A Tale of (Between) Two Cities

I drove to the City this afternoon, and, as is my custom when driving alone for long distances, I passed some time scanning and intermittently stopping at various radio stations. This is the story of my amusing (if you enjoy sick humor) experience.

The first station I stopped on was a classic Country station. I first stopped because it sounded so much like a Southern Gospel song I know that I could have sung the Gospel lyrics in place of those on the radio. The actual lyrics, however, were not bad, and I appreciated a series of several songs celebrating lifelong love and fidelity. Admittedly idealistic, I reveled a while in the idealism. Then I heard something like "When we made love was more than just an affair; I really love you." Involuntarily flaring my nostrils in disgust and feeling slightly nauseous, I said aloud, "I can't listen to this" and promptly moved on.
The station two hits down was again Country (remember, I'm in the south), this time contemporary. The words caught my attention as they celebrated a woman pouring her heart and soul into building her husband's home, raising their kids, ironing his clothes, and more. I was comfortably appreciating the beauty of the sentiment when the chorus rudely interrupted. . .and the perfect homemaker came home to find in a note that her husband didn't love her anymore. What did she do? Let herself go, of course. . .to enjoy her first blind date and. . .that's when I moved on, blinking in disbelief.
Later, of course, I returned to both stations. . .allowing ample time for the blasphemous tunes to end.

That's my tale, my trip between two cities. In the future, I will attempt to remember that, at any moment, the appreciable songs on any Country station may be rudely interrupted by something more deserving of laughter and derision than easygoing enjoyment.


One more thing

I really appreciated these 2+ paragraphs from Domestic Tranquility, particulary the "+" so I will share them.
In subjecting the family to scientific analysis, these exerts analogized a wife's roles to jobs in the workplace. But the homemaker has a nebulous job description and lacks specific qualitifications or training. When "professional" standards of achievement are set for such a job, one can easily doubt both the job's desirability and one's own ability to do it well. Helena Lopata has described the housewife's role as lacking the basic criteria of a job: no organized social circle sets qualifications, tests for competence, or dismisses for incompetences. Nor is there a set pay scale for the job of housewife; in the ordinary sense, there is no pay at all. The role never receives a high social prestige, a homemaker being "typically portrayed as someone who needs little intelligence since the duites are routine and narrow in scope." As society has assigned increasing importance to education and has given prestige to work proportional ot the education it reequires, the housewife's role--perceived as requiring no education at all--has become even less prestigious.
Lopata's interviews with housewives, on the other hand, disclosed that respect for the knowledge required of them increased in proportion to the respondent's level of education; many of them regretted the lack of specific training for the homemaking role. Lopata concluded that working women, many of whom were not deeply concerned with the housewife's role and performed it minimally, believed the role required no special skills; but those who were "performing the role of housewife in a complex and creatively competent manner see it as requiring many different areas of knowledge." This conclusion accords with my own experience that the familiar metaphor of peeling an onion bedt describes the housewife's role, for it is only when one undertakes the task that one can appreciate its magnitude.
Because of its indeterminancy, the housewife's role very likely requires more self-motivation than any other. A homemaker has maximum freedom to define the scope of her duties and obtain whatever knowledge she believes their performance requires. . . .

from pg. 47-48 ,"The Expert Culture" section in chapter 1, "Women's Divine Discontent"

Perhaps part of society's condescension toward the housewife, then, is based upon a misapplication of evaluative criteria. If you judge a wheat field by the criteria for a prize-winning rose garden or vice versa, the judgement is bound to turn out poorly. Likewise, if you judge a homemaker by social position, income, or even professional training required, the result will be unfavorable, because the criteria are wholly inadequate.

Problems with Passwords. . .

. . .and other miscellanies

A certain key continues to stick on this keyboard, and said key is part of my password, so I inevitably wind up typing my password 3-4 times before I remember that the key sticks and I have to hit it harder than normal to make it register.

I woke up about 7:10 this morning, and 9:30, and 10:15. Then I got up. I fixed biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. It's one of those meals I only like while I'm eating it. . .the anticipation of fixing it is unpleasant, because of the grease and the constant stirring, and the congealed scraps of whatever is left make me sick if I think about them. The smell of things cooked in grease tends to hang in the air longer, too. Perhaps I should bake something this afternoon to overpower it. I just took a bath and brushed my teeth, so at least I don't smell like sausage grease any longer.

There are many things to grade this weekend. Ummm. Uh-oh. I think I left them all at school. That's not good. Students will be mad. They want to know their grades thus far for the new semester. Maybe I should go in Monday morning and grade things before school. Oops.

I've been reading some today. We need to clean and finish packing up our Christmas stuff. Our small group meets here this week, and I don't want to be cleaning the night before and day of. I haven't decided what to fix for a snack yet. I should do that, too, so we can go to the store.

This is all complete randomness. I hope you wanted to know the various thoughts passing through my head early on Saturday afternoon.



It's Friday, and I have nothing else to say. So, I'm posting a poem we read in class this week. I really like it, and my kids really got it. . .the imagery that borders disgust followed by such a strong declaration of respect. They understood.
Miss Rosie
by Lucille Clifton

When I watch you
wrapped up like garbage
sitting, surrounded by the smell
of too old potato peels
when I watch you
in your old man's shoes
with the little toe cut out
sitting, waiting for your mind
like next week's grocery
I say
when I watch you
you wet brown bag of a woman
who used to be the best looking gal in Georgia
used to be called the Georgia Rose
I stand up
through your destruction
I stand up

Happy Weekending!


Redemption, Phase 1

But first, a pun: "In democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism it's your count that votes."
or this one: "Acupuncture is a jab well done." Hee hee.
(taken from this Pun Page)

Now, on phase 1 of redemption. . .

In our small group last night, we continued in "The Christ of the Covenants," by O. Palmer Robertson. After a chapter discussing God's covenant with Adam at creation, he moves on to God's covenant with Adam after the Fall. Of particular interest is his interpretation of the curse on the woman. I have always heard God's words to Eve ("Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.") interpreted as meaning that woman has a physical and emotional dependence on man, and man is the leader of the two. (After reading Robertson's interpretation, it did occur to me that the second half of that, at least, does not make sense. . .since Adam was already the leader in their relationship, by virtue of God creating Eve as a "helpmate".) Robertson, however, compares the words to those spoken to Cain in Genesis 4 (Sin's desire is for you, but you must master it."). He says the similar syntactical structure denotes a parallelism in meaning as well. Thus, as sin's desire is not a physical or emotional dependence on man, but rather a desire to control man, woman's curse is a desire to control and possess the man. This seems a meet punishment, given Eve's first mistake is usurping Adam's role as leader by acting without his presence or knowledge when she takes the fruit. It also creates a clear antithesis with the last part of the sentence; although woman will desire control, she will be under man's rule. We discussed how clearly such an interpretation is reflected in our present society and the possibility that a study of feminism through the ages would show a similar discontent among women with their submissive lot in society. Thus, the curse essentially amounts to marital strife (because the two did not act as one?).
Robertson also goes into great detail about the curse on the serpent and its cosmic implications. He takes the serpent as a symbol of Satan, of course, and "the woman" as a symbol of all future women. Thus, Satan will attack the heel of mankind while man attacks his head. Robertson comments on the subtleness and ultimate futility of attacking the heel of a person contrasted with the directness and potential fatality of head wounds. The seed of woman, he says, are all those descended from Eve who are recipients of God's grace (thus, the Elect), while the seed of the serpent are those physically descended from Eve who do not receive God's grace and are destined for damnation. He supports this interpretation with John the Baptist's use of the metaphor "You brood of vipers" and Jesus' later comments to the pharisees about "your father, the devil." The symbolism, he says, then returns to the singular and refers specifically to Christ: "He will crush. . . ." Thus we have the first Messianic prophecy immediately after the Fall, signifying the continuity of God's plan and the continuity of God's covenants. There you have it: predestination and salvation, from Genesis 1-4.

In conclusion, I made a graham cracker bundt cake this weekend that is really very good. It has coconut and pecans and graham cracker crumbs in place of flour. It does take 5 eggs, though, and they must be separated with the whites beat into stiff peaks. I think that makes for a moister, denser cake.

I'm going to get ready for bed now. G'night.


A Brief Respite

I'm taking an oh-so-brief break from grading to share a quote from one of my student's writing. Given the Supreme Court decision today, I found this succint statement especially meaningful:
Life is important, so everyone is important in some kind of way.
That's all.


Really, I'm going to grade

But first, here's a Theological Worldview quiz. . .interesting. I don't know what I think about my results. They reflect my semi-recent theological upheaval and current stage of growth and change, I suppose.
You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 79%
Neo orthodox 68%
Fundamentalist 50%
Modern Liberal 50%
Emergent/Postmodern 46%
Roman Catholic 46%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 43%
Reformed Evangelical 43%
Classical Liberal 43%

How do you score?

One's Own Garden

But devotion to grandiose schemes within the public arena necessarily requires relinquishing to others the cultivation of one's own garden.
from Domestic Tranquility: A Brief Against Feminism, by F. Carolyn Graglia

I've just begun this book--I'm not yet halfway through chapter one--but there are so many quotable quotes already. In my case the "grandiose scheme" is obviously "No Child Left Behind"--a social idealism that is neither practical, realistic, or achievable. How thankful I am that, as of yet, my garden is mostly a plot of seeds, with only a few hearty plants that do not require much tending to survive. (The same is true of my literal garden--my collection of dead herbs in the corner attests to the fact that only the hearty survive me.)
This morning, I got up, fixed breakfast, unloaded the dishwasher, loaded the handful of dishes that wouldn't fit last night, and put away the laundry. . .all while K got ready for his meeting at 9:00. It is refreshing to cultivate my little plot, even for a little bit. Now I must go back to the "grandiose scheme," as grades are due tomorrow and I still have much grading to do.


At Lunch

I just want to take this opportunity to point out that it has been snowing heavily--large, feathery flakes that melt on the pavement but stick on the grass--since before I came to school this morning. I also want to point out that tomorrow the projected high for this area is 62. I just felt someone should point that out.

I also wish to share my newfound interest in reading articles by Kate O'Beirne on the National Review Online. It's somewhat refreshing to hear anti-feminist logic coming from a well-known member of the media, even one that is admittedly conservative. If in need of educational and entertaining reading, I highly recommend searching for any O'Beirne articles. She also faced off with a noted feminist author on last Sunday's edition of NBC's Meet the Press. A transcript might also be entertaining.


When He Laughed, a memoir

I began writing this a day or two before my Papaw died, when we knew it was likely. I share it now as my tribute to his life.
When he laughed, or even smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkled until they were mere squints, just enough to see the twinkle. He had a smug grin and gleeful cackle that echoed and re-echoed as he pulled some mischief off on an unsuspecting grandchild. . .as if we ever really forgot to suspect something. His laughter would end in soft chuckle back in the throat, like an engine turning over.
Speaking of engines, Papaw could fix anything worth fixing. Cars, washers, televisions, you name it—he was a one-stop fix-it shop for friends and family. Whenever he came to visit, Mom’s knives always made a trip to the sharpening block. Whatever else was broken invariably recovered. When I knocked a whole cup of 7-Up over into my alarm clock and it stopped working, Papaw rinsed it out with some secret cure-all, and it was perfect again.
Fixing things wasn’t all he was good at. I’ve never known a better checker player—not that I’ve know that many, but Papaw is a checker legend in our family. He knew when to encourage eager little grandsons and when to remind them who was boss with a sound defeat. . .but he always claimed they just almost beat him.
He made beautiful music on the harmonica, beautiful for its simplicity and sincerity out of the mouth of a faithful man. He never wanted to play, always preferring to put others in the limelight. Papaw would always want me to play the violin—Amazing Grace or What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Those have always been and will always be his songs, wherever I may play them. He was my favorite audience. Whether I was tired or shy or not-so-confident in my ability, it didn’t matter; I played for him.
Papaw knew how to make people laugh, even when they didn’t want to. I remember being infuriated when I was trying so hard to lose my temper and pout and be mad and Papaw persistently made me laugh instead. He did that to everyone. There was always a joke that had to be told and a joke book alongside his chair in case he couldn’t pull one from memory. I don’t know what was funnier—the jokes or the amount of enjoyment Papaw derived from telling them. He loved to call the women out back to show off a snake he’d found, to dangle a wiggler or Catawba worm in their front of us, or to push greasy or dirty hands in our faces just to laugh when we cringed. I thought I’d never hear the end of my traumatic experience on the river, with the huge, hairy spider sitting on a branch just over my head or of my method of fig-picking, when I told all the spiders and bugs aloud that I only wanted such-and-such a fig and wouldn’t disturb the one they happened to be on. Papaw loved to tell those stories on all of us.
At meals, Papaw got in the habit of having everyone but himself ask the blessing. He was especially sure to pick you if you were upset, mad, impatient, or otherwise not in a prayerful state of mind. I think he did it on purpose.
But I remember Papaw praying at church, crisp and clean in his dark green polyester pants, Mamaw offering everyone a mint on the way there. She still does that. Papaw served as an usher for as far back as I can remember, and countless times the pastor boomed out, “Brother Bowman, would you bless the offering?” I don’t remember his prayers ever being long and pompous; I know they were always humble and sincere.
Papaw was a servant. He was usually the first one up, making coffee for himself and anyone else who would have it, digging wigglers at dawn for the group fishing trip, running to the neighbors at midnight when catastrophe struck, and generally taking care of everyone but himself. I loved getting up early during my summer trips there to sit in the living room and drink coffee with him, before Mamaw came out, while he read his Bible and discoursed on the greatness of God. He never doubted God’s ability to solve any problem or heal any hurt, whether God performed the miracle or not.
Papaw was not a perfect man, but he was a godly man—a credit to his family, his church, and his friends. He never stopped trusting in God’s provision, in God’s faithfulness, whether for a lost soul, a sick friend, or just for strength to get up the next day. He looked forward to Heaven even while he enjoyed the blessings God gave him on Earth. I am sad that he is gone, but I am thankful for the grace of God that sustained my Papaw long enough for me to know him as the righteous and faithful man he was and not just as a kindly face in my childhood. I am sad that my children will not know him, but thankful that they will know of him. I am thankful that, though gone, he cannot ever be really gone, because of the legacy and the heritage shining strong in those he left behind, a testament to God’s love and faithfulness in all our lives. His example will live on in our memories as inspiration and legend. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, after extolling his grandmother’s godliness at her funeral, said this: “And if today we are sad that she is no longer with us, we should not forget these mercies and be thankful.” Today I am sad that Papaw is no longer with us. But I cannot forget the many blessings he brought, and I am thankful.

You Know You're Affluent When. . .

an e-mail requesting a somewhat-expensive type of botanical shampoo contains the words "desperate need."

That's my bit of profundity for the week. . .and you should be impressed that I came up with that, considering the week I've had. Of course, it was catalyzed by an e-mail from someone in my Arbonne region informing all of a particular client's "desperate need" for this shampoo. However, the recognition for the recognition of the irony in that statement goes purely to yours truly. (How's that for a sentence?)

My dad turned 50 today. I think that makes me feel young, as many of my friends' fathers are already past that stage. Not that my dad's age has any influence on my age in relation to my friends' ages, so that really doesn't make sense. (Does that sentence make sense?) We had a lovely party, at which a multitude of people paid respects to the aged senior. (Yes, I know that's redundant.) It was much fun, and I was privileged to visit with several dear friends whom I have not seen in quite some time.

I really have nothing else of great wisdom to add, and it's a bit late for meaningless chatter. So, to bed with me. Good Night, all.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, certain comments by certain readers (ahem, NAOMI) should contain the following warning: "Caution: Perusing the following while brushing teeth may result in spewing fizzy toothpaste remnants." Luckily for certain readers (ahem, NAOMI), I rescued myself from this fate, even without the warning. Otherwise, I would certainly be suing for damages. Because that is what Americans do when products do not contain sufficient warnings for potential dangers.