Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bloody Brilliant

Jeremy and I had a friend the past few days. A British friend. He's on a three month backpacking trip around the States and made a stop in Knoxville for a bit. He stayed with us during this part of his journey, thanks to a website called couchsurfing, which is a network of people who open up their places to visitors as they are passing through. You can search the site for the town you're going to be in, email someone in that town for a place to stay, and then, well, "surf" on their couch or an extra bed. And best of all, it's free. It makes it cheaper and easier to travel the world. Oh, and it's perfectly safe. To be a verified member other verified members have to vouch for you and say that you're a good person and not a psychopath. And you can leave "reviews" about people to say what you thought of them.

Anyways, our British friend was here and he was a lot of fun. We tried to show him around Knoxville the best that we could during his short stay. He had already been down the east coast to Atlanta and is now making his way out west. We brought him out line dancing, ate fried green tomatoes, and ate at Waffle House and Shoneys. All things you must do while in Knoxville.... We were going to bring him to Cracker Barrel, but didn't have time. We also brought him up in the mountains and explained what meatloaf and corndogs are. Now he's in Louisville for the sole purpose of eating fried chicken in Kentucky.

He took out a loan to pay for the trip and will spend the next year working to pay it off. Then he plans on taking a trip around Eastern Europe and then working that off. That's the life. Just travelling, working until you have enough money, and taking off again. I wish I could do that.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I'm feeling very fallish today

After spending the past four years in central Texas, I was very happy today to experience a real fall day. The weather was actually cool. In fact, it was so cool that I wore shoes and socks for the first time since about March completely for the sake of warmness. And I even wore my favorite fleece that I wear just about every day when the weather is cool. It was the first time I've worn it probably since about April. I was very excited. And I felt so fallish.

Now I just can't wait for the leaves to start turning. Which is something I have not seen since the fall of 2001. That was my last fall in Michigan and seasons are nonexistant in central Texas. In Waco the leaves didn't so much turn colors. Instead, they just died and fell off the very few trees that there were all of a sudden one day. No color. Ever. It was a very disappointing four years of "fall." And the weather never really cooled down to the point where I'd have to dress warmly and wear shoes until Novemberish.

I'm glad I'm back in a place with seasons. And trees.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I WAS blind, but now I see (the truth)

The organist at our church here in Knoxville is retiring and the new one is starting next week, I think. Yesterday was the last Sunday for the retiring organist so she picked out all of her favorite hymns to play for the service. And they were some great hymns, some of my favorites. One was Amazing Grace, who doesn't love this one?? So Jeremy and I are singing it, not really paying attention to the hymnal because we know the lyrics, or at least, we thought we did. The fourth verse starts and it's not the right fourth verse!! We look at each other all confused, look at the hymnal, and yes, definitely a different fourth verse than we're used to. We were expecting this:

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.
But what we got was:

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
So when I got home yesterday I did some investigating and turns out that the fourth verse we knew wasn't even written by John Newton! He originally wrote six verses for the song and none of them were this one. It was actually written by Harriet Beecher Stowe for her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

I feel tricked. How can this verse go around masquerading itself as part of the song when it wasn't even written by the John Newton??

Friday, September 15, 2006

Spinach can be scary. Who knew?

I'm very upset about this bagged spinach e.coli outbreak. So far one person has died and dozens more have become sick in ten states so far. I love bagged spinach!! I used to eat it all the time in Waco. I went through quite the salad phase for a while there last year. And I eat it occassionally still, but not nearly as much as I once did. Maybe that's a good thing. Because this way, I haven't eaten any in a while and am not at risk of anything since there is currently none in my fridge and hasn't been in a few weeks.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Baylor made the Washington Post today. Some sociology professors have done this massive study across the United States on religion and had some interesting findings. You can read about it here and I highly recommend it. One of the professors involved, Dr. Paul Froese, was my intro to sociology prof three years ago. It was his first semester at Baylor then and he pretty much came just to be involved in this study. He was VERY excited about it and talked to us about it all the time. I'm glad to see that they finished part of it and have some good results to show.

Dr. Froese was also the guy to get me interested in living wage issues. He had us read Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. This was the first time I really started thinking about the working poor and it got the ball rolling for the rest of my time at Baylor and all that I was involved in with Baylor Students for Social Justice and the 1 John 3 Campaign.

So good job Dr. Froese and all the other profs who are involved in the study. I think that they are still working on it and are going to be doing more surveys and stuff in 2007. At least, according to another article I read about it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ann M. Martin = Genius

Yesterday I finished reading this book:

Which made me sad because like all books that I enjoy, I didn't want it to end. I wish it could have gone on longer than the 536 pages that it was. But no, it had to stop. Why?? WHY??

Then I started thinking about another author that I enjoy greatly - Ann M. Martin. See, her books were great because even when the book did end, you knew that there would be another in the best series ever - The Babysitters Club!! Ahhh, those were great. Real pieces of literary genius. Yesterday I was compelled to look up stuff about the books and I found that there are roughly 200 books in the series, once you include the super specials, mysteries, etc. And of those roughly 200 books, I have read about 160-170ish probably. And most of the books that I haven't read were published after I turned 12 or 13 and decided that I should no longer read them. Thank goodness when I was about 17 I realized that that was a HORRIBLE idea and Erin and I swapped all of our books and refound a lost love. I only wish now that I still had mine. Unfortunately, sometime after high school I sold them all in a rummage sale. What a bad idea. (Unlike Kristy's idea, which was great. Book #1 anyone??)

Monday, September 04, 2006

More on Tennis

So all this watching the U.S. Open has got me missing tennis. I want to play. Really play. I am teaching Jeremy to play, and it's been fun. But I miss competitive matches. Singles, doubles, anything. I miss being on the team in high school and every August through early October being devoted to all things tennis. I miss playing Monday night doubles down at the courts every week throughout the summer. I miss playing Venus and Serena tennis with Brian after hours of playing normal tennis with other comrades. I even miss being sore the next day because of all the Venus and Serena tennis.

I wish I had three friends who played tennis here in Knoxville. And could actually play tennis. None of this "oh yeah, I play tennis - we should play sometime" and then when you actually get out on a court with them you soon realize that by "play" they mean "can sometimes hit the ball back decently." Yes, I admit it, I'm a tennis snob. But I don't care. Just like you wouldn't agree to sing a duet in public with someone who can't sing at all when you have a really good voice, why should I have to playing tennis with someone who is no good? I just want some good tennis partners. And some competitive play.

Friday, September 01, 2006

When Love Means Nothing

We're in possibly two of the best weeks of the year right now. That's right, it's time once again for the U.S. Open. But I'm conflicted. Tomorrow (I'm assuming at night, under the lights, on Arther Ashe Stadium) Andre Agassi plays Benjamin Becker. So what's the problem? Well, I don't know who to cheer for. See, it's Agassi's last tournament. He has announced that he will retire after the Open. I've never been a HUGE Agassi fan, but I can appreciate what he has accomplished during his 21 year or so career and all that he has done not only for the sport, but for others as well. He does a lot of humanitarian work (he has a Boys and Girls Club in Las Vegas that he funds as well as a charter school, among other things.) However, Benjamin Becker is a Bear (read, he went to Baylor!!). He played tennis for Baylor for three of the years that I was there, used up his elgibility (not sure if he graduated) and went pro. He qualified for the Open this year (after also qualifying for Wimbledon in June), and has now reached the third round. Which is pretty good for a qualifier. He beat the 30th seed - Sebastian Grosjean - in straights yesterday and now faces Agassi who had a tough 5 setter that went until 12:30am.

So I want to cheer for Becker because he's the underdog and I generally go for the underdog. And he's from Baylor!! But everyone is going to be against him since he's playing Agassi. And he's Agassi. He HAS to win, according to EVERYONE, because it's his LAST Open. And I want to see Agassi do well since he is, afterall, retiring, but I also want Becker to do well.

I just don't know who to cheer for.