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January 01, 2007

If you don't know what is wrong with me, then you know don't know what you missed

BBRUG tagged me to write up five things most people don't know about me. At first I thought, "Geez, I’m willing to tell just about anything to just about anybody, so there’s not much that’s “secret” or “private” to tell." But as I contemplate this, I suppose there are a few things that aren’t general knowledge.

1. I used to have rheumatoid arthritis. Yeah, that’s the kind that can completely cripple you (and which crippled my mom). It took nearly a year to get diagnosed, and I was sick for about another two years. How bad did it get? I walked with a cane for two years; the drugs I took made me gain weight (steroids), need horribly frequent blood tests (Plaquenil) to avoid liver damage, made me sun-sensitive (again, the Plaquenil), and thinned my hair and made me nauseous (methotrexate). After about a year on methotrexate, though, despite the side effects, I was feeling much better, and my doctor let me try going off the drugs. The RA was in remission! I live with a certain amount of fear that this will come back someday, but in the meantime I am grateful, literally EVERY DAMN DAY, that I can walk around in the city I love so much, and didn’t have to move.

2. I grew up incredibly, appallingly poor. I can’t give you too clear an idea of what that’s like in a paragraph; if you want to read something really sharp on the topic, John Scalzi wrote a compelling piece in his blog in 2005 (in response, actually to people wondering why there were folks in New Orleans who "chose" to not evacuate). Here are some highlights, though: clothes and toys and books from the Salvation Army; government surplus food; my parents never had a bank account (and my mom still doesn’t); we lived in a 30-foot travel trailer, like the kind FEMA crams people into today, for more than twelve years. That last one bears a bit of dwelling on: 30 feet by 8 feet equals 240 square feet. I slept on the couch in the “living room,” which meant that I had to make up my bed every night from the bedclothes (which stayed in a neat pile next to the couch), and strip the couch every morning before breakfast. When I moved out, to college, at 16, my dorm room felt to me like a fucking palace. It wasn’t all bad, though. Perhaps more on this some other time.

3. If I am drunk or tired or in south Louisiana, I will reacquire both my accent *and* my diction from my long-ago southern youth. Which has always meant: I don’t swear, and I say quaint things like “on account of” and “I’m fixin’ to do XYZ” and “right about”. However, on my last trip to Louisiana, I found myself in my car, swearing in southern -- “Y’all are a bunch of motherfuckin’ idiots!” -- sung out in my sugary lilt. And then I burst into peals of laughter.

Ah! Here’s a good one, which comes to mind because of the driving-in-south-Louisiana thing:

4. I like country music. Not just the stuff that is cool to like, like the Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, or Neko Case, or Loretta Lynn produced by Jack White. Nah. I like the highly engineered Nashville three-part narrative tearjerkers and foot-stompers and he-done-me-wrong songs. Before you pass out, I should mention that I *do* still have some discernment; I’d say Sturgeon’s Law holds true there as elsewhere. Oh, but the sweet, sweet ten percent that stands out? Incomparable. Pedal steel and a fiddle? I’m your girl. However: I only really listen to country music IN BULK on the radio, which means driving in a car, which generally means when I'm down south.

5. I sang in various school choirs from 5th grade through the first couple years of college (so about eight years). In high school and college I was in the a cappella choir; in high school I also competed in the yearly statewide individual and duet competitions, which was a little nerve-wracking. You’d prepare a piece for weeks, and then go before several judges (I think it was four?) and they’d give you the first note and then you’d sing and they’d rate your performance. You did this on a parish level, and then you’d go compete in Baton Rouge. I won four scholarship awards doing that, and I still have the medals (which you’re meant to pin on your varsity jacket, and which I, of course, did WITH NO IRONY WHATSOEVER, I WILL HAVE YOU KNOW).

Alrighty. I think that’s about enough for now. I want to hear from Danny, and Columbine, and Katje, and Tori. If’n they’re up to it, of course.

Posted by Rose at January 1, 2007 11:35 AM


I also LOVE country music. LOL Tim McGraw is top of my list as well as Toby Keith. My kids think it is horrible. Too bad! When you grow up and have your own car you can listen to what you like!

Posted by: Wenchy at January 13, 2007 01:08 AM

I'm not sure what it says when numbers 2-5 could have been written by me almost word for word! I will count my blessings that I miss number 1, and hope you never have to have it again.

Posted by: Lisa at February 1, 2007 12:50 PM

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