Thursday, February 19, 2009

"25 (well, only 9) Random Things About Me:" I Have Been Assimilated!

After promptings from several friends and family members, I finally joined Facebook about a month ago. It's been a great way to keep in touch with far-away friends and family, and to get re-acquainted with high school classmates. As my brother says, resistance is futile, and I have been assimilated; I love being part of the Facebook collective. A couple of weeks ago, I was tagged for the "25 Random Things About Me" note that has apparently become somewhat of a Facebook sensation. After I posted my own version, I found myself thinking of things I could have included. I wanted a do-over, so I've decided to take some of my "random things" and put them here, and discuss a few that I didn't mention in my Facebook version. I don't know if I'll eventually blog about 25 things, but here are a few for starters!

1. I love being Catholic. When I was growing up, I attended a fairly large Baptist church with my family. My parents read me Bible stories, taught me to pray, and helped me understand what it means to be a Christian. My Sunday School teachers and my pastor were amazing Christians who helped me strengthen my love for Jesus Christ. I had a couple of Catholic friends growing up, and I was curious about Catholicism, but never interested enough to try and learn more about it. After I started dating my husband, a cradle Catholic, I began to ask questions about the faith, both to him and other Catholic friends. I found EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) on cable, and learned a lot from Mother Angelica and the priests and lay Catholics who appeared on screen. After we got married, I decided that since our children would be raised Catholic, I wanted to learn more about the Church. I began taking RCIA after Mass each Sunday, and wouldn't you know it, I believed what they told me: The Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ, and the Catholic Church is the one that Jesus established here on Earth. Almost thirteen years later, I am closer to Christ than ever before.

(In a future blog, I will post a longer version of my faith journey.)

2. I'm a Biker Chick Wannabe. I've never actually driven a motorcycle, only ridden on the back of one. In high school I had a friend who drove a bright yellow Yamaha all over town. I called it his banana bike. He even had a matching yellow helmet. One summer afternoon after spending a lazy day on the river, we were riding the bike home, trying to meet some deadline or other. Maybe my parents wanted me back at a certain time; I don't remember. As we were approaching a railroad crossing, the lights started flashing and the bells started ringing, and down came the big long arms. Instead of stopping like we were supposed to, my friend drove around the gates and across the tracks. Even though the train was not yet in sight, I feared for my life. I think that was the only time I had ever been mad at this particular friend!

In the early 1990s, I took a cross-country car trip with my family. On the road, we would often see individuals or couples riding motorcycles packed to the hilt with camping gear. Traveling through Wyoming and South Dakota, we began to see more and more bikers, most on Harleys and all wearing lots of leather. Many were traveling in large groups. We learned that they were on their way to Bike Week in Sturgis, South Dakota. One morning we stopped for breakfast at a Mom & Pop diner, and the place was filled with bikers. Instead of being the rough, dirty, loud group that I imagined bikers would be, they were all laughing together, having a great time, and were very polite. I decided then and there, that before I die, I want to buy a Harley and ride it from one side of America to the other. My husband says that would be fun, until it started raining. We'll see.

3. In college, I spent a summer in Yellowstone National Park. I had the glamorous job of cleaning guest rooms in one of the Park's hotels. To this day, Yellowstone is my favorite place on Earth. I made no money that summer, but it was worth it. Plus, now I'm really good at making a bed; in fact, I have been known to check out the bed in hotels where I've stayed, and redo the bed if I don't like the way it's made.

4. I'm a pro-life Republican in a town full of pro-choice Democrats. But I love them anyway. Some of my friends have bumper stickers that say, "Obama '08," "Another Pro-Choice Voter," or "John McCain for Retirement." During election season when Barack Obama came through town, many of my friends went out to see him. When Sarah Palin showed up, I came out to support her. I know several people who made the trek to Washington, D.C. on January 20 for the inauguration; I made the same trip two days later for the March for Life. I wear a Precious Feet pin every day, and my pro-choice friends don't seem to mind. I've had conversations with some of them about our differences of opinion, but we respect each others' beliefs.

5. I'm a fan of auto racing, especially the Indy Car Series. Being the only female in the house will do that, I suppose. I watch every Indy Car race every season, and we try to go to at least one race a year. Someday I hope to attend the Indy 500.

6. I love to go geocaching. We discovered this hobby a couple of years ago, after my husband decided that for one of our kids' birthdays, we would buy a hand-held GPS receiver. We used it to look for hidden treasures left by people who practice the sport of Geocaching. Usually, the treasures are containers full of kid-friendly trinkets; if you take a prize, you always leave someting to replace it. I wish we had more time to do this together as a family, because it is always a thrill to find a hidden "cache" that most people don't even know is there. (I want to blog about this one sometime, too!)

7. My husband taught me to ski.
When we were dating and before we had kids, we would ski at least every other weekend in the winter. We didn't go much when the kids were small, but now we try to go at least once or twice a year. It's great to see the boys enjoying something we love, too!

8. I'm good at remembering birthdays. If you tell me your birthday, I will probably remember it without having to write it down. Just don't ask me to remember the year. If I do forget, I'm probably only off by a few days. Name a celebrity, and there's about a 50-50 chance (I'm guessing) that I'll know his or her birthday. If I do have to look it up, I probably won't forget it. If I didn't send you a birthday greeting, I didn't forget your birthday; I just forgot to send you a card. (Funny story: One weekend we're visiting my in-laws, and someone says, "What is the date today?" Someone else answers, "April 7." Before I can stop myself, I blurt out, "Russell Crowe's birthday." My mother-in-law gives me a funny look and says, "How in the world did you know THAT?" "It was in the paper this morning." Which was true, but what I didn't tell her was, I already knew that April 7 was Russell Crowe's birhtday.)

9. We have a yellow Lab who eats everything in sight. As long as she thinks it might be food. She has been known to eat plastic food storage bags that once held something edible. Lately we've had to make sure the kids empty out their lunchboxes as soon as they get home. She is stubborn; but she is friendly to everyone and we wouldn't trade her for anything.

I have a few more Random Things in mind that I might want to tell you about, but for now, since this post is already long enough, I'll leave it at Number 9. God bless you, and don't forget, Ash Wednesday is coming up in less than a week! Are you ready? I'm not...!

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