My too smart for her own good, amazingly lovely co-founder of the Life List Club, and friend, Marcia Richards, just tagged me in the hot blog game of the season: Tell us 10 random things about yourself! The rules are really complicated: I have to tell you 10 random things about myself. And then I select four people to tag and they have to do it too. I like this so much better than chain letters, so in the spirit of a favorite film, Twister, “Tell us, why you are the way are.”
10. I like to spend New Years alone. It’s a tradition long developed now where I gather up a stack of my favorite guilty pleasure films and stay up late watching the movies I want to watch. Last year, it was Anne of Green Gables, you can read an old post about it here. I also journal and look back at the past year and use the time to reflect on what things I want to accomplish in the next year. I love having this night to myself.
9. When I was little, I played by myself a lot, not out of choice, really, I’m just a lot younger than my siblings. So I got really good at speaking in different voices and having elaborate musicals, puppet shows, and plays with my stuffed animals. I practiced this talent by quoting movies, and reading aloud switching accents every page-which helps grow your vocabulary! In high school, our librarian noticed this talent and got me involved with Forensics, and not the CSI kind. It was speech really, but a whole lot more. My category was quickly decided as storytelling. I had to know 5 stories that dealt with specific topics and be able to tell them on cue by a judge. I did Irish legends of kings, kid’s pirate stories, lisping time machine inventors, gargly three-headed Greek sisters, and a whole rainforest of animals. Because I could do all the voices and was very animated, I brought home several first place trophies over the three years I was involved.
8. To coincide with my stories, I also learned by heart any number of musicals and performed these in dress on my neighbor’s porch to an audience of squirrels and sparrows. (I liked to pretend I was Sleeping Beauty and Snow White a lot.) I did entire song and dance numbers from Yankee Doodle Dandy, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific, Singing in the Rain, State Fair, Sound of Music, Kiss Me Kate, The King and I, and My Fair Lady. I loved it. And for those of you with kids who like to play dress up, my bag included: old nightgowns and slips (evening wear), poodle skirts (for twirling at parties), button up shirts with crazy prints on them (for playing school/work), and lots of costume jewelry and shoes.
7. When I learn how to make something, I go a little overboard. In third grade, we learned how to cross-stitch. My entire family and penpal received Christmas gifts that were cross-stitched bookmarks, magnets, and wall hangings. Then they all got friendship bracelets. A few years later the bead babies became popular, and my whole family got keychains. I had so many I started using them as diving toys in the pool for the kids I babysat years later. Next was knitting. I made so many scarves so quickly, I gave myself carpal tunnel, and had to wear a brace for several weeks. Let’s hope the next binge I go on is just my writing one.
6. The name of my first cabbage patch doll was Adele Patti, but I couldn’t pronounce or remember Adele, so I called her Patti. She was a premie and I loved the way she smelled like baby powder. Subsequently, the following Cabbage Patch Dolls that joined my family were Heather, Tay, Humphrey, Barney, Sara, Suzette, Keri Ann, and Sloane.
5. My place of zen has always been by the water. In high school I often walked down to the Rock River and read Wuthering Heights or wrote poetry. My Anais Nin/Sylvia Plath obsession created a boho-confessional style of writing that, though extreme and indulgent, was full of passion, and for that, I love the girl I once was. Now, I make my peace by the mighty Mississippi or far inside Myrick Marsh.
4. One of the most mesmerizing things I’ve ever done is hike the rainforests of Guadaloupe and swim under the Chutes du Carbet waterfall on this Caribbean French Island. I was 16 and had never left the country before. I was invited on a rare opportunity to go on a cruise with my best friend’s family and we stopped at several caribbean ports. Guadeloupe made the biggest impact on me with its thick rainforests, rich temples, and caribbean-french people.
3. You know the scene in Eat, Pray, Love where Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts in the film version) eats pasta to Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen by Amadeus Mozart? That was me on my trip to Italy, with every dish of pasta I ate. Orchestras played as I savored my mostaccoli.
2. A year later I went to Ireland, and I wanted to make sure I remembered more than just the food I ate, like in Italy. I remember sitting on the cliffs of the Aran Islands and journaling. I told myself to remember this moment. I stared at the water rolling below me and snapped a mental photograph. It’s been seven years, and I still vividly remember that day and how the water looked below me.
1. I have been every form of Jessi(e) imaginable. I started as the most common Jessie. Then I was convinced by my sister to spell it Jessy, and a year later changed it myself to Jessi, which I stayed with since second grade. Cousins and siblings would try out grander adjustments like Jessiki. But over the years, it’s become more and more evident that I am a Jess. I never fit the full on Jessica, too high maintenance for me, but Jess is just right. Jess is friendly, Jess swaps food with you at dinner, Jess loves coffee dates, Jess likes to blog. 🙂 Hence, it’s just Jess. And it’s nice to meet you all.
Thanks for coming to my Happiness Project social hour! I hereby tag these people to keep the game going:
Everyone can play along! What are some random facts about yourself that I might not know? I’d love to learn more about all of you!