Twenty-Four for Forty-Eight

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Twenty-Four for Forty-Eight

In honor of my forty-eighth birthday, here’s a list of twenty-four things you probably don’t know about me. Yes, it’s a bit self-indulgent. I hope it’s not too boring. I would LOVE it if you would leave at least one fact about yourself that most people don’t know in the comments below. Consider it your birthday gift to me.

1. See Seven States…I have lived in seven different states: Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Tennessee, California, and Georgia, and one foreign country: Japan.

2. Love At First Sight…The first artist I fell in love with was Vincent Van Gogh. I was six. His self-portrait sans ear hung over the blackboard in my first grade classroom. I would stare at it anytime I wasn’t trying to sound out words or learning to add and subtract.

3. Veni, Vidi, Vici…I majored in Art History in college and minored in psychology. I blame VanGogh.

4. Four…My favorite number is four. I also like forty-four (two fours in one number) and sixteen (four times four).

5. What?…My father’s childhood nickname for me was “snake.” He called my brother “frog.” He dubbed my nieces “moose” and “goose.” I think “moose” and I got the best nicknames.

6. It’s a Family Tradition…My nicknames for my children are “prince,” princess,” and “doodle-bug.” My husband is “honey-bunny.’ The dogs are dubbed “the bone,” “goose,” and “fleo.” The new dog is the “fox.”

7. I Wear Black on the Outside…I wear black a lot. I also prefer dresses to just about any other type of clothing and wear them as often as I can. I don’t wear prints that much, especially big ones. Big prints make my head look small. It’s really creepy.

8. Random Facts…I was born in the Chinese year of the snake and my element is water. I’m a Pisces. My spirit animal is the wolf. I feel led by the bear. I have no idea what any of this really means.

9.  My Soft Place to Land…I met my husband in August of 1988. He told me he loved me on September 11, 1988, he asked me to marry him on October 11, 1988, and we got married on November 11, 1988. We are celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary this year.

10. Blooming Bravery…My favorite flower is the daffodil. There are two reasons for this. One: they bloom right around my birthday in early March. Two: I think they are extremely brave to venture out when the weather is still so unpredictable.

11. Jackpot…I once dreamed that I won $160 million in the lottery. My husband has bought a lottery ticket just about every week since. We haven’t won. Maybe, I should buy the next ticket.

12. Oh, No. Not again!…To the eternal embarrassment of my children, I cry in art museums. They beg me not to and I promise I won’t and then I turn the corner and I’m standing in front of the work of one of my hero’s and the tears flow. It’s really a problem.

13. Biggest Fail …I’ve never been to Europe to see all the art I studied. I find this eternally grievous. When I finally go, I plan to visit all the amazing works I love. I’m sure I will cry, a lot.

14. Talk to Me…I love nothing better than a good story. I read constantly but prefer to sit and listen to yarns as they are being spun.

15. ROOOOOXAAAANE….When my kids were little and would start getting whiney in a store, I would belt out the song “Roxanne” by the Police at the top of my lungs. I wouldn’t stop singing until they started behaving. After the first couple of times, I rarely got past the first word before I had the compliance I needed to finish my shopping with three well-behaved children in tow.

16. Mama Mia!…When I was in grade school, I lived in Kingston, NY in a neighborhood that was populated by first and second generation Roman Catholic Italians. My parents were non-practicing protestants from the South. Our new neighbors didn’t care. We were completely and lovingly embraced in spite of our funny accents and different views. It was a great place to be a kid and I have wonderful memories of those years and the amazing families who loved us.

17. My Brush…I talked to both Isaac Asimov and Ralph Nader on the phone. Isaac was lovely and extremely kind. Ralph was to the point and asked me a lot of questions.

18. I’m Not Shy…I’m an introvert. What this means is that I need to spend some time alone everyday to recharge. It also means I’m not big on small talk and will choose to remain quiet unless I can add something meaningful to the conversation.

19.“Let the Wild Rumpus Start!”…My favorite books are Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupéry, and A Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis.

20. No Pain, No Gain…I delivered all three of my children without the benefit of an epidural. The idea of not being able to move the entire lower part of my body freaked me out way more than the idea of labor pain.

21. I Left My Heart…While there are things about the East Coast I adore (luke-warm water beaches, forests, Atlanta, and New York City), I really love California and miss living there.

22. Hope It NEVER happens…If my husband ever leaves me for a younger woman and I’m thrown back out into the world of being single and some gentleman comes calling with the intention of wooing me, I will ask him the following questions: 1. Are you currently married? 2. Who did you vote for in 2008? 3. What is your primary source of news? 4. Are you a cat or a dog person or neither? 5. What do you think happens to us when we die? I think every single person should have thier own set of questions. It would save a lot of time and heartache.

23. Keep Moving…I love nothing better than taking a long walk or long run. Doesn’t matter where (city street or wooded trail). As long as I’m moving forward, I’m happy.

24. Past Lives…I have no way of knowing if the whole past life thing is true or not, but if it is, I’m pretty sure I spent most of mine in England as a dude.

Now it’s your turn…please, tell me something that I probably don’t know about you in the comments below. You can use a pseudonym if you’re feeling shy.


  1. My dad used to call me Miss McGillicuddy, and sometimes Schnickelfritz. But it wasn’t just me… I think most girl children in his life were Miss M at some point, and Schnickelfritz was gender neutral. That’s really more a fact about my dad, I guess.

  2. I have met Tom Cruise and we laundered his auto racing suit in my house during his brief stint as a race car driver while training for “Days of Thunder.” My grandma hogged his attention the whole time and I couldn’t get my picture taken with him. So, of course nobody believes me.

    • That’s awesome. I believe you. Can’t make stuff like that up.

  3. I loved this! So many fascinating things about you that I never knew. My favorite is the Roxanne trick. BRILLIANT!

    • Did you watch the clip? Go. Watch the clip…that’s exactly how I did it. Target. Rancho California Rd. Oh, yeah. That was me.

  4. I loved this Denise! Interesting and funny! I’ve been a closet poet since I was 12. That’s 30 years worth of random rhyming ramblings, and I have saved every one, kept hidden in a box. (my kids are going to have some fun reading when I’m gone! lol)

    • It may be time to publish, Cyndi.

  5. Happy Birthday, Denise! Fantastically entertaining and enlightening list! I LOVED your #9… awwww. Little known fact about moi? I tend to have an avalanche effect on produce aisles and/or items on store shelves. (If you want to locate me in public, just listen for: “Clean up on aisle four!”) Kinetic energy? Nope. “Kim-etic.” 🙂

    • I interviewed actor Richard Harris while sitting on my bed in my mom’s house.

  6. I went to a “Lab School” for elementary school. Which meant that my teachers were PHD candidates in education at the local university, and the education was free-form. We selected our own schedules weekly and worked at our own pace. In fourth-sixth grade I learned how to work with the following pieces of equipment : bunson burner, sewing machine, oven, stove, drill press, laythe, sander, kiln, band saw, table saw, jug saw and wood burner….I’m sure there is more. I think I am the luckiest person in the world for getting to go to school there.

    • I think you’re lucky too. I would have loved a school like that.

  7. I escaped death 3 times in my life. The most extreme was being shot at from 4 feet away. I was left with 2 holes in my coat under my arm and one on my jeans……I was not touched. Divine intervention!
    Ok…another. Not so dramatic. Lol. My favorite book is The Alchemist.

    • Ummmm…I want the whole story on this one. You’ll have to fill me in later.

  8. Ok….last one! I have experienced an OBE (outer body experience)

  9. Greatest list ever. My favorite was the introvert part. I stepped in it recently with my son’s GF, who is an introvert. I seriously don’t know why she hangs around our family… we are soooo not that. It’s a quality I oftentimes misunderstand, and in my guilt for being overly chatty, I made a stupid joke about her being quiet.
    Ripples of remorse often emanate from me.
    I did a drive-by of Atlanta on Sunday nite/Monday, and wished I had planned enough in advance to meet up with you. I’ll be back this Thursday/Friday for another whirlwind tour… but it’s a mother-daughter wedding excursion, and I hardly think any leisure activity will be entertained by the stressed-out bride.
    As for random fact about me that no one knows? Gah… I talk about myself way too much. I rather think there is nothing about me that hasn’t already been revealed.

    • Just remember not to take the quiet personal…it’s not you, really. I enjoy being around extroverts. You guys are very entertaining. Read the article I linked to. I think it has some good insights.

      Anytime you have time in ATL, I’m game…we’ll keep trying to meet up until we finally do.

  10. I sat on my grandmother’s lap watching Days of Our Lives as a wee babe. I will not miss an episode and know she is watching with me from above. I tell my children the stories are real as my grandmother told me. My children’s eyes roll as did mine at the sound of the nonsense. I once kissed Bo, a Days icon. For me, the show is therapy.

    • My grandmother weaned me on Another World…I was heartbroken when it went off the air. Glad you still get to watch. Bo’s cute. I’d kiss him.

  11. Happy Birthday, I miss you! This was fun to read and I really know why we are friends, lol. Once I water skied 20 miles without stopping (or falling) not because I set that as a goal, but because I just love to ski 🙂

  12. It took me a while to come up with a comment because you already know enough to blackmail me into bankruptcy, LOL! But I finally came up with something. When I was little, my dad called me “Miss Teapop” because I came up from kindergarten singing “I’m a little teapop” instead of “I’m a little teapot.” My parents were coffee drinkers, LOL! Hope your birthday was the best ever!

  13. Hooray, another Pisces! And happy belated birthday–what a fun list.

    I, too, am an introvert. Probably more ambivert. Most people would find that surprising as I am pretty effervescent (NOT bubbly) and good at being *on* it just wears me out and it’s not my preferred state. I could go days without leaving the house and I love being alone–and no, I’m not depressed!

    • I”m with you, Shanna. I don’t think people would peg me as an introvert because I’m friendly and loud in pubic, but I have to have alone time to stay sane.

  14. Happy birthday! I love this list. I love that your cry when looking at paintings. I love your Roxanne trick and may have to do something similar when my 5-year old acts up. I, too, am an introvert. I need A LOT of time to myself to recharge. We read “Where the Wild Things Are” just last night, twice in fact because S loves it so much. Little known things about me: I was in a movie with Tom Cruise a long time ago; I once sat next to Woody Harrelson on a flight to Boston at Christmas and he carried my bags all the way to the sidewalk; I chatted with Willem Dafoe as we waited in line to see Paul Auster read. Oh, and I drink coffee AND tea each day.

    • Lots of Tom Cruise love. O.K. one more for me. I watched Tom Cruise film a scene at the Water Club in New York City for the film cocktail.

  15. I’m so sorry I’m late to the party! I believe we should celebrate an entire month so happy birthday! Hmmmmmm, something you don’t know about me. I’m married to an extreme introvert and even though I’d LOVE to have a more active social life and a collection of friends to celebrate occasions and break bread, I’m happy to honor his solo sensibility and do my chatting on Facebook or on creative retreats. Loved learning more about you and you are NEVER boring.
    P.S. I also love Van Gogh.

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