Every 25

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Just 25 at a Time

This blog is a place for each of those 25 things that I started writing to define myself. I keep forgetting what I wrote! This way, it's all in one place.

1. I was born in Arkansas and lived in my hometown until I went to college.
2. I graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas, with a double major of English and Journalism.
3. I almost didn’t get my “with honors” title because I wrote such a bad final paper. I didn’t talk to my advisor during the writing process, just wanting to get it done. They let me rewrite it because my advisor felt responsible that he didn’t check in on me, but I felt that it was all my fault.
4. My honors paper was on Lillian Hellmann, but I don’t remember what I wrote about her.
5. I have an irrational fear of breaking down on the side of the road.
6. I’ve moved 11 times in 17 years, to 7 different cities.
7. I’ve been knitting for 2 years. My mother tried to teach me when I was a kid but I wasn’t good at it immediately, so I didn’t like it. Now I’m obsessed.
8. I have a masters in English from Louisiana Tech University.
9. After I got my master’s, I bought a cake for my party that said, “Master of Her Domain.”
10. I took singing lessons for years.
11. I’ve been in several community theater productions.
12. My first stage role was a whore in Three Penny Opera.
13. My favorite roles were Sylvie in The Female Odd Couple on stage and Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew for an acting class.
14. I love to cook and bake. And I send lots of food into work with Al.
15. When Al was meeting people in his new office but same building, the men said, “We hear your wife bakes great cookies.” Little spooky.
16. I never liked beer until I went to Germany to visit friends.
17. I still wasn’t a huge beer fan until I discovered microbreweries—New Belgium rocks.
18. I’ve helped my husband brew beer, but I don’t consider myself a brewer because I really don’t enjoy it. I consider myself Quality Control.
19. I love coffee, but rarely drink a whole cup.
20. I rarely drink a whole can of soda, either. They are referred to as “Kelley Cans” in our house because they have about a third of the liquid still in them.
21. The most surprising song on my iPod is “The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson. People will be shocked to hear that, but it’s good to work out to!
22. If there is a fire, I’m grabbing my iPod first. Yes, it’s that important to me.
23. My husband has a motorcycle, but I’m afraid to ride with him.
24. My dream car is a Jeep Wrangler. I want to be a Jeep Woman. Actually, it’s a Land Rover, but a Wrangler seems a little more obtainable.
25. I’m jealous of how funny my brother is and wish I was as witty and intelligent.

26. I love James Ellroy novels, but I crave a scotch and a cigarette when I read them.
27. When I have free time to read, I read mysteries.
28. I love Ian Rankin’s Rebus mysteries mainly because they are set in Edinburgh and I love Edinburgh.
29. After I got my master’s I swore I was not going to read anything challenging for at least a year!
30. I find it difficult to just read a book. I read critically.
31. I’ve been an editor for most of my life, but have taken a break from it for the last 3 years.
32. I’ve edited everything from poetry to fiction to radar repair manuals to curriculum assessments (you know, those nasty tests the kids have to take now?) and even a sci-fi/fantasy novel for a friend.
33. The best job I ever had was a part-time job as a library clerk.
34. I still feel uncomfortable with technology. It’s moved so fast that I haven’t been able to keep up.
35. I subscribe to cooking magazines and actually cook some of the recipes from them.
36. I created and edited a cookbook for a service organization.
27. I cooked dinner for more than 40 people at a Christmas Progressive Dinner.
28. I was and still am an Osmond fan, especially Donny. I’m not ashamed of my Donny days.
29. I had a poster of Shaun Cassidy on my wall, until I replaced it with Scott Baio.
30. A Chorus Line was the first musical I saw, and I was hooked.
31. I still love musicals and plays, but I haven’t followed what’s on Broadway for years now.
32. I tried some acting classes a couple of years ago and decided I just can’t let go enough to be an actress.
33. Many times I feel like I’m living in my husband’s shadow.
34. I have nightmares that my husband is fed up and leaves me.
35. I’ve been married for 17 years.
36. For our 15th anniversary, we were going to renew our vows with an Elvis impersonator in Vegas, but he couldn’t get time off work.
37. Al owes me a trip to Vegas.
38. I love horror movies, especially vampires and haunted houses.
39. I never missed an episode of Buffy, Angel, or Charmed.
40. I don’t like “slasher” movies because of those wimpy women in their underwear, screaming in a corner.
41. I thought Rose Red, the Stephen King miniseries, was pretty lame, but I watch it every time it’s on TV. And it’s on a lot.
42. I love the Halloweentown movies on the Disney Channel.
43. I don’t like romantic comedies. I’m probably one of the only women in the world who did not like Pretty Woman.
44. I do like period pieces that just happen to be romances. Persuasion and A Room with a View are two of my favorites.
45. That’s not to say I don’t like all romance movies. I loved Chocolat and Shakespeare in Love.
46. I dream of writing a novel because it's easier to do it that way. Actually writing it is hard and takes the self-discipline and courage I don't seem to have.
47. I also dream of writing screenplays. I want to adapt Caleb Carr’s two novels The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness into one movie—the mystery of Angel of Darkness but the point of view of The Alienist.
48. I want to be a successful writer so that I can live any where.
49. I would live in Scotland.
50. I love Billy Connolly, the funniest man on earth.
50. We toured 7 scotch distilleries in Scotland in one week the first time we went to Scotland. By the time I got to the last one, I could have given the tour myself and didn’t do any tasting.

51. I love to have a glass of red wine with dinner, but I turn as red as the wine and have to fan myself.
52. I learned a lot about wine while we lived in CA because we went to Napa Valley for wine tasting often. That was back when wine tasting was free.
53. I learned to always eat before wine tasting; otherwise, you’ll get to the last winery and think, “Thish ish the besht vine, efer.” And you’ll get home and it’s awful.
54. I learned to like red wines in CA.
55. I’ve been a registered Democrat all my life. My husband was apathetic for a long time, then when he made up his mind, he was a conservative.
56. I consider myself to be more of a wishy-washy-why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along moderate.
57. I spend so much time researching something and hearing all sides, that it’s difficult for me to make a decision about anything.
58. I haven’t worked for a year, and I doubt myself and my decision-making skills.
59. I work the crossword puzzle every morning, in pencil because I need an eraser.
60. I use the computer to help me with the puzzle, but I don’t have to answer every question.
61. I tell myself that I do the puzzle to keep my brain active, but it’s also a good procrastination tool.
62. I think that I’m difficult to live with, and my husband has the patience of a saint, at least when it come to me.
63. I sing in the shower sometimes; I especially like Patsy Cline songs.
64. If there is music on, I’m dancing. Not well, but I’m dancing.
65. I love to drive the Miata at dusk in the fall. That car is better than therapy.
66. I love my kitchen. Everything is organized well and easy to get to.
67. I have a craftroom that I love, too. I’m still working on it, though, trying to get it just right.
68. I have way too much yarn that I use and way too much fabric that I don’t.
69. I scrapbook, quilt, a little stamping, have made jewelry, and am going to learn to crochet. I have way too many hobbies for one woman.
70. I watch too much TV.
71. I love all the Law & Order series, but I only like the original CSI (even though I really like Gary Sinise).
72. Mostly, I watch mysteries. I have fond memories of watching mysteries when I was growing up—MaCloud, McMillian and Wife, Columbo.
73. I’m very proud that I don’t watch all the “reality” TV shows, except Project Runway and sometimes America’s Next Top Model.
74. I never say the words “Shut Up” because I was taught it was a horrible thing to say. Almost as bad as cursing.
75. I do, however, cuss. The only way a Southern woman can—through a smile. And I save the worst words for the most effect.

76. I have fought my weight all my life. And the excessive weight wins a lot.
77. If my husband and I go out in the afternoon, I think, “Maybe we could stop for ice cream?” This never enters his mind—he’s thin.
78. I usually like chunks of things in my ice cream, usually things covered in chocolate, but I do love a vanilla frozen custard cone.
79. I would give up desserts for French fries.
80. I love my veggies, but I could never be a vegetarian. I need a hamburger every now and then.
81. I love sushi. If it comes out of the ocean, I’ll eat it.
82. I don’t shave my legs often in winter.
83. I love fall and winter. I love the clothes for those seasons. I love to be cold so I can sit by a fire and drink a hot chocolate to warm up.
84. I want to go on a dog sled ride—one that lasts all day and you stop at some designated place for lunch.
85. I love dogs. Dogs rule.
86. I love cats, too, but Mom’s allergic to cats and will never visit if I have a cat. Hey! . . . (just kidding, Mom).
87. I still cry when I think about my Daily Dog. I miss her very much.
88. I love big dogs but I don’t like the drool that comes with so many of them. I especially like mastiffs—part dog, part house plant.
89. I would love to have a border collie, but those dogs need a job and I don’t have a farm.
90. I’d like have a hobby farm, but I want alpacas. No need to herd alpacas. I’d like to have sheep, but I don’t think I’m up for how much work they are.
91. I want to learn how to spin, and that’s why I’d like to have alpacas.
92. I realize I have a romantic idea about having a farm, but I don’t care. It gets me through the day sometimes.
93. It would be hard to have a farm considering that I sneeze every time I’m around hay.
94. I have naturally curly, wavy hair.
95. When I was a kid I wanted straight hair, like Peggy Lipton on The Mod Squad. And that girl who runs down the beach at the beginning of Hawaii 5-0.
96. I had great hair in the 80s, and it was so easy because all I had to do was scrunch and go.
97. When my hair was shorter and I would scrunch it, a lot of people said I looked like Sigourney Weaver. (Ghostbusters and Alien were huge) That’s pretty cool. But I’d rather look like Juliette Binoche.
98. I still like having big hair. It’s a Southern thing, don’t try to understand it.
99. I like my house, but I think it’s too big. I feel like a snob when I say that.
100. My dream house would be an Arts & Crafts Bungalow or a thatched-roof cottage. Something with nooks and window seats and built-in shelving.

101. I love mission style furniture but think it can be a little stark and uncomfortable. So, I pair it up with something comfy like a poofy chair.
102. I watch a lot of the decorating shows, but I’m not very good at that kind of thing.
103. It’s the same with picking out clothes. If it’s not already an outfit, I can’t put it together. I miss the ease of Garanimals.
104. In February 2006, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
105. I always do well on my neurological exams, and I have comparatively subtle symptoms, but the spinal tap came back positive on the 2 tests they run for MS, everything else they tested for was negative.
106. I’ve had many people compliment me on how “strong” I am, but that’s because that’s the face I put out there. Actually, I’m very tired of being strong. I’m not all that strong anyway, it’s just something I have to do.
107. I give myself a shot every week, and it’s never that easy. My husband offers to give me the shot but that scares me more! I need to be the one in control of this.
108. The learning curve of this disease is way too long. I’m constantly questioning any little pain I have, and I’m hoping that fear goes away pretty damn soon.
109. I hate having my blood drawn because I have these tiny veins that roll. I keep telling people—I’m delicate!
110. The scariest symptom I have is some cognitive problems. There are days I can’t type words correctly and I can’t remember a word I’m desperately searching for. I just lose words, and my thinking process slows down. Luckily, it’s not all that often. I usually just write it off as getting older.
111. Being diagnosed is another event that makes me relieved I didn’t have children.
112. I can count on one hand the number of times I thought I wanted children; I’ve never been that keen on it.
113. I like kids. I do OK with kids, but the idea of 24-hour responsibility for the rest of my life terrifies me.
114. You wouldn’t believe the things women with children will say to me: But you’d be such a great Mom; Aren’t you afraid of being alone in your old age; Is it a medical problem that you can’t have children; Well, you have all that free time because you don’t have kids; What do you do all day since you don’t have kids and don’t work; You’re right not have kids because you don’t have enough patience (this last one while her little darlin’ was screaming in the back seat and I was about to jump out of the car).
115. My parents split up when I was in 3rd grade, and I never felt close to my dad until I was adult, but not that close even then.
116. I told my husband before we got married that I wasn’t putting a child through what I went through with my dad, so unless he could promise me that he would be everything to our children, to the point that I was jealous of how close they were, I wasn’t having children with him.
117. In May 1997, my husband was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. It was a stage IIIB, which a is a pretty scary stage.
118. It was a rough 4 months of chemo and surgeries and recovery, but he’s healthy and we’re both stronger. Our relationship got even stronger during this time.
119. My husband says he has no privacy any more because I’ll talk about almost anything, even concerning him. But I think it’s encouraging to know someone survived cancer or lives happily with a chronic disease.
120. I have the coolest grandmother ever—Nana Creta. She’s in her late 80s and still drives herself to the beauty shop and lives on her own, comfortably. I really hope I inherited her genes.
121. For Christmas last year, my Nana gave me a scrapbook of family pictures, and she labeled them! So, I have pictures of my dad and the family when they were kids.
122. I tend to “mother” my mother. I was getting a little out of control, though, so I decided I should let her be and find a balance.
123. I love Thanksgiving because I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner as I watch the Macy’s parade.
124. I get very cranky around the end of July until well into September because I don’t like excessively hot summers. For the last 7 years, I’ve lived places that have over 100-degree summers.
125. October is my favorite month. It’s the beginning of the holidays for me since I like Halloween so much. We have a pumpkin-carving party at our house and put all the pumpkins out of the front porch to take pictures. What a blast!

126. I consider myself a Christian, but I have a lot of questions.
127. I completely understand questioning a book written by a group of men who were trying to reflect their world view. But still, I’ve grown up with faith so it seems to come pretty easy.
128. Maybe I’m taking faith for granted?
127. We have found a wonderful church here that welcomes all questions. You know the Methodist Church’s slogan, “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.”? Well, our church believes that and puts it into practice.
128. This church considers itself “theologically progressive” which concerned me at first because I thought Al’s conservative side might not agree. But that man is just full of surprises. Makes being married fun and interesting.
129. It’s not so much a liberal or conservative theology, just a little more open-minded than some.
130. I usually avoid the discussion of religion because: a) there always seems to be someone who can quote something from the Bible to prove his or her point and I never have a good response, b) It pisses me off when people throw quotes at me because they don’t pay attention where the quote comes from or what the lesson/story is, and c) I have my doubts and questions that I’m working through, thank you, and I don’t want to be preached to and told what I’m supposed to think or believe.
131. I love Southern gospel music. The twangier the better. There’s nothing better than a country quartette singing “I’ll Fly Away.”
132. When my Dad died, my stepmother asked if I wanted any song in particular at the service. I told her I always thought of Dad when I heard “I’ll Fly Away” because I knew he like it. She said she didn’t remember that, but if I wanted it, they’d try to do it.
133. I felt terrible because I thought maybe I was projecting because I love that song. I told my grandmother (his mother) the song I had requested, and she said, “Oh he loved that song! He used to just siiiinnngg.” I felt very relieved.
134. My uncle sings bass in a gospel group. They sang it at the funeral and it was perfect. There’s not doubt in my mind that Dad like that.
135. Dad grew up in a tiny town in Arkansas called Yellville. Most of his family are still there.
136. Yellville is famous for Turkey Trot, a fall festival where they just happen to toss live wild turkeys out of a small plane. Wild turkeys fly, or at least they glide for long distances. You can have the turkey if you catch it, but that’s not gonna happen.
137. PETA shows up every year.
138. Does that remind you of WKRP in Cincinnati? It’s probably not a coincidence that the guy who played Herb Tarlek was from Arkansas.
139. When I was 18, I met Bill Clinton at a Democrat rally while he was running for governor of Arkansas. He has the ability to make you feel like you are the only person he wants to talk to. He didn’t look over my shoulder or to the side to see if there was someone else he should be talking to.
140. There was a scene in a movie years and years ago that always sticks in my mind. Kids were at a school dance (the all-boy’s school came to the all-girl’s school), and the guy didn’t want to be dancing with the girl he was dancing with, so behind her back, he was offering cash to his buddy to come cut in. She knew what was happening, of course. I thought that was the saddest scene and hoped I would never be that girl. But late at night when the demons come out, I suspect I am.
141. Wellbutrin has helped silence some of those demons. I’m not recommending everyone to get on a happy pill, but I would recommend that if your emotions feel a little out of control and you have trouble functioning, go see a doctor and get help.
142. I was on Lexapro for a year, but it made me numb. I didn’t cry the whole year I was on it. With the Wellbutrin I still have my emotions but they don’t overwhelm me and don’t get out of control. I had no idea how bad off I was. Before, I would just lay on the couch and stare at the tv, get up and take a shower and get cleaned up right before Al got home so that he wouldn’t know I had laid around all day, then try to find a way to get out of making dinner.
143. Now if I have a day that I’m just exhausted and want to go back to bed and take a nap, I know it’s the fatigue with the MS.
144. I’ve spent a lot of my life daydreaming. I’m more steeped in reality now, or maybe I just hide my daydreaming better.
145. We had a party in our new basement pub and everyone who works with Al came, plus our friends that he doesn’t work with. I stopped counting at 35 people. I quickly lost control of this evening.
146. Up until this point, I prided myself on my entertaining abilities. We’ve had bigger parties and I’ve cooked for more, but there were people every where! I couldn’t flit around fast enough to make sure everyone was feeling welcome, and I constantly worried about running out of food.
147. We did run out of soda. Who knew so many people would drink soda?
148. Everything was pretty much gone by the end of the evening. The pony keg of Fat Tire was dry and the meatball subs (4 lbs of meatballs and 3 bottles of pasta sauce) were devoured. All in all, I’d say it was a success.
149. A couple of years ago, we entertained a lot. I was always hosting wives’ socials, showers, and various parties. I’m done with entertaining. Come over for dinner, but it’s going to be reeeaaaallll casual.
150. I told Al that if he really wanted to be a squadron commander, I’d support him and do my best in my role as “squadron commander’s wife.” But if he doesn’t want to do that, all the better. I'm ready to downsize and get rid of all that stuff I use for "entertaining."