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Location: Upstate, South Carolina, United States

I think that the Meredith Brooks' song, "Bitch," summarizes me rather nicely. Or, if you prefer, X. dell says I'm a life-smart literary scholar with a low BS tolerance...that also works!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'm Back!

I went to my sister's house in Texas for my spring break. I had a great time with my three nieces, my sis, and her husband. But that's why I had been missing for a bit in the blogworld. Unfortunately, we only had one free plane ticket, so I had to leave Alex and the kids behind. It's great to be back with the family! I got in pretty late last night, and then of course we had all the Easter rituals to do, so I'm functioning on low sleep. If the kids pass out in a sugar coma, I can take a nap maybe, right? Haha!

It's funny because my sister and I are so very, very different...yet we love each other endlessly. She is a fashion plate whenever she walks out the door: flawless makeup, perfectly matched clothes, delicate ballerina body (she's a ballet instructor and never weighs over 88 lbs at 5'--she's usually at 84 lbs but this week I made her gain 3 lbs just 'cause when I show up, there's wine, chocolate, cheese, and other good food aplenty! haha!). I take two seconds to get ready to go out. That's usually all it takes for me to find something clean and slide on shoes. It was weird, though, for me to be a part of the mall shopping, clothes, and appearances set at times. My daughter is like me--is it clean? Good. We're ready. Let's go. But then again, that's what she learned to be from me. My sister's three girls have learned to care about looking gorgeous from my sister herself. It really made me wonder how Ariana'd be if she had been raised in Rose's household. I think for sure she'd be doing ballet like two of Rose's three girls. I think Ari would have loved that.

My youngest niece, Giselle, kept laughing at all my jokes and saying I was too entertaining to leave. That made me chuckle. She turns 12 at the end of the week. Chiara is 15 and is exactly what I expect out of a teen girl for behavior, so this was a shock for me to see the path that lies ahead. Hmm. But I guess Ariana could end up more like Allegra, my 17 yr old niece (otherwise known as my mini-me). Allegra is reasonable and uses logic. She has learned to appreciate looking nice when she walks out the door, but she doesn't spend much time on it nor does she have the enormous wardrobe that Chiara has (she saves her money instead). She mostly has male friends, and thereby she has evaded a lot of the girl trauma of high school. I asked my brother in law for permission to take her home to be my daughter, and he said no. Wah.

Still, I have been clinging to my daughter a LOT today. It's on the horizon. Teen girl drama...teen girl social life (IE, never home)...teen girl tears. I have today, but tomorrow she grows up. I can't make time stand still. I wouldn't want to, but honestly I wish this more fun and innocent time could continue just a wee bit longer. Isn't she mine??? Aren't I allowed to keep her forever??? haha!

Humorously, though, my daughter who really doesn't care about clothes just got an ENORMOUS haul of fashion plate clothing from my sister's girls. Whether or not she wants to be, she'll be well dressed when she walks out the door. Hey, it means I have to do laundry less frequently! Woohoo!

It was great to see my sis and her family, but it's great to be back too. Happy Easter, everybody!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Can You Take a Joke?

When I became friends with a bunch of Europeans and Canadians, I learned too many American jokes. Now, I can take a joke. And I can certainly laugh at specific aspects of being an American/American culture, even when it's all non-Americans doing the teasing. But after a while, some jokes just became repetative and annoying. From that point on, I guess I became more selective about what was funny and what was a stupid pain in the ass as far as jokes based on nationality.

I've known of people thrown out of bars in Germany just for being American and not a damn thing else. I have walked through Wales and been asked what part of Canada I was from...and when I finally asked back, "Why does everybody think I'm Canadian?", the answer was simple: "Well, you're too smart and too polite to be an American." Ouch. We all know that the world does not love us as a nation. The teasing gets old. The jokes become the same ol', same ol'. And retelling them doesn't make them any funnier.

But that doesn't mean that if you don't have an original jibe to share, I won't laugh my ass off.

I feel the same way about French jokes. A long time ago, I didn't care one way or the other. But once I fell in love with a Frenchman, I started to become more and more aware of how we tease about them. Some of the jokes are just plain stupid. For instance, ha to the fucking ha about the French always surrendering. If you look at their military history on the whole instead of focus on, say, WWII, you'll find out that they weren't so shabby and didn't always run away like Sir Robin from The Holy Grail. And the "Boy you French don't shave and don't use soap" jokes???? FREAKING LAME! All the French women I know shave--shock. And all but one French person I know bathe regularly. The one French guy I know who does not bathe regularly is also a total gaming geek, and if you think that's nationality based, I could gladly take you to several of my male geek friends here in America who do not bathe either. For some reason, basic hygiene is not so important to a geek who has no social life. I can't stand those sorts of jokes. They're just plain lame.

But that doesn't stop me from laughing at a good French jibe, either.

So here's one that actually made me laugh....

Sitting together on a train, traveling through the Swiss Alps, are a French guy an American guy, an old Greek lady and a young blonde Swiss girl. The train goes into a dark tunnel and a few seconds later there is the sound of a loud slap. When the train emerges from the tunnel, the Frenchman has a bright red hand print on his cheek. No one speaks. The old lady thinks: The Frenchman must have groped the blonde in the dark, and she slapped his cheek. The blonde thinks: That Frenchman must have tried to grope me in the dark, but missed and fondled the old lady and she slapped his cheek. The Frenchman thinks: The American must have groped the blonde in the dark. She tried to slap him but missed and got me instead. The American thinks: I can't wait for another tunnel, so I can smack that Frenchman again.