Monday, February 25

Tag: I'm It

OK. I've been "tagged". Again. This is a blogging term for "ha ha see if you can top me...", which is why I have never responded to one before. Not that I don't enjoy these lists - I really do - but everyone else is so incredibly interesting having led or leading incredibly interesting lives. I can never think of what to say that isn't just totally embarrassing. However, after discovering that a fellow artist friend has catapulted to blogging fame by casually mentioning her published illustration of a circumcision ~ well, there's got to be something interesting about my life after all! I'll start with the most impressive facts first:

1) My maiden name is Rose. It was misspelled and mispronounced my whole life, even after I explained, "like the flower". The name is an adulteration of the original Portuguese my great-grandfather changed to avoid 'la migra' since he and his brother stowed-away on a sailing ship America-bound. I always considered this ethnic aspect of my bloodlines extremely exotic, but have little to show for it besides a mustache and a love of Pickled Porkchops and Linguicia; all very Portuguese and very repulsive to most of my children.

2) My Portuguese people are from Pico, an island in the Azores. They have very interesting names like Isabela, Manuel, Ferdinand and Bernarda. It didn't take much research to learn they led very uninteresting lives stranded on a tiny volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic milking goats, eating fish, growing grapes and from the record - marrying their cousins for 500 years.

3) My 6th great-grandfather was enormously interesting; he was a bodyguard to General George Washington. His name was Conrad Kremmer. He was compelled to fight in the Revolutionary War as a Hessian soldier. Because of his size, he was selected and trained as the equivalent in those days like a Black Ops; he was a Grenadier. Yes, that's French for "Grenade". As such, he was distinguished in battle by his ridiculous mitered cap essential to cap-off official Grenadier garb. Supposedly it made really tall guys look superhuman to the enemy. It actually worked much of the time, as combatants often fled at the sight of them...that is, until they encountered Americans. He was captured at Trenton (the famous Washington crossing the Delaware event). Apparently relieved by this turn of events, he immediately defected to the Continental Army and in less than a year moved up in rank to become part of the personal guard who attended Washington. His Revolutionary Pension notes he was with Washington at Brandywine and many other key battles, in addition to the infamous winter at Valley Forge.

4) My earliest human memory is of walking on the cold, reddish-brown cement floor before new carpet was laid during the remodeling of our home in 1960. I was 3 years old.

5) I was a thumb-sucker. My mom painted my thumb with a bitter tasting stuff, she took me to the Doctor, I was threatened and bribed to stop - but nothing worked until one morning when my dad asked me to look at my thumb. Plucking it out of my mouth to oblige, he then asked me if it was pink - it was - he said that was proof it was about to fall off any minute. I was 5.

6) My mom believed in holistic medicine. As a result, we visited a Chiropractor for virtually every conceivable thing regularly. We had to swallow endless handfuls of nasty smelling and tasting natural supplements and chalky, s.u.v. proportioned vitamin c tablets every day. The only nice thing about these truly awful visits was the fact that we loved kindly Dr. Barlow and his wife, Effie. They lived around the corner from us, were friends of the family, attended our same Ward, and best of all - he always called me his little "Cinderella". The really bad thing about this relationship is that years later my dad left our family and married Dr. Barlow's daughter.

7) I was the second fastest girl in the 6th grade (Robin Barnes always won first place), and the two of us left every boy in the dust. I was also the very last girl picked for Friday square dancing in the 6th grade. Even 6 foot tall redheaded Linda Peoples (who was retarded) was asked to dance before I was.

8) Might have something to do with #7; I could fit a nickle between my two front teeth. When I finally got braces, I had to wear a headgear 24/7. Do you remember kids who were socially banished like this? Yeah. I thought so. This is not interesting.

9) I was knocked unconscious during dodge-ball in the 5th grade. Witnesses told me the ball happened to be under my feet as I was running away from it; I think I blacked-out in the air because I could hear my impact with the ground as if it were at a great distance, while everything was black and enveloped in a floating sensation.

10) We were just leaving Griffith Park on a school field trip when the great fire began there in 1966. Just a few minutes ago I discovered it was called "The Loop Fire". We were boarding our buses right as the hook & ladder trucks and multiple police cars were screaming in to evacuate the Observatory and the Zoo. It was probably the fastest any kids were ever loaded onto big yellow school buses.

11) When I was only 9 or 10, my 11 year old cousin Wendy died suddenly only a couple weeks after her leukemia diagnosis. I was terribly hurt that my dad refused to go to the hospital and bring her back to life. I was convinced that if we had enough faith, he could do it.

12) I was horse-crazy in the extreme. My equine Hero is Big Red himself, the great Man O'War. I even had my own horse in my own backyard for 2 years until she had to go back to one of my dad's tax clients; which was needless to say - a really big and really interesting surprise.

13) I was only 5 when we visited Disneyland. I screamed my guts out during the Mars ride. I thought we really were in outer space and would never get back to Earth. I felt incredibly betrayed that I had been taken into the spaceship without consent. That is the only thing I can remember about Disneyland.

14) My CPA dad used to bring tax returns home with him from the office during tax season. I was only about 4 years old when I got up real early one day and drew what could be compared to "My Little Ponies" all over the borders of scores of tax returns he had finished late the night before. I remember his adult largeness looming over me in a voice of terrible thunder that normally would have been sufficient to disintegrate me into the meaningless dust that I was, however, this time I was more angry than afraid; I knew I had made his work more attractive to his clients. I felt positive they would pay him more money once they saw all the pretty little horses with long eye-lashes, lipstick and flowing, curly manes and tails all over their tax returns.

15) I wanted to grow up to be a famous children's author & illustrate my own books. My first masterpiece was a multi-spiral bound notebook collection with a really interesting title: "Black Star, the Horse That Never Really Was". You will agree this was a brilliant p.r. move on my part. Unfortunately, the book never really is.

16) I am a terrible cook. I am the only Mormon woman I know who panics when assigned to take someone a meal. There should be a system in place to allow anonymous meal-giving.

17) I am a fantastic pie maker. My Grandma Rose taught me how. I brush the top crust with a beaten egg, not just the whites.

18) When my dad had his office in Canoga Park, there was a residential house right next door where a family of four all died in their sleep one night from carbon monoxide poisoning. I was prone to brooding about stuff like this and then imagining similar disasters happening to me. This might be why I don't mind a window always being open a crack.

19) As a very small child in Primary, I remember really taking to heart the interesting lesson on The Plan of Salvation. Once I realized Lucifer was our brother fallen from grace, it pained my heart. Being a faithful little girl, I prayed sincerely each night (for several nights) to the Devil asking him to repent and tell Heavenly Father he was really sorry. Finally, fearing the overwhelming sensation of something dark and foreboding surrounding my pink bedroom when ever I did this - I told my mom what I had been doing. She assured me quickly that Satan had made his choice and we didn't need to worry about him anymore.

20) I have a phobia of math and numbers in general - even phone numbers, so it makes no sense to me that I must count in my head for the length of time to do certain tasks - like, watering a plant. If it's the 3 matching verbena bushes in the front, I am compelled to give each of them an equal count of time they receive water. Not one more, not one less. (The count is 50, btw). This fills up the planting well just right. I don't want to do it, I am annoyed counting, but it always happens no matter what. I don't need any well-intentioned comments on this, thank you.

21) I have a weird tendency to personify inanimate objects. I have always done this. When I was little (most of us didn't have central air) I worried so much that a fan would get "tired" that I tried to stay awake long enough to appreciate feeling cool and then turn it off before I fell asleep. As an adult, I can't help thinking the car engine might get tired on long trips, or the lawn mower, or the plane, or...

22) I thank inanimate objects for their sacrifice. I felt particularly close to one apartment we lived in on 12th Place and Marlette. While David returned the rented moving truck and I finished cleaning, I made a point to stand for a moment in the entrance hall and tell the empty apartment "thank you" out loud.

23) The highlight of my life so far in meeting someone famous was when David surprised me with a limo and a ride to the Thursday night Scottsdale Art Walk during the height of art season a few years ago. We could see an elderly man drawing at an easel for people inside one gallery. I thought it was pathetic to make him a petty display for the over-dressed, over-cleavaged bubbly & cheese crowd like that. Then Dave pointed out a sign I hadn't seen before - it read "Tonight Only: RWA Artist Arnold Friberg". I almost fainted. It was my hero. The one and only master of the Book of Mormon paintings - literally decades before anyone else attempted quality renderings and unequaled to this day. We stayed for over an hour. I got to talk to him, to listen to him, to watch him work. I got his autograph. It was amazing. Wow.

24) I won the contract with the AZ Game & Fish Dept. to execute their State Indigenous Animals poster series, and the Endangered Species Poster. My watercolor renditions of the State bird, reptile, amphibian, etc. have been in thousands of Arizona schools, libraries and Universities. Most of my kids have been able to tell their biology teachers in whatever school district they have been in that the poster on the wall was painted by their mother. No one believes them until they point to my signature.

25) I was in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. They told us at the time it was 6.1, but now it is assigned a 6.6 for the historical record. It was 6 AM. I could hear it for what seemed like a long time before it hit. It was as loud as a freight train. The creepiest aspect by far in my rural style neighborhood in the middle of suburban Northridge, was all the horses up and down our street running in circles and screaming afterwards. I have never heard a horse before or after make that kind of sound. A child of the Southern California quake zone, I had been in many and slept through more, until this one. The tremendous aftershocks were absolutely terrifying for many, many weeks. Interestingly enough we moved to Arizona 6 months later.

26) I went to 3 different Scottsdale High Schools only because I was bored. It should be kind of interesting that I graduated in 3 1/2 years (officially out of school before Christmas vacation) and applied to BYU Winter Term with no clue that it was more of a process than just sending a letter and sewing some outfits before classes started in January. I was accepted for Summer.

27) As a young mother, I made it a policy to take long umbrella stroller walks as often as possible. The children and I had many adventures and imaginative exchanges without a hint of ipods, headphones, cell phones, light-up shoes or any other gadget considered essential today. 25 cents got us a single scoop ice cream cone at Thrifty.

28) I think my kids are really funny and endlessly clever. They must get their lightening-quick whit from their dad.

29) I appreciate weird, insignificant or even utterly ordinary things mostly over-looked by society at large. This tends to make me easily amused, for which I have no apology.

30) I was paddled by our school Principal Mr. Sands in the 2nd grade for being tardy. They were unimpressed by the fact that my mom always drove my brother to his private school first, before dropping me off at school. I still got the spanking. Once I was in the 3rd grade and allowed to ride a bike to school, I was free of the threat of corporal punishment and got myself to school on time.

31) There were 5 Cindys in my 5th grade class. I changed the spelling to 'Cindi' in 7th grade, rejecting a friend's suggestion for 'Sindee' as completely idiotic. Guess what? I've seen this. A lot.

32) I was a docent at the 1894 Peterson House on Southern & Priest in Tempe. I also worked with the Tempe Historical Society as an artist, writer and event planner. They had an acquisitions committee, but said they couldn't "talk money" with anyone. So I said I would. I figured people would only say yes or no. They mostly said yes, including the United Dairymen of AZ who gave me a check for $500 and 1200 cartons of milk for our big event.

33) As part of the above community p.r. effort, I was featured (in Victorian dress) on 3 different Wallace & Ladmo t.v. shows to tell the kids all about our Statehood event at the Peterson House.

34) Robin's tag-list indicated that she considers Oprah the Anti-Christ; but I said it first.

35) Finally, I admit I still feel like I will really do something when I "grow up". At this point in life, I figure this is not interesting at all, but a problem I should be working on.


Cynthia said...

If only we both had a picture of OURSELVES in our very lovely headgear. Luckily I could take mine off during school hours because it not only went around the back of my head, but also a strap over the top. It was like a whole cap tugging at my teeth.
Wallace and Ladmo and statehood cultural events seem like an oxymoron! I met them once too, they came to my family's grand store opening. They were mauled by all the children of northern Arizona. They had to have 16 year old body guards to get back to their vehicles.
Small child memories of Disneyland? Going to Mars is hilarious. I loved actually flying over London in the Peter Pan ride.
And for being a terrible mormon cook, you still end up with some pretty terrific dishes coming out of your kitchen - whatever the trauma it took to get to the finished product.

two forks said...

i'm still mad you didn't patent those "my little pony" prototypes!

and yes, we as siblings are all really funny... but i don't know about endlessly clever. more like sporadically clever.

Anonymous said...

Hurray! Blog comments! Thank you Cynthia & #1 offspring! My family freaks out that I have such giant blogs...when I kept checking it today to see if anyone commented yet, Asia said, "Mom! NO ONE is commenting because they're still reading it!"

I feel for you Cynthia...that cap style headgear must have been the worst. I did after all volunteer to wear mine all day because they promised it would take 6 mo. off my time in bands. Being called 'buck tooth' will kind of motivate this choice.

Don't you remember the guy from the AZ Historical Museum that would come on Wallace & Ladmo almost every show in the 80's? It was a natural to have me appear with him (& Wallace) during their little promote AZ history segments. It was really really FUN and they were really nice to me and the whole family that tagged along in the studio audience.

Bi, did you get a Ladmo bag?

Bandanamom said...

So many interesting things here to comment on...where to start? The Satan thing is both hilarious and frightening.

I know you asked for no 'helpful' comments on your numbers 'thing'. But...did it ever occur to you that there might be a connection between "my little pony" "daddy's important documents full of NUMBERS" and the numbers phobia? Just sayin'

two forks said...

yes i did get a ladmo bag... but it was on my own merit. remember i drew that picture of gerald with his pants down and he had on flowered boxers? yep, i was clever back then. but thanks to you and the peterson house i got on 2 other times!

Yaj said...

I took dance classes in the eighth grade. I remember Linda Peoples, well... her knees anyway... her feet had a smell too.

Heidi said...

This was interesting/fun to read. :) The devil bit was hilarious. Your connections to inanimate objects is pretty funny too especially that you thanked your old apartment :) I never did headgear but I did have braces for 5 years. Those were miserable/ugly years. I used to attribute the sores I get in my mouth to my braces. When I finally got them off I realized they had nothing to do with braces. I was really disappointed.