Jun
29
2010
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You might be a redneck . . . even if you live in Illinois

My sister Erika just got married and moved to Illinois.

This is particularly notable because Erika and I grew up in Alabama. Lower Alabama, also known as L.A. We eat boiled peanuts in L.A.

I think she is experiencing a little bit of culture shock. There aren’t any boiled peanuts in northern Illinois.

There is corn. Miles of corn. Corn as far as you can see. And very few trees.

Anyway, back to the culture shock. She’s currently living in a very rural area of Illinois. We didn’t grow up in a big city, but it was a city. The city was surrounded by cotton and peanut fields, but we didn’t get out to see them much. In northern Illinois, you can’t miss the corn fields.

So, Erika’s experiencing north-south culture shock and suburban-rural culture shock at the same time.

The other day, while visiting the nearest town, she observed this unusual combination.

You might be a redneck if you transport your mower in a trailer behind your ambulance.

You might be a redneck if you transport your mower in a trailer behind your ambulance.

We can just imagine the scene. Man is dying.

Paramedic: “I’m sorry you’re having a heart attack. Just breathe deeply and think calm thoughts while I unhook this trailer and move my lawn mower.”

Jun
23
2010
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in which my feelings of stupidity become almost comforting

Ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? I just read about it today, and I can’t decide whether I’m comforted (because I think I’m ignorant) or disturbed (about all of the things that I don’t know that I don’t know).

You can read about it, here.

Written by in: Shameless Academic |
Jun
20
2010
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old stairs, old roads, and laundry

I have a thing for old stairs. Don’t ask me why.

old stairs

These are old stairs. Please ignore the graffiti.

These particular stairs were kind of annoying, though. They were too shallow, and too wide. I think they were made that way so that horses could walk up them.

Really.

walking down old stairs

Some people walked down the old stairs like horses, but some decided it was easier to walk down the smooth slope on the side. Like this.

smooth slope

I confess that, until that moment, I had never considered the difficulties of riding a horse on stairs.

I did have a friend who adopted a greyhound who didn’t know how to go up stairs . . .

So the Perugians (is that what they’re called??) live in a city on a hill with stairs built for horses. Naturally, it could be difficult to navigate the city using modern transportation. I think that’s why we parked in a garage and walked all over.

car in Perugia

But the locals seem to be managing just fine. One more picture:

laundry

Can you imagine how annoying it would be if you dropped a sock, though? Or other things . . . how embarrassing!!

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Jun
19
2010
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landscapes 2 (the other side)

It’s too tempting.

Perugia

This is one of those times when I almost regret taking pictures. I think the pictures are supposed to bring back happy memories. They do bring happy memories, but they also bring discontent thoughts.

Really, who wouldn’t want to live in a walled city with a nifty tile roof, surrounded by green trees and a beautiful blue sky? Here’s a closer look in case you aren’t sure.

Perugia, closer

I think it looks amazing.

However, being a debater, I have to look at both sides. So, observation 1–lots of those old houses probably don’t have air conditioning. Observation 2–it’s hot there in the summer. Observation 3–look at the next picture.

Perugia, the crowded side

Observation 3–the houses are crowded, there’s graffiti, there’s lots of stairs, and I still don’t see a grocery store. That makes me feel a little bit better about not living in Perugia.

More about the stairs later.

Written by in: Shameless Academic |
Jun
19
2010
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landscapes (they’re different in different places)

When I was kid, we would go on long road trips to visit my grandparents. As we drove through different parts of the country, sometimes I would wonder, “what would it be like to live here?”

I always worried about those people who lived in the mountains, on curvy roads, surrounded by lots of trees and rocks. Miles and miles from the nearest grocery store. What happens when they run out of ice cream?

I’ve always said that my dream home is located on a country road, five minutes from a Wal-Mart.

So anyway, about landscapes. I grew up in lower Alabama, which is relatively flat, and has lots of trees. I didn’t think that we had lots of trees until I visited northern Illinois, where my husband grew up. They have not so many trees.

We had trees, but it was pretty flat, so you usually couldn’t see very far because the trees and buildings got in the way. I think that’s why I always wondered what it would be like to live on a mountain. Unfortunately, my phobia of living more than five minutes away from a grocery story always stunted my imagination on that subject.

Perugia landscape

This is the view from a high point in Perugia, Italy. I think I could get used to seeing this every day. It’s a great view, but there’s plenty of civilization. It’s not really in the mountains, but it’s got the highest hill in the immediate vicinity. Hence the great view.

Unfortunately, things are a bit crowded. And I don’t remember seeing any grocery stores. They probably look different in Perugia, so I didn’t recognize them.

Another Perugian Landscape

Still, isn’t that nice?

Written by in: Shameless Academic |
Jun
19
2010
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old places

I like old places.

I’m going through some mission team photos tonight, and I came to this photo.

Old Street SignThis is a street sign from Perugia. Well, it’s sort of a street sign. The “street” was more like a passageway, and it was inside the citadel. Anyway, I think the sign is saying that this is the way to the plaza and a particular church.

I think it’s much nicer than our road signs.

This next picture encapsulates many of my pleasant memories from Italy.

corridorI loved walking down open corridors like this. The shade gave us a break from the heat, but we could look out as we walked along, and sometimes we could feel the breeze. And some of us might have wished that we were princesses gliding along in beautiful dresses, sipping iced tea and eating baci.

And then some of us might have remembered that 1) eating too many baci would make us fat and 2) our modern-day “normal” lives are much more comfortable than any princess’s life. Even princesses had to worry about intruders storming the castle. That’s what the citadel was for (protection, not for tourists).

I still wouldn’t mind having a corridor someday.

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Jun
19
2010
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Dealing with an onslaught of e-mail: ZEB

I’ve been experimenting with various productivity systems over the past 6-12 months. Recently Ashley found a book called The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, which was a very worthwhile read, maybe even rising to the level of “inspiring.”

Dealing with e-mail: ZEB

Like many people that work in the “information economy,” I deal with a ton of e-mail–hundreds of messages every day, and sometimes it seems like I spend all day staring at an overflowing inbox. About a year ago I encountered a blog talking about “ZEB,” an acronym for “Zero E-Mail Bounce.” (It’s a “bounce” because as soon as you achieve it another 10 or 15 e-mails arrive, so it never stays there for long.) (more…)

Written by in: Uncategorized |
Jun
08
2010
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a neckheld book

SLCBookMy friend slc makes books, like the one in the picture. I always love her books, but I’m especially intrigued by her newest creation: a neckheld book.

That’s right. A book, held by your neck. Also known as a book on a necklace. Or should we call it a neckbook? Check it out!

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