Saturday, December 1, 2007

100 things about me

Here it is, that famous list.

Written over the course of two evenings, and assisted by several glasses of wine, this is a collection of some silly and serious things about me.

Perhaps I'll look back in 30 years or so and see how much has changed.

1. I'm a born bean-counter. Read somewhere, years ago, that the games that someone played as a little kid were a good indicator of what the kid would be as an adult. I didn't play teacher or doctor. I played bank.

2. I suffer from mild clinical depression. I have been on medication for 10 years, with one break. The break was not a good time in my life (I thought I should get that out of the way early).

3. I have an addictive personality - I adore caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. I have tried several illegal substances, and none of them appealed. Thank goodness.

4. Salty over sweet, every time.

5. I cannot find people in a crowd. The crowd may be as big as three, and I still may miss the person I am looking for. All my friends know this, and look out for me.

6. I used to have a pathological need to be organized. I'm trying to get that back, because I'm sure not organized now.

7. Family is the most important thing to me. They may drive me bonkers, but if they holler, I'm there.

8. I'm proud of my diction and enunciation. Then, I catch myself saying things like "holler." It's a little bit humbling.

9. I didn't know what unconditional love was until my nieces came along. Now, I know.

10. The one thing I like more than knitting is music. I've been on a stage, performing, in one way or another, since I was five. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm any good. I just have balls.

11. I adore being the centre of attention. I will (hopefully not to the detriment of others) do anything to be there. Sometimes, I think that's why I knit in pubs.

12. That said, I am equally comfortable with my own company. I love being home, alone.

13. Reading is another of my favourite things. I will read just about anything I put my hands on. That said, I prefer trashy romance novels by one particular author. I'm a sucker for a well-crafted sentence, and every book of hers is full of them.

14. I tend to use "that said" a lot.

15. I begin far too many sentences with subordinate conjunctions and prepositions. I'm OK with that.

16. I will do my best to deliver on a promise. If I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it. Regrettably, what I set out to do and what actually happens are often two different things.

17. I despise gossip. I will NOT listen to heresy.

18. My favourite colour is pink (no shit, Sherlock).

19. After pink, I will settle for purple. Then blue.

20. I pride myself on my loyalty. Once you are my friend, you have to do something incredibly awful to turn me off. I will defend you until the ends of the earth if you are my friend. I will also hold your hair when you puke, pour you in the taxi when you need to go home, and give the cabbie one helluva tip to see you to your front door. That is, if I don't take you home myself and sleep on your couch. That's what friends are for, after all.

21. I am a very prideful person, apparently.

22. I adore Brussels sprouts, turnips and asparagus. Everything is better with butter and salt.

23. Butter, not margarine, every time.

24. I wrote a story, in high school, called The Princess Who Wore Blue Jeans. She saved the prince from the dragon and resolved the conflict non-violently. I swear, to this day, that I had no idea who the Paper Bag Princess was. In fact, I still don't know. I just loved writing that story, and I'm rather irritated that someone else may have published it first.

25. High school was the worst time of my life.

26. Living in Scotland was the best time of my life. If I got a job offer tomorrow, I would pack my bags and go, no questions asked.

27. I would even leave my cats behind, and they are the two most constant men in my life, other than my dad and brothers.

28. I have very few spiritual beliefs, but I swear to you, I walked down Princes Street in Edinburgh in 1990, and I KNEW that around the corner, on one particular street, there was a bar in a basement. I also knew that I had been there before.

29. There was a bar in the basement.

30. I really, really suck at colour-work. But, I see it in my future, and my nieces grow older and are able to voice their own preferences. I will suck it up, naturally, but I'm not looking forward to it. If nothing else, those two little girls inspire me to be a better knitter. Which is fair, because they are going to look after me when I am old.

31. Therefore, one of my short-term goals is to learn how to knit in the Continental style.

32. My mother drives me batty, but she's still the first person I call when I have anything to work out. It's like talking to me, 25 years in the future, but having made different choices.

33. I'm grateful for that, and I do love her. Did I say she drives me batty? I learned all my good habits from her, and lots of my bad ones too. She is emotionally solid (thought I think that surety is hard-won), and kind, and wonderful, and the very best mother a person could hope for. I also know her well enough to say that she wouldn't see herself the same way.

34. My father is the smartest person I know. Too bad it took me 25 years to figure it out. He's one of those rare people who actually thinks before he speaks. In fact, he thinks so much that there are sometimes long, awkward pauses in conversation. That's what made me think he wasn't so smart.

35. I'm very, very sorry for thinking so poorly of my father now. He knows that. I made a point of telling him. And every time I see my dad, it reminds me of how much he absolutely rocks. Things are so much better, now that I have an adults perspective.

36. I should make a point of telling my mother how I feel about her. My relationship with my parents is terribly imbalanced.

37. I play the guitar. Very, very badly. I wish I were better. The problem is, my head knows what to do, after 30 years of music. My hands can't keep up.

38. Regrettably, I can't knit and play at the same time. Knitting is winning the fight, these days.

39. I believe that there are (generally) two kinds of people: live-to-work and work-to-live. I am a live-to-work person. I must be challenged and appreciated in my workplace. I learned this the hard way.

40. Being excited about going to work in the morning makes life worthwhile. Well, maybe, that's a small exaggeration, but it sure does make life more tolerable.

41. I learned to sew before I learned to knit. I'm still not a very good seamstress, despite what delusions of grandeur I may have. I think I'm a fairly good knitter.

42. I did not learn any crafty things from my mother or grandmothers. My mother is not crafty at all (in fact, I'm pretty sure she is horribly disappointed that I am not a better athlete) and one grandmother was just far enough away to not get regular lessons (and had eleventy-dozen other grandchildren), and the other grandmother died when I was five.

43. So, I learned from the woman who was my dad's grade 7 and 8 teacher. That was a connection, and five years of my life that I cannot speak fondly enough about. Damn, I am lucky.

44. Every time I do something knitterly, I think of the women (and men) who came before me. If nothing else, I will honour my ancestors, whether literal or figurative.

45. I believe in finding "that thing" that makes you happy. Everybody has to have something. It may be a craft, or a trade, or a relationship. I'm lucky. I have many "things," and people, that make me happy.

46. I sat down, tonight, to write down 25. I'm at 46.

47. This is harder than I thought it would be, finding that balance between achingly-personal and not, between silly and funny.

48. At least, I think that sometimes I am funny. If you don't, I don't really care (unless I've hurt you, otherwise, I will continue on being the centre of attention).

49. My favourite, favourite food, in the entire world, is plain ripple chips with onion dip.

50. I am appalled that I admitted that. I try to project a more sophisticated image of myself. Oops.

51. I have two cats, and I adore them. I do not baby them, however. They are pretty much left on their own, except for the basic food, shelter, litter-box cleaning and occasional cuddle.

52. I sleep in a kitty sandwich every night - one on either side of me.

53. If I happen to have a gentleman caller, or overnight guest, if you will, the boys are very friendly until someone pays more attention to me than them. Then, they get right pissy.

54. In high school and shortly afterwards, I fancied myself a poet. It was terrible stuff.

55. I can't bring myself to throw all those notebooks away, however.

56. I got married two months after my 21st birthday. Don't ever say "I do" when you are thinking "maybe."

57. We separated a week after my 29th birthday. All my memories of my twenties are tied up with someone else. I've tried very hard to make my own memories of my 30's. Seems to be working.

58. I get drunk faster on white wine, as opposed to red. I don't know why that is, because I tend to drink at the same pace.

59. For a while, I made my own wine and beer. It's a hobby I would very much like to return to.

60. I have six tattoos, all of them drawn when I was between 18 and 20 years old. I could get more, but since then, things like groceries, mortgage payments and retirement plans (never mind yarn!) have replaced body art as a priority.

61. For someone who has six tattoos, other body modifications gross me right out, other than a modest ear or nose piercing.

62. When I was in Halifax, touring the Alexander Keith's brewery, I knew more of the words to Barrett's Privateers than the tour guides did.

63. The free half-pints I got with the tour were the first beers I ever enjoyed.

64. I had to practise my beer drinking for a while to get good at it. I did embarrass myself in a taxi one night.

65. I am incredibly, fiercely, independent and stubborn. I hate asking for help, and object mightily to being told what to do.

66. I enjoy telling other people what to do, and am always glad to help. I recognize the hypocrisy, and I don't care.

67. I have amazingly high self-esteem. I realize this is at complete odds with clinical depression, but some things aren't meant to make sense.

68. That said (there it is again), I do wish that I were 20 pounds lighter (I could do something about that) and that my nose were more symmetrical (I could do something about that, too).

69. It doesn't keep me up at night, however.

70. I freely admit that I quite enjoy watching TV, but reality TV shows horrify me. People treat each other terribly enough every day, I don't need to be entertained by it.

71. I am the cranky woman who yells at kids to pick up their litter and to not smoke inside the bus shelter. It scares me every time, but I refuse to give in to the fear.

72. I have a very difficult time apologizing and admitting I was wrong. I am very good at making non-apologies that sound good, but are actually meaningless.

73. It was my ex-husband who pushed me towards bean-counting. Despite all the other issues, I will always be grateful to him for seeing that potential in me, and pushing me in that direction.

74. I may have mentioned it, a time or two, on this blog, that I am an amazing flirt. A former lover once told me that it's because I'm charismatic. I've always held that little compliment close to my heart.

75. I may have amazingly high self-esteem, but it's still nice to have it reinforced.

76. I adore ABBA. I learned to dance while listening to ABBA with a Scandinavian exchange student we had when I was six. It was marvelous. To this day, I would rather dance than walk. My ipod is one of the best investments in technology I ever made.

77. I'm a sucker for 70's singer-songwriters. Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Carole King, Gordon Lightfoot, Carly Simon… Love them all.

78. When it boils down, I just like songs that tell stories.

79. To me, songs are like photographs, and hearing one snaps me right back into the place I was when I paid attention to the words for the very first time.

80. I grew up on a farm. I hated it, and was quite the little princess, refused to do any work, so my younger brothers had to work even harder (and they were practically babies). I regret that very much.

81. Looking back, growing up on a farm wasn't so bad. It taught me how to be comfortable with my own company.

82. I'm a first class bitch, sometimes. I'm that terrible customer, if you are in the service industry, that you dread. But, I tip well.

83. I once dated a man for his money. Never again: I don't like feeling like I'm just an accessory. And, that's all that I was.

84. I have purposefully chosen to not own a car. I've had cars, and I don't like the responsibility and how easy rampant consumerism is when I have a car. Therefore, I will do without, thanks.

85. I adore vacationing by myself. You are only alone on vacation if you want to be.

86. Which is also true of life.

87. Other than my family, my girlfriends are the centre of my universe. Each one of them enriches my life, and I am incredibly grateful for each one of them.

88. But, I'm not ever going to call you, because I hate talking on the phone. I would rather spend time with you, rather than talking at you.

89. I live in the second coldest country on earth. I hate winter, and I especially hate being cold.

90. So, it is very much a good thing that I like wool and like to knit with it. Otherwise, I'd be SOL. Wool is the only thing that makes winter tolerable.

91. I have two theme songs: I Will Survive and It's Raining Men (rather unsophisticated, I admit). That said (again!), I do not like identifying myself by my romantic status. There is much more to me than that. In fact, romance is a footnote in my life, not the theme.

92. For someone who professes to be utterly practical, bean-counting, I know a remarkable lot about editing, writing and reading with a discerning eye. Just one of those things that you can thank my ex-husband for. He was the writer.

93. I am NOT creative. I can take an idea and run with it, but I can't come up with the idea. I'm a doer, not a thinker.

94. I have huge motivational problems. Or, maybe, procrastination problems. I'm not sure which. Possibly both. Can I get back to you on that?

95. Garlic makes everything taste better.

96. I’m a sucker for a deep, male voice, all strong-independent-girl stuff to the contrary. If you have a deep voice (or, goddess help me, can sing) you could read the phone book to me and I would be helpless. For a moment or two, anyway.

97. If (and I say IF) I ate chocolate on a regular basis, it would be the Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bar. I remember liking it the best, when I ate chocolate.

98. I have some dental issues, and eating sweets hurts my teeth. Also, a family history of diabetes makes me wary.

99. While I thought this would be difficult, this has been remarkably easy. I shouldn’t be surprised. I love to talk about me. Just ask anybody I know.

100. My favourite nickname, other than "misstea?" It's "heartbreak harlot." I am disgustingly proud of that.

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