Friday, September 24, 2021

Twenty Questions!

TGIF!  For today's post, I sampled a bunch of twenty questions posts and put together my own list.

1. Physical stuff?
5 feet five inches, hazel eyes, 46 years old (Gemini born in 1975), zero piercings, zero tattoos.

2. Do you have any pets?
One dog who you can read about here.  I grew up with (and adore) cats and was afraid of dogs until a friend's German Shepherd bonded with me.
3. Do you have any kids?
Two stepsons who used to be little kids but are now taller than me and showing alarming signs of becoming responsible adults some day.  I knew from an early age that I didn't want to have children of my own, and no, to date I haven't changed my mind.  From the same age I thought that being a stepmom sounded pretty cool and I was right, but the reality is way, way, way more amazing that I could ever have dreamed.

For my ladies out there who don't want kids==>the last time I remember someone asking me about it was when I was 43, so (I think) there is an expiration date on people poking their noses into your business.  Hang in there! (And know that if you did have kids these same people would be asking why you have so many/don't have enough and criticizing the age gap between your children, so there really is no escape).
4. Do you have any siblings?
Nope!  I'm an only child of an only child of an only child.  My husband has four sisters so his childhood was just a bit different than mine.

5. Where did you grow up?
For privacy reasons, I've never said where I live now, but I don't see any reason not to say where I've previously lived.  I grew up in Champaign Illinois, and moved to the area where I currently live sometime in high school.
6. What activities did you do in high school?
I can sew a little bit, so I volunteered to help with the costumes for school plays.  I started working at 16, and once I'd gotten that first paycheck work was my only extracurricular.
7. What did you study in college?
Nutrition and Dietetics.  The segue to the next question is that a few weeks before graduation I found out that I did not get the internship that was the next step toward becoming a Registered Dietitian, so I had to come up with a Plan B pronto.
(Related question: why have a sought out nutritional counseling for myself if I have a degree in this stuff to start with?  Answer: a bachelor's in Nutrition means hella chemistry classes and hella number crunching, I didn't get to the "practical" study side.  Plus it was over 20 years ago).

8. What was your first job out of college?
As a temp for $6 an hour, real happy times.  By the end of the summer I job hopped my way up to $8 an hour.  When the company that I was temping for hired me, they offered me $8.50 but I asked for (and got) $8.75.  Based on my technical survival skills of being able to change a typewriter ribbon and the printer toner I was able to move up the ladder into a technical support job (which is why I never took another stab at getting the dietetic internship).  Many years later I was sick of traveling and filled in for our accounting guy while he was on medical leave, so that's the walk from my college degree to my current career.

9. What kind of music do you like?
Oooh I hate it when people ask me this because it's an awkward answer.  As far as I can tell, it doesn't have a proper name other than "the popular music from the 20's and 30's"  At the time it was called jazz, but it's not the same thing as today's jazz.
99.9% of the music on my phone comes from this blog (which hasn't been updated since 2009 but I still have hopes).

Example #1 (YouTube link):
Example #2 (Youtube link):

10. What’s your longest relationship so far?
8 years and counting with the hubs!  What can I say, the online dating thing worked out.

11. Are you left or right handed?
Leftie!  I can write with my right hand, but it's very slow.

12.  What are your hobbies?
You already know about the blogging, cooking, running, classic movies, and reading.  I play piano a little bit, though I haven't played in a while.  Beyond that I have strong love for the NYT crossword app, and do the Spelling Bee, Mini, and Full puzzles every day.  I've worked my way back to 2009 in the crossword archive.  I have no ambitions to be an ace crossworder and use hint and solver apps without shame.

I have one pandemic-specific hobby, which is taking a selfie with the dog every day.  The way this developed is that during the lock down in March 2020 my husband took the boys hiking and sent me a selfie of the three of them, so I responded with a selfie of me and the dog.  It morphed into taking a selfie with the dog after her newly instituted "pandemic lunch walk" every day, so it's every day since late March 2020 to present less the days that the dog and my stepsons spend with their mom.  Hundreds of pictures and I'm not mad about it.  Usually it's me and hubs and the dog but occasionally full family pictures if we can get the boys.

13. Windows or Mac/Android or iPhone?
By nature I'm Windows/Android but Mac/iPhone just works too well.  I never had an Android phone last longer than two years.  I had my first iPhone for 5 years and only upgraded to get more storage space.  My dad is still using my first iPhone.

14. Do you have any irrational fears?
I wouldn't say that it's irrational, but I have a very low tolerance for heights and daredevil stuff.  You will never find me on a roller coaster.

15. Have you ever traveled outside the country? If so, where?
Not nearly as much as I imagined I would.  My parents made a few visits to the U.K. when I was young that I have very faint memories of.  On my own I've been to Canada (mostly Toronto area and mostly for work - in the late 90s/early 2000s I was there so much that I used to check the headlines in the Globe and Mail every day), one visit to Jamaica, and one visit to Cancun. 

In theory I would like to travel, but the reality is that my home is and will continue to be the most fascinating place on earth for as long as my stepsons are here, so it's not a priority right now.  I did take a solo trip a few years ago, but honestly I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I would with the hubs.

16. Where have you run other than your home state?
Illinois (in grade school gym class and on vacation to visit my SIL in Chicago), North Carolina (vacay), South Carolina (vacay), Georgia (work), Florida (vacay), Puerto Rico (vacay), and Cancun (vacay).  I've never run a race further than an hour away from home.

17. When’s your next vacation and where are you going?
Nothing planned, but I would like to take the hubs somewhere warm this winter for a long weekend.

18. Do you speak any other languages?
No, and not for lack of trying.  I took French in high school and have dabbled in Italian and Spanish here and there.  My favorite language is German, and at one time I had a pretty good vocabulary.  Unfortunately it's a use-it-or-lose-it skill.

19. What’s one talent that you wish you had?
This is a heartbreaking one to answer, but I wish I had musical talent.  In my mid 20's I took voice lessons and got pretty serious about it (that's how I ended up studying German and piano and I was in the chorus of the local symphony orchestra for many years).  Unfortunately the feedback went from "Wow, we can tell that you work so hard!  You have so much potential!" to "We can tell that you work so hard" and it ended up being a dream that had to die. 
20. If you weren’t in your current job, what would you want to be doing?
I feel pretty good about where I am with my day job.  I wouldn't want to be doing anything in the business world besides my current accounting/payroll hybrid.  But if I had to do something different, I'd be a photo editor.  I've dabbled in Photoshop a bit and really enjoy editing photos.  I wouldn't mind learning a ton more than I know about it and it seems like something that I would enjoy doing all day long.

Your Turn: answer as many of these questions as you want.  Better yet, do your own 20 questions post on your blog and leave the link here;-)


  1. Ich wusste nicht, dass du Deutsch sprichst! Very nice, Birchie!

    This is fun, let me select 5 of your 20:

    3. Kids: we are child-free by choice. We decided that before we married with the option to change our minds. We never did. I'm now 53 and I'm still happy with that decision. Nobody asks me anymore, haha! But even when they used to, I thought it was ok to ask (if they didn't mind the answer).
    8. First job: at a travel agency. Then I worked for an airline for 12 years. It was fun! After that, I got serious, I got my CPA and CFA and worked for banks. Not much fun, but better money.
    10. Longest relationship: with my husband, married for 28 years. In fact, he was my only relationship (gasp!)
    18. Languages: English and German, bad French and even worse Spanish.
    19. Talent: same as you! I wish I could play an instrument. And draw... I used to be good at it but now it's non-existent.

    Great idea for a post!!

    1. I love it! The thing that I love so much about your posts is the way that you make me feel that I'm right there with you in Switzerland and Capetown, and I bet that you made everyone that you worked with in your traveling career feel the same way. If your only relationship has lasted 28 years then I'd say that you've done it right!

  2. Oh, I think we should all do this! There are so many bloggers I follow, and I know certain things about their lives right now but I always wonder these things about them. Like I'm fascinated by Catrina's response about being child-free by choice. I also grew up in IL, but up north by Chicago. I went to summer camp at U of I for many years though!
    You can see I'm binge-reading all your recent posts, ha ha. I'll have to give a serious thought to the book one. (spoiler- I've read three of your four main books, also disliked Christmas Carol and Dickens in general, and there are a few on your "didn't like" list that I read and enjoyed!)

    1. Yes yes yes I would love it if everyone who saw this post would do their own version!

  3. Oooh, thanks for sharing a little more insight into your persona :-) I think I did a similar post many moons ago...I might have to do a refresher. I’ve been to Cancun (honeymoon)...did you see Chichen Itza when you were there? The hubs & I climbed the pyramid...going up was fun & exciting, but coming down was scary! Not recommended for peeps with any heights fears (thankfully I’m not one of them).

    1. Yes please for a refresher! We didn't go to Chichen Itza but it's on our list for next time. I would make an exception for my fear of heights to climb it!

  4. No way, I didn't know you love (and speak) German. Das freut mich so! :)

    This was really fun, Birchie! I learned a lot of new things about you. I might have to do a similar post sometime (maybe for NaBloPoMo this year!).

    1. Unfortunately I only love German, I can't speak it. But I think that if I started studying it again that my vocabulary would come back. I'd love it if you did your own version of this post for NaBloPoMo!