Friday, May 10, 2013

100 Things About Myself

1. I don't like being read aloud to - I'd much rather read something for myself.  I also don't like reading out loud. I do read to my children, but not as much as many parents do, I'm sure.  I think this is because I'm a fast reader, and I hate receiving information slower than I could get it myself.

2. Sometimes when I'm driving, I worry that I'll run into an invisible car.  I'll be driving along, and turn left, and ram into a car, only it won't be my fault, because it was invisible - not that I just didn't see it, but truly invisible.  For some reason, this has never happened so far.

3. Every time I see a police officer while driving, I also get very nervous, and start coming up with a dialogue of how I'll explain to him why it wasn't my fault that I did X, regardless that I feel very strongly about keeping the speed limit, and try never to disobey any traffic laws.

4. Except once when I was young and stupid and dating Avram, and had borrowed my sister's car which had been in a car accident, and one car light had been hit.  I drove it home from his apartment after dark, because I couldn't pull myself away until then (yes, I was young and in love....), and as I was driving home, I just knew a police officer would see me, and pull over (can the Spirit warn you when you're dumb and breaking the law?) Sure enough, one did pull me over, and came up to lecture me.  A few lines in to our conversation, where we were exploring how dumb I was, he got called by the dispatcher to a scene that needed all of the police available, immediately.  So he looked at dumb me, and told me to drive straight home, and not drive at night anymore in that car.  And he left, and drove off.

5. Sometimes I even come up with scenarios where I'm going to be sent to jail by a police officer, and I'll have to find someone to come and take my kids.  The other scenario I explore while driving is that I'll die, or that Avram will die.  And then I plan everything out, because planning for catastraphies makes me feel better.   I realize that the last four points make me sound like I'm slightly crazy.  I promise I'm very in possession of my faculties.

6. But on the subject of slightly delusional, I like to pretend that someday I'm going to write novels. I have the beginnings to five novels in my head, that I periodically talk about or explore with Avram.  One novel is straight fantasy based on an ancient Mediterranean city states with a dual sun god and moon goddess, where the main character is a head priestess for the moon goddess, who is then let go from her (lifelong) position, one is 18th century British fantasy, where the heroine is jolted out of her mourning for her dead husband by deep intrigues on the part of his magical family, one is a dystopic future where Vampires have blood farms or blood plantations they keep full of humans - the main character is a 'progressive' vampire and her plantation is moved to rebellion by a human against her, and one is a memoir type novel written by an old lady who has a strong voice and a fascinating past (it's not fantasy at all - it's my attempt at a great American novel).   I also like to think that I'll write a memoir of my own childhood, or a fictionalized account ala Little Women.

7. I've only written two pages at most at a time for any of these novels. Every time I have ever written anything, I'm mostly just amazed at how ridiculous it sounds, and then I freeze up and can't write a word. So I think I'll probably in truth just remain a consumer of the written word.

8. Obviously the above mentioned doesn't apply when I write blog posts. I can essay my fingers to the bone, and never mind.  Somehow I think the selling of essay books went out with Montaigne, so I'll have to keep with the blog writing.

9. I think I'm secretly a fascinating person, with a fascinating life, and if I could just get this conveyed somehow, everyone else would see this too. I say this, despite the fact that my current claim to fame might be that I'm currently writing this while simultaneously nursing Enoch.

10. I nurse Enoch without a cover. I nurse Enoch (and everyone post Lydia) at Church in sacrament meeting, at Ikea in the sample rooms, in Walmart and Meijer, while getting my van's oil changed, in the park, at restaurants, while teaching my primary class, in story time at the library, and basically anywhere I happen to be with a hungry baby.  I only cover up when I'm wearing an shirt that doesn't stretch well.  (And when teaching the class, since I'm usually triple tasking at that point.)  I've never had a single person comment on it negatively.  Most of the time I can tell people don't even realize I'm nursing at all.

11. I also cloth diaper, and try and eat more locally, and I only buy free range eggs and free range chickens (because I think they are the worst treated animal in the agribusiness field).  And garden.  And make homemade whole wheat bread every week, and have had four natural births, one of which was a water birth. So I seem a little crunchy.

12. But I also buy lot-fed every other animal.  And when I eat out, I eat chicken without even thinking. And I vaccinate my children (I even believe in ideologically).  And I buy bread all throughout my pregnancies and post pregnancy until I feel like baking. And I have a strong distrust and disbelief of homeopathic medicine, and don't use any, and when I was pregnant I tried doing the hypnobirthing exercises with Avram, but I couldn't stop laughing, I thought that the idea of hypnotizing myself was so ridiculous (although I think other people do manage it) .  Ultimately, I think people can't fit in in a box of "crunchy" or "granola."

13. Avram and I have never had a TV hooked up for TV (just for movies).  The only TV show I have followed since high school was Design Star, which I watched online last summer with Lydia and Eliseheva when I was 7-9 months pregnant.  I don't like TV.

14. I also don't like watching movies very much - I'd much rather read.

15. I like reading design blogs, and think about how to design my house a lot. I like doing a casual cottage style with a homey vibe, but nothing that embraces old rusty farm implements on the wall - I like function and beauty to meet together; for example, we have a large map on our living room wall.

16. I took up throught AP calculus in high school, and got a four on the test, but have never had a math class since then, and now I can't remember a single thing from that class except that calculus was magical in a way.

17. I pick up crafty hobbies for a little while, and then get bored and drop them.  I've knitted, sewed (more than once), scrapbooked, done felted wool, and I don't do any of them right now. Around 18 months ago I declared that I am not a crafty person, and haven't done a crafty thing since then.  I've loved it.

18. The hobbies that have stayed with me my whole life are reading, blogging (I haven't left emotionally, I just can't write without mental and physical peace), cooking, and people.

19. I love people.  I love seeing people, talking with people, going to parties, and having people come to my house.  One of the hardest things for me as a SAHM has been the very reduced amount of people I see day to day.

20. I talk a lot, which isn't enough to be a something about me, because you all already knew that.  What you may not know is that I love vibrant conversations. I love two people talking to each other - getting in the middle of each others' sentences, talking (and listening) at the same time, going on tangents that lead to new subjects and then jumping back to old long dead subjects in an instant. I don't mind being interrupted in the slightest, but I also don't mind interrupting. Too bad most of the world does.

21. I do not like monologuing, nor having a conversation with someone who never talks. It makes me uncomfortable, and I talk more, but not in a sharing, happy way, but more in a panicked, why-aren't-they-saying-anything way.

22. I also love big group conversation dynamics, the ebb and flow of a ton of people all together.  I love hearing my big family all get together and talk for this reason. It's ca-razy, and you can't hear yourself think, but it's also very synergistic and energizing.

23. I played classical guitar as a child, but the only song I can still play on the guitar is Greensleeves.

24. I'm not much of a music person. I rarely listen to music, although I'm trying to change this - one of my New Year's goals is to try and listen to a CD a day.  I did not achieve this goal today.

25. When I do listen to music I like songs that I can understand the words in, and are singable to, and that tell stories instead of mooning over love all the time, with lots of repeating choruses.  I like bluegrass, some country, folk, hymns, and any genre that intersects between these the most.

26. My favorite movie is While You Were Sleeping. I've watched it so many times I can quote from all parts of it.  This is more memorable, because see above, I don't usually like movies very much.

27. I've always wanted to live next to the sea, preferably somewhere like Cornwall or the Coast of Maine, or the Puget Sound.  I want to live somewhere where I could see the ocean, and walk along the rocky coast (I seriously imagine me doing this all the time).  I want to smell it in the air, and collect shells in my house, and have clam bakes and chowders, and watch the rolling storm clouds move in, and see the sun rise (or set) every morning (or night).  I also think none of the above will ever happen in any life I can realistically see me living.

28. When I was a kid I saw myself as a mix between Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls.  I thought I had been born in the wrong century, and I used to lie in my backyard, which was once where George Q. Cannon's orchard was in Salt Lake City, Utah, and close my eyes and will myself to wake up a hundred or a hundred and 50 years previously and live my life out among the pioneers.

29. I also used to constantly pretend that I was moving back to England to live with my Aunt on the Moors.  I would talk to myself, and pack up my belongings, and walk around outside.

30. I would also sing in my play out in the backyard, as part of my own musicals.  I was kind of a loner for play, but I loved it that way.

31. I was also convinced that my stuffed animals were alive, and would jump into my room super fast, to try and catch them moving. I never cared much for dolls, that I only gave the name Sarah to, but I had a whole kingdom of stuffed animals, with a king and queen bear, and little baby prince bear who had his own stuffed dog he rode on around my bedroom.

32.  I had a very, very large imagination as a child.  I'm not sure what that gets channeled into now...maybe reading? Maybe roleplaying? Maybe I need more hobbies that aren't just being a mom?

33. I cried the evening when I first left the temple after receiving my own endowment (not to switch topics on you, but I was getting a little sad I couldn't be a kid anymore, so I'm focusing on adulty things).  I loved being in the temple, I loved the endowment, and I loved the celestial room, and afterwards I really felt that I was in such a dreary world, full of things like driving, and getting dinner from Taco Bell, which could make anyone cry.  After Avram and I drove back to Provo from Jordan River, where I received my endowment, I crawled over to the passenger seat where he was sitting, and curled up in his lap, and cried about how I didn't want to leave the temple. (Note for anyone who may have stumbled on this blog - I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, and I am referring to Mormon temples).

34. The temple is the favorite part of my religion.  I love it, I love all the ordinances, I love the insights it has given me in women and priesthood, the plan of salvation, and the eternities.  I love the white clothes, and soft voices, and someday I want to be a temple worker.  It's where I receive inspiration most clearly, and where I feel the Spirit the strongest.

35. Missionary work is my least favorite part of my religion. I struggle with telling others about things that truly matter to me.  My religion and my beliefs in God and Jesus Christ are the most important beliefs I have - and the hardest for me to talk about with others.

36. I also really struggle with talking about politics in public (or facebook).  Or my true thoughts on lots of controversial subjects.  Although I also am not very political - I have lots of thoughts on a few political subjects, and almost no thoughts on most.

37.  I do believe in voting, though, and I have researched my choices and voted in every election since I turned 18, except for the two years that I was living abroad, in Egypt and England respectively.

38. I don't like circumcision.  Avram and I have had discussions about this that have ended in tears on both sides.  Enoch is circumcised. I realized that there were some fights that weren't worth winning, and volunteered to lose.  I still don't like it, though.  It makes me sad every time I change his diaper.  Someday I hope that if we adopt a boy, that he won't be circumcised.

39. I've always wanted to adopt a child or more someday since I was a teenager.  Specifically, I've always wanted to do foster care, and then possibly adopt.  Currently Avram and I are talking about possibly being doing with biological birth, and then trying harder to adopt later.  I want a large family, which currently hovers at five to six kids.

40. I often hope I'll never be pregnant again.  I've had postpartum hyperthyroidism and then hypothyroidism after the last two kids, and I've also felt postpartum depression. I wonder if the two are linked?  Regardless, I don't feel like myself after a baby, and I feel like every pregnancy and recovery has been more hard.

41. I don't play with my kids.  I've never been the kind of mom who gets down on the floor and pretends with my girls.  I much prefer to set up situations for them to play with each other.

42. I don't like animals.  Sure, I like going to the zoo.  I think it's important to be good stewards of animals, and I like that other people have pets.  I just don't like interacting with animals very much.  Except the occasional cat.  I realize this sounds in some circles like I am deficient as a person.  I probably am.

43. In reference to number 28 and Anne Of Green Gables, Elisheva's middle name is Anne, after her.  In some ways, I consider Anne to be one of my childhood friends.  She used to talk to an imaginary friend in the glass in a piece of furniture, and I liked to think that somehow, my interacting with her went the other way, and we met in the middle.  Ironically, I don't always like reading Anne books nowdays - she seems a little twee sometimes.  And her positive attitude bothers me a little.  I think currently I like the memory of them better.

44. I was in the medieval club at BYU, known as the Quill and the Sword, and this was where I met Avram - specifically we got to know each other in the cooking guild, where we tested Medieval feast recipes every Friday night.

45. Avram and I got engaged at the same time, but on different days, and on different continents..  (He was in America, and I was in Egypt).

46.I do almost all the driving in our family.

47. Every other week I play a Role Playing Game with Avram and three other guys.  Currently we are playing Fading Suns, a game that is like DUNE.  I enjoy roleplaying (which if you don't know what this is - imagine you're ten, and playing games, and (at least we did), you stop actually playing, and start telling each other what your character is doing, or saying, and then combine that with an improv group, along with dice that resolve skills/fighting, etc. and character sheets you're sticking to.  Yeah, it's like that.

48. The way I show love the most is by time spent with people.  It made me tend towards co-dependency in my college relationships.  Also, this is why I don't think I could ever be in a marriage where my husband had a job that he traveled constantly for (if we ever got to that point, I'd probably go bonkers crazy, and he'd end up changing fields.)

49. One of my favorite desserts are Cinnamon Rolls.  I love them, especially with fluffy cream cheese frosting.  All of my favorite sugar items are baked goods - cakes, pies, etc.

59. I don't love most candy, I won't eat anything but dark chocolate, and even then I'd rather have it in a baked dessert/frosting, and I'm not a huge fan of ice cream.

60. I read fiction books around 100 pages an hour.

61. I deconstruct a lot of fiction that I read.  I am almost the only person I know (Avram being the other), who is significantly bothered by the economic unrealities present in Panem in the Hunger Games (ie, the coal mining town that would supply enough power for absolutely nothing...).  I once even wrote a whole, long blog rant about this, but didn't publish it. Twilight bothers me because the choices that are set up are not the ones played out, so it suffers from a disconnect of consequences (but doesn't realize it, so it's not like the book is knowingly playing with your expectations).  Life of Pi is actually anti-religion, and no-one seems to realize this, including perhaps the author.  Many novels come under my unrelenting eye for exacting standards.  I tend to deconstruct movies a lot too - often to the point I can't enjoy them.  Avram, bless him, is my audience for this.  He is a patient, patient man.

62. Along with this tendency, plus the fact that I edit Avram's papers, and care deeply about sentence structure and the way that we convey ideas through writing, makes Avram think that I should consider becoming an editor.  Although, please don't judge the quality of well-written sentences by those appearing in my blog.  It's not enough for me to note that something isn't working well in a story - I have to think it out, play it out in my mind and through conversation, until I can pinpoint what exactly is going wrong, and where, and what should have been done instead (in my opinion).

63. One of the ways that I process thoughts is through conversation - talking things out.  I have often talked to myself, although since being married, Avram is the more usual recipient for this.  This doesn't always end well, when I'm talking to him while he's trying to go to sleep. (Usually we both enjoy talking things out with each other, don't worry. Also, I believe he doesn't remember this at all - ie, he was asleep.) This is, however, why I'm always a little bothered when people assume that there is one better way to be as a person, and silence is that way (or that talking should be reserved when you have something important  or witty, or new, or interesting to say).  Not that there can't be people like that - but they process the world differently than I do.

64. My current favorite color is aqua blue - like a light, or pale turquoise.

65. My favorite foods are lamb, cherries, watermelon, tuna melts (but not all at the same time).

66. I've lived in in six states (Idaho, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Virginia and Ohio), and two other countries (Egypt and England) in my life.

67. I attended Wayland Academy, a boarding school in Beaver Dam Wisconsin, for my junior and senior years of High School.  I'm trying to think of a short way to contextualize that, but really, it was a pretty random thing in my life, too. They were recruiting, I saw it, and had spent my youth pretending to attend boarding schools in England, and so was hooked.  I applied, got accepted, got a small scholarship, plus financial aid until we could afford to send me.  It was a hard experience, but good for me growing up.

68.  I will say that there are five kids in my family, or nine, or ten, or eleven, depending on the circumstances being discussed.  All are true statements. (My mom had five kids.  She got divorced and remarried, and my step-dad had custody of his daughters, with four at home.  We all grew up together from when I was almost ten on.  He had another grown up daughter that I didn't live with, which makes ten.  And finally, I have an informally adopted adult sister added a few years ago into our family.)

69. One of my favorite singers is Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Al-Islam.  I love his voice, no matter what he's singing.  I also really like Peter, Paul and Mary.

70. I want to go back to school and get a master's degree, and then possibly a Ph.d., and teach at the college level.

71. Reading my Alumni magazine from my Alma Mater, BYU, often makes me feel inferior and lame, because I read about all these amazing women, doing these amazing jobs, plus having families, and I want to be like them.  But then I worry that I'm not really as capable as I think I am, and that I won't be able to go very far professionally/academically.  My inferiority complex knows no bounds when it comes to academics, although I've always been good at school, and I think I'm smart.  I mean, I remember that I used to be considered smart back in high school and college - but that was a long time ago, now.  Also, I've seen enough grad school first hand to know that just being smart isn't enough.  But regardless I'm going to try anyway, because I feel like half a person when my only job is being a stay at home mom.  (It's the stay at home part I struggle with, not the mom part.)

72. I'm also a confused person, because I deeply believe that for myself, and my family, I want to be at home when my children are young.  I've been happier about this lately, by focusing on enjoying each moment, and not always looking for tomorrow, or feeling like all my yesterdays are creeping in a petty pace, day to day.

73. I like reading fantasy (my favorite fantasy author is Brandon Sanderson), classics (especially British works from the 19th century), "book club" books - ie modern thinking books.  Really, I just love reading.  And thinking from what I'm reading.

74. I find I do best in regards to how I feel about my religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when I'm doing, rather than thinking.  When I read up on issues people have, or historical topics, or modern Mormon Feminists, or whatnot, I feel confused.  When I attend church, teach my class, bear my testimony of what I know, attend the temple, serve others, visit teach, etc, I have purpose and meaning in my religious devotion.  I feel calm.

75.  Because of this I avoid public discussions, or any controversial topic about my religion on facebook, or anywhere on the Internet.  Although sometimes the mischievous part of me goes and looks at them anyway, and then Avram has to deal with the cleanup while I hash out all my thoughts and emotions (see number 63).

76.  Walking is my favorite form of exercise.  Avram and I would walk all over Provo when we were dating, so that we could have privacy and talk.  Everywhere from the Castle Ampitheater on the Mental Health Grounds to up on the mountain on what I called our rock (it's a big old rock above the tree streets) to up by the temple, out in west Provo, and many, many times around campus and south of campus.  I still love going on walks with Avram.

77. I majored in Near Eastern Studies at BYU, and had an Arabic minor.  I also went on a study abroad to Alexandria, Egypt, and I can safely say that this changed my life (it's how I decided to marry Avram.)

78. I prefer to wear skirts over pants almost all the time.  I think they're more comfortable, and fun, and can dress up or down to fit any occasion.  I don't like the feel of jeans, although I do wear them in the winter because they're warm, and while camping because they're durable.

79. I got an 800 on my verbal for the SAT.  Which is a perfect score, and of course in life it means nothing, but hey, this is a list of a 100 things about myself, so I guess I can be pointlessly braggy, especially at this point, when most people have probably stopped reading.  I got a 1500 total.

80. I didn't study for the SAT at all.  The night before I did run through some sample questions, just to get the format down.  However, in my ninth grade class my Latin teacher, who had also been an English teacher, told us about a student she'd had who had gotten an 800 on the SAT verbal, and who had done so by having a notebook that she had kept for years, where whenever she ran across a word she didn't know, she would write it down, and then look it up when convenient.  I started a notebook like that then, and kept one for the next four years.  So that probably helped, and could count as long term prepping.

81. And yet I didn't learn what the world heuristic meant until this last year, which is a real pity, because it's a humdinger of a word - not just another flowery adjective, but an actual concept difficult to express simply otherwise. Or Hermeneutics, which I learned after I completed college.

82. Although I'm not an athletic, out doorsy kind of person, I really like camping.  I love being in nature, and campfires, and s'mores (made only with dark chocolate), and watching stars.

83. Speaking of star watching, I really love it.  In college I used to go up with friends a half hour or so into the Provo Canyon and lie out in a public area/entrance to a state park, and watch the stars there.  I had used to watch them on the edge of a field, but then a police officer came and found my friend Jarom and I and made us move off private property.  Yeah, it was awkward to be found lying next to a boy, in the dark, in a field (just a meadow), by a police officer.  If only because I was very aware what he was probably assuming about the situation, especially when we told him we were star watching. The truth is always more awkward than fiction.

84.  Speaking of, I was once at a birthday party that was crashed by a SWAT Team.  I don't know who felt more embarrassed - us, or them.  Probably them.

85. I am anti Credit Cards.  I don't believe in buying into a system that is designed to keep people in debt, even though I know there are those who 'beat' the system, and just earn the rewards.  Just remember - those credit card companies are not non profits.  They don't offer you those miles, or rewards, out of the goodness of their hearts.  Also, people have been proven to spend more when using a credit card, then spend less using a debit card, and finally use the least comparatively when using cash.

86. When I first read Dave Ramsey, it was validating to hear a professional say what I had been saying for years about finance and money.  We all have our things - I'm kind of anti-money.  I think we all (including myself) think about it too much, say that it's the love of money that's evil, not money itself, but then, how many of us hate money?  Avoid money?  Also, we equate money too much with success in life.  Anyway, that's my soap box.

87. My sister Mary and I talk on the phone several times a week while we clean our houses, for conversation.  My sister Mary, Camilla and I will also do what we call 'sister chats' where we have a three way phone call. I love being able to talk to people while doing things like laundry or dishes.

88. I am horrible with technology.  For someone born after PCs were invented, I don't have the natural skills to do diddly-squat on any mobile device.

89. I don't like to inadvertently give the wrong impression to people, and so I will often over explain an unimportant piece of background detail to a story, because I hate abridging something so that it sounds like some small detail was actually another small detail.

90. I was president of the Medieval club I was in in college my sophmore year.  We had around forty members, and that year I had a larger leadership role than I'd had before or since.  It was hard, but I liked it.  I liked going through and organizing behind the scenes.

91. My freshman year I was also a double major with Comparative Literature, but I dropped that my sophomore year - I don't always like how people can over theorize books to death, particularly with weird buzzword lingo.

92.  I know that I come across as a pushy purson, who is opinionated.  A red/blue split on the color personality test.

93. But I'm not confrontational at all.  I don't like directly facing off against someone. I also dread making phone calls, although they never seem to be as bad I as I fear.

94. Some of my favorite hymns are How Firm a Foundation and Be Still My Soul.

95. Up until I got married I was an avid journal writer.  Somehow writing about all the boys I liked lost its appeal once I had just one husband....

96. If I could have three wishes, I would wish first that Avram would get a good tenure track job when he graduates (I'd prefer BYU, but I'd hate to force our future if we are meant to go somewhere else), second that I could achieve and maintain a good balance of housekeeping/parenting/working/life, and third that I would be accepted in going back to school, and would find the best field for me that I'd be great at, and would succeed in and love.

97. I don't consider myself a feminist, and a lot of creeds I read by feminists do not resonate with me, and mainly address issues/imbalances that I've never felt, or that I think are missing the main point.  However, in the last year or so, I have come to a new awakening about how I feel about women in history (I think we got the short end of the stick), and although I can explain historically and culturally and biologically why that all happened, it still bothers me.  It bothers me now that having children (which I think is important) is so much harder for women than men.  It takes nine months of our life, plus then another year at least of nursing, and up to three years anciently, and four years even further back.  And some feminist approaches - to just not have children, also bother me.  I don't know a way to even know what the perfect balance would be for men and women, for our roles as parents and wage earners and nurturers.

98. I've told Avram before that I think in my perfect world, he would work 30-35 hours a week, and I would work 15-20.  Too bad careers don't really come in those increments.  Although being a part time adjunct faculty member would be close on my side, and I do love the flexibility that academics has for him, so that he is really a huge part of parenting our children as well.

99. I'm inecisive. I'm so indecisive that it's taken me over an hour to complete that last thirteen of these comments (which in turn has taken me two sessions weeks apart to do - man, 100 is a lot of items!).  Even more indecisive, it took me months to decide to marry Avram.  When we go out to eat, we commonly look up the menu first, and I decide what I'll order before I go, so that way I don't spend forever hemming and hawing over a couple of choices.

100. I won't let my kids have barbies.  Or toys that light up and make noise.  I'm kind of a Nazi mom, but I feel like the comparative silence in our home and lack of annoying strange shaped dolls that would always end up naked and with matted hair and cheap clothing more than make up for that.  I like non licensed toys the best, that are open ended, by which I mean, generic legos instead of a specific set, or random dress up that becomes all sorts of things, rather than a Disney princess dress.