Thursday, May 04, 2006

100 things about me

OK, Tammy and TJ have done this, so I'm playing too. I'm temporarily posting it here, until I figure out how to put a link in my sidebar.

1. I’m 6th of 7 kids.
2. My birthday is September 11th and I am very much a Virgo.
3. I grew up on the Mississippi, and although I’ll always miss the river, I’ll never move back to the frozen north.
4. One rainy afternoon when I was 5, I decided it was time to learn to tie my shoes the way grown-ups tied. We had an abandoned car in the yard (don’t ask) and I crawled inside and locked the doors and refused to come out until I’d mastered the task. It took me all afternoon, but I did it.
5. I didn’t go to kindergarten because there wasn’t one at the first school I attended. I went straight into first grade.
6. Toward the end of first grade, when I was 6, I almost died from a severe skull fracture.
7. We didn’t have indoor plumbing until we moved into town, when I was 8.
8. When I was young we moved around a lot. By the time I started 4th grade, I’d attended 4 different schools, in two states.
9. People said "Uff-da!" all the time when I was a kid, and I never thought anything of it.
10. When I was a kid, we had lutefisk and lefse every Christmas. I ate the lefse but passed on the lutefisk.
11. When the Beatles became popular, I spent hours in my room, trying to teach myself to say "Yeah" instead of my usual, "Ya!"
12. I can remember when President Kennedy was assassinated. I was in junior high, in my 9th grade civics class. The PA system sputtered on, and the principal came on sounding funny...weird funny, not ha-ha funny...saying that President Kennedy had been shot in Texas. The next thing we heard was Walter Kronkite, announcing that President Kennedy was dead...and suddenly my civics teacher, a middle aged, unmarried woman, went into hysterics. Tears streamed down her face as she began chanting shrilly, over and over, "Hearsay! It’s just HEARSAY! I tell you it’s HEARSAY!"
13. We didn’t have a car or television when I was a kid. It didn’t matter to me; I walked everywhere and read a lot. When I was in high school, we got a tv, just in time for me to develop a huge crush on David Janssen, the smoldering older guy who starred in The Fugitive.
14. I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16. Imagine my disappointment when I turned 16 and no one asked me out. That may account for a lot.
15. I’m a lousy swimmer. I have great stamina, but no style in the water. When I was 16, I was once "rescued" by an overzealous life guard who dove into a cold lake and swam furiously toward me, refusing to accept my explanation that I was simply attempting to demonstrate the butterfly stroke for my friend, Cheryl. It was damned embarrassing.
16. I’m adventuresome, but I didn’t realize that about myself until a few years ago.
17. I moved to Chicago on my own the day after I finished high school. I was 17.
18. I didn’t go to Woodstock, but on Sunday afternoons when I was 18 I used to paint flowers on my face and go to "Be-Ins" in Lincoln Park in Chicago, with the guy I was dating at the time, a young (23 years old) lawyer whose goal was to pass the bar in all 50 states. That goal seemed reasonable to the two of us at the time, and he did manage to pass the Illinois, California and Florida bar exams before he disappeared for good from my life, having, insofar as I could tell, disintegrated from one of the brighter bulbs on the tree into a semi-permanent, drug-induced haze.
19. I was 19 (almost 20) when I met my ex. He was 30 and just starting a job as a law clerk to a federal judge..
20. When I was 22, I began my freshman year at the University of Chicago. I started late because I worked first, to save up the money for tuition and living expenses, because no one in my family went to college or believed in it. My year at the U of C changed my life forever, for the better. Mike Nichols (director of The Graduate, among other things) also went to the U of C, and I’ve read that he said this about it: "Everyone was strange. It was paradise." That pretty much sums it up. My daughter, Alex, went there too, for undergraduate and graduate work, and her fiancĂ©, Chris, did his undergraduate work there and is finishing up his doctorate there. Until recently, they didn’t award any honorary degrees. To have a U of C degree, you had to go there and earn it. That is so cool, and I’m sorry they’ve changed it, but I still love the U of C.
21. I like a challenge. I was a C student in French, but I aced Russian in college.
22. At U of C, I was taking a full load of classes and working 20 hours a week at a dead-end job at Marshall Field’s to support myself. It was wearing me out. At the end of my first year, I dropped out of school and went back to work full time.
23. I got married when I was 24. We had a small, happy wedding at St. Chrysostom’s in Chicago. I was a December bride.
24. Two years after we got married, Alex was born. I was 26, and absolutely thrilled to have her. I always knew that I wanted to be a mom. I loved kids so much I used to borrow them when I was single, and figured I’d adopt if I couldn’t have my own.
25. I refused to name Alex, or any of my kids, until they were about two weeks old. I always had to look into their eyes to see who they were before I could decide on their names. As a result, the birth certificates for all 4 had to be amended, because the initial ones were all issued as Baby----
26. I had a planned home birth with a midwife in attendance when Katharine was born, one cold November night almost 3 years after Alex’s birth. That night, when my contractions were 8 minutes apart, I got out of bed and walked down two flights of stairs and on down the street to the grocery store, a couple of blocks away. For weeks I’d been imagining having a pot of white mums beside my bed as I gave birth, but that night, in labor, I didn’t trust anyone to run that errand for me. If my older sister (who’d come to see the birth) or Anthony had gone to the store and come back with yellow or purple mums, I’d have lost it, and I knew that, so I insisted on going myself, and I stood in line and counted my contractions and waited my turn. It all worked out, and the white mums smelled so good beside the bed. The home birth was a wonderful experience, although I have to say...every birth is an incredible experience, no matter where it occurs.
27. I didn’t learn to drive until I was 30 (I know, I know...that doesn’t sound very adventuresome...but we didn’t have a car when I was growing up, and then when I finally learned to drive, it was in Chicago, on some partially one-way streets, with a stick...and that really was an adventure!).
28. I learned how to walk a tightrope when I was 31. The girls were taking gymnastics, and the coach was really cute, so a bunch of us moms asked him to teach us. He came up with a class called Circus Skills. I only mastered tightrope walking. It’s a very cool thing to do (dunno if I still could, though).
29. In 1983, we moved from Chicago to Texas. I was 33.
30. In 1985, I gave birth to Mike and Chris. At 8 lbs each (yep, you read it right) they were the biggest twins my doctor had ever delivered. They were born by C-section, and I was awake but my doc wouldn't let me watch. I nursed them on the delivery table, though, and that was a happy moment. Mike is 2 minutes older than Chris, and although they're fraternal, they can still complete each other's sentences.
31. None of my kids ever had a bottle, and as a result, when my girls were little they always "breastfed" their dolls..
32. When my kids were little, I had a song for pretty much everything. I taught them to sing our address, so they could all recite it by the time they were 3.
33. I know all the verses to Jingle Bells, and so do my kids.
34. When my kids were little, I made sure that each of them had the experience of making ice cream on a hot summer day with a hand-cranked freezer that I still have. It’s one of life’s great pleasures, I think, and every kid should have the fun of that at least once, and then the fun of licking the ladder. In the winter we made noodles, and hung them on the backs of the kitchen chairs to dry.
35. I don’t believe in spanking. My kids all got "the Look" when they were little, and that worked (when they were little). "But Mom, what was behind the Look?" Mike and Chris asked me recently. "What was the big threat?" There was no threat...just that they wanted to please me, and I knew it. If they got rowdy or tried to unfasten their seatbelts when I was driving, I did threaten to make them walk behind the car, but they never actually had to do it.
36. Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun. Yep, memorization always came easily to me...I also remember: On old olympus towering top a fin and german viewed some hops (a mnemonic for the 12 cranial nerves)
37. Sometimes I like to show off (see #36).
38. I finished college at 42 and started grad school at 44, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
39. I never rode a roller coaster until I was in my 40's, and I haven’t ridden once since, because I didn’t like it...but don’t feel sorry for me, because I’ve seen Antigone by moonlight, done in Greek, at the Theater of Epidaurus...and that was very cool.
40. I want to go to Machu Picchu and I want to trek Anna Purna.
41. I’m 5'3".
42. Humor is delicious to me.
43. I’ve never smoked a cigarette.
44. I’m too self-conscious to dance.
45. I love my house, and sleep best in my own bed, always.
46. That said, truth be told, I’m a horrible insomniac, and have been since I was a kid.
47. I’m easily distracted, and the piped in music at restaurants drives me crazy. I do better with classical, but it’s still a huge distraction for me.
48. I am highly intuitive, and highly impulsive.
49. I hate confrontation, but I’m getting better at it.
50. I love Christmas. We open our presents on Christmas Eve (it’s a Scandinavian Lutheran thing), and each year we punk someone in the family at Christmas (that’s my own tradition - my own revenge on the past).
51. I love dark chocolate.
52. I love a good steak, rare.
53. I love road trips, and want to take one to the places in Lucinda Williams’ song, Jackson: Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Vicksburg, Jackson.
54. Some of my favorite places to stay are The Gage (Marathon, Texas); the Hamilton-Turner Inn (Savannah); and the Azure Gate (Tucson).
55. I like to stay in on New Year’s Eve, and to stay up late and drink a champagne cocktail at midnight while watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies.
56. If I could time travel, I’d go back and hang out with Mark Twain, and I’d hear Maria Callas sing Carmen (two separate trips, obviously).
57. I love orchids, and I also love bougainvillea and always have a pot of it outside my front door in the summertime (knock-your-socks off magenta!).
58. I know how to make fire by rubbing sticks together (you actually make something called a bow drill and a hearth). And yes, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever learned to do.
59. I love classical music, but I also love some rap.
60. I’ve never eaten chicken-fried steak...but that’s going to change, come Friday, when I’m scheduled to try it with a friend.
61. My favorite movie is Sex, Lies & Videotape.
62. I usually read several books at the same time.
63. I love to play Scrabble.
64. I have a green thumb but for some reason, I’ve never been able to grow ivy.
65. I often neglect my fingernails, but you’ll never see me without a pedicure.
66. I almost always wear open-toed shoes...lucky for me I live in the south.
67. I keep my money in order in my wallet, biggest bills to the back (HA! That’s when I have money!)
68. I always use cloth napkins at home, albeit washable ones that don’t have to be ironed.
69. I have great sheets and pillows on all the beds in my house.
70. If I had to choose between mascara and panties, I’d choose mascara every time.
71. I’d like to be able to ride a unicycle, but I’ve never mastered that.
72. I love going to New York, and visiting MOMA and the Metropolitan.
73. I’ve co-authored a chapter in a psychiatry textbook, and I’m very proud of that.
74. I’m not big on cut flowers - they’re too ephemeral for me. I prefer flowering plants, and maybe that’s part of why I love orchids. The blooms last for about 3 months!
75. I’m not squeamish.
76. I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, although I’ve met some dogs that I’ve loved.
77. I’ve gone on two cattle drives, which isn’t bad for someone who doesn’t really ride.
78. I’ve gone on a camel trek, and discovered I prefer camels to horses...camels are more sure-footed.
79. I’m a die-hard romantic, which means I’m something of a savage, when it comes right down to it.
80. I love the Dallas Bach Society. I’m a big fan of hearing baroque music on antique instruments.
81. I love fireworks (and fireplaces).
82. I love my independence. I don’t mind eating alone in a restaurant, or going to the movies or a concert by myself.
83. I think TV makes people lazy, myself included.
84. I love storms, and rainy grey days.
85. I’m a night owl.
86. I love Paolo Conte (he’s a singer/songwriter, still alive). I also love Cole Porter and Gershwin (both long dead).
87. I’d like to learn to play the piano.
88. One of my favorite junkfoods is frozen White Castle cheeseburgers...they’re really bad.
89. I can make a halfway decent margarita.
90. I love going to the airport to meet anyone coming to see me, even now, with all the hoopla...there’s something about the anticipation that really appeals to me.
91. When they were growing up, my kids probably got incredibly tired of hearing me say, "That’s just more tuition in the school of hard knocks."
92. Cooking with friends and/or family in the kitchen with me is one of my greatest pleasures, even though it doesn’t happen often these days.
93. I love picnics, and we had some pretty elaborate ones, fairly often, when the kids were growing up.
94. I like Fort Worth better than Dallas for museums and music.
95. I have a confession to make. When my girls were little, I shamelessly told them that the world was black and white "until the planets aligned, in 1953" . Alex was skeptical, but Katharine believed, and I think maybe I wasn’t the only parent who had told a version of that story over the years, because in 1985, when Katharine turned 7, Sam Watterson had that very story line in a Calvin & Hobbes segment. I was able to use this to my advantage: "See? What have I been telling you? It’s in the paper!" Apparently I was so convincing that Katharine only discovered my treachery in junior high, when she tried to do a science fair project on the phenomenon and experienced a certain amount of humiliation at having been so successfully duped. I have to admit, it’s only one of many things I told the kids over the years that were completely bogus but highly entertaining. Is that bad?
96. I have no sense of direction, and have to turn the map in the direction in which I’m going.
97. I’m fairly resistant to most anesthetics but I’m super sensitive to caffeine.
98. There aren’t many things I regret, but I wish I’d gone to medical school. I would have been a terrific doc, probably a shrink.
99. I love my kids, and I’m very proud of them. They’re all funny, bright, and good human beings.
100. Friends and family are what it’s all about...everything else is just extra.


Theresa Williams said...

That's really beautiful about the white mums and giving birth.

TJ said...

These were absolutely fabulous.
I love these, I think it ives us a chance to look into ourselves to see just what is there ( at this time) You can bet they do change or should if that makes any sence.
To put them in your side bar...I will email you to tell you how.
The link that is.
Nitey and thanks I loved it!

Deborah said...

Excellent list. I am glad to see that other people tell their children outrageous lies, and feel little or no remorse about it. I have one child who believes that the world used to be in black and white also! (Second child, do you think there is some psychology behind second children being easier to dupe then first borns?)

Tammy said...

I loved your list! Your kids never had a bottle, wow. I'm a September baby too! 8lbs each, wow. Lots of great things, but I knew there would be.

Love ya,

Katharine(second child) said...

In regards to the comment of being more easily dupes than my older sister: I have a greater sense of immagination, thanks to my mother, and also have a habit of blindly believing almost anyone who speaks to me. Who wouldn't want to live in a world that was awesome so much that it could change the color of everything?!? My favorite thing about my mom is that she did make that world for me a reality. I definitely do not live in the same place that most people do. It's a fun, crazy place here. But my mom made most of it up and now I'm adding on to it. And damn it if I didn't need something interesting to think about so that I wouldn't have to get out of the car and walk... maybe I'd see one of those side-hill gougers she always told me about... And I still tothis day hate even thinking about tuition to the school of hard knocks. I think I have outstanding student loans there.

You're really great mom.

I love you.

Lisa :-] said...

Just read the comment from your daughter. :D

Quite an impressive list! I did one of these in the old days of AOL journals, when we still had the 2000-word limit. It took me, I think, five or six entries.

Chris said...

Hey, I almost died from a depressed skull fracture too! May 13, 1990 (it was Mother's day and my mom's 50th Birthday). Glad we both survived!

Perhaps #44 has something to do with your breast-stroke experience:)

My Blog

Melissa said...


How fun to learn these things about you! I smiled the entire time I was reading! Now, why didn't I think of telling my kids about the world being black and white!! I love that! Darn it, I missed the opportunity with the first litter, I'll have to tell Austin about this!

Ken Verheecke said...

OH my word... take a deep breath now :-). That is an amazing list!!!!!

Paul said...

Thank you. This list will make my stalking you much easier.

emmapeelDallas said...

LOL! Incorrigible!

dreaminglily said...

Six, I'd like to hear about. Really made me curious. Must be the writer in me lol

57: Bougainvillea was my grandpa's favorite flower of all time.

60: My mom makes a killer chicken fried steak lol If you ever wanted to try making it I'd be happy to ask her to email you how.

62, 63, 67 and 92, completely totally utterly ditto lol

90: I love it too. It's a wonderful feeling to me. Can't wait to be standing there waiting for Will lol

95: Mean mean mean lol And I'd do it in a heartbeat to my own lol

Really awesome list. So many of the answers were what I'd have said lol


Neil said...

#1 think to overcome in 2006:

"I’m too self-conscious to dance."

ab said...

Wow....I could comment lots on these and probably will...but for now....I can't find the post, and my favorite Twain's (#56) are

"Step to the plate, it's your innings." (Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"


"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul."

and fwiw...i dance like elaine on seinfeld, ergo, i don't dance (anymore)