Musings from a promise-collector

Archive for the ‘Life in the South from a Northerner’s Perspective’ Category

Thankful Thursdays

This Thursday I am thankful for:

1. Dutch letters! Oh, they are the most wonderful confection.
I get them only once or twice a year, but they are wonderful… especially the ones that come from my cousin’s world-famous bakery (Jaarsma’s) in Pella,Iowa. While I was home last weekend, I got to partake of their flaky goodness, and rich almond paste centers. (Am I making you drool yet??)


Pineapple Delight

I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with some of my friends from Fellowship Church. We had an “It’s Not Easy Being Green” party, where everything was green-themed, including the food. So for my food items, I brought a fruit salad made entirely of green fruits (grapes, kiwis, Granny Smith apples, and pears) and Pineapple Delight (also known as Men’s Delight).

Pineapple Delight is what you would call a “salad” in the Midwest, meaning that it is usually Jell-O based and has some type of fruit in it. This is one of my favorite salads – I remember my great-grandmother making it for holidays. And it is very easy to make.


Birds of Tennessee

This winter and spring I have noticed many differences and similarities in the birds between Illinois and Tennessee. The two states have many birds in common, including the Cardnial, Bluejay, Robin, Mourning Dove, Goldfinches, and many other small Finches.

Goldfinch (Photo Source)


A Day With Flat Stanley

Last week in the mail I received a Flat Stanley from a friend’s 2nd grade son in South Dakota. If you have never heard of Flat Stanley, you should check out the synopsis on Wikipedia. I spent Saturday afternoon in downtown Knoxville with my friend Theresa, showing Flat Stanley all of the sites. Here are some of the highlights:

First we showed him Market Square – this is a great place to hang out. There are restaurants and cute little shops. In the summer, they play free movies in the square; in the winter there is an ice skating rink.


Rocky Top

Having lived in Knoxville now for the better part of a year, I have come to learn that there is a song that every Tennessee resident must know how to sing. I have heard it everywhere, particularly at concerts and other large events (including outdoor church services), and includes boisterous singing by all. It is especially known for being the unofficial fight song of the University of Tennessee.

Of course, wanting to be a good Tennessee resident, I looked up the song on YouTube and have been listening to it and reading the lyrics to make sure that I can sing along next time I find myself in the midst of a “Rocky Top” sing-a-long. (more…)

Road Impatience

Road rage is an aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other motor vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions which result in injuries and even deaths. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving.” (As stated by Wikipedia.)

I learned to drive in a very small town where the only thing that ever slowed traffic down was a tractor putzing down the middle of the road. I was also taught to drive in an Astro mini van; not exactly top-of-the-line in performance ability. (more…)

Northern Verbiage

Since writing about the Southern Verbiage (see here and here) that I have learned since moving from Illinois to Tennessee, I thought it only fitting that I write about some of the words and phrases that are common to the North.

pop/soda (n.) – any soft drink, different areas of the North use one term or the other exclusively, either side convinced that their word of choice is the correct word

bubbler (n.) – nickname for a drinking fountain; term used to describe how the water bubbles up out of the fountain; term used only in a small pocket of Wisconsin

Want to go with? (example phrase) – common phrase used that ends with a proposition (more…)

Southern Verbiage, Part 2

I have learned a few more southern words and phrases since my post about Southern Verbiage that I want to share. Enjoy!

might could/maybe could (v.) – an expression of willingness to perform some task; example: “Well I might could drop that off for ya tomorrow.”

Slap your mama! (phrase) – used to express enjoyment, something good; example: “Those crawfish were slap your mama good!” (more…)

Sliding Down Western Avenue

My alarm went off at 7:00am this morning. I checked Facebook, and sure enough, there was an email saying our Habitat for Humanity project was delayed until 10:00. I assumed this would happen because it snowed a little last night, maybe an inch or two. I decided to take full advantage of the delay, and went straight back to sleep in my warm bed.

I heard my alarm once more at 9:00am. I rechecked Facebook and as there were no new updates, I got up and got ready to go paint. You may think I’m strange, but I really do enjoy painting. Heading outside, I noted that it didn’t feel terribly cold; it felt like the snow would melt by mid-day. I quickly brushed off the inconsequential accumulation of snow on my car and drove off towards I-40. The roads were completely clear, just a little wet. The snow that had fallen was confined to the yards and foliage. I chuckled to myself as I thought about what it takes in northern Illinois for anything to get delayed or canceled. However, I figured, the roads could have been snow-covered until just recently, when it could have started melting off the roads. And I wouldn’t want any of my friends out on the roads if they were icy. (more…)

The Most Beautiful Snowfall

I am watching what is arguably the most beautiful snowfall, at least that I have ever seen.  They are falling so gently and softly. Everything on the ground is being tucked in under a large fluffy white quilt. It makes me want to put on my mittens and go outside and play in it! Or, maybe just curl up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm kitty, then sit back and enjoy the miracle of God’s creation. (more…)

Oh the Weather Outside Is Frightful… Wait, No It Isn’t!

It is January 3. Where I’m from in Illinois, it is pretty cold by this time of the year. So cold, that the highs typically do not even reach up to the freezing point. In fact, their weather forecast for the next week is only in the 20s (in Fahrenheit). Which, actually isn’t too bad – it could be a lot worse. Anyone care for some -30 weather??

However, I live in Tennessee now. I am wearing a light sweater. I went outside without a coat. The highs for the next week are in the mid 40s.There is not a single flake of snow to be found. (more…)

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