Fifty random things about me

Inspired by Wise Web Woman, over at The Other Side of Sixty and Conor at Conortje, I have put together the following list – if only to prove to myself that I’m not that special …

  1. I was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 10 May 1947.
  2. My father nearly drove into a snowdrift on the way to the maternity home.
  3. I bruise very easily. During the sailing season, especially, The First Husband gets funny looks, because I am always covered in bruises.
  4. If anyone in our relationship was to be battered, it would be him. He’s a pussy-cat.
  5. I got so mad one time that I tried to burn him with an iron.
  6. It takes a lot to make me lose my temper, but when I do, it’s time to duck and run.
  7. I have a sister who is five years older than me and lives in Sweden.
  8. She still hasn’t forgiven me for being born.
  9. I have worked in retail, selling shoes and records.
  10. I have worked as an executive secretary.
  11. I had ash blonde hair until I turned 25, when it darkened.
  12. Now, instead of a distinguished grey around my temples, these weird blonde streaks have appeared.
  13. My least favourite job was as an Au Pair in Germany, looking after a spoiled brat for a mean-spirited woman.
  14. My brother died when he was 44 years of age. Told by his doctors to give up wine, women, and song after his first heart attack, he only gave up singing and died during his second attack.
  15. I have a medal from the Canadian government – The Queen’s Jubilee Medal – making me a member of a select gang of 20,000.
  16. When he was only 12, #1 Son told us he’s gay. When I was 12, I didn’t know my arse from my elbow, let alone my sexual orientation.
  17. I was The First Husband’s mistress for 10 years.
  18. I may well be the only middle-aged woman in North America whose husband left a younger, slimmer, and prettier woman for her.
  19. I have worked as a barmaid and as a waitress.
  20. Through exercise and a change of diet, I lost one quarter of my body weight in 2008.
  21. I was expelled from day school when I was 16, and spent two years in a convent boarding school.
  22. I hated the nuns so much that I refused to study and failed all my exams.
  23. Which is why I did not make it to university until I was in my 40s. Some revenge.
  24. I graduated with a BA in Sociology just after my 50th birthday.
  25. For most of my life, I hated my mother. After I became a mother myself, we called a truce.
  26. My parents did not speak to each other for five years. They lived in the same house and communicated through notes left on the kitchen table. It used to be called an “Irish divorce.” Luckily it was a big house, and they lived on separate floors.
  27. I am the only female in my family to have her first child survive infancy. The first pregnancies of two of my sisters ended in still-births, and the first child of my third sister suffered Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at four months.
  28. Two of my sisters have had children die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  29. For years, I thought I was named after the maternity home in which I was born, unlike my siblings who were all given family names. Then I found out that I was named for my father’s favourite book, Tess of the Durbervilles.
  30. I read my first book, The Mystery of the Poison Pen Letters by Enid Blyton, when I was three years old. I asked my father what “anonymous” meant and he made me look it up in the dictionary.
  31. I still like to read dictionaries.
  32. I am the co-owner of a 36ft sailboat named Slan Abhaile, which is Gaelic for Safe Home.
  33. In 2006, I drove 7,000 km around Europe in a stick-shift Peugot 307.
  34. I have visited all the major European battlefields of the Great War.
  35. I have walked through the gate of a concentration camp at Auschwitz, beneath the sign that reads Arbeit Macht Frei.
  36. I once met Seamus Heaney, poet and winner of the Nobel prize for literature, and had my photograph taken with him. Don’t usually do that kind of thing, but it was SEAMUS HEANEY!!!
  37. I have Dupuytren’s contracture, which I inherited from my mother.
  38. I got hepatitis in the 1970s, as a result of a car crash, and it recurred four years later, while I was living in London.
  39. I gave up a two-pack a day habit 25 years ago, cold turkey. But I sometimes dream about smoking, and wake up with the smell of smoke in my nostrils.
  40. I occasionally wake up in REM sleep, which is truly terrifying, because I’m paralyzed and convinced there is someone else in the room with me (besides TFH!)
  41. I am taking part in a breast cancer drug trial, although I have never had cancer and hope I never will.
  42. I never very rarely get sick. Colds and flu pass me by, and even though my siblings all had measles, mumps, whooping cough, and scarlet fever, I had none of them.
  43. I was an army brat. Since it was the Irish army, that did not mean exciting postings to the four corners of the earth, but it was fun to poke around the Air Corps base where my father was O/C Workshops. He took me there with him every Saturday, to keep me away from my mother, who didn’t like me very much.
  44. I and my hippie friend, Jane, once hitch-hiked from Birmingham to Holyhead, to catch a ferry to Ireland, in our bare feet. I was a weekend hippie.
  45. I have only snorted cocaine once. It was so exhilarating that it scared the bejesus out of me and I never tried it again.
  46. I used to grow marijuana from seeds, by rigging a grow lamp in an attic closet in my parent’s house.
  47. My best high ever was with my youngest sister, the skinny cow, sitting in rocking chairs by the fire on a wintry Saturday afternoon, listening to a Cat Stephens album.
  48. I haven’t smoked pot, or done any other illicit drug, for more than 30 years. I found I preferred the buzz from alcohol, despite the hangovers.
  49. Now I don’t even drink all that much. An occasional glass of wine on the weekend is enough – except when I visit my sister, the skinny cow, in Ireland and I end up drinking like a fish. But still only white wine.
  50. I became a Canadian citizen in 1991. But I still have an Irish passport.

§ 4 Responses to Fifty random things about me"

  • Pop and Ice says:

    We have #17 in common. Except for # of years and he’s second husband. Haven’t revealed as Blogosphere is somewhat unforgiving.

    I don’t blog the details about that part of my past, because it’s not my story alone. There were others involved and it would not be fair to give one perspective only. Suffice to say, it’s all water under the bridge now and we’re one big relatively-happy-blended-family. And it only took 27 years….;o)

  • schmutzie says:

    I just wanted to let you know that Nuts and Mutton has been nominated in the Best Written category of the 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards!
    This is a new, juried competition with public nominations. The shortlists of nominees will be announced on 1 December 2010, and the finalists will be announced on 1 January 2011.
    If you would like to show off your nomination, grab a button for your website and spread the word.
    Congratulations!
    Why, thank you, Schmutzie. I’m both flattered and flabbergasted. And I’m discovering that it’s true what they all say: just to be nominated is an honour!

  • JES says:

    Congratulations on the nomination!

    Now all you have to do to win is, like, write. :)
    Great! Thanks for reminding me, John! We can’t all write as well and as prolifically (if there is such a word) as you, dammit. But I’ll try, honest.

  • wisewebwoman says:

    When you enscribe your life as you have done, it all sounds so very exciting and novelish. I hope you do write a novel.
    Congrats on the NOM-NOM.
    XO
    WWW
    I wish I had either the talent or the stamina to write a novel, WWW. I’m afraid I’m a better reader than I am a writer.

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