100 things about me that you should know...
1. I was born in Wausau, Wisconsin. I don't remember it though because my family moved to Illinois when I was 6 months old.
2. I spent most of my life in Illinois - mainly suburbs of Chicago.
3. As a result of this, I used to say Wis-cahn-sin and even "melk" (milk) and "pellow" (pillow). If you're from the Chicago area, you'll get the reference.
4. I have one sibling, a brother that I've looked up to my whole life.
5. He's the outgoing one and I'm more shy - although my friends are always shocked when I tell them I'm an introvert. They've never thought of me this way.
6. This is because I ask A LOT of questions. I can carry on a conversation with a wall because I'm really good at getting other people to talk. I spend very little time talking about myself, however.
7. I got married in 1996 - six weeks after I graduated from college.
8. My husband and I are happy that we're still together. We're also a little shocked considering how young we were and how bad the statistics are for couples staying together these days.
9. We've lived in 5 different places - not just houses, but cross-country moves - since we've been married. (Michigan [2 places], Colorado, St. Louis, Colorado)
10. We've loved each and every place for different reasons, but would like to stay in Colorado.
11. In Michigan, we lived on a lake. We once saw a deer fall through the ice and into the freezing water below. I called the fire department and they came out to attempt to rescue the deer. They couldn't, but after what seemed like forever, the deer managed to get out on its own.
12. In St. Louis, we bought a historic house built in 1900. We renovated and restored it ourselves. It was beautiful. It had a wrap-around front porch and a sleeping porch off the master bedroom. Those are two things I've always wanted in a house.
13. Another thing I've always wanted is a porch swing. My dad built me one for Christmas 2008, and we're going to hang it up soon. Can't wait!
14. I just realized how much I love porches. Something about the slow, easy lifestyle of lingering on a porch that I love.
15. I love to eat! I love to eat A LOT! (Meaning, I love the act of eating and I love eating large quantities.)
16. My favorite things to eat involve any sort of dark chocolate or seafood - but not together.
17. I have a crazy texture aversion that doesn't allow me to eat anthing that dollops (i.e., mushy things) - mashed potatoes, pudding, sour cream, creamy icing, soft ice cream. These things make me gag.
18. I was blessed with a super-high metabolism. This combined with the texture aversion (which prevents me from eating lots of very fattening things), has made it so that I'm not 1,000 lbs.
19. I think this is because I'm very fidgety, too. Constantly moving, so I burn off everything that I eat.
20. I lived with a family in France when I was in fifth grade. They had a son my age, Sebastien, who came to live with my family later. I regret that I lost touch with him over the years.
21. I ran cross-country and track in Junior High and High School. I was pretty good - actually came in first place in the 1600m several times.
22. I HATE running today!
23. I was a cheerleader in high school. Anyone who met me after high school thinks this is crazy because they have the impression that cheerleaders are blonde, stupid and slutty. I am none of these things.
24. I'm embarrassed to say that my first (shoulder dislocation) and second (concussion) major life injuries were from cheerleading. I dislocated my shoulder catching a girl who we had tossed into the air. I was in a sling for a month.
25. I quit my job at Blockbuster because they tried to make me carry around HUGE stacks of videos for shelving while I was in a sling with a dislocated shoulder.
26. My first real job was at a residential home for severely retarded and handicapped children. I worked mostly with the newborns and babies. That job changed my life in so many ways.
27. After that I worked at a Hallmark store and at the dreaded Blockbuster video store.
28. I went to college at a small liberal arts school in a cornfield in Indiana. I can honestly say that I loved every minute of it.
29. While in college I spent time working on medical teams in the jungles of Argentina and the mountains of Bolivia. I got to pull teeth, deliver a baby and perform toe surgery.
30. I also had a dear friend killed by a lightning strike while we were in Bolivia. To this day I'm still afraid of lightning.
31. The first thing I ever had published (aside from articles in my high school and college newspapers) was a personal essay about this tragedy in Bolivia. It was in a book on the grieving process called "From Eulogy to Joy."
32. My senior year, I worked as an admission counselor. I loved interviewing prospective students and their families. It was rewarding to help high schoolers realize if DePauw was the right fit for them.
33. I met my husband in college. He is the level-headed, left brained person to my dream-bigger-than-reality, right brained personality. He is amazing.
34. We've backpacked in Alaska together - we have the most amazing photos of grizzly bears.
35. We've plastered ourselves against the wall of a train tunnel in Spain while walking the Caminito del Rey near the Chorro Dam. The train wasn't scheduled to be coming through when it did. It was the loudest thing I've ever heard.
36. We've been scuba diving in Hawaii and St. Martin and Cancun. My husband gets sea sick every time we go scuba diving, but it makes for great fish watching when he hurls in the water.
37. We hiked to the very top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park. Even the part with the chain bolted into the rock.
38. We love backpacking in Canyonlands National Park. I think the Maze District is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I've ever been.
39. My first job after I got married was doing fundraising for the March of Dimes. I loved planning the fundraising events. I also loved planning my wedding. I've always said that if most weddings and events didn't fall on weekends, I'd love to be a professional event planner.
40. After that I worked in marketing for a performing arts presenter in Michigan.
41. I adore the performing and the visual arts. I could spend all day long in a theater or a gallery/musuem.
42. I am so lucky that I get to write about the performing and visual arts today. I write two weekly columns for the Canyon Courier in Evergreen.
43. I once played Veruca Salt in a community theater version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I think it was the highlight of my acting career. I play a really good spoiled brat.
44. I'm not a brat, but I was definitely spoiled. Being the youngest child, and a girl, my parents always let me make the decisions about where we went on vacation, where we went out to eat, etc.
45. My brother used to make me fake cry when we went to the drive-through at the bank. He thought it would make the teller give us more suckers because she felt sorry for the sad little girl in the back seat.
46. When we moved to Colorado the first time, I got a job as the marketing director at an architecture firm. I learned a lot about marketing, but even more about managing people - even those that don't want to be managed.
47. It St. Louis, I ran the creative department of a Fortune 500 company. I loved combining my creative skills with my managerial talent to produce great products.
48. After that I started my own consulting firm. I do large scale marketing and public relations planning, as well as implementing the nuts and bolts of these plans (i.e., website design, branding campaigns, brochure authoring, etc.)
49. My entire life I've wanted to be a writer.
50. Although I have had many things published over the years, I never felt like I could call myself a writer.
51. The first time I got paid to write something (besides the text for a brochure), I felt like I could honestly use the term "writer."
52. That was a very proud day!
53. Today, I write all the time. I write weekly articles on the arts. I write articles about dogs and cats for Ralston-Purina. I'm writing a novel. I'm writing a musical. I don't have enough time to write.
54. I belong to the Dog and Cat Writers Associations of America. I didn't even know those existed.
55. As much as I like the varied schedule and projects from my consulting work, I LOVE writing. I think that's what I want to do when I grow up.
56. I am the mother of two amazing boys - Alex and Ben.
57. My first pregnancy was a breeze in every way.
58. My second pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 13 weeks.
59. My third pregnancy (with Son #2) was more challenging than my first. I was sick for 14 weeks straight - all day long!
60. I delivered my second son in the car on I-70 (the busiest highway in America) while my husband was still driving the car 85 mph.
61. I was in the front seat.
62. I suffered through a bout of post-partum depression after my second son was born. I didn't even know that it was PPD until my husband forced me to go see my doctor. I just thought maybe having a second kid had turned me into an angry, anxious person who cried a lot. I'm glad that wasn't the case.
63. I went to see a therapist who told me to tap on my head and my lip when I was feeling anxious. I found a different therapist who just talked to me and listened to me - without the tapping. That seemed to work much better. I even went on anti-depressants for awhile. Finally, the PPD passed, and I learned a lot about myself in the process.
64. Now that the PPD is gone, I never take for granted the amazing, happy life that I have. Depression is a dark and lonely place. A place that I never want to go back to.
65. My kids are the light of my life. I feel like I'm more alive now that I have them.
66. My oldest is the sweetest, most sensitive and creative child I've ever met.
67. My youngest has an incredible spirit. He is fearless and has the greatest laugh I've ever heard.
68. Every day I'm thankful for what kind children I have. Kindness is something that you can try to teach, but I believe it is primarily an innate trait.
69. I'm so lucky to be a stay-at-home mom, although somedays I feel like running away to Mexico!
70. I have never felt more ecstatic, more frustrated, more intelligent, more terrified, more nurturing and more in love than I do as a mother.
71. I have a new respect for my mother's infinitely deep well of patience now that I am a mother myself.
72. I love my parents very much and respect both of them immensely.
73. I love to knit. My children own more hats than they will ever wear in a lifetime. I have spent hours making hand knitted socks. Alex swears that his bright green "Kermit the Frog" socks are the best ones in the drawer because Mommy made them.
74. I have an addictive personality, so I can't just have a hobby. It turns into a passion. Consequently, I need an extra closet to store all of my yarn, needles, jewelry making supplies, sewing needles, etc.
75. I'm a sucker for working with non-profits. I've always said that I'm destined to make very little money because I love working with people and causes that are bettering our world.
76. I love animals. When I was little, my parents used to joke that I had some sort of magical power over animals. A combination of Crocodile Dundee and the Horse Whisperer. Large and small animals used to lay their heads in my lap. They still do, but they also do it now with my youngest son, Ben.
77. Kids are also this way with me. I've always loved kids, and I think they can tell. They seem to be drawn to me.
78. When I was 3, my dog's tail got chopped off when the screen door slammed shut on it. I sat in the backyard comforting the dog who was spurting blood everywhere while my mom called the emergency vet.
79. I now have a dog of my own. Bailey is a Brittany Spaniel.
80. We decided to get a Brittany because of the pet store where we bought our dog food when I was growing up. The owner had a Brittany that used to lay up on the counter and sleep. I thought they were such calm dogs.
81. After getting Bailey, I quickly learned that they aren't what you would call a calm breed.
82. Bailey is a bird dog who we've never taken hunting. As a puppy she took the job upon herself. She used to grab birds in mid-flight in our backyard. She would deliver them to me proudly. She hasn't done this in awhile, but I know she'd still like to.
83. I used to have a recurring dream about being trapped under water. I haven't had it in very long time.
84. I have incredibly vivid dreams. I dream every night, and I always remember them. My husband has gotten tired very tired of listening to me recount all of them. After 13 years of marriage, that's close to 5,000 dreams. I'd be tired of it too!
85. I love to read. Books, magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes. Anything with the written word can suck me in.
86. I particularly love novels. If someday I can, through just the right combination of words, make someone feel the way some of my favorite authors have made me feel, I will consider my life successful. The written word is an incredible thing!
87. My husband calls me Annie because my middle name is Anne. He's the only person in the world that calls me that. I love it.
88. Growing up, I always wanted a nickname. My parents intentionally named me and my brother with names that couldn't be turned into nicknames. (Sara and Mark) That's why I love the Annie thing.
89. I'm addicted to Diet Coke. From 2004 (when we started trying to get pregnant with our first) until 2008 (when I stopped breast feeding my second) I swore off caffeine entirely. But because I have that addictive personality, I'm back on the DC wagon. It's all or nothing, baby!
90. I didn't really enjoy being pregnant with my sons, but I loved nursing them. I consider myself lucky that nursing (and childbirth for that matter) was so easy for me. I know that's the exception, not the rule.
91. A guy tried to pick me up in a bar once by telling me that he dove with Jacques Cousteau on the Calypso. I started asking him a bunch of technical scuba diving questions that he didn't know the answer to. I probably would have played along if I had wanted to go out with him. But I didn't, so it was fun to watch him squirm.
92. We spend every New Year's Eve with the same group of friends from college. It's usually a 3 or 4 day event, sometimes involves fireworks (if we're not in Colorado) and always involves lots of cooking and laughter.
93. I love flying on airplanes. Ever since I was a little kid, I have this wonderful sense of anticipation when I get on a plane. I don't think it's as much about the flight as it is the adventures on the other end of the trip.
94. I have a really hard time saying no to things. I'm overcommitted and understaffed in life. But I continue to say yes to things. I'm constantly working on this bad habit.
95. I love sushi. I could eat it every meal of every day of my life. If I had all of the money in the world, I would hire a personal sushi chef - and give boatloads away to non-profits (money, not sushi - well, maybe they would like that too!?!) (See #73).
96. Sleeping is one of my favorite things. I honestly think it's because I'm always cold. Curling up in flannel pajamas under warm covers is the only time of day that I'm truly warm.
97. I also love long, hot showers. I don't get many of those now that I'm a mom.
98. It will never cease to amaze me how much of myself I see in my children. It's one of life's greatest gifts to see yourself reflected in another person. It also makes me realize that many of my crazy quirks are genetic and not learned. I never wanted to pass along my neuroses, but my boys just have some of them anyway!
99. I hope when I'm 90 I can write another "100 things" list and it's even more rich with experiences and ideas.
100. I realized from re-reading this list that I love the word "amazing." I'm truly fortunate that my life has allowed me to see and do so many things and meet so many people that are worthy of this word. Amazing!!