01 January 2011

Inaugural Post

[Updated 2017]

<tap, tap> Is this thing on? Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3....

Welcome to my second attempt at blogging. My only other attempt at online writing was a rather messy webpage back in the good ol' days of tripod.com. (And apparently, that blog is still out there.) I was living in Paris at the time, but I am originally from Memphis, so, pun-tificating pun-tiff that I am, I selected the name 'Tennesseine' (which is Tennessean + Seine, for the humor-impaired among you). Despite the fact that I am over two decades removed from the muddy Mississip' and by now (2015) 10 years from being nearly in Seine, I am sticking with that moniker for the very simple reason that it's Saturday evening, I am tired, and I am not inclined to exercise my mind enough to come up with something new.

While I am not very experienced with blogging, writing for public consumption isn't entirely new to me. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am not lacking in opinions, so googling me will turn up many a letter-to-the-editor in several publications, including Norwegian-language Bergens Tidende (from when I was living in Bergen), New York Times,  International Herald Tribune (many letters over quite a number of years living abroad), Time and Newsweek. When living in Norway, I even had a letter published in the Commercial Appeal, the newspaper of my native Memphis; but I made a mental note never to submit articles there again. To make a long story short, the letter was a tongue-in-cheek 'story' obviously not meant to be taken seriously, but the next week the paper printed a furious reply to it, something penned by a woman whose sense of humor had clearly been bleached out by the excessive chlorine in her gene pool. It's not the woman who disturbed me...there are people like her everywhere. But clearly the newspaper editors themselves, these bastions of intellect for that fine city, weren't playing with all their chips, either. So that was the day I realized you truly can never go home again.

[If at this point you are wondering if all my musings will start at one point but end up light years away from that point and yet somehow still in the same paragraph, let me just sum up that answer for you by pointing to the signpost ahead: 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here'.]

My bio (updated August 2017): I was raised in the Southern US (in the aforementioned Memphis). Up til my departure, all my father's family had pretty much stuck to the South since around the American Revolution, mainly in North Carolina at first, later Mississippi, only in my grandfather's generation coming to the 'big city' of Memphis. Similar story on my mother's side, though they arrived in the South much earlier. We're of mainly Irish/English stock on Dad's side, Welsh/English on Mom's. Translation: plain ol' vanilla American. The one curious fact about my background is that no matter how far back I go and on how many branches of my family I research, all sides have been here since at least the early 18th century, in many cases 17th century, and they every single one come from the British Isles. That's not so odd for one's direct line (father to father and so on), , but it holds true no matter how far afield I go (father's mother's, mother's father's mother, etc.). You'd think at some point I'd have some interesting ethnicity or an Ellis Island type story to tell.

I left the US first in 1991, when I moved to Norway. I did my BA there, with a semester at Université du Havre in France thrown in for good measure and just that right amount of nasalization. My studies were essentially languages and international studies. Afterwards, I came back to America for a few years (Atlanta and DC), back to Europe in '98 (Barcelona, Malaga, then Windsor), back to the US in 2001 (mainly Chicago), then to Europe again in 2003 (Florence, then Paris), then back again to the US (Boston) in 2005, a finally here in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA as of 2013. (And yes, that transoceanic ping-pong was exactly as exhausting as it sounds. But it was also quite thrilling and I am truly humbled by and grateful for the adventure.) Along the way, I got married and divorced and had a wonderful son, now 21 and living in England, where he attends university. In 2007, I remarried, but we split up in 2016. We remain close friends, though, and are raising two beautiful boys together.

To pay my way through life, I own a medical billing services and software-reseller company. To pass my time, I read more than I should but less than I want; I run; I do some volunteer work; and (not surprisingly) I travel. I also torture my loved ones with the same cringe-worthy kinds of puns to which I have already subjected you. And finally, yes, before you ask: I also spend a lot of time silently judging you for your bad grammar. If it's any consolation, I even do that to myself. (It's not easy being me.)

[User alert! If you are easily offended when people challenge your beliefs, steer clear. I've not much use for superstition, unfounded belief, dogma, conventional wisdom or prejudices (except of course my own, which I am sure are perfectly justified and quite likely aimed at you).]

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