Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We're taking requests

Observation: Riding in a car as the only woman with three men makes for a rather quiet car ride. Yesterday, I took a group of students to visit the Disciples of Christ Historical Society and the Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville. Eventually, one student and I struck up a terrific conversation about books, eras of history we like, what we really think of Cormac McCarthy, etc. It was that kind of conversation that my college experience was built on. I think--no, I'll admit it--I did have a tremendous crush on the student when the trip was over. Afterward...well...I did mull over the ramifications of the absence of a teacher/student dating policy at this university. That's all I'm saying.

Tomorrow begins National Poetry Month. We decided that although we have often been moved by poets and their words, narrative is where it's at for us. Poetry too often harnesses the elegance and beauty of the narrative process without its structure and forms. The beauty but not the story. If, as Wordsworth says, poetry is the overflow of powerful feeling recalled in a moment of tranquility...I could do with a little more of the backstory.

What are your favorite poems, poets, and backstories? That's what I want to explore for April. I'm taking requests. Have a poem you like and want to know a little more about? Let me know.

Listening to traffic, steps on the stairs, typing, The Best of Leonard Cohen

Monday, March 29, 2010

RIP Beezus Smudge

You was always an angel in our eyes. ~The tombstone of a young girl in a local cemetery.

A little more about the Kibs. Beezus was one year old, an insistent stray who kept darting in my kitchen door every time it opened. I have yet to assign the proper gender pronoun to him. I'm pretty sure he was a him. Beezus was sweet, never getting quite as much cuddling as he wanted. If I were his cat-wife, I would laud his skills as a provider. As a human, I can appreciate that the moles and squirrels left dead at my doorstep were touching, if bloody, reminders that he loved me. In a year that saw two of the most important people in my life come and go (and come and go), it was a blessing to know he saw my home as his home. As I had to remind myself on the day I stepped, barefooted, on a sharp and bloody beak. (No, not a dead bird. Just a dead beak.) Rachel so graciously did the honors of picking his body up off the street, whilst I dug the grave.

We planted him with the daffodils. He sleeps in the sunbeams of heaven and frolics with the cats of yore.

Listening to Kathleen Edwards, "Asking for Flowers."

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm a joiner

I was gifted with the opportunity to update my CV recently. Groan with me, now.

It occurred to me that I've paid a lot of dues, when it comes to my chosen profession. And that's okay. I loooove what I do for a living.

Now, just maybe, it's time for me to do something else. A couple of me-things. The 20s are so much about just figuring out which way is up in the world, and how to get on that incline. But I'm 31, now. Now I want to figure out what is to the left and right of me...before I get stuck in the middle. With or without you.

And two big, huge, wonderful happymaking things have happened! One, I started a group for fiber artists at two local churches called "Be Warm". We knit and crochet items for the homeless to be distributed through our churches. We're just in the starting phase. You'll hear more about it as we go. (If you are a knitter or crocheter, and are looking for a way to get involved in this much-needed work, just drop me a comment! You will be appreciated!)

Two, I joined the West TN Outdoors Club. I need to meet people outside of my work/church life. And I need to hike. The feeling of striding along powerfully on my own two legs, arms swinging, climbing up and over and around, navigating overflowing riverbanks, staring down that hill and laughing at it from the top. Yeah, I'm pretty psyched. If you live in the area, and want a cool group of people to hang outside with, come!

Listening to Patty Griffin, "Virgen de Guadalupe"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tammy Donna

The washing machine has been named Tammy Donna. It was inspired by a woman on the news last night, who has worked in a hotel laundry, and is now in jail for bad checks. She works multiple jobs trying to feed two children and get her life back on track. The machine, likewise, is not a quitter. Like Tammy, it's pretty battered around the edges--lots of nicks and scrapes and dents-- and much has been asked and will be asked of it. But it's done 8 consecutive loads of laundry with nary a squeak nor a shudder. And, it doesn't walk across my kitchen.

Tammy Donna, welcome home.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Metablog Monday

How could I not have a label for coffee? Added.

You might have noticed I added a logo for an organization, "Just Love Coffee." Should you desire to explore their website, you will also observe that clicking on the logo takes you to a "storefront" page for the Osburns. This kind, creative, loving, stable, neat family is part of my church family. Oliver, the youngest, is in my Wednesday night Bible class. He can sing the words to all the songs now, and make the arm motions. When I tell them that "God did" or "God made" he tilts his head down, cuts his eyes to the side, and says, "Aaaaaand Jesus." I swear, he even once put his hand on his hip while saying this. Ellis, the oldest, made me lip balm for Christmas last year. Julie's Etsy shop has all sorts of warm, colorful happymakers. Wade says a mean prayer. Just an all-around great family.

Now for the link. A couple in Nashville adopted two daughters from Ethiopia. Mr. Couple (name? sorry) grew up around his father's coffee-importing business. In studying Ethiopian culture to help understand their children and the adoption process, Mr. Couple knew that the strong role coffee has played in Ethopia, its relatively cheap availability, partnered with Americans' love affair with delicious, rich, exotic coffees, and families facing significant adoption-related expenses: Win-win-win.

These delicious, fair-trade, organic coffees are purchased by the pound. You can sign up for a one-time sale, a 1lb/month year-long "coffee club", or even a 2lb/month year-long coffee club! You probably got there already: About 45% of the profits from any type of purchase goes back to the Osburns to help raise a little money for the newest family member to come home safely

More-than-awesome coffee (sign up for Ethiopian Sidamo and Sumatran) and a more-more-than-awesome-and-deserving family and one very lucky little kid? Bliss you can sip on.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yarn love

Knitting makes me happy. It's also a way to solve other people's problems. More on that in the future. For now, have a swell weekend. A friend put this in her blog once, and I've been thinking today is the type of day that was made for this song:

She blew me away in concert with Ray Lamontagne at the Ryman Auditorium. Her voice is very...frosty. In a shimmery, silvery way.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My family...sigh

Are awesome! My brother just found me a washing machine for a ridiculously low price, and is hauling it over to me tomorrow. (Which is a hint, of course, for him to haul it over to me tomorrow!) It's a little scuffed, but smaller than my Carter-era Gigantor! And it's white. Believe me, the hours spent being annoyed by the white stove next to the beige washer have been...well, superficial. I make it up to myself by saying that the white machine will set off the green of Layla's fingerpaintings better. Whew, better. I feel the need to name it Betty. We'll see it when it arrives.

Monday, March 8, 2010

But I have to tell you this first.

For the last several nights, I've been having horror-show-proportion dreams.

Last night, I dreamed that I was with a friend and her mom wedding dress shopping. With us was a toddler who could barely walk, but we had no stroller or other type of carrier. The child kept falling into potholes, or entangling himself, or being dragged off by strangers. His mother would just leave him alone in whatever quandary he was in, until he figured out how to help himself. Out of desperation I would step in and rescue the child, usually waiting till the last possible moment, thinking surely the child's mother would do something. The grandmother was clueless, floating along in a sea of oblivion, wondering aloud if the sleeves on that one mother's-gown were too puffy, or too lacy. I felt so bad for the child, yet so impotent to help him. At one point, we were all standing around the parking lot of a dreary strip mall, when I heard crying, and looked up to see the mother walking away saying, "You didn't give me your arm. I told you to give me your arm." I couldn't see any sign of the child, so I kneeled down and started stroking a wet, oily patch of pavement, saying "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. When she walks away, I'll help. But where are you?" I turned to see a pothole that had formed around a manhole cover. I peeked in, and sure enough, the baby was lying in the hole with one ear and the side of his head exposed. He was face down in thick mud. I reached for his arm, but he jerked it away from me. I let him drown.


Listening to Leonard Cohen, "Suzanne"

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm probably going to take a little break from LftAI for a little while. Working out some other ideas for the other three blogs! You can catch up at:

Listening to: traffic, birds, laughter, steps

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hi, kids.

Facebook is temporarily deactivated. If you need me, you probably know how else to contact me. Twitter, email and blog are still active.

Later. Go check out this great eschatalogical harbinger of awesomeness:

Listening to Jeff Buckley's "You & I"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Two days in

to the post-funk, and life is busssssssy! The class I teach is improving weekly, and I'm beginning to see some real strengths come out in my students. Today, one kid raised the issue of historiography in the 1930s, and another one actually knew what he was talking about. Also, another one used the term "interiority." I don't only love smart kids, but yeah, I love smart kids.

But I don't love this new slate of responsibilities I couldn't say no to for the Historical Society. More on these folks, later. I'm too shell-shocked from the experience to formulate much. If you are of the praying sort, let me just go ahead and say...get started.