Things in My Purse

  1. Sunglasses. Crappy, cheap sunglasses, because if I spend more than $10 on sunglasses, I instantly lose them. Less than $10, I can keep them for years.
  2. Keys. To my car and to the house.
  3. The awesome new wallet my mom got me for my birthday. Thanks mom!
  4. A bottle of Tylenol that is almost empty.
  5. One tampon
  6. An invitation to the studio open house of “Twisted Sisters” in Pegram. I have no idea what “Twisted Sisters” is, but thanks for the invite.
  7. A receipt for the Country Music 1/2 marathon.
  8. A Jack in the Box receipt for the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger I bought the dog after we went to the park.
  9. Bank receipts from the ATM
  10. Oh, another tampon.
  11. Cell phone with a message from the Man from GM on it. He called to tell me a story about some crazy engineering shit, but I already talked to him at the office, so I’m not going to listen to it again.
  12. A shit-load of pseudoephedrine. I hope no meth makers read this blog! I don’t want to be mugged.
  13. A bookmark
  14. My work id.
  15. A card for Jensen’s Shoes over on Whitebridge.
  16. Chapstick? What the fuck? When was the last time I bought Chapstick? I’m tossing that shit.
  17. Four pens
  18. A note that says “Who is Tom Banks?” The answer, also on the note, “author of Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919.” This is in my handwriting, and it sounds like a book I’d like to read, but I don’t remember writing this down.
  19. A to-do list from months ago. “Buy gas.” I’m such a nerd.
  20. More pseudoephedrine. What the fuck with this as well? I can’t even remember the last time I had a cold.
  21. A note that says “[a prominent Nashville talking head*] is full of shit.” Hee. Like I could ever forget that! Still, she must have said something particularly galling for me to feel the need to make note of it. I need to make better notes for myself, obviously. They need more details.
  22. Pepper spray. Yes, scary dog and pepper spray. Who would ever come near me?
  23. Business cards.
  24. Tarot Cards.
  25. Empty cellphone pseudo-leather case.
  26. Large hair clip.

* I will leave this person unnamed, for I fear her prominence and my relative lack thereof, even after all my bullshitty talk of a need to be more honest. Sorry, if you’re looking for a lack of hypocrisy, you’re looking in the wrong place.

I am so tired of myself

Honestly, I’ve started about 18 posts on different things–why are so many Australians popping up on my sitemeter looking for “unsex me”?; why was Bill Monroe’s band called “the Blue Sky Boys” if Bessie Lee Maudlin was his bassist?; are women named “Bessie” destined to be kick-ass buckers of tradition? why didn’t my mom name me Bessie? etc.–but none of them are interesting enough to me to bring me out of my funk.

And why am I in a funk?

Because I’m so fucking tired of myself. Other people have huge problems or are stuck in dead-end jobs or loveless marriages to creeps with weird patchy back hair or only have one working nostril or can’t afford underwear or whatever.

My biggest problem is that I’ve been putting the yarn on my needle in the wrong direction while purling, thus making the knitting very difficult. But I’ve straightened that out now and am starting to see why people actually enjoy this activity.

But still, I’m all What am I doing with my life? Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? How would I know?

See, dear reader, what bullshit that is? I don’t believe in some kind of fate that stretches out before us, a road we can’t help but travel (though I believe in the kind of inevitable momentum of our past acts). There is no supposed. Trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing is some bullshit mystic nonsense. I’m supposed to be breathing. I’d like some cookies. Neither one of those is inevitable.

What else is annoying? I see this as an inherently feminist project–giving voice to this one woman’s thoughts and experiences, etc. But in order to do that, I feel like it’s important to be honest, to poke around and see what hurts and why. But I’m looking back over recent posts and I realize I’m doing a lot of telling myself fairytales about my family in order to smooth over my anxieties. That won’t do.

Not that I’m going to stop telling stories about my family any time soon. I just want to be honest with myself about what I’m doing: constructing a way of feeling okay about things because I can’t control some things–like the situation with the nephews–and won’t do anything about other things–such as the Butcher’s lack of paying his fair share of things.

Anyway, What if everyone secretly hates me? What if I’m about to be fired without warning? What if our landlord kicks us out right now for no reason?

On and on it goes.

I’m unsettled for no good reason, just that it’s the first day back after a long weekend. And I’m just so tired of my bullshit.

The One Time My Mom Really Got My Dad

[Disclaimer: my family tends to be full of shit and will tell a good story for the sake of the story and not for the sake of the truth. I make no claims as to the veracity of anything I did not actually witness. If you read the following and discover that you are somehow related to me, don’t pass any judgment on our ancestors. I have no way of knowing what parts are true.]

When we were little, we used to take a month in the summer and travel. Since we were poor, we’d camp. The point of it was that we were just going to go out and see America, see what was out there.

One summer, my dad wanted to go to Pennsylvania and check out the ancestral landing point here in America for his dad’s mom’s part of the family.

[Just as an interesting side note, here are the known ways and reasons for the rest of the family to emigrate: From Sweden, father lost farm while gambling drunk, and daughter moved to Chicago. This is why my mother’s family doesn’t drink. Oddly enough, this does not stop them from gambling and my great uncle even wrote a book on poker strategies. From England, across Canada into Michigan. Odd thing about this, when they left England, they were Jewish and when they arrived in Michigan, they were Methodist. Other branch from England was just seeking adventure. From Germany, beer making and fishing businesses went bust, came to Chicago. Other branch of the family were just roustabouts from someplace, my mom’s uncle claimed the Netherlands.]

But this is the story of another branch of the family: the Hiesten, Hiestan, Hiestein, Heistein, etc. clan, who started as two brothers who left Germany and settled in Pennsylvania. Each of them got married and their wives had something like twelve kids a piece. Then their wives died and they remarried and had another twelve or fifteen kids a piece. During this time, so the story goes, the other farmers in the community started taking a close look at their own children and the children of the Hiestein, Heistan, whatever brothers and decided that the resemblance was a little too close to be coincidental, and so the brothers were forced to flee Pennsylvania, and settled in central Michigan.

We heard this story from a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania who was a distant cousin. You may ask, how can you know you’re related when there are so many potential relatives? Luckily, there is, in the family tree, an Abraham Lincoln H… and a George Washington H…, so if both of you are aware of Abe and George, you can be pretty sure that you’re related.

He knew of another Catholic priest and an Episcopalian priest who were also related. We thought this was interesting, that there were so many men of the cloth in the family.

Years later, we’re sitting at my grandma’s house and my dad is saying how he heard from this cousin, the Catholic priest, that he was leaving the priesthood in order to officially marry the mother of his three children, and that there had been some scandal with the other priest, where it turns out that he had a number of children in the parish, by different women.

So, my dad makes some crack about how, say what you want about the H… men, they must really have something that keeps the women coming back for more.

And my mom looks up from her cross-stitching and says, matter-of-factly, “Too bad it skipped your side of the family.”