Wednesday, January 7

7 things you don't need to know about me

Folks in my Plurk PLN (search for "peregrinator" to find me) have been involved in this 7 things meme. I was tagged by Mindelei Wouri (US) and encouraged by Jo McLeay (Australia) to do the same. Be sure to check out their blogs, but also visit the 7 Things wiki to learn more about all of those who are participating in this meme.

How it works:
  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post - some random, some weird.
  • Tag people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter, Plurk, etc.

The focus of this meme is to reveal unusual things that others, virtual and tangible, may not know (or really need to know) about you.

  1. I tried skydiving when I was in college. A friend of mine (Anne, I think; we'll go with that) and I walked into the Student Union and there was a parachute on display. Over a couple of beers we talked about skydiving and the jumpmaster, someone Anne knew, talked us into it. She and I were both freshman orientation leaders that summer so could only do our training after hours, which meant starting around 9P and finishing around midnight. Those were the days! On the day of the jump we took some test and the next thing I knew I was reaching out to grab a strut and getting ready to throw myself out of the plane. This was a static line and before the current practice of jumping with the jumpmaster. Oh my, though, it was incredible!!
  2. Because of my skydiving escapade, two items on my life "to do" list are hot air ballooning (I have a ticket and will go this spring as soon as weather and timing conspire on my behalf) and learning to fly a small plane. The former is more likely sooner than the latter.
  3. I LOVE TV, movies, and the theater. I watch a lot of stuff on TV but refuse to watch "reality" TV, though I have watched a couple of seasons of The Amazing Race. Somehow that feels less contrived. I watch all kinds of films except horror flicks: indies, arthouse, musicals, classics, etc. I'd go to plays all the time if I had the time and the money, especially in Chicago. There are so many small and amazing repertory companies in the area. I wouldn't want to be a critic, per se, because I think those folks are paid to critique on things mere mortals don't notice or care about. We want the story. Granted it's got to be a good story, but I've rarely read a review with which I've agreed.
  4. I love to travel and hate being a tourist. Some of the tourist phobia probably comes from growing up in Orlando, FL and spending way too much time working at the Mouse House (aka, to the cynics, the Tragic Kingdom). When I go some place, I want to see more than the gussied up tourist attractions. I want to go the restaurants the locals love and see and do the things the locals enjoy. I love to immerse myself in the culture and try to learn some of the language; that's true even in the US! ;) I try to go with no preconceived notions and the expectation that I'll be moved to my core. I've been privileged to visit Vancouver (did a 7-day sea kayaking trip from Vancouver Island) and Toronto in Canada, the San Juan Islands (I know that's the US, but it's soooo cool!), Nova Scotia, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Greece, Kazakhstan, and South Africa. On my more immediate list are Ireland, Iceland, Labrador/Newfoundland (I have a thing for such places), but also Australia, New Zealand, Spain (The Prado in Madrid!), Italy (Tuscany at the very least), the Czech Republic (Prague), and Russia (The Hermitage). There are few places I don't want to go, which is part of the problem.
  5. I worked at Walt Disney World (Orlando, FL) in its early days. I started working on the monorail (:Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Elaine and I'll be your pilot to the Magic Kingdom. No smoking, eating, or drinking while on board." There's more, but that's enough.) back when people could ride in the front and there were actual drivers. Then I worked in the Emporium in the stuffed toys department on Main Street. My then best friend worked in the Confectionary and the oddest thing would happen now and then. She'd call me to tell me someone had accidentally dropped a box of fudge! Of course, I had to go help. I loved walking down Main Street after hours when it was just the lights and the music. That made me believe in the possibility of pixie dust. I also loved going to work in a T-shirt, cut-offs, and flip flops because we would pick up our costumes for the day at Wardrobe.
  6. My undergraduate and Master's degrees are in English. I'd planned to go to law school after undergrad, but got derailed (money and energy) and ended up in the computer industry. It was quite serendipitous. A career "plan" is a foreign concept to me. I was a programmer/analyst for a number of years, learning how to code in assembly language and then C, when it was developed, but also worked in FORTRAN and Pascal. When I worked for a small company in Tarrytown, NY, I was privileged to go to Durban, South Africa to install a newspaper system there. The Durban Daily News went from hot metal type to a computerized system in a mere 8 months. Should have taken longer, but there were, of course, complications. I did some work on the Johannesburg Star, but also did some training for some of the Durban personnel. I was there in the early 80s before the end of apartheid. It was a remarkable experience that has marked and shaped me in many ways. I LOVED working with the Indians and was so honored to be invited into their private lives. That meant I was shunned by some of the whites which was fine because they were the sort I didn't want to be with anyway. One of the Scottish women at the paper invited me to the Durban Tattoo. It was amazing to be in these huge grounds and see all of those drummers and pipers! That was an exhilirating day as was the day I stumbled into a gathering of Zulu dancers. I was so taken by the dancers, I climbed up in the stands without realizing I was the only white person. I spoke to a woman next to me so she could hear my accent--distinctively NOT Afrikaans--and everyone relaxed. The kids delighted in touching my hair and skin and telling me about what I was seeing. That, too, was remarkable. As for Kazakhstan, I spent 10 days there as a guest lecturer. That's a long story itself, but the coolest story is about the girls who volunteered to give me a tour of the area. We were in a little town in the northeast corner of Kazakhstan called Ust-Kamenogorsk. We did the town and then we took a long bus ride so they could take me to an old Russian Orthodox church. They talked to me a lot on the bus, mostly, I think, so the other riders would know they were with an American. I desperately wanted to buy some icons at the church, but it was forbidden to remove them from the country.
  7. If time and money were no object, I would teach the occasional college-level freshman writing or literature course, I would write, and I would have a used bookstore. I imagine big comfy chairs in my bookstore with lots of reading lamps. I'd have a couple of coffee pots (decaf and regular; no fancy latte machines and all that but I'd be near a Starbucks or some other place so folks could get the fancier beverages) and a few bottles of wine for those who might prefer a glass of wine to sip (after a certain hour, of course, and provided they're of age) as they linger over books. I'd host book talks and discussions led by me and others. I'd probably have wifi and a little computer section so I could do a little tutoring on the side of the side.

So that's my story. In addition to Mindelei and Jo, you'll want to check out any of the amazing people who are listed in the wiki. You can just go to the wiki and follow the link to any one of several people who have shared at seven things you don't need to know about them.

Cheers!

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