Ying Yang

When I got married, a friend told me that we made a good match (Andy and I, that is), that we balanced each other. Well, after 13+ years of being married, there are never ending episodes of how we are truly opposite, but it somehow seems to work.  (It’s also pretty easy to get a long with someone who isn’t around to argue or leave dirty socks on the floor.)

The Ying/Yang really begins at the very beginning.  It is really surprising we get along at all, as we are so different.

1. I grew up in Boulder, CO. He, Preston, ID. Biggest Ying-Yang ever!!  Hereafter I will only discuss my Ying. If you know anything about Andy and Preston, you can make a good guess about his Yang.

2. Both of my parents are naturalized citizens of the USA.  All of my grandparents were “aliens.” Because of this, I felt no real connection to the “land” I grew up on because to me, it was just temporary residence. (I think my dad moved around just as much or more than we have after being in the military for 13 years.) Any spot of ground is as good as another for me, almost. (Just no Texas, please.)

3. My parents gave us names, then called us something totally different. I was often called Panger by my dad, or Sanjo by my grandma.  This is partly cultural, but mostly just Gibson. My sister is called Shelly, my brothers Aki and Gadget. We called my younger sister Gretchen until she was old enough to protest. My mom also has so many aliases that she is still learning about them.

4. Sports-We never watched them in my house. The only time the TV was on to watch sports was if my grandpa was watching boxing (or ‘the fights’ as he would call it) OR if my uncle came over and insisted we watch NASCAR or Formula 1 racing. I can’t remember which it was, because I was totally uninterested. We never watched any other sport on TV. Ever.

5.  Halloween-My dad was usually working that most notorious night of the year, and mom didn’t see any virtue in dressing us up and having us begging door to door for anything, let alone candy, in the dark and cold, especially after hearing of all the mischief that Halloweenies committed from my dad.  We would usually be allowed to collect money for Unicef on Halloween, or some years, we presented our neighbors with homemade cookies instead of receiving candy. And with all those rumors about candy tampering in the 80’s, forget about actually eating any candy you may have acquired anyway.  Needless to say, I did not get excited about Halloween growing up.

6. Memorial Day-Growing up I never knew any dead people who were buried near us to memorialize. They were all buried in another country. Those countries didn’t even celebrate Memorial Day. We never went to any cemetery or got together as a family to remember anyone gone before, because we didn’t know anyone. (My dad was usually working an extra shift that day for the crazy festivities in Boulder, so we were stuck at home.  It wasn’t until I was a married adult that I actually went into Boulder on Memorial Day.)  The only time we went to any cemeteries in the US was when my dad would read about some old ghost town cemetery in the mountains and we would hike around in the woods trying to discover where complete strangers were buried 100+ years ago.

7. I think my mom must have been alone with us kids a lot. I remember my dad working nights often. My nickname for him was Moody House and he was really scary when we were making too much noise during the day when he was trying to sleep.  Anyway, I think this alone-with-the-kids made my mom hyper-paranoid. We weren’t supposed to do a myriad of things, including go outside without shoes. So much was dangerous to our health and wellbeing.

8. Growing up I never sliced a block of cheese. It wasn’t until one time when I was in Preston and Erica asked me to slice cheese for some sandwiches we were making. I had no idea how to do it, and made really thick slices. I don’t remember eating cheese growing up, actually.

9. A gallon of milk would routinely rot in our fridge.

10. There were always so many guns around our house, and talk of guns, and extra daily safety measures taken (think lock ALL the doors and windows, and check them twice) that my greatest childhood fear was being abducted by space invaders.  Seriously.

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