Oh, Boy! This will be fun. I knew this one was next in the blog challenge and I thought about it for a few minutes last night, trying to line up ideas. But I decided I would just sit down today and see what comes to mind.
- I was born in Salem, Oregon and my parents were chicken farmers when I was born. I’m told there were 6,000 chickens. So, in theory, I am a farm girl! My dad started college on the GI bill when I was just 1 year old, moving us to Portland, OR, then Seward, Nebraska.
2. I have traveled to Central America and Mexico to learn about the political realities, which began my life-long interest, involvement and opinions about world events and connections. I spent time with a guerilla band (not on purpose) in El Salvador when they stopped us heading into a village. I slept on a concrete floor on a coffee farm in northern Nicaragua (the rats running around during the night did not thrill me). I stayed with a Mexican family in the outskirts of Cuernavaca and spent weeks being mercilessly teased (in Spanish) by the teenage boys in the family about my big feet (bigger than everyone in the family) and my fledgling Spanish. The boys would make me answer the telephone EVERY time and snicker when I tried to understand the torrent of words that came through. I loved them dearly and their tiny little abuelita, the matriarch of the family, remains one of the dearest people in my heart.
3. When my Dad became a teacher, we moved to a small farming town in southern Illinois. Did we become farmers again? Nah. We lived in town, so I never learned to drive a tractor. Still, many of my friends grew up on farms, so I did get to swim in farm ponds, ‘help’ with butchering, ride horses, do the whole hayride/bonfire/farmland parties. The high school I graduated from served three small farm towns and was in the middle of bean fields.
4. I was a Big Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program more than 30 years ago. My Little and I found each other in the past couple of years and we have enjoyed a lot of memories and laughs. Almost all of my children have had Bigs or some form of mentor over the years. I feel very strongly that kids, especially kids from trauma, need as many caring adults as they can find.
5. I like crime TV for some reason. True crime is fine, but I enjoy the side humor that happens in the seasons of shows like NCIS, Leverage, and Columbo.
6. I have had three marriage proposals. Eek! All three were from perfectly nice, fun young men, but all three had things all planned out in ways that did not support my career (nursing), my desire to travel, nor in one case, my desire for children. It was not true love.
7. I like wine over beer and coffee over tea.
8. My favorite color is red. At some point in our journeys, every single kid, foster and adopted, has decided that their favorite color is red, too. It has only stuck with one child, but it’s such a sweet form of flattery and connection. I don’t discount all those small things in healing and safety.
9. I moved to the Pacific Northwest when I finished nursing school and I have never moved back to the Midwest. I kind of don’t like being cold and wet, which is a factor about 9 months of the year, but everything else is so glorious! Mild-ish temps (no hot and muggy summers, nor frigid winters), and water, greenery, and mountains everywhere! I did some major backpacking before I became a mom and continued camping with the first few kids. We have lakes, the Salish Sea, and the Pacific coastline is a true treasure for us.
10. I have 2 younger sisters and 2 younger brothers. My next youngest sister was only 13 months younger than I and we were best friends growing up. We played school and house and dolls and when she got to Kindergarten, she had already learned everything from me as I had started a year earlier. Being as we went to a small school with 2 grades in each classroom, they moved her into 1st grade with me, which solidified our friendship.
11. I’m a wannabe quilter. Actually, I have quilted for years, but for the past 10 years, it has been a dormant pleasure. My time is so full all day long, and in the evening, I don’t last long before I send myself off to bed. BUT…. last weekend, I pulled out an unfinished quilt and my kit with needles and thread. I haven’t done anything with it yet, but it is sitting next to my spot on the couch and will be picked up almost any day now! For sure! I’m not kidding!
12. I have a specific memory of my paternal grandmother’s tin drinking glasses. The water and the milk was always super cold and delicious. I searched for several years and now have similar cups. They are the favorite drinking cups of all of my kids! They seem almost magical in their ability to make simple water and milk so icy cold. On the practical side, they dent, but don’t break when small hands drop them.
13. I graduated from Rush University College of Nursing in 1981 with a BSN in nursing and a BA from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois at the same time. It was a program where all pre-nursing and liberal arts class happened the first two years in Monmouth and the nursing training happened at Rush in Chicago. Fact: There were more residents in the apartment building where I lived near the hospital in Chicago than there were people in the small farming town I grew up in. I still remember the sensory overload when I first moved there.
14. I learned piano and flute starting in 4th grade and by the time I was in high school, I was earning money as a piano teacher. My sisters were much more gifted than I was… I was fine and could accompany folks, etc, but they could just sit down and flow with the music. So I quit lessons during high school and joined the track team at school. I still play my piano for pleasure, which is one of my sure fire ways to relax and let go of stress.
15. I was a hospital nurse for several years before I went to grad school. I became a Family Nurse Practitioner and worked with Native communities, low income and homeless populations, as well as teaching pediatrics in a graduate nursing program. I come from a family of teachers and, too be honest, my favorite work as a nurse was when I was teaching nursing students. Hmmmm!
16. I am a black Dane. I am a direct descendant of immigrants from Denmark, but many of us (I, my father, his father) have brown eyes and dark brown hair with less than fair skin. Apparently, there ARE Scandinavian folks who are dark and we probably have Spanish genes coming from back in the Viking days when they would plunder and loot and bring back prisoners from their outings. My mom’s side is English/German and all of my siblings have blue eyes and fair hair.
17. We had a garden that was about an acre in size when I was young in that small farming town and all 5 of us kids grew up spending an hour out in the garden every day to help out. We all also got to (had to? LOL) help with preserving the harvest. I have vivid memories of the worms while husking corn, the hot moist kitchen while steaming and preserving tomatoes, the sore, green fingers from snapping green beans and shelling peas. Good memories now as I remember talking and laughing and singing, but it seemed never-ending when I was a kid.
18. My extended family enjoy ongoing, large, colorful jigsaw puzzles. My dad had a large piece of plywood when I was growing up to hold the current puzzle. We’d slide it under the couch when not in use, but it was a nearly constant occupant on top of our coffee table. I’ve never really told any of them that I do not enjoy jigsaw puzzles. I always retreat to my quilting or my camera. 🙂
19. I helped build a house once. I was so filthy all the time! LOL. But I learned so much… framing, concrete, stairways, railings, window installation, drywall, wiring, painting, roofing. All valuable skills that have served me well over the years. I also learned that I am really not a carpenter (nor any of the other things), because while I loved learning each step, I was bored with the repetition of doing it over and over again in a large house. I am glad I chose nursing as a career!
20. Since I started my blog, I have been asked multiple times about how many children I have fostered. I don’t know. Not because I had so many that I couldn’t keep track and not because I forgot any. I just have not kept count because it does not matter to me. I know their faces and have pictures; each child has been precious to me, but I have not fostered for 28+ years, nor adopted 8 children to add notches to my belt. How many I have ‘done’ and even what their stories were do not matter. Our connections, our hearts and our spirits are the true measure of this journey.
THERE! Twenty random things about me! Please give me comments and/or moments of your life that resonate! I’d love to hear!
To see the previous post under this 30-Day Challenge, click on the following link….