Thursday, October 23, 2008

The University of the South, Sewanee, TN

One of the places visited while in TN was the University of the South, known by many as "Sewanee" denoting its geographical location. A small private liberal arts university (which also has a seminary on the campus where my father attended classes years ago when I was in second grade) was formerly an all-male university. In the early 1970s, the university became co-ed.

While the university and town have remained small, there have been a few signs of growth (including an interstate which didn't exist when I lived in the area as a child.) Several coffee shops now are in the area (we visited two of them, Lorena's in nearby Monteagle and The Blue Chair on the edge of the campus.) Both we enjoyed and frequented while there. We plan to return in the future. Another coffee shop on the campus, Stirling's, was closed due to a week-long break for the university.

What was an additional new discovery since our last trip to the area a decade ago is about something that has become a bit of a controversy. The Chancellor of the university will not allow the university seal to be used on very many items for sale, with the belief (or so I'm told) that selling t-shirts with the university seal (something we purchased on our last trip there and hoped to purchase again) somehow degrades the university. I was flummoxed at learning about this from bookstore personnel. It's not like I'm approving of the sale of the university seal on toilet seats, rugs, blankets, etc. But even keychains and other jewelry except class rings, appear to be a without a seal available in the bookstore. The bookstore personnel are as confused by this as I am.

The university has had its share of controversy over the years it has been in existence. It went co-ed as I mentioned, after having been founded as an all-male college in the 1850s. The seminary became somewhat liberal in the 1960-70 decade in terms of anti-war sentiments (making conservative students and alumni rather aggravated, my father being one of those.) In recent years, I've learned that the very name "The University of the South" is seldom used now and reference is made to it as "Sewanee" due to people from outside the South being disturbed by the notation of the "South" in the title (despite the fact it IS in a southern state.)

The university's roots in terms of architecture and original structure are related to Oxford University in England. Sometimes Sewanee is referred to as "The Oxford of the South."

While I still love the place, I did register a complaint with the Vice-Chancellor's office while there regarding the removal of the seal from certain articles for sale in the bookstore, such as the aforementioned t-shirts. It just doesn't make sense to me. Sometimes the small extroverted side of me flares up and this was one of those occasions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Home Again

Back from our vacation trip to TN, arriving home late yesterday afternoon. It was VERY hard to come back home. This was not a "let's just go to TN" sort of trip. This was a "scouting trip" to see if we might actually relocate there in a few years (meanwhile going there to visit.) It's a long drive from where we live, but I still have not come down "off the mountain" as it is. I have a few more days of rest until returning to work. Now if I could just get my brain and/or heart back here where I live. Part of the reason we visited where we did is because I spent a year of my childhood in TN as my father attended classes at a university there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On the road again....With some sorrow

Husband and I will be headed out for vacation early tomorrow. One of the hardest things about going on vacation (besides the preparations and traveling to the destination) is leaving our furkids behind. We have quite a menagerie of four-legged "beasties." The cats are fine at home alone (or actually with each other) and an adequate supply of food and water is provided for them (as well as the initially clean litter boxes.) Unfortunately, the dogs have to go to the vet clinic for boarding due to their particular needs. I have searched everywhere for someone willing to "pet sit" but there appears to be no one in my town. So, it is with a heavy heart that I leave them penned up at the clinic.

One of the things I marvel at is how QUIET the house becomes when the canine furkids are boarded. It's got to be the equivalent of having kids grow up and move out of the house. I guess, childless couple that we are (by choice), it is the closest we come to the "empty nest" experience.

The cats will no doubt bug us when we get ready to walk out the door early tomorrow, but it's not the same as with the dogs. Cats are usually more low-key about such things as being left alone.

One of our beloved elderly canines disappeared about ten days ago (small Yorkie) somehow managing to get out of a well-watched (and fenced) backyard. It is troubling that despite plenty of ID attached (including an embedded microchip) we have been unable to locate him. Several people have called in reference to an ad we placed in the local paper, but they have been in regard to other dogs spotted roaming a neighborhood.

My suspicion is that the little Yorkie has gone someplace quiet to leave this life behind and did not want us to find him. I understand from past experience and talking with others regarding pet loss that sometimes elderly pets will go somewhere they can't be found, to die. People who do not equate pets with the same love as a human, don't understand the feeling of loss. Others know well about the phrase "The Rainbow Bridge" pets cross at the end of their life here on earth.

No matter how many pets have passed through my life (and there have been plenty,) I still mourn the loss of each one. Even if it was their "time to go."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Perhaps this is why I'm viewed as an Extrovert by some

How to Go from Introvert to Extrovert

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

If you're an introvert, how do you balance the introvert and extrovert parts of yourself, such that you enjoy both types of activities equally, rather than looking forward to one and dreading the other? If you’re very introverted, you may undervalue the positive role people can play in your life, such as knowledge, friendship, growth, laughter, and so on. The optimal outcome is to strike a balance between the two and become an ambivert, or someone who enjoys social interaction and solitude equally.


  1. Stop undervaluing extroversion. Spending time alone and with people are equally important. You don’t have to give up the introvert activities you enjoy. In fact, when you balance them with more social activities, you’ll probably find them even more satisfying. After several nights of being around people, you might really look forward to a night by yourself to read, meditate, write, etc. And after lots of time alone or with your family, you might find yourself itching to go out and be around other people. Introversion has its benefits, which you're probably already familiar with, but have you thought about how your life could be more fulfilling if you included more people in it?
    • Enhance your career - By networking, you have more job opportunities available to you, and you're more likely to get a position that gives you the experience and/or package you prefer. Whether we like it or not, there's some truth to the phrase "It's not what you know, it's who you know".
    • Find your soulmate - If you have trouble meeting someone who's compatible with you, then expanding your circle of friends will increase the probability of meeting that special someone. And when you do meet him or her, social skills will help you tremendously in turning an acquaintance into a relationship.

  2. Envision the type of extrovert you’d like to be. If you find the extroverted people around you shallow and perhaps even annoying, why would you want to be more like them? You wouldn’t. Maybe your vision of an extrovert is an in-your-face salesperson who only wants to build a shallow relationship with you so they could sell you something. But you needn’t choose such a limited vision for yourself — you’re free to form your own vision of a positive way to be more extroverted. You can be an extrovert who builds genuine relationships with intelligent people you respect (as opposed to random, shallow socializing).
  3. Find the right social group for you. Why would you want to spend more time with people you don’t like? If becoming more extroverted means spending more time with people you’d rather avoid, you’ll have no motivation to do it. Again, you’re free to break this pattern and form a social group that you’d love to be a part of. Consciously consider the types of people you’d want to have as friends. There’s no rule that says this has to be your peers or co-workers. Don’t be afraid to stretch beyond the most obvious peer group and hang out with people from different ages, neighborhoods, cultures, countries, etc. You might find the variety to be a lot of fun.
  4. Develop your social skills. One reason introverts shy away from social activities is that they don’t feel comfortable because they don’t know what to do, especially if the unexpected were to occur. Being able to start up a conversation with a stranger AND feel completely comfortable doing it is a learnable skill. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Embrace the fact that you’re a beginner, and don’t compare yourself to others. You don’t need to be shallow and manipulative about it, but genuinely build these skills because it will greatly enhance your life. One approach you might find extremely effective is to ask the other person how s/he got started in his/her current line of work. 80-90% of the time the person will say something like, “Well, that’s an interesting story….” And you might genuinely like hearing these stories. A small basic set of social skills can go a long way because you’ll get to reuse them every time you meet someone. Approach your social abilities the way a student would approach a class, or an athlete would approach a sport. Do your homework, give yourself assignments, and test yourself until you get it right:

  5. Take your social life offline. Online socializing has its place in your life, but it’s a pale shadow compared to face-to-face, belly-to-belly communication. Voice and body language can communicate a lot more than text, and emotional bonds are easier and faster to establish in person. You don’t have to do away with online socializing, but don’t allow it to crowd out meeting people locally. If you do that, you’ll only cause your interpersonal skills to lag further behind. Instead, see if you can use the Internet as a starting point for real life friendships. Many introverts have no trouble socializing online. In that environment they’re able to play from their strengths. But you can also use your strengths consciously as leverage to branch out into more face-to-face socializing. If you use forums, for example, focus on local ones and search for opportunities to meet up offline.
  6. Join a club. It’s old advice, but it still works. The advantage is that you’ll find people who share similar interests, which makes it easier to build new relationships. One good club can fill your social calendar. If you join a club and find that it’s not right for you, quit and join something else. You may go through a number of local social groups that just don't resonate with you (too boring, too slow, too disorganized, too many alcoholics). But one good group is all you need.
    • Join or start a book club. This is a great way to turn a solitary activity into a social one.
    • Join a band. If you play an instrument or sing, find a group you can harmonize with. Not only will you meet them, but if your band gets really good, people will introduce themselves to you.
    • Join Mensa. Having trouble finding people who can hold a conversation with you? This might be your ticket to friendship.

  7. Think of relationships in terms of what you can give, not in terms of what you can get. If you seek to build new relationships based on mutual giving and receiving, you’ll have no shortage of friends. Identify people with whom you’d like to build a relationship, and start by giving. For instance, geeky knowledge is actually a tremendous strength when it comes to socializing because there are an awful lot of non-geeks who’d like to understand geeky stuff better, and you can explain it to them in ways they’ll understand. Think about it: What can you bring to a relationship that will be of benefit to someone else? When you figure out what that is (and it’s probably many different things), you’ll have an easier time attracting new friends into your life.


  • Being introverted is not the same as being shy. An introvert genuinely enjoys solitary activities more than social ones, whereas someone who's shy stays away from social situations because of fear and anxiety. If you're someone who wants to talk to people and socialize but feel paralyzed, or if you don't feel self-confident, you're probably grappling with shyness. Take a look at How to Overcome Shyness.


Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

At least I'm consistent: I'm still an INFP(Introvert, Intuitive,Feeling,Perceptive)

Seems like no matter how many times I take this test, I come out the same.Thanks to Eileen the Episcopalifem blogger for helping me find this link.

INFP - "Questor". High capacity for caring. Emotional face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 4.4% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The countdown begins!

In less than a week, I'll be heading for vacation. I'll finally get to see some Fall color (I hope) and look forward to returning to one of my childhood homes. In fact, probably the favorite home of my childhood. Just wish I could return there year round!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yom Kippur begins at Sundown

Tonight is the beginning of Yom Kippur, a solemn day in the Jewish calendar. It also is the conclusion of the days known as "The High Holidays" or "Holy Days" to Jews around the world (which began with Rosh Hashana.) May we all find peace throughout the world very soon.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blue Merlot Rocks!

Went to the local Arts and Crafts festival, and my ears pricked up! BLUE MERLOT! I went searching for the origin of the sound, figuring it was just a CD playing at the festival and...There were two members of the band, Blue Merlot (yes, it was a CD I heard, but two of the members were "warming up.") One, I'm happy (and honored) to call a friend: Brenda Lowery, who is gifted in so many ways. Music is one of her passions, but she also wears other professional and personal "hats." How can one person have so much energy?? I had not seen her since one of the band members, Joshua "Bubba" Murrell won a Grammy. If you've never heard them, go to and sample their music! One of my favorite songs by them is "Big Ovaries."

(Photos courtesy of Blue Merlot Website)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

In the Midst of a Holiday: The Jewish New Year

To all my Jewish readers (if you're out there) and the Jewish community I know and love (though I am no longer a member, you remain in my heart): L'Shanah Tovah!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oy! My Aching Head!

It didn't start with the jack hammering/drilling that has been going on outside my residence in recent days, but for a few days now, I've had a persistent headache. Fortunately, this afternoon it slacked off. While it felt like it might be what some people describe as a migraine type, I'm not exactly sure how a migraine feels, because those who have described their misery have had such headaches over an extended period of time and I haven't. This headache, however, is one those few times I've had an excruciating one that has made me sensitive to light and sound (two things migraine sufferers have told me about.) My usual go-to pain relief medication for headaches didn't even stop the pain. The pain migrated to other areas of my body, so I'm guessing I can't say this was "all in my head."