Adventures with Dr. Lady Cutie Troublemaker

Life is in flux BIG TIME these days. I want to keep in touch with all of my peeps. The Internet is this beautiful thing. I can move to a brand new city and still stay in easy, near-daily contact with the people I love. When I feel connected to the people in my life that matter, I am unstoppable!

From the Parental Office in the Woods of North Georgia

By Abby at 9:43 am on Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Got an email from my Dad yesterday that I must share with the world:

So, on the 26th after you left, I took a nap and put off going to Stump Hill until Saturday, the 27th. I drove my truck there on Saturday which was fine. On the 28th, I got in my truck and it was “missing” and an ominous light came on on the dashboard, shaped like an engine. I turned it off. The next morning, Al followed me as my truck limped and sputtered to Jasper Jeep where it still sits. Later that day, they called and said I might want to call my insurance company. Seems that a rat/mouse/squirrel/possum had moved in on Saturday night and built a nest.

Fortunately, I have full coverage for rodent attacks on my truck, because it was a $2000 nest that the rat/mouse/squirrel/ possum had created on Saturday night. I’m now locally famous as the most recent such victim. Every time I tell this story, more people appear who have been similarly afflicted. The guy at Jasper Jeep says it happens a lot, particularly on cold nights. I told him that I preferred calling it a possum attack for aesthetic reasons, but they were adamant that it was either a rat or a “very industrious field mouse.”

I’m thinking of starting a Support Group…

He provided a picture, too!


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Abby, Jake, Matt Damon, and Dad on Palin, Obama, and Letterman

By Abby at 5:58 pm on Thursday, September 11, 2008

I know it’s a day old, like eons in internet time, but I can’t stop watching this, because it’s exactly how I feel. If you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time. It’s short, but pithy.

I think there’s a really good chance that Sarah Palin could be president, and I think that’s a really scary thing because I don’t know anything about her. I don’t think in eight weeks I’ll know anything about her. I know that she was mayor of a really, really small town and she’s been governor of Alaska for less than two years. I think the pick was made for political purposes but in terms of governance its a disaster. If you do the actuary tables, there’s a 1 out of 3 chance – if not more – that McCain doesn’t survive his first term and it’ll be President Palin. (You know) we were just talking about it earlier. Its like a really bad Disney movie. You know, the hockey mom (saying) “Oh, I’m just a hockey mom from Alaska!” And she’s the president! and its like, she’s facing down Vladimir Putin (using the) folksy stuff she learned at the hockey rink. Its just absurd. Its totally absurd and I don’t understand why more people aren’t talking about how absurd it is. Its a really terrifying possibility. The fact that we’ve gotten this far…and we’re that close to this becoming a reality…is ….crazy. Crazy. I mean, did she, I mean I really need to know if she thinks dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago. That’s an important…I wanna know that, I really do. Because she’s gonna have the nuclear codes. You know, I wanna know if she thinks dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago. Or if she banned books, or tried to ban books. I mean, this is…this is…we can’t have that.”

Jake and I were talking about this last night – about how he was really disappointed that the Democrats were spending so much time focused on Palin, hating on Palin, because what has made the Obama campaign so strong is his ability to talk about issues and not get stuck in the mire of politics – to remain above all that stuff. So I couldn’t have been happier last night when I saw Obama being his regular self last night on Letterman. My Dad felt the same way. He was talking issues, keeping cool, not being reactive.

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40 Years Since

By Abby at 4:58 pm on Friday, April 4, 2008

Image from Time Magazine’s “The Last Days of Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Last night just after midnight, I remembered on my own that it was April 4th, the day Dr. King was shot. I always remember it because of the line in the U2 song “Pride (In the Name of Love)” off their Unforgettable Fire album. It came out when I was in high school, and I remember U2 coming to town to see Coretta Scott King when it was released. The line is:

Early morning, April 4. A shot rings out in the Memphis sky. Free at last. They took your life. They could not take your pride.

My senior recital at Oberlin was April 4th, 1992. It was easy to remember that date because it coincided with King’s death. Growing up in Atlanta and attending Atlanta Public, Dr. King was always in the curriculum. The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change is in Atlanta, and I spent a winter term during college working in the media department there. I got to meet Coretta Scott King in person in her office. I was pretty star struck, actually. I couldn’t believe I was in a meeting with her. It was surreal.

I was born in Memphis in November 1969. I always thought it strange that the man who had such an effect on my life and the society in which I grew up was never alive at the same time as me. There was this story my dad used to tell about how he was chief resident on call at the emergency room in Memphis when King was shot. I was sitting here trying to remember all the details when I had the genius thought: I bet Dad blogged about it today. I was right. Here it is: His telling of that day in Memphis, April 4th, 1968.

I was an Intern at the City of Memphis Hospitals on this day forty years ago. We had a shortage of Residents, and I’d been temporarily promoted to “admitting resident” for the day. I was proud to be asked, but had spent the day terrified I was going to make some fatal mistake, send someone home who died or create some indelible medical catastrophe. That evening, I was sitting alone pondering the day, glad that both I and the patients had survived, when I got a call from my wife that Dr. King had been shot downtown.

It wasn’t an easy time to be in Memphis…

Read the rest of Dad’s story: Link

Memphis Mississippi Pano

I lived in Memphis from August 2004 – August 2005. I’m not sure why or how it happened, but it seems that the fruits of the Civil Rights Movement never really “took” in Memphis. It’s like there’s a black cloud over the city. I’ve heard other people describe it in similar ways. While there are many wonderful things there, the color line and the poverty line seem to be identical. The gap between rich and poor, the haves and the have-nots. It feels huge. Maybe it’s because I was working with victims of domestic violence and abuse and in the Memphis Public Schools, but I certainly felt while living there that Memphis was a city that was still in need of healing. What a burden to bear. If you ever get there, go to the Civil Rights Museum. It it housed in the Lorraine Hotel, where Dr. King was staying when he was shot, that fateful April day.

Filed under: Dad's Wisdom,Family,Memphis,Ramblings/Brain Dumps/Opinions,Stories From My Life1 Comment »

Judgmentalism and The “No Hard Times” People

By Abby at 11:28 am on Monday, March 10, 2008

I’ve had this conversation a few times in the past few days (with my mom and with Shannon).

People who have experienced life going their way most of the time often assume a cause-effect relationship that I believe is illusory. They feel that the reason that life has been kind to them is that they have done the right things. They feel they are being rewarded for their right behavior and choices. The obvious offshoot of this is that they believe that they have answers that will work for you. If only you did this thing that I did, or behave this way I behaved, you will have a life as content as mine. The corollary to this is the belief that because my life isn’t as worked out as theirs, I must have done incorrect things and made the wrong choices. This is true within my own group of like-minded peers, but it also extends far beyond one’s own social sphere. If those poor people had only done what I did, their life would be more like mine. If that addict had only done what I did, they would not be homeless.

Going through really hard times (and for me, I’m counting divorce and extended unemployment, although these are hardly impressive “hard times” – just using what I know) brings one “to one’s knees” (as they say). You realize that despite trying your hardest, doing your best, taking what is supposed to be the right actions, life can go badly. Things might not work out. That guy you like may not like you back. He may turn out to be kind of a loser. That job you really want may not be yours. You might get the rejection call, even if you did everything you knew to do. One response is to assume there is something wrong about you or that you did the wrong thing, but I don’t believe that’s always true. I’ve been in the position of rejecting others at times (like during breakups), but it was almost never personal – usually about a poor fit, a mismatch, a hunch. That’s just how life goes sometimes.

When there’s a long run of bad luck or hard times, it’s easy to start to question yourself and your approach. Do I interview badly? Did I talk too much? These questions are important to ask in case there is a real issue to address, but to get stuck in these questions can be detrimental and you can end up in that kind of mood that my dad has referred to as “wearing shit-covered glasses”. In the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum, the travelers must first put on emerald-tinted spectacles before entering the Emerald City. It isn’t the city itself that is emerald in color. It is the glasses: the perspective those who enter are asked to take.

I’ve had on slightly rosy-tinted specs during this long period of joblessness. Without them, I become immobilized. I think anyone would.

If you haven’t been through hard times, you might think that you know how you’d respond in certain hypothetical situations. So ask someone who is gainfully employed and deeply in love (I have been that person) what they would do if their lover left them without warning. Listen to their answer, and know that it is just something they are making up in the moment because it sounds good to them. They answer from a position of not really knowing. One thing I learned when going through my divorce is that the way I felt and responded to bad news was often NOTHING like I would have expected. I like this idea of being open to how one actually feels and separating strongly from how you think you would feel, how you think you should feel. To know how you actually feel (even if it makes no sense cognitively) is such a gift. It’s something I’ve honed over the past several years since I see so much value in it. It has served me so well. It’s maybe my version of meditation – this asking myself what I feel or what I want. Even if what you feel and what you want has no consequences in the external world, just knowing your actual feelings in the moment makes life so much clearer. It’s like turning the manual focus or getting new glasses, and the clarity just BANG – is there for you.

Over the past five years, I’ve done divorce, dissertation, three brand-new-state moves, jumped a ton of academic and professional hoops (if you read this blog, you know about this), and had some other big changes in my personal life here and there. If you’d asked me before all of that how I would approach all these things, I think I would have answered with some sort of confidence. It would have been false confidence. I didn’t have a clue. And I’m glad I learned to admit that to myself. It has made my life all the richer.

If you’re inclined, then please… Discuss!

Filed under: Dad's Wisdom,Ramblings/Brain Dumps/Opinions9 Comments »

Castration Anxiety on Parade (aka You Tell Him, Dad!)

By Abby at 12:47 pm on Friday, December 7, 2007

Got an email from mom telling me to read one of Dad’s latest blog posts. It’s the one In Which Dad awards Dick Cheney the “Male Chauvinist Pig” award for the New American Century. If you don’t know, Dad is a retired Freudian psychoanalyst, and he uses his particular brand of professional expertise to explain some of Cheney’s recent remarks.

See castration anxiety on parade…

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