Ay Caramba-Stripping Down Misa Ramirez/Melissa Bourbon

Lee, Tonya, and I created this site because we had a passion for writing, for heroes, and for books.

After a while, we invited DD Scott and Heather Webber to join us.  They brought a diversity of thought and genre to TNH. Heather’s plate became so full that she had to step away (I miss her), but we were thrilled to welcome Talli Roland last week.

We’ve evolved, definitely broadening our topics based on our interests.  For a long time, we’ve stripped down heroes, heroines, and villains, but now we’re going to start stripping down ourselves.

Pop those eyes back into your head!

Um, what am I talking about?

We all have our passions and interests and topics we like to write about.  We all have unique voices and something different to offer.  And so we’re going to strip away the layers of who we are and reveal a bit more about ourselves and what makes US tick.  The Naked Hero has readers who love books, who are writers, who are not writers, who dig movies, who want to be introduced to new authors…and more.  We’re going to keep bringing you lots of great new authors, heroes, heroines, villains, and such, but we’re also broadening our focus to incorporate a bit more of our own passions.

So, here we go.

Today, I’m going to admit something to y’all.

Hi, my name is Misa and I’m a control freak.

Okay, not really, but that sounds better than saying, “I like to be in control of things that matter to me.”  If I feel strongly about something, if I’m passionate, if it’s important, or if I see something or someone in need of an advocate, I like to take control.

Why?  Because then I know things will get done.  I take action.  I’m not afraid and don’t back down.  And I will push until I’m satisfied with the resolution.

The Naked Hero gals know this, of course, as does my husband and family.  When something gets under my skin, whether it’s because I can’t control it or it just grates on me for some reason, I have a hard time holding my tongue.   I’m not over the top, but I definitely like to have things done a certain way and to know that a task I deem as important is getting done.

What’s ironic about this is that I grew up shy.  VERY shy.  I outgrew that, to a degree, but I’m still much better one on one compared to in a group.  It’s just easier that way.

But once I hit thirty-five, a slew of things happened and suddenly I felt like The Hulk.  Something snapped inside of me and I grew and changed and thankfully didn’t turn green.

I developed (or discovered) new character traits.  I suddenly didn’t care about how I was perceived, received, or if anyone agreed with me.  I went into protection mode, was fired up over injustices, and (in my opinion) I became a new and improved Misa.

Some big, sort of global things that bring these traits out in me:

  • My kids.  Because they are my kids.
  • My kids’ education.  We’ve had great educational opportunities for our kids, and not so great situations.  The not so great fill me with despair, but that despair motivates me to make change.
  • Time.  Because my time is so fragmented, I try to protect pockets of it–not always easy.
  • Prejudice and close-mindedness.  It’s a big, wide world out there, and we all deserve to believe what we believe without being vilified for it.
  • Superficiality.  Seriously, be who you are.  Be authentic.

Some things push me to the tipping point:

  • Moms who are throwbacks to junior high school days.  See above…be authentic!
  • Hearing improper grammar in songs, books, articles, and things like that (weird, I know, but I have a thing for grammar.  I heard Will Smith interviewed once and the one thing I remember from that interview was when he said, “It’s okay if you’re making a choice (to use bad grammar), ebonically speaking. But not knowing proper grammar is a tough one for me.” (I’m not alone in this, apparently.  There was a post on one of my loops recently about using the word ‘fewer’ or ‘less’, as in 2000 or fewer words, which is correct.  2000 or less?  Not correct.)
  • Knowing when to use ‘me’ instead of ‘I’.  Oprah and I learned this in third grade (she and Gayle King had a conversation about it once and it’s played on Oprah radio).  When did you learn it?
  • Good verses Well: I’m forever correcting my son.  I say, “How are you doing?”  He says, “Good.”  I say, “Well.”  He says, “What?”  I say, “You’re not doing good, you’re doing well.”  He rolls his eyes.
  • And what about apostrophes and possessives?  Let me just put it out there.  I love The Grammar Divas.  Yep, I’m a grammar girl.  Do you know how many rock songs use bad grammar?  Ay caramba.  (I’m not a Grammar Nazi–I live in Texas, after all, where double y’alls and other quirky language reigns supreme.  I’ve even adopted some of it.  Whenever instead of when?  Yup, I say it.  But I do have grammar quotes I like–I know, how lame is this?):

“Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

“When I split an infinitive, god damn it, I split it so it stays split.”  ~Raymond Chandler

  • Piles of laundry.  Which means I’m pretty much always at the tipping point with this since the laundry is ALWAYS piled up.
  • My inherently unorganized mind.  I’m the creative type, but I have the need and desire to be organized.  If only it came more easily.

And my personal therapy:

  • Project Runway.  I just dig Heidi Klum and the fashion challenges.  I WISH I could do what they do.
  • Girlie movies and kid movies.  27 Dresses.  Sandra Bullock.  Harry Potter.  These things are like pot roast and mashed potatoes to me.  Total comfort.
  • Writing, of course.
  • Chocolate chip cookies, straight from the oven.  Yum.  Might make those tonight.  Yep, definitely will.
  • Decorating.  If only I had an unlimited budget.  Alas, I don’t.  Not even close.  But I educate my taste with window and catalog shopping.
  • Having my kids all home.  My oldest surprised us by coming home from college for the weekend.  Sweet!
  • Remembering that I’m always learning and growing, and that it’s all about the journey.
  • Quotes.  I find them inspirational and informative, thought-provoking and entertaining.  My favorite (a different version of which is now on my daughter’s wall in her room):

Your turn.  What are your pet peeves, things that send you over the edge, and your personal therapy salvation?

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About Misa
Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. Pleating for Mercy: Available Now! Visit her at Misa's Web Site and come by Books on the House and enter to win free books!


  1. Tonya says:

    No pet peeves here. What other people do doesn’t affect/effect me or my life. It’s part of who they are and I’m not going to change them, so I don’t worry about it. I accept/except everyone for who they are.


    D. D. Scott Reply:

    Cheers to that, Super T!!!


    misa Reply:



  2. Talli says:

    I can’t wait to get naked! Er… you know what I mean. :) I used to be quite shy, too – I suppose I still am, to some degree, although I’m much better at covering it!

    Pet peeves, hmm… most of mine are transported related. I detest it when people stand stand with maps, blocking the entrance to the Tube! I have a severe case of Tube rage.


    D. D. Scott Reply:

    Tube rage…LOL, Talli! You crack me up!!!


  3. Dru says:

    Lack of manners.

    My personal therapy: reading, quilting and watching my favorite TV shows.


  4. Lee says:

    I have a few pet peeves. Like I go ballistic when San Francisco’s board of supervisors spends weeks and months discussing and passing ridiculous bills about toys at MacDonald’s, when they should be dealing with their enormous homeless problem on the streets of the famous city. And I don’t even live there, but I visit there a lot! I hate inaction, and indecision. I have absolutely no patience for it. It makes me crazy. I’m one, you simply take care of business and it should be your own business.

    My personal therapy is knitting, and photography. Yesterday I spent the morning, just driving around my little down looking for scenery to photograph, flowers, the car show, anything. I love the artistic and emotional beauty of photos, and it’s instant gratification.


  5. Misa says:

    Not a single pet peeve, T?! Lying, stealing, cheating? I try to let things roll off my back. Sometimes easier than others. I need your zen to rub off on me!


  6. Misa says:

    Talli, the tube… What gives with the rage? Spill more! Get naked with it.

    Dru, love your therapy. You and me…simpatico!


  7. Misa says:

    Lee, I love your hats and your photographs. You have so many great creative outlets.


  8. D. D. Scott says:

    I don’t think this is really a “Pet Peeve” because, again, like Super T said, it’s all about how you react to something or someone, not what they do to you.

    That said, I’m finally at a point in my life where I don’t let people with dark energy affect me. Life is too short. I simply ignore them.

    I’m a big believer in Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY…and I no longer allow the “crazy-makers and wet blankets” in the world to affect my life. I surround myself with and choose to work with and support only peeps who are what I call “warm and fluffy heated towels”.


    Misa Reply:

    Good for you, DD.


  9. Jill James says:

    My pet peeve is whiners. My daughter is the Queen of Whine!! Don’t whine, do something about it. I’m with Lee and inaction. Make a decision, even if it is a bad one. Move. Do. Do more.

    My therapy is big action, blow up stuff, shoot the bad guys, movies. I could watch the Die Hard movies over and over. No indecision. No PC moments. We are the good guys, they are the bad guys, let’s stop them.


    Misa Reply:

    Det. John McClane is good therapy, Jill. Couldn’t agree more :)


  10. Kym says:

    Great post Misa, you must cringe when you read what I write! I used to be extremely picky on grammar, spelling, sentence structure, but like you, something clicked in me and it just doesn’t bother me that much any more. Maybe i’ve allowed for more artistic expression of the English language–i dont know!
    I was the opposite of you as a kid/young adult–cheerleading, frat boys, parties–I lived for my social life. Now I don’t do parties, I’m a quiet cheer leader for my kids and I’m always trying to get my hubby to be quieter at the games.
    Pet Peeves? INTOLERANCE FOR DIFFERENCES and someone who’s quick to judge. Life is tough enough w/o people reacting to every little thing. To quote Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along.”


    Misa Reply:

    LOL! Never, Kym! I’m not perfect with that stuff, by any means, so I can’t throw stones. I think as an English teacher, it all became so ingrained in me that I notice it–plus my dad used to do to me what I now do to my son with the good/well conundrum, my older boys correct each other, and all my kids abhor texting abbreviations!

    I really don’t care all that much unless it’s in something that it shouldn’t be. Every single time I used to hear “Live and Let Die” and the line “the world in which we’re livin’”, I thought Paul was saying, “the world in which we live in” (which is what it sounds like!) and OMG! It drove me nuts. There are more:

    Bryan Adams in “Run to You” when he says, “But that’d change if she ever found out about you and I.” This is that 3rd grade rule. Take out the YOU and the AND. If the sentence makes sense without them, you’re golden. “If she ever found out about I”…? Nope. Has to be ME. Mike and I’s trip?

    The Police in “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”. Sting sings, “Everything she do just turns me on.” Do? Really? And Sting was an English teacher! DOES would still work.

    Gwen Stefani says “If I was a rich girl…” But whoever wrote the song didn’t know about the whole past subjuntive/plural verb form requirement. If I WERE a rich girl, Gwen, if I were a rich girl.

    There are so many more…I think I could do a whole post on this subject!

    I still listen to the songs, but I just notice these things. I can’t help it. Makes me nutty…or nuts, I guess. Take your pick. Except or accept? I laughed when Tonya said that above because I ALWAYS have to think about that one.

    I will always be my kids’ (apostrophe in the right place!) greatest cheerleader, too, Kym. ALWAYS.


  11. My pet peeve is negative people. It makes me crazy when people are down on themselves and turn everything into negatives. Life is short so be happy!
    It is much easier to be happy than miserable all the time. I will admit — I can complain about being tired or whatever…BUT I look at most things in a positive way.


    misa Reply:

    I agree. I try to be pretty centered and positive. Whenever someone’s bad mojo creeps in, I do more yoga, drink more coffee, and take action if there’s something to take action on. I’m definitely a doer (hence the control issues!).


  12. Monica VanBeekum says:

    I also used to be very shy. People don’t believe it but I was painfully shy. I have tried to give my kids the self confidence that I never had. My mom was a psychologist and she really tried to instill it in me too! Confidence is the most important thing you can give your children. My life owuld have turned out differently had I had more self confidence. (Not that I am unhappy). Maybe it would have been worse? LOL


    Misa Reply:

    Do you think crisis brings out new traits in people–or brings them to the surface, Monica? I often wonder what helped me get over being SO shy. A lot of it is due to my husband. I started teaching middle school, then high school, and suddenly I didn’t care what I said in front of the kids or worry about being shy. Adults / peers? Another story, but teaching was a break-through for me.

    We are who we are, for better or worse. I think you’re just fine ;)


  13. Kym says:

    Misa- If I were a rich girl, I’d hire you to talk for me!



    Misa Reply:

    LOL! And I’d do it. I’d be your Cyrano de Bergerac.


  14. Tracy says:

    Love this!! However, I’m with your son on the eye-rolling grammar. Sometimes I use bad grammar to emphasize a point but sometimes it’s just my ignorance. Good sounds better to me than well and I’m thecomma anti-Christ. I’m happy that there are people like you to keep people like me in line (on paper anyway). Also love the quote. I need it for my daughter’s pink room! One of my favs is from Tommy Lasorda-”the difference between the possible and impossible lies in a person’s determination.”


    Misa Reply:

    Whatever, Tracy. Roll your eyes all you want, I still love ya. ;)

    Oooo, Mark Twain said something similar. The difference between a person who succeeds and one who fails is that the one who succeeds never gave up. LOVE that quote (I paraphrased).


  15. Kimberly Quinton says:

    Ha! LOL! I have to edit emails and posts for my over-use of exclamation points. :) It’s a bad habit and I’m sure irksome to some on the receiving end…
    I moved to Texas from Louisiana, so it would be inappropriate for me to judge someone on their misuse of language. I studied Anthropology in college and linguistics was one of my favorite subjects. I adore listening to regional slang, even when I have no idea what the heck they are sayin’! I do get irked when I hear words like “Irregardless” from someone who should know better and needs to sound professional. As far as my writing- Yikes! I know it’s a mess. I was not good at english. ;)

    Like many of the others that have posted, I no longer let other people’s negative energy become my own. I choose my friends carefully and try to protect myself and my family from anyone we can’t cut out from our lives. I also don’t get sucked into arguments about beliefs. If someone believes something, arguing won’t make them change their mind. Tolerate mine and I will tolerate yours.

    My favorite grammar correction is one that a friend’s dad used every time she asked a questions like, “Where’s my socks at?” his reply- “After the at?”

    Great post!



    Misa Reply:

    I’ve pared down the exclamation points, too. Sometimes is good, but I overdid for a while, too. I like to use them sparingly so then it’s really adding emphasis where I want it. I freelance edit (yes, grammar girl :) ) and nix almost ALL exclamation points, even when the sentence is exclamatory.

    Irregardless…. that’s funny! (emphasis on funny ;) )

    Yoga helps me purge the negative, although I have a harder time than some of you letting go of the bad mojo others bring into my world. When we were struggling with a horribly passive aggressive person at one of kids’ schools, ay caramba, it was not good.


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