Friday, September 30, 2011

The Continuation of a Long Term Bit: Alabama

As we continue our quest to see something unique or essential about all fifty states we make our way to the lovely state of Alabama. What are the first things you think of when you think Alabama? Football and Civil Rights? Yep, me too.


This trip was a lark more than anything else. Our beloved University of North Texas Mean Green play a "money game" (or opportunity game, or bodybag game, depending on your preference) every year, and while many schools in the non-BCS conferences will do this we somehow manage to get a top 5 team in this game just about every single year. This year, our beloved alma mater was going to take on the number 2 ranked University of Alabama Crimson Tide. The game itself went about how everyone expected, the final score was 41-0 if I remember correctly.
I'm not really sure what I expected from the whole Bama gameday experience and I'm really not sure what to say about it. Bryant-Denny stadium is certainly an imposing edifice, fortunately they aren't shy about giving visiting fans decent seats, as you can see. I was certain they were going to put us in those seats hanging over the top of the entrance.

The statues of old coaches and the things in the ground commemorating their various conference and national championship teams were pretty cool to look at, and a program as successful as theirs certainly deserves ample memorializing.

The people of Tuscaloosa were all very friendly, especially the drunk ones who kept running into us and wanted to know all sorts of stuff about North Texas. My only real criticism is with the pre-game pageantry. That "Million Dollar Band" was overpriced by about $999,997.50. I know I'm spoiled, UNT's Green Brigade may be the best college marching band going, but I was sitting about a dozen rows up and could barely hear them. Also, that guy running around on the field extolling one side to say "Ala" and the other to say "bama" gave the feel of either a minor league baseball game or vamping for time because something wasn't ready when the game was supposed to start.
A friend who went to an SEC school that shall remain nameless who, after I told him I had never been to the home stadium of any school except for UNT and Rice, told me that I was going to see what a real college game day was like. I kept thinking about that during the pre-game mess and the only conclusion I could come up with was you SEC people really overrate yourselves. Perhaps the Rice MOB was right when they said that Texas A&M joining the SEC would raise the collective IQ of both conferences. :)

On to happier things!

Civil Rights:
We stayed in Birmingham, about 60 miles from Tuscaloosa, because we didn't want to spend $1000 a night for a hotel room in Tuscaloosa. Turns out that Birmingham is a lovely small city, and the things we did there were quite enjoyable. St. Symeon Orthodox Church has an absolutely jaw dropping choir, there's a neat little natural food store where we got some road snacks (vegan chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, yum!), and very good Greek restaurant downtown. I told Chandler a time or two that if UNT ever plays Alabama-Birmingham I'd be interested in that just to visit the city again.

The highlight of the entire trip, however, was the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. This museum is fantastic. Gives you a really good idea of the history of Birmingham and how it relates to segregation and the civil rights movement. I think it may belong in the category of places every American should visit.

The museum is right across from this church, which you may or may not recognize as the church that was bombed by the KKK in 1963 killing four girls inside.

What's next?

On our way we went through Mississippi and were taken with how pretty it is. We may head out that way to see some of the Civil War and Civil Rights stuff there when I next have a break from school. We also spent the night in Memphis on the way to see Chandler's mother who's been sick and have discussed spending a weekend there for our anniversary. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Icon Corners: Leah

This is our friend Leah's icon corner. Ain't it a beaut? It's also the only picture of an icon corner I've gotten, so if you'd like yours featured, email a pic to me at ... please!

While I'm here, I think I'll put out a call for any experienced monastery visitors to let me tag along on their next trip so I can learn proper etiquette. There's lots of stuff that would be beneficial to me that I don't do because I fear committing a faux-pas, so someone take me!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I was a freshman in college when the terrorist attacks on 9/11 took place. I can't believe it's been 10 years. I was most likely at breakfast when the first plane hit and in calculus (yeah, I took an 8:00 AM calculus class) when the second plane hit. Truth be told, I was clueless as to what was happening until about 10:30 AM.

As the months went on and I got into the downloading illegal music scene (now I just go to YouTube), I got my hands on a song called "911" by D12 and Gorillaz. It became my anthem for the uncharted times. The anger in the song was palpable. I'm certainly not as angry now--I don't even think of revenge when I think of 9/11 but rather sadness--but in order to relive the pain and shock of the time, I knew I should share the song that was such a big part of my life. (Be advised of naughty language--it is a rap song, after all.)

The words that stuck with me the most: "Whoever that did this, we gonna get y'all."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Icon Corner: Orthodoxy's Awesomest Awesomeness

I love icon corners. Above you see my own. I like it formal, although I'm formulating plans for a little icon "nook" in our bedroom that would be much more ... hmm, what's a good word? ... haphazard.

 I got to thinking about icon corners today when I was looking at photos from Greece and saw this icon "room":
I like how it encompasses the whole room. That's a very peaceful-looking bedroom. Some icon corners are more ... well, more than others ...
(I think I have a headache.)

 ... but my favorite icon corner of all is this one:
Anyone want to send me pictures of their icon corners? I'd love to blog about them! Just send an email to

 I love the diversity of icon corners. Everyone's are so different. This has to be a highlight of being Orthodox.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More news

Wee Babekins (as Chris and I call Cami) has had her status updated. Please continue to pray.
From Christy: She is stable for the moment. They are going back & forth on whether to put her in a medical coma again. They believe the reason she quit breathing is due to a neurological issue. Her trach was clear, so there was not a "physical" reason for her to stop breathing. As of right this minute she is breathing on her own & satting in the 90's.
Pray for her parents Christy and Kevin as well. Goodness knows they need it too.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sad news

My favorite baby in the world that's not mine (not that I have any that are mine) is mighty sick again. Here's the post from Facebook:
This is a text I received from christy: Cami has been admitted to the PICU she is having a hard time keeping her oxygen levels up. When she breathes she is retracting. She has a horrible dry cough that is not productive. So she is unable to cough up the mucus and it's settling in her lungs. She isn't keeping her formula down either. She starts coughing turns purple and throws up......
Please say prayers for little Cami. :(

Newest news from christy They believe she has a viral infection. Her breathing sounds horrible & her sats are in the 70's & 80's w/o oxygen. She is satting low, she is dehydrated (from her vomiting), coughing horribly & having seizures