Just Being Silly

English: A Hostess CupCake, shown whole.

English: A Hostess CupCake, shown whole. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was an exercise  written for my writers’ group–the prompt was the first sentence. As you will see, I was just being silly:

There is a wickedness and wildness in the depths of my heart. I am convinced of this because I hide my cache of cupcakes from my family in the freezer. These are no ordinary cupcakes— they are the answer to my heart’ s  desire. I do not just buy a package of the cupcakes (you know the ones – they sport a squiggly white line on top of the fudgy icing and have a “hidden” cream filling) and hide them at the back of the freezer as this deception has unfortunately been discovered. I now save the cardboard boxes that the family pack of hamburgers comes in, and squirrel them away under the yellow cover of  this no name product box.

Sometimes, when I do not have a deceptive box to hide my delectables, I will take them out of their original container, and scatter them willy nilly among the other freezer food.  One twin package of the lovelies is tossed into a corner under the frozen chicken, another is tucked in by the peas—so that even if someone is determined to find them, they will probably not find them all.

Granted, it is sometimes difficult finding the little guys when they are sprinkled and strewn, disseminated, distributed and dotted throughout the freezer—but once one is found, the reward, with a tall glass of cold milk is worth it.

Such evil in my soul—but it is satisfied by that first bite of the ice cold cake. It is important that the bite include the icing, spongy cake, and frozen white stuff in the middle (which, in scientific studies I ignore, has been linked  directly to heart failure). This  must be followed with a gulp of cold, cold milk. My fiendish self is then no longer either wicked or wild, but sated by this chocolate fudgy delight.

Published in: on May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm  Comments (37)  
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Wonder of Wonders

As of late, I have read quite a few blogs about that miracle of the material world and wonder of wonders, Costco. The last blog I read was written by a woman in Australia who had just been introduced to the mega discounter and was somewhat flummoxed and overwhelmed. I understand. I remember some of my first visits to Costco, and I wonder if the experience was one that was not unique. I have devised two lists, one heralds this place of worldly goods as a “good thing”; the other strives to shed light on the shadow side of Costco.

Good Things About Costco;

1. New books are 40% off, and magazines are discounted. This was what attracted me to the vast warehouse in the first place.

2. The tastings – if you go on the right day at the right time, you can have quite a hearty lunch of perogies, cheese and crackers, a drink (usually with some health benefit), and a delectable dessert that always promises something–to be low-fat, low in sugar, or make you into a super hero.

3. Exercise – the place is big. A trip around the store has got to be worth at least the minimum required exercise time for one day.

4. The clothes – sometimes you can buy some pretty nice stuff there – not fashion forward stuff, but not stuff ready for a church bazaar either.

5. The food – lots of choice, albeit in huge amounts. If you are having a family gathering or party—this is a good thing.

6. A social outing – a lot of times I go with good friends—something you do not generally do when shopping locally.

7. The big bags of pistachios – they are always on my youngest son’s Christmas list.

The Shadow Side:

1. Is it me, or do the people who shop at Costco seem grouchier than the general population? I am serious; most people seem in a bad mood and wield those huge carts like missiles. Maybe it is the lighting.

Costco Lights

Costco Lights (Photo credit: aphasiafilms)

2. On my first visits, I was forever getting lost. Lost my husband and kids, and felt like a seven year old again, lost in an aisle at Woolworths. Bad flashback, and not even mine–it was my sister who got lost, and it was me reassuring her (and myself) that mom and dad had not left without us.

3. No bags, and you have to find your own boxes. And if your membership has temporarily expired, they can get a little snotty if you want a subtotal, so you know how much to pay the friend you accompanied whose membership is paid up.

4. The huge quantities that you have to buy if something appeals to you. I still have a huge box of crackers in my basement that I bought months ago. If you are not supplying a wedding reception, who needs that many crackers? (Okay, I know, most wedding receptions do not feature crackers per se, but I am making a point here.)

5. Impulse buying. You could say that this is not the store’s fault but that would not be true. You lose your wits in this high ceilinged gamma ray illuminated warehouse—I don’t care what anyone says.

6. They make you pay a membership fee for the honour of shopping in the store.

7. What is with the people at the door who check what you have purchased? It is not Fort Knox, and it is not something they are really allowed to do. But who questions it? Once you have made the long trek around the store, who is going to take the time to question this practice? But I must say, I do resent it.

I admit that I like an occasional trip to Costco, but there is no warm, cozy, mom and pop feel about the place. I have learned not to buy in bulk unless I share my bootie with a fellow friend/shopper; I have learned how to buy what I can use (except for said box of crackers); and, I no longer get lost in the huge barn of a building.

All in all, Costco is not an example of the devil’s hand at work. It is a wonderful place on occasion, but I prefer a steady diet of my local merchants and friendly small town.

Published in: on May 29, 2012 at 3:10 am  Comments (44)  
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A Study: The Forehead

Let Thy Passing Breeze Leave its Coolness on M...

Let Thy Passing Breeze Leave its Coolness on My Forehead… (Photo credit: -RejiK)

This was a writing exercise for my writers’ group, which has been in existence for over fourteen years.  Our name is: the writer’s group, or more often we refer to it as “our writers’ group”. We could decide on no name any more creative than this, because really, doesn’t the name writers’ group state the obvious, without being too cute?

Cavernous horizontal lines were etched in her forehead.  Deep vertical lines delved between her eyebrows.  She smoothed them with her hands, but even flattened, they did not disappear. She liked to think that they made her look intelligent, like some deep thinker. That is what she liked to think.

Her favourite quote of all time came from Gene Fowler, whom, she supposed was trying to knock down that fortress called  writers’ block when he came up with this gem:

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”

She had friends who botoxed their forehead lines; others who wore bangs. She did neither, defiantly baring her forehead for all to see.  If truth be told, she did not really mind the lines—they were well-earned from years of reading, writing,  and studying, sometimes in poor lighting, sometimes not.  She liked to think they made her look serious.

Anything examined by itself becomes an oddity. That space between the eyebrows and hairline is generally not given a lot of attention, unless the hairline is receding.  She had read that a wide and deep forehead meant that the person’s brain was big. Her forehead was neither wide nor deep, so she decided to put little store into that  piece of wisdom. Her forehead was narrow, which was one of the reasons she did not wear bangs—there was not much room there for more than a bit of fringe.

She was not the type of person to bang her head against the wall literally, but figuratively was a different thing. People told her she thought about things too much– quantifying them, then qualifying them.

She decided to think of her lined forehead as merely the exterior of a labyrinth of unknown potential. That, or she was stupid.

Published in: on May 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm  Comments (8)  
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Trying Something New

Today, I thought I would post the first (partial) chapter of a book I have started in order to get your opinion. Is it worth pursuing? Do you like the characters? Am I giving away too much at the beginning? Would you consider reading something like this? I would appreciate any feedback I can get and/or suggestions. Of course I have ideas on how to move the plot forward, but if you have an idea or two that you would not mind sharing, I would love to hear it.

This is me being brave, showing this to my blog world, so be kind:

ALWAYS OCTOBER

She kicked at the pile of orange and butter yellow leaves. A professed lover of autumn, Sparrow was now sick of it.  If she never saw another pumpkin or corn-stalk or harvest moon again she would be….she would be what? How had she been stranded in a town that was forever October?

Eerie, bizarre, peculiar were all words that described the fact that when the calendar hit midnight on October 31st. and the trick or treaters were tucked in their beds, it was October 1st again.

The first time it happened was four months ago. Sparrow Burns had been on assignment in Nouveau Hartford, a town that had grown up half in Quebec and half in New Brunswick. She had been there to find out which province the citizens of the fair town aligned themselves with. Turns out about half were Quebecers and half were dyed-in-the-wool “Brunswicks”, as they called themselves. And of course the Quebecers only spoke French on their side of the border, and the good people of New Brunswick only spoke English on theirs. No big surprises there, which did not make for a very exciting story. But on her way back home the next morning, her car stalled as she entered a tiny town called Charings Hollow.

At first she had found the not quite a town, but bigger than a village Charings Hollow appealing. It was mid-October and the place looked like it was the set of a movie. A movie where the season of autumn took centre stage. Pumpkins were on every portico, and every door was guarded by stalks of corn and sheaves of wheat bound with wide ginger coloured ribbon.  Mums exploded from every garden, and the town was strewn with countless planters boasting only one colour—gold. She later found out that there were massive floral tributes to fall on every counter in every store, along with gourds and squash and multi-coloured Indian corn. The cool air of the town smelled of spice, but not one she recognized.

Every house except one within sight had a wreath featuring all the season had to offer, and of course the requisite pumpkins and corn and mums.  It was in front of this house her car stalled. She unlatched the hood to her emerald-green Spectrum and climbed out of the car, stiff from driving for hours without stopping.  She peered at the engine. Sparrow had no idea what she was looking for. The inside of the car’s motor was a mystery to her. Unless something was on fire, or a wire had sprung loose, she knew that her actions were futile. But she did know, that when a car stalled, you looked under the hood.

She took out her cell phone, but for some reason it was “out of range”. She threw it onto the front seat, and leaned against the car. When she saw the lace curtain move in the front window of the house, she decided to go to the door and ask for help. She knocked. No one came to the door. She then saw the doorbell, and rang it. No one came. As she turned to walk away, she heard a noise. The front door was open a crack and all she could see was one beady eye.

‘Hello?” she said

The door closed quietly. Then it opened again to reveal a tiny woman looking at her warily.

“Yes?”  asked the woman.

“My car stalled and I was wondering if you could tell me if there is a dealership or mechanic’s shop close by?”

“Two blocks up, turn right, and you’ll be at Turner’s. They should be able to help. Get your car fixed as fast as you can and then be on your way.’ she said curtly.

The unexpected warning raised the hair on the back of Sparrow’s neck.

“Why–do they roll up the sidewalk when it hits midnight?”

“You don’t know how close to right you are. Take my advice and get out of here as fast as you can. No good comes of staying here if you are a stranger.” The woman stepped back, about to close the door.

Sparrow thanked her for her ‘help’ and proceeded to walk the two blocks to Turners, thinking how beautiful the town was with its seasonal displays. She had seen Christmas transform towns, but never Fall. There were no Halloween decorations up at all. She soon learned that Halloween was a festival in its own right, and celebrated fanatically for the last three days of the month. The decorations became a bit more “spirited” at the end of the month.

At Turners, a young man came to the counter. Wiping his hands off on a rag from his back pocket, he put his right hand out. She shook it as he introduced himself as Sam…Samuel Turner.

“What can I do for you?” he asked. He acted familiar, almost like he was expecting her.

“My car stalled on Waverly, in front of the only house in town that is not decorated for autumn.” She had noticed the street sign as she turned onto Turner Street. Was it coincidental that the mechanic’s shop was named Turner, she wondered.

“I would take a look at it today, but I have to go get cleaned up for a funeral. My uncle died a couple of days ago.”  He shrugged his shoulders and said as if in explanation, “the whole town is going.” He pointed to an elderly gentleman, “ I can get Elmer over there to tow the car here though, and I’ll look at it tomorrow.”

Remembering what the gnome lady had warned her, Sparrow said, “That is too bad—is there anyone else who can look at it this afternoon?”

“Afraid not, I am the only mechanic in town. And even if there were others, the whole town is going to the funeral.”

Something seemed to be conspiring to make Sparrow stay overnight in this place, and she was uneasy about it. Something akin to suspicion began to niggle at her, but she set it aside, thinking she was just being silly.

“It seems I have no choice. Is there a bed and breakfast close by?”

Bed & Breakfast (2010 film)

Bed & Breakfast (2010 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He laughed, “We are the town of bed and breakfasts. There is one on almost every corner,” Sam joked. My sister’s is right across the street. Her rates are good, and she is a great cook. Just don’t tell her I told you that though.”

Sparrow wondered if this seemingly  “gosh darn guy” was for real. He seemed nice. She noticed that the garage did not have the usual smell of oil and gas and grease, but an aromatic spiciness she could not quite put her finger on. By no means pungent, it was warm and fragrant, almost friendly.  She laughed to herself at describing a smell as friendly.

“Can I come over in the morning and see what you have found?” Sparrow asked.

“I should know something by 10. Want me to call Avis?”

Sparrow looked confused.

“My sister, Avis,” Norm said.

“Oh, yes, thank you.  I’ll just walk over. The yellow house with the porch?”

“That’s the one. I think she has a room or two.”

Sparrow walked over to the cozy looking house.  A sign above the door read “Turner’s Bed and Brunch”. As she walked up the steps, the door was flung open, and a voice said merrily,  “Hello,… Sam just called. Sorry you are having car trouble. He said the car should be at the garage in about a half an hour and you can get your luggage then. Can I show you to a room and make you some tea?”

Tea was not Sparrow’s first choice of beverage. A Scotch and water yes, but tea? She smiled and said “That would be lovely. Thank you.”

Avis noticed Sparrow looking at the sign above the door. ‘”I made us a Bed and Brunch to differentiate us—I serve breakfast as late or early as you want. We are pretty relaxed around here. Would you like a sandwich to go with that tea?’

Sparrow nodded gratefully. As she settled into her room, she put her feet up on the bed and thought about her day so far. It was only 1:00 in the afternoon.  She had expected to be home in another four hours, and James would be wondering where she was.  He was taking care of her dog and had been reluctant to take on the job in the first place, but she had assured him she would be back by late Thursday afternoon. She glanced at the cell phone she had remembered  to pick up from the car seat along with her laptop, but it was still flashing “out of range”.

Avis knocked on the door with a tray. It held a silver tea service, and thinly sliced smoked salmon curled up next  to a croissant. The smell of the tea was familiar. Its spiciness reminded her of the smell the entire town seemed to emanate.

Published in: on May 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm  Comments (34)  
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Quotable

Business card origami (and kirigami)

Business card origami (and kirigami) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The writer experiences everything twice.”  ~ C.D. Bowen

This is the quote that appears on my “business card” which I designed myself for free. As we all know there is no such thing as a “free lunch” and this pithy piece of advice was proven (unfortunately) correct in this instance as well. I had to pay for the shipping, which was reasonable, but on the back of each of my lovely mint coloured cards is an ad for the business that printed the cards. Had I known that this was the cost of “free”, I would have paid for the cards, or at least saved my pennies up until I could afford them sans advertisement.

Perhaps I overlooked the important sentence that stated: “You can have these cards for free, plus shipping, if you agree to have an ad for our business on the back, thus spoiling them.”

Perhaps I was so taken with getting something for “free” that I was not careful enough.

Perhaps I should charge the company for “free” advertising.

Whatever the case, I now have about a zillion of these cards (which are quite lovely by the way–as I designed them myself) that I have to “make do” with. I do this by applying a label on the back and writing in my email address and a little “check out my blog: onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com”. The labels probably cost more than paying full price for the cards. Oh well, live and learn.

Have you ever received something for “free” that was not really free?

Published in: on May 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm  Comments (8)  
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Get Over Yourself

English: Stillness by Eckhart Tolle, on a Park...

English: Stillness by Eckhart Tolle, on a Park bench plaque, facing Sacramento River, Redding CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It is my very favourite time of the year.”  ~ me

I write a weekly column called “On The Homefront,….and Beyond” for a small town newspaper, and I often start my rants, raves, or mere observations with seemingly simple, or to be quite honest, truly simple,  statements like the one above.  Then I wonder why people bother to read what I have to say because really, why would they care? I have been doing this for 51 weeks a year, for almost fourteen years now, and have only repeated one column due to a death in the family.  The strong desire that the space temporarily allotted to me on page 5 of the Kingsville Reporter not be filled with anything other than my column has given me the inspiration to find something to fill it, even in my grief.

I try not to think too much about my audience. Actually, that is not true. I write with my audience in mind, but I try not to think about what my audience thinks about me too much, because then I would not be brave enough to tap words into my computer, and email them off to the newspaper for publication.

I know my column is read in some of the local lunchrooms at the municipal office (I  cover municipal politics), the local grocery store, and maybe even at some of the schools. But I am not comforted with this knowledge, as I imagine that some of the readers wonder just who the heck I think I am to write about the subjects I comment on. Then I remember the words that get me through both the more grisly and just slightly unpleasant  events  in life: “get over yourself”, and continue my merry wordsmithing.

Ever notice when good things happen in your life, you do not need this advice? Because when the good things happen, many times you do not need to navel gaze, you just accept them thankfully without askance (perhaps with the slight uneasiness that if you look down the throat of a gift horse too deeply, you will find something you would rather not face. Remember the Trojans.)

“Get over yourself” is a rather crude philosophy with a lot of adherents, who put the advice much more gently. One of Oprah’s “gifts” to the world is Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth. He wants people to basically just ignore their egos and get on with life. Live and let live is basically what his books are about.  He is not really this clear—he talks around the point, about the point, and describes the point, but never says “get over yourself” in those exact words. But that is all he is really saying. There, I have now saved you the time it takes to slough through his books to get to his point. Although once I got used to his circumventing of the point, I did enjoy how he said it, without really ever saying it.

As I am a bit self-conscious, but not to the point of being paranoid—I shall keep my new mantra at the forefront of my mind when I write: “Get over yourself, get over yourself,……”, sort of my version of the Little Train Who Could: “I think I can , I think I can,….”

Semi-Empty Nest Syndrome

empty nest syndrome

empty nest syndrome (Photo credit: butterfingers laura)

  “change does not affect reality on a deeper level”

The more things change, the more they stay the same was originally a French proverb. It means that change “does not affect reality on a deeper level”. This definition was provided compliments of Wikipedia, a source I once promised myself I would never use.  Once again, the wise adage, “never say never” comes to mind.

I am not sure I agree that change does not affect reality, at least superficially, if not on a deeper level.  Take my immediate home front for instance. This summer my youngest son is home from college, which changes the dynamics of home life for at least a few months.  I really love having him home, as things are much livelier around here, which is good thing. When he is gone during the fall and winter months, it is kind of quiet around here (I love quiet, but not too much quiet).  His older brother still hangs out here, but he is gone much of the time, so during the school year, we have a semi-empty nest. Why has no one written about this transition—the semi-empty nest syndrome—where the house is empty of children for a good part of the time, but this is still their major home base?

Adult children—most assuredly a conflict in terms, do come home again (spearing yet another hackneyed saying in the heart).  Just because “home” may change slightly over time, you can still go back there, even if it is in your imagination. To quote Sam the Weatherman on Good Morning America: “I am just sayin’.”

To copy that American comedian (Jeff Foxworthy) who has a whole stand-up routine based on “You Know You’re a Canadian When”, I am going to provide you with a few clues that will let you know when you are in a state of semi-empty-nestedness (which I define as that state wherein the kids who do not live at home all the time, come home):

1. You have to buy the 24 roll package of toilet paper once a week instead of once a month.

2. A package of eight hamburgers will no longer fulfill the needs of two meals.

3. You buy Creamsicles even though you like ice cream sandwiches.

4. You stock up on bacon and sausages and pizza, then realize you are feeding your (big) kid too many nitrites. Then you stock up on chicken.

5. You buy juice boxes for lunches.

6. You run the AC even when you would not run it normally. More bodies in the house equals more heat.

7. You have your own IT expert and lots of technical gadgets at your disposal that you have little or no idea how to use, but you look very tech savvy.

8. Laundry is not increased by onefold, but by tenfold—and you cannot figure out why.

9. Your upstairs (which is where the bedrooms are in my house) is in a state of flux, which every day you are meaning to get to, but by the end of July you shrug your shoulders in defeat and think, “Oh well, he is going back to school in little over a month” so you just leave it that way.

10. You enjoy conversations in the middle of the night—a time once reserved for sleep.

11. You find size 12 shoes and sandals at the back door, the front door and under the dining room table (at least at my house).

12. The bathroom has been taken over by a myriad of hair care products that have not found a home.

And last but not least, you have someone home who appreciates you, because they have had to fix their own meals, do their own laundry, and generally face the world by themselves for eight or nine months (except for phone calls home, emails or text messages and the occasional visit home).

Family life is an ongoing and ever changing entity – it is the ultimate shape shifter.  All we can do is hang on and enjoy the ride, bumps and all.

Published in: on May 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm  Comments (20)  
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30 Years and Counting

May Evening Perception with Buxtehude (366/142...

May Evening Perception with Buxtehude (366/142 May 21, 2012) (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

I do not usually write off the cuff this way–but today I had to update my “About LouAnn”. Before today I had stated that my husband John and I had been married almost 30 years. As of today, May 21, 2012, we have officially been married 30 years. I cannot believe it–we have had ups, downs, and all arounds, but we are still here. Our secret? Not sure – except that we can talk to each other and we enjoy each other’s company (most of the time–as anyone who has been married for a minute knows–there are those other times,….)

Our wedding was small. My mom made my dress, which I still have tucked away–and no, I cannot get into it (although I have lost five pounds in the last little while–I would need to lose a few more–as I weighed about 120 when I was married–I do not weigh 120 now).

We were married in the small country church that I grew up in, with my sister as my maid– I guess matron of honour since she was married. The most important people were there — my family, and some friends. The reception was at my parents’ house, and I still  remember walking into the house after we had dinner in the banquet room of  a local restaurant, and finding all the candles in the house lit–it was so pretty. I remember a few things from the day–but whenever the focus is on me I tend to get overwhelmed–and if ever there is a day to get overwhelmed–I guess it is your wedding day.

Published in: on May 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm  Comments (27)  
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Life Is the Creative Act

Creativity

Creativity (Photo credit: Mediocre2010)

“If you’re alive you’re creative. We “reduce and  deflect” our creative selves in many ways. Life is the creative act, not the canvas or the blank  page.”            ~ Patti Digh, “Creative is a Verb”

I like to think of myself as artistic.  There is no real concrete proof of this, yet I keep trying to find my “artistic” self.  She seems to be playing a game of hide and seek with me that I have not yet won. I keep seeking, and while my artistic self is wily and still in hiding, I continue to try to coax her out into the open and tag her.  (Lest you worry – I do understand that tag and hide and seek are two different games). I used to love playing “frozen tag” where you would chase your prey and tag them and they had to stand in the spot where you tagged them frozen into place—that is what I want to do with my creative self: seek her, find her, and freeze her so she cannot get away.

The first step to being an artist is to realize that we are all creative beings. I like to think that my primary way of satisfying my creativity is in writing. But I would like to expand on that creativity to include other forms of inspired, inventive, and innovative methods of expressing myself, other than letting the dust settle on my furniture and doodling in the grime.

I particularly admire artists who can paint and draw or find other mediums to express themselves in a way that lends just that little bit more beauty to the world. Of late, I have been reading the book “Creative is a Verb” by Patti Digh, who believes that if we are alive we are creative. I love this all-inclusive definition of creativity. It gives me hope that someday I will produce something beautiful, but if not, then just the mere act of creativity is enough.

Digh includes a poem by Osho in the introduction to her book which I found inspiring:

When I say to be creative

I don’t mean

you should all go

and become great painters

and great poets.

I simply mean

let your life

be a painting

let your life be a poem.

Osho’s poem is inspiring, but so is Digh’s advice that we should fully own “that we are creative beings, whether we will ever call ourselves writers or artists” or pick up a pen, brush or camera, or show our art, sell it or “create something fantastically unique.” And I love this line: “What if we owned that making dinner was a fully creative act?” (My cooking, if nothing else is creative and sometimes edible.)

Apparently, we should not limit our definition of creativity, but instead—“Open up. See more, Live Deeper.” That is what Digh believes art is, creativity is, and life is.  So, even if I cannot draw something besides a stick figure that is recognizable, I am still creative. So there.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity

Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I may have a personality disorder.  In the last week I have been called Linda, Rose, and been mistaken for a Minister. Perhaps, unbeknownst to me, I have a much more interesting life than the one that I currently lead as LouAnn. In the past I have been called MaryLou (as in Rick Nelson’s song, “Hello MaryLou, Goodbye Heart”), or my sister’s name Peggy.  Both of these monikers are understandable, as MaryLou at least has part of my name in it, and my sister and I bear a resemblance to each other, though she is four inches taller and prettier.

I wonder if as Linda I am a wild and crazy gal, or as Rose I am a ruthless business woman. While I am interested in theology, I do not think that one of my lives includes that of a Minister. The role seems too daunting. I was at a funeral out of town, and the Minister who conducted the service did resemble me in that she wore glasses and had long brown hair. An older gentleman came up to me and told me that it had been a “good service.” At first I did not know what he meant, but when I realized he thought I was the Minister, I did not want to tell him about his case of mistaken identity in order not to embarrass him. Then he sat down beside me at the luncheon in the church auditorium. Can you say awkward?

By this time, I thought he had realized his mistake, and we had a good conversation about life, politics, kids, diabetes—you name it, we talked about it. As my husband, John and I took our leave, the gentleman shook my hand warmly, and again told me with great sincerity that it had been a “good service.” I was thankful that we were in a town about four hours away, and would not likely see this gentleman again. And no, I will not be presiding at any weddings, baptisms or funerals in the near future. At least that I am aware of.

I am sure that at one time or another we have all been mistaken for someone else. And many times it is awkward to tell the person who thinks you are Linda or Rose that in fact you are not.  I always fear that they will be vastly disappointed or embarrassed, so I tend not to correct them. Which then leaves Rose and Linda in a bit of a quagmire, unless of course, they really are other parts of my personality.

Actually, I am quite sure I do not have multiple personalities, as I am certain that even if I am unaware of them, others would let me know that I was not always “myself”. But wouldn’t it be kind of cool to have a personality that was a bit more daring and adventurous than you are? Unless of course you are already daring and adventurous, then your other personalities might be more conservative and wary.

I heard a politician on TV call this the “silly season”, (in politics, is it not always the silly season?) so perhaps my unschooled discussion of multiple personalities is just part of the seasonal change. But it is disconcerting to be mistaken for three different people in less than a week. I am starting to think that I should develop a more distinct personality of my own that would not be mistaken for that of others.  Notoriety for the sake of being recognized may not be the way to go though, so maybe I should find a more conventional yet somewhat distinctive way to distinguish myself.

When I married I made the decision to add my husband’s last name to mine in order to make my life just that little bit more difficult. I definitely wanted to keep my own name, but I also did not want to have a last name that was different from my kids’, so I opted to hyphenate. Admittedly, it does take a while to sign cheques at the bank, and I often say to the Tellers that they are free to take a coffee break while I sign my name. They always laugh because they are kind, but I may have used this line once too often.  Lots of people hyphenate their names, so this is not distinctive enough to be remembered. And anyway, in the face recognition game, the way you write your name does not register.

In the scheme of things, it does not really matter that I am mistaken for other people. Do I really want to leave an indelible mark on people’s memories? Maybe I should just be happy being a human chameleon–someone who just kind of fades into the wallpaper. Or perhaps I had better start working on my next sermon.

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