Thursday, February 23, 2017

Old Dogs (and Humans) Learn New Tricks

Eight years ago today (February 23, 2009)  I posted the following "25 Random Things About Myself" on Facebook:

In the last two days I've seen the 25 random things lists of two very different people (a fellow baby boomer poet and a 19 year old college student) which got me inspired to try. I'll bet I'd come up with 25 very different things a week from now.

25 random things about me: 
  1. The best portrait I ever drew was of my best college friend’s dad, George Porter – it was a tiny sketch that looked so perfectly like him it was almost as if some outside force had worked through my hands. 

  2. I hate asparagus – if I even attempt to eat them I start gagging. 
  3. The most thrilling experience I ever had was riding as a passenger on pilot check rides, where the pilots did touch and go landings at Half Moon Bay airport. Once at sunset, a pilot made the sun “set” and then “rise” by swooping down and then up above the fog bank. 
  4. My favorite city to visit is Boston – I love the MBTA and I always had the right change to get back off. The best hot fudge sundae I ever had was at Bailey’s in Boston (long since gone out of business). 
  5. I never spent a night alone in the house I grew up in until I was 19 years old, and found I was unable to sleep listening for every little noise. 
  6. My favorite book in childhood was Little Women, and my favorite character in the book was “Beth” – the one who dies before adulthood. My favorite book in adulthood is Beauty by Sherri Tepper in which she blends fantasy and science fiction in a moral tale about the destruction of beauty in the world, and really made me think about the choices we make. 
  7. As long as I have a nice warm house and no place I have to drive, the best weather is what I can see out my window right now – deep fluffy snow. The world simplifies down to the stark basics of white and black. 
  8. The person I enjoy talking to most in the whole world is my husband, John. 
  9. I love Cinderella stories. My favorites are Eleanor Farjeon’s book The Glass Slipper and the movie Ever After with Drew Barrymore, but I’m also found of the movie The Glass Slipper with Leslie Caron, the Rogers and Hammerstein television version from the 1960’s with Leslie Ann Warren (and her crooked smile), and movie musical The Slipper and the Rose from 1976 with Richard Chamberlain as the Prince. But I will read and watch any version of the story at least once.
  10. I cannot go to sleep unless I read first. My preferred bedtime reading is mysteries, especially police procedurals, detective fiction, and legal thrillers. 
  11. I’m not sure I was really “in love” with my first husband, although I certainly loved him. 
  12. Until I was in high school and was earning my own money, I had only three “store bought” dresses. All my clothes were hand me downs from older cousins, from rummage sales, and thrift shops or hand made by one of my aunts. I learned to sew at age 10 in self-defense and made most of the dresses I wore from fifth grade on. By the time I was in my twenties I was an excellent tailor, and made the wool suits that I did my job interviewing. 
  13. I haven’t sewn a dress or skirt or blouse since 1988 when I discovered credit cards and catalogs. 
  14. I never went on a date in high school. My best friend wanted me to come to the junior prom with her and her boyfriend, so she set me up with an old friend from junior high school (who went to a different school). I was so anxious about the date, that I worked myself into illness (supposedly strep throat but I don’t think that was diagnosed by a doctor) and cancelled out on the whole event. I never finished sewing the evening gown for the event. 
  15. My first kiss was at 16 from a college boy who was a counselor at a day camp where I volunteered. I was so terrified by the sexual feelings that were evoked that I actually blanked out the experience completely for more than twenty years. If you’d asked me at age 20, I would have said my first kiss came in college at age 18. 
  16. I hate grading essays. It’s the one thing that I really dislike about being a college professor. But nonetheless I think that students learn more from having to synthesize ideas from various sources into an essay, so I persist on assigning multiple essays in every class, every semester. 
  17. The only thing that makes being “pre-diabetic” tolerable is Russell Stover sugar free mint patties in dark chocolate. The thought that I might never be able to eat another box of See’s Candies dark Bordeaux chocolates is almost unbearable.
  18. I have not made any new close friends in fifteen years – a fact that I very much regret, but don’t quite know how to over come, as everyone I know locally these days has their life sewn up with children, grandchildren and other family ties. 
  19. Most of my interaction with people (other than my husband), including students is over the Internet or by long distance telephone, which I value but still miss the face-to-face connections. 
  20. In the winter, I’m obsessed with looking for sycamore trees, with their white limbs standing out against the brown of the forest. In the spring, my obsession is daffodils. In college, we could buy huge bunches of daffodils for 50 cents at the local grocery store. In graduate school, unable to find any to buy I would go out at night during spring break and steal daffodils from Fraternity row. 
  21. Currently my favorite color for clothing, flowers, and household stuff is yellow. But giving me a bright fire engine red car any day. 
  22. I don’t know which I regret more, the things I did do that I should not have, or the things I did not do that I should have. What I do know is that I try not to spend too much time regretting either thing – it detracts from living.
  23. People’s faces I can draw with ease, but I can’t draw a cat worth a darn. Their bodies always seemed distorted and too long and narrow. I’ve never tried drawing my dog. 
  24. During my senior year in high school, while working in the city library, I saw a girl I’d never seen before on the far side of the library’s main floor – more than 100 feet away, and knew instantly without a doubt that her name was the same as mine. I walked across the room, and asked her “are you Sue Greer?” and she said “yes.” So I said “hi, my name is Sue Greer, too.” She went to a different high school at the other end of the city, and was two years behind me. We were not related in any way. The only way I could have know who she was, was some form of extrasensory perception.
  25. I love television. I love sitcoms, dramas, movies, soap operas, 24 hour news channels, home improvement shows, the Weather Channel, even commercials, although I don’t watch as much as I once did. Nonetheless, my evening doesn’t seem quite complete if I don’t watch some TV.
What I find fascinating is that quite unexpectedly a number of those have changed in just 8 years.
#2 I've actually eaten and loved locally grown asparagus, turns out it all depends upon the quality of the food and the cooking!
#7 I have become much more active out of necessity to stay healthy and now don't much care for snow or cold weather (which mess with my asthma), now my favorite weather is anything above 50 degrees where I can be outside and moving - doesn't matter if its sunny or drizzly as long as I can walk, I'm happy.
#13 I've been doing more sewing in recent years, including making a skirt this past fall.
#17 Turns out sugarless candies give me gas. I did develop diabetes - now well under control - and it turns out I didn't have to give up See's dark bordeaux chocolates completely. What I did have to give up was being a couch potato and that is more of a gain than a loss.
#23 Gotten a lot better at drawing cats, and have done drawings of dogs.
#25 I don't care for television as much now that I am more active, and there are now many days during that the television does not get turned on at all. When I do watch it something specific that I share with my husband.

3 comments:

Sandy said...

Wow, I wish I had done this a long time ago. Did you realize that you were changing along the way? I know for sure that my tastes have changed over the years, but not so much how and when. I know you are going to retire soon. Lets see how much that changes your likes and routine.

We retired almost three years ago, and our lives are totally different these days. It actually took over a year to develop a new routine.
I am, sad to say, much less active than I used to be due to severe arthritis. My days of roaming the woods with my camera are gone, but I am determined to find a new means of expression.

Your posts are always so interesting!

Sue said...

Thank, Sandy! I understand about the arthritis. I also suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and do all my active walking with a cane. One thing I hoped to get back to when I retire was handicrafts like knitting and crocheting, but I'm not sure that I will be able. I am doing more sewing, but but find that there are real limits to how long I can do hand stitching of things like hems and button holes.

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