Supposedly you learn something new everyday. Perhaps not consciously, but little facts and trivia worm their way deep into the gray matter, sticking there until needed. And sometimes you just get kicked in the nads with something you either didn’t want to know, or were truly clueless about.

Thumper’s lesson for today:

Being a little on the quiet side, a little bit shy, is a crime. Not one for which someone will find themselves running from cops brandishing pepper spray, but one for which someone might be summarily dismissed from their little circle of friends.

You get the idea.

Now, I learned this lesson after receiving email this morning; I happily opened it, thinking “Hey, how nice, for once it’s email from a friend and not spam.” (Ok, well, maybe not so Nancy-Nurse kind of reasoning, it’s sufficient to say I thought I was getting happy email.) Instead of happy no-spam, I get what could pass for a form letter, saying basically, “Because you tend to not participate in group conversations when we all get together, and because you have missed several group gatherings, you have been un-subbed from the group and will no longer be invited to future group activities.”

Ooh yeah, how’s that for friendly? Just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And then the wonderful cream-filled topper—when I tried to reply to the email, I got a canned response from this person’s ISP informing me that my address has been blocked. She kill-filed me. And when I checked, yes, I had been unsubbed from the online group (of which I was the first member) where we all originally met (suffice to say, it’s made up of people local to me.)

Yes, I am quiet. I don’t have a whole lot to say, and I’m a much better listener than I am a talker. This is nothing new, and this isn’t the first time that it’s been a problem. Many people take my silence as being stuck up, or just indifferent. And I can understand that. I don’t wear a banner proclaiming “Hey, I’m just shy!” nor do I have that tattooed on my forehead. They don’t know.

Yes, I’ve missed a few of the group activities. How surprising is it that someone who is night blind—which they all knew—would be unable to drive to something scheduled to happen after dark, when the Spouse Thingy was working? How terrible is it that I wanted to spend my birthday with him, instead of with people he doesn’t really know, and people who proclaimed “this is us only, no spouses or kids”? How uncaring of me to have medical problems that sometimes mean I can’t do some of the things they wanted to do. Yes, beat me about the head and shoulders because I am now physically unable to go jogging.

So…I’ve been “fired” from a group of people I thought were friends. I’m not terribly hurt, surprisingly, but I am pissed off that it was done in such a cowardly way.

So a hint to any other current friends or future friends: I am shy. I don’t walk up and insinuate myself into a group easily, even if I know them well. I don’t always know that I’ll be welcome. Even if I am welcome, I may not feel welcome. It’s my own insecurities talking.

I am quiet some of the time. I don’t always know what to talk about. I’m much better on paper, where I can edit. Chances are even though I am being quiet, I am enjoying just sitting around with you, doing nothing.

I am phone phobic. I don’t tend to pick up the phone to call. I don’t know why, it’s just that way. Yes, I can’t even call to make a doctor’s appointment. That’s why I have the Spouse Thingy. I understand the phone is not going to bite my ear off, nor explode in my hand, nor will whomever is on the other end yell at me for interrupting their day. I’ve always been this way, as far back as I can remember, and it’s not likely to change. I don’t like it, but I haven’t been able to change that.

New places and people terrify me. Again, I don’t know why. It’s not like my parents ever dropped me off in strange places and then ran away. It’s not as if some stranger jumped out from behind the clothing rack at WalMart and scared the crap out of me. It’s another thing that just is.

I’m not stuck up; I just don’t know what to say.
I’m not ignoring you; I just don’t feel comfortable plopping down without an invitation.
I’m not avoiding your social situations; I can’t be there after dark without someone to drive me.

But I can tell you what I am: I’m lucky you—you know who you are— were so gutless that you had to email me with a dismissal letter, because now I have a better glimpse of your true nature, and what you find to be more important. I never would have guessed that it was more important that I talk up a nonstop stream of nonsense rather than sit back and listen.


Yep, as the Spouse Thingy “whined” about in his Blog, the neighbors (and moi) snookered him yesterday. Last week, while he dodged kids in the court as he tried to rollerblade, there was a discussion about having a BBQ for his birthday. Next-door-neighbor suggested it be a surprise, and with a little conniving on my part (read: I lied through my teeth, asking him to change his scheduled 3-11 p.m. shift for yesterday to a day shift so we could drive allllll the way to Cincinnati to help a friend move) it happened.

Yesterday morning he got up at 5 a.m. to go moonlight at Miami Valley hospital, and all day had this nice hour long post-work drive south to look forward to, along with the thought that he would then get to spend the rest of the evening moving someone. He came home, went upstairs to check his email (probably trying to decide whom he could email and complain to) and when he came downstairs, everything was set up…and surprise!

We had little steaks, burgers, hot dogs, and brots, and some seriously good baked beans (made with Log Cabin syrup—I never would have thought to try that, but it was really good), the perfect cake, balloons… The mug was one of the gifts he got—the side of it says “Still A Sexy Beast” (heh, yeah, you can laugh…) And inside…LOL take a peek.

I honestly think that if you asked the Spouse Thingy exactly how he’d want to spend an evening, that would be it. Just sitting out in the front yard with the neighbors, talking and watching the kids play. And drinking. There’s got to be the drinking.

His real birthday isn’t until Tuesday, but I don’t think I can top the BBQ, so I don’t think I’ll try. He can pick what he wants to do…as long as it involves taking me out to dinner.


Something that surprised me… I had to run to the store to pick up a few things this afternoon, and because it was raining I took the Spouse Thingy’s car, since I didn’t feel like getting the left side of my body soaked by the wonderful leak in my car. I got to the parking lot, spotted an empty space very close to the front and gleefully headed toward it.

So did a guy in an SUV coming in the opposite direction, and he was closer and was going to get there first. So I muttered a “well, hell” under my breath and figured I’d just go into the next lane (aisle?) and see if there was a reasonably close one there.

As I approached the SUV, the guy pointed to me, and then pointed to the empty slot, and went past it.

I hate to admit it, but I don’t think I would have been as generous. I would have been happy to get the close slot, felt a little perverse thrill that I beat someone else to it, and would have slid right in, guilt free. Because, after all, parking is first come, first serve. He certainly didn’t have to let me have it.

That boy’s mamma raised him right.


Another downside to owning my particular convertible…the top leaks. Not just a tiny little drip; if it’s raining hard, it leaks hard. Right now my entire passenger side front seat is soaked, and my left arm (well, the sweatshirt on it) is soaked. Twenty minutes ago it was dripping wet—very uncomfortable—and my left leg was just about as wet.

After so many really nice days I don’t mind the rain…I just mind that I was out running errands and got caught in it (at least the top was up), and I mind that it was coming down so hard.

I’m all itchy now.


The downside to owning a convertible on a weekend with perfect weather: sunburn. Made worse by sitting outside with the neighbors for most of the afternoon, and forgetting the sunscreen. Not that I’m really complaining…and I don’t even mind the convertible-hair. Just an FYI—if you get in a convertible with wet hair, you’re going to have one funky hairdo within 15 minutes. Minor problem.


Just a sorta-vent. An explusion of frustration:

Why are there so many "translations" of the bible, and how does one know which one they want? And why are there so few choices in large print bibles? Old people wanna get saved too!
Ohhhhhhh…Talk about a perfect day, weather-wise. 70 degrees, very slight breeze, lots of sunshine. You can bet I had that car out, the top down, making up places I “needed” to go. The post office (just checking the box, and soooo glad I didn’t have to mail anything—that line of people sending taxes in at the last minute was long). Car wash. Jiffy Lube (well, I really did need to have the oil changed, but didn’t have to do it today.) Tomorrow promises to be just as nice—heck, it sounds like it’ll be this nice (and warmer) through the weekend.

To top off a nice day—the Spouse Thingy and I were headed for the grocery store and the price of gas had dropped 20 cents from when we had driven past just an hour earlier. So yep, I stopped and gassed up.

I think winter is officially over here…now we just need to get into May, when we can safely plant flowers. I miss my overflowing petunias and impatiens. Though, inexplicably, I have tulips growing in the front flower bed. They weren’t there last year, and I sure didn’t put any bulbs down last fall.


Holy guacamole, what the hell is it with gas prices? I know they’re up around the country, but in this area, they fluctuate as much as 25 cents from day to day, and the formerly-predictable price rise/lowering is no longer so predictable. It used to be that the prices went up on Thursday and came down late Monday or Tuesday, but lately… sheesh. I should have gassed up yesterday, when the price was $1.65, but I figured I’d do it today. Cripes. It shot up to $1.90 at the gas station near us, and is over $2.00 elsewhere (yeah, I know some of you are thinking “Well Boo Hoo, we’ve been over $2.00 for months.”) I’d just like to have some idea of how much a tank is going to cost me from day to day. This guessing and trying to figure out if I buy today or tomorrow is getting old. I’ve never lived someplace where it fluctuates the way it does here.

The good thing is that we got the convertible tuned up in February, which did wonders for my gas mileage—I’m getting mileage almost as good as the brand new Mazda. Almost.

The bad thing is that it’s still not warm enough to routinely drive around with the top down, and the last couple of days it’s been too wet to take it out at all. The roof leaks. Yep, my shiny little toy leaks when it rains, and that pisses me off to no end.

Ok, that’s a little strong. It annoys me. Especially when I’m driving and my left leg is getting wet.

We’re still vacillating over whether or not to take the car with us to CA. There’s a chance the military would move it as part of our household goods. If they won’t, we could pay for auto transport, though that would be a little pricey. I suppose it’ll all come down to the condition of the car; if it turns out they won’t move it for us, we’ll take it to a mechanic this summer and find out if it’s even worth keeping. I know it needs a few things, like new front struts, and eventually new brakes and new tires, but it may also need new engine mounts, and I suspect that could be expensive.

I suppose if we don’t keep it, I could just take the Boy’s car when we get there.
Yep, that’ll go over well. ;)


One of the big things I’m going to miss when we move is the neighborhood—lots of nice, friendly, fun people, and it’s not the ‘wave hi and never learn each other’s names’ kind of nice. People actually talk to each other. I take some comfort in knowing that as we leave, so will others, so if we stayed, it wouldn’t be the same neighborhood anyway.

Our next door neighbors had an Easter brunch yesterday (the neighbors with the little boy that the cat actually seems interested in), and it was a really nice way to spend Easter. On our own, the Spouse Thingy and I would probably have grumped around the house, possibly would have gone to see a movie, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun.

We had a potluck brunch—tons of really good food—and the kids had an Easter egg hunt outdoors. Keep in mind, all but one of these kids was under 3 years old, and the eggs were right there in plain sight, but it was still funny to watch. One little boy didn’t want to pick up any blue eggs. The oldest could have scrambled to get them all, but he didn’t. He “found” his fair share and was happy with that. Both little girls upended their baskets more than once, spilling candy and money-filled plastic eggs back onto the lawn. And something that really struck me—the kids seemed more than happy to share their candy. Little kids. Kids who for the most part are too young to grasp the concept of sharing as a not-so-bad thing (granted, they didn’t want to share the basketball, but that’s different. Right?)

The adults played games—loudly. We sat around a table play “The Pit” (a stock market sort of card game) yelling “one, one, one?…Three, three, three?” (know the scenes in Finding Nemo where the baby pelicans are hollering Mine! Mine! Mine!? That’s what it sounds like) and in the midst of all this yelling we’re also hollering at the kids to stop screaming at each other. Yep, contradiction on action.

BTW…I suck at games. This has become quite evident.

It was a lot of fun. And I wasn’t even drunk :)


Once again, I can no longer email people on AOL. Neither can the Spouse Thingy. And I'm pretty sure that no one with our ISP can email people on AOL, either. We can get mail from people on AOL, we just can't reply. Or send original email. Every time we try we get this "Message Delayed" email the next day, and after 3 days, a "Delivery Failure." The only thing we can figure is that someone used KAS Cable to mass-spam AOL, so we're all going to suffer for it.

Y'all on need a new ISP. A real ISP. Or at least non-AOL email addresses.


I don’t know if you could call me a particularly religious person. I don’t go to church anymore—probably out of abject laziness, though I do have reason for no longer attending the church of which I am a former member—but I hold tight to certain beliefs. I don’t shove them in peoples’ faces, and because my religious education is sorely lacking, I’m not even all that comfortable with a welcomed discussion about religion. But I do respect others’ beliefs, and I’ll listen. I might learn a thing or two, if not about their beliefs, then about myself.

Or, I might learn something about someone else that I really didn’t want to know. Take this morning, for instance. I learned a thing or two about someone I know online. Who’d have thought the Internet could be so educational?

Long and short of it…I don’t find stories of missionary bashing funny. No, I don’t think it’s funny that you turned the hose on them. No, I don’t find humor in you sic’ing your dog one them. I’m not even going to crack a smile over the thought that you flashed a bare boob at them.

The thing is, as annoying as people find the missionaries (and most of them are Mormon, so I’ll look at it as Mormon missionaries), they’re just kids. They’re 19-21 years old (if they’re male, 21-22 if they’re female), out in the world for the first time, and they have—what to them—is an incredible gift. And it’s free. They don’t know you from a hole in the wall, but what they want for you is not wrought out of something evil; and there’s the thing—they don’t want something from you, they want something for you.

And all you have to do is ask, respectfully, that they not come back. They’ll honor that. And yes, eventually another couple of missionaries will be there, but not the same kids. Their replacements might not get the word, or there might be an entirely new set of people in charge of them by that point. Even so…does it really make someone feel better, or superior, to turn the hose on a couple of kids? Does it make them a better person?

No…I really think it just makes them look small.


Author, Author

Sweetness. Letters Home is a book written by a friend o’mine, Mark Falzini. The guy has a brilliant mind, an archivist with an expertise on Charles Lindberg, and has a rich family history—the book is about his mother and her family in Nazi Occupied Germany. I just ordered a copy—I can’t wait to get my hands on it!