just call me raegen


Month: March, 2013

A Birthday Interview

Well, it’s official: Raegen has achieved her super-secret goal of writing a blog a week for one year, starting on her birthday weekend last year. So, to commemorate the occasion — and the fact that she exists and such — her mother will now provide insight into the enigma that is Raegen.

Who is this Raegen character, anyway?

MOM: She’s my baby. She’s my daughter. She’s my first born. In fact, she tried to murder my second born.

English: Pillow Português: Travesseiro

The pillow: Raegen’s weapon of choice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, other than homicidal, what was she like as a kid?

MOM: She was playful, good-tempered, ate everything I ever put in front of her. She was a good little girl.

So, what happened?

MOM: I don’t know. She got introverted. I don’t know what happened.

Was it her friends? Did she hang out with the wrong crowd?

MOM: I don’t think so. From what I recall, she wasn’t that sociable. She was a bookworm, and she had friends that had the same interests. She was in tap dancing, gymnastics, cheerleading and poms when she was young. Later on, she became artistic, creative. She was always writing stories, making up stories.

Cover of the 2001 CD reissue

You callin’ me a liar? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, you’re calling her a liar. What were some of the crazy fads she went through?

MOM: Anti-vegetables. Anti-meat. Anti-bathing. She loved to swim when she was young; she just didn’t like to bathe afterward.

You could consider her a visionary, actually, because there’s a whole movement around those things now, you know — at least vegetarianism and anti-bathing. Just sayin’. Anyway, what was her love life like?

MOM: I think she had numerous crushes until she went to work at Cold Stone and met her first boyfriend, A.

Cold Stone Creamery cones in a cup

Ice cream + high school = love (Photo credit: javajoba)

Did you like A?

MOM: I liked A very much.

Just none of the other ones?

MOM: Well, I liked F until I found out how tortured she was with his nonsense. It was much later in life when I found out. And then there was her big crush — her secret fantasy about J that ended up coming true, and that ended up being a disaster.

Careful what you wish for.

Psycho Shower Scene

Norman, listen to your mother! (Photo credit: Coco Mault)

MOM: Yes, exactly. It pained me very much because he came between her and her sister, K, who always had a great relationship — well, until he came into the picture.

How did she come to find Jesus?

MOM: Working at her old employer’s. He was a janitor there, and somebody asked her if she’d be interested in going out with him, and she said, “Not unless he asks me himself,” which he eventually did. The rest is history. My baby found Jesus.

Who are Raegen’s heroes?

MOM: She-Ra. One of her professors — Larissa. Probably the Dalai Lama and Buddha. I could probably safely say that one or two of her heroes are really heroines — not the kind that you inject into your system, but poets, writers.


Sure, lady — whatever you say. (Photo credit: michelle.irish)

What are some of your fondest memories of Raegen?

MOM: My proudest moments of Raegen were her graduating from college and then going on to get her master’s degree. My daughter is extremely intelligent — to the point where she intimidated her stepfather. He knew she was smarter than he was.

No, lady, this interview’s about Raegen, not K.

MOM: Most of what I would say are fondest are actually comical. The first one would have to be when she tried to kill her baby sister. The second one — actually, I think the one before that was when I was trying to record K’s first words, and she said, “Come on! Get on!” And I remember Raegen impressing me one time when we were at her grandmother’s house, and she went through the deck of cards and knew every card in the deck. And I remember when Raegie read to me for the first time: “Christmas isn’t just presents; Christmas is love.”

What was that from?

MOM: That was from a book she had; I can’t remember the name of it, but it was obviously a Christmas book.

Christmas books

Yeah, that really narrows it down. (Photo credit: dianecordell)

What are some of Raegen’s pet peeves?

MOM: Stupid people. Dealing with ignorant, just plain stupid people.

So what are the qualities that she values in people?

MOM: Intelligence, diligence, honesty, people who pull their own weight, people who give credit where credit’s due instead of taking credit for other people’s accomplishments, loyalty.

What would you say was Raegen’s biggest mistake in life up to this point?

MOM: Probably pursuing J.

Me on Jeopardy

Ding, ding, ding! That’s correct! Well, it’s in the top three, anyway. (Photo credit: condour)

When people look back at Raegen’s life, what do you think they’re going to say?

MOM: That Raegen was probably the smartest person in our family.

That doesn’t seem like it’s saying much, though.

(Editor’s note: The opinions of the interviewer and those held by Raegen are not necessarily one and the same.)

What do you think her friends are going to say?

MOM: Her friends probably know sides of her that her mother doesn’t know. They probably would say that she’s their favorite pervert; she has a sick sense of humor; and that’s she’s a very honest, no-holds-barred, loyal friend.

What do you think the rest of Raegen’s life is going to bring?

MOM: Certainly more accomplishments as far as her creative self — publishing more of her works of poetry and hopefully some other books. Marriage and children. Family. Happiness. That’s what I hope for her, anyway.

Baby Doll

Editor’s note: Raegen’s mother sadly remains in a state of denial over the fact that Raegen does not want children. (Photo credit: dog.happy.art)

Did this Raegen kid turn out the way you thought she would?

MOM: Ehhh… I don’t know.

Best. Answer. Ever.

MOM: I’m very proud of the person that she’s turned out to be, but I never would have thought that she’d be the person today that she was when she was a little girl.


Why do moms always think their kids will turn out to be beautiful butterflies? (Photo credit: manofsea)

Why is that? What’s so different?

MOM: As a child, she seemed to have been very concerned with making other people happy, doing things to please, and now she’s grown into…

A selfish b****?

MOM: She’s more focused on making her own happiness, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I think she’s a person that puts herself first as far as her own health, well-being, and making her own happiness, and if it means cutting herself off from someone or something in the past, I don’t think she has any qualms about doing it.

Very good. Pretty painless.

MOM: Was it painless for you?

Yeah. That s***’s hilarious!

Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo

So is this. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Careful the Company You Keep

When my second cousin was about 3, her mother would scare her into sticking close by by shouting, “Bad people! Bad people!” whenever she’d wander off too far.

bad people

Totally unrelated, but has anyone else noticed how gas has gone up 80 cents in the past two months? (Photo credit: brand0con)

Admittedly, the quality of parenting represented by this statement is questionable. Still, I have to admit that, beyond just being frickin’ hilarious, it got the job done; little M always returned to her mother’s side when she heard this.

I hope M will someday know — in less scary ways, of course — how important it is to choose the company you keep wisely, for this is a lesson everybody is truly well served by. Without going into too much detail about the specifics of why this topic is on my mind to protect the parties involved, I was reminded once again recently of the power that the company one keeps can truly wield over a person.

big stick

Oh, yeah — wield that big stick, Billy! (Photo credit: uzi978)

I remember very distinctly the turning point in my relationship with the two people I’m thinking of specifically while writing this blog. One I never liked; we’ll call this person X. Sometimes you just meet people and know right away there’s just going to be a clash. It’s nobody’s fault; your personalities and values may just be too different, and perhaps you sense or experience a lack of respect for what you believe or represent. When that happens and you know your path and this person’s will cross again, pretty much the best you can do is hope for civility — which you may or may not give or receive.

The other — let’s call this person Y — well, that person’s just young. I always felt the — there’s no great way to say this — immaturity of Y’s mentality (exacerbated by the fact that Y always claimed to be very mature for Y’s age). And given how immature I am, that doesn’t speak too highly for Y. Still, I rarely begrudged Y for that mentality because I guess I felt I’d sort of been there, done that, and at one point, I genuinely hoped to help Y avoid some of the burning buildings I saw Y rushing toward.

fire - onlookers

Don’t get sucked in by the light, little moth! (Photo credit: Daveybot)

One October, my relationship with both X and Y took a turn for the worst. It seemed as if Y felt torn, like Anakin Skywalker, between the Jedi and the Dark Side. You can decide which category you’d like me to represent in this equation, but long story short, Y felt — for some reason that will likely never be known to me — that Y had to choose between me and X, and the choice Y made was X.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Reve...

I regret turning to the Dark Side almost as much as I regret this hairstyle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frankly, I wasn’t surprised. Disappointed, yes, but mostly just confused by the whole thing — and the lack of explanation accompanying it. Good thing I had a brain cell or two left (at least at the time) to figure it out for myself.

But here’s the thing: Once I got past the inconsideration of the whole episode and the fact that, in this particular situation, it would not have behooved any of the parties involved to have a conversation about the incident that might’ve cleared the air, I started thinking about the effects Y’s choice would have on Y’s life. Now, I’m not Y’s keeper, and it’s not my responsibility, but still, Y is young, and I suspected that one day — maybe not right away, but at some point down the road — this decision would cost Y something very valuable that Y may not even realize is valuable to Y…yet.

And so it seems it has happened.

I don’t think Y realizes it on a conscious level at this point, but all the negativity, gossiping, and general Debbie-Downering Y has been doing with X ever since I exited the scene (I was the one who always put the kibosh on that shiz) has led Y to make a major life decision that I suspect — based on the waterworks, anxiety, etc., that accompanied the announcement of the major life decision — Y already subconsciously regrets. I believe, with all the conspiring and, again, just straight-up negative jibber-jabber that X and Y were doing, Y lost sight of what really matters to Y as an individual, not just someone who needs to feel like part of the “cool” (if by “cool,” one of course means “alienating others with different views in order to bond”) crowd. Y made a decision not for Y’s own legitimate reasons, but because Y got sucked into the Vortex of Stupid. And I fear Y is going to be finding out very soon — the hard way — just what the price of that is.

This picture from a NASA study on wingtip vort...

It looked good at the time, but… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, don’t get me wrong: I am not blaming X for Y’s life decisions. No matter how naive or immature Y may be, Y must still be accountable for Y’s choices. And Y will undoubtedly learn much from this experience — but what a price to pay — if I’m right about it. Not that I hope I’m right about it. In fact, I hope things somehow do work out for Y. It’s just hard for me to see how that’s going to happen, given what details I know of the circumstance.

Anyway, it reminds me of this insightful tidbit from a longer piece that is generally attributed to Colin Powell but for which other origins have been claimed: “The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate — for the good and the bad. … If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.”

I myself had to learn the hard way just how costly surrounding myself with the wolves could be. The wrong company leeches into your system like poison; don’t drink that Kool-Aid, man!

Kool-Aid Man

The Kool-Aid Man seems like your friend…but is he? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the immortal words of Rushmore, “With friends like (that), who needs friends?”

This brings me to the following poem, which to me represents the natural conclusion to my own trials and tribulations with the wrong crowd: Sometimes it’s best to just be on your own, even if you’re lonely; to wait for worthy company that can help you soar manifest itself in your life instead of settling for less.

“Samurai Song” by Robert Pinsky

When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.