A diplomat is a man who remembers a woman's birthday
but never remembers her age.- Robert Frost
Sir Francis Bacon (1561), Lord Byron (1788), Steve Perry (1949), Diane Lane (1965), and me (1972). Last year I got my first grey hair -- small tragedy I know, especially to those of you who have had them for some time (my husband included)-- but somehow I always thought they would hold off a little longer. Moms always blame getting grey hairs on their kids, I do not have that luxury. No time for a pity party though as they came without much fanfare or ado, just nonchalantly appearing one day. I am now officially closer to 40 than I am to 30 as I celebrate my 36th completed year! Although I think I can still buy myself some time in delaying the classification "middle-aged," I no longer qualify for my "early 30's" either.
This is the year I will have known my husband for an equal amount of time that I have lived without knowing him. I will also have lived half of my life now as a South Carolinian. I am not necessarily where I thought I would be in my life journey at this stage of the game, but overall I am satisfied with the choices I have made and believe that I am exactly where I need to be, learning, growing, and each day coming closer to my authentic self.
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. - Douglas Adams
At any rate, I see birthdays as a time of personal celebration and life reflection. I am very happy to have as many as I will be given, as it is much better than the alternative. I haven't posted in a while and at the rate I am going it will take me several years to get to my 100th post and the requisite "100 Things About Me". . . so for the curious or bored, I will leave you with this -
Thirty-six things about me as I turn thirty-six:
- I am the youngest of six children (three boys, three girls).
- The first five siblings in my family are each between 18 and 24 months apart, however I am 8 years and four months younger than my next closest sibling in age. The oldest turned 51 this past November.
- I have thirteen nieces and nephews ranging in age from 13 to 28, I am a godmother to four of them and I have two grandnieces!
- I was born and raised until just before high school in a suburb of Buffalo, NY called Cheektowaga, which is an Iroquois Indian word that means "Land of the Crabapple Tree."
- My Dad died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 48 and I was 6.
- Two of my siblings have had cancer – one with malignant melanoma and thyroid cancer and the other prostate cancer. One is now cancer free after several years of an arduous struggle and the other is currently in the midst of his difficult battle.
- I am mostly of Prussian ancestry. I think it’s a lot more fun than saying I’m just plain old German, but if I’m really in a playful mood and want to puzzle you, I’ll tell you at I’m least part Kashubian. Not up on your European history?? If you’re really interested, I’ll let you look it up.
- I am 5’4” tall with brown hair and brown eyes and I think my best physical features are my eyes and my smile.
- I have lived in three states: New York, Florida, and South Carolina and my travels outside of the U.S. only include Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas. My favorite method of travel is by train, as the journey is sometimes the best part of the trip!
- I feel equally at home and comfortable in a big city as I do in a small town or rural area, but I really don't like cookie cutter suburbs filled with subdivisions, strip malls, and all the same “big box” chains and restaurants. Ironically though, I have lived most of my life in such suburbs.
- The next big trip within the U.S. that my husband and I want to take is to see The Grand Canyon.
- I hope to someday have enough money and time to travel around the world – I was going to tell you my “Must See” places, but I can’t really think of a place that given the opportunity, I would say, “No I’m really not interested in going there.”
- For a short time in my early teens I was a competitive synchronized swimmer.
- In eighth grade I tried out for the boys soccer team (there wasn’t a girls team at my new school), made the first cut but then talked myself out of continuing with it. Needless to say, one of the movies I loved to watch when I was an early teen was "Quarterback Princess" with Helen Hunt...and this past summer I was one of the five people who went to see "Gracie" during it's short run in the theaters.
- My first car was a brand new blue Chevy Cavalier that I got when I was eighteen, kept for over ten years and logged over 300,000 miles on it with no major mechanical repairs. My dream car would have been a ’67 Mustang, but my Mom was doing the purchasing and she wanted something "more reliable”…guess it doesn’t get much more reliable than that.
- On the way home from college during my freshman year Christmas break I fell asleep at the wheel on top of a bridge and took out a big section of the concrete railing without falling off the bridge (It was less than ten miles from my home after driving more than 500 miles). The front driver’s side quadrant of the car was ruined, but I sustained no physical damage to my person.
- Things I wanted to be "when I grew up” at various stages of life that never materialized (in no particular order): a cancer researcher, a dentist, a marine biologist and killer whale trainer at Sea World, a professional horn player for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a physical or occupational therapist, a forest ranger, a farmer, an agricultural development researcher, librarian, a botanist, a biology teacher, an elementary school teacher, an entrepreneur, and a graphic designer.
- Once when we were first married in 1992, my husband and I did a week’s worth of grocery shopping with a roll of dimes, a roll of nickels, a box full of coupons, and the grocery store’s buy one, get one free sales flyer.
- When I was a child (maybe 7 or 8?) I was so moved by the stories of the people on the Jerry Lewis’ Labor Day weekend muscular dystrophy telethon that I went door to door on all the streets in my neighborhood to collect money for it and then had my Mom drive me down to the local TV station to turn it in. I did this for several years in a row, now as an adult I rarely even remember that it is on.
- When I was little I had an imaginary friend named “Match.” Go figure! Don’t ask, because I don’t know either …
- There were over 600 people in my high school graduating class in Florida, I went to school with everything from the very rich to the very poor…I decided I liked the very poor better. My classes were a veritable league of nations…I had acquaintances who were from Iran, India, Pakistan, and all sorts of interesting places…we didn’t think much about it at the time, but looking back with today’s current events it would have made for a much more interesting experience I’m sure. If I had stayed in my original school system in Cheektowaga, NY there would have been about 90 kids in my class, all white middle class, mostly Roman Catholic and Polish.
- I LOVE to ride my bicycle, it has been a life-long love, but other than my bright red tricycle that my parents purchased for me when I was three, any bicycle I had over the years was given to me used by someone else or the last one was purchased new by my husband’s parents as a gift, but I’ve never gotten to pick out my own bike!
- I am normally a pretty practical person, but when I decide to splurge on something for myself it will most likely be earrings, fancy stationary/cards, cool gourmet specialty foods, BOOKS, fun hats, and really nice drawing pencils and a sketch book.
- My favorite season of the year is autumn and on the first truly cool day after the heat of summer, I like to make pumpkin bread as a celebration.
- I don’t like people who are impatient with children, the elderly, and/or the disabled. We were all young once, if we are lucky we will get to old age, and disabled is a matter of perspective - we are all less able in our own ways.
- My favorite junk food is a chili cheese hot dog (I am a hot dog snob though, I only like the good ones) and I am a dark chocolate and cocoa connoisseur…is 88% cacao too much?
- My favorite thing to eat for breakfast is oatmeal with almonds and fruit.
- I am a “Luthcopalian” (a term coined by my dear friend for someone who was Lutheran but converted to Episcopalianism) Right now though I feel like a woman without a country, finding a place to fit in neither of those communities locally.
- I believe in the power of prayer and taking the time to connect with our creator.
- One of my favorite things to do is watch the moon rise over the ocean. One day I hope to be able to take a really good picture of it.
- One of my pet peeves is people who just kind of/sort of put their grocery shopping cart back in the general direction of the parking lot cart corral instead of just taking the extra couple of seconds to do it “right.” I have been known to take other people's stray carts to the corral on my way with mine and then organize them when I get there to take up the least amount of space possible and allow the most carts to fit. Crazy – I know! A little OCD, maybe?
- I buy organic whenever I can afford it and am a dedicated recycler.
- I love snow and icicles, especially appreciating the individual beauty of each flake.
- My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because it brings together family and friends without any hard and fast "rules" for celebration and it is not necessarily tied to religious observances or overly commercialized. It is simply about being thankful and showing gratitiude for the people and things that add meaning to you life and the blessings you have been given through them.
- I would describe myself as curious and adventurous, I love to learn new things and meet new people.
- I got the nickname Bop from one of my nieces when she was just learning to talk, my given name is Barbara, but my family typically calls me Barb or Barbie and when she tried to say “Aunt Barb” it came out “Aunt Bop” and it just stuck. I don’t know... I just liked it and it seemed to fit, so I kept it. That niece will turn 22 this year!