Something Else I Don’t Get

Several years ago, when X-Chromo was still in high school, I attended some sort of awards breakfast. I ended up sitting with a woman who lives around the corner from me, and with whom I had butted heads–in a very minor way–on several occasions when our daughters were in middle school. X and this woman’s daughter were not friends. They weren’t enemies, but they travelled in different circles with different priorities.

I had heard this mother was “never the same” after she suffered a head injury in an auto accident. Because of that, I always tried to be compassionate.  Even when our ideas about how to improve the schools were at odds, I tried. So maybe this head injury is behind the explanation of what I don’t get.

Back to the breakfast. “Jane” sat with me, probably because I was a familiar face. Like our daughters, we were not friends. She started chatting. That was good. I’m lousy at small talk. It’s a skill I’ve never learned. Somehow, a discussion of the school dress code came up. “Jane” started spouting off about, of all things, high heels. About how her daughter wanted to wear high heels and it just wasn’t right. And a ban against high heels needed to be added to the dress code. On several occasions, she’d caught her daughter trying to sneak out of the house wearing high heels and that was something young girls should not be wearing.

I happened to see her daughter on line at the buffet–wearing a spaghetti strapped tank top and shorts cut up to her hoo-ha (both violations of the dress code, but she was a jock so it was overlooked). And her mother was worried about high heels?

I don’t get it.

One of My Finer Moments

A former co-worker recently passed away. There were many heartfelt tributes to him on social media, all of them well-deserved. He really was a good person.

However, we did have a couple of points where our views on life could not have been further apart. One of them was the ERA–the Equal Rights Amendment. As far as I could tell, my co-worker thought women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

On June 30th, 1982, the ERA “died”. Not enough states add ratified the amendment to the constitution within the deadline or the three-year extension it was given.

On July 1, 1982, the front page of the local morning newspaper featured a photo of my co-worker raising the American flag at a celebration of the demise of the hoped-for amendment. He took a lot of ribbing that morning. Even I patted him on the back. But as I did so, I was also taping a handwritten KICK ME sign there.

Other co-workers laughed. Hours passed before someone told him about it. He was good natured about it. As I said, he really was a good person at his core.

Dogs

Lately it seems as if dogs are taking over America. There are dog friendly restaurants, dog nights at the baseball stadium, people who advocate for Bring Your Dog to Work Day.

Not everyone loves dogs. I don’t hate dogs–we always had one when I was growing up–but I am wary of them.  If I go to your house, and you have a dog, it’s your dog’s home. I respect that. Two of my critique partners have dogs, and that’s cool. The woman who owns the Thistle Dew Retreat (where I go about once a month) has a dog. He’s very cool.

But I’m wary of dogs. You see, I was bitten by my grandmother’s dog. When I was about three. In the face. Yes, I have a scar, as well as the memory.

So when I go to check into my hotel and you and your dog are in the lobby, also checking in, don’t tell me your dog is friendly. I don’t care. Just keep it away from me.

What’s in a Name?

I have all kinds of baby name books. I’ve always been fascinated by names. Even in elementary school, I would take name books out of the school library. There were a few pages of names in the back of my parents dictionary. They were in tatters because I studied the names so often. Even now, with the Internet and the great Social Security website for names, I still like to peruse books.

I just finished writing a book in which the heroine had two different names before I decided on a third.  Once I  had that name, the rest of the story flowed. I know several authors who have experienced the same phenomenon: until the character’s name is right, the writing goes poorly.

I knew I’d always have a difficult time naming my children, especially when my husband and I have such different tastes in names. If our second child had been a boy, I doubt very much he would have a name even now. Fortunately, she wasn’t.

When I was bearing children, we didn’t know the sex of the baby until it was born. ( I knew them, because of my dreams, but that’s another blog post.) We settled on a girl’s name almost immediately (and used it a couple of years later when our daughter was born–except we did give her a different  middle name). Agreeing on a boy’s name was challenge.  We had a list of criteria: the naming traditions of my husband’s culture; no names with multiple spellings (something that has haunted both my husband and me throughout our lives); Biblical names, but not one of the weird ones; not too popular, but not unique; names our children could use in the boardroom or on stage or on the spine of a book; something traditional.

My husband and I leafed through baby name books in stores. There was one that said the name Woody was the past tense of the name Willy. I cried. I also cried when I realized that if we had a son, no one would call him by is first name because our surname was  so easily converted to a guy nickname. My husband assured me only once did someone do that to him.

At the time I was pregnant, big corporations were purchasing naming rights to everything from massive sports complexes to Little League fields. My husband and I decided to name our baby, if it was a boy, after a college in exchange for an education. How would we approach these institutions of higher learning with our generous offer? My tears turned to giggles as we contemplated the names Canisius,  Cornell, and Colgate.

We finally settled on a good name: his grandfather’s name. We used my great-grandfather’s name for the middle name. Strong names. Manly names. Everything we wanted for our son.

 

 

 

Dishwashing Mantra

I could swear I blogged about this topic before, but I can’t find it, so I’m going to blog about it now.

I was raised in a home with no dishwashing machine. My mother had two dishwashers: me and my younger sister. (Why did my younger brother not have to wash dishes or set the table? My sister and I had to mow the lawn…)

The way we were taught to wash the dishes was: glasses and silverware first. “Glasses” included tea mugs.  The theory was that those items went into our mouths, so it was best to wash them first, while the water was still clean and hot, in the hopes of sanitizing them.

Next came everything else except the “tin dishes”, which is what my parents called the pots and pans. Except for the frying pans (usually cast iron), tin dishes were washed last.

To this day, that is how I hand wash dishes.