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My cousin, Aly, is the result of a socioeconomically mixed marriage. Her father was my mother’s baby brother, and my grandfather was a laborer for the city of Bryan Texas. My uncle was able to put himself through Texas A&M back when it was an affordable college that allowed the sons of working class farmers and the like to get a college degree and raise themselves up in society. Her mother is a member of the P--- family, an influential South Texas family that is as close to nobility as we get here in Texas. Her parents met when my aunt's father hired my uncle. The boss’ lovely daughter, Miss P--- was a striking beauty who stood at almost 6 feet tall. When she met my uncle, who had movie-star good looks and stood at 6’4”, he caught her eye. I suspect that the first thing that attracted my aunt to my uncle was the idea of being able to go out with a man that she could stand next to while wearing high heels and not making him look like a munchkin next to her. The tall, good looking pair fell in love and decided to marry, despite the objections of the bride’s family.

In sophisticated circles, we are called debris blanc )
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You can never defend the guy who commits suicide, even when you feel sorry for him. You just have to bit your tongue when a person near you starts clucking his or her tongue and saying something along the lines of, "I'll never understand what makes a person do something like that. It's the most selfish thing you could do, in my opinion."

If you say something like, "I'm glad you don't understand, and I hope you never do," they will look at you strangely and extend their negative assessment of the deceased to you as well.

If you say, "Probably because he wanted the pain to stop," they will look at you incredulously and respond that it was a permanent solution to a temporary problem, etc. etc.

So you keep your mouth shut. Defending the indefensible never wins you any friends or scores you any social points. Explaining the why of an act of desperation won't make the other person feel more enlightened, it will only make them defensive toward their own ignorance.

No, I'm not depressed and not thinking of taking my life. But I have a special insight most people, not even those who have suffered from depression, don't have. Depression really is all in a person's head – their biological brain, to be exact. It's a matter of physiology, not attitude. It's one of those things I figured out in college, but not in any class that I took.

Waking up to a New World )
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I went through a lot of roommates back in college. Once, when I began yet another story with the words, "This roommate of mine in college," stopped me and asked just how many roommates I had, because every time I told a story about a college roommate I seemed to be talking about a different person. I stopped and took an inventory, and came up with the number 10.

A Tale of Nuts and Dolts )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about my 20th high school class reunion that I went to last Friday. I was pleasantly surprised, and can say that I had fun. I almost didn't, because I almost didn't go. Even as I was driving out to drop my son off at my father's house, I debating turning around and going back home. Perhaps it was because my motivation for going was less than noble. I wasn't looking forward to seeing old friends and catching up. I wasn't planning to reminisce about days of past glory. I was going for one reason and one reason only: I wanted to see who got fat and ugly. For this reason and no other, I shaved my legs and arranged for my son's grandparents to watch him.

A wallflower corsage )
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I believe people grow more compassionate as they mature. As children and young adults, I don't think most people have reached their full capacity for compassion and empathy. I thought about this as I tormented some small plants on my kitchen windowsill this morning. I remembered how in college I used to tease and torment my roommate's small turtle, at least until the turtle taught me to be nice. Because of his lesson and because I'm older and wiser, now I only torture plants.

A Turtle Retaliates )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about a joke my mother used to tell people about her plans never to marry, and how I didn't realize how shocking her words were to those around her until I was much older.

"I told everyone that I was going to be an old maid," she said, "and that I planned to raise all my kids to be old maids, too."

These words may be only mildly amusing to people born in the late 20th century, but hearing them from a Baptist girl from a small Texas in the late 1940's and early 1950's must have raised the eyebrows of her friends and family and even produced a gasp or two.

Quack Shack, baby, Quack Shack )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the funniest thing I've ever heard a professional nutritionist say, and how our reactions to funny things change depending on what place we are at in life.

When I was in college I belonged to a support group for students with diabetes. We arranged for speakers to come to the campus, passed out educational pamphlets, and occasionally got together to make sugar-free mixed drinks out of Crystal Light and vodka. Most doctors frown on diabetics drinking, but we were all young adults and drinking is part of young adult culture. We exchanged tips about how to drink without having our blood sugar go to low and winding up in the hospital, or having it go too high (as it is want to do with sugary mixed drinks) and therefore ruining your buzz because you just didn't feel very good.

All protein is not created equally. )

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