Humans of Tennessee: Snow Day Edition

Humans of CHA

I know how ridiculous this outfit looks but it’s actually a mosaic of all the places I have lived. Starting with the hat, which my old man calls a “stockin’ cap,”–I bought this at a high school football game for, like, $4. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and my grandfathers, dad, some of my uncles went to this high school for boys. St. Ignatius is a real Cleveland institution, but I used to call it St. Ego-natius because every guy who went there thought he was God’s gift to the girls at my all-girls high school. I’m pretty sure I was bitter because I was a super homely kid that no one ever invited to a dance. Anyway. The gray coat I bought at T.J. Maxx when I was pregnant with my son and my other winter coat no longer fit. I literally bought it, put it on, and stuffed the other one in the Goodwill bin on my way to pick up my daughter at daycare.The mis-matching gloves are from the rag bag in our family closet. I gave the matching ones to my kids who are off school today. My favorite part of this outfit is the Carhartt overalls, which my old man bought for me for my birthday at the Boot Box in Meadville, Pennsylvania. So many good memories in these overalls. I went to college in Meadville and this is where I first really fell in love with the outdoors. Many of my friends were environmental studies majors and they were always going backpacking or rockclimbing. One of these friends, Jeff, told me the first time I wore the Carhartts that they were a disgrace and I needed to drag them behind a truck and get them weathered. I still laugh about that because the next time I wore the Carhartts was on a camping trip with my boyfriend. We got utterly lost and had to sleep on the forest floor without a match between us. It was freezing and we could have lost limbs. But I married him anyway.

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So then I looked up from the massage chair and I saw

This afternoon saw me with no office hours. A full 1.5 hour window with no claims on my time. Simple pleasure.

My back had been hurting and because I am now a woman of a certain age, I am pretty much one ache away from walking with the Dowager Countess’ cane unless I do beaucoup stretching or get a massage.


I sought out one of those chair massage places in the mall where you don’t need an appointment.

A very brawny woman, presumably Chinese, smiled when I pointed to the 22 minute chair massage on their menu of services. She led me behind two Asian screens to an area where there were several very weathered looking massage chairs. She put a paper towel over the face pillow with the doughnut hole in the middle. My back hurt so much; this was no time for luxury. She told me to sit down and she put my purse on the rung of the massage chair.

The massage began well. Knots were starting to unravel. I was entering the happy place, forgetting that if someone wanted to steal my purse from right under my nose, they could literally do so.

At about minute 15, things started to get really awkward. The pressure started to get strong and then fierce. The massage therapist was punching me. She was punching my backside. She was punching like if you wanted to hurt somebody.

Then it was over. And, honestly, I was feeling rejuvenated and all-around better.

Until I opened my eyes and saw my massage therapist. It was Yao Ming.

Or at least his Tennessee doppelganger.

It was a bizarre bait and switch and I have no idea how it was achieved. I was certain a female therapist had started off the treatment. I have no idea when Yao Ming took over or who did rear-punching treatment but later when I was watching Little Man’s gymnastics class, my toosh felt incredibly sore.

I have an appointment for another massage later this month. There is sure to be one massage table. One door. One masseuse. It’s going to be so boring. And by boring, I mean awesome.

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Review: Old Fashioned #oldfashionedmovie

I am probably too medicated to have been able to cry at all the right parts in the indie film “Old Fashioned.

Oh, don’t say that, they will say. Don’t cop to your being medicated. That doesn’t reflect well on Christianity. You should be able to pray away all your depression and anxiety….

I know I run a risk in reviewing a film that is Christian-themed. I might align myself with the more-righteous-than-thou who decry my meds. I might also align myself with the fanwagoners who try to pack the theaters when any faith-based film projects onto a silver screen.

The cool thing about Old Fashioned, which several of my colleagues helped to direct and produce, is that it is a film that is so counter-cultural, it is effectively without niche. It is not a Kirk Cameron morality tale. It is not a saccharine rom-com with Nicholas Sparks-caliber lines.

Old Fashioned is, on the surface, a sweet romantic tale about a born-again believer man who has grown a tad curmudgeonly in his set apart ways, and the attractive tenant who moves in above his antique store. The romance spools slowly and sweetly. As each character unpacks his and her personal histories, we see their fine lines and their friction.

But Old Fashioned is also about a larger love story. The film is an allegory for the Gospel, about how a perfect God came to offer a perfect love in a broken world. There are moments in Old Fashioned, whose lighting is perfect and whose soundwork is really strong, that crystallize perfectly the way divine grace is offered freely, and how we reject it and fail to offer it to each other in the form of forgiveness.

Old Fashioned is not a perfect movie. At times the script felt a little uneven to me.  Sometimes scenes where body language and facial expressions were totally winning felt a little squandered because the dialogue bordered on the preachy. But it is a good film with solid performances and a wonderful message for the righteous, the proud, the hypocritical, dastardly, wicked and vain. And even the overly medicated.

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