Saturday, September 27, 2008

When You Give a Sheep a Shot; 55 Things You'll Never Know About Me

Please just skip this post and move along. If you read this list you'll just embarrass both of us.

Still here? I'm warning you, there will be nudity. You won't like it, and neither will I.

1. I have plumbing issues. I’m still afraid of the bathtub drain, and I secretly believe that one day a snake will swim up out of my toilet.

2. My father came from Worcester, Massachusetts and only completed 8th grade, making education for us kids of prime importance to him. We disappointed him a lot but he still loved us.

3. My mother came from a farm family with thirteen children and she didn’t want to talk about it.

4. My parents moved me from my birth state of Maine to California when I was three months old, thus making me officially rootless. I have lived in four other states and one Canadian province. I keep an atlas handy at all times and am always planning my next move.

5. I was born near the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and grew up in San Francisco, one block from the Pacific Ocean.

6. I learned many of the skills I needed from books.

7. I can make a blanket from the sheep onwards.

8. I used to have milk goats and that one goat, Lily, and I have been known to make a big ruckus out in the barn. She always waited until the pail was full before delicately placing her hoof right into it.

9. I believed that book about raising backyard goats and really thought they would weed around the fruit trees for me.

10. During the same period of my life, I once turned the geese into the strawberry patch because another homesteading book said they would clean the weeds between the rows.

11. I know to never turn your back on a gander and I didn’t have to learn that out of a book.

12. I once sheared a sheep by hand with manual clippers, but only the back half. My hand got tired. She looked like a lion.

13. I can give a sheep a shot, but it makes me nervous. It makes the sheep nervous, too.

14. I once owned a weaving store and taught spinning and weaving.

15. I think chickens are fascinating and I can sit and watch them for hours. Their behavior is a metaphor for something that I am still trying to figure out.

16. I once startled a skunk when reaching into a nest to get the eggs out.

17. I helped deliver a lamb in a dark barn while reading the directions, with a flashlight, from yet another homesteading book.

18. In my first garden I planted several rows of corn (reading the directions as I went along) with my little bantam chickens for company. While I was busy looking at the book, the banties were scratching up and eating the corn--another lesson learned about companion animals.

19. One of my favorite things to do (I have a quiet life) is to consider the alternate words offered by Spell Check. For instance, it wanted me to change the word “banties” in the previous sentence into “panties.” Imagine.

20. I honestly believe that I am psychic, but only with my sister, and only some of the time.

21. I used to live in a house that had four fireplaces and was built in 1770. All of the people who had lived there over the centuries had left some little part of themselves behind. There was always lots of company.

22. I hated swimming for years because I was sent to lessons at a vast outdoor unheated salt water pool in cold and foggy San Francisco. The thought of swimming made my teeth chatter.

23. I kind of like swimming now, but only where I can see my feet.

24. I went back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree when I was in my fifties. My father would have been proud, but it was too late to tell him.

25. I got my master’s degree when I was 56.

26. I’ve always had a secret soundtrack running in my head, describing my adventures as I was having them. (She leaned a little closer to the bathtub drain. What was that slithering sound? Something was coming…)

27. My first library job was driving a bookmobile.

28. My last library job was teaching information technology to reluctant 8th graders.

29. While skiing long ago in a headlong and out of control fashion down a bunny hill, I made a promise to myself to give up extreme sports.

30. I have a sister-in-law who once jumped out of an airplane. That’s extreme enough for me.

31. I once stepped on a snake while running barefoot down a California sidewalk.

32. I have never been bitten by a snake, but expect to be momentarily.

33. I have three dogs. I don’t even like dogs. I might be mistaken, but I thought I was a cat person.

34. Just in case, I have four cats.

35. In an unrelated development, I have had several husbands as well, nice men all. We are still in touch.

36. Beez and I have been married for 41 years and have forgotten to celebrate most of our anniversaries. We remembered the 25th because we were in Yellowstone with all of our kids and grandkids and they reminded us. The 30th was lovely because we went to France.

37. My children’s names are in alphabetical order, but not because of any planned cuteness. The blended family just turned out that way.

38. I only like to watch non-scary movies. Years ago I decided that life was scary enough.

39. I learned to knit from a book.

40. I have made 110 sweaters for Knit for Kids.

41. I learned how to bake bread from a book. It has taken me years of practice to make a nice light loaf. Ask my first husband, who used to say that one of his arms was longer than the other from carrying the sandwiches I packed for his lunch.

42. I once lived in Canada.

43. When I lived in British Columbia, my California friends believed that I was somewhere in South America. Others, who understood that I had moved somewhere up north, believed that I was living in an igloo.

44. Now that I live in New Mexico, some of my eastern friends believe I am in a foreign country where only Spanish is spoken.

45. I used to lie on a hill all night and take photographic time exposures of meteor showers.

46. A group of people entrusted me to develop their meteor shower photos. I switched the hypo and developer solutions by accident and ended up with clear strips of film.

47. I had a friend who traveled to Europe and asked me to water his plants while he was gone. I used the jug of photo chemicals that was next to the jug of plant watering solution by mistake.

48. I learned to make pies out of a book when I was 11. I waited until my parents were out and baked ten apple pies for the freezer. Surprise!

49. Another time when my parents were out, I ate too many home baked cinnamon buns and threw up. Good thing no one had thought of eating disorders back then.

50. I learned to make replacement cinnamon buns from a book.

51. Having political discussions gives me a stomach ache, not unlike the one I got from the cinnamon buns. I know what I believe and can’t understand that everyone else hasn’t gotten with the program. My program.

52. Long ago, I was sleeping naked when my apartment caught on fire. That was bad, but not as frightening for everyone concerned as it would be if it happened now.

53. My first car was a 1951 Chevrolet that my father sold to me for $200.

54. I always wanted to be a cowgirl, until I actually rode a horse and found out how high up I was. Another extreme sport given up.

55. I love blogging, because my family has already heard all of this stuff.

If you are down here at the end of the list, you might as well know that this meme was inspired by Judy's list of 100 things about herself. I was excited to read there that she doesn't take meds and that there are dollar sundaes at McDonald's. I do take meds (though not the really good ones) and that's probably why my list only goes up to 55.


Margie's Musings said...

How interesting! By contrast, my life is so boring no one would even read the list.

Sylvia K said...

I love it! Sounds about as fun and squirrelly as mine! Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

I would add a 56th, if I were you--that you have a great sense of humor and often make others laugh!

What a wonderful and funny list. I greatly admire you for going back to school in your fifties. I only graduated high school, but have imagined going back to college. But the idea terrifies me.

clairz said...

Margie, try a list, you might surprise yourself. I sure had a good time compiling mine.

Sylvia, I love squirrelly!

Beth, going back to school was the most affirming thing I have ever done. It was a big relief to find that I was with mostly older people in my classes. Older students work so hard. Everything I learned seemed to be immediately applicable in my life and my work, something that wasn't happening for me the first time around when I was a young student so distracted by life itself.

Linda said...

This list is delightful! You could be our next Erma Bombeck.

Judy said...

Clairz, I am so glad you decided to take this challenge. I could not have picked a better person to give the award to or to take the challenge. I loved it, loved it. It was the most interesting thing I have read in a long time! Thank you for 55 really interesting and funny things.

Rain Trueax said...

I like that list. You seem like a person I'd enjoy knowing in rt. We raise sheep and I have done some of what you talked about but no knitting :)

Anonymous said...

What an interesting person you are! I can relate with many things that you listed! I am 60 & now realizing that I need to get re-trained in another job where there seem to always be a need! (Medical ~ RN). I'm not there yet & have prerequisites to accomplish. I love animals & I truly like New Mexico. I've got a bit of a rolling stone in me ~~~ love to travel and looking for the 'perfect' retirement spot, wherever that will be. I'm also in Clovis.. northanna_2001

Xtreme English said...

found a link to this on esther garvi aka ishtar's ark....this is sooo funny. what a happy find! i'll be back...

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

May I say this is a fabulous list? I knew I liked you anyway, but this clinches it :-)

Unknown said...

I'm all over #26 (she typed as she yawned, realizing it's far too late to be reading blogs, but surprised to have so much in common with clairz).

An interesting life, captured in a fascinating list.