on assertiveness

I’ve been taking a class.  One of the many topics we’re discussing is assertiveness.  There’s an accompanying book.  Even the title, which contains the word “assertive,” kinda makes me feel like I need to go poo.  I do not like being assertive.  I don’t even look at myself in the mirror a lot because I feel like somebody is looking at me.  And it’s just me!

I don’t like to talk a lot in groups because then people look at me.

I don’t really even like the sound of my own voice.

I have a hard time maintaining eye contact.  People who are big on eye contact make me nervous.  I’d rather just stare at the ground when I talk.  And trying to maintain eye contact makes my eyes hurt like I’m crossing them.   I probably am!

There is a sort of diagnostic multiple-choice quiz at the back of the book to help the reader determine where they are on the passive-assertive-aggressive continuum.  Next to every question I wrote down my choice.  Question 1: a teenytiny “p” out to the side.  Qestion 2: teeny p.  Question 3: little p.  All wee p’s.  p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p

I’m passive.

According to this book, I’ve been living my life, just, incorrectly.  And I’m really trying to make an effort, but it’s just not going well.  Because what I’m basically doing is trying to be preemptive.  See, I’m thinking, “Maybe preemptive should be added to the assertiveness continuum.”

For instance.  Say people cut in front of me at the deli counter all the time.  I could be A) passive: let them.  B) assertive: say, “Excuse me, I believe I was here first.” (Or whatever– whatever it is that assertive people say.) Or C) aggressive: I punch somebody in the face and say, “Who you think you are, ho?! You better crawl back outta this store, ho!” (Or whatever aggressive people say, I don’t know.)  Or……..D) preemptive: circle the deli counter until I see that nobody is waiting, run like heck to that glass deli meat bubble and throw my body against it in such a way that it makes a big thuwunking sound.  The deli worker looks up.  I say, “Hi.  How are you?  Doing ok?  I’d like some meat.  I need like three different things, just to get that out there.  But the first thing is ham, that one there please, and sliced very thin, like a one.  Thanks.  I’ll just be right here.”  Another preemptive response would be to circle the deli counter, and attempt to make a break for it when there’s a gap, but if a person beats you there, turn and continue circling.  This is actually exercise.  Nobody is harmed.  It’s a win-win.  That other person gets his/her deli meat; I get some more exercise.


Another example, and this one is totally short.  A salesperson tries to get me to purchase something.  A) passive: buy it.  B) Say, “No thank you.  I’m just browsing.” (Or whatever the heck assertive people say.) Or C)  Punch somebody in the face and say, “Who you think you are, ho?! You better crawl back outta this store, ho!”  Or D)……..buy everything I ever need off the Internet!!!!!

Pre emp tive.

That’s what I’m talking about.

I need to write a book.  I feel brilliant.

Want one more? Cause I could go on and on.  Alright, straight out of the back of the book: When talking to another person, I: A) can’t make eye contact, B) Look directly and steadily at them, C) Stare them down like downtown, or D)….

…Don’t talk to the people!!!  Any of the people!  Ever!


Problem solved!



ok so now it’s done, and moth


mothWe all agree: the putty-colored bits look like golf course sand traps, and the grass is scary green, and it generally has the feel of camo….but it will do; it does look vaguely like a church near trees and a mountain.

I’m cool with that.

Now I just need somebody to cut the painted part away from the rest of the plywood.

My best friend Lucy is coming to stay for a few days!!

Lucy and I are so at ease with each other.  She’s the best listener.  We go way back.  And she likes pretty much everything I do, like sewing, and walking, and reading, and she’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  She’s the only one of my friends, though, who spends time in my dishwasher licking the food bits off the plates.  It appears to be a cultural thing.  She’s from Maryville.

I took a picture of this same kind of moth probably three, four years ago in this same exact place on the front of my house.  Wouldn’t it be weird if it was the same moth?  I think we should name her.  She looks, to me, like a green-eyed silver screen goddess.

So how about Ava (Gardner):

Ava{via here}

or Sophia (Loren):

Sophia{via here}

What do you think?

Dogwood on Wedgwood


PaintByNumberMuralAbout five minutes before the sun went down over the treetops it shone like a golden spotlight on my Mom’s Dogwood.  The ridge line was so illuminated up yonder against that Wedgwood sky.

My mural is coming along.

It’s not super fun keeping my dogs from lying down on it.

pack doggie, litter pointer, etc

P1070137The kids and I and some friends hiked today.  We were a bit premature for a profusion of wildflowers, which seems to have been delayed a week or so because of the crazy weather we’ve had.  Still beautiful, though.


That little guy was my favorite part.  Here he comes with his people up the trail, tail wagging, surefooted.  A little pack doggie!  I want one!

My nieces and nephews from Illinois have been visiting.  They’re just the cutest kids ever.  We went on a little nature walk the other day and they were just bursting with things to tell me.  My nephew really really wanted me to know that a radio station in Chicago talks about facts sometimes, and a very interesting fact is that like half of all waste disposal workers eat the trash they collect.

His next younger sister collected rocks in a little pouch in her shirt the entire way, then informed me when we got home that they were all for me!  For our house.  So now I have a little cairn on display.  And I have to leave it on display because she checks on it.  And they’re actually moving here permanently soon, so I’m thinking I’ll have a pile of rocks on my shelf forlikeever.

And the youngest, she found a long piece of pampas grass on the walk.  She says, “Aunt Shannon, do you know what this is?”

“Mmmmm……” I was trying to remember the name, I forgot pampas.

“It’s a litter pointer.”


“See, watch.”  She extended it, as if knighting, and pointed to some litter.  “Litter.”

And then she used her litter pointer to point out, oh, one hundred pieces of litter on the walk, so that by the time we got back home I felt a bit disgusted about living on an apparent landfill-type situation that I hadn’t previously noticed.

And they like to talk to me and ask me questions because I’m a sucker.  Like, “Aunt Shannon, what’s that?”

“Uhhh, that?”  I point to clarify.


“A door?”


And then, “Aunt Shannon, what’s that?”

“A towel?”


After several minutes of this I realize hey I’ve been to their house and they’re really smart kids, and they have lots of doors and towels.

But I don’t know how to stop.

I like the sound of their little voices, and talking to them.

I like being an aunt.  Being an aunt is way different than being a mom.

I don’t know why, but it just is.

the amazing story of my blooms

Smoky Mountain SpringToday I traipsed in a big loop round my neighbors’ and our house and cut off blossoms.

I just wanted to see them all together in one place.

And now I have.

Only the apple blossom and Redbud are from my yard.

I made my niece and my daughter come stare at them all in one place like this.  It is my collection, I said, and I’m the curate.

Then I put all the blossoms in a bunch of wee Cracker Barrel syrup and wee-er candy flavoring jars and left them on my counter.

Then a gust of wind blew in through the open window next to them and the jars all fell over and it was a disaster.

That’s the story, the amazing story.

Doing-It-Myself Paint-By-Number

Ok so look what this person did on a wall: paint-by-number mural.

This summer, I hope, we’re going to redo our deck area.  And I so want to do a mural like that.  I love vintage paint-by-number landscapes, and I’d like a giant one on some birch plywood.  Original, unfinished kits are a bit hard to come by, and when one does come upon one, they’re pricey.  I only saw one I kinda liked, but, and this is a dumb hangup, the deer in it are mule deer.  There are no mule deer here, only whitetail.  In theory, I could sort of modify the ears, but in reality I know I’d make the deer look like…not deer.  Like freakish cats.

And then I was all like Hey why cannot I just make my own paint-by-number?

So I drove up the road, took a few pics of this adorabs church….



P1070085…selected one, and outlined it (sort of, I modified it quite a bit, huh?) in Adobe Illustrator.

paint-by-numberBethlehem-ChurchunnumberedNow I have to number it.

Then have it printed as a transparency.

Then get plywood.

Then locate a projector.

Then trace it onto plywood.

Then paint it.

Ok, so this is going to be a very long process.

But the “then paint it” part will be so fun!!!!  If only I can get to that point.