conspicuous consumption

It's hard not to feel biased against greeks (the college variety, not the actual Greek people). I'm not sure why I feel this was as I know a lot of wonderful folks in sororities--people I truly adore. But after a day of shopping down here in Florida, amongst greek spring-breakers (ole miss, state and gt were some of them), I felt a glimmer of smirky satisfaction as we where whisked ahead of them to our table at the Red Bar. It pays for your dad to be a local. I went into the bathroom at the red bar and this girl had the contents of her purse scattered across the vanity and was cleaning it--"my id is ruined!" she was bemoaning. It came out like, "Maa, eye-dee ius ruwened." Funny.
If anyone who is in a sororoty/fraternity reads this, I'd really like your opinion about it all.

My dad is a contractor down here and works on some amazing projects. One of his condos was in Coastal Living last summer. This morning, he called us to see a condo he was finishing up. Wow. There is a couple from Birmingham whose condo (but I should say "condos" for they have several--all on the same floor). Anyway, they have a suite of condos that dad has been working on and today the designer was putting in the furniture and accessories--I mean, everything was brand new. Walking into the units was like walking into a coastal version of the Pottery Barn catalog. Sigh. I loved it. It also inspired me to re-decorate.

The couple that owns the condo are very well-off (although very nice folks) and sent TONS of furniture that was in the condo to mom and dad's house. Mom and I were so excited when we heard that two trailer-loads of furniture were coming. The crazy thing was that most of it was hardly used, but the designer didn't want to use it. So we're picking through furniture right now. I have no room for anything, and most of it doesn't fit in with the Pottery Barn goes to the Beach look, but it is beautiful and I am trying to figure out how to work two armchairs and an armoire into the addition. Anyone out there need furniture?

Coming to Florida just fuels my inner decorating fire. I get all excited and anxious to paint and slipcover everything. While our house is being worked on, we'll be in Milner lodge and I plan to learn how to slipcover then--I bought fabric for our couch.

But anyway, conspicuous consumption . . . . There's a lot of consumption down here. Granny asked, as we were driving through watercolor and seaside today--do people live here? I think she is amazed that folks have these houses and don't live in them. I'm glad they own all these second homes as it gives my dad a job, but it is amazing at how much money is poured into everything down here and how disposable stuff is--just go to the thrift stores and you'll see pricey furniture discarded because it's gone out of style. There's nothing wrong with having a vacation house. I'd love to myself, but I often wonder how many of these folks who have half million or more dollar second homes tithe or give even close to that amount to missions? Are they (who profess to be believers--and a lot do) doing the work of the church before satisfying self? When the old things pass how many will have a mansion in heaven? I guess these are "fruit" issues more than salvation things, but it bears thinking. It also prompts me to ask if I, although nowhere near these people in income, but still really blessed, am being a good steward with what I have.


On the road again--watch out for momma bears

We're in the midst of a travel binge. Baton Rouge last weekend, then tommorrow Tuan and I are going to Louisiana with Matt and Andrew to the 3CA (Christian Camping and Conference Association) sectional conference while Johnny goes to Nana's. 3CA sectionals are so fun--it's neat to connect with other people in camping. We return home on Friday, then Tuan leaves for Athens, GA to participate in Wilderness First Responder training. I'll be heading out of town, also, on Sunday evening to Florida. Granny and I are going to go see my folks. Tuan and I have never been apart for so long (eight days!) and I'm already dreading it. Packing up is crazy with Johnny's clothes, paerphanalia and sheets of instructions (yes, I'm a bit thorough with instructions).
I'm learning how deep my love for Johnny is. Today I left his bottle at the house and made it to church with plenty of formula, but no bottle. He was fine until I picked him up from nursery (Tuan was home sick) and started fussing--no wailing--for the bottle. We dashed to the Mt. Olive Dollar General--they had no bottles but I didn't really think I could make it to Magee, so I decided to buy a sippy cup. At that point I was pretty frustrated that the store was out of bottles and more upset that Johnny was hungry and I couldn't do anything about it. I hurried up front and there was a woman waiting to check out and no one at the cash register. In the emotion of the moment I did something I'd probably wanted to do before, but never thought I would. I yelled. Loud. "COULD SOMEBODY PLEASE COME CHECK US OUT!" I belted out before I could stop myself. It got results. I then had to apologize to the poor manager who had no help. But, really, it is a pet peeve of mine when stores have no one at the check-out--I mean, don't they want people to buy their stuff or just steal it?
That wasn't the end of the story, but Johnny ultimately got fed and my motherly anger/guilt were quenched. It's kind of ironic that that whole experience followed a powerful sermon by Andy Berg on sin amongst church-goers and our need of revival. I sort of proved the point with that and other actions. Funny, I was sitting in church thinking, these folks need to hear what Andy is saying, and although I was mentally acknowledging that I did, too, it sank in further after I, the lone person in the dollar general wearing church clothes, went beserk.


Dang Cafe, Dang Quesadilla

We went to Baton Rouge last weekend with Caroline to see Livingston Taylor (brother of James Taylor) perform. He's just incredible. What a gift for performance that man has! Caroline reviewed the concert on her blog here. Many thanks to our generous benefactor who supplied us with tickets.

Going to Baton Rouge with Caroline was especially fun because she got to experience some of the culture of Tuan's Vietnamese Dad/Stepmom and family. They are very hospitable folks who kept Johnny while we were at the concert and then Tuan's dad entertained us a bit on Friday morning. Daddy Khanh took us to eat pho at the Dang Cafe. Hee, hee. That was such a funny name. I'm sure "dang" is a proper name in Vietnam, but it sure got me tickled. We then hopped across the parking lot to the Asian grocery. The Asian groceries in Jackson just don't compare to the wonders to be found at this one. I think Caroline and I could have wandered the aisles for a good while--there is so much to see! I had to content myself with walking through the store at a brisk pace throwing necessities and curiosities into the buggy.

Napoleon Dynamite has forever ruined my pereception of quesadillas. Everytime I make or think of one, I have to think or speak, "make yourself a dang quesadilla." I thought of it today as I whipped up a black bean/chicken and cheese quesadilla for Johnny. "Whoaa," you may say, "a quesadilla for a 9 month old?" I would have thought so, too, but the other night I picked up _What_to_Expect_the _First_Year_ and afterr reading the seven and eight month chapters (which was a little late, since we were already into the ninth month), I discovered the culinary possibilities for feeding Johnny. With the okay for adding whole milk and eggs to Johnny's diet from Dr. Flowers (YES! No more formula!), we have hit the ground running (and chopping into very small chunks). Here are some of the things Johnny eats:

Applesauce with flax seed and wheat germ
Oatmeal with raspberries
Wheat bread spread with strawberry yogurt, sprinkled with flax seed and wheat germ, then rolled up like a cinnamon roll and diced (he loves this one)

Cauliflower/Broccoli soup
Turkey Burgers
Black-eyed peas
Peas, green beans and carrots
Mashed sweet and white potatoes.
Chicken broth

Cheerios by the dozen

Johnny repeatedly rejects bananas. Sigh. I can't blame him. Bananas make me feel funny, too. Those little bananas they sell would have been so convenient. He also isn't very into juice or the sippy cup. But we're working on it. I'm so thankful he's feeding himself that I can handle taking a while on learning to sip. My attention span is not very conducive to spoon feeding every meal, and this new phase of picking up food on his own is wonderful. Johnny is also
off the pacifier. We lost all of them and he never blinked an eye. I think he thinks he's older than he is. Supposedly I was like that too. My hopes for a child with Tuan's disposition may be thrown out the window. :)

Sorry I don't post photos, but I'm impatient with downloading. Tuan has some on his blog. If you click on the photos section, you can see them.