Monday, December 28, 2009


Back to the back into it!  Back to this business of normal life.  Christmas is ovahhh.

Half awake coming down the stairs this morning, wearing my new and righteous pink fuzzy socks, a gift from Santa, I was brutally shocked into full consciousness.  My right foot slipped, I jerked backward, instinctively grabbed the banister with my right hand, and descended into a front split.  New and righteous pink fuzzy socks are deadly on stairs.  I held myself there for a moment, then said out loud, "Good morning, Slick."

Just breathe, Anna Nalick.  It's only Monday.

No one makes me laugh like my family.  (No one makes me cry like them, either.  But anyway...)  Being with them for five short days last week was just so many things:  comforting, tense, happy, confusing, wonderful, boring, easy and hard.  But maybe I'm overthinking it - I do that.  The feeling that stands out when I think of home, and those faces, is a feeling of gratitude and respect.  My family is extraordinary, which isn't always a smooth and tidy thing.  We're strong at our fracture lines, though.  And the bad times make the late nights around the kitchen table, doubled over laughing at the things we say, so so sweet.

Love you, Family.  Truly and forever.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The evolution of nicknames is a source of fascination for me. Nicknames are given to us. We don’t really have a say in them. Someone just points at you one day and calls you by something other than your given name, and before you know it, people you’ve never even met are calling you Kipper. Even more fascinating, though, is the way a nickname changes over time. Eventually, people tire of the original “aka” and feel the need to doctor it up even more, or dumb it down even less. But the journey from Nickname A to Nickname F is one that can never be predicted. Could you ever have guessed that when you first got the nickname of LuLu, five years later they’d end up calling you Strutless Wonder? And yet, you can trace Strutless back to LuLu, listing all the in-between permutations, showing us how it connects naturally, one eventually leading to the other. Predictable, though? Hardly ever.

I have a friend who was given a nickname by her family of Juddah Ben Hur. Eventually, the family abbreviated it to Buddha. (To this day, she still has a brother that calls her that.) From Judaism to Eastern Philosophy in one nickname. Nicknames connect the world.

I was called Miss Dameana as a child. Apparently, I dabbled in petty theft, swiping stock from the lower shelves of drug stores, as my mother wheeled me in my stroller. No, actually I have no idea why they called me that. Later on in life, I was given a much simpler name of “Mi” (pronounced like “me”) which is what my youngest sister called me when she was one year old. Everyone has a nickname story. And we like to tell them don’t we?

What I’d like to know is what constitutes a nickname the STICKS versus a nickname that doesn’t. Is there some formula for success? A catchy factor? Number of persons present when using the term? Frequency of usage over a given period of time? What?

I’ll tell you the surest way NOT to get a nickname off the ground. Don’t tell people what you’d like your nickname to be. Again, it goes back to the first point: people give you nicknames; you don’t give one to yourself. In grade school, I wanted to be called Joey. Please don’t ask why. Fine. I wanted a name like one of the orphan kids on Annie, all right? But do you think anyone ever called me Joey, in spite of my aggressive marketing for weeks to my friends at school? Of course not.

Just a little thought for today.

Yours truly,

Mary-Miss-Dameana-Mi-MiMi-Marangue-Rang-Murry-Paka-Richard-Mariachi, etc.