Saturday, January 9, 2016

Time to be Great Again

Many years ago, when I was in junior high, I learned about Alexander the Great. I learned how this king was such an amazing military strategist, that he seldom if ever lost a battle in his mission to conquer the known world. I learned that he was smart and wise and had a great thirst for knowledge, having studied under Aristotle. I also learned that few people influenced so many in such a short amount of time.

Naturally, being the humble child that I was, I decided that if Alexander could be called "the Great" for having done those things, then I could do the same for future accomplishments. I started signing papers "Angenette the Great." In high school, it was shortened to A the Great or even AtG. Such was the frequency with which I used it, teachers would accept homework with just "A the Great" as my name and not blink. 

My mother made me a quilt for one of my big teen birthdays (I think 15 or 16).  I still have it because it's the best blankie in the world. It has plaid on one side (because I wore grunge-inspired plaid shirts every day) and fuzzy faux fur on the other side. On the fur side, she embroidered "A the Great."  

For my 40th birthday, my mom made me another quilt with the same thing embroidered on the corner to take the place of my 25 year old original. It didn't take the place of it, actually. Now I have 2 wonderful blankies.

The point is, my nickname was well-known. It was well-used. It was well-received(actually, I don't know if that's true). When I got to college, I had just gone through a humbling, teen-angst experience, and didn't feel like the "Great" part fit anymore. I thought it best to leave that part of my childhood behind. I was just Angenette, Ang, or AP.  I showed flashes of greatness, but not what I expected of myself as a kid.  I figured there was plenty of time for that later, as so many college students do.

Fast forward to 2007. I had just given birth to my 2nd kid and my family had moved temporarily from Tacoma, WA to Utah for my husband to finish his graduate program. My grandma Nettie had passed away not too long ago. I was named after her and always loved her nickname, but she strictly forbade me from using it while she was alive because she hated being called Nettie.

4 Angenettes, back in the day

Since I was starting with a clean friend slate with the move, so to speak, and Nettie wasn't there to give me her patented glare, I thought it the perfect time to try a social experiment.  When we moved to Sandy, Utah, I didn't introduce myself as Angenette. I introduced myself as Neti (I used my own spelling).  

It took. 

People believe me. I became Neti. Even a few of my lifelong friends (and 1 sib!) made the switch from Angenette to Neti. Neti is fun. It's short. It doesn't come with a long, annoying explanation of where the name Angenette comes from.


Lately I've been missing where the name Angenette comes from.  I've been missing being Angenette.  I've missed the familiarity of "Ang." I've missed the strength that comes from the name Angenette.  Seeing the A the Great on my new blanket reminded me that it's not too late to reclaim the title of A the Great.

I spent last year focussing on being truly happy. This year I will focus on being Great like I once thought I could be.  It's not going to be overnight, and I may forget, but it's my goal.  Perhaps, as my friends, you can help me remember?

I'm done with introducing myself as Neti -- for now, at least. If that's how you know me and want to keep calling me that, it's ok. I still like the name. It's fun and short and easy to sign.  Otherwise, it's time to be Angenette and learn to be smart and wise and thirst for knowledge, just like the original A the Great.  Maybe with a little less bloodshed.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Super Old Sibs

Today I am coming out of the woodwork because it is my brother Paul's 50th birthday.  This is a significant birthday, not only because he has reached the half-century mark, but because he just became a grandpa for the first time.  Also, because my brother Paul and my oldest sister Lelani were born in the same calendar year, for one month, I will have 2 siblings who are 50. Between the two of them, they have lived a century.  It sounds like a lot, but if you knew my sibs, you'd see that they aren't really as old as it sounds. 
They are, however, older than lots of stuff. That's what this blog post is about, and it's my little birthday present to my big brother Paul.

Stuff That's Younger Than Paul (and Lelani)

  • The Internet
  • Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Speech
  • Bubble Tape
  • Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Game Cube, Wii, WiiU
  • Rocky Balboa Movies
  • The Atkins Diet
  • VHS, DVD, DVR, Blu-ray,
  • Mattel Electronic Football 
  • Dyson Vacuums
  • Jeopardy
  • Digital Mobile Phones
  • The Squeezable Ketchup Bottle
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Carrot Top (ok, not 100% accurate, because he is younger than L but older than P)
  • The World Wide Web
  • Beats by Dre
  • Dr Dre as Businessman
  • Lithium Batteries
  • Any of Steven Covey's Habits for Highly Successful Anything
  • Me

Happy birthday, Paul! Go hike up your pants, enjoy being a grandpa, and hit the early bird special at the Golden Corral.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Where is My Community?

Last week, my neighbor suddenly and very tragically lost her little family member.  He was killed on a different continent, so she wasn't able to be there with her family to put her family member to rest. Since then, I have seen what the phrase "mourn with those who mourn" really means. There has been a constant stream of visitors, bringing food and milk for tea and staying with her. My friend said to me, "This is how we are: we are a community. We come together in tragedy. One person loses someone and we all suffer pain for their loss."

My heart still cries for my friend and neighbor. I've learned from her strength and from her sense of community. Most of all, I've learned that I lack a real community.

I'll pause here, because if my mom is reading my blog she'll be saying, "It's your fault for moving so far away from the family!" While it's true that I moved away, I'd like to point out the fact (as a general rule, not necessarily for me) that your family isn't always part of this inner circle, this community. I have family members that might not even say hello to me if they saw me on the street out of sheer indifference.

Someone else will be saying, "Your church is your community." While mourning with those who mourn and recognize that The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21) is part of what my particular branch, as well as many other branches of Christianity profess, I don't particularly feel a sense of family with them like I witnessed at my neighbor's house.

So I guess my follow up question from my last post about friendship is this: how does one form a community? How do you learn to care for those around you and have them care for you to the point where a community is formed, a family is forged and a bond is created?