Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's All About Me

My new friend over at Slouching Towards 40 tagged me for a "10 Interesting Things You Don't Know About Me" assignment. Here in blogland, for those of you not in the know (this refers to my darling Grandma (pictured at left) who, last weekend, told me that she enjoys reading my blobs-- not that I am any better-- just 8 months ago I didn't know the meaning of the word blog, and even when I became edu-ba-cated I certainly didn't think blogging was something I would enjoy doing), these little assignments are called "Memes," and the idea is that one completes the assignment and then tags a few unsuspecting, piteous suckers honored friends to do it next.

To be honest, I am not a big fan of the Meme. First off, who likes doing an assignment? The very word evaporates my creative juices like lemonade spilled on hot cement. Second, I worry a tad that readers may discover that I am think I've become self-absorbed... does she really think we care about any of these useless facts about her life? (Cue picture of me me MEEE to the right).

These objections aside, I really enjoy
Slouching Mom's writing, which is not only poignant, thoughtful, and insightful, but is well-composed and clearly informed with a background in literature. (This is a rare combo found here in blogland, where one could waste an entire year, sitting in front of the computer, munching on chips, drooling onto the keyboard with glazed-over eyes spend an entire week reading cutesy journals that do nothing to provoke self-reflection, action, or change. Thus, out of respect for Slouching Mom, (with yet another link, just in case you haven't taken the bait yet) I hereby accept this assignment, and am flattered to think that at least one person would like to know TEN (gulp) interesting (not even counting toe-jam and birthmarks!) things about me.

Since I tend to ramble (no kidding, you say, just look at your mammoth introduction... just write the stinkin' Meme already!) in a futile search for meaning (and in a vain search for good endings), I will post this list with handy bold headers (just one of my many, MANY amazing computer skillz, to borrow a great word from
O The Joys; gee, I really am a marvel!) so those of you who only mildly care can quickly skim through the text and then get on with your life. I said, get on with your life! Already!

Here goes.

#1. I have epiphanies in the shower.
It's true. The shower is where my thoughts are clearest. When I was in law school, I had two epiphanies in one single showering. I know, it's amazing! The first 'piph was simple, yet profound: I don't have to do anything that I don't want to do. You go ahead and laugh now, but this really was a life-changing thought. I stopped saying yes just because I thought I should, and started saying no when I wanted to say no. You should try it yourself sometime when you find someone pressuring/guilting/nagging you to do something you don't want to do (especially someone you really love/respect/want to love you). My current line is, "I'm trying to strengthen my NO muscle, so I think I'd better use this opportunity to say No thank you." Totally cheesy, but I've gotten good results, usually something like, "okay, I can respect that."

The second 'piph (and you can file this right now in the too-much-information category) was that birth control pills are effective for me only because they completely and totally obliterate my desire to have sex. Kill it like a child stomping an ant. Like Roadrunner dropping an anvil on Coyote. In one shower moment, I changed the course of my marriage. Goodbye pills! Hello hubby!

#2. I still play silly fate-games left over from childhood.
I don't know what else to call those games where you make silly agreements with God or Fate or Whatever in order to foretell the future. For example, you might be waiting at a stop light and say to yourself, "If this stop light turns green within the next 10 seconds my marriage will last forever." Or, you might choose your grocery line thinking, "If I beat out that lady in plaid in the next aisle over, then I'm definitely getting that promotion at work." This is a good game because when you win, you can be happy, and when you lose, you can just say "that one didn't count," and make up an answer as to why. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does this. At least I don't make major decisions based on this method. Cue picture to right.

#3. I think God's best work is the nape of a baby's neck.
There's not much to add here. If you've ever rested your eyes upon the silky goodness that is the nape of a baby's neck, then you know what I'm talking about. Plus the word nape is fun to say, like the the knights who say Ni!
Nape! Nape! Nape!

#4. I am NOT a fan of the bra.
Again, feel free to dispose of this tid-bit in your too-much-information shredder, but most nights, when I know I'm home for the night, my first task is to rid myself of the pesky bra. Being one who loves routine, you'd think I would deposit said bra in the same place every night to assist in morning-time dressing. But no. Most mornings you can find me searching the house for the lost article.
Last fall, when I was really fired up about global warming (apologies for the unintentional pun), a local political hopeful came a-knockin' at my door to solicit my support. Tobin answered the door. Knowing I'd want to grill the man regarding environmental issues, Tobin located me in the kitchen, where I was cooking dinner. Completely oblivious to the fact that I was, shall we say, home for the night, I went to the living room, invited in the political stranger, and volleyed the conversational ball back and forth for about 30 minutes. Only after the candidate left did I really look at the couch on which I'd been sitting. There. It. Was. In all its Size Gordo, Nursing Mother splendor. It had been sitting beside me the whole time. Ahem.

#5. I once composed an email about poop and accidentally sent it to my law professor.
Here's what happened. My friend Karen was schedule to have a colonoscopy. She sent a detailed email to me about the procedure, describing the elephantine laxatives that she'd ingested in order to clear her system in preparation. I sent a detailed email back to her, outlining my full library of knowledge about poop and treatment for sore bottoms, along with many, many off-color jokes about her upcoming appointment. I pushed send, and the funny little email traveled through cyberspace all the way to... MY LAW PROFESSOR. Don't ask me how. I received a short email in response: "Ally, I don't think you intended this email for me. Sincerely, Your Dignified Professor." Or something like that. I shrank, shrank, shraaaank-- in Fred Flintstone fashion-- until I became no bigger than an infinitesimal speck of nothingness. And then I laughed myself silly.

#6. In two separate incidents, I've witnessed two car-pedestrian collisions.
I think this is a really weird fact about myself. The first incident is chronicled here, so I won't repeat it. The second time happened like this. I was grocery shopping with my sister and Mama. I don't remember my exact age, but I'm guessing I was in the third grade or thereabouts. We were in the parking lot, and looked up as we heard the high, metallic sound of screeching brakes. An elderly man had attempted to walk across a four-lane road, on his way from the nursing home to the grocery store, and a car didn't see him in time. He was hit. My Mama dropped the groceries and told my sister and I to stay put. She ran to the scene and applied pressure to the man's gushing chest wound. The ambulance came, and we went home, my Mama's front soaked in blood. We added Mr. Vanvorest (as we learned he was named) to our evening prayers. He lived, but I really don't know for how long. As a child, I prayed for that man for years and years, each and every night. My sister and I wondered aloud about Mr. Vanvorest last year, and I said he was probably very successful after that crash, as he was buoyed up by our prayers long after he was recovered. Or maybe we prayed for him after he'd been dead for years. We never found out. Either way, I'm sure it didn't hurt. (Forgive me, Mr. Vanvorest, for using the phrase "didn't hurt" in the same paragraph as the description of your accident).

#7. I had a mild case of Rheumatic fever when I was young.
This fact is a cheater, actually, since even I don't find it particularly interesting. So this Meme is now officially called "Nine Interesting Facts and One Boring One." I highly recommend that you skip to #8. I'm not sure anyone cares except my dentist. For years I endured teeth-cleanings and no one even asked whether I'd ever had Rheumatic fever. Then, a few years ago, I went to a new dentist and suddenly it matters. Evidently Rheumatic fever can cause a weakening of the heart, and somehow during teeth cleaning your body is susceptible to infection (or some such thing), so now each time I get my teeth cleaned I must ingest a jillion antibiotic pills one hour in advance. Now you know.

#8. I would love to be a writer, but I don't want to ruin something I love by getting paid to do it.
That's why I sarcastically wrote this, in order to discourage certain un-named family members from requesting blogs on specific topics, or toppings, like a made-to-order pizza. See comments above (in over-long introduction) regarding the ill effects of assignments.

#9. I am a tosser, not a keeper.
I hate clutter. When the kids aren't looking, I surreptitiously purge their belongings. Tobin's, too. Thus, it is difficult to explain why I said "uh, okay" when Eleanor asked if she could bring home this gem (pictured at left) from my friend's house on Sunday. (For the record, this friend had selected this lucky owl to be part of a garage sale; I don't think anyone has actually used this cookie jar since the 70s.) Now this thing, this hideous piece of earthenware, this offense to potters everywhere, is living in my house! The kids can't even play with it since it is breakable ceramic. Please send your ideas on how I can rid myself of it. Please! Send! Ideas!

#10. This year I received the best compliment of my life.
My dear friend, who is a bona fide writer (as you'll notice below, dear readers) wrote a letter to Tobin and I after visiting my family for several days. I was completely blown away by this compliment. I never knew that this "welcome" (the kind of love that St. Benedict called hospitality) was what I aspired to, but once I read his beautiful words, I thought, "there is nothing in the world that I would rather have said about me."
Here 'tis:
You are friends because you continually say "come." Inside your house, I'm opened up and challenged because there is no prescription, no program or premeditation. No secretly inscribed recommendation. The doors are opened and I can hear the word "come." I find myself listening-- reflecting. Things are left undone or in remainder. Solving and "cleaning up" have no place in what I feel is a friendship swimming (because it can't be grounded) in the vulnerable verb "come." It's more than a mere welcoming. The idea of welcoming falls short because, in a sense, you have already let us in. And that is a gift that cannot be returned, only accepted... again and again.
And finally, just for kicks, you get a bonus picture of Eli, wearing Sylvia's hat on his head and Eleanor's sandals on his hands. Oh, how I love this baby.

And now, I tag Seattle Mamacita, bgirl, little monkies, and Nancy. And if anyone else is so inclined, consider yourself tagged as well.


slouching mom said...

you have completed your assignment with flair and wit. and now i know: no more tags for you. (you didn't think i enjoyed responding to memes, did you? i haven't yet had the epiphany in the shower that i can ignore someone's request of me. i'm waiting for it.)

i am with you on tossing rather than saving or hoarding. why not let the children play with ugly cookie jar until it breaks?

your accident fact is a bit frightening. i would have had PTSD for years after watching poor Mr. Van-whatever get hit.

you make me laugh, ally.

Seattle Mamacita said...

ally that was way too funny. The bra story made me laugh to tears. I totally play silly fate games too, like when i'm filling up the gas tank then i say something like this, "if its $10 exactly than i'll live to be 100." damn now i can't use that one...hmmm time to think.

Oh, The Joys said...

You know, in England "Tosser" means something entirely different.

Also - have at those mad skillz! I stole it from somewhere for sure.

Worker Mommy said...

Absolutely with you on the bra thing !!

And er...on the not enjoying memes so much as well!

alicia said...

Tee Hee! I could add a few things about you; but I won't. I'll just say that you're about the funniest person I know and I'm glad to laugh with you even from a distance.

Nancy said...

Awesome. I hereby accept your tag and raise you a tag at some future date.

The e-mail story cracked me up. Sounds like something that I would definitely do. :-)

bgirl said...

ally you are hysterical, i still twist the apple from its stem and repeat the alphabet,the letter it pops off on, is the first letter of your true love. huh..

eli - simply delicious.

hmmm...the tag...i always preferred freeze tag as a kid, and wouldn't you know it, i am frozen...thinking but frozen....10 things on their way...soon.

jen said...

this is nice over here. i like it a lot....cozy, warm.

Little Monkies said...

So why I love you, my friend.

And, I will have to think on my own assignment...

I agree with all, particularly the nape of the neck.

Love to you, my friend!

KC said...

I like your fate games.

And I'm with you on the showers, although I would kill to have a long enough one these days that could spawn an epiphany again. Instead, I tend to get them in the car, driving.

Lori said...

Ally- Thanks for visiting over at my blog, and I am enjoying visiting yours! Always nice to meet another Seattlite in Blogland!

Beautiful day today huh? And now it looks like we are back to...

tce said...

Thanks, Ally, I enjoyed reading these last 2 blogs :) I liked the bra part, nursing part, and ... hm, it's good to know that Sylvia is going to get more iron!

Anonymous said...

I agree with slouching mom about the owl. Perhaps Eleanor will be inspired to place it in the highest limb of the tree or on the ledge of the garage roof. I'd encourage them to take it outside, paint it the colors they would like then proudly display it in the bush where the owls love to dwell. Hugs, KJW

canape said...

Do you get a grade for this assignment? If so, I think it should be an A.

I'm totally a tosser too. So much so that my mother has quit giving me things from the family stash of nicknacks and glass and dishes and whatever. She thinks this bothers me. Ha ha - it doesn't one bit.