Tuesday, March 29, 2011


So, after a very long time without it, www.deddrie.com is back up and running a bit smoother now.  At some point, I'll be asking for help with making the archives page look the way I want it to (and be a separate page) and all that stuff...  Yep.  I'm learning the interwebs!

Monday, March 7, 2011


My grandfather passed away a couple of nights ago.  I'm starting this post with that news.

To understand who he was, you'd really have to know his children and his wife.
He,  himself, was a meteorologist.  You know, a weather guy.  The guy who KNOWS by SCIENCE that it will rain tomorrow, because he has the tools to talk to the sky itself... and then he's wrong.  That guy.

I am convinced that, somehow, he actually did always get the weather right.  Not because he was psychic, but because I think the sky was probably terrified to let my Pop-Pop down.

He was my father's father.  Now, my dad has always been a momma's boy.  He's very proud of this fact.  However, his father's influence is very clearly there.

This got me thinking about my grandparents in relation to my own upbringing and values.

There are five grandparents in my life:
1.) My mother's father is the first.  I never met him.  He passed away when my mother was eight years old.  However, from stories told by my grandmother and by my mother's sisters, I knew that he and I had a lot in common.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and a good work ethic.  He loved his family.  That's really all I need to know.

The story of his death was a bit muddled when I was a child.  I was told that he was on the phone with a friend, was told a joke, and laughed so hard that he died.  In reality, he may have been laughing when it happened, but it was a heart attack that did him in.  This led to my mother stating that we have "heart disease" in the family, and that I should watch out for it.  While high cholesterol and high blood pressure are common among us, it should be noted that my mother's father had suffered more than one heart attack (and yet survived, which was not so common at the time) and he was a heavy smoker.  As such, I don't know if I would brand us as a heart attack family.

Still, the idea of passing away while laughing is kind of nice. 

2.) My mother's step father, Grandpa Walter, was a tailor during WWII.  He made Nazi uniforms in order to survive.  By the time I met him, he was already attached to oxygen. Unfortunately, all I really knew directly was that he didn't think I was old enough to play board games, and that paprika is only used for color and has no taste.

Turns out, he was actually a very interesting man, from Nazis to a strange court case involving something he didn't do.  He even came complete with "evil stepsisters" for my mother.

3.) My mother's mother is a different story.  I knew her as simply "Grandma", but she'd sign everything "Grandma Mildred" or "Millie".  I had a chance to know her, thankfully.  She didn't get along with my sister, (there was an incident which led to her reading a Smurf book to my sister, but replacing every "smurf" with "dumb") but she was someone I personally looked up to.  She was a writer.  She was witty and very intelligent.  She did not take shit from ANYONE.  You could be the president, but if you tried to talk back to this woman, she would have put you in your place without a second thought.

Grandma would always say that she wasn't terribly happy about outliving everyone.  All of her friends and both of her husbands were gone.  She told me that if she ever lost her mind, I should just proclaim her dead.  I listened.

She, very sadly, suffered from Dementia towards the end.  I guess she knew it was coming.  She'd go back and forth between being aware and in pain, or being physically healthy but having no idea where she was.  She once called the house to ask when "Benjamin", her first husband, was coming home.  We told her that he'd be back very soon.

I will admit, I did not visit her often during this time.  I wish I had had the ability to see her more before then.  My sister went, knowing Grandma would not know who she was.  This was not as kind as it sounds.  I think everyone knew what it really was about.

In any case, eventually, Grandma got to go home to her husbands.  I had let her go by that point, because the woman I love and still wish to emulate, had already gone long before her body caught up.  I should have gone to the funeral for my mother.  That I know.  However, I thought that having time to be with her sisters would be helpful.  I have since attempted to get closer to my remaining relatives, but I don't know how well that's working.

I live far away and while growing up, my anxiety and pain kept me from trusting anyone, including my blood relatives.  I blame my sister for a lot of that.  Or rather, I blame my reaction to my sister for a lot of that.  I did not really know what Borderline Personality Disorder or Bi-Polar Disorder were at the time.  Of course, with an eight year age difference and parents who also did not really know, my knowing would not have kept me safe. 

Still, last Winter, my boyfriend and I managed to make it to Nevada, where my father's family resides.

This brings me to
4.) Mom-Mom
and finally, 5.) Pop-Pop.

Mom-Mom told us never to call her "Grandma", because it made her feel old.  She's that kind of person.  She's very stubborn and strong willed.  She's started to waiver mentally a bit these days, but she still maintains a personality and inner strength that I find inspiring.

My father being a "momma's boy" is not an insult.  Believe me when I say this.  True, she treats him like a child even now, (he was well into his fifties when she called the police because he had been "missing" for a couple of hours in Las Vegas) but she, much like Grandma, never takes any shit.  This is what makes the next part so difficult.

With Pop-Pop gone, as strong as Mom-Mom is, she doesn't drive and does not really take care of herself.  Putting her in a group home of some kind would be preferred.  It's Vegas, so she'd still get to go gambling, and she'd be able to go to a dinning hall and meet people.  She is social and should remain so.  However, she has this image of people rotting away, left and forgotten in an old, dingy hospital setting.  This is far from the truth, but it is difficult to convince her of this.

Seeing all this makes me more desperate to get over my fear and to get my license.  I want to be able to help Brian more, and to not wind up completely dependent on him.  I care about him, but I don't want to be stranded if he wanders off (emotionally or otherwise). 

My parents are currently over in Nevada, talking to her and attending Pop-Pop's funeral.

It might be the left over flat affect from the PTSD, but I don't seem to react to death in the "right" way.  At least, not in the American sense.  Perhaps, growing up with my father as clergy, I managed to get a sense that there is something else after this world.  Perhaps (and more likely), I have lived the kind of life that has led to my simply not caring one way or another, provided the life lived was lived well.
After all, everyone dies.  If everyone does it, it probably isn't so bad.

Pop-Pop was ready to go.  He said goodbye to my father.  When I saw him, he told me he was "tired of being tired" and he laughed at this.  Even in the pain he was in, he still laughed.  Maybe it was to make sure we didn't feel sorry for him.  Perhaps he didn't want to upset anyone.  I think he simply understood the ridiculousness of it all.

When you get to that point, you have to laugh.  It's the only way to go.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dshitneycopyright™ and the Please Don't Sue Me ice-cream.

Once upon a time, in the magical land of Dshitneycopyright™ World, my mother and I had an adventure!  The king of this land, we'll just refer to as "Ricky Rat". 

Well, my mom has this obsession with all things "Ricky" related, and so on our trip to Dshitneycopyright™ World, we HAD to see Ricky's house, and thus see Ricky Rat himself!  Personally, I was much more interested in seeing Marty Mallard, but we had already gone to the House of Scary Jokes about thirty times, so I was willing to give in here. 

By this point, we had already seen a few scattered princesses and other cartoons-turned living, (mostly via giant, scary foam heads) but we had not yet seen the man/rat himself. 

...We had, however, seen an old cartoon of him using a living cat as a musical instrument.  That... bothered me.  ...  A lot.

So, we went in and took the tour of his home.  I felt like I was truly invading the life of this cartoon character, as we looked at his answering machine, and his bed, and his refrigerator.  It felt like we were doing something wrong and illegal.  I decided that this tour was teaching me bad things.  I enjoyed this a lot, and then felt even worse.  My little guilt rattled brain could only take so much. 

Well, if there's one thing Dshitneycopyright™ World taught me, it's that I have an irrational fear of most costumed, foam-headed people.  Regular people in costume, no issue, though I do often find them intimidating unless I am also in costume.  But giant foam heads??? Oh HELLLL no.  This is why I can't handle going to sports events.  While I love seeing people beat the shit out of each other for the sake of a game, I can't take the mascots.  I don't know why.  I just... don't... like mascots.

In any case, we got to Ricky Rat, and my mother (who must have been at least forty five-ish at the time) ran up to Ricky to sit in his lap for a photo. 

Now, my mother is small and looks drastically younger than she is, but this was still a little odd, if not totally humiliating. 
The man who was taking the picture looked to me and spoke to me as if I was younger than I was.  I take after my mother, so I'm used to this.  Usually once I've spoken, whoever is speaking to me understands my age.

It worked for this case too... but not in the way I was hoping for.

The man with the camera asked me if I would like my picture with Ricky Rat too!!!  I responded with my arms folded and a parental chuckle.  I then decided to joke (TERRIBLE PLAN!  THE RAT HATES JOKES!!!  NEVER DO THIS!!!!!) and say, "Ha!  No thanks.  I'm waiting to see Marty Mallard!" 

The room...

went silent...

and cold.

The man with the camera looked at me and looked back at Ricky.  Finally he spoke with an awkward and afraid "Haaa...  I think that, uh, Melissa Mallard might have a problem with THAT!  Haaaah...."

I thought for perhaps a millisecond at most before I shot back with, "I don't want to DATE him! I just wanna say 'hello'!"

It was then that I heard the THUMP,  THUMP,  THUMP and felt the slow beat through the floor.  It entered my feet and crawled up my spine as I suddenly understood the dread which had been all over everyone else's skin. 

My mother was still blissfully unaware, happily standing next to Ricky, wearing a shit-eating grin because OH MY GOD IT'S RICKY RAT AND THIS IS AWESOME!

Ricky was standing, arms folded, stomping his giant, yellow foot.  While his face still held that smile, his body posture was VERY unhappy. 

I had displeased the god-rodent.

For the rest of the trip, the only characters we could find in the vast wasteland that Dshitneycopyright™ World had become, were Dip and Dot (they were EVERYWHERE like little spies...), The Mad Hatsalesman, Street-Rat Boy, and Retardy.  So, the only people who would talk to us were naked people I assumed were spies, a crazy person, an outlaw and...  Retardy. 

We even went to Marty Mallard's boat house.  He was nowhere to be found.  I am still convinced that, as punishment, the powers of Dshitneycopyright™ World were keeping him from me.

For a few months, this is what I pictured when I thought of Dshitneycopyright™ World:

Well, once our time (and money) was spent, we realized that we had another day to kill.  This was when my mother decided to take me to what we'll call "Tropical Cyclone Lagoon".

A few things  happened there, but what reeeeaaaaalllly stands out for me was the wave pool, followed by the "please don't sue us" station they called first aid.

The wave pool had "realistic sand!"  This was, in actuality, bumpy cement.

When the far too strong current of the wave pool pushed me and my mother, with our tiny little frames, we balled up and went smashing down on the fucking "realistic sand" bullshittery. 

We then rushed over to first aid, where they gave us Band-Aids and free ice-cream.  The movie Pocahontas was about to come out, (I can say her name because she was a real person, and not a Dshitneycopyright™ concoction.) and so my ice-cream bar had her on the wrapper. 

To my dismay, the ice-cream was just plain vanilla with a chocolate coating, and no shape of the character or imprint was to be seen. 

Then, my little brain started going.  I decided that Dshitneycopyright™ and the people of Tropical Cyclone Lagoon were terribly racist, and that they were trying to get me to subconsciously understand that what the white man did to Pocahontas was okay (I had read the book) because, clearly, she was really white on the inside. 

So, yeah.  My assumption that Dshitneycopyright™ was racist back in the day was not from watching any of the old cartoons, or even from Dshitneycopyright™'s actual life and views on anything... No. 

It was due to ice-cream.