Friday, January 22, 2010

Hometown Boy or Hometown Team?

The Mississippi Gulf Coast (and maybe even more of the state and region) has a dilemma this weekend.

We've watched our hometown boy, Brett Favre, go from cocky (but talented) high school and college football player to somewhat settled NFL quarterback to more mature, valuistic, family-oriented star football player.

This weekend, Brett Favre's current team, the Minnesota Vikings, are playing our hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, in the NFL playoffs.

Nearly everyone I know from home is a Saints fan. If they're not, they probably just don't like football. Many of us have remained faithful to our Saints, despite years of losses and disappointments. Some are more fair-weather, but everyone would love to see this team with a heart of gold (and a little black) go to the Super Bowl.

I can remember as a little girl, riding home from church with the family listening to the games on WWL (News Radio 87). My poor Daddy might've been outnumbered in gender, but that AM station, then the game on TV once we got home, won out every Sunday afternoon during football season.

I didn't really get into football until the past few years, but have always kept up with the Saints. I've been teased endlessly: "If you're going to be loyal to one team, why THEM?"

My question is: "Why NOT?"

To me, the Saints feel like home just as much as the Gulf of Mexico, and gumbo, and boiled shrimp. My high school and college both had the Saints' black and gold colors, which just worked out nicely. In fact, until I moved to Baton Rouge and got caught up in LSU, purple was just another shade of the rainbow.

When I moved to Jackson, MS after college, I distinctly remember being in the mall one Sunday afternoon and passing a TV that showed the Saints nearing a win. I was so excited that I ran to the nearest pay phone -- remember those? -- and called my Daddy while jumping up and down and screaming, "The Saints are going to the Super Bowl! I knew it! I knew it!"

With the pride and grounded nature of a true Saints fan, my Daddy said, "Ok, Rebekah... But remember, it ain't over till it's over. They've just reached the playoffs."

And he was right, of course... But now, 2010 might be THE YEAR!!!! :-)

So, back to Favre. Most of the people I've talked to and heard from like Brett Favre, and are proud of his successes, but are die-hard Saints fans, and want to see them go all the way. I can imagine even Brett Favre himself, having grown up in Kiln, MS, less than an hour from New Orleans, secretly wants the Saints to go all the way. I mean, it's the SAINTS!

So, we'll see, come Sunday. But for now, the chant continues...

Who dat! Who dat! Who dat say 'dey gonna beat 'dem Saints?! :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Five is Enough.

I originally started posting "Five things I'm thankful for" as an idea my friend Liz got from Oprah. It's come to be something I rely on, and that when I neglect, I really miss.

Five things I'm thankful for lately are:

1. Being an American. It's really something I try not to take lightly ever, but it's especially impossible not to be grateful when world news points to poverty-stricken countries, and how natural disasters further devastate their lives.

2. The things I've left behind. It's nice to know that things I've put in the past really are in my past, and that they don't have to be in my present unless I allow them to be.

3. Good books. I love to read -- that actually might be an understatement -- so I'm really glad there are so many great books out there to fill my insatiable need to be reading something every chance I get!

4. The elimination of long-distance. Remember that? I'm grateful for cell phones, and anytime minutes, and free nights and weekends, and the fact that I can call friends and family anywhere in the country and not have to worry about how long we take to catch up.

5. Technology. I'm hooked. I don't know when I'll start grumbling about things changing, and why things can't just stay the same, but I'm sure it'll come soon enough. So for now, I'm glad I like new technology. :-)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Aching and thirsty.

I made a very stupid, momentary choice to look away for just a second while driving to work yesterday and totaled my car.

Also, my year-long allergy issues are finally being resolved with the right mix of medication.

Why blog this? Truth is, today has left me very, very sore, and very, very thirsty. I cannot get enough water to drink, and all the ibuprofen in CVS's warehouse isn't cutting this achiness.

But I can't even bring myself to feel bad about that.

Not just because (thank God) no one was seriously injured, but because there is no way soreness from an airbag can compare to what the people who have actually survived Haiti's magnitude-7 earthquake are feeling right now.  And that's just physical. The emotional toll of seeing hundreds of corpses on the streets, not knowing where loved ones are or if they're alive...impossible to imagine.

And yes, I'm thirsty. But I can turn on my faucet (in my heated, clean, safe apartment) and get as much water as I need. Even if I could not do that, I could drive in my car to buy bottled water, or probably find a friend that would help. Reports from Haiti say people are fearful of dying of thirst.

Yesterday, I smelled airbag for the first time. There was powdery residue all around me from whatever's in an airbag, and I wasn't sure where my glasses were at first. But I found my glasses, and the powder didn't stay on me. Many Haitian survivors are stark white with the dusty remains of the buildings that have crumbled around them.

Some of my friends and coworkers have relatives who are sick, or injured, or in some state of unwell. I hate this for them. Bad is bad, no matter how you cut it. But my friend Skye, who is doing her culinary internship on the island of Provos, works with people whose families are in Haiti, just 90 miles away. These coworkers of hers are on Provos to make more money that they can send home to their families. And now, they have no way of contacting their loved ones to see how they are...or even if they still are.

My closest brush with destruction was when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast where I grew up. There were a few days when we weren't sure about some family members' homes, and there are still changes in landscape, missing landmarks, and stark differences in how and where people live that are  constant reminders of that life-changing storm.

I didn't live on the coast at the time, though. I was three hours away in Jackson, Mississippi, and it was hard to come by, but I had access to gasoline and water to get to my family within the week.

I'm not sure if that's going to be an option for Haiti.

This situation is obviously weighing on me heavily. There are ways to help, and many of them are detailed on an NPR site that was posted this morning. I know more relief efforts have been enacted since this morning, and there will be tons of ways that we can help from where we are.

I'm saving the best way to help for last: prayer. No matter what the skeptics say, prayer does change things. Aside from the celestial benefits, it strengthens and solidifies the one who's praying, and -- pun intended -- Lord knows we occasionally need it.

Please do what you can. And be grateful for what you have. I know I am.

Case in point: I never thought I'd be saying I'm thankful for a totaled (new to me) car.

What a reality check.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Five things I'm grateful for right now are:

1. Friends, near and far.
2. People who do nice things for other people. Whether or not I'm a beneficiary in this, I really appreciate it.
3. Heat.
4. Gloves.
5. My nephew, who makes me laugh literally every day.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New week, new year, new decade, new...

...resolutions? Thoughts? RJ?

Not so much.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm happy it's a new year! There's something about the calendar showing you a guaranteed fresh start that's just, well, refreshing. But here are my takes on all of the above:

New resolutions: I don't keep them. I try, then I fail, and then I feel like a failure, not even 1/3 of the way into the new year. Could anything stink more? I try to identify bad habits as I notice them, and I try to do something about them, but trust me, anyone with my guilt complex needs to stay away from resolutions.

New thoughts: I always have new thoughts. Who doesn't? I mean, every day, they pop up. If they're good, and I'm listening with both ears, I'll write them down where I know I'll see them again, or I'll put them in my handy dandy notes section of my phone. But why hold 'em for a whole year?! I like to get it out when I'm thinking and feeling it. And that's what blogs are for, IMHO. :-)

New rebekah: Sure, I could use an overhaul. No female I know would turn one down, and several males I know would at least look into the option. But isn't it better to take the best of me, and merge it with the rest of me, and work on what needs to go? That's the goal. Not that I always reach it, but, you know. An effort, at least.

So that's my new year's ideal: Keep doing what works, and work on what doesn't. And for the love of Pete, in this century, when technology and people and life are so demanding anyway, don't beat yourself up for not meeting some list you scratched out just because the rest of the world does it.

I realize that may seem slightly pessimistic, but hey. That's what I've got.

And happy oh-ten! I feel we can be healthy, wealthy, and wise, especially if we listen to ourselves, our God, our consciences, and the people who love us most.