The Meemaw Chronicles

Let’s just get this out there: I’m not a grandmother.

I guess that may have something to do with the fact that I was never even a mother. To top that off, I’ve never even had a successful relationship with a man who has kids or grand kids. I don’t necessarily think that I’m child-averse, but it just never worked out.

Not having children in my life (other than a niece, nephew and the kids of a few friends) hasn’t really been an issue for me, but I definitely realize that I’ve missed out on a lot of things. On the plus side, I never had to deal with diapers, croup or the terrible 2’s, but to balance that out, I’ve never known what it is to be someone else’s whole world (even if it’s only for a few years). The worst part, I believe, is that I’ve never known the truly unconditional love that parents must feel. Yes, I’ve had the luxury of being able to be selfish in some of my life choices because I never really had to put anyone else’s interests before my own…but that freedom came with a cost.

My choices have also left me without the chance to pick (or be assigned) a sweet grandmotherly nickname. It’s interesting to me that these names have changed so much over the years. Whatever happened to Gramma, Grammy and the sweet old lady monikers we grew up with? Now it’s all YaYa, GiGi, MiMi and a host of other reduplicates, along with some that are designed to be NON-grandma names…I submit to you Glamma, G-Mom and Honey.  Not that some of these aren’t cute as hell, but who is actually coming up with these names…the grand kids or the matriarch?

My immediate family when I was growing up had fairly normal names for our grandmothers. My mother’s mother was called ‘Nana’ (pronounced Na-naw) when I was little, and ‘Grandmama’ later (after I started caring what other people heard me calling her). Her sister (my great-aunt) was known to everyone as ‘Nana’ with the traditional elegant-sounding pronunciation . It became a sort of vaulted title that suited her perfectly.

But then somehow, out of nowhere, came the name my nephew bestowed on my mother: Meemaw. It stuck like day-old grits and now that’s her NAME…she has become Meemaw to the world! I realize that this is a term of endearment that periodically surfaces in Southern culture, but I’d never heard it used before, and at first…well, at first it scared me a little. How could my sweet little Mama be someone’s MEEMAW? Now though, 30 years later with her grand kids all grown up, Meemaw suits my mama just fine.

We just found out that one of Meemaw’s now grown-up grand kids is going to have her own child. It’s exciting to know that my sister is going to be a Nana, or MuMu or maybe just a LynnieG. Whatever she (or the new little one) decide that she should be called, I know that my amazing little sister will simply be the best grandmama out there. Congratulations Lynnie!

Hmmm…maybe I need to establish a new tradition that requires great-aunts to have cool names too. Then I might just insist that the grandkids call me….wait for it….

 

TEEMAW!

Meemaw

Stolen, so please excuse the spelling!

Has anyone seen Tammy???

I’m afraid that I haven’t been very successful at writing for a while, but I’m still here!

I’ve actually been working a lot and have also been very involved with a special project that I call ‘Time to Grow the Hell Up, Girl’. The primary goal of this particular endeavor is to get my wounded heart and bruised ego healed from the long overdue, extremely nasty breakup of a relationship that didn’t really exist.

So, you may be wondering to yourself, how exactly does a relationship not exist…isn’t that sort of an oxymoron? And, assuming that such a situation is even possible, exactly how does a witty, sweet, kind, not altogether unattractive, and (otherwise) intelligent woman find herself in the middle of such a faux-lationship?

Well, in this case, I just opened my heart up to the wrong person…but I’m hardly the first person to make that mistake. My real blunder was that I didn’t have enough sense to listen to either my gut or my family and friends when they told me to open my eyes and acknowledge the truth about the situation. I didn’t know how to put myself first, or to love myself more than someone else. (Especially THAT someone else!)

Nope, I insisted on clinging for far too long to the hope that things would somehow miraculously work out, and to the belief that I couldn’t possibly have trusted the wrong person so completely. (So much for any assumed intelligence on my part!)

Thankfully, things have finally changed. I’m happy to report that my eyes are now WIDE open, my heart is on the road to recovery, and I’m focusing on learning to love myself. Thank you for bearing with me…you should start seeing more of me here in the very near future!

 

healing

 

 

 

Do mannequins dream of electric curlers?

“I’m goin’ to Walmart… ya’ll need anything?”

I had a long, extremely detailed dream the other night that involved (what felt like) hours and hours of me trying to put my hair up in those old-fashioned black brush curlers…the kind your grandmama might have worn. I fumbled with a myriad of bobby pins, psychically willing the aforementioned demonic brushy tanglers curlers to stay put, but most just slipped out, clattering to the floor. A few stayed put, but only because they were hopelessly caught in my hair like lame crickets dangling from a fat mama spider’s web. I tell you, I woke up exhausted the next morning!

After waking and checking the mirror to make sure that I hadn’t really turned my hair into a mass tangle, I looked up curlers in my dream dictionary: To see curlers in your dream suggests that you are thinking in circles. You may be going over the same problem/ situation again and again without any conclusion.

Then I looked up bobby pins. Shocked to actually find a listing for such a random item, I learned: To see or use a bobby pin your dream represents your need for order and neatness. Everything needs to be in place. You are feeling insecure about something.

PINS!

Maybe this is why I preferred those spongy pink things!

When I looked online today to find pics of these outdated rollers (as the beauty parlor set calls them) for this post, I found plenty of pics of the brushy things, but I also saw that there were PINS that go with them. Not bobby pins at all…big honkin’ plastic party skewers that hold things in place by basically stabbing them to your head. No wonder I couldn’t get my hair up in the black monsters…I was so insecure that I had to pick dream bobby pins instead of the appropriate dream tools!

I’m not going to lose any sleep over the interpretation of this particular dream (see what I did there?) Lucky for me, I happen to already KNOW that I’m neurotic.

Oh, and my apologies to Philip K. Dick for the title of this one. I couldn’t resist!

 

Teacher’s pet on steroids

"Come on, you know you're just projecting..."

“Come on, you know you’re just projecting…”

I was wandering through a Goodwill store the other day when I ran across one of these dinosaurs. For those of you not from the era of mimeographed handouts (with that weirdly addicting, shiny-blue chemical smell that couldn’t possibly be good for you), or if the fun of turning the egg-beater-like handle of the requisite manual pencil sharpener at the front of the classroom is lost on you, this contraption ———> is an overhead projector.

 

These beauties were used to share super important information…like this:

Important stuff

Hey Jimmy…we can’t see THROUGH you!

 

 

 

School was pretty different back then. (And yes, I’ll see that bet and raise you a, “Hey you kids, get outta my yard!”)

 

 

One thing that probably hasn’t changed in the classroom though is that annoying kid who sits in the front row and seems to always have their hand up…you know the one. hand up

Well, let me just tell you, it’s not EASY being that kid! I would keep that hand up in the air until I sometimes thought my arm would fall off!

Eventually, that eternal hand in the air syndrome morphed into all of the telltale signs of a geeky teacher’s pet: refusing to cut school (even when threatened with bodily harm), being the kid chosen make bulletin boards or run to the office to deliver messages, and the one most likely to be left in charge when the teacher left the room on business (smoke ’em if you got ’em, boys).

In case you ever wondered what happened to those annoying kids, well, this one just recently found out her Myers-Briggs scores during a training event at work. It turns out that the Extrovert part of ENFP can be somewhat…um, I think the word the Introverts used was EXHAUSTING. They also mentioned something about having to fight to get in a few words during classroom…, um, I mean office discussions. Of course, I was so busy trying to get the instructor’s attention that I may have missed a few details. Maybe I’ll be able to do some extra credit follow-up…or at least buy the boss a latte.

 

 

 

 

Goose, goose….DUCK!

I’ve never really liked birds all that much. Their eyes are too dead looking…cold and black…and how do you love something that has a weapon where it’s mouth ought to be? I’m sure that when I was little I was just afraid of all things avian, but since I was afraid of pretty much everything, that’s not big news.

My grandmama used to laughingly tell the story of walking down Main Street as a young woman, talking to her sister. She felt something land in her hair and, when she swiped at it with her hand, she managed to smear bird poo all through her lovely new hairdo. I’m sure that lovely tale fueled some bird-related anxiety for me, even though they say it’s good luck to be the recipient of bird crap from heaven landing on you. (Seriously, ‘they’ were really reaching with that one, I’d say.)

Back in South Carolina, I remember seeing lots of blue jays and cardinals, some crows and tons of pigeons (aka rats with feathers) whenever I went downtown. Oh, there were certainly other types of birds there, but I wasn’t very observant, and I would usually go out of my way to avoid too much contact with anything (shudder) WILD. I also remember a few times when I caught a glimpse of a far-off, V-shaped group of geese flying somewhere, usually at sunset. They seemed elegant and somehow romantic, winging their way to someplace far from the stifling heat of Columbia, South Carolina. I never actually had any up-close goose encounters, but there would have been screaming if they got too close to me, so I was satisfied with the idea of them.

When I moved to Oregon I started paying a little more attention to birds in general. I’m certainly no birder, but I did notice that the blue jays here look more exotic than the ones I was used to. The pigeons and crows are normal, but I was almost a little disappointed to realize that we don’t have cardinals at all in Portland. The trade-off, I learned, was that I would get to enjoy seeing the V formation of Canada Geese on a regular basis…it became something to look forward to during the changing of seasons, and it reminded me that I live in a really cool part of the world.

And then I started my new job, where geese (and I mean LOTS of geese) are an everyday thing. Our campus is part of a wetlands area that is apparently where every damn Canada goose in Oregon (and at least half of those in Canada) come to breed! At first I was all, ‘Wow, we’re surrounded by geese…how cool is that!?” Now, after three months of it, I’m continually watching my back around the tyrants…they think they own the joint! It’s bad enough to have them giving you the stink eye all the time, certain that you’re making a ninja move toward their babies, but then they randomly just decide to walk down the middle of the street, backing up traffic…babies in tow! Since when am I more dangerous than an SUV?

Worst of all, though, is when the damn things fly. Let me tell you, looking up just in time to see a couple of critters the size of the biggest Thanksgiving turkey you’ve ever even heard about swooping right by your head is a bit unsettling.

Goose shitThis shot shows just a small sample of the goose population that our offices are surrounded by. And folks, where there’s a goose, there’s goose poop. Thousands of geese generate lots and lots of it. The security guards actually have to hose down the front walk every morning, and you just learn to watch your step at all times. We even hear periodically about some poor employee leaving after a hard day at work, only to be poop-bombed on the way to their car.

Oh, I still enjoy watching the goosey circle of life, but I try to keep a safe distance, and I’m basically over my love affair with geese. It was nice while it lasted, but I’ve moved on. Let’s just hope I don’t get lucky any time soon!

Moral indignity at the Kwik-E-Mart

So the only time I usually go to the 7-Eleven is to buy things I shouldn’t eat. Not unlike interactions with a doctor or priest, I’ve always considered the relationship between myself and the person behind the convenience store counter to be at least somewhat sacred. It’s an encounter based on necessity, and I’m not usually looking my best at that particular time of night, or in that craving-induced state of being, so we have an understanding. You stay on your side of the counter, don’t judge, keep your mouth shut and I’ll do my best to get in and get out. No one gets hurt, and I might even leave my pennies in that weird little tray.

Friday night was one of those times when I was really counting on that special relationship. It had been a long day at work, I was out a little later than normal, and there was a situation that only Doritos and Ben & Jerry’s could resolve. I strode through the store with my mission firmly in my mind. I grabbed my loot (stealthily adding a slice of pre-wrapped pound cake to the stash…I’m sure no one saw it) and headed to the front of the store, the finish line in sight.

I didn’t recognize the 20-something guy behind the counter, but I assumed that he had been properly trained in the ‘Way of the Convenience Store’, so my guard was down. I wasn’t at all prepared when he just stood there and looked at my haul, spread across the counter like so much bar-coded illicit treasure. He moved his gaze to my face and left it there.

“How OLD?” he snapped.

“Huh…” I stammered, trying to figure out when the state of Oregon might have started an age restriction on salted caramel OR nacho cheese, “…how old…am I???”

“Yes…50…” he spat, “…51?!?”

It sounded like he was accusing me of something, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. I recoiled a bit, groping in my purse for my debit card. I just really, really wanted to get my groceries (how’s that for rationale?) and get home!

I handed the bank card to my accuser, and looking into his face it occurred to me that his tone was…familiar? I had a flash back to my first night in Morocco quite a few years ago, when I was overwhelmed by the forceful admiration of a man who almost knocked me to the ground while shouting about my ‘beauty’. I could almost hear the droning of a call to prayer in the background as I realized that my critic was from a part of the world where blondes of any age, size or shape were considered to be a prize.

“Almost 57,” I whispered, “but you’re supposed to guess 40!” (My vanity wasn’t going to take that high of a number lying down!)

“Too much makeup,” he shrugged, handing me back my debit card and receipt.

I grabbed my bag and my bruised ego and made a run for it.

Note to self: next time, stick with a drive-thru. Taco Bell really isn’t so terrible…right?

 

 

 

 

Oh Sealy Posturepedic, I wish I knew how to quit you…

So the new job is going great. It’s a wonderful company with amazing benefits and a great product, and the folks in my department are fun and supportive. Hell, they even give you free popcorn and fruit and there’s a cafeteria and a vending machine with healthy stuff in it. What’s not to like?

7:30 AM…that’s what.

(Just a warning…here’s where I’m gonna whine a bit. If you don’t like it, well…go back to Trivia Crack, I guess. )

I’ve never really been a morning person anyway, so having to be at work that early is a bit of a challenge. Just consider that I have to show up at work:

  • dressed (in something other than an over-sized ‘Kiss me I’m Irish’ t-shirt);
  • at least partially made up (I can’t even go into my own kitchen without mascara);
  • at the very least semi-coiffed (I don’t just wake up with beauty queen hair, you know); and
  • functionally awake (they don’t like it when you aren’t lucid yet – one day this week I actually shook up my full coffee cup in the work kitchen..it wasn’t pretty).

To accomplish all of this and be able to walk into the office by 7:30, I have to get up between 5:00 and 5:30 AM. Even the cats don’t like it, and I’m getting lots of eye daggers (especially from Buffy, but she’s a bit of a drama queen).

Which brings me to the main challenge – getting out of my glorious, cozy, wonderful BED. I’ve always just loved to sleep…at any time, and anywhere. I’ve mentioned before that it’s my super power, and it’s never been more true.

Up until my new work schedule, one of my favorite things for quite a while has been to wake up at around 7 and spend the next 30 minutes catching up on emails, checking out Facebook…all the things they tell you NOT to do in bed with your cell phone. All this recent early rising, however, has made that impossible. I use the most annoying alarm I could find (on that same phone), and I sleep until the last possible moment. Every second is precious to me – I just can’t get enough sleep!

I’m also starting to fade at the most inopportune times. Trying to watch a movie…better hope it’s a short one or I’ll be snoring on the couch. Going out after work on Friday? Heck yeah, count me in…well, until maybe 8:00 PM, when I’m all, “Hey, ya’ll got any nachos here…and can I get those to go?”

I guess the good news is that I can now afford to buy nachos and pay the mortgage…and get that fancy limited ingredient cat food that Ms. Kitty Girl likes…without having to resort to a life of generic toilet paper and store brand cheese. So life is good, I’m extremely grateful for my job, and I’m hoping that I’ll eventually get used to being an early bird. (Please?)

And it’s now Sunday afternoon, so time for a nap!

jealous much