Monday, January 31, 2005

I was just in Raleigh staying at our good friend Tom's abode. (Thanks yet again, BTW. Hope you dig your pig.) I know I promised to write my grandmother's story, but I have some stories that I need to blog while I remember them in full detail. The stories are all about Hillbilly(scroll down to the 17th), a friend of mine who lives in Raleigh. The first one is how Hillbilly got to be called "Hillbilly". It's not just because he looks like one.

How Hillbilly Got His Name

When he was born and for quite a few years after that he was known simply as "Tom". (No, not Chavez Tom as linked to above. This is a much different Tom.) When he was in his early twenties he got a job working construction. That's where the name change occured.

On his first day of the job, which was out in one of the less populated areas of Wake County, he spotted a rabbit. For absolutely no reason he knows of, other than boredom, he picked up a large rock and flung it at the defenseless creature.

Much to his shock and surprise, the rock hit the rabbit square on its head and killed it. Killed it dead. All of the other construction workers were amazed at his accuracy and hand/eye coordination. Hillbilly couldn't tell them that it was a fluke, so he pretended that he killed small animals with rocks from a distance all the time. They were amazed.

For lunch Hillbilly took the rabbit, skinned it, gutted it and cooked it over a fire. Someone who partook of the fresh feast stated, "Fuck, Tom. You're just a regular old hillbilly, ain't ya'?" And that's how Hillbilly became Hillbilly.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Informative Quote of the Day

"Ain't nothing that smells worse than a nasty old woman's coochie."

Cathy B., my friend, an intensive care RN, and someone who knows from awful smells.

This really gave Aaron and I something to think about over dinner with her and her husband.

Good God.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

This is the second time I've tried to post this. Let's see how it goes. Damn Blogger.

What prompted me to write the last two posts are other people's crazy families. I mean, mine was crazy before I was born, but right now the most scandalous things in my family, both sides, are two divorces, and one of those is mine.

When people tell me about their families, I am often shocked and stunned by the soap opera-y lifestyles these people have, like: adultery, one side of the family getting mad at the other side of the family and not talking for months, people going to prison, people getting into another family member's business when it's clearly not theirs to be getting into in the first place. These are people from all walks of life.

Those people make my family look exceedingly boring and, boy, am I glad for that.

I have one last story to tell later on. It's about my dad's mother, and it's interesting and sad. There's even a mystery/scandal in it.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

His name was Edwin Geyer, he was born in the late 1800's, and he died was I was two. He was, I believe, the second generation of Geyer to be born in the United States. He was one of 13 children born to a quiet man and his German-speaking wife who ran the household with an iron fist. My great-grandmother tolerated no naughtiness from her children, or any children for that matter. Seated at the dinner table with his father and 12 brothers and sisters, my grandfather could count on a harsh stab with a lead thimble on his temple from his mother for any variety of offenses, including uttering a sound. He grew up to be a a proud, dapper German American almost as intolerant of other people as his mother.

As he developed into an adult, he gained a liking for clothing, women and booze. He was the life of any party, wore only the finest tailor-made clothes, and wooed only the loveliest of women. He was a little man, but he compensated for his lack of stature with charm, charisma and cold, hard cash. Luckily, he attracted money like a magnet attracts metal, and he held on to it for dear life like most Pennsylvania Dutch. The man never made a bad investment and always held a job, even during the depression, when so few of his friends had work. He might have only earned a quarter a day, but 25 cents was better then nothing during those harsh years.

He married my grandmother when she was only 19, although she was independent by this time having moved to the "big city" of Reading from Birdsboro two years prior. All told they had five children, one of whom, a tow-headed boy, died when he was two. My mother was the youngest, unexpected, and by far her father's favorite. She was the only one he would tolerate at all. He ruled the house in every possible way, tell his wife and children what to eat, what to wear, when to make noise. He even forbade an onion to enter the household, he hated them so much, and God help his wife if she ever ate one and he could smell it on her breath. When tans became popular in the 1940's, he forbade my mother to get one because it was a sign of the lower class, a field worker. Edwin himself was so pale one could almost see every vein under his sickly ashen-grey skin. His lips were a disconcerting death-like purple.

Everyone liked Edwin when he drank because that was only time he was civil, unself-serving, kind and lovable. He was feared when he was sober because he was such a cruel, controlling man. His family never thought he had a drinking problem; he was a problem when he was sober. Edwin drank a lot and when he drank he had little control over the amount he would take, but because he was so much easier to live with when drinking and he was a functional alcoholic, no one minded.

When my mother met my father and they decided to get married, my grandfather would have none of it. There was no way his precious girl was going to marry the son of the town drunk, even though he had made good in the Army Air Corps during World War II and by becoming an accountant, and he never drank. Eventually he conceded because of his fondness for my mother, but when my sister was born he treated her with such disdain she once asked my mother, "Pop Pop doesn't like me does he?" and my mother agreed.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

His name was Vincent Rothharpt. He was the first generation of Rothharpt to be born in the United States. His parents came to Pennsylvania in the late 1800's from a town near Strasbourg in the Alsace Lorraine River Valley, a wine-making region which is now a part of France. Back then, it was part of Germany. He was a striking man, and by that I don't mean attractive. I mean, his appearance truly struck you. He was tall with extremely angular features and balloon-sized hands. He was my father's father, and long before I was born, he was the town drunk.

Vincent never, ever missed a day of work for any reason. He worked at Birdsboro Steel, the foundry in my home town. At the time there was a hotel across the street from the foundry where he would take lunch. His lunch was mostly liquid as he ate only half of a sandwich and drank glass after glass of beer. I'm sure his job was dangerous enough without the added alcohol factor, but it was probably even more dangerous under the influence of delirium tremens. The booze probably saved his life, working in that type of atmosphere.

After work, especially on paydays, he preferred liquor to beer, and he drank enough of the stuff to prove it. Under the influence he was, it was imagined, a great womanizer. Although, being the town drunk and all, his choice of women was severely limited to alcoholic women, loose women, and the few women of the night there were in my tiny home town in the 1920's and '30s. I'm sure some of his lovers were all three.

He wasn't just a lover; he could also be extremely abusive when under the influence. So, it was just as well if he spent the night with one of the other women instead of making the five-mile trek back home to Gibraltar where he lived.

Life was hard for his family back home in Gibraltar, including my father. As I mentioned, Vincent liked to drink away his paychecks, and my grandmother's salary from being a cook wasn't sufficient to raise four children and keep house. They did whatever they had to do to survive. As a child I thought my father was so smart because he knew every edible plant in the wooded hills in Eastern Pennsylvania, but I never knew it was out of necessity, rather than a love of botany.

Beyond the material and edible, life was tough on the family because their father was the town drunk. Luckily, my dad had an educated uncle who saw something in him. Uncle Bunt took Dad under his wing and taught him the importance of principles and values in his daily life, pushed my father to do well in school, and taught him the basics of oral and physical hygiene. My father is the only sibling to die with his own teeth, thanks to Uncle Bunt.

I knew nothing of any of this until one day during my freshman year of college, the only year I lived at home, I was working my part-time job waiting tables when a man approached me. I knew who the man was -- he was my drinking buddy Alicia's dad. He had seen my last name on my name tag, which they printed on there by mistake. He said he hadn't known what my surname was prior to that. He asked me if I was related to the Rothharpts of Birdsboro. I told him I was and that Richard was my father. He proceeded to tell me that he was my half-uncle. It seems my grandfather actually left my grandmother during the later forties, and he lived with this man's mother.

I didn't know what to say. I hadn't yet known that Vincent was an alcoholic or the town drunk, no less, and a womanizer, and the father of children other than the four I already knew about. The only thing I managed to say was, "Oh, my, well, I guess that makes Alicia and me cousins, doesn't it?" He answered that he supposed it does.

When I got home that night I told my dad what had happened. He never even looked up from his newspaper when he said, "I met that man once, and I hope never to see him again."

I was blown away. I thought he'd deny it. I thought Alicia's dad was crazy or there was a misunderstanding or . . . or . . . My dad finally looked up from the newspaper -- at least I think he did because that was an almost impossible feat -- and told me the whole sordid story.

Next time --Alcoholic Grandfather #2

Thursday, January 20, 2005

I'm sorry, but how lame are the people in this state when we have to declare a flippin' state of emergency over ONE INCH of flippin' snow? I am so going to hear about this when I go back to Pennsylvania.

Ohhh, the humilation.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Morning Annoyance

Okay, so, Sam, the cat, and I have this morning ritual. Actually, it's more of a 'morning annoyance', but I think Sam believes it's a ritual, so I'll call it that to keep the peace. It could be considered cute, if it didn't happen every damn day.

Every morning I get up, make some tea, and go into the computer/cats' room to check my email, read blogs and catch up on the news. Every morning Sam watches me make the tea and follows me into the computer room. Here's where the shit gets weird.

We have a closet in the room which has a louvered door that I keep closed because all of my sweaters are there on some shelves, along with other crap I don't want the cats to lay on. As soon as I sit down, Sam runs for the closet door and tries to open it by sticking his little black paw under the bottom and pulling. The noise is something akin to KERBANG, CLANG, KERBANG, KERBANG -- not what I want to hear first thing in the morning. The only recourse I have is to yell, "Sam, cut it out!"

The thing that really irks me is that Sam knows I'm going to say this; he knows this phrase by heart, but still he insists on whipping his little black head around to give me the Stare of Righteous Indignation, for which he and I are both so famous. His face basically says, "What? Are you talking to me? Yeah, you. Are you talking to me?" He's a regular Travis Bickle, that cat.

I consistently respond with, "Yes, Sam, I am talking to you."

He then runs over and tries to find room to sit on my lap, which isn't easy, what with the keyboard and its shelf and my huge, fluffy, purple robe, my cup of tea and my allergies, which are the worst in the morning. If he cannot find a place to recline and get comfy on my lap, he immediately runs back over to the closet and the whole process starts again. The process only ends when I get tired of it and finally allow him to open the door and shed his damn fur all over my sweaters and such, usually after the fifth round. I'm stubborn that way and so is he.

I can't believe I'm blogging about my cat. I feel like Jean Teasdale.

Monday, January 17, 2005

I can't think of one damn thing to blog about because I've been so busy. So, I guess I'll tell you why I've been so busy: My painting's finally picked back up. I'm really excited by this. I looooove working alone and I love the cash. Believe it or not, I also love meeting people and making them happy by totally changing the way a room looks.

I have, however stopped working with the child in the mornings. I feel I wasn't much help and that the mother has some mental health issues of her own. She would often come between Katie and me and the work we were trying to accomplish; not on purpose or anything, she's just a real space case.

In the few hours of spare time I've had I've watched a few movies: Straw Dogs, Along Came Polly, Cold Mountain and Napoleon Dynamite. The highlighted ones are the ones I enjoyed.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Overheard last night, a conversation between a woman and a drunk who recently quit drinking:

Drunk: I'm glad I don't drink anymore, but now I'm puttin on all kindsa weight. I can't seem to lose it, either.

Woman: Well, at least no one ever got pulled over for driving fat.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Here's a quiz for the guys.

Oh my God.

Monday, January 10, 2005

There is Something Bad Wrong with My Brain

Seriously. Just read these two scenarios from this past weekend.

#1 -- The Conversation with Virginia

(Virginia was talking about living in Montana with her relatives as a child, after he father died.)

Ann: Oh, wait a minute. Are you the one who ran away from her uncle's farm in Montana because of something about . . . I'm not sure . . . a lamb being killed or something?

Virginia: No, that wasn't me. They had cows on their farm, but no sheep.

Aaron: I think you're thinking about Clarice Starling.

Ann: Oh, my God. How embarrassing. I was thinking of Clarice.

#2 -- Conversation With Kathy

(Kathy has her digital camera and is showing me pictures of myself and some friends she'd recently snapped.)

Kathy: I love this one. It's so good.

Ann: Yeah, that's a great one. Who's this? (pointing to a woman with blondish hair and a round face) Wow, she kinda looks like me, in a way.

Kathy: That's because it is you.

Ann: Oh, my. What the hell's wrong with me?

Who in their right mind would confuse a character from a horror movie with a real, live person? Who isn't able to recognize herself in a photograph? If I'm this bad at 35, what will I be like when I'm 65? God bless Aaron's little heart.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The best way I can describe this week so far is 'shitty.' I has truly been awful. In most circumstances I've been able to laugh it off, fortunately. But in some cases . . .

Every piece of equipment I have to do my medical records job malfunctioned and had to be replaced. This resulted in a lot of rescheduling of offices and surly office managers. Then, unfortunately, I got surly with my manager, whom I talk to/see about once every three months, and I told her she needed to bring me the part I needed or she would have to accept my notice.

See, my medical records job is paid by the page. There is actually a lot of paperwork, setting up, breaking down, driving and ass-kissing for which I'm not paid. So: Hell, no! I'm not going to drive all the way back over to your house in Mint Hill when I'm at the Arboretum because you forgot to mention I'd need a different cord to work my replacement laptop. You should have thought of that, and you're stupid for even thinking I might, given that I've had to reschedule offices and drive all over this God-forsaken town to replace my broken shit FOR FREE, motherfucker. No I didn't say the MF thingie, but it was implied, let me tell you.

She then sweetly brought the cord to me at the Arboretum and kissed my ass. That almost made me more upset. Regardless of practicing some meditation and breathing techniques in the meantime, I was ready to tell her exactly what I thought of her incompetence and her job. The bitch didn't want to hire me in the first place; it was her underlings who liked me and wanted me to be hired. Hmmm . . . maybe my manager's first instinct was correct.

I also had a public speaking engagement that went so damn wrong. I mean, I do these things a lot and usually I get into some kind of rhythm and flow and it just comes out of my mouth. This time I had to think of every single word I said for 45 minutes. It was horrible. Of course, people told me it was good and that they liked it, but we all know they're just liars.

I'm also learning Italian and brushing up on my French with CD's in my car. What I have learned is that English speakers have lazy mouths. We don't use our tongues and lips and throats the way the Romance language speakers do. I think I sprained my tongue.

There's a line I never thought I'd say.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

If you're ever really bored, hit the 'Next Blog' button at the top. In just a few minutes yesterday afternoon I was taken to the following blogs:

A Portuguese "I hate Avril Lavigne" blog

"Betty's Book Talk," a very lonely woman with a penchant for inane literature (read romance)

An Iranian rock band's site

A blog belonging to a Lutheran who is going through a crisis of faith

WWAD -- What Would Asians Do, a blog

A blog belonging to a pissed-off citizen of London, Ontario. The title states, "London, Ontario -- Documenting the continuing mismanagement of London, Ontario by its people and municipal government."

Monday, January 03, 2005

Just to clear up any misconceptions any one of you may have about food that I like, I do like things that aren't gourmet, healthy and raw. I like a lot of 'junk' foods, truth be told. The fact of the matter is that I may only like them in certain restaurants or cities, made at home, or made a certain person.

Here is a list of crap that I like to eat and where my favorite place to get the item is:

Rice crispy treats (anywhere)

Meatloaf sandwich (Mom's, of course)

Falafel (a street vendor at Temple University in Phila.)

Bagel with cream cheese, more specifically a whole grain and walnut bagel with maple walnut cream cheese (from a little mom and pop place in the Art Museum section of Philadelphia where the line literally reaches around the corner on Sunday mornings)

Pizza (the best is found in my hometown, Birdsboro, PA, which is a half-Italian and half-German town)

Cheese steak hoagie (from a little shop in Bryn Mawr, PA, where a whole one weighs about 5 pounds.)

Funnel cake (in PA Dutch country, PA)

Hamburger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo and ketchup (in any state where I can get one rare, or at home)

Fresh-cut French fries (on the boardwalk by the Jersey shore)

Fried pickles (I haven't found another good place to get these yet)

Corned beef special (from the Corned Beef Academy in Philadelphia. It's like a reuben but cold and has cole slaw instead of sauerkraut, although a reuben from Landmark is pretty good in Charlotte)

Greek salad (Landmark also has a good one of these)

Eclairs and carrot cake (also from Landmark)

Fish Fry (preferably made by African-Americans and served with tartar sauce, Texas Pete, cole slaw and potato salad)

Vanilla shake (esp. a malted, anywhere)

Taco Bell (yeah, I know)

Mr. Pibb (my favorite man other than my husband and Dr. Pepper)

Crumb cake (Starbucks)

Fried chicken and fried chicken livers (Chicken Coop in Charlotte)

Why would I make a list like this when I'm starting to eat healthy again today? That was stupid.

Ohhhh, the pain.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Speaking of asses, I'm about ready to lose mine. I'm going to start eating healthy again starting tomorrow, which means I'll probably take off some of the 15 pounds I've gained. That's a mixed blessing. I mean, I'll lose some of the thighage I've gained, but I'll also lose my ass. I love have a big ass almost as much as I like having bigger boobs. Unfortunately, the very first thing I lose when I lose weight is my ass.

I feel more feminine with a bigger booty. I like how it juts out in my hiphuggers and how one (Aaron) can grab more than a paltry handful. When I'm thinner, the seat in almost all my pants is a little loose and baggy.

If God really loved us, he'd allow us to choose where we'd like to lose weight. I'd choose to lose it from my legs in general and my arms. I'd keep the booty and the boobs.

But, alas, He hates me. And my big ol'booty.

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