Thursday, May 10, 2007

7 Random Facts/Habits About Me

Carmon tagged me with this meme, so I'll give it a go:

1. I have to work really hard to remember to keep my mouth shut and not offer advice unless I'm asked for it. My brain seems to have been hardwired into problem-solving mode. That's a helpful quality in a work situation, where I can easily figure out what might go wrong in a specific situation and work out the kinks or prepare a backup plan. It's also been helpful in my personal life, except in the area of relationships, where I've too often forged straight ahead in spite of the potential problems I've spotted.

The downside of being a problem solver, as my children will gladly confirm, is that if you tell me your exciting plan, I can shoot it full of holes before either one of us ever sees it coming. "Have you thought about this?" I'll ask...or "what will you do if that happens?" My heart's in the right place -- to help you make your plan as solid as it can be -- but you won't appreciate that fact while your bubble is bursting.

Even with the bias toward problem solving, I'm an optimist. I always feel confident that everything will turn out just fine once those pesky problems have been removed.

2. My earliest memory is of my father, in his army uniform, holding me in his arms as we watched a truck roll by. It was a flatbed military truck with rails built around the sides, and it was loaded with standing, waving soldiers. As they passed us, one of them tossed an orange to my dad, and he handed it to me. I don't know exactly how old I was when that happened, but I do know it happened in Salina, Kansas. I was 18 months old when we left there.

3. I've worn the same hairstyle for about ten years. For at least the last five of those years, I've cut my own hair to avoid the hours of small talk in the beauty shop. The pros do a better job than I do, but not that much better, and my own mistakes don't annoy me as much as theirs do.

4. If I have a chocolate craving I can't fight any longer, I make "emergency fudge." I dump confectioner's sugar in a small bowl, plop a big blob of peanut butter on top of it, and squirt in just enough chocolate syrup to allow me to mix everything together. When the mixture reaches a thick, doughy consistency, I knead it for a minute, then roll it up and eat it like a candy bar.

5. I once paid money to spend the day behind the scenes at the zoo. Ten of us, all women, signed up for the experience. In addition to the usual zoo tours, we spent time in the baby animal nursery, the kitchen where all the animals' food is prepared, the hatchery where the chicks are raised to feed the reptiles, and inside the elephant house. I actually helped bathe an elephant, and I loved every minute of it.

6. In high school I focused on getting good grades. All my friends were other nerds, although we didn't use that word back then. When I graduated and started working, a new, non-nerdy friend convinced me to "dumb down" and use improper grammar so the boys wouldn't be intimidated and would like me better. It worked like magic! Unfortunately, it didn't take me long to realize I wasn't all that interested in the kind of boys it worked on. That may have been my first lesson in the value of quality over quantity.

7. Years and years ago, on a long flight home from San Francisco, I had a rousing conversation with the seatmate to my right, a perfect stranger who was a decent-looking guy on a business trip. We talked and laughed for a couple of hours, then I dozed off. When I woke up, just as the plane was preparing to land in New Orleans, he leaned over and kissed me, right smack on the lips. It startled me for a moment, then I kissed him back. That one kiss was all there was to it. We didn't exchange phone numbers or even last names. When we exited the plane, we went our separate ways, and that was the end of that.

And that, dear readers, is the end of this.

I won't officially tag anyone, but I'll mention a few folks just in case they're interested: maxngabbie, duly inspired, sister-three.


  1. 5,6, and 7 were our favorites, for different keepers! thank you for sharing those with us, much appreciated!

  2. Velvet, I have that problem solving thing combined with the ability to sound like an authority on almost anything. I was once told by a co-worker that I don't make conversation, I give orders.

    I like your fudge recipe!


  3. I loved Erica Jong of you! Carmon

  4. Keepers, you're quite welcome. I like knowing which items you enjoyed most.

    Holly, it's hard to reel it in, isn't it? As for the fudge, it only has two things going for it: it's fast and it's chocolate.

    Carmon, LOL, I swear to you I'd ended No. 7 with "shades of Erica Jong," then deleted it in favor of the present ending. Great minds think alike, huh?

  5. You washed an elephant! You had a close encounter with a stranger! My life has been dull compared to yours. :-)

  6. That's quite sexy or romantic i'm not sure which!

    I have posted a photo of the missing UK girl Madeleine in the hope that the more people see her, the more chance she may be found. Please take a sec to pop over to Cheltenham, to put her face in your head. Thanks to you and your readers.

  7. Oh my gosh. I have a number 7 as well!

    You've given me a weekend project, thanks.

  8. Nice to think about all the points you made today. I suppose all of us can poke holes in other's dreams without meaning to do exactly that. And I love your idea of quality over quantity - I may use that when I talk with adolescent girls (wonder if they'll catch on?). Of course, the unexpected kiss is something right out of a dream - no strings, just simple pleasure.

  9. No. 1 is just like my Mom. It drives my sister batty. Like you said...your heart's in the right place. I understand that.

    No. 6 reminds me of when I was in high school I had a girlfriend who would get annoyed when I would use "big words". One night we were at the local Dog N Suds and I used a word she didn't know.
    She told me to "speak English". I told her, "Let me just tell you what that word means and then you can add a word to your vocabulary and I won't have to remove one from mine!"

    No. 7 is deliciously romantic! I'll bet the kissing stranger hasn't ever forgotten it either!

  10. I'm with Ordinary Janet - my life has been dull compared to yours (although I did trip over Henry Kissenger's dog's leash, crash into him and get set on my feet quite abruptly by the Secret Service!) I identifed immediately with number 6 - quality over quantity and speech that actually matters!

  11. Happy Mothers Day Velvet. I often thought it should be a Holy Day....;)

  12. You caught that the sweater my mother was wearing was buttoned up the back. I don't know if other's realized that before you noted it.

    That photo does remind me a bit of a movie star, those iconic sweater girls.

  13. #7 is a great. Is it greater than the fudge? I'm not sure... Actually all of your stories are interesting. You walk to your own drummer.


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