Friday, June 19, 2009

He wears a lot of hats.

This here, my friends, is the man who brought me into this world.

Later, I am sure on several occasions he thought about taking me back OUT of this world, and then thought, “Oh yeah. I am the man posing with a Budweiser in my swim trunks. Must be dominant genes.”

He has not sobered with age.

When I was little, I thought he was the coolest man ever, and I will tell you why. My Uncle Jack, husband of the great and ornery Aunt Marian, owned a concrete yard, which el Padre managed. After Uncle Jack’s death in 1981, Dad sort of inherited his office, which included a wet bar, a speakerphone under the desk, a dumbwaiter to send memos back and forth from the main office below, and his chair could swivel around from the desk and look out the window.

My dad was J.R. Ewing. Just not as skinny and he never hung out with Barbara Eden.

So down from the main office, there was a little building we called the “yard office,” on top of which was a giant cooler. During the fall, one could ride up on a forklift, open the giant cooler, and choose which big honking deer to take down and have processed. Which I supposed is perhaps a little weird, but very cool to a kindergartener. At least this one.

My dad was Pa Ingalls. Except with modern day things like refrigeration.

But here’s my favorite story. One day Dad says he wants to take me to a movie, which I thought was kind of odd, because movies were usually something the five of us did together, or else something we did with Mom and one or another of our buddies. Plus, we had to go to Atlanta, which I totally did not understand. We have a perfectly good theatre here, who wants to ride an hour to see a movie? And I had to dress up.

So the next day, I went to work with Dad, and after his day finished we get in the car and head to Atlanta, where we went to the Varsity and Dad told old stories about his high school days in Atlanta and old car-hops like the illustrious Flossie Mae. I started to feel pretty important.

Then we go downtown, and the magic began. I had no idea what the Fox Theatre was! There was a 50th Anniversary release of Gone With the Wind, a movie with which I had fallen in love. (I recently rewatched it and it had lost a great deal of its former luster, which makes me kind of sad yet very progressive.) But the movie paled in comparison to the Fox Theatre.

I had never seen anything like it. It was beautiful. Even the bathrooms were beautiful. Each room we passed through was even more opulent than the last. And the ceiling….oh, that ceiling. I couldn’t even pay half attention to the movie because I had to keep an eye on the clouds passing overhead! Were those REAL clouds? Wasn’t there a roof? It looked like there was a roof from the outside, but how do they have real stars twinkling on the ceiling?

Oh, I was mesmerized. Even Scarlett and her trials and tribulations and lyin; stealin’ cheatin’ and killin’ could not compete with that theatre.

So, in addition to being J.R. Ewing and Pa Ingalls, my Dad was also Gerald O’Hara.
But he really didn’t have to be any of those people, because he’s my Dad.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is Proustian like Faustian? I hope not.

So. My Northern alter-ego, Layne over at Layne Street, tagged me in a blog survey. However, I was already halfway through this post, so since I think it covers both a post and a survey, it’s going to work for both today.

Each month, Vanity Fair uses the following questionnaire for their back page. Lest you think I am fashionable enough to read Vanity Fair, I stumbled onto this in a random series of events that began with John Cusack. Here is what Vanity Fair says:

The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Here is the basic Proust Questionnaire.

Have I explained well enough that I did not write this? Vanity Fair wrote this? Good.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? I’m not quite sure. Pete, Disney World, a big fat novel and fried dill pickles would play a part in it, though.
2. What is your greatest fear? My credit score.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Also my credit score. And my total lack of willpower.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Self-Importance. Not confidence, but diva-like behavior.
5. Which living person do you most admire? Is it bad that I can’t think of one? All the people popping into my head are dead. I need a new hero.
6. What is your greatest extravagance? Books. Not in monetary cost, but in time spent indulging my addiction.
7. What is your current state of mind? New York. What? You don’t like Billy Joel?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? An overabundance of virtue. You have to be a little bad to appreciate being – well- virtuous.
9. On what occasion do you lie? Okay. Sometimes, but not often, I use The Todd’s well-known aversion to parties to get out of ones I don’t want to attend.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance? Baby Sister and I have both inherited Aunt Marian’s unfortunate linebacker ribcage.
11. Which living person do you most despise? Oddly, unlike #5, I had an immediate answer…which I won’t share.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man? Staying away from the obvious….a really great vocabulary. Beat me at Scrabble and I am yours forever. The Todd reads faster than me and I find it WAY hot.
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman? A love for overanalyzation and a hint of sarcasm.
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Either “Rock my face off” or “waste of flesh” depending on my mood.
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? You would think The Todd, but you would be wrong. It’s the Incredible Hulk. First love never dies.
16. When and where were you happiest? Over this past weekend the girls and I went to Callaway Gardens to the beach. It wasn’t too hot and there were geese roaming the crowd. That was pretty stellar in itself.
17. Which talent would you most like to have? So. My friend Tessa learned how to play the cello while we were all taking piano. Tessa won much of her college tuition playing the cello. Tessa makes bank playing for weddings and symphonies. Tessa has recorded at a renowned studio, randomly sat-in with bands in Atlanta, and plays with some local bands regularly. And she loves it. Who’s teaching my kids the cello? Tessa.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Um, I would play the cello.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? I finished my untenably long quest for a diploma and started taking Zumba in the same year. What else do you require?
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A library book. But it would have to be a library, as opposed to a bookstore book.
21. Where would you most like to live? Hey, I have a brand spanking new diploma. I can live wherever the wind blows.
22. What is your most treasured possession? The Land of Cheese. (It’s a painting my folks had in their living room. It’s wonderfully hideous.)
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The point where misery becomes the status quo and you don’t realize there are other states of mind.
24. What is your favorite occupation? The chick who swims with the dolphins at Sea World. That would rock. Also - a children’s librarian, for one that I would actually pursue.
25. What is your most marked characteristic? Overanalyzation.
26. What do you most value in your friends? Laundry Rooms. Just kidding.
27. Who are your favorite writers? Pat Conroy and Maud Hart Lovelace. And Audrey Niffenegger.
28. Who is your hero of fiction? As a child, Betsy Ray (The Betsy-Tacy Series – Lovelace). As an adult, Clare DeTamble (The Time Traveler’s Wife – Neffenegger – and I highly, HIGHLY encourage you to read it.)
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Madeleine.
30. Who are your heroes in real life? Little old people at the grocery store that still hold hands and Mr. Calvin, my boss’ father.
31. What are your favorite names? How long do you have? Have we covered my love for Jemima?
32. What is it that you most dislike? Peanut Butter and granddaddy-longlegs.
33. What is your greatest regret? The amount of money I have wasted on overdraft fees in my lifetime.
34. How would you like to die? In my sleep, after having a great supper, finishing a good book, then kissing my man goodnight.
35. What is your motto? Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8) Also – “What goes around comes around” because my mama said so.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Three Stories, One Post.

How do you say “collegiate” in South Asian?

Remember me? I know….I’ve been a slacker. But it’s not without good reason. I have become (drumroll) a college graduate, after a long 12-year trek to a degree. Yes, slack, thy name is Jamie. What can I say? I just like to work, not school.

People have been congratulating me about the whole graduation thing, which really sort of makes me uncomfortable. (Unless there is cash gift involved. Those are always welcome.) I took SO LONG to finally get in gear and finish school that I really just wanted it to be a non-event. Example? I had the school mail me my diploma so that I didn’t have to walk. So I was pretty relieved to run into a buddy downtown last week and have him just lay it on the line. He asked what I had been doing, I said graduating, and he said…

“Well, hell, you’ve been going since Vietnam!”

Why I don’t cut hair.

We have previously discussed my inability to fix hair. I have long, vaguely straight hair. It has three styles: down, ponytail, and bun-with-pencil. Today I have a barrette on either side a la Natalie from The Facts of Life and I thought I was branching out.

Why then, you ask, did I think I could groom my dog? Because (Bachelor’s Degree notwithstanding) I am a fool. As is my boyfriend. The Todd has started shaving his head because he is, in his words, “follically challenged.” So he’s been living vicariously through Trey, our three-legged mutt. On the side of Trey’s missing leg, he (obviously) can’t scratch himself, and he gets sort of dreaded. Not dreaded as in “fear of the Dread Pirate Roberts” but dreaded as in “Dreaded Reggae legend Bob Marley.” The Todd thinks the dreads are cute and refuses to let me cut them.

We live in GA. It’s hot. The dog has DREADLOCKS. He is miserable. So miserable, in fact, that I come home and find he has chewed off what I am told was the “best” dread. I had reached the limit. I went to the magical place that is Wally World and purchased an entire deluxe pet grooming kit. Heavy duty. Some sort of carbon steel. And a DVD to show me how all this was going to go down.

If you ever find yourself in this type of predicament, let me advise you to do what I say, not what I do, and watch the DVD.

I thought I could just put a guard and the blade and go to town. Not such a good idea, it turns out. Trey is usually (except for the dreadlocks and missing leg) a silky, fluffy, pretty sort of dog. Now he looks like he has the mange. I wish I had a picture.

Blogger Etiquette.

So last week we had dinner for Angie’s “Dirty Thirty” birthday, and I got myself into a pickle. I never think I am going to see the people who write the blogs I read. Even though I live in Mayberry, GA and everyone knows everyone else. Even though I stumbled onto this particular blog through the blog of a MUTUAL FRIEND.

I love photography blogs. LOVE them. Especially the more modern ideas on wedding and baby and family photography that are common today. Growing up, everyone I knew was pretty much just the Olin Mills and Church Directory photo type, so I love that all these little families now are getting professional photo shoots done. Maybe when Trey’s mangey look grows out, The Todd and I should think about some family pictures.

Anyhow, there’s this lady in town who has a photography blog. It’s called Linden Tree Photography and she’s really great and there’s a link to her site over on the right hand side of the page. So after the Dirty Thirty dinner, we were all standing outside and I saw the Linden Tree Photography lady and her husband walking towards us and I totally stopped her and was all, “I love your blog” and went on and on as if she was Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb. Pretty sure I looked like a freak. But if I ever have a photo shoot to do, she’s my top pick. So, sorry, Linden Tree Lady, if I offended you.

Have you ever had someone stop you and mention your blog? Does it freak you out (or did it freak you out when you were first writing) when you realized that people you didn’t know or didn’t think would see it were reading it?

My boss called me not too long ago at the office and asked me the address of my blog. (He’s read it. Luckily, I don’t have a boss I have to censor for. Much.) So I gave it to him, and then asked why. He was giving it to a friend of his…..who happens to be the company’s lawyer. I still haven’t figured out if he was passing it to the lawyer for some enjoyable reading or making sure I wasn’t going to get the company in any trouble.

Oh well, if he says anything mean about it, I’ll offer to cut his dog’s hair.