Monday, September 22, 2014

I Fret Not

Well, welcome to fall.  It's rather delicious outside this morning.

I know you can't stand it any longer, so I'll forgo any additional pleasantries & tell you what you want to know.

Yes, I finished reading When the Elephants Dance before my book club meeting last Thursday night.  Actually, I had about ten pages left when I sauntered into the Cracker Barrel Thursday evening, but I knew enough to contribute to the discussion at what turned out to be our smallest book club gathering yet.  There were only three of us, but we had a lovely time, & honestly, I think we each deserve a trophy or something for having read the book, which I shall discuss in greater depth soon.  

I wish I had more good news to share, but alas, at present I know as much as you do about the results of Henry's blood work I told you about last week.  I guess in the age of Obamacare, "results will take four to six weeks," is translated, "results will take at least eight weeks."  I'm sure it's explained in some English to Obamacare manual right after, "If you like your plan, you can keep it."  Apparently before sending off blood samples for the detection of autoimmune antibodies, the good folks at UMMC (University of Mississippi Medical Center) Pediatric Research wait until a sufficient number of samples have been collected & then ship them off en masse.  Henry's sample was one of the first taken in a new shipping cycle, & so I got a call last week informing me that results would take another two weeks.

The good thing about having two young kids is that you don't have a lot of time to obsessively worry about them because, well, you have two young kids.  So, I begin another week of waiting to hear about the blood test.  I am sure it will busily fly by in a tired whir of diapers, tantrums, sweet hugs, & stolen moments during which I delve into fiction.  I should tell you that I have one of my birds to keep me company this week.  Soon after posting last week's blog, I headed over to World Market's website to order my bird prints.  Sadly, instead of the option to "Add to Cart," I was confronted with the dreaded "Unavailable Online" notation.  I immediately texted my go-to big city shopper, Jessica, to inquire about any plans she had to visit one of the many World Market stores in the DFW area.

About an hour later, I received a phone call from Jessica; she was speaking to me on location inside World Market with the news that only one of the prints was available in the store.  This story does end well, however.  Jessica & co. came to visit over the weekend, bringing with them my one bird print, which (I think) looks fantastic.  Additionally, Jessica was informed by the World Market salesgirl that the set of all three prints should be available online again in the near future . . . so now I can add "stalk World Market's website" to my list of highly anticipated fall activities.

I realize I've been throwing around the phrase "new furniture" a lot on the blog, & you've yet to actually see any of it, so here is the china cabinet, complete with my lone bird perched atop:

I may've mentioned before that I have an oddly strong fondness for distressed antique white furniture.  I continue my quest to discover the answer to the age old question, "How many pieces of distressed antique white furniture is too many?"  

In regard to the cabinet, I'd like to stress that when it comes to the knick knacks up top, I have not yet begun to decorate.  It's a work in progress, a work that begins with one small bird (& two candlesticks & some fake corn).  I have a loose deadline for decor completion, as the book club is meeting at my house at some point in December to discuss Pride & Prejudice.  So, I have roughly two months to secure two more bird prints & figure out what other pieces will pay the birds the ultimate compliment.  

In addition to not having a lot of time to obsessively fret over your kids because of said kids, you also don't get to sit still & watch much college football, which can sometimes be a blessing.  Oh, where to begin?  I feel kind of meh over LSU's loss.  I mean, at the beginning of last week, half the teams in the Top Ten were SEC Western division teams (Alabama, Auburn, A&M, LSU, & Ole Miss).  That is a set-up for some serious carnage.  LSU's loss to Mississippi State was dubbed a "shocker" by the media, who stopped talking about Jameis Winston long enough to note that LSU lost in a "shocker."  I wasn't all that shocked.  I knew LSU was overrated sitting at No. 8, & I knew Mississippi State was likely flying a bit under the radar, which can happen when your division includes Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, etc.  I think Mississippi State may "shock" a few other teams as the season unfolds.    

When you play in the SEC, you have to prove your worth in September, & in October, & in November, rather than being put to the test in January after spending a restful fall playing few, if any, ranked teams & skating through your conference title game, assuming of course your conference has a title game . . . assuming of course you play in a conference (looking at you, Irish).  I think at present every team in the SEC West is ranked with the exception of Arkansas (this is me, refraining from inserting an AR joke, because goodness knows even the best LSU team can find a way to lose to AR).

So, Saturday didn't go as I might've hoped.  Obviously I was hopeful LSU would defeat Mississippi State, but in my gut there was an ominous feeling about the game (likely similar to the feeling that will plague me come Thanksgiving when I eat too much & then watch LSU play Texas A&M . . . indigestion, what a fantastic new holiday tradition).  I was hoping Clemson would upset Florida State, & I was hoping Washington State would upset Oregon.  I was also hoping to not see Jameis Winston's face as often as I did, but the day just didn't go my way where football was concerned.  What softened the blow tremendously was crawling in bed Saturday night knowing Silver Linings Playbook is currently offered on Netflix.  

I know what you're wondering.  You're wondering if I was hoping West Virginia would upset Oklahoma.  A funny thing happened Saturday.  I have a friend who grew up in Oklahoma.  I like her.  She's a reader, a thinker, & a coffee drinker.  I shared a meal with her & another friend last Thursday night, & it was time well spent.  We ate, we drank coffee, & we talked about books.  It was glorious.  On Saturday, as I was gearing up to cheer for the West Virginia Mountaineers (& cast a voodoo spell or two on Bob Stoops), my friend came to mind.  You can tell she loves Oklahoma, & I don't just mean the Sooners.  She loves the place, the land, the people; it's genuine & it's refreshing, as is she.  In what has to be a maddening situation, she finds herself living far from Oklahoma, surrounded by a crazed SEC mob.  What I haven't told you is that she's married to a Texas fan - - Texas, as in Austin, orange & white, horns, the whole ordeal.  With all this running through my mind, I found myself not giving Bob Stoops the evil eye Saturday.  While I didn't watch every down of the game, I didn't obsessively check Twitter in the hopes of seeing an upset alert from Sports Center either.  This is friendship, y'all.  I think I am growing as a person.  

I mentioned that Jessica & her crew came to town over the weekend, & this necessitated a trip to Nana & Papa's Saturday afternoon.  Here's a snippet of what was going on Saturday in lieu of me sitting on the couch watching football all day:

Well, this feels like an ending to me.  I have some things I need to grade, though what I'm likely about to do is make today's third cup of coffee & read Wool, a book by Hugh Howey that my dad recommended.  They just don't pay me enough for me to grade with any sense of urgency, particularly when there are so many things I want to read at the moment.  I realize I've yet to expound on When the Elephants Dance, but please, don't you fret.  I need to let it sit & simmer awhile, so stay tuned.  

Those of you who're locals, enjoy this week's cooler temps.  Rumor has it the morning lows may dip into the fifties.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have boots & scarves to dig out of my closet, & a website to stalk.  


Monday, September 15, 2014

Walk By Faith, Not By Pancreas

I wasn't planning to post anything this week, at least not until after Thursday.  I am under a deadline of the strictest sort, a book club deadline.  We meet Thursday evening to discuss When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe, & the reading has been slow going.  It's historical fiction set during . . . you guessed it, WWII.  However, it's a whole new WWII experience for me as this novel focuses on the conflict in the Philippines, specifically the struggles of the Filipino people during the years Douglas MacArthur was absent.  The novel's title is taken from this quote found in the opening pages:

Papa explains the war like this: "When the elephants dance, the chickens must be careful."  The great beasts, as they circle one another, shaking the trees and trumpeting loudly, are the Amerikanos and the Japanese as they fight.  And our Philippine islands?  We are the chickens.

How much do you love that?  Five stars to Ms. Holthe for her novel's title.  

So, I should be reading right now, instead of explaining to you that I should be reading.  

There is, however, something in my head that needs to be purged.  Last time we traveled to Jackson to visit Reagan's endocrinologist we had Henry's blood drawn.  There is a great children's hospital in Jackson & they received some money to fund diabetes research.  Specifically, they're interested in the presence of autoimmune antibodies in the blood of those under the age of forty-five who have a first degree relative with type 1 diabetes.  As you may've guessed, Henry, being under forty-five years of age & the brother of a type 1 diabetic, fits this profile.  So, they drew his blood & told us it would take about six weeks to process everything.  All of this happened about six weeks ago.

A positive result is not what we want; this would mean autoimmune antibodies are present.  If you didn't know, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease because the body's own immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin, erroneously assuming (for whatever reason no one knows) that they are foreign invaders that must be destroyed.  Regardless of the test results, nothing is conclusive.  What I mean is if Henry tests positive for the autoimmune antibodies, his chances of developing diabetes now are higher, but the presence of antibodies alone does not mean with certainty that diabetes is imminent.  If he tests negative, obviously that would be wonderful, but a negative test doesn't mean he will never develop diabetes.

There's so much they don't understand about type 1 diabetes.  Genetics is involved, however, most newly diagnosed type 1s have no genetic history of diabetes.  A genetic predisposition toward diabetes is not enough to trigger the disease.  There are likely many folks walking around with a genetic predisposition to diabetes, but they will never develop the disease.  Something in the environment acts as a trigger . . . but no one knows exactly what.  It's possible there are multiple triggers, & what triggers it for one diabetic would not trigger it for another.  At present, they cannot prevent it in those with known predispositions, & they cannot cure it.

As Reagan's brother, Henry's chances of developing type 1 diabetes are only slightly higher than those of any random one-year-old.  I don't like numbers much at all, & I quickly grow weary thinking about all these numbers.  The odds of this, the odds of that . . . it'll drive you mad.  There is a chance Henry will develop diabetes.  There is a chance you will develop diabetes.  There is a chance I will develop diabetes.  There is a chance my dog will develop diabetes.  There is a chance Henry will live to be ninety & never develop diabetes.  There is a chance this week will pass without an NFL scandal erupting.  There is a chance overrated Notre Dame will win a national football title this year (okay, okay, I kid).  Chance, chance, chance.  Before she was diagnosed in January, I worried about Reagan.  I worried about a thousand different things that didn't, & likely never will, happen.  You know what I never once worried about?  Diabetes.

I pray Henry tests negative for these antibodies, & I ask you to say the same prayer.  A negative test result would be wonderful, however, it would in no way erase my worry over his future health.  I think that might be the hardest challenge of any mother, to put her worry where her faith is & truly trust the God she claims to love, the God who says, "Do not worry . . . look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?"

Read Matthew 6:25-34.  The phrase "Do not worry" is repeated three times.  Do not worry.  Do not worry.  Do not worry.  It's a commandment.  Those who worry are admonished as you of little faith.  I don't want to be seen as a woman of little faith, a mother of little faith.  I don't want my kids to grow up watching a mother who frets constantly, & I certainly don't want that image juxtaposed with my claims to love & trust the Almighty.  I want to be brimming with faith.  I want it to be so evident that I trust the Lord that others, particularly my children, are inspired to do the same.

This week's theme song is Living by Faith.

I care not today what the morrow may bring, 
if shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o'er everything, 
and all of my worries are vain.

Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I'm never alarmed at the overcast skies,
The Master looks on at the strife.

I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.

Our Lord will return to this earth one sweet day,
Our troubles will then all be o'er;
the Master so gently will lead us away,
beyond that blessed Heavenly shore.

Living by faith in Jesus above, 
Trusting, confiding, in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I'm living by faith and feel no alarm.

In semi-related news, recently the china cabinet of my dreams was delivered to our home.  It sits in our dining area & I walk by it approximately two-hundred times a day.  It's of medium height, but in a home with twelve foot ceilings, I've decided it needs something hung above it, & this is what I am 98.5% sure I am going to purchase to fill this decor void in our home:

It's a set of prints from World Market.  I love the distressed, vintage-y frames, & I love the birds.  Once they're on the wall, when I pass by the china cabinet, instead of thinking, "What am I going to do with that space?," I'll hear three little carefree birds whispering, Do not worry, Anna . . . look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  So if, in a week or so, Trey is standing on a ladder, hammer & nails in hand, whining about my perpetual decorating endeavors, I will tell him to hush because it's a spiritual matter.  

Thank you in advance for your prayers.  Antibodies or no, book club deadline met or not, like MacArthur, I shall return.  


Thursday, September 11, 2014


Later today I will teach my speech classes & we will take time to discuss the events of September 11, 2001.  We're going to watch a few of George W. Bush's speeches relevant to the terror attacks of September 11, & also watch some of the live news coverage from that Tuesday morning thirteen years ago.

Last night I was on the computer planning out today's lesson, & I was distracted by the influx of news articles covering (& copious Twitter complaints about) Obama's speech re:Islamic terrorists who kidnap & behead Americans.

Thirteen years have passed since Islamic terrorists attacked this nation, & we still refuse to name the enemy.  ISIS, Obama declared just last night, is not Islamic.  Maybe next year, on the eve of the fourteenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Obama will go spit on Ground Zero.

Three years ago on the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, I posted a blog that I am going to repost today.  I was digging through the blog archives last night attempting to find it because, honestly, I could not remember a thing about what I'd written, & was beginning to question my memory of even having written it, when I finally found it.  I read it, & oh my goodness, it was a bit eery to read given the president's speech last night.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was twenty years old & a senior at Louisiana College.  Trey was twenty-two & in his first semester of law school at LSU.  It was going to be a great week.  You're aware of my affinity for September, & this week I was in an especially affable mood because my friends & I had tickets to see Matchbox 20 in Shreveport Tuesday night, & we were planning to travel south to Baton Rouge to watch LSU play Auburn on Saturday.

Like many Americans, my cell rang repeatedly that morning & I, having no early Tuesday/Thursday classes that semester, didn't answer it for awhile.  After hearing it ring over & over, in my sleepy haze it occurred to me that something might be wrong, so I answered it & had the first of many conversations with my parents that day.

Ten years later, my day to day concerns are much different, but I wonder if we've learned anything as a nation.  Our current president's poll numbers are sinking like a stone among all groups, with one noted exception: Muslims, who approve of the job he's doing to the tune of around 70%.  Until we elect leaders who are willing to call a spade a spade and abandon rhetoric that sugarcoats the realities of Islam, referring to it as a "religion of peace," we can expect more of the same and we should not be in any way surprised.  We are at war with Islam and we have been for decades.  Someone have the courage to say it; Islam is not a religion of peace.  Muslims do not respect those who allow people to practice their religion of choice unmolested.  They are not in search of a place they can practice their religion freely, for if that was their goal, they would embrace America rather than try to topple her.

Our political correctness is perhaps Islam's greatest ally.  We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so we frisk elderly women and disabled children in airports despite the blatantly obvious characteristics of those most likely to use a plane full of innocents as a weapon.  We refuse to name our enemy, preferring to pretend those who seek our destruction are a fringe group, rather than a fanatical religious organization with its tentacles so deeply intwined in our society I am reminded of the Red Scare following WWII.  At least during the Red Scare it was acceptable to say openly that Communism is evil, & those accused of being Communists vehemently denied it.  Islam & Communism differ in some significant ways, but they're both ideologies that cannot flourish in America as their founders intended them, and for the same reason: Christianity is an affront to them.

Those who so mercilessly attacked our nation a decade ago knew well what Ronald Reagan said during his first inaugural address:

No arsenal or weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.

Three thousand dead Americans was just a bonus to them; their goal was millions more cowering in fear.  Their intent was to instill fear & to squelch the will & moral courage of free men & women.  On more than one occasion my preacher, Don Delukie, has spoken eloquently of the many parallels between freedom from tyranny and freedom from sin.  Blessed beyond measure are those who live free from both.  Man yearns to be free, & this principle shaped & guided the revolution that gave birth to this nation.  I don't live in fear, not because I am certain this nation won't be attacked again, but because I know, as Paul did, that to live is Christ, to die is gain.  Our enemy hates that many Americans love and trust and worship the one true God; they seethe with rage that this nation allows Christians to live freely and worship as they please.  I imagine our enemy takes great delight in the attacks on Christianity that are leveled by other Americans.  

My preacher rarely gets into political matters from the pulpit, but he recently pointed out a passage I had never before noticed.  Ecclesiastes 2:10 reads, A wise man's heart is at his right hand, but a fool's heart at his left.  Take from that what you will.  There are those who point their finger at "radical Islamists," & then march right back to Capitol Hill and make decisions that chip away at the freedoms we cherish.  Their actions are not as obviously treacherous as crashing a plane into a building, but our freedoms are under attack from all sides, and the enemy knows who their allies within are; if you don't believe me, look at the polls.  Praise God that the freedom from sin He offers us cannot be put to a Congressional vote or stolen from us by those who deny Christ.  

I don't know how I originally stumbled on this image.  It may have been forwarded to me in an email.  It was drawn by man named D.T. Devereaux.  Many of his drawings are controversial.  It's a gripping image.

LSU didn't play Auburn that Saturday.  The game was played in December, pushing the SEC title game back a week.  LSU defeated Auburn & went on to defeat Tennessee for the 2001 SEC title.  I still have 4 tickets to see Matchbox 20 dated September 11, 2001.  Being the most responsible member of my group of friends, I was nominated to keep up with the tickets & make sure they made it to Shreveport that evening, but of course, we all spent that evening glued to our televisions.  There was a way to get a refund for the cancelled concert, but we never bothered.  Who knows, maybe one day the tickets will be worth something.  I will give them to Reagan when she's older, & she'll ask me who Matchbox 20 was.  I hope she doesn't ask me why the date is significant.

My life has changed in many ways since I originally wrote the above post, but unfortunately our nation continues to plod along, a rudderless, sinking ship with a captain who insists there is no water.

I pray that today God gives peace to those who've grieved a loved one for thirteen years, & that soon, they might find some solace in the words of an American president who is willing to state harsh truths about the reality of the threats we face.    


Monday, September 8, 2014

Little Eyes

One of the reasons I love to read is the absence of visuals.  When it's just me & page after page of black & white typeface, I, with the author's blueprint, paint worlds & characters in my head.  I dally there awhile, & in the case of a few worlds of which I am particularly fond, I return again & again by simply picking up the book & slipping back into the painting in my mind.  My mind works overtime imagining every detail of places & characters I love, while I quickly move on from scenes that are gruesome to read, not wanting to create too vivid a picture for myself.

I prefer to read a book before there's talk of a film & who should play whom because I want to imagine the characters for myself.  My Edward Cullen is better looking than Robert Pattinson.  My Alexander Belov (if any casting directors are reading ) looks exactly like Henry Cavill; he can take a break from playing Superman to fight Hitler.  Honestly, I think Paullina Simons had Mr. Cavill in mind when she was writing (I follow her on Twitter & may just ask her one day).  Anyway, once a visual is in your head, it's nearly impossible to rid yourself of it, which is why crazed, avid readers often take to the Internet & sign petitions when casting decisions that incite rage are made.  I even prefer to own original copies of books, rather than the later editions whose covers are mini versions of the movie posters.  I like my books untainted by Hollywood, a business that thrives on images.

We are an intensely visual society.  During our waking hours, most of us are not without a screen of some type in front of our face, & on those screens are an endless barrage of images.  There's an icon for everything.  Pictures are replacing words, in many instances.  When I was a freshman in high school, I was told to read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, & so I did.  Great Expectations, for those of you who've never flipped through it, is word-intensive & short on pictures.  Dickens doesn't relate Pip's journey with icons.  Cher is correct; words are often like weapons, & they can wound at times, but in capable hands, I've learned words are far superior to, & more desirable than, images.

More than once over the past few weeks I've opened my web browser & been confronted with disturbing pictures that sent my fingers scrambling to click away.  In this Los Angeles Times article, Patt Morrison discusses two recent incidents that flooded the web with images that, sadly, many clamored to see despite despicable actions on the part of those who made the images available.  Whether it was nude photos of an actress or what Morrison refers to as "beheading porn," I didn't seek any of these images out, yet between Facebook, Twitter, & my beloved Matt Drudge, I saw far more than I desired.  It is one thing to read about the beheading of an American; it is another matter to scroll through Facebook while drinking your morning coffee & see an American clad in an orange jumpsuit on his knees before the vicious terrorist who ended his life.  A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in some instances, I'd much prefer to read the thousand words.

There is no such thing as permanently deleting an image in today's digital world, & I'd argue that the same has always been true when it comes to the mind's ability to store an image.  Before you share it with hundreds of your friends who theoretically trust your judgment (or perhaps have already blocked you, if they don't), think about the mental permanence of an image before you link to an article accompanied by a questionable photo.  I don't want to see Americans on their knees before their executioners, or anyone's nakedness against my will.  This is why I try to stick to pictures of my kids (because who doesn't want to see them!).  Or Kirk Herbstreit.  Maybe I'll send some (tasteful) Henry Cavill your way soon to liven up your newsfeed.

When I finally close my eyes at night, I'd prefer to always have dominion over the images that scroll behind my dark lids, but all too often I don't.  I sat up in bed & began typing this one night this past week because sleep was eluding me & I was growing weary of thinking about the haunting image of Steven Sotloff kneeling before his captor.  As I age, the montage of images that plays for me when I am seeking sleep grows.  It's both a blessing & a curse, the inability to unsee something.  I remember Trey's face when he held Reagan for the first time, & I remember his face as the ER doctor explained her diabetes diagnosis to us.  We try to capture & frame & display the moments we want to be a remembered snippet of our past, but our memory isn't so selective; it catalogs it all.

The lyrics quoted above are the opening lines of a song I learned as a child, & this particular stanza has been running through my head for a week or so.  Yes, I've been singing it aloud to the kids as I putter around the house all day.  While my eyes have seen a great deal in their (nearly) thirty-four years, my kids have four bright blue, fresh young eyes that are only beginning to record the images that will make up their reels of memory. How humbling a task to realize the enormous role I have not only in censoring that which is inappropriate, but in generating that which is positive.  Be it what they see in books, on the television, or my own behavior, I've learned well from Reagan that she forgets nothing.  I've been reminded lately that one glimpse is all it takes, one second, & the eyes soak it up, & it seeps into your memory, & affects your mood, & you can't unsee it no matter how much you wish you could.

I realize there are times it is beneficial to expose ourselves to certain horrors.  I am thinking of the film The Passion of the Christ.  I am thinking of Eisenhower's directive that American troops see & photograph Hitler's atrocities.  I am thinking of Jesus imploring Thomas to see & feel His scars.  Sometimes images can convict, can bring people to their knees, & I understand that, but what has disturbed me lately are pictures meant only to demean & degrade.  I guess most upsetting to me is that I saw these images against my will, which is all too common an occurrence in a world that quickly grows bored with words, but hungrily devours, & instantaneously shares, images.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."  As much as it is within your power, seek & surround yourself & those with whom you interact, both in life & online, with images that speak to God's goodness rather than man's perversions.


Monday, September 1, 2014

The Football Purge

Welcome to September, & Happy New Year!

My year begins now.  I just began another year of teaching, & of course, last Thursday evening the 2014 college football season commenced with considerable flair provided by Tim Tebow & his lavender suit.

I don't spring clean.  I don't summer clean.  Spring & summer are endless seasons filled with mundane happenings & weather that denies me the opportunity to wear turtlenecks & boots & scarves.  For months & months I feel that I have so much time to do what needs to be done, which of course means I delay, delay, delay.

Now is when things start to happen.  The football.  The elections.  The boot-wearing weather (okay not now, but soon).  The release of films adapted from young adult book series.  The holidays & the ensuing food that makes you contemplate breaking out a pair of maternity pants like Joey.  It's an avalanche of awesome.

Inevitably, every year I wait & wait, & then, the week before college football begins, I decide it's time to clean out closets & get the house in shape so I am mentally free to guiltlessly watch hour after hour of college football every Saturday for the next four months.  After enjoying the lavender suit, the South Carolina/A&M game, & a few minutes of the Ole Miss game Thursday night, I spent a large part of Friday digging through all of the stuff we have & deciding what needed to go.  After my day of digging, I didn't plan on going anywhere Friday night, but then my dad called & the grandparents were eating dinner at Newk's, so I stripped us all out of our pajamas, threw a hat on, & we were on the way.

So you don't think I am loosely, metaphorically using the phrase "threw a hat on" - -

Reagan wanted me to take a picture because she thought the hat was so funny.  Oh to be three & equate unwashed hair with hilarity. 
Now, before I continue, I know what you're wondering.  How, Anna, are you watching college football with no cable?  While I am usually forthright with you, all you need to know is that I am indeed watching college football this season, Trey remains convinced he still has the upper hand in his ongoing war with Comcast, & Trey & I will happily celebrate five years of marriage this October.  Isn't that what matters in the end?  A stable, happy marriage?  I think so.

So, the digging & purging.  You know what is quite the emotional experience for a mother?  Going through your kids' clothes.  The promise of more drawer space & better organized closets is so enticing, but when you're in the thick of it, weeping into the tiny pants they'll never wear again, it's not as rewarding an experience as it first seemed.  The first year is the hardest, too.  They wear a size for such a short time they don't even get the opportunity to thoroughly stain every item (at least this is how it's worked for my kids, who will likely both tower over me one day . . . & I am not short).  Henry's closet had basically become a shrine to his former, tinier self (it was not unlike my closet back in May before I  dropped fifteen pounds).

Alas, I persevered.  By the time the sun rose this past Saturday, the kids' clothes had been (somewhat) culled.  The floors had been mopped.  The stove had been cleaned (fyi: even if you don't use it, a stove can still accumulate a nasty layer of dust).  My Facebook feed had, for weeks, been inundated with various inspirational LSU videos.  Tebow had worn a lavender suit on national television, which I like to think was a subliminal shout-out to the Tiger nation, whom he now regrets taunting at times during his years as a Florida Gator.  Or maybe the lavender suit was meant to send a not-so-subliminal message like, I am so good-looking I can wear a lavender suit & still look better than these other yahoos.  Who knows.

At long last, after months of nothingness, College Gameday & Kirk & his sensible suit returned Saturday morning, & I have to say, I think my coffee actually tasted better.  I made my second cup during an extended segment Gameday ran on Nick Saban & his new offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin.  Oh my word.  I think it was titled, "The Odd Couple."  You can do better, Gameday.  

Just look at them behind the desk in their suits, ushering in the first season of college football in the post-BCS era.  It's a beautiful sight.

A few random thoughts:

*Since they were playing Alabama, I set aside the animosity I'll likely always feel toward the people of West Virginia for their repeated reelection of the (now deceased) former KKK member, Robert Byrd, to the United States Senate & cheered heartily for West Virginia, unranked West Virginia, who could have beaten Alabama.

*The commentating suits Mack Brown.  I am happy to see him off the sidelines.  On that note, I know that one day, sooner than I'd like, Steve Spurrier will throw his visor for the last time & perhaps take a seat behind the commentating desk, & I will be sad.  I've just always loved Spurrier, & when he hangs up the visor, I will miss him coaching the same way I miss seeing Jim Tressel on the sidelines in his sweater vest.  I have no love for Ohio State, but you can't help but like a man who coaches football in a sweater vest.

*It needs to be said that while SEC football players may be notorious for their defenses, & their arrests, & their often thuggish behavior, at least these young men aren't inventing stories about rescuing a drowning nephew, or tweeting (& then deleting) nonsensical comments likening their coach to a slave owner.  I'm not pointing any fingers, but I am looking at you, USC.  Between USC's drama & Lane Kiffin running Alabama's offense, this football season is off to a promising start.

*Ah, LSU.  I think it's going to be a long year (& by long I mean I'm picturing frustrating, hair-pulling disappointment), but right now, you're undefeated, & hey, you don't have Georgia on the regular season schedule this year, so that's another plus.  Geaux Tigers!

Despite the cleaning & the mopping & the purging I did in preparation for Saturday, by the time LSU kicked off at eight o'clock Saturday night, the house was a mess.  I have a vision in my mind of sitting on my couch sipping hot coffee, a roaring fire to my left & an LSU team led by a capable, intelligent, consistently fabulous quarterback flickering on the television to my right.  In this vision, I am covered from head to toe in all manner of winter clothing, my recently vacuumed rugs are the only thing on the floor of my home, & the smell of something wonderful I'm cooking in the crock pot is wafting through the house.  I realize there are about eight things wrong with those last two sentences.

In closing, thank you for the kind words you offered, on Facebook & in person, after last week's post in which I whine about the publishing industry.  Your comments have ranged from, "I really enjoyed reading your book," to, "You wrote a book?"  Either way, I appreciate your feedback, especially those of you who either genuinely enjoy reading what I write, or are incredible amateur actors.

I am toying with the idea of entering Dear Miss Moreau in a contest for unpublished authors that I recently discovered thanks to my new habit of spending too much time on Twitter.  A stipulation of the contest is that all novels entered are unpublished.  Technically, posting a novel on a blog might be construed as publishing the novel, since, once posted, it is copyrighted.  Many consider a novel to be self-published only when the author makes it available for a price, which I haven't done.  Why do you care?  You may not, but this is a notice to anyone who wants to read it & has not yet done so that in about a month, I may be removing it from the blog.  I'm not 100% on this, but it's a possibility.  Eventually, I will likely self-publish it through Amazon, at which time it will cost you a whopping $3.99.  So please, don't panic, unlike the ridiculous BCS system of yesteryear, it's not going away forever.