Not to belabor the Facebook point, but this week there has been an exercise making its way through various friend networks. It's called "25 Random Things," and the point is to write down 25 things about yourself that might surprise or interest your friends and acquaintances. I received two "tags," which is how the thing gets passed from one person to another, and just said, No way! Then I started reading lists that were being posted, and I gotta tell ya, I was impressed and inspired and just generally uplifted by what I read. Most lists are combinations of serious insights and funny asides. All of them were so worth reading. Mine cannot come close to many of the others I've read so far, but in case you're not in my Facebook network, here is my list of 25 Random Things:
1. I am fully aware that there are very few people who would want to read 25 random things about me.
2. I read magazines from the back. Don't know why. But every time I get a magazine, I flip it over, open the back cover and begin.
3. I lived in Austin, Texas, two different times, in the 80s and again in the 90s. Very different experiences, but both were great. Sometimes I just miss being in Austin.
4. But, when I lived in Austin, I just missed being in New York. I think that no matter where I lived I would miss New York.
5. One of the reasons I missed NY is because I absolutely, positively love the fall. I love the smell of the air when it turns crispy. I love apple picking. I love the changing leaves, especially now with mountains all around us. I love wearing a big sweater. I even love the end of fall when the trees are almost bare. There is something so powerful and peaceful about the landscape.
6. In keeping with my love of fall, one of my only "vices," if we can call it that, is a penchant for nice coats, particularly leather coats. I have a kick-butt distressed leather coat and an awesome hand-stitched suede coat that I adore. I even have the black leather fringed jacket I bought in college. I will hand it down like a family Bible.
7. I am contradictory. Case in point, I love suede and leather coats, and, yet, I am a vegetarian. I eschew meat mainly for health reasons, although I can see my 8-year-old daughter's point about not hurting animals. (She's a vegetarian too.) Can't give up the coats. At least not yet.
8. I have a love-hate relationship with camping. Part of me desperately wants to be a real camper, and the other part of me has flashbacks to that Girl Scout camping trip where our tent was raided and I had to cook French toast on a coffee can. Perhaps PTSD counseling would help.
9. I love, love, love the fact that I get to do my job from home with my kids around, even though they often make it very difficult for me to do my job. Still, I wouldn't trade this for anything. I get up, get my coffee, putter down to my basement office and hit the keys. I hope to never, ever, ever work in an office again.
10. I can talk, and I mean, TALK. Most of you probably know that though. Sometimes I wish I didn't talk so much, but it's who I am. Can't help it. I've been talking a blue streak for 46 years, and I don't think I'm going to stop any time soon. Just don't ask me about a book or a movie if you have any intention of reading or seeing it.
11. I gave birth to all three of my children naturally and without any anesthesia, not even so much as an Advil. I am very proud of that, and I loved it. Some people question the sanity of those of us who choose this, but feeling the pain is a mighty and powerful thing.
12. And I nursed all three of those babies, even when it was difficult and I thought I might give up. I'm so glad I didn't.
13. My mother died of colon cancer when she was only 47 and I was 25. It was the hardest thing I've ever faced. She was a great woman and my best friend.
14. Because my mother died of colon cancer, I am a huge proponent of getting regular colonscopies beginning as early as you can. For obvious reasons, I believe that fifty is too late even for those with no family history.
15. If I was fearless, I would drive a motorcycle -- Harley only.
16. And I would hang glide.
17. But I am not fearless, although I try to face my fears head on. I have an Eleanor Roosevelt quote hanging near my desk that says, "Do one thing every day that scares you."
18. I am on a spiritual quest. I have always had a deep need for God in my life. Now, however, as I get older, that need is getting stronger. I feel as though I am on an incredible journey, and I am being pulled along to a deeper place, despite my fears and doubts and confusion. It's pretty amazing, actually.
19. Despite the fact that I love to talk, I find that more and more I crave silence. I went on my first silent retreat this fall and fell in love with quiet. I'm trying to build some silent times into my not-so-silent life.
20. I was the manager of a yoga center in Austin for a while and was halfway through training to become a yoga instructor when I up and moved back to NY.
21. I am curious and want to keep trying new things even as I get older -- like when I took belly dancing last year. Very fun. I want to learn to speak Italian and to ride a horse.
22. I desperately want to go to Italy for many reasons, the first being that my grandfather DeTurris was born in Massalubrense and I am very proud of that fact. But I also want to go because I work for the Catholic Church and feel like it's crazy I haven't been there yet, and because I feel drawn to Assisi.
23. I have worked for the Catholic Church for 25 years, something I consider a vocation more than a job.
24. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in the movie Groundhog's Day. Every morning, without fail, I stand at the front door and yell to my children as they attempt to leave the house without lunch boxes, without hats, without instruments, without backpacks, sometimes even without shoes. I may talk a lot, but, clearly, no one is listening.
25. I am sarcastic, and I enjoy other people who are sarcastic because I can bust their chops and they don't take me seriously.