22 October 2017

16 random facts: the shortest stories redux

16. I love the rain, which happens at home throughout the year. In Wisconsin, the rains come mostly late summer-early fall, and then again in spring, mixed with snow. In Rwanda, there are downpour rains off and on in January, which is the end of the rainy season, and on the west shore of the Big Island of Hawai'i, the winter rains can be seen coming from a long way out across the ocean most mornings, and they pass over to leave behind the smell of plants and trees and wet stone.

15. Baking is like prayer in that its ritual grounds me and brings me comfort. I rarely use a recipe anymore unless it's something new. My favorite pie is huckleberry.

14. I learned to play the violin in 4th grade and came to love the used violin my parents purchased for me though I was never very good at playing. The violin disappeared from my parents' house after I wasn't living there—somewhere between moves or spring cleanings—along with my first pair of skis and the saddle I rode with throughout my Junior Posse years. I always hoped those three things ended up in the same place.

13. My only notable vice is good coffee despite the cost of imported small-batch beans or how many times my doctor recommends cutting caffeine. Decaf is for posers.

12. Most movies I watch in the theater are either action-dramas with big explosions and complicated fight scenes or sci-fi with elaborate special effects. Ellen Ripley remains my all-time favorite movie character, followed by John McClane and Wolverine.

11. Graduate school is not the hardest thing I've ever done, but it's up there in the top 20. Or at very least, the top 50.

10. My favorite vegetables are green beans. Second is butternut squash.

9. I learned to play baseball from my dad when I was a kid, and the first pro game I went to was an Angels game in California after we'd moved back to the states. I was probably 11. That year, our family also went to Disneyland, Sea World, Knott's Berry Farm, the San Diego Zoo, and the Hollywood Wax Museum, which contributes perhaps to my ongoing questions about American culture.

8. If I could take up another instrument, it would be the cello.

7. I've had textbook aura migraines since I was about 10 years old, which have increased in frequency over the years to as many as 2-3 per week. I've tried all kinds of remedies, prescribed or not, with varying success. I've also read that migraines become less frequent for women post-menopause, which may be the only medical condition I know of that can be ignored until eventually it goes away.

6. Watching Kirk Gibson's home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series makes me cry. Every time.

5. Spending Thanksgiving in Virginia with my cousin and his family has become a cherished holiday tradition for me over the last five years. Plus I get to try out all my latest baking recipes on them, and to date, no one has complained.

4. I love being able to tell people about all five of my daughters.

3. I used to sew most of my own clothes—everything except blue jeans—out of necessity but also because the work of sewing helps me think. Once when two of my daughters were toddlers, I made some fancy ruffled dresses for them out of bedsheets, and the most common question I got about those dresses was where I bought them. Strangely, I could never quite remember.

2. It always amuses me when people ask my husband how he could let me go off to school without him. The second question they ask—also amusing—is how he manages by himself.

1. I have successfully climbed a glaciated peak in the Pacific Northwest, which makes me eligible to become a Mazama, although I've never gotten around to turning in the paperwork. That day, the summit seemed like the top of the world, horizons falling away on all sides under the chromatic blues of high altitude. Also, it was covered with ladybugs.


What you are thinking, what shape your mind is in, is what makes the biggest difference of all.  ~ Willie Mays






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