A Happy Ending...

I know how the book ends. Trust me. So turn back to that page where your bookmark sits, waiting for you to live the way you were meant to live, savoring every moment.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Broken Cookies: A Lesson on Manners

My cubemate just brought over a mostly eaten, cumbled down to nothing oatmeal cookie wrapped in Saran wrap. Her boss had been at a meeting at one of the churches and someone said she should bring one of the delicious cookies back to her assistant, so she did. Only, it was apparently too tough to make the short trip back to the office with the cookie in the passenger seat because she nibbled the cookie down to the mostly eaten, crumbled down to nothing bit that she handed my cubemate. Why, you ask, is this important? It's not. But it's downright rude.
First, you don't consume a good portion of a gift you intend to give someone. And trust me, in the humdrum of my office, a delicious oatmeal cookie is, in fact, a gift! Second, if you do commit the heinous crime of using the gift yourself (in this case, eating the damn cookie) then please, people, don't give it to the recipient. Make no mention of the gift and live with the guilt that you didn't have the willpower to leave the cookie alone for 5 minutes, but don't wrap it back up in the Saran wrap and offer it as a wondrous gift to behold, because it's not! It's a piece of crap, if you ask me.

This little incident has got me thinking about manners, or the lack thereof. Now I was taught to use my manners when I was a small child. When my mother or father spoke to me, I said "sir" and "ma'am" just as I did to any other adult. I thanked people profusely for things and I was genuine in doing so. I never asked for anything at people's houses; instead, I accepted graciously only what was offered to me. I did not expect anyone to wait on me, pay for me, or go out of their way for me, for these are lovely gestures, but I am not entitled to any of them.

Maybe it's a southern thing or maybe my mother was just a stickler, but this is how I was brought up. I took a good spanking once because my mother called my name while I was playing next door and I answered "what." Harsh, you may be thinking, but you know what: I never answered "what" again.

I find that manners, and graciousness in general, is really lacking in our world today. People seem to have a hard time discerning acceptable behavior. Moreover, people seem to think they are entitled to certain kind gestures, when by definition, a gesture is not offered out of obligation, nor is it to be accepted with expectation.

I was with Richie a few weeks ago at one of his youth events. As I rode to our host's house surrounded by teenage girls (read: sweet tween monsters with loud, high-pitched squeals and enough energy to literally make you vomit out of nervousness) I was appalled at some of things that came out of their mouths.

These were girls from good homes. Trust me - I've been in them - we're talking good homes. When offered choices for breakfast, I heard responses like, "ewwww no that makes me gag...I HATE bacon...Are you talking about the good bisquits that Mrs. So-and-So makes?...Do we have to eat that stuff?" You would have thought the girls were being offered pancakes made with rabbit turds and cow patties on the side, instead of bacon, eggs, sausage, bisquits, fruit, toast, juice...the whole nine yards...a regular FEAST for a girl like me. There was an acute lack of manners and graciousness in that conversation and it made me really mad.

These girls are not the only culprits. I find this with my own kiddos as well. 13 tough boys, one pretty-tough-herself girl, and me (prissy as all get-out if you want the truth) all in a room: the p's and q's are few and far between. It is with expectation that they devour their pizza and reach for their quarters at the CiCi's arcade, both of which generally come out of my pocket. And I rarely, if ever, do I hear a thank you. And when sweet Diane brings dinner for the kiddos, they respond with "sandwiches again?.. why didn't you bring mustard?..do we have any better drinks?"

I know that in this new-age of child-rearing we are supposed to encourage kids to express themselves. Children have been hushed for too long and we want them to speak up. And I suppose their is something to be said for being honest and being yourself around your peers and elders. But if all you have to offer are rude, dumb-ass comments, keep your damn mouth shut. I don't care if you hate your Aunt Edna's green jello-mold dessert. You thank her for it anyway. You tell her how sweet it was of her to prepare it. I don't care if you didn't want a grand feast for breakfast. When your hosts offers these items, you say, "wow, that would be great" and you go with it. Trust me, you'll find something edible in the mess.

Apparently, the adults around us are just as bad as the kids, as we saw displayed by the cookie incident this morning. In fact, I see it in the workplace, and moreso in the world outside, all the time. I'm sure you've seen it, too.

Now, having manners is not about lying. It's about putting someone else's feelings first. It's about realizing that in general, you are not entitled to a damn thing except your paycheck. It's about thinking how the person on the other end feels when you offer them a mostly eaten, crumbled down to nothing oatmeal cookie, and resisting the temptation to eat it yourself, no matter how hard it may be. I guess to me, it's common sense, but maybe to the rest of the world, it takes a little thought. But you know what, that's what manners are all about: thinking before you speak, before you act, and having a little kindness in your heart.

I shall close this little rant with a story. Years and years ago, my Mom's friend Mrs. W (we call her Owie now) made lemon bars for a party at our house. She is a little rough around the edges, but went to finishing school, and knows that a southern lady never arrives at her host's home empty-handed. I'm getting off-track here. Anyway, she brought a plate of lemon bars which in reality were like lemon soup poured onto a very blackened crust. Now, I like lemon bars, although I don't have a particular fondness for them, but I wanted her to know how appreciated her gesture was, so I went out of my way to thank her for bringing them and told her how delicious they were.

To this day, Mrs. W brings me lemon bars to every affair. Does she do it because she thinks I love lemon bars? Perhaps. It doesn't matter. What matters is that I received her gift with love and graciousness and she has never forgotten that. You know what else? Mrs. W. only has boys, and she has sort of adopted the three of us as her daughters. She has told us that we are even in her will to receive a number of very fine pieces of jewelry. Why is this important, you ask? Because relationships begin with good manners. Our first cordial conversations with another person shape the future of that relationship. Manners offer us a gateway for profound interaction with another human being. In a few simple words, we show each other genuine gratefulness, kindness and love, and in the world today, I can't think of anything more necessary and cherished.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

America: a love-hate relationship

I've been mulling something over in my mind for a few weeks but wasn't sure if it was appropriate blog-talk, so I never wrote about it. After reading Rob's latest blog, I decided I ought to put it out there: I have a love-hate relationship with America.

Before you freak out, allow me to go on. I'm a pretty patriotic girl and I still believe in the values upon which I believe this country was founded. Yes, I've considered the historiography of it all and I've read the tell-all tales of the way it "really happened" but I still belt out God Bless America and believe that we are, in fact, blessed. Are we granted certain graces that other countries are not? Of course not. But we know freedoms that many will never know.
Those freedoms are another story for another day. There's something else bugging me, my friends.

I'm not the biggest country music fan, but every once in a while I flip it to the honky-tonk station and find that I know more of the songs than I'd like to admit. I remember hearing a song in particular shortly after 9/11 that had some kind of catchy line "brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue." The first time I heard it, I'll be honest and admit that I really didn't pay attention to the lyrics. I heard red, white, and blue and assumed it was some harmless act of patriotism. But shortly after, I paid more attention and was appalled.
For those who don't know, the song is basically an "in your face, we are America, here us roar, we're going to kick your ass from sea-to-shining-sea, and we really don't give a damn about you" kind of song. I hate to even share the lyrics, but I feel it necessary:

Hey Uncle Sam Put your name at the top of his list
And the Statue of Liberty started shakin' her fist
And the eagle will fly Man, it's gonna be hell
When you hear Mother Freedom Start ringin' her bell
And it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you
Brought to you Courtesy of the Red White and Blue.

These words make me sick to my stomach. Seriously sick. Basically what it's saying is that everyone should be cowering in fear of America. Watch out world, we'll kick your ass. We'll make your lives hell if you mess with us.

Now let me say this: what happened on 9/11 wasn't right. People losing their lives isn't right. Flying planes into buildings isn't right. And I was angry and hurt with the best of them. And to those more liberal than I, I'll even admit that I wanted to do something about it. It wasn't a desire for revenge that I felt. I guess more than anything I wanted justice and peace and freedom for the rest of the world so that we'd stop doing these things to each other, no matter how impossible that seems. And I felt a little more patriotic in those dark days that followed. I looked at the flag differently. And I heard this song, and in my ignorance, didn't change the station. But then I realized what it was saying.

This song is ignorant and springs from the white trash of America. Like the truck that Rob described in his post, this songs comes at you with a larger than life American flag in the bed of a tacky truck with a big ole' cannon aimed towards anyone who could possibly be an enemy with a scruffy man in cut-off jean shorts, no shirt, and a Coors light in his hand yelling "f-you" and "God Bless America" in one breath. It's stupidity talking and it makes me SO angry. It tells me that the guy in that truck doesn't know a damn thing about the flag he flies or how lucky he is to fly it.

I'm not sure why today is the day to post this. The song came and went long ago, but for some reason it has really been bothering me lately. Is it wrong to love America, but hate so many of the idiots who live here?

Monday, January 09, 2006

On Nicknames

I told the Mayor months ago that I would like to copy his idea and reflect on my nicknames of the past and present some day. That day has arrived. Here we go...

First of all, for those who haven't figured it out, my real name is Patricia. There are many who call me by my given name, as well as those who prefer the shortened versions Trish, Tricia, and the occasional, unfortunate, and unforgiveable Pat or Patty. In college, I realized that I was being called so many different things, that I picked a shortened version of my name. I thought it was silly that I had to think about how and when the particular person knew me, so I knew what name to use. So that is how Trish came about.

(it was brought to my attention that I left out a few...sorry friends! you'll see the updates in italics!)

Ishy Pants: this was my first nickname, given to me by my brother. Don't ask me why...it's just what he called me as a child. You'll hear about its unfortunate metamorphosis later on.
Trishy: I'm sorry, dear Lauren, but my brother was the first to call me this, too. But that was YEARS ago. You were the one to bring it back in my adult life, so I will give you the credit. My fiance calls me this, too.
Trishy-poo: merely another form of Trishy; one of those lovey-dovey nicknames.
Patty: in high school, the tennis team called me this because there was already a girl on the team named Patricia. I'm sad to say that this one made it to my letter-jacket.
Pro-Patty: Now this one is quite funny. The "pro" does not infer a certain professionalism. No, pro actually stood for "Prostitute." My sophomore year in high school, I made varsity tennis and ran with a group that was older, and in my naivity, cooler. Because they were tennis nerds, my parents totally trusted them and let me stay out way past curfew. My friend Robert would drop me off at 2:00am or so after our weekend gatherings, and it finally became a joke that I seemed like a call girl or something. Thus he gaveth me the jewel of a name.
Peppermint-Patty: no real meaning behind this one, just something I got called pretty often.
Tricia-True: My mom's friend Mrs. B gave me this name. I always liked it. Mrs. B died when I was in high-school and nobody has ever called me that since. It was a special thing we had between us and I smile even now when I think about it.
Babymuras: A friend gave me this one. That friend happens to be my boss now, ironically. I'm the youngest in my family of four kids, so this was the name I got stuck with. It's also my screen name. Years ago, when IM was first beginning, I would get unsolicited IMs from gentlemen saying, "hey baby, wanna...(you fill in the blanks)." I wasn't sure what to make of that. Obviously not a nickname that served me well, but one I still have today.
Isha: a random girl whose name I can't remember called me this once and it stuck for a time, but it's hardly worth mentioning.
Trash: one of my circles in college decided that when you say TRRRRIIIIISHHHH" in a loud and drawn out manner, it sounds like Trash. So yes, I was Trash for a while. Ok still. But white trash...make no mistake of that!
Trish the Dish: now this one was given to me by a kind of creepy guy who was supposed to be our chaplain, but seemed a little questionable. He called me Trish the Dish, which kind of stuck with my friend Miriam. I definitely prefered it coming from her mouth rather than his! In fact, I kind of grew to like it.
Trish-or-Treat: this obviously came about at Halloween...I guess it was our year in the Townhouse, but I honestly can't remember. It could have been the one before that. Lauren and friends gave me this one. It also had a similar mutation: Trick-or-Trish. I really like this one because it infers that I am a real treat!
Aunt Trishy Pants: this is where we revisit the Ishy Pants bit. I made the mistake of sharing with my nephew Hank (who was 2 at the time) that Uncle Jay used to call me Ishy Pants. The kid put two and two together and dame up with Aunt Trishy Pants, which has totally stuck and still makes the kid laugh every time!
Princess Buttercup: My boss called me this on my first day at this job. (He's the one I had been friends with for years.) I liked this nickname quite well since the others around me had much less desireable names.
Cup of Butter: this was the evolution of Princess Buttercup.
Cup: the final evolution.
Knockers: I'm sad to say that my boss called me this, too. Not the most appropriate working nickname, but one we snickered at daily. He used to tell everyone that he knew me "before I had the boobies." Really this guy isn't a sicko - we just have sicko sense of humor with one another. We actually layed Knockers to rest a few months back, deeming it inappropriate for the office after all.
Pumpkin: My newest nickname from my boss, taken from my affinity for the jewel of the fall harvest. And yes, friends and readers, there will be an abundance of them on my wedding day!
Sugar butt: This one is from my dearest. What can I say? The guy likes my butt. Who am I to argue?

Gee, I'm sure I have left a few out, but that is all I can recall at the moment. Let the ridicule begin...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Tag, I'm It

Excuse me while I wipe the dust off my old blog. Sorry, but it's got more of a dust build-up than Laurey-baby's fan blades and my own combined. How the hell did so much time go by since my last blog?

Sneeze. Cough. Eww...dust is gross. Bigger Sneeze. Let the air clear. Ok, here I am. Trishy in Aught-Six.

First off, White Elephants. They truly are a treat! I for one have enjoyed mine immensely. Come on folks...it's Baby Makin' Music...what's not to love?


Just kidding MO and others!

For those appalled by that comment (I'm going to hope my Mom isn't reading this. Who am I kidding, she doesn't know what a blog is) there's no horizontal tango (or is it the mambo) funny business going on here!

So anyway, back to the gift. For my white elephant, Mo made me the greatest mix CD ever. Three complete volumes of BABY MAKIN' MUSIC!!! One for getting in the mood, one for the...ahem...main course...and the last for chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' afterward! This was an AWESOME gift for four reasons:

1.Homemade gifts ROCK! They require so much more thought than walking into a random store and buying something.

2.I love MUSIC! Did you know that Mo? Love, love, love it...as in can't get enough of it, listen to it constantly!

3.It had a raunchy edge to it, which, if you know anything about my sense of humor, you would know that such a gesture is much appreciated. I mean, come on folks, my family once discussed masturbation at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

4.Lastly...blush...we all like anything to get us in the mood for a little lovin'. At least we females do. Men, pretty much always in the mood I've learned. Women, well a little encouragement never hurt.

So, thank you Mo - clever! You even got many of my own favorites on the three volumes. I knew you had especially good taste the moment I met you...well virtually met you.

In other news...

Christmas was great, blah, blah, blah. I don't mean to blah at the Baby Jesus' birthday. It's just that Christmas is and always will be amazing, but I don't really have any stories to tell. My sweetie got me XM radio which I have thoroughly enjoyed and Santa gave me a vacuum which I have enjoyed more than I care to say. Lots of other great gifts and WONDERFUL time with my friends and family. I'm currently experiencing a food hangover from the last month's feasts. Joy, peace, love - another lovely Christmas burrito!

New Year's Eve was super fun! I was so glad that Lauren finally met my sweetie and I was truly touched by her post on Sunday. I get a little choked up when I talk about it, so lucky for you, you're merely staring at a Computer screen when you hear (ok read) this. It was really important to me that Lauren like him.

The short of it is...I've been down this road before with a not-so-nice guy who Lauren had the good sense to dislike from the beginning. I wish I had been so wise. Anyway, it caused quite the falling out between us. Obviously, we have mended that and I will go out on an limb and say that we are better friends because of it. I am so grateful to have such a forgiving friend who was willing to look past the crap and see that I was still me, very broken by my experiences with that guy, and still in need of my dear friend. It was very important to me that she like the man I love now. And she does, I think. She will be a beautiful bridesmaid and one of the 5 women I have chosen out of all the world to stand beside me on the big day and I'm overjoyed that the broken road led me to where it did.

I had every intention of posting a year in review of sorts, but the more I think about it, the more I want to just say that 2005 was what it was. It was grand and boasted many milestones for ole' Trishy and the memories are wonderful, but I really believe the best is yet to come. So here's to a New Year and many more happy endings.