Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's All About Me

If you have spent any time perusing blogs, you've probably come across the "100 things about me" meme that seems to be all the rage of late. After the fourth or fifth sighting of this, I started thinking, as others before me, 'gosh, I don't know if I could come up with 100 trivial things to say about myself.' Which I took as a challenge, just to see if I could. It also made me wonder, just what the heck is a meme, anyway? "I've been tagged with a meme," we read online. Sounds like a communicable disease. But no, it's basically just a blogosphere game of tag.

So, after about a month of tossing it around and scribbling down little remembrances as they came to me, I did finally complete a list of 100 things about myself...presented here for your reading pleasure. Or your bed-time sleep aid.

100 Things About Me
1. My name is Valerie.
2. I was named Valerie after much debate between my parents who finally drew the name out of a hat, while I and the doctor awaited their decision. It was three days after I was born.
3. I’m the middle child, with an older brother and a younger sister.
4. I grew up in Ohio but I call New Mexico home. I moved there as a newlywed at the ripe ol’ age of 20.
5. I’ve been married to my adorable husband for 20 years, which seems impossible. Time flies when you’re having fun.
6. We met in college at a party, and our meeting invoked the eight degrees of separation, as he was a friend of a friend of a friend of my across-the-street neighbor, who happened his way into the party that night.
7. No, it wasn’t love at first sight, but he grew on me. He liked that I knew how to cook, so the old adage that “the way into a man’s heart is through his stomach” turns out to be true. At least in my case.
8. I graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in History. Not a real marketable skill, history. Still, it was always my fascination.
9. Most of the tests for my history classes were essay-style and I can always ace an essay test. Forget multiple choice. I always assume they’re trying to trick me.
10. I love New Mexico. It’s an absolutely beautiful place, the sun shines almost all the time, and you can see for sixty miles on any given day.
11. Green chile is one of the best foods ever. Especially for breakfast. I miss it immensely.
12. I live in Italy. We moved here in May, 2006. We dreamed about it for several years before deciding to quit dreaming and start doing.
13. We live in Ascoli Piceno, which is in the Marche region. Like New Mexico it is mountainous and historic...but with a much longer history.
14. Most days I look around at the medieval architecture, the stunning views, the ancient streets, the wonderful food…and can’t believe I get to live here.
15. I am a picture straightener. If I see it hanging crooked, I straighten it. Don’t mind me if I do it in your house; you’ll thank me for it later.
16. One picture in our house in New Mexico refused to hang evenly no matter how often I adjusted it. Then I discovered it was the wall that was uneven. You can imagine how nutso that made me. I felt a bit “Monk-ish.”
17. I like the TV show Monk. All the other shows I liked are now off the air, like Friends, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond. Yes, folks, I’m a fan of the sitcom.
18. Here, I have an ancient TV that doesn’t come in too clearly. I watch Chi Vuol Essere Milionario because it’s easy enough to understand, especially since they put the questions in writing on the screen.
19. I sometimes watch Carabinieri 6, which is actually an inane show about the national police force, but is so stupid that it’s easy to follow, which is important with my lack of language skills. Italian TV pretty much sucks.
20. I like Hitchcock movies: Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, Rebecca, North by Northwest. Suspense films are cool. But I don’t like gore.
21. My biggest frustration here is the internet connection -or lack thereof. While others surf the web, I splash in the baby pool with a dial-up connection…on a cell phone! Lentissimo, as they say here.
22. I’m sensitive to chemicals and strong odors. Perfumes make me gag and give me raging headaches. Thus, I intensely dislike women who wear strong perfumes just by virtue of the agony they cause humanity.
23. My feet are almost always cold, even on a beach in the Virgin Islands. My mom and sister have the same problem.
24. My sister is my closest friend. I really, really, really, really miss her.
25. I like to cook but I detest my kitchen here. My kitchen in Corrales was wonderfully spacious. I really, really, really, really miss it.
26. I think chocolate is a gift from God, especially when combined with hazelnuts. I prefer dark chocolate, by the way.
27. I’m a Christian. But I am not in the “religious right”, politically-ambitious, judgementalistic camp. (Neither was Jesus Christ.)
28. I grew up in Podunk-ville Ohio. I find my hometown very depressing now.
29. I have a Midwest accent. I’ve tried to get rid of it to no avail.
30. It was a good place to grow up, though. No one locked their doors and we always felt safe.
31. When I was a kid my best friend was named Deanna and she lived three doors down.
32. We went barefoot nearly all summer long. I was able to run across gravel and hot pavement without a wince.
33. We were tomboys.
34. I never liked wearing dresses much and still don’t wear them often.
35. When I was in Catholic school we had to wear dresses every day. Even in winter. In northern Ohio!
36. I went to Catholic school for eight years. ‘Nuff said.
37. Deanna and I rode our bikes all over God’s green acre.
38. My grandma had sayings like that. God’s green acre. She’s persnickety. It’s gone to hell in a hand-basket. Cute grandma-isms.
39. I like the word persnickety.
40. I had a persnickety cat. She was the best, though. Cuddly and affectionate, she lived to the ripe ol’ age of 17. Our other cat died at 16. I miss our kitties.
41. I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, which make me tired, achy and sometimes cranky.
42. It started ten years ago. I turned thirty and my health went to hell in a hand-basket.
43. I visited no less than twenty doctors about these problems.
44. The experience shattered my faith in our healthcare system.
45. I wasn’t one of the “popular kids” in high school but I wasn’t a loner, either.
46. I had my little group of friends and we were a pack of gutsy broads.
47. I was in drama club.
48. I color my hair and have done so since I was about twenty-two when, thanks to the wonders of genetics bestowed upon me by my mother and both of my grandmothers, I began getting too-noticeably gray.
49. I also inherited my mother’s thighs, about which I’m none too thrilled. Genetics are scary.
50. I eat meat and I really like it.
51. However, if I had to kill the animal to eat it I’d be a vegetarian because I dislike the sight of blood, and because I know that I couldn’t personally kill anything.
52. Except of course spiders, mosquitoes and centipedes which are icky and which want to bite me.
53. I also like vegetarian fare and try to eat healthy. But I really do like meat.
54. The vegetables I dislike are lima beans and okra. Okra is just plain gross. Lima beans probably aren’t so bad, but the nuns at the Catholic school forced them upon us and I gagged them down, so now I can’t stand the sight of them.
55. Oh, and canned stewed tomatoes for the same reason.
56. Sheps are cute. I always call sheep sheps, but I can’t remember why.
57. We see a lot of sheps around here on the hillsides with their shepherds, which I think is a wonderful sight.
58. I love roller coasters.
59. My pick for the absolutely best roller coaster in the world is the Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
60. What do you mean you’ve never heard of Cedar Point? It is the world’s largest amusement park. I grew up about a half-hour from this wonderful place.
61. I don’t like clutter. Bryan, on the other hand, is a pile-upper and a pack rat. I love him anyway.
62. I love to read.
63. I think it’s owing to my mom reading to us a lot when we were children. We always loved books and counted them among our treasured possessions.
64. I still have my favorite books from my childhood, including And Rain Makes Applesauce, and A Rainbow of My Very Own. Wonderfully illustrated masterpieces, those.
65. I don’t have a favorite book; it would be too hard to choose just one, and then I’d feel like I was neglecting the others. Kind of like choosing a favorite child. It shouldn’t be done.
66. I wrote little stories when I was a kid, which my grandma said were brilliant.
67. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t keep those early works by the brilliant child.
68. I remember that one was about a mouse aboard Columbus’s ship to America.
69. That’s all I remember about that story, but I am sure it was great because Grandma said it was.
70. My grandfather is my hero.
71. He could fix anything, from a broken lamp to a skinned knee to an aching heart.
72. He lived to be 96 years old. He was very wise.
73. My grandma is now 96 going on 97.
74. My other grandpa is 93 going on 94.
75. Longevity apparently runs in my family. Unfortunately, it’s not too common in Bryan’s family.
76. My favorite beverage is water. I need to be hydrated.
77. I like the sparkling water they serve in Italy.
78. They often call it acqua con gas. I think it sounds better as acqua frizzante.
79. I also love cappuccino.
80. I can only drink one or two a day, though, or I get the caffeine shakes.
81. Sometimes I order a decaf, but I get weird looks for it.
82. I started drinking coffee at the tender age of 12, when I first tasted a sip of my mom’s and liked it.
83. My mom and I would go for coffee together in the morning before school. It was our little time together. People in our small town thought my mom was nuts for letting her young daughter drink coffee. Shows what they know.
84. I believe that there is no such thing as *too many* shoes or jackets.
85. I love the sound of church bells ringing.
86. I also love to hear songbirds in the morning. Life’s simple pleasures.
87. My favorite flowers are tulips, especially yellow ones.
88. I don’t have a favorite color. If pressed I would choose turquoise.
89. I adore turquoise and silver jewelry. I acquired a lot of it throughout my years in New Mexico.
90. I have a Ford Mustang and miss driving it. It’s in my sister’s garage. It’s name is Arnold. (Muscle car, get it?)
91. I especially enjoyed driving it on the open desert roads with music blasting. What a great feeling.
92. I have flown in a hot-air balloon more times than I can remember. It’s a very peaceful experience, but is also an early morning sport. (As in, you meet the pilot at 6:00 a.m.)
93. I miss the sound of the propane burners waking me up as they fly over the house. It’s one of those unique New Mexico things.
94. I dislike smoke; so naturally, I move to Italy where everyone and their brother smokes incessantly.
95. I’m allergic to the stuff, but more personally dislike it because my paternal grandmother died of mouth and throat cancer due to second-hand smoke.
96. I love carbs. I can’t imagine how anyone can survive on the Atkin’s Diet (or why they’d want to).
97. I don’t have a true sweet tooth and prefer to save my sugar intake for something really worthwhile…like gelato. Or chocolate.
98. I don’t deal well with stress. It makes me queasy.
99. I’m a freelance writer.
100. Which means this past year I fulfilled two dreams – to live in Italy; and to be a paid writer. Reaching for your dreams feels good!

101. I really cannot believe I came up with 100 things to say about myself. Really.


chris & erin said...

These are good! Fun to's funny how you find things in others that make you go, "ME TOO!" - espeically since I've read about 3 other lists like this too!

...maybe I'll finally do one soon

Janie said...

Great to hear some things about you Valerie. I'm jealous that you're living in Italy and hope to fulfill my dream too!

Texas Espresso said...

I love these =) it looks like we have quite a bit in common! Not as hard as you think is it? I was pleasantly surprised how easily 100 things came out.

Thanks for sharing - I look forward to more!

Livingsword said...

I have tried to read so many of these Me Me its all about ME lists and this was the first one I actually enjoyed. Very readable and entertaining. I am on the same page with you on a lot of it, my wife and I love your numbers 26 and 27.

Anyways enough of me talking about me, why don't you talk about me?

Valerie said...

Thanks, everyone. Glad you enjoyed it.
Chris & Erin, it's your turn! :) Funny how that works, as I read a few of these and thought, "wow, we could be related!"
Janie, it's a wonderful dream. (See #12)
Tex, no way! It was hard! But then, I was determined to not cheat by looking at other lists for prompts.
Livingsword, glad you found it interesting. Sure we can talk about you...where's your list? ;)

jessica said...

I like to read these, just to see what kind of things people have in common. Or, mainly what I have in common with people on other sides of the world who i've never met. however, you are closer than that. you live in le marche?? this area just came to my attention, i'm currently getting really interested in northern italy in general, just seems to have all the right elements...i'd love to hear more about it, but first i'll go back thru your archives.
so, not that you asked, but I too love dark chocolate with hazelnuts. that's number 1! then, I have chronic fatigue, and was touched to read someone else say it, since so often people roll their eyes at that. i also have incredibly cold hands and feet. they go numb sometimes in the summer. that might be the c.f.s. or fibro..though i'm not sure on teh latter yet.
buona giornata, and thanks for the list. i can't wait to read more on here

J.Doe said...

Interesting list. Does it mean that you are planning a trip to New Mexico soon?

Valerie said...

Jessica, always a pleasure to meet another choco-holic! I'm sure if we compared notes, we'd have very similar experiences with doctors and dealing with CFS. Not a fun thing! Send me an email and we'll chat about Marche.

J., thanks. No trips planned, except around Italia. We're staying put. As much as we love our home state, we really love being here and will keep our feet firmly planted on the cobblestones until the money runs out!

Mama Jo said...

Enjoyed the list immensely, but must amend your #34. At one time (until you were about 5 or 6) you ALWAYS insisted on wearing dresses! I would stay up late at night, sewing and smocking, etc. to keep you in your frilly skirts. But when you got into jeans in high school, I didn't see you in a dress again, except for dances, until graduation!

chris & erin said...

well...after leaving the first comment - I spend some time and made one up of my own. thanks for pushing me over the edge :)

my 100 things

it was so fun reading yours

Valerie said...

Erin, brava! Great list!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I enjoyed reading your list. How great is it you were able to follow your dreams.

Valerie said...

Mama Jo, REALLY?? No recollection of those brief moments! Dresses wouldn't have worked at all when I was out playing baseball and football with the boys! :)

Ragazza, thanks! It does feel good!

Anonymous said...

hi, it's my first time to read your blog.It's wonderful!! My cousin from the US would like to visit me here, by the way, i live in Salerno, and she was asking me about things about St. Filomena. Searching thru goggle i accidentally saw your blog the entitled "moving to Italy". It got my attention since I moved too, 6 yrs ago.
I am an asian and married to wonderful italian man and I agree to your views and thoughts as well..we are in the same boat:)
I love reading your blog esp the 100 things about made me think of my list too..anyway,if you happen to visit south..i am here..!yenguccia:p

Valerie said...

Thanks for stopping by! If you make a list of your own, please let me know where to find it. I'd love to read it.

I love the South! I really like the Costa del Cilento south of Salerno, so I just may come for a visit. ;)

Amare Divino said...

I just started reading your blog, having recently started a blog of my own about my move to Italy (in 9 days!) and I really enjoy it. I love your sense of humor, and these 100 things were great and made me laugh out loud. Check out my blog(s) if you get a chance. The styles are very different; one is funny, and one more serious, but I think you are the type of person who could appreciate both.

Valerie said...

Hi Amare Divino - I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'll check out your blogs. Good luck with your move! Hope to meet you someday!

Roseann said...

Hi Valerie! I'm sure you don't remember me, I ran into your Mom yesterday and she gave me you blogspot address. My mother and your grandmother were very good friends. I grew up calling her aunt and your grandfather uncle! I do remember when you were a baby!
Hopefully sometime soon I want to travel to Sicily to see my family..there are quite a few still in St'Agata. I also have a cousin who lives in Rome...such a small world. If I get there...I'll look you up!
Roseann Frank Alexander

antonia said...

Love your list Valerie. I'm working on mine and it might take awhile!
The most important thing is how happy i am that you are living in what i have referred to as "my village".
I visited a few years ago and want to come back as soon as i much to ask you about but back to my list for now...

Antonia said...

Most important is that my grandparents and great-grandparents are from that village and as you can imagine i spent a lot of time in the cemetery there (many stories to share)my family home was across from San Rocco...

Diane Cacciato said...

I just found your blog and I love the idea of the 100 things about yourself. I think I have to try doing this. What a great way to think about yourself and share it with others. My husband and I just bought a house in Sicily. Until we retire in about 6 years we will spend our summers there but after retirement - Sicily here we come!