Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Although it heartens me to see anti-Bush sentiment slapped on the back of others' bumpers with increased frequency these days, am I the only one that feels so dismayed when this one comes into view?

I mean, it's clever and it's true... but damn, over two more years??? Really, I'm not going to go into a full-fledged rant. I generally keep my political self out of my blog but if ya'll had to live surrounded by those fucking "W: The President" stickers the way I have, perhaps you'd better understand my frustration.

This one, incidentally, is my favorite - it sums up my feelings quite nicely:


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Changing Perspective

For reasons unknown, I've received a handful of unsolicited opinions regarding my personality in the past two weeks:
One of my favorite friends in blogdom called me "flirty".

One of my closest friends in blogdom called me "chatty".

One of my favorite friends at work described me as having "some" of the traits of the so-called "Type A" personality.
What the hell, people? While I fully admit--and even embrace--that I am no longer the painfully shy freak I once was, chatty and flirty seem a bit much!

Exhibit A: I have spent much of my life as a wallflower, abhorring the thought of being the center of attention and liberally employing alcohol as a mechanism to overcome my extreme awkwardness in social situations. To this day, I often carefully edit my verbalizations so as not to elicit an unwelcome response from my audience. At times I also struggle to fill awkward silences when attempting to engage another in superficial conversation. Does that sound "chatty" to you?

Exhibit B: I have practiced serial monogamy throughout my adult life and consider loyalty to be one of my finest character traits. I have been largely successful at extricating myself from committed relationships prior to engaging in activities with others (in other words, I don't cheat). I would never, ever put myself in a position of destroying the relationship of others. Does that sound "flirty"?


Being in a healthy relationship has done wonders for my self-esteem. Truthfully, my shyness has been gradually eroded by repeated exposure to social situations (without the benefit of alcohol) as a function of my job, particularly since assuming the mantle of supervisor. Successful handling of difficult situations at work helped even more. I recognize, too, that my ingrained "I'm shy" self-perception needs tweaking. I no longer present with the quiet, shy, avoidant disposition that my mental refrain attempts to default to when the question of my personality arises. Good God, how can I reconcile not wanting to be the center of attention while in the midst of writing about myself on my blog? Oh, it's not an indefensible position: I can retort that I carefully select what I will reveal of myself here and take full advantage of the opportunity to edit, delete, and edit some more.

Sure, I commented that "I'm so turned on" by a well-written post over at neurotranscendence. I encouraged weese to show off her "cut" triceps. I even egged on that Gunslinger dude to show us just how sexy he is. *sigh* Maybe it's true: my sense of humor could be interpreted as "flirty." Ah, well. Consider the source. I have the incredible fortune to share my life with a truly remarkable woman. Rest assured, ladies (and certainly gentlemen): As amazing as you or your lovers may be, your relationships are safe from me.

While writing this post, I exclaimed to Suzanne that I simply did not "get" what my coworker meant by "some" Type A qualities. I went to to explore the meaning and synonyms of the term. I ask you, is being a perfectionist, or possessing slight OCD tendencies, considered "Type A"? I made a few more exclamations in my own defense. I might be assertive at work, but not aggressive! Suzanne, after attempting to soften the blow delivered by one of my most-frequently visited websites, finally advised, "Dont get all obsessive-compulsive over this."

I guess it's a little too late for that.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Bumpkin Kin

My last remaining grandparent, known conventionally enough as Grandma, passed away when I was 22. She died less than a year after her husband, Pop. I was six when Big Daddy died and nineteen when we lost Mam-maw. I don't actually have too many clear memories of Big Daddy, although attending his funeral at the ripe old age of six did make quite a lasting impression. Grandma and Pop were far more memorable to me. Daddy's side of the family were the redneck types that loved to watch the Cowboys, hunt deer, and drink. Many's the Thanksgiving I saw Uncle Walter "asleep" on the couch after killing a six-pack. And he still likes to laugh about the Christmas he played "pony" for me for what seemed like hours, and couldn't remember why he had rug-burns on his knees the following morning. Good old Uncle Walter.

I was the youngest of a small herd of cousins on my father’s side of the family. Aunt Peggy and Uncle Roy had two daughters so much older than me that they were more like aunts themselves than cousins. In fact, one of them had a son that was three months my elder. Aunt Joann and Uncle Walter had two adopted daughters that were supposedly biological sisters but were as different as night and day. Aunt Sue and Uncle Wil had one son; I was actually envious of his diabetes as a kid because whenever he came to visit he brought Diet Shastas that only he was allowed to drink. (I was also envious that he lived outside of Dallas, home to the much-celebrated Cowboys). And Daddy had my brothers and me.

We visited my grandparents' home just about once weekly, something I enjoyed even though the old man was hard of hearing and insisted on watching Hee-Haw at an insanely loud volume. Of course we also celebrated holidays there with the extended family. Grandma and Pop had lots of cards with which to play games or build card houses and lots of dominoes for creative efforts as well. Pop was an avid chewer of Juicy Fruit gum; he would hand out the occasional stick to us urchins when the mood struck him. He was also a pipe smoker and I can vividly recall him sitting on the deerskin chair on the screened porch, puffing away. I'm still irrationally fond of the smell of pipe tobacco. Pop mowed the land with a big-ass tractor that was so much fun to play on when not in use. He also maintained one heckuva big garden. I've never tasted macaroni and cheese or fresh green beans as good as Grandma's.

Grandma and Pop owned a lot of land in their itty-bitty town of 512 souls. Originally a cattleman and rice farmer, Pop gradually sold off chunks of his land until just a few acres remained around the homestead. The house was the only abode on a long road outside of what passed for "town," and was dark enough and creaky enough to be downright scary at night. Moss dangled lazily from the trees, creating a somewhat gloomy effect even on the brightest of days. Despite the isolation and aged appearance of the house, getting to spend the night at Grandma and Pop’s was always a treat. We had large family reunions under the tin shelter out in the yard every year right up until Pop died. I have so many memories of that house and yard: playing hide-and-seek and truth-or-dare with my cousins; hunting for Easter eggs; riding a horse for the first time; riding, and flipping, a three-wheeler for the first time; eating figs right off of the tree out front; and the awful image of a gutted deer suspended from a tree branch, its blood staining the ground.

From my earliest memories, Pop took a walk down their shale-and-dirt road every evening, cane in hand and cowboy hat on head. I loved his cane, too. Sometimes he'd crook you around the neck to pull you to him for a hug. He was such a sweet man. My dad is so like him physically. He's a sweetie, too. I once asked my mother how Daddy ended up so different from the rest of the "redneck" bunch on his side of the family. She said, "He was a redneck until I got a-hold of him."

These days I can see in Daddy just the slightest hint of, well, not redneck... hick, I suppose is a better word. And it just makes me love him that much more.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Five Oddities

Deb over at Life as a Parent "tagged" me to write about "5 weird things/habits" of mine. I consented to participate, but I'm breaking the rules and am not tagging five others. If you want to play, either here or on your own blog, feel free.
  1. I often eat foods I don't like (cooked carrots, for example) because I have a weird compulsion not to "waste" food. Or money. And because they're supposed to be good for me.

  2. I love all things small. Small equates to "neat" and "cute" in my world.

  3. I put salt on many, many foods, including apples, watermelon, pears, canteloupe, salad... oh, hell, the list of what I don't salt is shorter: ice cream, beer (and other alcoholic beverages,) bacon, and some fruits like cherries, nectarines, blueberries, and peaches.

  4. I tend to mislead people regarding my age. Unlike most folks, though, I imply that I am older than I actually am.

  5. I have a very slight curvature of my spine that results in shoulder/neck pain and greater "wear" on my left foot and footwear.
Now you know: I'm a hunchbacked, salt-eating, small-liking, icky-food-eating liar.