Oh, and by the way, it's my birthday today. Having a birthday sandwiched halfway between Christmas and New Year's Day has always been a strange mix of good and bad. It gets forgotten a lot, and I spent many a birthday (both as a child and adult) in the car en route from holiday visits, but on the other hand, I never did have to go to school or take a test on my birthday, and there were a couple years I got a nice, big Christmas-birthday combo present if I wanted something too extravagant for either holiday.
Today I'm 35, which feels completely unremarkable in every way. My mom and dad, who are here for the holidays, pointed out that I'm getting close to middle age. Thanks for the reminder. I don't really feel like it. I feel healthy and spry for the most part, unless I've spent two hours shoveling snow the previous day. I'm not so good at staying up past 11pm but thanks to my caffeine addiction, I can muddle through. Also, I never thought I'd be a housewife/SAHM at this age, but surprise! Here I am.
Anyway, to celebrate 35 years of the world with me in it (which I hope is a good thing), here are 35 things about me. Some of these things you may already know, some may be a surprise. Some may be interesting. Many are not. Welcome to my world.
1. I am a Capricorn. We're supposed to be mysterious.
2. I don't know that I'm really so mysterious, though I am rather shy. Does that count?
3. I do have a hard time masking my feelings, try though I might. I remember once in high school I made it to the all-state chorus. During a rehearsal break, the other students from my school and I were chatting in a group, and a girl from another school showed up and announced that she had a dime of marijuana stashed in her shoe in case any of us would like to join her later to enjoy it. She was clearly under the influence of something already. I prided myself in maintaining what I thought was a neutral expression, but the other girls in my group were doubled over in laughter at the look on my face, which was apparently one of horror and repulsion. There's a reason I've never been good at poker.
4. I like to run. I don't do marathons or anything. Heck, I've never even run a race. But I have a 4.5-mile route I like to do 3-5 times per week when possible.
5. I discovered a few years ago that it is actually possible to run through the winter in Wisconsin as long as you're dressed for it. I'll even run when it's in the single digits.
6. Not that I particularly enjoy it. I really enjoy running in temps between 25 and 70 degrees. Anything warmer or colder is uncomfortable. Below zero is unbearable and I won't do it.
7. On that note, I was pretty stoked to get a super deal on a new pair of running shoes this afternoon. Because it's my birthday and I haven't bought new running shoes (or any new shoes, for that matter) for myself in over two years.
8. I'm not really a shoe person. You know how the stereotypical woman has like 100 pairs of shoes? Not me. I have about a half dozen total: couple pairs of running shoes, snow boots, rain boots, cool boots, dress heels which I wear so rarely I literally have to dust them off for performances, and my everyday sneakers, which I got for 15 bucks off the clearance rack 6 years ago and are literally falling apart. I'm still searching for that perfect pair of cool boots. I haven't found them yet, but I'll know when I do.
9. I am not a pet person. At all. I don't even want a goldfish in my house. Ew. Ewwwww.
10. I did have to take care of my cousin's goldfish when I was a junior in college. He was a misshapen fellow named Gilbert who made lots of blub-blub noises and frequently floated at the top of his bowl pretending to be dead. We'd be on the verge of sending him down the drain when suddenly he would start swimming around blub-blubbing like nothing was wrong. Gilbert, you fickle fish, you! One day he kicked the bucket for real, and since one of my roommates was laid up with a broken wrist, I was tasked with carrying the bowl of water with his bloated carcass at arm's length down to the creek for a quick, though elegant, eulogy and burial.
11. I have many years of training as a classical musician under my belt. Many.
12. But I'm not very good at playing by ear. My little brother is better at it, and he earns his keep as an electrical engineer.
13. My only real regrets in life are that I never seriously considered pursuing a career in science instead of the humanities, and that I never got really good at speaking any foreign languages, though I've studied several.
14. I used to speak German fairly well, but alas, ich habe ganz vergessen. It's just been too long.
15. I knit. A lot. I have a whole blog about it.
16. I learned to knit in 4-H, with my mom teaching, when I was in fourth grade. I stuck with it pretty well for two or three years, then lost interest and gained it back a couple of times over the next many years. Finally my best friend in grad school (with whom I haven't been in touch for a while, sadly) taught me to knit socks in 2002 and I was hooked for good.
17. I didn't know about collecting yarn or building a stash until Daniel was born. Then, I was almost done with my doctorate and stuck at home with a baby and no chance to practice so I nursed and knit and collected yarn and suddenly, my stash exploded. It's obvious to me now (though it wasn't then) that I was making up for my lack of productivity in one area (music/grad school) with the expectation of productivity in another (knitting), without factoring in the enormous time-suck that is caring for an infant. Now I have more yarn than I know what to do with and I am making a true and conscientious effort to use it up instead of buying more.
18. I know I'm doing really well when I go to a yarn store with my mom on my birthday and don't buy any yarn. That happened today.
19. I hardly ever do my own designing. I mean, I can make a hat or a pair of socks without a pattern and throw in some color work or a cable or two, but that's about it. I've been doing some test knitting for a professional designer the last couple years, though, and that's been fun. I'm working on a pullover sweater in bulky yarn for her right now and I'm afraid it's turning out a tad small (my fault, not hers.) Bummer.
20. I mentioned I'm a musician, right? I play the piano. I have professional degrees in teaching and collaborative performance.
21. I can play anything that isn't improvised (I don't do jazz, in other words, and that's not a shortcoming, just a whole field of study I never explored). Lately I've been playing a lot of concerto reductions, music for French horn and art song and musical theatre.
22. I really love playing art song. If I could be gainfully employed playing and coaching art song I'd be in paradise.
23. But that's never gonna happen, so I'm okay with taking the opportunities that come my way. I do really like playing orchestral reductions, and I get a fair amount of work doing that come concerto audition season for the local orchestras. (For those who don't know, orchestral reductions are when you take the music written for an entire orchestra, such as for a concerto for solo instrument with orchestra, and squeeze it all into a piano score for two hands. They are often difficult to play and not always suited to pianistic technique.) It's strangely satisfying and freeing to puzzle out what should be played and what should be left out.
24. I like to cook. I even love it sometimes.
25. I was vegetarian for a while. I started eating meat again when I got pregnant with Daniel and craved turkey sandwiches and grapes and ice cubes.
26. Now I eat meat regularly, but not often. This Christmas has been quite the exception, what with all the festivity and extra people around. I could happily go a month without meat now, I think. Ugh.
27. I bake nearly all of the bread we eat.
28. I also grill flatbreads like tortillas and pita.
29. Sometimes I even make bagels. They are fun and so good when made fresh.
30. Come to think of it, I should do some tutorials on those things sometime. I think I promised to do that a few years ago and never got around to it.
31. I'm not ordinarily a procrastinator.
32. Dear lord, I'm only at #32? I'm not sure I can think of another 3 interesting things to write about myself. Or even semi-interesting. Seriously. I'm wracking my brain here. Hmmmmmmmmm. I really like the color red.
33. I'm type A in a lot of ways, but I'm a so-so housekeeper. That said, one of my pet peeves is dirty socks on the floor.
34. I can't stand wearing bracelets, so I never do.
35. I've never once dyed my hair (that attempt with red kool-aid in high school didn't work, so it doesn't count). All those gray hairs are 100% NATURAL, dammit!