Other Wind
13 / September13 / September13 / September

Three times now I have screwed off the cap of my diet coke to discover that I’ve won a free liter of coke product. The first time, I carried the cap around in my purse for several weeks with false hopes that I would remember to use it. The second, I forgot about my lucky win before I even finished the bottle and threw the cap away. The third time, yesterday, I managed to remember to keep the cap, although I still haven’t figured out where I can find a one liter coke product.

At the Coldplay concert in Charlotte on Friday night, we were told that we could only take our bottled water into the amphitheater if we let the bag searchers take the caps off. We obliged, but I thought the request was very odd. Ben suggested that maybe they were afraid we’d use the bottles as weapons, and that with the caps off, the bottles would be much less dangerous. That is the only explanation the three of us could reason out. If we were correct, the event managers were being very wise. I was just aching to throttle someone with my luke-warm Aquafina (maybe even Chris Martin, from our blanket way up on the lawn, were he to hit a sour note).

Bottlecaps are (probably) my favorite junk candy. However, the last box I purchased was old and the caps were hard, especially the coke and root beer ones. Almost none of them dissolved into that nice little soda-esque powder my tongue has come to love.

I think I sense a trend.

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13 / September13 / September13 / September

Tintin to Snowy in The Adventures of Tintin: The Black Island

“I’ll Come. But woe betide you if it’s just another bone.”

I’ve been thumbing through a friend’s copy of this little adventure, and I must say, I hope to incorporate the phrase “woe betide you” into most of my curses from now on.

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09 / September09 / September09 / September

My only purchase at Dragon Con, a signed and numbered print by Jeffrey Jones called Blind Narcissus:

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09 / September09 / September09 / September

For now, I won’t say much about Dragon Con 2005 since David has pretty much covered it. I even enjoyed Tricia Helfer as much as he did. OK, probably not as much. We were together almost the entire time, except when I slipped out of the Connor Trineer session to hear Robert Jordan and his wife. I didn’t stay long, for I realized that as much as I enjoy the Wheel of Time books, Connor Trineer just grabs me more in person.

My favorite part of the event besides all that was probably this. His adam’s apple is bigger than my wrist. I’m not even a “super muscles” kind of gal, but he was just so striking in person. If I lived in a medieval village, I’d want him to be my neighbor. I wish I could find a picture of his chainmail costume, but alas, it is late and I must sleep. (I will post one if I ever come across it. I should have snapped my own, but I was too shy to ask. I repeat, I was too shy to ask a guy standing around for dozens of cameras if I could have his picture.)

David and I plan to start working out soon.

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02 / September02 / September02 / September

As spoiled and insensitive as I might seem to forget and be happy while a disaster such as the aftermath of Katrina is unfolding, I really just donít know what to say about it. At work we talk about it, at home I watch the TV, but Iím sure I still donít even see the tip of just how bad it really is to be in the middle of it all. All I can say is that I understand how the strugglers left in New Orleans must have come to feel as if theyíve been abandoned, cast aside. Iím sure most of them were never as naÔve as I was about the state of disaster readiness and evacuation planning in our country for ALL of itís people, but Iím also sure they never saw something this bad coming, that they continued on, assuming their lives would do the same, until their assumptions were washed away.

My co-worker heard reports today that some people have been calling Katrina payback for the man-made disaster our tax dollars have been funding in Iraq. To me, that is just as wicked as saying that God struck New Orleans because it had run amuck with sin. (I wonít even go down that road.) Even if you believe payback is the best form of justice (and I don’t believe it is), most of the people who couldn’t or just didn’t evacuate New Orleans and the rest of the gulf coast share no part of the responsibility for the Iraq War or for most decisions made by our government. Iím sure many of them donít even think our government represents their interests or even cares for them at all. If and when that region gets fully back on its physical feet, the rift created in many of its citizens by the feeling of being left behind to suffer or die might not mend for a long time, if it does at all. People saying that what should have happened did wonít help matters.


Davidís recent post about Katrina includes a link to a special report from 2002 in the New Orleans paper, which details what could happen if a major hurricane were to strike the city. We have a real knack for seeing things coming down the pike and then convincing ourselves weíre just imagining them or assuming they wonít ever really get here.

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02 / September02 / September02 / September

We are going to Dragon Con this weekend! David and I will be alone this year. (Honor and Drew have rejected us for their family vacation in Hilton Head. Dweebs). We will only be able go on Sunday and Monday, since we too have family obligations in the form of the annual Fetzer family reunion down on the Ocoee. Weíve already informed the family that weíll be skipping out on the tubing and corn maze part of the weekend to partake of stormtrooper and Klingon overload in grand ole Atlanta instead. They claim to understand, but we might be the butt of a few jokes (or at least an ďAre those freaks really full cousins?Ē) as they drift down the lower Ocoee with their bottoms dragging the water.

But do I mind? Iíll be chin deep in Firefly, Battlestar, and Star Trek (with a little of The Tribe thrown in as well). Iíll be in the same room with Apollo. (And his British accent. Swoon.) I might get to hear Robert Jordan talk, although we arenít sure we can fit that session in. Number Six and Starbuck wonít be there, so David wonít get quite the same thrill as I will, but Iím sure heíll do just fine with Inara and Kaylee. I plan to make it to a few writing sessions as well, so the whole weekend wonít really be spent stalking my TV heroes and their look-alikes. I promise. Maybe.


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David has now informed me that Apollo will not be attending afterall. I am quite forlorn. Still looking forward to it though!

Update: Good news for David—Number Six seems to be on the guest list now.

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01 / September01 / September01 / September

Don’t order enchiladas suiza at Cancun Restaurant without first asking your server whether or not it is a not-for-wimps-spicy dish. Don’t proceed to eat half of it before admitting that the heat is not something you’ll become used to and that Sprite does not help.

Don’t leave Cancun restaurant and proceed to Dillard’s to collect your free cosmetics gift for making a purchase of $24.50 or more. For at Dillards, the enchiladas will be replicating a tiny portion of hell in your belly, and you will not feel pretty at all next to the ladies in stiff jackets and (too much) makeup who spritz perfume on cards so that you can decide how to spend at least $24.50 so that, in turn, you can get a free gift tote (with samples inside!) that doesn’t look nearly as posh as it did in the picture. Especially do not do anything at any cosmetics counter if you are wearing an outfit that consists of the clothes you usually reserve for laundry day but have decided to wear today instead so that you can save your better clothes for a trip this weekned. You will imagine that the ladies in stiff jackets and (too much) makeup wonder why this homeless woman is blowing so much money on perfume.

Don’t stop at Walgreens on the way home from Dillard’s to pick up pictures from the baby shower you helped throw last weekend and then open them to discover that you looked larger than the pregnant lady and that your hair, which you actually blew dry that day, looked just as dumpy as it does tonight, the night you impersonated a homeless, hell-belly.

Don’t end the evening by plopping down on the couch with your husband to watch CNN and remember that people in New Orleans (and many other places) were suffering while you wasted half a plate of enchiladas and shopped for something to make yourself smell nice.


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Do put on some of that new Estťe Lauder Beyond Paradise (which ended up costing more than $24.50) before getting into bed. Things will get a little better then. (“Estťe Lauder Beyond Paradise transports you to a perfect world of optimism and wonder. Unfolds on your skin with a fascinating blend of tropical wetness, zesty freshness and bursting floralcy.”)

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10 / August10 / August10 / August

Driving to work last week, I found myself behind a bumper sticker that read S.C.A.R.Y.—Southern Citizens Advocating the Removal of Yankees. I’m not sure whether I would qualify as a yankee to the driver responsible for the sticker. I was born in Indiana (yankee territory for sure, although the place where my family lives is right across the Ohio from Kentucky), and I’ve lived in Vermont and Pennsylvannia. Yet I’ve spent most of my life down south (Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee) and feel at home here. (Though, I’m so blue I scanned job listings and real estate ads for a way out of the red states sometime last November before the rational part of my brain—yes there is one—kicked back on.)

I know my high school gym teacher considered me a yankee. On my first day in a Tennessee school he called me one, with a sneaky little laugh that really meant, “Yeah, I’m laughing now, but you just try a ‘you guys’ instead of ‘y’all’ in my company and we’ll see where we stand.” Later on that week, he made me run laps around the gym because I was talking in class. I kept running until my fellow students pleaded my case to him and won, “Come on coach, she’s new. She didn’t know better.” Translate: “She’s from up north, where people talk too fast and don’t really know what the hell they’re talking ‘bout.” At that point, I wanted to flee back to PA, but I’ve gotten over that now. Kind of.

In a previous post, I refered to my status here as “not quite a yankee but not southern born,” and I suppose that’s how I’ll always feel. That’s OK. I married a true southern boy,* who will probably never leave Tennessee, at least not for some backwards place where sweet tea isn’t even on the menu. (He won’t ever live elswhere, I mean. He will exit the state on vacations and the like.)

I still waver between “you guys” and “y’all,” preferring the former when writing and switching between the two at random (with no idea why one comes out of my mouth instead of the other) when talking. Come to think of it, I like “y’all” better really. It is much more efficient and fun to say, but I can’t quite shake the yankee talk. So, bring on the bumper stickers you guys. I’m here to stay.


*Although, some people here in K-town don’t believe David when he claims he’s a native son. “Where’re you from?” asked the waitress at Shoney’s, her tone making it clear he must be from somewhere else. “Here,” answered David. And what do you think she did? She glared at him and walked away. She thought he was lying, making fun of her. Poor guy. He’s lived in East Tennessee his whole life, but even though he clearly has a southern accent, he doesn’t twang like the best of them.


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01 / August01 / August01 / August

Update on this post: This guy actually turned out to be quite a jerk. He ended up pulling out of the deal after the house inspection, but not like any normal person would. He didn’t just void the contract (like he had every right to do after the house inspection, with no questions asked). No, instead of letting us know he wasn’t interested anymore, he made several demands (a few of which were rather odd) and then pulled out of the deal after David and I spent several days in angst before deciding to meet all of the demands but one. What was the one demand we couldn’t meet? We couldn’t provide paperwork regarding some work that had been done on the house BEFORE we bought it. We couldn’t provide paperwork we didn’t have. So, he pulled out. In the mean time, we made an offer on another house and pulled those poor sellers into this guy’s den of anxiety and trouble.

It is suffice to say that the whole process smelled very fishy to us from the get go, especially in regards to how his real estate agents treated us. We are pretty sure that something more was going on, and at the very least, that they knew he was going to back out and did absolutely nothing to make the process go more smoothly for us. I should have paid more attention to my gut feeling from the start, but I was pretty excited about moving. Both of us were.

Now we know more about this big, bad world. And, we know not to trust people who wear the same outfit two days in a row.

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01 / August01 / August01 / August

Working at the Archives, I often help people researching the property records of their ancestors. Sometimes, they are surprised to find that their ancestors owned slaves. Slave deeds are listed right alongside other types of property transfers in our deed books, and that often baffles people. It surprised me too when I first started working—to see the transfer of humans as property treated just like any normal piece of business. Of course, two centuries ago, it was normal business. I think looking at our real estate indexes and seeing slave sales mixed in with sales of acreage drives that fact home.

A few days ago, a man approached me at the reference desk and asked, “These are real estate indexes, but the type of transaction listed next to (my ancestor’s) name says slave. Does that really mean slave?” When I answered yes, he looked down at the floor and walked away.

I guess finding the actual records that tie your family into the practice of owning slaves makes abstract history lessons clear. For then you see how you, your family, your place in this world had a stake in it. Or, to put it another way, you see how the events and circumstances that brought about your birth and the specific circumstances into which you were born relied on your ancestors owning slaves. Of course, everything exists the way it exists because of events in the past—whether those events are, at present, considered shameful, glorious, or just plain boring. But for many people, parsing out their personal ties to parts of our past that are charged with emotion—heroic wars for independence, pioneer days, slavery, Native American removal, building the first Model T—can affect a different, and in many cases greater, sense of history.

Of course, I haven’t as of yet been drawn very far into my own personal genealogy (I hear too much about other peopleís at work, I guess), but I’m sure there are many ties to be discovered when I (or more likely, my distant descendants…) get around to it. My mother-in-law loves doing family history, so if someone from my side of the family doesn’t get busy soon, David’s and my future children will have a severely one-sided view of things. “Daddy came from Scottish kings, mommy. What about you?”

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