I titled this post Gratitude because I’m truly grateful for having been recognized with some more blogger awards from a fellow writer, Julie Farrar, who writes at Traveling Through. I’ve been doing this for just over a month, and loving it the whole time, due in large part to the people that I’ve connected with through my writing and theirs. Julie tagged me with two awards, The Stylish Blogger, and the Versatile Blogger. Julie’s comments about my writing put a smile on my face, and I’m thankful that she shared them.
“It’s an anonymous blog, with language and stories I envy to no end.”
In keeping with the spirit of the awards, here are seven more random things about me:
1 – Stylish is another term those that know me would never use to describe me (though, again, I appreciate the shout-out from Julie, regardless of the name of the award!). I am the kind of person that buys 8 of the same shirt in different colors. 6 or 8 short-sleeve T-shirts, 6 or 8 long-sleeve T-shirts, 2 pairs of jeans in slightly different washes. I can never manage to have more than two pairs of jeans at a time. I generally wear one pair of shoes until they wear out so badly I really can’t wear them anymore. As the shoes or jeans approach this point of disrepair, I panic a little at the thought of having to find a new pair.
2 – A few years ago, I found myself at the end of a 9-year relationship, and though I wanted to get out and meet new people, I had pretty much forgotten how. Actually, I never really knew how. A great friend told me, though, that all I needed was a haircut and a new pair of shoes. I had been wearing sort of outdoorsy shoes because I have the flattest feet ever recorded in the history of flat feet, and I need really wide shoes. I was informed that these shoes would completely impede my ability to get a date, so with the help of another good friend who is fanatical about shoes, I started buying tennis shoes that apparently have some style to them. A few weeks after I bought my first pair, I was out for drinks with the friend who had coached me into this pair, and a random stranger on the street stopped and said, “Oh my god! Where did you get those awesome retro shoes?!” My shoe coach (a.k.a. grass-phobia girl), was prouder than a peacock, and could barely wait until the stranger was out of earshot to proclaim her brilliance. In the end, my current mate wouldn’t have cared whether I wore the geeky outdoorsy shoes or these new retro-ish sneakers, but the coaching of my friends gave me a new confidence I sorely needed at the time, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.
3 – When I was a kid, my favorite food was mashed potatoes. Luckily, I grew up in the Midwest, where potatoes are part of practically every meal, but I even loved the sticky, gloppy, made-from-dehydrated-flakes-in-the-school-cafeteria mashed potatoes. The stickier, the better. I have a vivid memory from 4th grade, going through the lunch line at school. The woman whose job it was to dish out the mashed potatoes asked me if I wanted butter or gravy on them. I was paralyzed with trying to decide. They were both so enticing! I held up the line forever, deep in thought about which I might like more, and she finally just gave me both so she could get me out of her hair. Today I still have a horrible time deciding what to eat at restaurants. I have to imagine – visually picture – myself eating each thing under consideration, and even then I sometimes hold up the ordering for a long time. Unless I’m at a restaurant that serves tapas or small plates – then I just order a little of everything.
4 – When I was fifteen, I wanted to be a cowboy. I was already a tomboy, so it wouldn’t have been too great a leap. My grandfather took me to Wyoming on a hunting trip. It was my first foray out of corn and dairy country, and the second I saw the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota, I developed my own weird version of the romantic West. When we got to Wyoming and met the people that lived there, I only got sucked in further. We first stayed in a seedy motel near the ranch of a couple named Everett and Fredda Lou, around Lusk, Wyoming. There were few paved roads in their neck of the woods, and they managed over 100,000 acres of cattle ranch. Later, we stayed at my grandpa’s long-time friend, Melvin’s. Melvin was a big, stocky guy, with a mustache that trailed down past the corners of his mouth to his chin. He always wore a light-colored cowboy hat with a dark sweat-stained band just above the brim of the hat. He taught me how to properly shape a cowboy hat over steaming water so you could take the “new” out of it right away. It was very important that a cowboy hat be original, yours, and never look new. He let me ride his ATV, and I couldn’t stop myself from going faster and faster, even as I started to lose control now and then. Once, a tire jumped out of the rut on a dry dirt rode, changed my course, and I drove straight through a wire fence at high speed. Probably lucky I didn’t kill myself. I sometimes wonder whether it was really some primal draw to the rough and tumble area of the West we were in that made me love it so much, or whether I’d have had the same reaction to any place I might have gone outside the Midwest. Regardless, those are memories I treasure, even if they expose my inner dork.
5 – I moved out at 18, and after two not-so-great roommate experiences, I finally got an apartment with a guy who is still one of my best friends. We were really broke, though. We could barely pay our rent, often had to have friends bring us leftover food from the restaurants they worked at, and never had cash to spare to go out and do much of anything. We did one of three things. If we could spare a couple dollars, we would sit at IHOP, sometimes for 8 or 10 hours at a time with random friends dropping in and out, drinking that never-ending-cup-of-coffee or bottomless-pot-of-coffee, or whatever it was they called it, and reading Trivial Pursuit cards to entertain each other. If our cable wasn’t turned off, we watched lots of talk shows – Jenny Jones, Jerry Springer – you know – the classics. We tried to come up with ideas that might get us on those shows. When we missed the talk shows themselves, we watched Talk Soup late at night to get the lowdown on what we missed. Finally, when neither of those were options, and I’d managed to convince my grandparents to let me borrow their car, we’d sit in the parking lot of our apartment building in the car, listening to a very cheesy love songs station on the radio, singing sappy songs, laughing, and lamenting about our poor lives. I often miss those days.
6 – Before my first car ( a 1980 Mazda 626) ended up in a metal graveyard, which precipitated the borrowing of my grandparents car mentioned above, it had some unusual behavior. The car either had issues with the electrical wiring, or was possessed by the ghost of a gremlin. I could turn the car off, take the key out of the ignition, get out, walk ten feet or more away, and then the doors would lock and unlock themselves in a frequent stuttering rhythm. It was like watching popcorn pop. My sister’s boyfriend once offered to fix the car for me when something went wrong – a bad starter or cylinoid, or something – I don’t quite remember what. When he gave it back to me, the car would no longer go in reverse. My roommate and I often had to sit in our seats with the doors open, each pushing with one leg hanging outside the car to back out of our parking spot.
7 – I think I’ve made clear by now that I am not a girly kind of girl – I grew up complete tomboy-style, loved to knock down boys, am a pretty good shot with a rifle or a shotgun – you get the picture. That is why I find it particularly odd that the first thing I ever stole as a little kid was candy lipstick. I don’t think I meant to steal it, but perhaps I’ve fooled myself into thinking that because I just can’t handle the shame of it all (the lipstick part, not the stealing part). I was five, and when we got home and my mother realized I had the candy lipstick, which she had not paid for, she screamed at me, tossed me back in the car, drove back to the store, and made me go in with my tear-streaked face and my barely audible shy kid voice to apologize and pay for my pinched lipstick.
Now, to pass on the recognition to some fellow bloggers… Enjoy!
Bottlecaps and Broken Bits – Besides having a great title for his blog, this guy writes some awesome stuff about food, drink, and travel, accompanied by his photography. He is currently recording his travels in Thailand, a place I have visited twice, and would highly recommend to anyone.
The Wandering Atavist – Check out this blog whenever you need a good laugh. The Atavist describes himself as a “fish out of water,” and you will likely agree as you read his hilarious posts about trying to be a normal functioning member of society, especially when he’s around anyone of the female persuasion.
Grammar Divas – This blog is great at dispelling grammatical myths and giving practical pointers on writing. I check it regularly and you should, too.
bassasblog – This is a highly entertaining blog from the perspective of a shepherd dog. I have to admit I found this blog from someone else’s listing of blogs they love, but since then, I’ve enjoyed every single post, so I’m going to share it again.
Dick Bishop’s Blog – This is a new find for me, but after reading just a few posts, I am enamored with Dick’s writing. He offers a unique perspective, and posts that have some meat on their bones. Lots of “tip” stories about blog writing say you shouldn’t write posts that are too long because people will get bored and skip them – I think Dick’s blog proves why you should not censor yourself to any given length, but you should write what you want to write and end it when it ends.