Tag Archives: Family

My Name Is…What?

Cuzin ItNicknames are commonplace in our society. Ask Dawn and she’ll tell you I’m fairly adept at giving nicknames. The thing about them is they are usually given to people you know well. Unless you’re using a nickname to refer to someone without using their name to either protect their identity or to make fun of them. I once gave a kid I worked with the nickname B-Rock to prevent the rest of the kids from creating a more unfortunate one. Some names just beg for those nicknames used for teasing/bullying and I decided preemption was better than trying to put out fires.

One of my friends calls me Cuzin It because back in my super long hair days, I rocked a great impersonation of The Addams Family character. Dawn calls me Stump, a nickname from The North And The South. If you know the book or the mini-series, you’ll know Dawn’s nickname. Then there is Hunter. A nickname given to me by the guys I worked with at the YMCA back home. It involved a game we were playing at Leadership Camp and the fact that I almost took a group of them out after taking on a low-shoulder stance (thank you college football player buddies). That’s called a well-earned nickname. Doug and I have multiple nicknames for each other because they evolve like our friendship.

It’s a common misconception that because I go by Debi, my given name is Deborah/Debra/Debora. I’ve had to pull my license out more than once to prove that my parents really named me Debi. Shortening a name or adding –y/-ie/-i at the end is a practice of giving someone a nickname connoting familiarity between people much like the given names versus familiar names in Russia: Misha for Mikael, Natasha for Natalya, Sasha for Sergei, etc. In that vein, Deb would be a familiar name.

If you don’t know me, just met me, or barely speak to me, don’t call me Deb. Deb is for the friends who have earned the right to call me that by taking the time to get to know me and who reciprocate socially. A lot of times when making friends on Twitter, people gush friendliness in the blink of an eye and not even a minute later, someone thinks you’re their new bestie. Meanwhile you’re thinking: “I just met you. We have no basis for any type of nickname formation when I know NOTHING about you and vice versa.” Or if you’re more like me: “CENSOREDDELETEDREDACTED”

Social media is a great place to make friends. I have a tribe thanks to Twitter, but it takes more than one tweet to form a solid friendship. Great nicknames tell a story, have depth, and/or convey relationships. They shouldn’t be a shortening of names because you can’t be bothered to speak (or type) the whole name or think name mashing is the greatest thing to delivery pizza in thirty minutes or less.

My loved ones earned the right to call me Deb. Complete strangers and acquaintances…Houston, we have a problem.


Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


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A Time To Die ~ Part 5

bouganMyr stopped next to the concrete tombstone and knelt, laying the flowers on the grass in front of it then glanced at the inscription.

Mikhail Nikolayevich Dmitriev


Devoted to his family

Devoted to everyone but her.

She wiped the tears away. “Mama and Papa were right, you were gloop kak prabka, dumb as a cork.” She leaned over where his head would be. “I remember, Misha. But you forgot what love, family, and family honor really means.”

She straightened herself, still gaziing at the ground. “I wanted to come to the funeral but Natasha said you didn’t want me there.“ She let out a long sigh. “You’re going to miss your new nephew or niece. Five more months. And all three of us are fine.”

She stood and brushed off the grass sticking to her pants. “I thought I’d be visiting Chris’ grave first.” She took another deep breath to keep the tears at bay. She mourned the loss of him and his family since the day he disowned her. Now she grieved for the brother with whom she would never be able to reconcile. “Do svedanya, Misha. We’ll make sure Natasha and the kids are taken care of when they need it because that’s what family does when they truly love each other.”

She trod down the hill in measured steps until she arrived at the car. Chris leaned against the hood with his arms folded. He noticed the tears rolling down her cheeks and wrapped his arms around her. He could never make this better for her. She suffered one loss after another and he would be next once his body couldn’t fight anymore.

He made her a promise in Jeremy’s office and at their wedding. He intended to fulfill that promise with everything in him. All his attention. All his love.

“You still have me,” he said, stroking her hair and kissing her head, “and the baby.” Until death do they part.

©Debi Smith, 2014

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Posted by on August 22, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Precious Time

Me & AshThe holiday season is in full swing and that means families are traveling to see one another. We normally celebrate the holidays with Chaz’s family. It is not very often that we spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with my family. Four years ago we flew to California for Thanksgiving with my best friend and her family. Nine years ago we flew to California for what we thought would be our last Christmas with Papa, but he decided the family needed to be together without him.

While I tend to eschew traditions, it does not mean I do not enjoy them. For years, Christmas was normally a day of visiting several of my aunties and uncles homes throughout the day. I loved being able to spend time with them even if I saw them often. While they are my dad’s siblings, they are also like the older siblings I never had. They looked out for me while I was in college. They let me spend weekends in their homes and do laundry for free. Plus, I got to spend time with my little cousins.

I do not get to see them often at all anymore. Flying home to Hawai`i is a long and expensive trip. If I had it my way, I would fly home at least twice a year. As it is, I count myself lucky to be able to visit once every other year, and still the ten days is not nearly enough time in my eyes. I may not get to see them at Christmas since moving to the middle of the Mainland. It is close enough to Christmas that I am excited to be spending the weekend with them in Vegas for a family reunion; even if it is just a small fraction of my aunties and uncles who will be there and a handful of my cousins.

The little time I get with my family is precious. I cannot afford to waste it.

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Posted by on December 6, 2013 in Uncategorized


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