Sunday, September 28, 2008


Last Sunday as Phil and I were driving home from our small group, we heard a loud thud on our car window. Now, there are quite a few things that could have made a loud thud on a car window: a blind bird, an oversized locust, a rock spewed by a passing car, animal suicide...or a good old fashioned egging. That's right: we were egged--just one well placed egg that hit the window behind the driver's seat, thankfully not scratching the car. I actually would have suspected the blind bird over an egg--evidence that it's been a while since I was in high school.

Despite the minor inconvenience, I found the whole experience quite entertaining. My life has been fairly uneventful lately, so why not throw a little egg into the mix and make it more interesting?

Conveniently, we were only a few feet away from a gas station where we used the windshield cleaner to rid any trace of the egg. (You never know what substance you might be cleaning your windshield with). The funniest part of the story is that while Phil was cleaning our car, there was a guy one spot over at the gas station doing the exact same thing because he, too, was a victim of the egging incident. No car left behind.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Besides the school year being in full swing, there is another reason why I have been so inconsistent in writing lately. I'm not proud of this, but I must confess a new addiction: the Twilight series. For over a year now, the girls that I teach have been magnetized to these books, reading them during every free moment, animatedly talking about them, and begging me to read them. I resisted because they were described to me as "A story about a girl who falls in love with a vampire." Now, I'm not really into vampires or anything else that sucks your blood, not to mention a story that teenage girls drool over. However, after a year of resistance, I finally gave into reading the series in order to at least be able to converse with the girls I teach.

Let's just say that I devoured the first book (500 pages) in four days and borrowed the second from one of my students today.

I must admit that it is aimed at teenage girls, but it is also a New York Times Bestseller, is extremely well-written, and reads a lot like Harry Potter with well crafted suspense and characters. It's easy to read, leaves you with just enough questions to turn the pages at lightning speed, and includes clean romance, which is nice for a change in the teenage girl book world. Of course, the romance has to be clean if the girl is in love with a vampire; if he goes too far, he'll suck her blood!

One thing I really like about this series is the variety of girls that are drawn to it. Unlike some books, they aren't written with unattainably perfect characters or the "popular girl" audience in mind. The protagonist is an average, flawed, unassuming girl, which makes her very accessible and attractive, and because of that, the reading audience is void of any social status.

While the books are surprisingly convincing, I defer to the wisdom of Bart Simpson: "Vampires are make-believe, like elves, gremlins, and eskimos."

Friends shouldn't talk friends into running

I really thought I was immune to peer pressure, but apparently, I'm easily persuaded by those I love to do even the most illogical of tasks. Actually, it's not peer pressure; it's the innate competitive nature that comes from growing up with so many brothers; I just can't say no to a challenge.

Take my best friend, Alisa, for example. In college, she thought that running a 15K sounded like fun and naturally thought that I would like to join her in an hour and a half of grueling pavement pounding. While I did actually enjoy the race and have a "runner's high," (particularly when a guy in his yard was blaring the Rocky theme song and spraying us with water from his sprinkler) I can't say that I ever wanted to do it again.

Well, here we are six years later, and I can honestly say that I probably haven't run more than 2 or maybe 3 miles at a time in those years. A few weeks ago, Alisa approached me again--this time about a 10K race in November. My fortitude had waned some in six years, and my initial response was, "You've got to be kidding me. I'm not a runner. Why do you keep asking me to train for races with you?" However, after several weeks of trying to justify NOT running, I finally gave in to the challenge. So, yes, I'll be running in the Vulcan 10K in November, and since I haven't run in so long, I'm actually enjoying the training since it's different from my normal routine. It's something new and something to share with friends, and that makes life a bit more interesting and full somehow.

So, look for me in the Vulcan 10K; I'll be the one in the back running the 12 minute mile and singing the Rocky theme song to myself for inspiration.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Book Plug

It's dangerous to let me loose in a used book store, and I found myself in a little hole-in-the-wall place a few weeks ago when I was in Dothan, AL. National Best Sellers or NY Times Notable Books always catch my eye and I tend to enjoy most of them, so when I saw Gwyn Hyman Rubio's book, Icy Sparks, I was compelled to try it (you don't have much to lose when buying from a used book store). The story is set in the 1940's in back hills, small town Kentucky and follows the life of a young girl, Icy Sparks, who is raised by her grandparents. Icy has Tourette's Syndrome, but since it isn't recognized as a neuropsychiatric disorder at that time in history, she is sent to a mental institution hours away from her small town where other "loony" children are sent. However, after several months there, the doctor finds nothing wrong with her and sends her back home with some behavior therapy. This coming of age story chronicles her battle both with social ostracism and within herself as she longs to be normal in a world that has no place for her. The book is filled with humor, insight, and compassion and is one that I highly recommend. And it also has another plus: short chapters, which means it's a quick read because of the "just one more chapter" mentality. Next on my list to read (and also from the used book store): Three Junes by Julia Glass--a bestseller, of course!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes

I ordered an appetizer of fried green tomatoes at a restaurant the other day that were absolutely divine. "I bet I could make those," I thought. So, on Saturday, I picked up some green tomatoes at the local farmer's market and yesterday I found a Southern Living recipe to follow and got to work. Let's just say that my homemade version rivaled the restaurant's. Just typing about them makes my mouth water. So, for all you kitchen experimenters out there, here's the recipe I used (and I don't recommend skimping on anything or trying to make a more "healthy" version):

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 medium-sized firm green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
vegetable oil
salt to taste

Combine egg & buttermilk in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Combine 1/4 cup flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan.

Dredge tomatoes in remaining 1/4 cup flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/4 inch in a large skillet; heat to 375 degrees (med-hi heat). Drop tomatoes, in batches, into the hot oil; cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or rack. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each one and serve with marinara sauce.