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30 Things To Know About Me

Okay, okay, jumping on the blog hop bandwagon here. Broken up with recent pictures of the horse and the dog, because walls of texts are nobody’s friend.

  1. I am a huge nerd. Huuuuuuge. Star Trek came up in my wedding vows. At one point in middle school I had memorized Tolkien’s Elvish dictionary. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Star Wars Extended Universe books. I attended Comic Con in San Diego on a press pass from Save Farscape. I could go on, but you get the point and are backing away slowly already.
  2. There are an awful lot of foods that I dislike that everyone seems to love. Popcorn. Wine. Ice cream. Steak. Vegetables. (Yes, all of them.) I was an extremely picky eater as a child, and some of that still carries over. I can get really anxious if I don’t know what I’m eating, though as an adult I’ve mostly learned to hide this.
  3. I bake a lot. I’m pretty proud of my baking skills and always enjoy expanding them. One of my quiet goals for 2018 is not to buy any bread, and so far I’ve been successful. I really want to try making croissants from scratch but I need more time to accomplish that than I’ve yet been able to scrape together.
  4. By that same token, I kind of dislike cooking. It bores me. I don’t like overly flavored things. The grind of figuring something out every night gets to me. I’d quite happily bake two loaves of bread and a batch of cookies and then eat cereal for dinner.
  5. I read constantly, mostly fantasy, scifi, and nonfiction. I average around 100 books a year, or about two a week. Sometimes I try to alternate fiction/nonfiction; lately, I try to avoid reading white men. If I’m stuck in a bathroom without a book I’ll read shampoo bottles.IMG_2544.JPG
  6. I know nothing about cars and can’t drive stick shift or change a tire. I don’t really get car lust. I drive a straightforward, boring car. I do the repairs the mechanic tells me. End of story. I can’t wait for self-driving cars. (Despite this, I’ve spent most of the last year working intensively on a research project about automobile history.)
  7. I quit all sports going in to high school and then spent four years trying as hard as possible to ditch gym class. Before that, I played field hockey and was pretty good at it, but took a decidedly un-athletic path from then on and other than riding, I’m more or less still on it. Physical exertion unrelated to horses is BORING and there are few greater sins in my life.
  8. Alias is my favorite TV show of all time. It hit all my buttons and I still to this day loathe Ben Affleck with the fire of ten thousand suns for ruining Jennifer Garner’s career.
  9. I’m really political. Really a lot. I’ve worked on a bunch of different campaigns. In college I was a member of the College Republicans, but the overall political climate has shifted so much that last year I spent many, many dozens of hours working for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
  10. I speak more-or-less fluent French. I did a year abroad in a city called Poitiers, taking graduate classes in medieval history. I still try to keep up with my language skills. They’re useful, living as I do on the border of French-speaking Canada.IMG_2552
  11. At one point in my life I thought I was going to go on to do PhD work in medieval history. My undergraduate thesis was on the crossbow and how it highlighted tension within the laws of war as they were understood in the middle ages. I got waitlisted for doctoral programs at a couple of places, and when I waited a few more years and thought harder about what I wanted I chose to do public history aka museum work.
  12. I’m still a military historian by choice. Not like “this regiment moved here at this moment” because who fucking cares, honestly. More like I think that war is one of the most fundamentally (and horribly) human things that we do, and it illuminates all the cracks and flaws and weaknesses and strengths of what it means to be human at any given moment in history. It’s a fascinating way to get at so many other fascinating questions. (See also, The Loneliness of the Military Historian, a note-perfect poem by Margaret Atwood.)
  13. My favorite book of all time is Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. On paper it’s a mystery set in 1930s Oxford among a community of academic women. But it’s really about what it means to be smart, and capable, and independent, and how to relate to other people, and I kind of feel like if I keep reading and re-reading it forever I’ll figure out all the answers to life.
  14. I don’t have a favorite color. Yeah, I know. I’ve got nothing. I just don’t.
  15. I’m bad at nearly everything stereotypically girly. Makeup. Clothes. Kids. Drinking wine. Decorating. Talking on the phone to friends. Caring about…all sorts of things. I suck at it.IMG_2248
  16. Reality television, except cooking shows, gives me such a bad case of anxiety-by-proxy that I can’t watch it. Some people find the Bachelor fun and mind-numbing. It makes my skin crawl.
  17. I am of the opinion that the best Hollywood filmmaking, with a handful of exceptions, all occurred before 1960. Method acting ruined everything.
  18. My mother was an ER nurse who worked the night shift in a really tough city outside Boston while I was growing up. I never really got any medical sympathy growing up. If I whined that I didn’t feel well and shouldn’t have to go to school, I got a play-by-play of the gunshot wound victim she’d done CPR on the night before. I went to school.
  19. I played the cello fairly seriously through high school and college. I was never very good at it, but I did love it and the community it made me a part of. I liked full orchestral playing the best. I set it aside in college and haven’t really played since.
  20. I need 9 hours of sleep at night to feel human. Maybe even more. I hate it. It’s awful. But I’ve had to accept it over the years. IMG_2063
  21. There are a handful of things in my life that I cannot remember. It’s like my brain just flat-out refuses to keep them inside. One is which direction the sun rises and sets in. The other is how to play gin rummy. There are a few other things. It’s random and ridiculous and I’ve given up.
  22. I’ve crossed the Atlantic more times than I’ve crossed the Mississippi. I visited England when I was twelve, and didn’t get around to going anywhere west of, say, mid-Pennsylvania until I was nineteen.
  23. One of my ancestors was Susannah North Martin, who was hanged as a witch during the Salem Witch Trials. I’m a direct descendant. I grew up not far from Salem and for a time visited regularly and often stopped by her memorial.
  24. Another of my ancestors, my great-great-great grandfather, was a Colonel in the Civil War, fighting for the North. He survived every major battle of the war, oftentimes in the worst of the fighting – cornfields at Antietam, Big Round Top at Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, you name it. He never had a single day off from injury or illness. He was apparently fearless and slightly crazy. (Before the war he went to Kansas to fight with the Free Soilers. Just for fun, or something.) He came home from the war, married, retired to a farm, had a son, and was killed crossing the street a few years later. He was hit by a runaway team of horses, dragged behind the wagon, and then they all were hit by a train as they crossed the tracks. How’s that for life’s randomness?
  25. Actually most of my ancestry would make the stodgiest member of the Daughters of the American Revolution shed a proud tear. I have Pilgrims and soldiers in every single war and community leaders and they’re all Anglo and I have basically not a single ancestor who got here after, like, 1700, which I think makes me eminently qualified to say that the current crop of white supremacist fuckwits in the White House are racist scumbags who are full of shit and America should welcome anyone and everyone who wants to make a life here and do their best to be a decent human being and to try and make the world a better place. Anyway. Soapbox over. See #9 for your reminder.IMG_2092
  26. I am realllllly uncoordinated. Ridiculously so. I can drop things that I was holding perfectly securely not two seconds earlier. They just fall out of my hands. I took tennis lessons for a summer and played on and off through childhood (my parents are huge fans and now my in-laws are) and I can still swing to the left of me when the ball is coming to the right. There’s a decent chance I knock over, or nearly knock over, a glass at almost every meal.
  27. I’m really bad at decorating the places where I live. If it were up to me, I’d have, like, two things on the walls of our house. The concept of planning out decor baffles me. I see pictures of peoples’ houses with, like bowls of pretty things and little carvings and things on endtables and I think how on earth did you know to do that? My husband is the opposite when it comes to walls. 95% of the things on the walls of our house, he put there.
  28. I have a really good gag reflex – I’m not really squeamish at all – except for a few things. Litter boxes, for example. I refuse, categorically, to ever touch the litter box. Not my cat. The sight and smell of them makes me want to vomit pretty much instantly, and without fail.
  29. I’m also really good with pain. I had abdominal surgery – not for appendicitis, though they yanked my appendix out while they were there because why not – and never even filled my pain med prescription. I didn’t get – or ask for – pain meds for most of the 12 hours leading up to the surgery, which was in retrospect the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life.
  30. This was really hard to do. I think at heart I’m pretty convinced I’m entirely uninteresting.

9 thoughts on “30 Things To Know About Me

  1. I really love reading these because I think most of us feel uninteresting (I struggled so hard to hit 30) but to other people, they’re fascinating! And I haven’t read a single one where I haven’t identified with more than one of the items. For instance, in yours, #16 — for me that’s not just reality shows, it’s everything. Even movies or TV shows. I can get hives watching the Office because I get so anxious about FAKE social situations, haha. Or #27 — any decor in my house was definitely my mom or my husband. I can’t “see” it at all, or put it together! I’m also aboard the “no veggies” train, although you would have to pry wine out of my cold, dead hands 😂

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  2. #24 and #25 ❤
    I'm jealous you know so much about your ancestry (although I could probably just do some research too) and how cool your ancestors were. Also, being dragged behind a horse wagon and hit by a train may be up there on worst ways to die…
    Thanks for letting us know a bit more about you!

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  3. I read this and was thinking “I’m not nearly this interesting” and then I got to the bottom and you think you aren’t interesting! I think you listed some really cool things!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha, I’ve been to known to read shampoo bottles too!
    I was thinking I wasn’t sure we could be friends when I started reading 9, but by the time I finished and got to 25 I was certain we’d get along just fine! Also, same for 21. There are a few things I’ve had to be retaught about 85 thousand times, and still can’t remember how to do or play. Chess for example.

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