Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hillbilly that is. Take your shoes off. Set a spell.

I found this fun quiz on NPR this morning. Apparently my easy usage of "y'all" makes me 65% dixie. And it doesn't help that I call my daily Dr. Peppers "cokes". Take a look at the quiz and see how you fare. But don't be fooled by the selection of "quaint southernisms" included in the introduction of the quiz. Maybe Southern folks were saying "cain't" and "if'n" 50 years ago but the only place you're going to hear that nonsense today is on Beverly Hillbilly reruns. In fact, if you read the "southernisms", the tone becomes a little condescending.

Backer n. A large cultivated weed you can smoke legally. (Southerners don't get all that excited about the syllables in front of the accented one.)

Gol darn (it)! exp. An expression of surprise or frustration.

His'n poss. pro. Belonging to him, as in "Are them-air boots mine, yourn or his'n." (See "her'n" for more.)

Please. This is just silly. I'm glad there are still some parts of the country with their own dialects. And I think a Texas drawl is as charming as any other accent around. But Southern accent does not equal stupidity. Or even poor grammar. Sadly, I'm coming to believe the rest of the world has this perception of Texans, and Southerners in general, as being gun-toting, ignorant cowboys. I won't take the space to list the great musicians, intellects, writers and artists from the South. And I won't give dignity to the stereotypes by discussing our president. So I'll just say that if I hear you drawl or twang I'll chase you down and ask where you're from. And if you say, "Alabama" or "Tennesee" I'll tell you I'm from Texas and comment on how nice it is to hear an accent. And I'll tell you about how much I love being away from the heat but how I miss the people and the food. And our conversation may be a bit nostalgic but will certainly be coherent.

Hitler vrs. Coulter

Who can tell the difference? Take the quiz and find out how well you know your favorite crazy hatemongers.

(I haven't checked the sources out on the quotes...research that one yourself).

Monday, June 19, 2006

Emulating Etheline

AFI has issued a list of the 100 "Most Inspirational Movies." It's funny how movies can have a life changing power over people. How many politicians say they went into politics because of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"? How many lawyers drew their inspiration from Atticus in "To Kill a Mockingbird"? It's one thing to love a character because they're lovable. It's another to see pieces of yourself in the character. I love Katharine Hepburn, for example, but patrician New Englander I am not. I love Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, but the character never made sense to me. Where is her furniture? Why doesn't she get a job? I think to myself.

There is one character, only one that I can think of, that I have closely identified with since I first saw her: Etheline Tenenbaum. When I saw The Royal Tenenbaums in 2001 my son was 2 and my oldest daughter was a few months old. But I knew that was the mom I wanted to be. Confident, intelligent, dedicated. Of course in the movie all of the Tenenbaum children grow into dysfunctional adults, but we'll forget that part for now. Etheline is my model when I take Juliet to plays and sign up Charlie for art classes. Etheline is my model when I enroll the kids in tennis classes and swimming lessons. In the same week.

I think we all secretly hope there is a genius lurking in our child, just waiting for the right class to pop out. I don't delude myself with prodigy whims at this point. I just want the kids to have something, anything that they enjoy enough to pursue on their own. And how will they find that 'something' without the exposure? This is what I tell myself when trotting the kids from the tennis courts to the athletic club. And after a long, dreary winter with nothing to do but watch the snow fall all of this sudden activity is very welcome. So far.

So while I secretly dream of future piano recitals, geography bees and tennis tournaments, I try to keep an Etheline-like perspective. Are they having fun? Are they making friends and getting along with teammates? Usually the answer is 'yes'. So I feel good about the role I've played so far. And as long as we stay out of the beauty pageant circuit I think I can manage keeping Etheline as my role model.

Friday, June 16, 2006

And on another disturbing note....

I found this on My So-Called Homeschool. In case you don't feel like looking it up, it's a really long article about a new "Christian" video game in which violence is directed by Christians against non-Christians in a future New York City. More disturbing and shocking than anything I've read recently. After reading the article, it appears the affiliation of this sick game is with the Left Behind franchise.

So here's my little tirade: These guys do NOT represent Christ or Christianity as it is revealed in the Gospels. Neither did the perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition. Or the knights of the medieval crusades. Or the Spanish missionaries who forced Native Americans to convert to Christianity. Or anyone else who used hatred and violence in the name of Jesus. Anyone who would hold an ugly anti-gay sign in a public protest is not practicing a Christ-like faith. The Gospels talk about Jesus being his angriest when dealing with the religious hypocrisy of of the devout elites of his days. The ones who imposed their "God given" rules of holiness on everyone else. These are the guys who made Jesus the maddest. Not the sexual sinners. Not the ones practicing a different faith. To those he just offered a better way. To the religious hypocrites he offered condemnation and judgement.

So, back to this video game. It looks like this game is just a manifestation of some of the dialogue going on in churches across the country. I am a Christian. And I might even be called an 'Evangelical Christian' . But I think it's a scary day when Christians are using fear and hatred to get folks into their churches. Or bigotry and whatever reasons to keep people out of their churches. Jesus was interested in relationships...not scaring people into Heaven. I think the religious 'right' would do itself a favor by re-examining the Gospels and the characteristics of Christ. And taking a look at the ministry of Martin Luther King as an example of how to theologically stand firm but with love and respect for others.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Reason # 152 why I'm a libertarian

Read this and weep. Shame on big republican government. Shame, shame, shame.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Nothing could be greater, say hey, alligator!

My best, best, best friend 4-ever from high school dragged her beautiful family across the country to see us this week. For reasons my friend fully understands and can heartily laugh at, I will refer to her as 'Precious Mom'. I'll refer to myself as 'Sarcastic Mom'. Here's the part where I write in 3rd person. Because I feel like it.

Here's a run down of what not-quite-30 year old girls do when they get together:

Look at goofy high school kids lip syncing on You Tube and praise God above they didn't have access to said technology in 1993. Wonder if it would be inappropriate for not quite 30 year old girls to lip-sync a particular "They Might Be Giants" song and broadcast on You Tube. Decide, yes, it would be inappropriate.

Precious Mom gives Sarcastic Mom lessons in scrapbooking. Sarcastic Mom begins another in a string of 'Look at what 'Precious Mom' can do....I must be able to do it too!' hobbies. Previous attempts at emulating Precious Mom include jewelry making, sewing, crocheting, furniture staining and decoupaging. By 'decoupaging' Sarcastic Mom has vague memories of using Modge Podge and magazines to make crap. Precious Mom is an accountant who is also incredibly creative and talented. Sarcastic Mom says, "I may not be able to do that stuff, but I can make fun of you for using such a high voice to talk to Baby Precious"(whose cuteness warrants excessively high voices). Precious Mom laughs and says, "Whatever."

Enjoy a lovely lunch sans kids. I'm not being was lovely.

Traipse around Ross Creek Cedars and Kootenai Falls out in Montana. Feel adventurous. The moms wonder if they'd ever make in on 'The Amazing Race'. Decide only if Precious Mom navigates.

Spend countless minutes discussing the 'Precious' and 'Sarcastic' kids. Analyze, speculate, make predictions about the future of the babies. Moms decide they are blessed to have such beautiful and intelligent children. Sarcastic Mom secretly stil believes her children deserve the nicknames "Turkey Bones", "Stinkerbell" and "Stink-Nasty".

Back to 1st person. So this trip started when I told my friend my sad and sudden revelation that I would never hold her new baby while she was still a baby. And two weeks later, here they are, Baby Precious, Precious Mom and Precious Dad. And to have such friends I feel very blessed. Not sarcastically blessed; truly, unequivically blessed.

Oh! I really think you're swell. Uh Huh! We really ring the bell.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Wonderful, it's know that you're just like I.

My husband and I will be celebrating our 9 year anniversary this week. If I wasn't a cool girl who doesn't listen to country music I'd be quoting the Shania Twain song, "You're Still the One"....we beat the odds together. But I don't listen to country so I'm quoting the Smashing Pumpkins instead. Fittingly, because when we got married my husband was a 20 year old college kid obsessed with the Smashing Pumpkins. And I was a 20 year old college girl so in love that I was completely oblivious to any idea of what it takes to survive in the real world. But we got married...the first of our friends to take the walk down the aisle. The first to have babies. The first to settle down into bills and full time jobs and student loan repayments. We were married before we could legally drink...we had our first child while working for temp agencies. Will actually quit school to support our new family. It's amazing to look back at all that has changed in the last 9 years.

He grew up to be a guy who could nicely support a family of five, even without a college degree. I grew up to be a girl obsessed with the education of our children, supported enough to devote myself fulltime to it. He lost some hair, lost his faith and embraced unexpected political ideaologies. I kept my faith, kept an open mind and gained respect for someone asking the hardest questions about everything. We are not the same two people who married in 1997. We were kids then. But I like who we've become even more. We still make each other laugh. We still have long conversations about the stuff that's important to us. And most importantly, we still plan for the future...we look forward to the years to come.

And I can't help but feel attached to the feelings I can't even match
With my face pressed up to the glass, wanting you....

Friday, June 02, 2006

On the plus side I get to eat ice cream.

This is me right now. Only with red hair, freckes and no mustache. I had my four smartest teeth yanked out yesterday and my lower jaw is swollen to Don Corleone-like proportions. Everyone says getting your wisdom teeth taken out is no big deal so I thought, I'll just spend the day enjoying my pain medication and taking it easy. Instead I spent the day in and out of consciousness on my bed unable to keep my first few meals in my stomach. And since Will had to go back to work today it's "we're watching movies and don't bother mama" at the Harrison household. I feel a little better. Other than trying to be an authority figure when I sound like Mush Mouth. So it's off to the couch for me. Let's just hope all the kids make it to the bathroom on time and make life easy for me today.

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Kristi From Texas
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