This is new to me, but I was tagged by Heidi Saxton to participate in this “let’s-get-to-know-y’all” blogging exercise. It’s called a “Meme.”
“What’s a Meme,” you ask? Well, you’ll see… Here are the rules:
“For this meme, each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.”
Here’s the thing: Most of the bloggers and their blogs Heidi already “tagged” are the same ones I frequent, so I’m just going to be lame and list my eight interesting facts. I’ve never been good at responding (at least in the right way) to chain letters, chain emails/forwards or now it seems this new mode of mass communication – the Meme.
Of course, I am in the grips of pregnesia and can’t even think of anything really interesting about myself – other than the fact that I continue to be a freak of nature who should be in active labor given my dilation, effacement, baby’s station and the number of contractions I have every single day. All I can think about, in fact, is when (and at this point, IF!!!) I am going to go into labor. (Thy will be done! Thy will be done! Thy will be done! See previous post for an explanation for this diatribe.) Hmmmmm… Let’s see.
1. As a child, I had a quick answer to the proverbial question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I had three jobs in mind, none of which included diaper-changing, boo-boo kissing, potty-training, gentle disciplining, milk-making, homeschooling Mommy. I planned on being an actress, writer and horse trainer. Notice I used “and,” not “or.” I just assumed I could do it all. My true fate, however, was sealed in the second grade when I wrote a story about a plaque detective who climbed into the mouth of children and swung, clutching to strands of floss, from molar to molar like a periodontal Tarzan. My teacher (believe it or not, she was not married to a dentist) loved the story and entered it in a contest. It won, was published, and I had my first byline at the age of 7. I was hooked. I began religiously keeping a diary where even now I can fill the lacunae of my childhood and adolescent years from the daily entries. In my many journals, minor memories I probably would have forgotten are recounted as well as details of my first, sloppy kiss when I was 15 and my student council race for school president in the eighth grade when I actually uttered, “Read my lips. No more homework” during my speech (no, I didn’t win the election). I did ride horses for a long, long time, but I just decided taming Seabiscuits was more of a hobby than a possible career. I also went to L.A. for a summer and auditioned at theatre schools in NYC but quickly realized that I wasn’t interested in being a professional waitress who occasionally landed acting gigs or someone who would be able to eat, breathe and sleep acting and pretty much forgo or at least put dreams of a having family on hold. So here I am a mommy and sometimes-writer. I’m very happy with my career choice, I might add.
2. My Uncle Jim (one of dad’s nine siblings) is one of the founding members of the band Chicago. He plays the trombone. My dad’s other brother is an actor and played Cousin Ira on Mad About You before the show ended. (His wife, my aunt by marriage, played Buffy’s mom on the cult classic Buffy the Vampire TV series.) So even though I no longer have lofty aspirations to be a professional actress, I have inherited a “drama queen” gene and am prone to histrionics and to spontaneously belting out tunes in the middle of making dinner, taking a shower or playing with my toddler. Based on Madeline’s reaction the other day to a minor boo-boo on her finger, I suspect she, too, is a drama queen in the making. After I gently kissed the cut and put a Band-Aid on it, Madeline lifted her arms to me and plaintively cried, “Mommy, pick me up. I’m too weak to walk.” Who knew an abrasion on the finger could affect leg strength?
3. A few years ago I ran a marathon in Anchorage, Alaska after raising $4,700 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It was a life-changing experience. When I was approaching mile 20 and my legs were beginning to feel like lead, I had an out of body experience. Sounds New Agey, but it was real, very spiritual and a defining moment in my Catholic faith life. I was no longer moving my legs. Something else took over (God!)and I remember crying tears of joy and gratitude as I thought of all my blessings. There were also some bittersweet tears as I remembered all the people I knew who were fighting cancer – some who were winning and others who were succumbing to the hideous disease or in the very least, being ravaged by aggressive chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. I knew that running 6.2 more miles (the remainder of the marathon) paled in comparison to what their bodies endured and so I finished the race in under four hours, completely euphoric and infinitely grateful for my good health.
4. A few tidbits about my Catholic faith: I am a cradle Catholic and have never experienced a lapse in my faith where I didn’t regularly attend Mass. That said, I often struggle with spiritual dryness and my faith continues to evolve. St. Francis of Assisi is the saint name I chose for my Confirmation long ago, mainly because I thought of myself as a sort of Dr. Doolittle who could commune with the animals and would often venture into the woods by our house to be in nature and to write (bad) poetry. To this day, St. Francis remains one of my favorite saints. I even had the opportunity to pay homage to Assisi – what a peaceful, beautiful place! I also regularly pray to Mary, especially now that I am a mother, too, and she is a perfect model and exaltation of Christian motherhood. Favorite prayers include the Haily Mary, the Serenity Prayer, a unity of faith prayer I have in a little handbook of prayers for mothers and of course, the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
5. I haven’t eaten any red meat since I was about 9 years old and was even a strict vegetarian for awhile (I reintroduced meat into my diet when I started training for the aforementioned marathon and during this pregnancy I’ve even started noshing on bacon despite my reluctance to eat Babe). Red meat still has no appeal to me, and my carnivorous family and hubby Dave remain perplexed by this unnatural aversion. Dave, who was a biological anthropology/pre-med major in college, says I wouldn’t have survived as a cave woman. I disagree. I would have gotten by just fine eating nuts and berries.
6. I am a law school dropout. Reading caselaw and writing briefs left something to be desired. So I ditched my legal education after about a month with absolutely no regrets and went on to pursue my journalism degree and to support Dave through medical school (he’s a radiology resident now at Emory; we have at least three more years of training and most likely a fellowship, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel).
7. Dave and I spent 33 days backpacking through Europe. It seemed like the “in” thing to do at the time – see the world, live the Bohemian lifestyle before being entrenched in the real world and fall in love with one another all over again (gag!). While the trip proved to be an unforgettable experience, traveling on a shoestring budget and trying to see too many places in too few days made us realize we are just as fine with the “real world” and not showering for days on end isn’t our idea of being adventurous. Other lessons we learned during our European jaunt: We can’t and shouldn’t try to scale oversized ice cubes (we tried ice climbing in Switzerland and felt more pain than exhilaration); our Spanish is not very good and knowing how to say, “¿Sabe dónde queda el restaurant más cercano?” (Translation: “Where is the nearest restaurant?”) will only get you so far in the streets of Barcelona if you can’t understand the directions; the French use way too much Mayo; the Italians know how to eat and pistachio gelato cannot be duplicated in the U.S. (we, of course, learned this tidbit after returning home); crashing in hostels and two-star, el cheapo hotels makes for sleepless nights and grumpy days; free water is something we take for granted in the U.S. (you have to pay for the clear stuff everywhere and it’s often more expensive than soft drinks); and that lugging around a 40-plus pound backpack from train to train, country to country really isn’t our idea of a relaxing vacation. Still, it was an amazing experience and when I peruse my scrapbook from the trip, I am in awe of all the sights and sounds we took in – not too many people get to have a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower, see the Birth of Venus in the Ufitzi, sip a sangria in Spain, wander the bone-chilling corridors of Dachau concentration camp and walk the streets of Prague on a cool, summer night all in one trip. (We actually visited a dozen European cities during our travels.)
8. I love all forms of writing – feature articles, blogs/journals, personal essays, even an occasional poem (although I am a mediocre poet at best; prose is definitely where my strength lies), but my real passion is fiction. It all goes back to that imaginary plaque detective. I’m constantly creating new characters in my head. I enjoy all genres of fiction, but I’m particularly fond of character-driven novels like those written by authors such as Anne Tyler and Jodi Picoult. I used to say I wanted to write the next Great American Novel. While I certainly haven’t given up on my dreams, I’ve become a bit more realistic and hope to simply write (and publish??!!!) a complete novel one of these days.