Howard at the HRlaughed blog tagged me to tell five things you probably don't know about me. I fear the consequences of ignoring such a request, but I'm having a little trouble picking which obscure facts to tell. Everything seems obscure.
Here are the first five that come to mind (chronologically):
1. I grew up in a suburb of Cincinnati in a house where my dad smoked constantly. Needless to say, I suffered from asthma and would start wheezing after very little physical activity. Although I wanted to join a baseball team like my friends, my parents never signed me up because they were afraid I'd suffer an asthma attack. Apparently no one had made the link between second-hand smoke and asthma.
I do remember when the surgeon general made the link between smoking and cancer. I was 14 and my dad was undergoing chemo at the time. I'll be 57 next month, and I've already outlived him.
Related to my dad, he was a terrible driver. Once I was in the car with two cousins and he sideswiped a kid on a bicycle. His handlebar grip left a long mark on our '57 Plymouth. The kid was OK, but I cried — the ice cream cone I was holding smashed into my face when I hit the seat back in front of me.
2. I played the trumpet through high school and the first year of college — Ohio University's 100 Marching Men of Ohio. My son took up the trumpet in elementary school, rekindling my interest. I've resurrected my chops after more than 30 years of inactivity and currently play in the Renton Community Concert Band. I am now a band geek.
3. A journalist by trade, I've worked at newspapers in Georgia, Maryland and California. By far the most fun I had was as a reporter covering the waterfront and Naval Academy in Annapolis at The Capital. I have many memories of my eight years there.
I always liked making the Naval officers uncomfortable, like the time I wrote about the first female midshipman to become pregnant. The Navy didn't know how to handle it, so they kicked her out. When I interviewed a very stiff public affairs Lt. Cmdr. (accompanied by his civilian counterpart) in his starched whites about the Navy's reaction, I asked if any other expulsions were likely. He didn't understand my question. I said, “You know, it takes two to tango,” and the civilian flack burst out laughing. I learned later that the flack had prepped the Lt. Cmdr. that I'd probably ask that — in those words — and the Navy guy had dismissed it, saying nobody would be that tacky. (Turns out the “deed” occurred with a civilian during winter break.)
4. My daughter has a very rare chromosome abnormality called Trisomy 8p. It means that extra genetic material is attached to all her Number 8 chromosomes. While it was touch and go for the first year, she's the healthiest one in the family now. She sat up at age 3 and started walking at 5. She's 13 now and can say Hi and Bye at the appropriate times. Her favorite activity at school is riding a Rifton tricycle.
She's changed my life more than I can imagine. I've dropped out of any career path in any field to help look after her and get her to therapies. She helps me keep things in perspective and introduced me to a whole bunch of courageous kids who struggle to achieve what most take for granted.
5. Last spring, I managed my son's senior level Little League team. The other Little League team manager couldn't interest anyone else in the post and the teen-agers would get very little, if any, playing time if I didn't take the job. It didn't matter that my only experience in the sport had been watching my son play and playing right field on company softball teams that had a keg iced down at the end of the bench.
We only had 3 wins during the season, and my most vivid memory is restraining a hot-headed 200-pound 15-year-old from charging the field. My team came together for the season-ending Seattle area Wood Bats Tournament, however, where we made it to the final four.
Did that seem a little long to you? Sorry. Now I tag five other bloggers: