Monday, January 28, 2008

50,000; Fifty Things

Hey! Last night we hit 50,000 visits on the site meter!

I am so grateful to everyone who visits this little corner regularly. Thank you so much for encouraging me, just by checking in here. It makes it a lot more fun, that y'all do that.

I never did the "100 Things About Me" meme when I wrote my 100th post, so maybe, in honor of 50,000 hits, I'll list 50 things about me.

I'll try to make some of them things you might be surprised to learn about me, thus answering Amy's question on my birthday Q & A too! (I haven't forgotten about finishing that, by the way--but I lost most of my answers when my laptop died last week, because I'd been working on them in Word, on the way to and from Wisconsin, and I haven't had the heart to rewrite them yet.)

She asked, "What is one thing that most people don't know about you, and would be surprised to find out?"

Well, here are 50 things, maybe...

1. My favorite color used to be blue, but now I'm not sure what it is. I like certain greens and lavenders a lot. And pink. And peach. And certain blues. My favorite combination of colors, since childhood, has been blue, brown, green and pink.
2. I love Dean's Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream.
3. I used to eat a bowl of ice cream every night for dessert. Can't do that every night now.
4. But I am blessed with a high metabolism.
5. I am also very headache-prone, maybe as a result of the high metabolism. I can't eat sugar or white flour until after dinner or I get a headache--unless I've had enough coffee.
6. I never drank coffee for years until I discovered that it helped me not get headaches.
7. But I can't drink it after 1:00 or I can't sleep.
8. When I was in 6th grade, I won the City-Wide Spelling Bee and went to the State Spelling Bee. I was eliminated in the first round. I barely heard of studying for it.
9. In grade school, I read every horse book ever written and was known for being horse-crazy.
10. I had a pony from 4th to 12th grade. We sold him the day after I graduated. He was dapple gray with a white mane and tail, and he was so beautiful that when I took him to the fair, other owners wanted to breed their little pony mares to him--but alas, he was a gelding. His name was Prince.
10. In high school, my extra-curricular activities included choir, marching band, concert band, quiz team, and playing in the pit orchestra for musicals.
11. My senior year I finally got up the nerve to audition for the musical, and was in the Chorus for--don't laugh!!--a very white-bread production of The Wiz. I was stiff as a board.
12. I played piano from 3rd grade to 6th grade, when my piano teacher died suddenly. I took lessons again during 12th grade, but haven't played much since.
13. I played saxophone from 5th grade through my first semester in college.
14. My freshman year in high school, we had so many saxes that the director asked six of the freshman players to learn other instruments for concert band. He handed me the school's brand-new oboe, and a Teach Yourself Oboe book and tape. "I'd rather have no oboe than a bad oboe," he warned, "so we'll see how you do." Four years later, I was still playing oboe, so I assumed I was doing all right.
15. Many years later, I started having a recurring dream: I was always looking for my oboe before a concert and I could never find it. As I'd wake, I'd realize that of course I never owned one.
16. When I got a chance to buy one at a bargain price, I did. But it's hard to keep up my lip without a reason to play. Someday I'd like to be in a woodwind quintet again.
17. I started out majoring in literature at Wheaton College, planning to get a secondary teaching certificate.
18. But I switched to Elementary Education because I wanted more education courses, and I took too many of my advisor's lit courses and just didn't click with his highly emotional teaching style.
19. Later I regretted not majoring in Lit. Now, I'd probably love that passionate prof's classes.
20. If I went back for a master's, it would probably be in Lit.
21. But I have little interest in getting a master's.
22. And no, contrary to what you'd think, my education courses really don't help at all with homeschooling.
23. I never thought I'd homeschool.
24. My dad was a public school biology teacher for 33 years and he had a great witness in a tough high school. I thought I'd follow in his footsteps.
25. But I couldn't get a teaching job in the area where Papa Rooster got his first job, in the northern suburbs of Chicago.
26. So I worked as a substitute teacher for 6 months, till a friend encouraged me to apply for a managerial job at his company, Allstate Life Insurance Company.
27. I spent one year as a manager in their Accounting Department. Then I asked to be transferred and trained as a life insurance underwriter.
28. Now THAT was a fun job. I'd go back to that before I'd go back to teaching, I think, except for not getting summers off.....
29. As an underwriter, I read medical reports and learned about all kinds of diseases and conditions like high-blood pressure and how they affect average longevity. I also had to make sure that beneficiaries had an "insurable interest" in the covered life--in other words, that the person wasn't worth more dead than alive to the beneficiary. I had to figure out how much extra to charge motorcyclists, hang-gliders, heavy drinkers and folks with other dangerous recreational interests. And explain my decisions to unhappy insurance agents. There was never a dull moment!
30. After our oldest was born, I and another underwriter who was also a new mom pioneered a job-sharing arrangement (this was back in 1991). I worked Monday and Friday, and she worked Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday. It worked out great. They wrote us up in the company magazine.
31. After we both had our second babies, we split the week evenly and my new schedule was every other Wednesday, and every Thursday and Friday for about 18 months. (The three-day weeks were killers.) Then Allstate moved our office another 15 minutes north and I resigned; I already drove 45+ minutes to work, so my commute would have been over an hour.
32. It had been God's provision for us during that time, though; while Papa Rooster went to grad school in business (U of Chicago), we lived on my half-time salary and benefits. I had risen quickly to Senior Underwriter, and I once figured out that, working two days a week, I was making more than some of my fellow education majors who'd taken teaching jobs at low-paying parochical school teaching jobs!
33. I was so happy to stay home full-time. I thought I'd miss the stimulation of a job, but I didn't miss it at all after the first week. I found I was much MORE stimulated by things I now had time for, like mothering and home-making projects--I actually sewed a little those first couple years at home--and a Mom's Bible Study and friends and books.
34. I've never looked back or had any desire to work again.
35. Although I did work from home a little bit after that, to help make ends meet and pay off Papa R's grad school bills. I did some data-entry for this ministry, and for about six months before my third child was born, I was an assistant to the head of this ministry, Mario Bergner, who is still a dear friend.... (waving) Hi Mario!!
36. It was after our third child was born that our oldest started half-day early childhood classes at the local elementary school, because of an obvious speech delay. Shortly after that he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, high-functioning--autism, in other words.
37. The teachers in his classroom are the ones who got me thinking about homeschooling. "He does pretty well one-on-one," they said, "but in a group, we lose him."
38. I started interviewing all three moms I knew who homeschooled. They all gave me books to read.
39. After his third year of the half-day program, he was going to go into the regular kindergarten as a 6-year-old, with an aide; but in the classroom, he seemed unenthusiastic and unmotivated compared to how we observed him at home with his siblings. It seemed like the best thing for him to try homeschooling.
40. I included my daughter in his kindergarten year and in his first grade year. But when she started pulling ahead of him in reading and got upset when I worked extra with him, I put her in public school in January of her first-grade year (his 2nd grade year) so I could concentrate on him.
41. I wasn't completely sold on homeschooling for all my kids until then. She had a good experience, but it was too hard for me to juggle the needs of my student at home with the expectations of the school. And I was bad at dealing with their paperwork and deadlines.
42. This year is my 11th year of homeschooling.
43. I love to read in bed but rarely get to, unless Papa Rooster is out of town.
44. He's always ready to turn the lights out before I am. He's an early bird and I'm a night owl.
45. I hate to cook.
46. I like it better when it's a familiar recipe and I have an audio book to listen to.
47. I've always loved to write and wrote a chapter book when I was in 4th grade.
48. But in college I hated to write papers. I wish I had majored in Lit and taken more creative writing courses.
49. After I got married, I started writing an annual Christmas letter to family and friends that everyone always told me they really looked forward to. I ought to do more writing, they said. (Thank you, everyone who encouraged me!)
50. So eventually, I started this blog.

5 comments:

Kerry - A Ten O'Clock Scholar said...

Yeah - I'm the first to comment! :)

Your "50 Things" meme was wonderful! You've done a lot of different things in your life - horses, literature, insurance, teaching.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Brea said...

Wow, what a fun life you've lead! Thanks for sharing all those great things ... and here's to 50 more when you get 100,000 hits! :)

~Brea, the tinymama

Jenny in Ca said...

Hen,

I really enjoyed this post! You shared very interesting tidbits about yourself.

when I was maybe 6 or 7 I was in a very (lol,liked your term!) white rendition of 'ease on down the road' for my dancing school. We had fuschia painted bee-hive wigs...ah the 70's. I don't like to cook either...

Jessica said...

Good idea to cook to a book! If I could ever hear over the din of my kidlets, I would totally steal that idea!

Rev Colin said...

As usual I enjoyed my visit to your blog! Your meme of 50 tells us a lot about YOU! Rock on to the next 50 000!!!