videos for these moves I'd appreciate it.

1. Charleston
2. C with cross body kick
3. Scarecrow
4. Itch
5. Eggbeater
6. Eggbeater with turn (I think this might be a break?)
7. Eagle something or another
8. Spank the Baby
9. Boogie forward
10. Boogie back
11. Drunken sailor
12. Mess around
13. Suzy Q
14. Pivot turn
15. Down low
16. Gaze afar
17. Swim
18. Gypsy Jumps
19. Hallejulah rocks
20. Shorty George
21. Ankle bends
22. Jazz square
23. Clap it out (1,2,3,hold,4)
24. Shouts
25. Mambo kicks
26. Knee slaps
27. Shimmy
28. Stomps? (maintaining weight on left foot stomp right foot forward and drag back)
29. Cake Walk
30. Apple jacks
31. Break a leg
32. London Bridge

That's about all I can think of right now.

March 15, 2009

veni vici lindy

Allen and I just got back from Cumberland Shuffle in Nashville -tired, sore, and happy. I'm particularly glad we went because they put a lot of emphasis on solo Charleston/Jazz and creativity which is wonderful because I think all those moves (and their endless variations) are really going to broaden my range of possibilities both as a follow and a solo dancer. I also really appreciated how the teachers pushed the limits of how fast we could dance. I know that in general Allen and I have been pretty slow dancers as far as lindy goes, but I'd say we've up our range of danceable music pretty significantly. And we got to learn aerials! So much fun.

The weekend was good in other ways as well. A conversation I had this weekend sort of made me rethink my dedication to the general. I'm a dabbler. I know it well. I'm never going to be the finest knitter, seamstress, cook, or dancer. I'll never be the most well read or informed. My political involvement will likely be as sporadic as my principles are firm, and I really, really doubt I'll ever hike one of the seven peaks of complete a through hike, but I still expect to see some pretty neat things before I die. Coming out of a workshop like this one it's easy to want to throw my energies into dance....for the next month before I decide that I really want to go sea kayaking or whatever it is. With that in mind I've sort of realized two things: 1. that Allen isn't as into lindy (and dance in general) as I am and 2. that it's ok for me to go places and dance while Allen is reading his book or working on his laptop. With that in mind I think I'm going to try and work on my dance some more these next few months just using what we have available around town. I'm still firmly committed to being a dilettante, but it would be nice if I could attain a higher level of dancing. We'll see what happens.

March 11, 2009

Toes in the mud

Last weekend down at the farm I got to help with my first controlled burn, and I must say I'm pretty good at setting fires. I thought it rather novel experience to be standing by the side of the road starting fires while being watched by a passel of neighborhood dogs in varying stages of curiosity. One of them, a cute little gray and brown brindled pup, kept following us around. I had been calling him to get away from the fires, and he just tagged along when Allen and I headed into the field towards his dad and brothers where they were burning a back line. It was like something out of Mordor seeing the blackened smokey ground with it's little wisps of flame flickering as they slowly licked their way up towards the hill. Of course once we got there the men folk started teasing me about being out there in "flip-flops." (actually tevas) I didn't mind though. Allen and I stayed out there for several more hours with pine branches in our hands to beat out the back line of the fire as we burned our way towards the creek. Once we got towards the creek though it became pretty obvious that we weren't going to get much more burning done until things dried out a bit more. There was a couple of places where I sank up to my ankles in mud and ash, but there the vegetation had been thick enough to keep the fire moving. Closer to the creek it became too sparse and damp in patches to even keep it going. Tired and muddy though I was there have been fewer more peaceful times than I had sitting by the creek talking to one of my brothers (in-law), resting my eyes on the green pasture across, and watching the remaining flames flicker even more brightly as dusk rose up around us. Afterwards the four of us traipsed back through the mud, across the silent, black fields punctuated by great gnarled trees and standing groves -back to our cars and back to Mamaw's bright kitchen.

March 6, 2009

reasons not to answer the phone when tired:

A couple of our regular follows are out of town this coming weekend, so our dance instructor had to tag the old married woman to help out with class. He finally called this evening to see when I could practice with him. I'm so glad Allen answered the phone because the first thing that came into my head was "no you can't have my body right now, I'm too tired," and as tired as I feel right now I just might have said it. To the great embarrassment of all. The moral of the story is -if you call me when I'm tired YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!

Seriously, it's been a loooooong stressful week. A hormonal, sleep cycle off, found an awesome apartment only to realize our lease is up next month (stupid 13 month lease), had a bad dream this morning. woke up with a headache, and I watched one of my parakeets die, all around not so fun bad week.

I think I'm going to go to a clinic and get needles stuck in me. My friend recommended a wellness care clinic that seems to be herbal granola girl friendly. I guess we'll see.

March 4, 2009

warming? swarming? let's just say I like dirt.

It's sort of disheartening reading about these various environmental groups. A lot of them seem very into social programs, government incentives, and at times a distrust of free-markets/private property. As you may guess I'm very into the latter and not so much into the former. Now I actually think that a strong view of private property can help environmental causes and that free-markets can provide some effectual checks to corporate excesses. For instance, if I own a piece of land who's waterways running through it are negatively impacted by strip-mining (or manufacturing) upstream, a strong view of private property says "Your practices are impinging my property rights. Quit it." In the same manner I think that for changes to be durable they need to competitive in the marketplace. (Understandably, in today's markets government subsidies artificially skew prices. In the US, right now, we aren't dealing with free market conditions.) If electricity plants stop burning cheap, dirty coal and change to some more expensive way of producing electricity....well they won't unless you make them. BUT! If you can find a cheaper, more efficient way of producing electricity you won't have to make anyone switch over. They'll all be chomping at the bit, and the change will be long-lasting. Plus you won't have to deal with increased commodity prices due to increased production costs or the corresponding lessening of consumer buying power as a result of a. regulation, b. subsidization, or c. both. Of course at this point we could go into this whole thing about how government actions are effectively inhibiting companies and investors from having the incentives or opportunities to do this as rapidly as they could, but that's for another rant. Sufficing to say that it's a snarl.

To go back to what I said about government incentives, there's a sense in which I understand that this is the government with which we're dealing. Incentives are a fact of life. Use them. Haggle for them. Deal. Go ahead and point out that government subsidies go to bloated corporations, hurt farmers, contribute to national obesity, or whatever it is they do, but don't forget that subsidies are bad business no matter who gets them. It's not like Jones Valley Urban Farms getting subsidies = good and Conagra getting subsidies = bad. They still skew the marketplace and take money out of potential investor's (and consumer's) hands. So yes, we have to deal with government incentives and subsidies, but don't expect me to get all happy clappy when I hear that Congress has passed a bill to subsidize organic peanuts in Mississippi. As for my thoughts on social programs see the above. I love them when people come together and buy a plot of ground together to create a neighborhood garden. I don't love it when the government comes in and starts doing what people ought to be doing with their own two hands. The government is big enough thank you. It can darn well keep its mits off my locally grown arugula.

Having said all that, I'm generally in favor of smaller landfills, cleaner air and water, healthier soil, fewer endangered species, and fair trade coffee. I'm just think I'm in it for different reasons. As such, I don't feel comfortable calling myself an environmentalist. Allen has suggested "conservationist." I wonder if maybe I'm not something like an environmental humanist -by which I mean someone who's environmental concerns and goals are driven by human needs rather than any particular regard for the earth as a thing apart. To further illustrate, I like clean air because I breathe air. I'm in favor of fewer and smaller landfills because they are unsightly and smelly things to have in one's backyard. Healthy soil grows nutritious plants that keep me living longer and feeling better. Good environmental practices are often good for people, and I don't think that should be accidental. I think it's all part of dominion, stewardship, and making this earth into a beautiful garden to welcome Christ's return. To that end I hope to see urban gardens, backyard swings, vast sweeps of virgin timber, and steel high rises all intermingled to the glory of God and the service of His people.