Category Archives: Names

Alphabet Soup Challenge: N is for Names

27 years ago, I gave birth to my second child. Hubs and I named “her” Marissa. A lovely name for a lively child.

Approximately 7 years ago, “Marissa”, who had by then come out as queer and non-binary (the queer part was easier to get my head around at first than the non-binary part) announced that they would now be referred to as “Rabbie”.

Say what?! I thought to myself. Why? What’s wrong with “Marissa”? It’s a damn beautiful name, right people?

I told Bonnie over the phone. She “misheard” me and said “Rabbit?” I laughed nervously and told her to think of it as a nickname. I reminded her that Rabbie was romantically attracted to both genders and this was one expression of that (though now I realize it’s much more nuanced). She responded by saying she was going to be praying that “Marissa” found herself a nice boy to fall in love with and marry someday.

My mom never did “get” it. I never held it against her however. Fact of the matter is, I wasn’t necessarily “getting it” back then either.

Hubs and I struggled with this for a good long while. I was offended that the kid was rejecting the name we lovingly chose for them. I felt anxious about how to explain it to others. So many times when talking about how our kids were doing to friends and acquaintances, I found myself referring to “Marissa” as “Rabbie” and got the most confused looks in exchange.

Recent pic of my “Rabs”

But time is an interesting thing. The more I referred to her them as “Rabbie” the more natural it seemed to come to me. The less I felt the need to explain it to myself or others. I even shortened it to “Rabs” when I was speaking to them directly.

I realized over time is that it’s not about me. It’s about the kid not feeling “girly” inside. It’s about them not embracing traditional Americanized gender roles. It’s about the kid expressing their true selves and asserting their independence. It’s about the kid asserting their right to be seen as who they really are, not someone who we as their parents and society at large thinks they should be.

***Header image courtesy of https://locallove.ca/issues/your-guide-to-non-binary-pronouns/#.X1UnmN7YqWw

Alphabet Soup Challenge: G is for Gems

In the summer of 2009, Hubs and I took our two kids on a trip to Washington, DC.

In my mind, it was the best family trip we ever took. I think it had to do with the timing. Our eldest was about to begin her senior year of high school. Her sibling was a year behind her. It was a “seize this moment” kind of attitude we all bought into it which led it to be a memorable and amazing experience.

Part of the planning of this trip was discussing what “one thing” each of us wanted to be sure to see while in our Nation’s capital. Eldest chose the Ford Theater where President Lincoln was shot. The other kid chose the Shakespeare museum. If I recall correctly, Hubs chose Arlington Cemetery. I’m pretty sure I went generic, choosing the Smithsonian (not necessarily one specific museum there, because they are all fantastic).

Something that unexpectedly struck me while touring the Smithsonian Museum of National History was how in absolute awe the kids and I were of the Gems Gallery. Unlike Bonnie (my mom), I’ve never really been the kind of woman who felt a great need to have dazzling rocks adorning my fingers, neck, or ears. Sure, I love jewelry, but honestly I’m good with the costume variety.

I can just think of so many more wonderful things the money spent on fancy jewels could buy. And the experiences the money spent on fancy jewels could fund. The number of mouths it could feed. The amount of school supplies it could fund for under-privileged students. The number of shoes it could buy for the homeless.

We found ourselves gazing at these precious gemstones, “oohing and awing” all the while, deciding which ones we’d most like to wear if we could.

The Hope Diamond was my favorite. Stunning, shimmery deep blue and simply gorgeous.

As magnificent as these gems are, all of them together pale in comparison to all the other “Gems” in my life.

According to Merriam Webster, the “non jewel” definition of “gems” is: a highly prized or well beloved person.

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to expand on this definition : a “Gem” is a highly prized and well beloved female human who has, in no particular order, inspired me, loved me, liked me, taught me, cried with me, laughed with me, challenged me, accepted me, shared with me, and cared with me.

Been waiting for a chance to include this pic from my last trip to Washington, DC in a blog post-here it is!

I’m going to be honest here. I have too much to say about the “Gems” in my life to properly capture it in this one little post. That is how blessed I feel for the “Gems” in my life.

So, for now, I’m just going to highlight my blogger Gems. There is more to come as this blog proceeds.

I’ve mentioned them before, primarily when I was accepting a nomination for a blogging award (I know, they are cheesy and silly and to my knowledge there are no official prizes or awards ceremonies-but they are such fun) and having to nominate other bloggers as part of the deal.

But this is not that.

These are the blogging broads that never fail to encourage me. To introduce me to new ideas, new music, new recipes, new perspectives. The broads that also put themselves out there with their thoughts and feelings, opinions and grievances in such a way that make me feel less alone in the blogosphere.

I hope to connect with more blogging broads as I continue down this path I’ve put myself on, but for now, I just gotta say…I adore these 4 women and their creative writing abilities so much.

They are:

Christi, who lives in the wonderful state (my home state) of Minnesota and happens to be a very thoughtful, clever, intelligent and lovely human being with a knack for creative writing.

Nicole, who is quite a dynamo. Works full time with a husband and two small kids at home but still manages to pull off regular heartfelt posts about life.

Mona, who has been such a cheerleader for me. She’s brave, funny, sarcastic and surprising with her writing on her blog. And Geez Louise, she’s got some fantastic taste in music.

And then there’s Crystal. I’ve always loved that name. Crystal was the name of a girl I grew up with. She was one of those sort of rare birds in that she was pretty and popular (she was Homecoming Queen for Pete’s Sake), but she was also nice. Not a snot. Liked by everyone. My blogging friend Crystal is like that as well. She has a deep soul and a sharp intellect. I really admire her.

Now onto the question of the day: who are the “Gems” in your life, blogging or otherwise? I would be tickled to hear all about them.

My First Post about Names

Perhaps weirdly, I have a lot to say about names. See above title. I’m certain this will not be a one-off topic for me on this blog.

Think I’ll start with the obvious. My name: Rhonda. My mom told me she named me after a movie star named Rhonda Fleming. I don’t know much about her beyond that she had red hair. Hold on a sec…

Image result for image for actress rhonda fleming
Rhonda Fleming-ain’t she a beaut? Geez, I hope all that straw didn’t end up in her nether regions!

Of course there’s that dumb Beach Boys song, you know the one, which about 60% of the people that meet me for the first time feel compelled to sing to me (like the guy checking us out at PetSmart yesterday).  One of our neighbors is also a Rhonda and she actually has this song as her ring tone on her cell phone. Having the name Rhonda, while I’m  pretty neutral about how I feel about it now at 52, kind of sucked growing up.

There were 4 other Rhonda’s between my class and the class ahead of me. In a school system that had a mere 500 (give or take) students in total. Similar to that dumbass show “The Bachelor”, there was a Rhonda D., a Rhonda T., two Rhonda S’s., and a Rhonda K (that would be me). I never figured what that was all about, all these moms sipping their Tabs and playing Bridge in the late 60’s being all un-original about naming their babies. The worst though was the nickname bestowed upon me by a tall, gangly, obnoxious kid named “Todd”. He greatly enjoyed calling me “Rhon-duh”, emphasis on the “Duh” as in “Duh-brain” (a clever off-shoot of “Rhon-duh”).

Here’s some more names I have important commentary on:

Joan. One Joan I know is my daughter’s soon to be ex MIL. I had an issue with her from the day I met her. In front of me and Hubs, she presented my daughter with a “special” necklace with the word “daughter” engraved on it. Made my blood boil. In retrospect, I think it was her way of softening my daughter to her, as that was the fateful night we nor only first met but also starting planning the wedding between our daughter and her son (there is a story to be told of that night for sure).

Then there’s another Joan, one of my mom’s old Bridge pals from back in the day. After my mom passed away in February, my sister and I split the sympathy cards up so that sending the thank you’s wouldn’t be on just one of us. We are fair with each other like that (side note: I freaking love my sister! She’s coming to visit us this week. Yay!).

So anyway, I found Joan’s card. No address. This frustrated me no end while I was trying to get this task completed (she wasn’t the only one who failed to furnish their address). So I decided to go ahead and find her address online. I thought that would be easy peasy.  Simple. Efficient. It wasn’t. I checked with two different websites that said they didn’t charge (yeah, right, sucker!) and of course was simply told that she was “found”. But no specific address was made available to me, just the city and state where she lived (like hello! I knew that already, people!).  I gave up and later ended up finding it another way (she owns a business-forgot about that!) online. Ever since, every single fucking time I open up my Chromebook, I get these pop ups with lines like “are you still searching for Joan”? One even, I swear to God, included a little picture of Momo (you know, that urban legend/internet hoax that really really dumb middle schoolers have apparently bought into). I guess they thought they could scare me into paying them to dig up Joan’s address for me after all this time I’d been searching?

 

Image result for momo
I present to you, Momo

In a previous post,  I mentioned how my mom used to love to sing to me all the time when I was little, despite not really being able to carry a tune. I have fuzzy memories of her when I was probably 4 or 5, when I would beg her to sing me “name” songs. They ran the gamut between “Julie do ya love me?”, to “I’ve been working on the railroad” (Dinah won’t you blow, Dinah won’t you blow, Dinah won’t you blow your horn was the chorus), to “Laurie (strange things happen)”.

Let me leave you with my personal favorite “name” song, with the extra special bonus of interpretive dance. Enjoy!