About Me. More than you ever probably wanted to know…

1. I have a beautiful bonsai money tree sitting on my desk.  It is supposed to bring you good fortune (of the monetary type) and while I have not had a windfall yet, the happiness I get just from looking at it is fortune enough.

2. I raised a baby skunk (called a kit) from almost birth till he was one year old. We named him Poquito and we would probably have him still if the vet
hadn’t told us he would eventually spray in the house.  Here’s the thing: skunks will only spray when frightened.  He was never frightened, but we had a Great Pyrenees and a Great Dane in the house at the time and Dr. Jung made a very good point about those two pups rounding the corner one day and ‘surprising’ the little fellow and *poof* Pepe Le Pew.  (We took him to a wildlife preserve where I assume he lives still with a little family of his own and on Sunday evenings they join the muskrats for a picnic supper in the meadow.)

3. The song ‘With One More Look at You/ Watch Closely Now’ from the remake of the movie A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson is one of my favorite songs ever.  It is near perfection. In fact, I love the movie.

4. Samoas are the best Girl Scout cookies.  Period.

5. I wear my black yoga pants entirely too much.

6. When I was about five I had a horrible bicycle wreck.  I stole my sister’s ten-speed and decided to meet my mom at the Riley’s house, which involved two hills- one very steep, and I had no idea how to use the brakes.  There was this moment of indescribable freedom as I soared on the bike with the wind rushing past my face and then the inevitable terror when I saw what was going to happen.  I have never been on a bike since.

7. Jeff Van Herpen was my first boyfriend.  He gave me a stuffed puppy on Valentine’s Day that said ‘Hug Me’ on it.  I have loved him ever since.

8. My parent’s HVAC repairman is name Hon (pronounced “one”) Hung Lo.  You can’t make this stuff up.

9. I am afraid of birds.  Not all birds mind you (I like Finches and other small birds), but I am afraid of most birds.  I believe it stems from a combination of reading Poe’s “The Raven” as a child and then watching with rapt terror the winged menaces take over New England in Hitchcock’s The Birds.  I make no apologies.  Emus are especially frightening.

10. I love getting tan in the summer.  I know, I know, I am not supposed to worship the sun gods anymore.  There is just something really great about spending a day in the sun at the pool with a good book, great friends, my boys and a few cold beverages.  Sue me.  I DO wear more sunscreen than I ever used to, however. I tan to about the color of a walnut anyway.

11. When I was in South Dakota I was witness to the birth of a white buffalo. Among the Sioux this is a very rare and spiritual gift.  An elder of the Lakota was explaining this when he took my hand and said, “you are an old soul and one who walks with white buffalo.”  The rest of my time spent there I was known as ‘Walks With White Buffalo’ among their people.  Not a bad moniker at all.

12. The other moniker I have been saddled with all my life is ‘Toad’.  My father began calling me this at a very young age and it stuck.  Only a select few use it now for fear of flogging.

13. Along that same vein, I desperately wanted to change my name to Ashlene around the age of seven.  I have no reason why.  Thank God my mother put her foot down.

14. When I was about ten I read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.  I guess even as a child I was obsessed with words.

15. I love spicy food.  The spicier the better.  In fact, a few months ago I took a burger challenge at a little diner in Buchanan Dam.  I had to sign a waiver before I could eat the burger.  It had Ghost peppers,  Habanero peppers and Trinidad Scorpion peppers chopped atop it. (FYI, a Trinidad Scorpion pepper is one rung below what is used for pepper spray.)  The burger was delicious, although I confess I could only eat half and that my lips and around my mouth swelled and turned almost purple upon eating it.

16. I love Neil Diamond. I figure there are two groups of people:  those who love Neil Diamond and those who do not.  I am squarely in the former.  I mean, can you really listen to ‘I Am…I Said’ without feeling what he’s saying to you?  I think not.

17.  Will Ferrell may be the comedic genius of our time.  He is at times bombastic and lurid and I cannot get enough.

18.  I did not have a bank account until this year.  I am still a little uneasy about giving in to “the man”, but so far so good.

19. I love my room.  Everything it holds some sort of significant meaning to me. It is my safe haven and quite literally my favorite place.  There is neither TV nor any other worldly distractions (other than three giant teenage boys). My bed is laden with feather bed upon feather bed of which the softest sheets adorn and fluffy down comforters lay cozily across the top.  There are pillows of all sizes, shapes and varying degrees of softness, always plumped with soft cases.All of which I sink into and nest down in whenever I steal the chance.

20. I do not like The Three Stooges.

21. I also never cared for Sylvester and Tweety or Tom and Jerry.  Cats may be a lot of things, but they are not that stupid.  Just ask Phinnaeus.

22. I kill plants.  It’s not on purpose of course… I just seem to have been given a black thumb.  I keep trying though and at present I have a lovely garden filled with lavender and sweet basil and thyme and sage that seem to be resistant to my torture.

23. When I was little we had a massive snow storm in the Fort.  We built a whale igloo (complete with blue food coloring for the whale to look ‘authentic’) with Sam and Eliza Harper. It took us three days and made the front page of the paper!

24. Jackson Browne’s acoustic concert was the best show I have ever seen. Just a guy and about ten guitars.  He was amazing. I sat in the concierge section and a very nice cocktail server brought me drinks when I ran low.  Heaven.

25. Every Sunday before church I crank up the Black Crowe’s ‘Soul Singing’ and sing along as loud as the spirit moves me.  Sometimes I think I get more out of it than church itself. God understands.  He likes the Crowes.

26. I learned a whole lot about life and human kindness just by watching Andy Griffith.  Laugh if you must, but I dare you to watch the episode about Opie’s job or the bird with the broken wing and not come away a little wiser and better, frankly.

27. I love real Coke.  Especially Mexican Coca-Cola which is made with real cane sugar.  I’m pretty sure they must still put cocaine in there, because I am definitely addicted.

28.  I love to camp, but only if someone else pitches the tent.  And if you’re going to hike, I’ll follow along for awhile and then head back on my own to sit by the lake and write or nap or swim.

28. I suck at mathematics.  I mean I truly suck.  It frustrates me beyond belief that I cannot do math, even the simple stuff.  I look at the page and it may as well be hieroglyphics.  In fact, those probably make more sense to me.

29. Peonies are my favorite flower when I am feeling sensual and romantic.  Sunflowers are my favorite when I’m just being me.

30. I wish I was more diabolical.

31. When I was very small I used to wake up late at night and raise my window and listen for the trains in the distance.  When I would hear their whistle blow it prompted dreams of faraway places and what might be possible.  I never knew where that train would end up and I still wonder about the possibilties.

32. When I was in junior high I made a little table in my Woodworking class. I was so proud of that table. To my mother’s horror I put it beside my bed, but Mom never said a word.  Gracious lady. I’m pretty sure it was terrible, but I crafted it with my own two hands and it was beautiful to me.

33. I am a big fan of The FEED Project. The FEED Projects’ mission is to create good products that help feed the world. They do this by selling various accessories, etc., each with a set donation built in to the cost. Then the impact of each purchase is stenciled on to the garment, satchel, or other product so that the help you provide becomes real and tangible to the you.  I have supported this effort for a since its inception in 2006.  As a result, I have provided hot meals and AIDS medications for children all over the world (including the States) and I have some gorgeous handmade bags that I cherish to show for it! Win-Win.  Check them out at http://www.feedprojects.com.

34. I am a good kisser.  Well, at least I think I am.  I’ve never had any complaints.  Legend in my own mind, right?

35. I think the Chinese Christmas dinner scene in A Christmas Story is one of the funniest on film. Irreverent and classic.  I tried to buy a leg lamp last Christmas but Walgreen’s sold out before I could snag one.

36.  My boys each get only present from me at Christmas.  It is not about the volume of gifts, but more to me about if they are meaningful and representative of why we give gifts at all at this time of year.

37. Not that I do…but I can drink like a sailor and cuss like one too.  Maybe in a past life I was Captain Bligh.

38. I am a little OCD. (Quit laughing, Auntie Sloane.) It used to be a good deal worse. For example: when I was a young girl, we could not leave the house for church until my knee socks exactly matched in length.  Since this is a bit of impossibility, we were often late to church causing my mother to want to throttle me.  Now I contain my compulsion to home things- drawers and closets and the like.  I still cannot sleep if there are dishes in the sink.

39. I really want to fly like a bird (ironic, right?)and I am fairly certain as soon as Alec turns 18 I will head directly to the skydiving place and jump out of a plane.

40. When we lived in New Hampshire we had the ocean in the front of the house and a salt marsh out back.  It was breathtaking.  I had an old-fashioned clothesline out back and I used clothes pins to hang all our clothes dry.  It was so still and quiet with the soft breeze and the whisper of the reeds. Not only did the laundry always smell otherworldly but it took me to a place of solitude and was a welcome respite.

41. It is my dream to someday live in a tree house, or an old barn that has been converted; or perhaps when the boys have all gone, to simply pack my things and move to St. John or St. Lucia and find a little cottage and fritter my life away writing in the sun and the cool shade of evening.

42. My very favorite fruit is watermelon.  Is there anything better than ice-cold watermelon on a hot summer evening?  Nope.  Peaches run a close second, but only because they make such delicious homemade ice cream.

43.  I think the five words ‘you’ve been on my mind’ are some of the most profound and provocative in the English (or any other) language.