If you don't like these lists, skip this entry. I've enjoyed reading every one I've seen in the last couple of days - it rounds out the person behind the needles.
Brian and Rachel have gone off for a daddy/daughter camp, so Ems and I are going it alone this weekend. She's in bed now, so I've got time this evening to work on this. May not post again until Monday since I'm parent on duty. Want to actually knit this weekend, but I'm not in the mood tonight. Here goes...
1. I lived my first 26 years in Louisville KY and the last 13 in San Diego CA and I'm still torn. I love seasons. I love not sweating. It's a quandary.
2. My parents have lived in the same house for 40 years.
3. They're still happily married. They define the concept that marriage is compromise. (This is a compliment to them both.)
4. I grew up in a tight-knit neighborhood in what was then a pretty rural part of the county.
5. We played in the woods a lot and would spend hours upon hours away from home. Our moms loved it. I'm sad that my girls won't have that freedom.
6. I can't spell for $%&* and was penalized for it terribly. Called lazy, etc. Failed my big senior English paper because of misspelled words. If you knew how many words pop up in my spell check you'd be appalled.
7. My counselor asked me why I wanted to go to college since I was only going to get married and have babies anyway. I swear.
8. I hated high school and couldn't wait to leave. (see above)
9. I started working when I was 12. I wanted my own money.
10. My all time favorite teacher, Frank Desensi, taught me how to study for and take college-style tests. A gift beyond all measure.
11. I went to my local university (U of L) because of a scholarship, so I moved downtown to be independent.
12. I lived in over 20 apts or house shares between 18 and 31. That's leaving out a few very temporary spots.
13. Only five were by myself.
14. Being a roommate taught me a lot about getting along with others.
15. I really, really loved living alone.
16. I gave up living alone to marry Brian because he knows how to leave me alone when I need it.
17. The kids don't. Though my 7-year-old is finally learning.
18. I'm an at-home mom.
19. Before this, I had as many jobs as apartments.
20. I've never been fired.
21. My jobs ranged from night security guard to technical writer for a big pharma company.
22. Of course I've waited tables, and yes, I tip well.
23. When I was 20 I took a semester off school and moved to NYC with $200 and the phone number of a guy who, it turned out, could only put me up for three days. I'd never been on a plane or north of Cincinnati. I didn't have a credit card or a bank account. It's a long story that would scare the bejeebas out of any parent, but after those four months I've always known that I can survive on my own with virtually no money.
24. I graduated with a major in Art History and a minor in Political Science. I'm only a semester short of a minor in Communications. I started as a business major and completed the first three semesters of that. I took classes like I take up knitting projects - whatever caught my eye.
25. Yes, I was virtually unemployable after graduation (which was just in time for a recession - oops, we don't call them recessions anymore do we?).
26. So I took $200, bought a one-way ticket and moved to London using a special student work visa. Still no credit card or bank account.
27. I worked behind the bar in a pub, at the Emperor's Warriors of China Exhibition (the terra cotta figures) and for a psychological testing agency. I used to take the tests for fun, creating different personality profiles by changing my answers.
28. I'm easily amused. Really. I like to laugh.
29. I went to Paris with a roommate for a weekend. It's a sin that I've not been back since!
30. Also went to Greece for a week by myself (when you live with 4 roommates, that's a vacation). I lived on bread and cheese.
31. Sunbathed nude for the first and probably last time in my life.
32. I'm actually very modest.
33. And very pale. Factor 30 for me. Another reason it's absurd to live in Southern CA.
34. The six-month visa ran out. After working illegally for another three months, I came back to the US and became a self-sufficient slacker. Lived the alternative lifestyle, but with jobs.
35. I still like some alternative music and arty movies. Radio Paradise reflects my taste pretty well.
36. I have a tattoo, but I didn't get it until I was a married mom.
37. No, I didn't tell my husband beforehand, I just came home with it. Yes, he's fine with it. He's pretty even-keeled.
38. It's a Celtic styled band (my design) around my left ankle and I still love it everyday.
39. My weirdest job was taking photos of houses for an insurance services company in KY. The best assignment was inspecting rural volunteer fire companies (to establish a fire rating). The guys would show up and pull all the shiny trucks out and pose for a photo op. They were so (rightfully) proud.
40. I lived in New Hampshire for four months in 1991. Let's leave it at that. Found an amazing letter from NH man in an E. E. Cummings book that I found just four days ago while cleaning out a box at my parent's.
41. I drove from NH to New Orleans to Louisville in just three days that April. By myself with two cats. Sold most things, so I was traveling light.
42. It was another seven years before I would own a TV again - it came with my husband. Still don't watch much.
43. I like West Wing for its dialog and earnestness, South Park for its dialog and irreverence and Good Eats for its plain old usefulness. Still, I usually forget to watch these shows. Not judging anyone else - please don't get defensive. I just got used to not having it around.
44. I've never seen more than 1/2 an episode of any reality show. I gave one a chance once (that's the 1/2), but just didn't care. Yeah, I'm weird.
45. But, I will admit to flipping through the gossip mags in the check out line. Brian rags on me for this.
46. I read the paper, listen to NPR and check the online news feeds, but never watch network news.
47. So, back to the time line... In July 91 the cats and I got in the GEO metro again. With no AC. Notice that July date and remember that the only path from KY to CA through Austin is across the Southwest. The cats lay on bags of ice and I drove at night a lot. Slept in the car some because I only had $200 (no, this $200 thing is not a joke - that was my magic number for moving). After visiting a friend in Austin TX for a day or two I drove until I hit the ocean - Pacific Beach to be exact.
Now this dear readers, if you're still with me, is where the story takes a turn. I was 26, broke, in minor but troublesome debt (student loans, etc) and alone in CA. I decided to get serious, and after a short term temp job found a job with a major company that I lobbied hard to make permanent. Worked there for over six years and was promoted into my tech writer job that I held until quiting for mommyhood.
Back to the list.
48. During this time, I almost married a Canadian. My husband and I went to his wedding a few years ago. He's that kind of truly good person - the kind you keep in touch with.
49. I've been to Toronto three times as well as Montreal briefly, London Ont, Ottawa and a cottage north of there.
50. Went canoeing for four days in Algonquin Park.
51. I understand the word portage in a deeply personal way.
52. I have a completely reasonable fear of water where I can't see my toes or water that's over my head. I waded in the Ohio river as a child and it scarred me for life. That's another issue that makes living in sight of the ocean a bit odd.
53. I like Canadian writers. I've heard Michael Ondaatje speak twice (he's great). Yeah, he's not native, but they claim him and he made walking across the Bloor Street viaduct in the falling snow magical for me.
54. Canadian musicians too. Hey, what can I say, they're a civilized people.
55. Love classical too. Bach and Beethoven can make me cry.
56. Van Gogh has left me in tears too.
57. Not to lessen the amazing, enduring quality of these artists, but a well timed Hallmark ad can have the same effect.
58. I try not to be a snob, though I have strong opinions. Doesn't everybody?
59. I was very sensitive, somewhat nerdy child. An easy target.
60. Sixth grade was hell on earth. I was ostracized and abused. It didn't kill me. I did get stronger.
61. One lasting effect is that I really try not to be snarky or hurtful to anyone.
62. I'm very saddened by world events on a daily basis.
63. To balance this gloom, I look for moments of joy everyday and try to be truly in them. That's my effort at Zen acceptance.
64. Knitting helps.
65. Chocolate helps too.
66. So does nature.
67. I've done a few backcountry hiking trips and loved being away from civilization, but my back was talking to me even in my 20's.
68. My boyfriend took a photo he named "The Backpack with Legs".
69. Yeah, I'm short with short legs.
70. I've been to Scotland at both the summer and winter solstices.
71. I hiked 26 miles in one day along Loch Lomand.
72. I came to understand why I never heard a Scotsman say "midge" or "English" without #$%^ing in front. Midges are tiny gnat-like bugs that will bite any exposed skin, including through your hair. A swarm of them is distracting beyond measure. The English thing has some history behind it.
73. Developed a taste for whiskey - it's survival when the sun goes down at 3:30.
74. I've touched the purported "Robin Hood Tree" in Sherwood Forest, but all I could keep thinking of was that it looked like the Hundred Acre Wood.
75. I love reading my favorite books from childhood to my girls and having those delicious, poignant moment of pure memory when I can see what I saw in my mind's eye then. Children can connect you to the cycle of life like nothing else.
76. I met my husband through a newspaper ad (a tasteful one). I had some interesting dates, but his calmness set him apart.
77. We got married in a public garden at sunset on the first anniversary of our first date.
78. I wore black as I always swore I would. And carried orchids.
79. We were alone with the rent-a-minister. We took our photos with a tripod and self-timer. Have never regretted skipping the whole wedding thing even once.
80. My husband and I have opposite personalities, but shared values. He says my logical side is my saving grace.
81. We're both very independent and self-sufficient.
82. Of course, we've come to depend on each other deeply.
83. He accepts my arty endeavors with only mild grumbling. He even listens to my knitting ramblings with (feigned) interest.
84. I also scrapbook, rubber stamp and quilt. I love the genuine camaraderie that comes with sharing these interests.
85. Taught stamping classes a few years ago, but it was too much time away on the weekends. Enjoyed it though.
86. I'm part of a small private Yahoo group of stamping friends that have been emailing and postal mailing for over 4 years now. These connections count.
87. I married a man who cooks. Really, really well. I like that. It was part of my master plan.
88. I'm getting better too, but it's still new to me and can reduce me to tears. I love to bake though - that's my specialty.
89. Meals are a big deal around here. Everyone sits down and eats what's for dinner.
90. I want to grow sourdough starter and start making artisan bread. Soon...
91. Never been to Italy. That's a crime I hope to rectify in the next few years.
92. I have been to Moscow and Vladivostok Russia. Twice.
93. One year ago exactly we were in Vladivostok adopting a 22 month old girl. We waited 21 agonizing weeks to return after our first trip in July to meet her (it's usually about 4-8 before you go back). They couldn't find her birth mother to sign papers, so finally they named her a child without parents. We've changed that forever.
94. Over the last seven years I've learned that being a mother, by whatever means, opens up your heart like nothing else.
95. I've also learned that no one, absolutely no one, can get to me like my girls. They can annoy me to distraction (that's putting it mildly), then minutes later they're breaking my heart just looking at them.
96. While waiting to go back for Emily I injured my back lifting. Stress probably didn't help. I've had nine selective nerve root blocks since then. This won't kill me, but it certainly feels like it sometimes.
97. I'm very close with my parents. They did the whole "set it free" thing and it worked. I hope I can do it as well with my girls.
98. My brother and I stay in touch with email. We fought like cats and dogs as kids, but that was then. And he's a great uncle.
99. I've had some great friendships with really good people, but life changes and physical distance has made them "old friends" now. I've seen this in other people's lists. Seems to be a shared sadness.
100. I habitually stay up much later than I should (the kids get up at the same time regardless of when I go to bed). I always have though, so I'm not really expecting to change soon. Like now - it's 2:01 AM.
Mercy this is long. If you've read this far I should send you a door prize! Going to Kentucky always sets me to reminiscing. Nothing like sleeping in your childhood room to take you back.