Filed under: La de da
I live in the Deep South, the deepest, most saw-grassy part of the Southernest state bottom of the Mason-Dixon line. I was born of and raised by Texans, with a father who grew up on a ranch in the ranchin’est most Texanist part of the state adjacent to a place called Deaf Smith County. Can’t get much more Texan than that.
When I was 9, my father saw fit to teach me how to shoot. The very first gun I ever held was a .50 cal black powder rifle and it was taller than me. I shot it by standing up to a tree and resting the barrel of the gun in the crotch of that tree. It kicked me like a mule, left a bruise in my shoulder and a bit of hankering for more. I think he was trying to curb my appetite for shootin’ irons, by starting me out with such a beast. However, being His Daughter, and possessing his well developed sense of the ornery, his little ruse failed, and I learned more shootin’. My favorite? A sweet little 20 gauge shotgun, beautiful for sporting clays, and a small and easy to handle .22 caliber rifle, which I also used to shoot sporting clays.
I have never hunted. I don’t care to. If I look at another living creature in the eyes, and it looks back at me, I have no desire to take it’s life. I don’t even like to fish. Mind you, I like game meat. We have friends who hunt deer, and pass their largess on to us and I’m all for that, but then I don’t see that animal moving and looking gorgeous in the woods. I’ll do my hunting with a camera, thanks. I’m not even sure I could shoot someone breaking into my house. I don’t know that I could willfully take another life, unless maybe that life was threatening my cubs.
I married a man who hunted when he was growing up, but lost the desire for it. He found more fun in building a piece of furniture. He kept the guns, tho. A .22 lever action Remington, another .22, this one a bolt action, 2 shotguns- a 20 gauge and a 16 gauge, his .50 cal black powder rifle, and a pristine 1908 Mauser sniper’s rifle, Parade version…gorgeous gun, 5-1/2 feet long, stainless steel with a mahogany stock, and rounds the length of my entire hand. I don’t remember the size but once he shot clean through a 18 inch diameter pine tree(from 100 yds away) and through 2 more behind it. “Too powerful” he said, and put it away.
Guns are normal to me. They are as common as cars, and no one around here considers it deviant to own one. I don’t consider it a weakness to *not* own one, just like I don’t think oddly of a person who doesn’t have a car.
I just don’t want someone thinking I’m some kind of loose cannon because there’s a cabinet in my house holding firearms. If it helps any, the ammunition is in another state. I could get some, I suppose, but whenever I shoot, I’m in Alabama, on my parent’s property, so that’s where the rounds stay. Gun ownership, Rootie Style, means possessing a set of skills. To me, it’s little different from being able to operate a chainsaw, or an oxy-acetlyene torch, or a 1969 Chevelle SS (in my dreams) It’s a dangerous thing, yes. It is certainly to be kept out of the hands of someone who is ignorant of how to use it. But, it is not something I consider inherently evil. The people I know well, who use guns, are intelligent and thoughful individuals, not drooling uneducated hicks who ‘jest wanna keel sumpin’.”
And yeah, if something should happen and all my guns are taken away, I would be mad as hell, but I’d be just as mad if someone took my chainsaw or the cutting torch.
Filed under: Uncategorized
It was time to take the Christmas tree down. I was not anticipating it with joy and enthusiasm. Here’s how it’s always gone before:
Me: “Time to take the tree down, y’all c’mon and help.”
Everyone stands around shuffling their feet and mumbling.
5 minutes later they all evaporate and I am left alone with everything. I spend the next 3 hours packing and putting away, cursing my family and planning a Christmas Cruise to Argentina. Just for me.
This year, I grew a backbone. “Sweet Daddio,” I said, “I don’t want to take the tree down, It can stay up til April for all I care. I’m tired of everyone turning into mist and wafting away. I don’t want to do it.”
So, I didn’t. In fact, I went upstairs to deal with the decorations up there, and utterly ignored the bigger mess in the living room. By the time I was finished, SD was taking the lights down. He had carefully packed all the ornaments, wrapping the breakable ones and putting everything in the properly labeled boxes. All I had to do was pack up the legion of Santa Mugs.
I think I’m in love with the man.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I know, it’s not Jan 1 yet, but if I don’t make these resolutions now they won’t happen. Besides, why NOT make them on December whatever? Is there a law that says I can’t?
1. to smile more
2.clean the bathrooms before the toilet growls.
3.eat more fish…especially fish tacos. Man, those are good.
4.give up processed meats (no hot dogs, no packaged lunch meat, no sausage except what comes from Ellis’)
5.to keep the conclusions I jump to to myself until the idiotic behavior that caused the conclusion becomes apparent to everyone.
6.to clean the unnamed sticky spots off the wall before they need to be removed with paint stripper.
7.to quit with the “I don’t have time for that, I have to do (stupid housewife chore)”, because no one will remember me for the color of the throw pillows or the minty aroma of the closets.
8.get my hair cut more than once every 6 months because, DAMMIT!, I can afford to get my hair cut more than once every 6 months!
9.Eat more grapefruit. Every resolution list should have at least one thing that doesn’t require any great effort.
10. To master a new cooking technique. Ganache,perhaps, or maybe cooking freshwater fish.
So that’s what I want to do in 2008. 4 food related resolutions, 3 personal character issues, 2 Housewife issues, and 1 personal maintanence choice.
I figure if I can keep 2 of the 10 resolutions, I’ll be doing well. I’m shooting for eat more fish (tacos) and get my hair cut more often.
Resolutions I Didn’t Make:
1. to lose weight. Fie. I’ve tried diets and gym memberships (and yes, I went 5 days a week, 2 hours each time and did not lose weight) and my body is determined to be soft, round and well upholstered. I’ve just going to have to deal with it.
2. Eat more vegetables. I eat more vegetables already.
3. Go to the gym every day. Why? So I can spend an hour on a machine every day to remain The GirlfFriend of Bibendum? No. I’d rather chop weeds in the garden.
3. Be nicer to people. HA! Yeah, right. HA! Resolutions are supposed to be doable. If I didn’t have my precious sarcasm I’d have no friends at all. No…wait…
4.Be a better Christian. Isn’t that always the mandate? No matter what, we cannot be perfectly like Christ. It’s not possible. If it were, He never would have needed to come, right? So, I’ll try to keep my sour opinions to myself, but that’s about as good as it’s going to get.
5.can’t think of anything else?
Here’s some resolutions from others: (source-wsfa.org)
I will not jump out of any more windows – John Sheridan of Babylon Five
I will end the Wheel of Time Series sometime this century – Robert Jordan
I will admit to being a science fiction writer – Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Ursula LeGuin, etc.
We will replace half of our licensed books with backlist titles and out of print SF classics – Publishers of science fiction
We will not have any more aliens cut off all ties to their homeworld and past – Producers of Deep Space Nine
I won’t insist on always being the one who saves the universe. – Ender (in Orson Scot Card’s books)
I vow to write lots of articles and draw lots of cartoons for the WSFA Journal – The members of WSFA
I will not let my ancestors determine my actions, oh and I will stop using so much spice – Alia Atreides of the Dune Books.
We will not invade Earth again- aliens from practically all of 1996′s SF movies (Independence Day, Mars Attacks and even Star Trek: First Contact)
I will read criminals their rights before destroying them – E. E. Doc Smith’s Kimball Kinnison
I will talk to other people before jumping to conclusions – practically any Mercedes Lackey character.
I will confess my secret ambition to be a history professor – Harry Turtledove
Filed under: Wisdom
The Total Woman by Marabel Morgan
The Spirit Controlled Woman by Bevery LaHaye.
Sex Ed for Christians where I learned God probably disapproves of oral sex.
Fascinating Womanhood where I learned all those clever feminine wiles guarenteed to let me keep my man. *warning* will make you hurl if you in any way identify as anything remotely feminist.
These are the books that formed my views on womanhood, being a wife, all that. Each one has it’s merits, and I am glad I read them before getting married. I can look back at them now and laugh at much of the advice, and understand why Mom put dents in the wall when she threw them across the room.
You can never have too much information, I believe, and if you don’t get the information you need, how can you make an informed decision?
I have no intention of wrapping up in saran, or of subjugating my desires to suit those of my husbands. I am fortunate in that he gets great pleasure in pleasing me, so I don’t feel any guilt in it, and I get a great deal of pleasure out of making him happy…that’s kind of what makes this relationship tick like it does. My method of dealing with the advice I’d been given has been to pick and choose. No saran, no creaming my face every night to stay dewy and youthful, and I’ll figure out for myself what’s proper in the bedroom. If God gave us the imagination then it would be rude not to use it.
Filed under: Uncategorized
That would be me, and my upbringing. My favorite color is pink, my favorite pastime is growing flowers, I shave my legs and cook meals for my man. And fold his underwear and socks.
There’s a reason for all this. I was programmed to be just this sort of Stepford wife (well, sans the Nicole Kidman sexiness) by the many books I read in the 1970′s. See, Mom was trying hard to be a Good Christian Wife, or any other kind of Good Wife, so she had a plethora of books by the likes of Beverly LaHaye and Marabelle Morgan (she of the plastic-wrap and hair highlights), and I read them all.
I learned that, in order to Please My Man, I should wrap myself in several layers of strategically placed plastic wrap and greet him at the door with a cold adult beverage. I also learned that I should coat my face, neck and upper chest in high quality cream every night, so I would reamin youthful looking and able to compete with the 24 yr old secretary he sees every day at work.
I learned that men like women who are ready to hop into bed at a moment’s notice, while maintaining moral higher ground. I also learned that if I met him at the door wearing nothing but a football helmet and a strategically placed hand towel he would reward me with dinners out and footrubs.
Unfortunately, I think if I were to do that now, I’d receive a trip to The Good Dr. H. There’s a statute of limitations on that sort of behavior, I think.
I also learned that I had to be relentlessly cheerful. I was not to allow him to see me discontent, because that would make him feel bad about his ability to make me happy. This has been a struggle for me. As a manic-depressive, depression is just part of my makeup. I can be unhappy for absolutely no reason at all, and there isn’t a thing anyone can do about it except wait it out. Those books never covered anything like that.
I don’t try to be the anti-feminist. Some of my favorite people are feminists, and I respect them for their beliefs, mainly because they seem to accept me as I am and don’t try to change me. Thanks y’all.
It’s just that, the things I get them most fulfillment out of in my life are the things that fall neatly into the pink, heart shaped box that holds my life. I love to cook. Folding clothes is a repetitive and soothing activity for me, that allows me to watch Valerie Bertinelli cry on Lifetime TV. I get the deep satisfaction out of a spanking clean bathroom, or out of cleaning one of my kids’ rooms. If you could see their room before I clean it, you’d be satisfied as well. I love babies, mine and other folks’, well, I pretty much like kids of all ages, even teenagers…maybe even especially teens. I drive a girly car, wear girly clothes, and love to try on perfume in the store. I tend to walk half a pace behind Sweet Daddio. Not out of any sense of subservience, but because he’s half again as big as I am, and clears me a path. It winds up looking like subservience, but I know it’s not, and that’s all that matters. I dress modestly, not out of a deep-seated Christian aversion to my body, but because I get cold easily…well…and because I’ve had 4 children and the bits that are typically exposed by immodest dress just aren’t as pretty as they once were. There was a time once when I could get away with wearing a tank top and no bra (I made SD very nervous by doing just that), but those times are long, long gone.
Part of my non-feminism is a reaction to the so-called radfems who blame all the ills of their lives and the world on men. I suppose it is easier to find a universal scapegoat than it is to own your own problems and do something about them. Call me a radical non-feminist, but I don’t see how writing off as unworthy half the population of the world, nearly all of whom had NO SAY at all in their gender, can accomplish real change. All I hear is a few strident voices, of people who can’t see beyond their self-generated rage. It’s like they shout “Choice! Choice!” then follow it with a subtext of “my choice, not yours”. So choice is good, but only if I choose to behave in a manner they approve of. Don’t shave your legs? That’s radical and edgy! Shave your legs (here in the South, a practical thing really), and you’re a pawn of the patriarchy, and a Stepford Wife and (God forbid!) a Sex Poz.
Which brings me to another point. I think I’d be considered Sex Pos…I mean, I’ve had sex *at least* 4 times, verifiable, and probably many more times- tho I’m not giving details because we have an agreement about that, SD and I. I am fine with other people having sex with other consenting adults, and in fact I don’t really have a problem with people making movies of sex for other people to see. I don’t want to see them, but my preciousness about x-rated movies is mine own, and not to be used for hitting others over the head. I am still shocked by certain behaviors, such as learning of the existance of sex clubs in Atlanta, and of the particulars ofRenegade Evolution’sjob as a stripper. Shocked, yes, but not exactly driven to foam at the mouth and accuse people of patriarchal fluffing.
And oddly enough, my weak lil female Christian pink wearing mind feels no compulsion at all to join a sex club or stick multiple battery operated banana-subtitutes into assorted orifaci. I’d much rather wrap myself strategically in plastic wrap and greet SD at the door with a scotch and soda.
Filed under: Uncategorized
If I write these down, I’ll remember them. If I put them to paper, I’ll lose them. Ergo, the virtual corkboard.
1.For New Years: resolutions, regrets, and something else
2.Growing up: Why has it taken 42 years and when will I be done? (may be combined with #1)
3. I have a $50 gift card. Do I get what I want, or what I need?
4.What Beverly LaHaye Taught Me When I Was 12.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Way back in the day, we knew some people who were British. The company Sweet Daddio worked for was British-owned, so all the management were imports from Gr. B. The one Christmas we lived and worked there, they invited us to a Boxing Day party and I thought, “What a marvelous idea!” As it was explained to us, you were supposed to bring all your leftovers from Christmas Dinner, and share with your friends. Then I did a little research and I *think* (correct me if I’m wrong) you’re supposed to box up your leftovers and give them to the poor. Well, that’s awkward, so better to have a party with your friends, instead. I guess. We didn’t have leftovers back then as money was tight and we *were* The Poor.
Thing is, we don’t have any leftovers now. Instead, we have a mother (me) who’s too damn sorry on Christmas Day to be bothered with fixing a feast, and we have 3 teenaged children, who by their simple existance prevent to production of leftovers. We haven’t had leftovers in this house since 1995.
So instead, Boxing Day in the Toot household is a day spent gathering boxes, breaking them down, and throwing them away. (Oh rats. I should have asked SD to leave me the van so #3 can take all the trash to the dump, but I didn’t think of it.) Cleaning will ensue shortly. Because it’s no longer December 25, life shall resume to relative normal (assuming I can pry their hands from the Wii controllers) and I will attempt in my own delicate Southern fashion to bully them into cleaning up.
And, SD called and said the wife and 2 children of one of his coworkers in in town for over a week, and they’re living in an Airstream trailer and, could they maybe spend time here? I said sure, I like her, the kids are sweet and same ages as #’s 3 and 4, and I know for a NATURAL FACT she’s a worse housekeeper than I am, so I have no fear nor shame of the Post-Solstice condition of my house. So I said tell them “Sure, bring laundry if you need to, I’d love the adult company!”
So how’s that for a Boxing Day treat! Company! That I’m not related to and don’t need to worry about finding the right size or color?! Love it!
What else is there to do on a non-working farm in Alabama, this time of year?
Filed under: Uncategorized
I am as bad as a 10 yr old where Christmas morning is concerned. I tossed around all night, waiting for 5 am so I could get up without the kids calling me a hypocrite. When 5am did get here, we both jumped out of bed and woke up the kids. Sweet Daddio is as bad as I am.
Let the chaos begin!
by 7am, paper and boxes covered the floor and everyone was busy figuring out their new aquisitions.
by 7:30, the bagels were sliced, smoked salmon and cream cheese put out, and breakfast was had.
Now, everyone is deeper into figuring out their stuff, Rosie ate half a chocolate orange, causing much dismay and consternation. We resolved the situation by squirting hydrogen peroxide down her goozle to make her barf, which she did, on my pants, on the floor, and all down the patio. Hard to believe an 8 pound dog could hold that much, but it’s out of her now and she’s no worse for the wear.
She just came in and curled up on my foot. Poor baby.
There’s a crock pot of chili to eat on all day, with fritos and a pot of hot cider on the stove. There were gourmet cheese and crackers in my stocking, I may have those for lunch.
Parents have called to wish a happy, #1 was here…
That’s the best part of all this. Not the doodads and thingamabobs, but the having everyone here, happy and healthy, just spending the day together, trying out each others new things, wearing clothes that smell like dog barf (not for long, I want to make sure she’s finished), noshing on bagels and salmon.
There’s a vibe to Christmas Day that’s different from any other. As if this is, indeed, a day set apart, time stands still, we all have permission to do nearly nothing. I’m thinking that’s why it’s such a special day. Not the gifts, but the time. For me, anyway. I don’t cook much this day, unless I just want to. No laundry, no cleaning (except what the dog throws up).
All the work can pick back up tomorrow. Today is all it’s own.
Filed under: Uncategorized
No one cried, that I know of. The menfolk got to shoot the potato gun and learned that loading it with a smoke bomb is Definitely Good.
Mom wasn’t too badly behaved, as best I could tell. She did decide sometime last week that my sister in law would be required to fold the napkins, so even though SIL was outside watching things explode (Propane makes a bigger flame than MAP gas, btw…in case you ever need to know), and even though Sweet Daddio said “Oh no, I’ll fold the napkins, she’s busy”, Mom tracked SIL down and had her Fold The Napkins, because that was Her Job To Do. There were probably other confrontations (aren’t there always?) that I’m unaware of, but all in all, Mom seemed to behave in a fairly relaxed manner.
It was excellent to see my brother and his family, as it always is.
We went to church- the Service of 9 Lessons and Carols, kind of a Protestant tradition, where the prophecy of Christ’s coming in Isaiah through to the account of the wise men showing up and leaving presents (“ppssst…Mom…what’s myrrh?”) is read and relevant carols sung. I like it. No sermon, just the whole beginning of Christ story and very familiar carols . All the women are wearing red- blazers, sweaters, dresses, and the men with silly Christmas ties on, including someone toward the back on the right wearing a singing tie that I think (I hope) he kept accidentally bumping during the service and we’d hear this tinny, electronic “dashing through the snow…etc” until he realized it was playing and he’d put his hand over it.
After church we hustled home and Mom needed to go to the grocery store because she realized she hadn’t planned a vegetable to go with the ham. So, I went with and told her to go get the eggs she needed and I’d handle the vegetables.
Rootie’s Christmas Eve Eve Vegetables-feeds 10 with some leftovers
1 large sweet potato
2 medium turnips
2 medium beets
1 small bag baby carrots
3 medium leeks
2 portabella mushroom caps
Peel the beets, turnips and sweet potato, and cut everything up into pieces about the size of the baby carrots. Toss in a big bowl with some olive oil and kosher salt. Put in a pan and roast at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until everything is tender. Resist your mother’s temptation to season with anything more esoteric than kosher salt. You know, like…lavender or maybe juniper berries. Or cheese.
I have pictures of the event. There are some of the menfolk trying to blow themselves up, and some of a very carefully orchestrated attempt at spontinaety (spontenaity? spontenaety? the act of being spontaneous, anyway) by Mom, pictures forthcoming.
Now we’re home, all set for tomorrow. #1 said he was coming over this evening, to spend the night because in spite of his being nearly 20, he’s still a kid and wants to get up at 5 am and open presents, then eat himself into a stupor for the rest of the day.
As for me, I intend to keep my nervous system well lubricated. Right now, I have to come up with dry kindling for the firepit, because part of our “kill time before 5 am” campaign involves a fire, marshmallows, and hot apple cider.
The rule at our household is “You can get up anytime you like on Christmas morning, but you are not allowed to leave your bedroom until 5 am.”