Where I’m From . . .

Sent to me by my mother, probably in an attempt to remind me of my roots. After all, where I’m from the key question is: “But who is his [or her] family?” Hell, where I’m from we cut the hair off dead relatives and weave decorative wreaths adorned with pressed flowers . . . Yeah, it’s macabre. In that Southern Gothic kind of way.

And it also freaks people out when I slip into a “Suthun” accent . . .

Key Southern Cities
typically “dripping with charm”


Who Counts as a Southern Gentleman

Men in Uniform
Men in Tuxedos
Rhett Butler (though we settle for Clark Gable)

Three Deadly Sins for a Southern Woman

bad hair & nails
bad manners
bad cooking

Things Only True Southerners Know

  1. the difference between a hissy fit and a conniption fit (and that you “pitch” a fit, never “have” one)
  2. how many of anything make up “a mess” or “a passel”
  3. exactly how long a time “directly” [pr. “direckly”] is (i.e., “Gone to town, be back directly.”) Same is true of “by and by”

Just for fun, I’ll add an old Joe Boudreaux joke here. (For those who don’t know, Joe Boudreaux is an Acadian folk hero featured in many jokes.)

Joe Boudreaux was driving to visit a friend who’d moved out past Houma somewhere, and while he was driving he got turned around. He started to think he was driving in circles! Then Joe came to a crossroads, and at that crossroads was a young boy of about age nine or ten. Joe stopped the car, rolled down the window, pointed down the road in front of him and asked the boy, “If I go down this road here, where I be at?”

“I don’t know, me,” the boy said.

Joe Boudreaux pointed down a side road. “Well, if I go down this road here, where I be at?”

But the boy shook his head. “I don’t know, me.”

Joe pointed the other direction. “And if I go down that road there, where I be at?”

“I don’t know, me.”

“You don’t know much, do ya?” snapped a frustrated Joe Boudreaux.

But the boy just stared at him placidly and answered, “Well, I ain’t the one who’s lost.”

Tough as Nails

The kids were working my extremely rusty soccer [“football” to my overseas friends] skills this morning. Glad to say I still have a bit in me. And it helps to have “rock star toes” too:

Yes, I was playing soccer in a sundress and sandals and with sparkly toes. My daughter kept calling me “Princess Aurora, Soccer Star!”

Of course, at one point while playing I wasn’t watching where I was going and backed into one of the hawthorne plants, winning a couple barbs in my shoulder that I had to pluck out. “Briar Rose” indeed!

A Game of Where’s M?

Spot me in this picture and win a prize.

Just kidding. I’m not actually in this picture.

Kidding again. I am in this picture, but I’m not giving away any prizes.

I’m standing between a guy named Alex and one named Rob, and now I have to wonder whether it’s coincidence, or whether some subconscious tie prompted me to name my two sons Alexander and Robert. Hmm. (Really they were named for a great-grandfather and a great-uncle. Also for Innes clan chieftains. But it’s still kind of weird.)

You can click on the image to make it larger and easier to see.


I should be writing. I want to be writing. But we’ve been moving and unpacking and . . . Anyway, everything seems very difficult right now for some reason. Like swimming against a current. I’m tired. Not from the move, just . . . mentally fatigued.

Anyway, Neil visited me again in a dream last night (and if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, go here for some background). And this seemed to have something to do with my not being able to write lately. Except he was a furniture salesman. And though he was wearing a black shirt, he was wearing white pants, and we all know that’s wrong. I’m sure it all means something, but I’m too tired to figure it out.

At any rate, in the dream Neil took me to a round table with a checkerboard painted on it and tried to show me some kind of complicated game, something he said helped him when he couldn’t write. It wasn’t checkers, but it did use little round, carved wooden discs. He called it rummy, but isn’t that a card game? I’m sure if I could remember everything he told me, I’d be smoothly sailing on with my work. Alas, I can’t remember anything he actually said; I only have this mental picture of him distributing these game pieces on the table. And I couldn’t even see what was carved on them.

Well then. We’ve watched the queen this morning, and the alarm installation is supposed to happen shortly, and I have dishes and laundry and more unpacking to do. If I’m not going to write, I should at least be useful.

A Couple (Random) Things

A while back, I did this “Lucky 7” meme but my WIP didn’t have a page 77 yet. Well, now it does, so I’m reposting for this meme. Taken from page 77 of The K-Pro:

“A minute,” David said, though his voice wasn’t loud enough to be heard over the rapping. David pulled open the door to save it from any more abuse and was surprised to find Liz there, though he knew he really shouldn’t be. What surprised David more, however, was the tiny stab of disappointment he felt when he saw his co-star.

Without the elaborate wig and dress, the heavy makeup, and the heeled boots that made her a good three inches taller, David observed there to be something of the “kid sister” in Liz. Her pageboy, freckles, and plimsolls lent her a sporty and almost childish look. But her next move dispelled the notion. As David began to ask what she needed, Liz reached up to draw his face down for a very un-sisterly kiss.

I almost couldn’t have asked for a better seven lines, eh? (I interpreted “lines” as “sentences” as opposed to the physical line breaks on the page.)

In other random news, we’re moving into a new house tomorrow, and not so far from this house (on a road called “Camino Diablo” no less) are these:

Which I think is very cool.

The Ghost of Sundays Past

Tonight I am feeling nostalgic for the time when I was, oh, aged 9 to, say, 13? That was when Sunday nights were about Star Trek: The Next Generation and sitting outside with my dad, listening to music while he grilled for dinner. Sometimes, on nights when my mother wasn’t home, we’d turn up the stereo in the living room and dance around. We’d leave the windows open until after sundown; then the wind would pick up and cut through the house, actually making it a bit chilly, so we’d have to close everything up.

Sometimes friends of mine and I would sit out in front of the house, either on the grass or on the open tailgate of the pickup truck. (Yes, we were that Texas cliché, always having one truck and one Grand Am in the driveway.) We’d watch the stars and talk late into the night, real discussions of the kind that seem okay to have alone in the dark, although of course you’d never mention those things again afterward. But on those nights we were like spies, trading secrets.

I liked being an only child. I liked the unique relationship I had with my parents, and I liked the independence, and I liked the quiet. I liked having space to myself and a reasonable amount of autonomy. (Of course, the flip side of that is not liking being told what to do.) I think being an only child helped me learn to live alone, be myself. I don’t have the need that so many others seem to, to be constantly in contact and connected with others.

I’ve started reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking—only just started reading it, so I’m not very far along, but based on the true/false list provided in the book I guess I fall somewhere between being an introvert and an ambivert. I can take a certain amount of stimulation, have learned to drown out a lot, but I don’t like to have to do it, and I need a safe haven from it.

In those days, those 9-to-13 days, I would go up to my room and turn on the stereo and sit in a rocking chair and listen to music until the early morning (my parents not caring how late I stayed up so long as I didn’t complain about having to get up for school or church). I like to sing but was too shy to try joining the school chorus. I knew I was good at a number of things, but I also knew there was always someone better—maybe a lot of someones who were better—and that always made it seem useless to try. But my room was my safe haven, and I would roll up the blinds and watch the stars wheel and march and the moon slide across the sky. And in there, I was the best at everything.

My parents were not encouragers; they were too laid back for that. Instead, it was more, “Whatever you want to do . . .” And the problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, it was that I wanted to do so many things and never knew where to start. Which explains why I’m behind the curve a bit now.

But tonight, on a beautiful Sunday evening, I miss all the things that were and used to be. There was no hurry to get anywhere in life, only the mandate to enjoy who and what was there with me at the time. Life really was simpler then, and youth really is wasted on the young. Still, instead of wallowing in the past, I will strive to continue to make my life an oasis, a place of happiness for myself and others. And if I need to go hide once in a while, please bear with me. I will return, refreshed and reinvigorated, once I have recharged.

Dr Phil’s Test

1. When do you feel your best?
a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon & and early evening
c) late at night

2. You usually walk . . .
a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
d) less fast, head down
e) very slowly

3. When talking to people you . . .
a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with . . .
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) your legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with . . .
a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you . . .
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You’re working very hard, concentrating hard, and you’re interrupted. You . . .
a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) Red or orange
b) black
c) yellow or light blue
d) green
e) dark blue or purple
f) white
g) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are . . .
a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are . . .
a) falling
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant

1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points.

Total: 37

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should “handle with care.” You’re seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don’t always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who’s quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who’s constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who’ll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who’s extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn’t want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don’t exist. Some people think you’re boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren’t.

The Mark Gatiss Factor

It has become a kind of bizarre circumstance that every time I’m in London I end up spending at least a couple hours breathing the same air as Mark Gatiss. This started last June, when it happend that the day I arrived in London was the day they were showing The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes at the Lexi. It’s one of my favorites, so I went, and Mark Gatiss and the other one (yes, okay, Steven Moffat) were there doing a Q&A or whatever.

Then, you know, I went to London in December for the Sherlock preem at the BFI, a special treat for my birthday and/or various holidays, and Mark Gatiss was there, too . . . Actually, so was Steven Moffat . . .

So now, knowing of course that Mr Gatiss is performing in “The Recruiting Officer,” it’s a given that I simply must go when I’m in town. Three times makes it tradition, after all. (No Steven Moffat, though. I’ve had done with him.)