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Boots and Heritage


I often write about Australia but tonight I thought I would share some fun thoughts I have had about my heritage and growing up in Louisiana. My father was native to Louisiana and grew up in the southwestern part of the state known as Acadiana. His childhood was in Jefferson Davis Parish and he went to USL which is in Lafayette, Louisiana. I take pride in having Cajun in my bloodline but I also have another boot place in my heritage.Map of LA Parishes

My mother’s father immigrated from Naples, Italy at the age of 9 through Ellis Island. I find it quite amazing that my father who was born a sharecropper’s son was born in a state that looks like a work boot.

My mother’s father was born in a country that looks like a lady’s boot.

I was given the name Dianna because my dad didn’t like the name Johanna and didn’t want me named Alanna because he thought his brother-in-law Alan would think I was named after him. My mom tried to name me after her sister Anna and I loved the thought of Alanna because I would have been named after my mom and her sister. Dad was still adamant I would not be named Alanna. My middle name is Louise and that is supposedly after my grandfather on my dad’s side (John Louis) but Alan’s wife, Louise is my dad’s sister. I really loved Aunt Louise but I am supposedly named after my grandfather. I had asked my mom about this long ago when I was a child. I know she always tried to name her children after family members or some sort of variant of it because it was her family tradition to do.

Every time people notice my accent, they often wonder where I am from. When I explain Louisiana, they automatically think of New Orleans. I have to explain that I grew up on the west-central side of Louisiana. It’s known as the Crossroads. The parish I was raised in for the majority of my childhood was Vernon Parish. Louisiana isn’t a very large state in comparison to Texas, California, or Alaska but it is very distinct in its own right. It has 5 distinct areas to it. The northern part of the state is predominantly protestant and the southern part is predominantly Roman Catholic. I could do several blogs about the different things in Louisiana but I grew up in the Crossroads. I always feel a special closeness to Acadiana. We would visit Aunt Dolly and Pawpaw who lived in Jefferson Davis Parish. It was about an hour and half drive. The accents also vary in Louisiana according to where you lived the most. My dad’s Cajun accent wasn’t very prominent until he was with his family. People who live in the Greater New Orleans area sound different from people from the northern area of the state.

Every time I look at boots,I am reminded of my heritage both on my mother’s side and my father’s side. I like the idea and find it quite funny. Do you have any fun facts about your heritage that you would like to share? 

Here is a link to learn more about the different facets of Louisiana.  http://www.louisianatravel.com/louisiana-map

http://www.thecajuns.com/parishes.htm

Racquetball revisited!


I’ve always loved tennis and never really thought I was that athletic but I really enjoy goofing around with a racket and ball. This goes all the way back to the my youth. I begged my parents for a tennis racket and balls to bang on the barn my dad built with the help of my brother, Kevin and myself. It wasn’t a really huge barn; it was more like a wooden shed but it really fed my imagination into overdrive. I would ask my sisters to play tennis with me but when they would get bored or didn’t feel like playing I could be found banging the tennis ball against a wall of the barn before or after I did my chores. I would pretend I was competing in Wimbledon or the French Open. I was just mad about it.

When I went to Uni, I discovered racquetball. I always wanted to keep banging the ball against the wall, any wall that I could find but as I got older I just didn’t follow through like I used to do. In the numerous moves that I have done, I always wanted to go back to playing racquetball even by myself but of course, I never did do it.

Last week, I was talking with Adam and we decided it was time for me to get another racquet as well as balls so that I could pick up my favourite sport that I liked to do. Today we went to town because he had an appointment. He also booked me some time at a squash court. We both thought it best for me to start out with half an hour. Lenny was with us too and when we got to the squash court, I was given court 4 which had a glass wall. Adam sat outside the court I was in on a couch with Lenny in harnass sitting on the floor. I went inside and started banging the ball with my new racquet. I wish we had recorded Lenny’s reaction. He was actually making a crying sound. He was very excited in his harness trying to get to me so he could play as well. It actually got pretty distracting for me. Poor Adam couldn’t even listen to his podcasts that he had on his Iphone. I had to move them away so we both could be able to do what really wanted to do. When I came out to talk to Adam, he asked me why I was crying. I responded it was Lenny not me. I am having fun and laughing at your dog so I moved them to a table further down so that Lenny couldn’t be tormented by seeing me enjoying myself in the court.

I learned two things today. 1. Don’t take a guide dog with you when you want to play racquetball because the dog will create a racket because he can’t be in the court with you. 2. I really loved playing racquetball and was glad I only did it for 30 minutes. I think the last time I played it was 1989. I am looking forward to doing it again and building up my stamina so that I can play for an hour but I think that will take a little more time.

I am a little sore and tomorrow I may regret forgetting to warm up and cool down but I had a blast. I can’t wait to do it again.

Racquetball revisited: I loved every minute of it and hope to do it at least 3 times a week!

Roundabouts


Oh, the joys of driving can surely drive one insane I swear. The one thing I never expected to find when I moved to Australia was all the roundabouts. When I recall that day I got picked up from Sydney airport on June 29,2001 once I found Adam and Sam, the driver Adam used to collect me, I truly thought I was going to die.  You must remember that I was not used to traveling on the left side of the road. I wasn’t use to seeing all the roundabouts because where I grew up there were no roundabouts, rotaries, or traffic circles. The only two that I knew of in existence were about a 45 minute drive away in a city called Alexandria, Louisiana. Once I-49 was constructed the north one was no longer there but the south one close to the mall was still there. I am not sure if it still is but I can ask a good friend if it is on Facebook or maybe even my niece who now resides in Oklahoma City because she sometimes travels back to Louisiana to visit friends.

There is one place in Australia that I have been to that really is based on roundabouts. It’s the national capital of Australia, Canberra, which was designed by an American! I learned this little tidbit from a tour at Regatta Point. He decided to use these roundabouts for the beauty of it. I recall Adam’s mum telling me how much easier the traffic flow was because of them. When I heard her say that, I wasn’t sure if she was serious or not but from the expression on her face, I would have to think that she was being serious but with Val, it was hard for me to gauge because she was a very private person.

http://goo.gl/maps/eQkbm

If you click on the above link, you can see the War Memorial as if you were approaching from a roundabout on Anzac Parade which has spectacular views that can be really taken in at the Mount Ainslie lookout which is behind the War Memorial. This city is full of politicians who go round and round. Maybe Mr. Walter Burley Griffin took this into consideration when he designed the capital city. I know when I finally wanted to get some driving practice in I asked Val if I could borrow her car because I was too scared to drive Athol’s, Adam’s dad. She flatly refused to let me do so. She insisted I take Athol’s car because if I could drive it, I could master driving any vehicle I wanted. He owned a huge Ford Crown LTD  while she drove a little Toyota. Athol was happy to hand me over his keys even letting me drive him around Canberra. Good thing Athol owned his own panel beating shop but I didn’t put a dent to his LTD thank GOD!

I find that I would always get endlessly lost when driving in Canberra. I was always getting stuck at London Circuit driving around the roundabouts trying to remember how to get back to Cobby Street where Adam’s parents lived. I did and do enjoy driving. I have finally mastered driving on roundabouts even with GPS which has helped me tremendously since I am the eyes of the operation when we are traveling around. Adam gets to play navigator prompting me if I can’t hear what the GPS has said.

I tolerate roundabouts because I don’t really have a choice in the matter. I don’t think I will ever have the outlook that Val Morris had but that’s ok. I got to marry her boy!

What’s In A Name Game


Yesterday I logged into World Of Warcraft and worked on a couple of toons that I hadn’t played in a while. One was on the Horde side who happened to be kicked out of a guild that she had been in for a while. I am not sure why it happened but I have a feeling the guild leader hadn’t realized what she had done but this isn’t what I wanted to discuss in this blog.  In this blog, I am going to discuss how I end up naming some of my toons.

Robina, a blood elf paladin on Silver Hand was actually generated by World Of Warcraft but it turns out that Robina is actually a place in Queensland. I pass it every time I drive up to Brisbane to visit friends who live in that city on the M1. There are a few toons that I have named after suburbs on the Inner West Sydney Train line.  My mind does these sorts of thing a lot especially if I want to create new characters to explore. I have two Ingleburns both on the alliance side but on different servers. Ingleburn the destruction warlock is on Silver Hand. Ingleburn the warrior is on Lightbringer. Leumeah is a boomkin druid. Bellambi is in the Illawarra region of NSW (New South Wales) and I have two Bellambis. One is a Draenei warrior on Silver Hand and the other is a Dwarf paladin on Lightbringer.  I have an undead warlock name Woonona who is also a town in the Illawarra District. A suburb closer to my locality called Korora inspired me to make a blood elf priestess on Muradin.

In the Blue Mountains, there is a town called Warrimoo. Now if I were to create a character for that place, it would be a tauren warrior. It’s very obvious to me because taurens look like cows that walk upright. These are the sorts of things that race around in my head while traveling around.

I have also named characters after other things. I have a Draenei huntress named Neches after a river in Texas that I had to drive over in order to get to the Houston Airport. My main character, Diadamanna, a human holy priestess, is named after me and my hubby who dwells in Silver Hand. Whiloe the very first character I had created on World of Warcraft was actually supposed to be Willow but the name was already taken so I alternated the spelling but I like it. In all honesty, I had created Whiloe on Everquest which is the very first online game I ever played. She was a bard. I will have to do a blog on that someday as well because I miss being a bard pretty badly. It’s the one class I desperately want in World of Warcraft but I fear it will never happen.

Thank you for reading about what’s in a name game that I often play when I am wanting to create new characters or I find a town name that takes my fancy. I wonder if you play what makes you decide on a name! There have been times when I think about the class and make a name on the spot like Claritee an arcane mage or Jokkah the troll hunter.  I invite you to share if you like! It’s pretty fun!

 

Transparency And Compartmentalization: Coexistence?


Transparency and Compartmentalization can they coexist? I often wonder if that is a contradiction or a mere fact. The reason why I say this is because I like to think I can be very transparent but I can also compartmentalize a lot of things in my life. There are certain things that I want to share with my husband and do but he just doesn’t get what I am trying to share. I end up filing it away into the just for me compartment.

I also find that there are certain things I don’t share with certain people outside my marriage. I know I act certain ways in front of them because I don’t think  it’s appropriate to be my true self. If I am in a church crowd, I won’t be throwing the f bomb around at all. I won’t let the dirty Dianna come out to play. The grot  in me stays tightly locked away from being exposed even if I feel like letting a f word escape.  Shit has passed my lips in a lapse of judgement but that is not very often.

Some things are best left to be in compartments but then you wonder what others are thinking so you end up exposing yourself a bit more. I know I do at least. If I think that what I have exposed has in any way compromised myself, I just put it back in the box so to speak. If I know the person doesn’t like what I have tried to share, I will file it away in the do not disturb ever again compartment.

There are some things you share only with family. There are some things you don’t want to share with family. There are things that you share with certain friends but you would never share with one in particular because it’s such a tricky slippery slope you will go on if you do. Surely I am not the only person to have these thoughts or asked these questions. I just choose to express them in a blog which is helping me to come to a certain conclusion.

For me transparency and compartmentalization can co-exist. I suppose it’s a lot like that line from Salt N Peppa’s rap song None Of Your Business which says: “Opinions are like assholes and everybody’s got one”. In each compartment that I have created in my life there is transparency which I strive for because no one really likes a liar.  It makes life less complicated because the truth is much simpler to remember than a lie!

Recognizing The Grot In You


The other day on Facebook  I had mentioned that Adam had dubbed me the “Grot Girl”. One of my fellow WordPress family members suggested that I use this nickname for a blog. I want to do something light-hearted so I suppose it’s definition time for those who don’t know the meaning of grot.

A grot is a mess, trash, or dirt. It can have all sorts of connotations. When Adam addresses me as Grot Girl it’s normally because I end up spilling something on my shirt or something I am wearing. I called myself a grot in my post on Facebook because I had slipped getting my right side absolutely covered in mud. I even discovered it on my stomach when I had rinsed off to the best I could outside on the back deck.

I am pretty sure at one time or another you have been a grot. You might not like to admit it but it has happened. Maybe you have a phobia of being dirty but frankly, I don’t mind it.

I sort of looked a bit like the dirt bike in the beginning of the Christina Aguilera  video of Dirrty. 

If I or Adam had been singing the song it would have been grotty not dirty. The song probably wouldn’t have been a hit though if Adam had sung it. He just can’t swing his hips or carry a tune like Christina. I don’t have the body of Christina either but I can sing. One day, when I am feeling brave, I will let you guys hear me sing. I will let you guys off of this time and just tease you! I have a tendency to make up lyrics to songs anyways but let’s just imagine what it would be like singing grotty instead of dirty; try it sometime you might just like it!

After putting up two days of serious stuff I thought it good to share something fun! Actually, I needed a good laugh because honestly I was pretty weighed down there for a while. I was going to do a more serious blog but I decided against it because frankly, I don’t need to air my grot out there for everybody to see. Sometimes I want to embrace the grot in me but you guys really don’t need to see that ugly grot just the fun stuff so that is the option I took today.

I’d like to suggest the next time you want to play in the mud or something that will get you messy, think of me and recognize your grottiness! Hugs!

My love affair with my iPhone 4S


Adam suggested that I get an iPhone. I laughed at him. Me with an iPhone I would not be caught dead with an Apple product! He had just gotten his iPhone 4 & Turned voiceover off so that I could have a play with it. I was reluctant at first to convert. After a while playing with his iPhone without voice over on I discovered how fun it could be.
Adam is always on with his technology and I often get his rejects. This was one reject I relished! I cannot believe how hard I fought against an iPhone and now if you wanted to take mine away from me I would fight you tooth and nail.
The applications you can get are endless. Many of you may enjoy your android phone but for me the iPhone will be the one phone I never thought I would love that i do love completely.
I’m sure Adam will pass me his iPhone five when he decides to get a new phone. I am okay with that. The moral of the story is always listen to the husband especially if has anything to do with technology!

Humourous Double Meanings


What do you think of when I say on the game?
I’ll never forget the expression a co-worker had when I was working at the Equipment Resource Centre asked me what I was doing on the weekend and I replied, “Oh I was on the game.” I then explained that I had been playing Everquest with my sister in the United States. I had only been in Australia for just over a year and was still getting used to the double meanings certain sayings had. When I got home that evening, I told Adam about the reaction I had from my co-worker. He then explained to me my faux pas. My husband explained to me why my co-worked had such a shocked expression. She thought I was saying that I was a prostitute. I was meaning that I was gaming online.
Another funny thing that has happened to me was when I was on the phone with a man whom Adam knew as a child in Canberra. I was talking to him on the phone and was saying I was so pissed. The man started laughing as if I said the most funniest thing. Adam is saying in the background, “pissed off say you’re pissed off.”
I then clarify the situation, I was so pissed off. Apparently being pissed is another way of saying you are drunk in Australia.
The most classic as well as most embarrassing double meaning of a word is fanny. I have to say when I blurted this one out, I wished the world had swallowed me whole. Shall I let you all in on my huge blooper? Of course I will.
This happened one time before I had even gotten my driver’s license so it was also within the first or second year time frame of my arrival to Australia permanently. We were living in an inner western suburb of Sydney. Since Adam is blind, we get free travel on the train, bus, and ferry network in NSW. We wanted to go to the beach but I hated the idea of going to Bondi or Maroubra because it was so crowded. We decided to take a train to Thirroul because it is not as crowded. The ride took about an hour. I am walking us down toward the beach. Adam pipes up, “Are we going by a huge truck? I can hear it’s engine.” I respond in a quite heated yell, “My fanny, that’s the ocean!” “What did you say?” I replied all the louder so that the entire neighbourhood would hear. “MY FANNY! MY BUM! MY BUTT! MY POSTERIOR! It’s the ocean!”
Adam smiles cheekily. “Di, do you know what fanny means here in Australia.” “I just told you didn’t I?” He points down below to my crotch. I am turning three shades of red. There are children around us walking towards the beach as well. They are laughing and snickering. Thank goodness I still have my American accent so I can get away with my big blunder.
Even though Australians speak English the meanings can be quite different. I gave you three great examples but my most favorite one has to be the last I gave.
Now I am the one doing more explaining of what I am saying to friends and family back in the states but every once in a while, Adam or his best mate, Mick, will educate me on the Australian lingo that I haven’t gotten a handle of. Hey, Michael Scott, when you heading back to Coffs Harbour to continue my education in double meanings?

Nothing ventured: nothing gained


It’s been a while since I sat down and written down my thoughts. I must try to do this more often. I enjoy writing and like to read so this is one reason I decided to begin my venture on WordPress. It could lead to some good insight for myself as well as broaden my horizons. I could meet some new people who are interested in things that I am interested in or even educate myself or them into things that they never even thought of so that is why I decided to call this post Nothing ventured: nothing gained.

I would like to think that I am an open-minded person. I try to treat others the way I expect to be treated. Sometimes I fail epically but for the most part, I at least try to do the Aussie thing and give things a fair go or a try. I always also seem to take the road less travelled. Robert Frost is a great poet and that line I had to take from him because it fits me very well. I will do something and then once it’s accomplished, I will see there was an easier way to do it.

A great example of this is when Adam and I went to Auckland to collect my prospective spouse visa because it had been approved but I had to collect it offshore. Since I am the only sighted person in our relationship, I had to navigate us around not knowing the city without a car because the week before I physically lost my driver’s license from the states (I lost my wallet) and failed the driving test in Australia because I rushed myself through it because Adam was standing waiting for me to finish and no one had led him back to a seat. In hindsight, I think it was a good thing because trying to drive in a car on the opposite side of the road is a daunting task especially when you are not used to driving a manual which is what was booked for us by our travel agent. We were trying to do the sightseeing stuff so I thought a nice walk up Mt Wellington would be something nice to do. We take a bus and get dropped off. I am walking us up this mountain and getting pretty tired. I am seeing a path to get up there but we have to keep having a break because I am out of breath. Adam is fine no huffing or puffing just contented to follow my lead. I am looking at cows and wondering why the hell I have thought this could be fun. We get to the top and explore the landmarks when what do I see? A sealed road and parking lot. I felt like an idiot. When I had gotten to the top, I had such a feeling of accomplishment. Poor Adam had to put up with me pissing and moaning about how strenuous the walk was when there had been an actual road to go up. When we go down the easier path, I discovered a Wendy’s. The American franchise not the Australian ice cream place so we opted to get Frosty’s as a reward. This is a pattern I seem to fall into very easily. I have countless examples to supply but this one came to my mind first.

There is no shame in doing the more difficult of two things. I find that I seem to feel more accomplished. It may not be true for everyone but for me I enjoy it more. It makes me feel more alive. There are times when I do choose something easier if there are time constraints but for the most part, I will choose the more difficult option. I think Adam is the same way too which is why I believe we make such a great team. I hope to let you know more about our partnership as time goes by but for now I will close with nothing ventured, nothing gained because that’s something I feel I live by.