11 Things About Me: Slice of Life #sol18 4/31

Inspired by lists at Elsie Tries Writing and Wahoo Literacy Teacher and in honor of the Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge’s eleventh year, here’s a list of 11 things about me:

      1. I live in Western South Dakota where the prairie meets the hills. When I moved here for a teaching job, I never meant to stay. I was a short-timer. Two years, I told myself. Three at the absolute max. That was fifteen years ago….
      2. I have eight cats. For a few months last summer, before one died and three moved to my mother’s house, I had twelve. Once you reach four, it’s okay to keep adding. Eight doesn’t really require more work than four. (But you might want to check with my son and husband for confirmation first, because they clean the cat boxes.)
      3. Products I should do commercials for: Ghirardelli Dark & Sea Salt Caramel Squares, Precise Pilot Pens, Honda Accords, Cat Dancer cat toys. And maybe a PSA on the joys of taming little feral cat families.
      4. I routinely have 20 or 25 different books started. Eventually two or three rise to the top and I fully commit and finish. I don’t know why I read so many books at once. It doesn’t seem very efficient.
      5. It’s probably wrong to have a favorite child, but I don’t think it’s wrong to have a favorite cat. And I do. Chipotle. I don’t know what he has to recommend him besides the fact that he seems to prefer me to all others, but that’s enough. The feeling is mutual.
      6. I taught high school before I became a teacher educator. I love my work with preservice teachers, but I still miss teaching high school.
      7. I have practiced yoga daily since December 31. At first, daily yoga was a 30-day challenge for January. But then I kept it up through February. And now I have visions of 365 days of yoga.
      8. I have a lucky coffee mug. The luck it brings is that my son has never once woken up during my morning coffee and writing time when I use this mug.
      9. I name my cars. My friend Elizabeth started the tradition with my fourth car, a Honda Accord we named Opal. Opal was the first car I bought brand new off the lot, and she made it to 300K miles. Then came Hester, another Honda Accord. And now Irene. Ditto.
      10. My son is doing online high school this year, so in addition to the full-time teaching job I already have, I am also a 9th-grade teacher of all subjects. (Well, me and Khan Academy.) I’m having the reverse of my own high school experience. Then, I loved English and History. Now, I dread those subjects and like Algebra I and Physical Science, two subjects I could barely pass in high school.
      11. The one thing I miss living in South Dakota is rain. It rarely rains here, and when it does, it’s usually scary (thunder, lightning, hail ranging from dimes to baseballs).

    slice-of-life_individual

 

36 thoughts on “11 Things About Me: Slice of Life #sol18 4/31

  1. Your writing told me things I didn’t know about South Dakota and provided a glimpse into your life there. Isn’t it interesting why/how we make choices in our life…

  2. I could make a comment on each and every tidbit you shared of your life, but in order to make this comment not so long here are a few of my thoughts: lucky you not doing the cat boxes, WOW to 300,000 miles, yoga envy (I have no flexibility), and yum to the dark chocolate and sea salt caramel.

    • Yes, on the rare occasions (maybe twice a year) when I end up cleaning cat boxes, I always think to myself that there is no way I would have so many cats if I had to clean the boxes! I’ve noticed the same thing about the list pieces that others write–I could comment on each and every item!

  3. I savored all these details about you, Elisabeth. Already knowing we are so alike in many ways, I loved learning the small characteristics we usually don’t tell others – like “I name my cars.” We name our pick-ups at our house. The present 2000 GMC rusted out diesal is named Ursela. These vehicles really do grow into their names, don’t they? And, that book problem – yeah – that’s me.

    I’m stealing this idea.

  4. I really enjoyed reading your list. You included details I would never have thought to include, which is what made it so interesting. I especially liked the one about Chipotle (great name!) being your favorite cat. 🙂

  5. I can’t wait to structure a post like this. I am already thinking about the things I should make commercials for, so thank you for sharing!

  6. This is a great way to get to know slicers. We only have three cats and I don’t see the number going higher. We have always given our cats human names like Molly, Priscilla, Ned, never names like Whiskers, Boots, etc.

    • “Only” three?! I like human names for cats too. The last several cats I named were Wilhemina, Fergus, Lola, Abby, Frances, Barbara. But my son named the feral kittens, which is how we ended up with Panda, Chipotle, Toast, and Smudge. It turns out that foods make for fun cat names too. Toast and Chipotle are pretty great cat names!

  7. Eleven things about me: 1. I live in southern California. When I first came here there were many open fields, some wild horses, and two dairy farms. The wild horses and dairy farms are gone, replaced by an auto mall and a very large mall. 2. I have two cats: Popper and Annie. Popper showed up on my patio one evening. She is my heart-cat. When I nap on my sofa she curls in my arms and naps too. She also sleeps with me at night. Annie is a rescue cat. Nobody wanted a black cat. This was very fortunate for me. She loves watching lizards from the window. I also have a cockatiel, Murray, who is more than 30 years old. 3. I was in the Navy 11 years. My portfolio was selected for a photojournalism program sponsored by the Navy at Syracuse University. At Syracuse I was able to meet my photographic idol: W. Eugene Smith. I consider his work, Minamata, one of the finest examples of photojournalism…ever. 4. I buy many books but rarely finish them. Usually I know what I’ll finish within the first chapter. My preferences are fantasy and history. An odd combination. Go-to authors: V. E. Schwab, Kelly Barnhill, Ursula Vernon, Maggie Stiefvater, Kimberly Newton Fusco, and Deborah Heiligman. I love picture books. Laurel Snyder’s Swan affected me deeply as did Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. I live and breathe the poetry of Mary Oliver and Emily Dickinson. One of my college professors actually went to the homes of Dickinson and Mark Twain. I was the only student who ever aced one of his exams. My original goal was to follow in his footsteps and become an English teacher. I allowed philosophy to sidetrack me. I regret that decision. 5. The climate where I live is normally dry and hot. March is our rainy month. I hate heat, but I’ve lived where I am now for more than 45 years. 6. I love hiking. I often go to a plateau within 25 minutes of my house and just walk and photograph. I often lose track of time so I now carry a stopwatch. While hiking, I frequently forget to eat and drink. The plateau is just that beautiful. Other favorite areas: Santa Cruz, Yosemite, Balboa Park in San Diego, and Pismo Beach. 7. I do better with cats than I do with people. The dynamics of personal relationships are, at best, confusing, at worse, draining. 8. I especially love forests, oak trees, kingfishers, sunrises, hawks, and Monarch butterflies. 9. My wife and I worked with abused children for 35 years. I stopped working with the children when my wife was diagnosed with lymphoma. With the help of hospice I took care of her. She died two years ago. 10. Once, I was extremely analytical. However, I discovered that, for me, analysis was robbing me of my joy for reading. I chose to forego extreme analysis for the pleasure of reading a well-crafted story. 11. My younger brother was in the Navy for more than 30 years. He rose from the ranks of the enlisted to become a submarine officer. This is incredibly difficult. My brother is remarkably disciplined. He began weight-lifting when he was 12. He’s still weightlifting. I also have a younger sister. Like my brother she is remarkably goal-oriented. I love them both but am almost their exact opposite.

    • I feel so honored that my post inspired this comment, and I absolutely loved learning all these new things about you! I have something to say about every single item on your list, I think. I’m going to hop over to Twitter and message you there. But I will say that I too have recently learned to appreciate the exquisite beauty of the black cat. I was a bit disappointed when the litter of ferals included two “plain” black cats. But they have grown into the most beautiful cats, and now I think I will always want to have black cats. I also love the idea of a “heart cat.”

  8. Great list and a super way to get to know you. Thanks for sharing and I too have named our cars – it’s just seems like the thing to do!

  9. A wonderful look into your life. I’m a Honda fan, too: a Civic, an Accord, and now a CRV, although my favorite car is the 2005 Mustang I had for ten years. I, too, love cats but haven’t had one in several years. My one of dogs are skittish, and I worry about both how a cat and the dog would fare together. And there’s something about the midwest that grows on you, so that you’ve stayed in SD probably says something very good about your work ethic.

    • We have one cat who really hates the dog, but the other seven range from oblivious to affectionate. And the dog just avoids the one meanie. We’ve added many cats over the years of various ages, and it does seem like kittens do best. I think I’m an Accord owner for life now. I just love them.

  10. How did you end up in South Dakota for a teaching job? I’m currently a teacher and am seriously looking at moving across the country to teach, but it’s a little scary since it’s hard to know what the school systems are like since I don’t know many teachers outside of Maryland! (Well, besides my uncle but I’m 95% I do NOT want to teach in Santa Ana. I mean, I’ve taught in three Title 1 schools and it’s not too bad…but I wouldn’t want to move across the country for that situation either. And his sounds AWFUL)

    Lololol “it doesn’t seem very efficient”. I literally laughed out loud when I read that part haha! But for real how on earth do you remember anything?! I struggle as it is and I never have more than two going on at the same time!

    • I moved to SD to teach on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I did it on a whim, as I do most giant things in my life. I believe that everything works out, one way or another. You are right about the school system quandary, and that’s what I would be most careful of, looking for a new job. What’s your vision for the kind of work you want to do? What kind of place makes you happiest to live?

  11. I love this idea. I might have to try it too. And I was glad to hear about your son. I wondered how school was going for him. You are a brave woman to teach your own child!

    • I know you can understand just how difficult the teaching sometimes (often!) is. I simply have to write more lists this month. They’re among my favorite things to read and write so I don’t know why I think I’m taking the easy way out if I do a list.

  12. I loved learning all this additional details about you and your life! I love this idea, but I feel my life is too boring to come up with 11 interesting facts! LOL! Anyways, I’m most surprised at the starting 20-25 books at one time! I couldn’t keep any of it straight! But, hey, if it works, go for it! Naming cars is a good thing and so is the yoga every day!

    • I think you’d be surprised at what you could come up with! Once I got started, I just kept thinking of different things, and when I got stuck, I looked out the window and there was Hester in the driveway!

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