Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Five Things I Miss From My Childhood

I was tagged by Mark (number 4 on the following list) to complete this meme. So here goes.

But first...the Rules.

Remove the blog #1 from the following list and bump everyone up one place; add your blog's name in the number five spot. You need to link to each of the blogs for much cross pollination of the other blogs.

1. Soliloquy
2. Lyvvie's Limelight
3. The Cerebral Outpost
4. Meandering Musings Muster Madness
5. Green Duckies and Other Tales of Dana

Next, select four new friends to add to the pollen count. (Not obligated to partake):

1. Beth
2. Robert~Marlene
3. DeAnn
4. Matt

In no particular order, here are the top 5 things I miss from my childhood.

1. The back yard. We lived on an acre of land and most of it was in the back. My mom had a huge garden where she grew flowers and vegetables (including the dreaded tomato). There were a lot of trees, including two crab apple trees that I adored. A lot of my best memories are from that yard, playing with the neighbor kids and my sister, Kari. We would put on plays (I vaguely remember writing a long, drawn out play about how the planets were actually the Greek Gods and Goddesses that they were named after), build forts, climb trees (I got stuck once in one of the crab apple trees and my Dad had to talk me down), play with the animals (we always had dogs and cats. My Mom is a dog person while both Kari and I are cat people), practice the clarinet (me), read (me), tease their sibling unmercifully (Kari. Her nickname was Bug because she was such a pest) and mow the lawn.

I loved mowing the lawn. Mom would, when I was older, pay me 5 bucks for each half of the yard. It worked out because, while the back yard was so huge, the front yard took hardly any time at all. Plus I got to really put my imagination to work. When mowing the lawn, I could make up entire episodes of The Dukes of Hazard, which usually involved Luke Duke (Tom Wopat) driving the General Lee up our driveway and begging me to be his girlfriend. Or making up entire episodes of Simon and Simon, which usually involved Rick Simon (Gerald McRaney) driving his truck up the driveway and begging me to be his girlfriend. I could also use the lawn as a giant canvas and would cut designs into the grass, hearts, squares, triangles. That was fun, even though it would drive my Dad crazy. I love the smell of fresh cut grass and that is one thing I reget about living in an apartment in downtown Saint Paul. No grass.

2. The library. My mother taught me to read at the age of 4. One of her favorite stories about my childhood is when I went to kindergarten for the first time. About midway through the day, the teacher started calling parents to let them know how their children were doing. When she called my mom, she started telling her about what a great job I was doing playing with the other children and I took my nap without argument, etc. Mom listens to all of this and then asked "How's her reading?"

The teacher was a bit shocked by this. "Dana can't read," she exclaimed.

"Uh, yeah, she can," Mom replied.

"Hold on a moment." The teacher put the phone down and apparently sought me out and handed me a book. After a few minutes, she came back. "You're right! Dana can read!"

"Yes, I knew that. But thanks for reaffirming my beliefs." Okay, Mom probably didn't say that, she's the one that told me sarcasm isn't becoming when we went on the road trip from hell (one of the reasons why I don't have my driver's license).

In 4th grade, I was tested and it was discovered that I was reading at a 12th grade level. Much talk was made about how I should be moved to the 5th grade. Then someone had the idea to test my math skills and discovered I was not mathing at a 4th grade level. Some talk was made about how maybe I should be moved back to the 3rd grade. Eventually the decision was made to leave me where I was and hope for the best. Well, it's quite a few years later and I'm still reading at a 12th grade level (I'm sorry but most non-fiction is boring. Most "literary" novels are boring. If you want to call me a "chick-lit" fan, go for it. I like things that are fun (Although I do really recommend reading Carol Goodman, she is an incredibly wonderful author and made her literary novels extremely interesting. Buy The Seduction of Water. You will not regret it) but I still love to read.

When I was living in Mahtomedi, I would beg my mom to take me to the library constantly. At first she was thrilled about my avid reading but quickly got tired of the amount of time I would spend there. She would pull up to the small library in Willernie and tell me I had exactly 10 minutes to check out books. Now most people who know me now would be completely shocked to see how fast I could move in the library. I would go to a section of books and quickly pull out everything by a particular author. Or I would clean the mythology section out of whatever myths I was interested in at that time (usually Greek or Roman, however both Japanese and Norse mythology is quite fascinating. I just don't remember as much of it).

The main librarians throughout the years got to know me very well. It was common for them to say that they wished they had a nickel for every book I checked out and a dime for every book I reread because they would become rich. Every once in awhile, there would be a new librarian hired and would make comments about the stacks of books I was piling up on the counter.

New Librarian (NL): You do know that these books have to be returned in two weeks.
DM: Yeah.
NL: Well, don't you think this is rather a large amount of books to check out?
DM: No.
NL: You have over 30 books here.
DM: So? I'll be back on Saturday (this was on a Tuesday).
NL: You will not. You can't read over 30 books in four days.
DM: Yes, I can.
NL: There is no way. I don't think you should take all of these books. It's just going to be a waste of our time to check them out and you won't be able to finish them by the time they are due back. I'm going to talk to Mavis (head librarian) about this.
DM: You do that. Bitch (under my breath).
NL: Mavis? Could you come here a second?

Mavis comes over. NL starts complaining about how I'm taking out all of these books and isn't that awful and why am I wasting her time with this and really, shouldn't she get to decide how many books I get to check out?

Mavis: Hi, Dana.
DM: Hi.
Mavis: Your mom in the car?
DM: Yeah. I got the 10 minute rule again.
Mavis: I thought so. This isn't a lot of books for you. You'll be back on Saturday, I'm assuming.
DM: Yeah.
Mavis: Okay, see you then. (Turns to NL) This is Dana. She reads a lot.
NL: But she has over 30 books!
Mavis: I know. This is nothing compared to what she'll check out on Saturday.

On Saturday, when I came back, NL was there. I returned the books and she was a little shocked. She was even more shocked when I piled up a stack of books on one of the tables and settled down for an afternoon of reading.

NL: Are you going to be checking out all of these books (there were maybe 10)?
DM: No. I'm going to read these here. I'll get the books I'm checking out later.
NL: We close at 5 (it was noon).
DM: I know. My mom will pick me up then.
NL: You can't read 10 books in five hours.
DM: Yes. I can.
NL: Mavis? Can you come here a second?

Mavis calls over from the counter that, yes, Dana can read 10 books in five hours and I'll probably finish them before that and maybe she should start putting the books I had returned away.

Six months later, another new librarian started. She started hassling me on the amount of books I was checking out and NL came to my defense. In fact, she started keeping track of the amount of books I would check out and let me know if I had broke my record or not (I think the most I ever checked out was close to 120). She also would help me in my rush to gather books when I was on a deadline by pointing out new authors she thought I would like.

Ah, the library. My mom would use the one in Stillwater (it was glorious, gigantic and one of the best libraries I have ever visited) as a babysitter sometimes. She would drop me off in the morning with a lunch and pick me up after she was finished with work seven hours later. Some of the best days I ever spent in my life.

While I was working on this section, I paid a visit to flea's blog and found this post about her reading habits and why non-readers (people who choose not to read, not people with reading disabilities. There is a difference) who smugly express how proud they are about the fact that they don't read drive her crazy. It's well written and the comments are fun to read as well. Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that reading is one of the best things you can do with your time. She's had 72 comments in two days about this one post. Can you say wow? I knew you could. If you haven't checked out her blog recommendis a post I highly recommend. She is a brilliant, brilliant writer and I love her (in a purely platonic, non-stalking way).

3. I am choosing to believe that childhood covers all time from being a baby to when I graduated from high school. So there.

I miss acting and being in the choir. I have mentioned this before, I know, but I want to express that thought again. Since the section about the library was fairly long, I'm not going to go into any detail here except to tell you that I will do a post soon about some of the odd things that happened during some of the plays we would put on at both the high school and at my church. I'll also tell you about the characters that I played and the plays I was in. It will be fun and exciting. Trust me on this.

4. My hair. Up until I was 11, I never got my hair cut - except for the occasional trimming of the bangs by my mother. My hair reached the middle of my back and was very straight and thick and gloriously long. I could put it into a pony tail if I wanted or leave it down. I'm trying to grow it again but it is taking forever. I am trying to be very patient while I'm in the in between stage. I did get it cut on Wednesday (just a trim and thinning out the top and sides) and was told that my sides are only a 1/2 inch away from being the same length as the back. No mullet for me! Now I just have to wait, oh, I'd say about another 4 or 5 years and maybe, just maybe my hair will reach my back again. I did have one woman at my "salon" (okay, I go to Great Clips) suggest I look into extensions. Hmm. Fake hair. I don't think so but thanks!

5. My looks. My memory.

In high school, I weighed about 180. Which is overweight, yes, however, I truly had an hourglass figure. In fact, if I could get back to 180, I would never complain about my body or looks or anything about my physical appearance again. I'm working on it, though. It has become habit for me to start doing thigh squats when I am standing around (about 120 last night while I was with Andy, Beth, Char and Steve (Beth's new team lead) playing pool. I did 60 earlier today when Beth was on the computer. They're easy to do but oh, my God, does that hurt when you are done. I am noticing a difference though. Last night I walked up a flight of stairs at Beth's and was barely out of breath. Normally I'm about ready to pull out the inhaler).

I had a much better memory when I was younger. Those of you who read me frequently will know that I tend to refer to past events as sometime in the 80's or sometime in the 90's or many years ago. My short term memory is crap. My long term memory is crap. Sometimes I feel like Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap and that my brain has been "swiss cheesed."

Okay. The next post to come will be about why I am not allowed to use power tools as decreed by my younger sister, Kari. Talk to you later, people of the Internet!