Updated: May 22, 2020
NOTE: This post was originally published on May 10, 2018. On May 7, 2020, my re-designed website went live, simultaneously re-publishing all of my old blog posts.
For those of you who may not have noticed, I have finally legitimized my humble online abode by registering a domain in my name. I had wanted firstnamelastname dot com but as I previously mentioned, it was taken. I couldn’t get .ca and I didn’t like the .co, etc.
When I saw that melaniejdubois.com was available, I hesitated. It didn’t feel as clean and professional as firstnamelastname dot com. I've been using the middle initial version of my name forever, but when it came to registering a domain, it weirdly didn’t feel right.
I’m not entirely sure why I felt this way, because it’s actually more me than firstnamelastname dot com. That ‘J’ sets me apart! It stands for Jeanine, which was my paternal aunt and godmother’s first name. She was an awesome lady who was known for her Swedish meatball recipe and for being the glue that kept my Dad’s side of the family together after my grandmother, her mom, passed away back in the late 90’s. I liked that my Dad's side of the family was like a matriarchy. It stayed that way until my aunt passed in 2010, even though a few of her older brothers were still around and my grandfather survived her for a number of years.
Growing up, I spent a lot of my time at her house while my Dad and my Uncle would play chess or checkers for hours on end. They got so in the zone that we could have burnt the place down and they wouldn’t notice until the fire department was forcibly removing them from the half-charred kitchen table.
My aunt had three daughters and one son, all of whom were a fair bit older than me which meant that I had a lot of hand-me-downs to inherit from this family. I’ll never forget this one pair of very ‘cool’ patchwork denim pants which held up surprisingly well over the years. I literally had to throw them in the trash after I found that my mother had integrated them into her wardrobe rotation while I was away at university.
My mom likes to tell the story of she and my Matante Jeanine out for dinner at Kelsey’s the night I was born. I should preface: My Mom had had two kids already with her first husband, after which she had gotten her ‘tubes tied’ as they say. That marriage did not work out and when she met and fell in love with my Dad, they eventually decided they wanted more kids. My Mom actually participated in a clinical trial wherein she underwent a surgical reversal of her Tubal Ligation. After four years of trying, which they really liked to lay on thick to try and gross me out growing up, Mom got pregnant and had me!
After she realized she had gone into labour, my Mom called up my Matante and asked her to take her out for dinner at Kelsey’s. From experience, Mom knew that labour could take a while and was in no rush — especially since she remembered how they didn’t feed her very well at the hospital the last two times and she did not want to be hungry. So the two of them sat at Kelsey’s, positively feasting while talking about baby names and what have you. My mom once told me that I was named for a doll she had growing up. Years later, she told me never had such a doll and that with my wild imagination, I must have made that up. Turns out, she just liked the name.
Mom also told me that she had the typical dill pickle cravings while she was pregnant with me, which coincidentally are my all-time favourite food to this day. My Dad once bought me a GIANT jar of dill pickles as a surprise when I was a kid. I ate every last one. It became a joke with one of my cousins that I was a serious pickle fiend when I had bee-lined for the nearest pickle jar when we stopped in at her house on the way home from the airport after I had been in France for two weeks. Shortly thereafter, this cousin brazenly speared a pickle off of my plate at a family dinner (I think it was Easter) and took a bite, mockingly. Without hesitation, I grabbed the rest of it right off of her fork and ate it whole. That certainly showed her.
It was wrong of me to try and exclude that ‘J’ because that would be like excluding a big part of who I am. A whole third of my name and who knows what percentage of my personality is tied up in that “J.”
So, here we are at melaniejdubois.com. This is me.
All of me.