Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The South Will Rise Again

For several falls when I was a kid we had a deer hunter from Florida who tried his luck at the ranch. Curtis Turbeyville. His lasting legacy to my young mind was that the South is a place of woman-hating racists who dribble tobacco down their chins and speak as though their mouths are nearly hinged shut. This is true.  And it formed one half of the reason why I told everyone before my mission that although I was willing to serve anywhere, "God loves me, so I'm sure he wont send me to Georgia."  (The other half of my certainty involved a boy I had reluctantly sort-of-dated who was already serving there...May I just say to my friends who doubt the existence of a Supreme Being, God is funny.  Really, really funny.  And in order to be funny, one must exist.  Ergo, God exists.  The evidence?  Take a look at my life.)

So ten years ago in June I stepped off of a plane in Atlanta and began a long falling in love with the Dirty South.  I discovered that it is the place our Floridian Hunter exemplified.  Also the place unconquerable by hair straighteners and a world of so so so much roadkill.  Which is just one side of the coin.  Most of the people I knew in Georgia were thoughtful, intelligent, kind, wonderful people who knew the value of a glass of lemonade and praised Jesus for waking them up every morning.  People I still love.  They inhabit a world of fabulous food and family, of gorgeous rain storms and perfumed magnolia trees.

This June I'm headed back to the South with my best friend and the cutest little toddler ever.  I can't wait to help them love it the way I do.   


Kris was offered and we accepted a good promotion for his job.  In Louisiana.  The plan is to be there for three years and then come back West.  It will be hard to be so far from family, but we are  really excited for a little adventure.  We are also counting on having plenty of visitors, so consider yourselves invited.  Yes, kids, book your tickets now!             

Monday, April 1, 2013

Oh Cadre, My Cadre!

Are you ready for a little known fact about me?  As much as I hate to go giving away the bombshells of my future best-selling biography, here goes: I was once in a band.  The cleverly titled Mark and Sam Band.  We were pretty important to the indie-folk roots-rock scene at our University.  If this last sentence has you thinking, "Huh?"  I can only reply, "Exactly." We were that good.  Actually Mark really was that good (the man is a guitar wizard!), but I just provided a few wavering harmonies and occasional lead vocals for our covers of  Dylan, Old Crow Medicine Show, Emmylou, Woody Guthrie and even a few original tunes.  We practiced a lot, but sadly had to disband after a few months.  Our reason for parting?  We fell in love.  With different people.  And suddenly had other things to do with our time.  This turned out to be win/win as Mark's wife became one of my best friends and Kris (of course) became my husband.  Not a bad way to end a band, especially one that was destined to end in fame, wealth I couldn't handle, and a drug addiction-fueled series of broken relationships.  Ah the curse of the truly creative!

Mark (of the Band), his adorable wife Stephanie, and Little M

I bring up The M & S Band because I am now co-founder of a very prestigious book club that reminds me of it.  Why? Because the Wendy and Sam Book Club (can we call it that?  too much?) also sounds a lot grander than it is.  We're not just the charter members, we're the ONLY members. So can that really count as a book club?  Not sure.  But let me assure you of this: It is AWESOME!   Call it what you will, I'm going to look forward to our reading and chatting every single month.  We've only had one meeting so far, to discuss Bringing Up Bebe, by Pamela Drukerman.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed having an excuse for an adult, analytical, academic conversation.  Such a breath of fresh air!  

I won't go into too many details about the book, but I'm glad we read it.  It seems to me that (from Druckerman's perspective) the point of American parenting is to avoid all potential stress for our children (stressing ourselves out completely in the process) while French parents tend to allow their children more small struggles and enjoy less stress themselves.  It's an interesting idea, and has definitely made me think more about letting Eden face a little more frustration in life so she can learn to overcome it.  The other big idea that stuck with me is the cadre, a French word for setting strict boundaries and allowing great freedom within them.  I love that plan.  I'm having a hard time figuring out what the boundaries should be.  For example Kris and I both remember that blowing bubbles in your milk with a straw was something of a cardinal childhood sin.  Why?  In the name of table manners, I suppose, but it seems to us like a hill not worth dying on.  Does that mean we are going to raise a spoiled brat child?  I just don't know!  Where do the boundaries start?  Or more importantly, where should they start?  Good things to ponder. 

In the meantime, long live the Wendy and Sam Book Club!