Knickers in a Twist

I don’t usually read our local paper, The Huntsville Times.  I don’t mean to offend but….It’s small—it doesn’t even go to press every day of the week—and it is thoroughly boring. So much so that I when I moved here I decided to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Yes, It takes quite a bite out of the wallet but its infinitely more interesting. It’s got substance.

Still we do get the local paper delivered every Sunday. When we moved to Alabama, it was my attempt to try to immerse myself in my new surroundings…the very one that Rocket-man dragged me to nearly kicking and screaming. It didn’t take long for me to quit reading it though; nothing in it held my interest and any local happenings I could get by word of mouth anyway. For reasons that escape me, Rocket-man still reads the local paper. He reads the WSJ too.

So yesterday morning as I was having my second cup of coffee, a headline from The Huntsville Times that was on the kitchen counter caught my eye: “Alabama, Auburn Suffer Heartbreaking Losses.”

We’re talking about football here folks. Seriously.

That got my knickers in a twist.


Syrian refugees

There is chaos erupting in Europe as thousands of Syrian refugees flood into places like Hungary, Germany and Sweden. In fact, according to World Vision ( nearly 12 million Syrians have been forced to flee from their homes in Syria and surrounding countries due to war. Even more devastating? Half of those numbers are children!  At least 240,000 people have been killed in Syria, including 12,000 children. Not to mention more than a million people wounded or permanently disfigured or disabled.

That is heartbreaking. 

Syrian Crisis

Syrian Crisis


The images on social media and in the news of refugees fleeing, fighting for the lives, living in destitution.  The dead toddler plucked from the ocean by an emergency responder (that image went viral last week); that is heartbreaking.

My friend just lost a long time friend—murdered—in a brutal attack at a metro station. That is heartbreaking.

I can think of a number of truly heartbreaking, tragic things happening on this planet. Football scores are nowhere on the list.

I share my thoughts later in the day with Rocket-man. We’re enjoying a leisurely walk with The Poodle before Rocket-man takes off again on business travel. I tell him what’s bugging me. It’s not the first time he’s heard me launch into a tirade against football.  He knows that I‘ll never be a fan of the sport.

“Can you see why headlines like that fuel my negativity about football?” I ask. “I mean, really! That’s all that seems to be important to people in this state!”

“I see your point,” says Rocket-man.

“Oh…I hear a “but” coming on,” I said.

“Well…yes,” he replied. “You’re absolutely correct. There are a lot more tragic things happening in the world. But think about the other side of the coin; its important to still live life…to have some fun.”

“That point is certainly not lost on me,” I replied, honestly trying to keep an edge out of my voice. “Of course we still need to enjoy life. Still, it irks me that folks here are more bonkers about football than, say, heroin-addicted newborns (also a disturbing, upward trend in Alabama) or the ravages of war and its impact on a global scale.”  I go on to point out that paper could have used a better choice of words, such as “disappointing” instead of “heartbreaking.  “Better yet, Alabama and Auburn’s loss didn’t need to be front page news.”

“You’re absolutely right,” Rocket-man said. He wrapped one arm around my waist and held me close as we finished our walk in silence.


Temporary Insanity

Auburn "Tigers" Rule

Auburn “Tigers” Rule

“Go, Go, GO,”  I yelled at the movie-theater-wide-screen T.V.  I’m out of the leather recliner seat I’m engulfed in, in our friends über cool entertainment room, jumping up and down.  With one second left on the clock Auburn scores the winning touchdown, clinching the SEC– West title.  I am clapping like a wild-woman and doing the victory dance.

Moments later I am downing a celebratory shot of Captain Morgan’s rum with eight other people, seven of whom I don’t know from Adam.  The other fifteen or so folks (also mostly strangers to me) weren’t so happy.  Most of them are sulking on their bar stools or other chairs in the huge family room.  One was hurling expletives but he’d had one too many.  I’m assuming that once he sobers up he’ll be nicer.  Sad….but nicer.

So I’ve got this feeling that those of you who know me are just a tad worried.  In fact, I’m sure you’re all scratching your heads:  What in the world has happened to Cristina?  Trust me folks….I don’t even recognize myself.  This is not Cristina.  I’ve never met this version of Cristina before in my life.   The Cristina I know positively does not like football.  Ask my hubby.  He’ll tell you in no uncertain terms; the game has been a source of many…um… disagreements…shall we say…between us.  Cristina also does not “do” shots….let alone shots of rum (well, only one time and that was during a trip to St. Thomas many moons ago).   I’m sure my mamma’s head is spinning and it wouldn’t be about the rum.  Mamma is like-minded about football.  We’re of the soccer ilk thank-you-very-much.  A tad more civilized, IMHO, than huge, over-inflated men wearing tight clothes, enormous helmets, and black paint on their faces crashing into and on top of one another forming one mountainous heap, over and over again… after a silly shaped little brown ball.

Yet there I was Saturday night….wearing an Auburn T-Shirt, cheering an Alabama football team (and a college one at that!) and eating tummy-upsetting “poison” party food.

It gets worse folks!

The night before I was at a Songwriters Series venue in downtown Huntsville. The series features the songwriters who penned country music songs that became hits.  Yep…country music.  I haven’t told my mamma about any of this mind you.  She’d likely want to send in the cavalry to rescue me from living in middle earth (I know one particular California friend for certain who wants me outta here!).  Or, mamma probably thinks I have been abducted by aliens and was experimented upon, then plopped back down into the city of Huntsville in the middle of the night with an entirely new alien-infected brain.


You see, I grew up on classical music: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart…etc.  And while my musical tastes have significantly broadened, particularly during my undergraduate years, it stopped abruptly short when it came to country.  Country music was…and still is for the most part… like nails on a chalkboard to me.  It’s that wretched slide guitar that makes my head want to explode.  I’m convinced that would be a better form of torture than water-boarding.  Moreover, country music lyrics are thoroughly depressing;  After two songs I feel like throwing myself off a bridge.

My Rocket-man hubby loves country music.  I usually have to ask him to switch stations when I get into his car because he’s listening to country.  Thankfully he complies in an instant….he loves me so!  When we moved to middle earth the first thing I did was search for a classical music station on the radio.  Good thing I didn’t have high expectations because I had no such luck.   This is middle-earth after all; no Trader Joe’s, no Whole Foods, no selling of the spirits on Sunday until after noon, etc.  Happily Spotify saved me; it’s made daily life here more enjoyable that’s for certain.


odd as it may sound (and it is thoroughly odd to me)….some country music is growing on me….kinda like mold.  Hubby would describe it as “boiling the frog” phenomenon.   In the seventeen months of living here I’ve  been to the Songwriter series a total of four times!  And on Friday, as I sat by my hubby enjoying a glass of wine, listening to the four songwriters sing their country tunes on stage, I’m shaking my head in wonder in a moment of reflection while toe-tapping to the guitar beat.  Yes indeed.  Rafe Van Hoy who wrote for LeAnn Rimes and Dwight Yoakam, among others, is going to town on his turquoise-colored electric guitar (that would be GEE-tar) and I am swaying back and forth to the beat.  Oh God.  Not only that, I went to a Trace Adkins concert and swooned like a school girl!  What’s up with that?

I’ll reiterate…I don’t recognize myself.  Oh My God…maybe I was abducted by aliens!  

Before long I’ll be wearing blue jean overalls! 

I fervently hope that if I get to that point my sis or my “Evil Twin” in Northern VA will force an intervention and slap me silly to my senses.

For now, I’ll plead temporary insanity to going nuts over a college football game.  It was ONE day folks.  Trust me….this WILL NOT happen again.

Well….”HOLY COW”…..

Not for another 364 days anyway.