Saturday, August 07, 2004
50 Things about Laurie
1. I'm the oldest of seven sisters. Hummm, the oldest. I think that explains a few things...
2. Modesto, California, is where I spent my formative years. Modesto is the boyhood town of George Lucas, and scenes from American Graffiti were filmed at my high school.
3. In 1st grade, I won a class poetry contest for the little ditty I wrote about bunnies. Thus began my illustrious writing career.
4. My youngest sister, Erin, is seventeen years younger than me. We are still sometimes mistaken for being mother and daughter.
5. In 4th grade, I began playing the violin. That same year, our long-time next door neighbors moved to Florida.
6. I love a good cup of mint tea.
7. When it comes to cooking, everything I make is an experiment. You know how it goes with scientific discovery. Sometimes you discover the chemical formula for Radon. Sometimes you blow up the lab.
8. For better than 28 years in my life, I had the same haircut. It was a charming little number known as a "bob." Sometimes I wore it with bangs, sometimes I wore it with a headband, and sometimes I pulled the whole mess up into a ponytail.
9. Four years ago, I sheered most my hair off and now wear it boys' style. No more curling irons. No more hot rollers. No more frizzy mess.
10. My next-to-youngest, Anna, lives in Missouri. She's the mother of the adorable baby Juddah.
11. In 6th grade, I wowed the kids in my class by reading Jane Eyre in just one week.
12. On Sunday mornings, don't you just love to sit a cup of Tension Tamer tea curled up on the couch with a good read?
13. In 7th grade, I was known as the "school librarian's pet" because I was one of the few kids to touch the dusty books in the "classics" section.
14. Sarah, my sister who is third-from-the-end, works for a river running outfit in Washington State. I'm so jealous!
15. Between my junior and senior year of high school, I spent two months as an exchange student in Japan. I wore a uniform to school, rode the Shinkansin, and learned to love sushi.
16. I've made four concerted efforts to learn Japanese. I still have my language flashcards, and one of these days they may just do the trick.
17. Other languages I've given up learning: German, Spanish, and American Sign Language. Do we see a trend here?
18. Wendy, my third-oldest sister, has four adorable kids. Hannah, Sidney, Emily, and Jonathan are as cute as buttons.
19. My freshman year in high school, I switched from violin to cello, much to the relief of my violin teacher.
20. Somehow, cello made a lot more sense to me. I actually practiced from time to time, and became a somewhat decent high school orchestra member.
21. My freshman year in high school, the Thomas Downey High School orchestra took a grand tour of Iceland, where we played for a few church congregations and a retirement home.
22. My favorite memory of Iceland is watching the fuzzy baby sheep trotting across the rocky Iceland fields.
23. While I was in Iceland, I bought several hand knit Icelandic-style sweaters. The sweaters must be thermal nuclear powered, best worn while skiing or hiking in sub-zero temperatures.
24. I still have two of the Icelandic sweaters and pull them out on chill-ish Illinois evenings. Perhaps these sweaters inspired my later fascination with hand knitting.
25. The Thomas Downey orchestra also played aboard the Azure Seas cruise ship on a two-day trip from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico, where we stunned the audience with our rendition of Pacabel's Canon.
26. My favorite memory from the cruise: falling to sleep to the gentle rocking of the boat.
27. My senior year in high school, just after graduation, the Thomas Downey orchestra made one more grand tour, this time to Hawaii where we played in an outdoor amphitheater, much to the annoyance of the tourists trying to get tans on the beach.
28. My favorite memory from the Hawaii trip is sneaking out of our hotel after midnight for more beach time.
29. I attended college at Brigham Young University, a darn fine private school. And a bargain, too.
30. In college, I was an English major. I planned to enter a career where they would pay me for reading books all day.
31. For two years, I lived on campus at BYU in Felt Hall, a dorm for women.
32. Last year, I visited my old dorm, and it still retains its 1950's practical glamour.
33. Most days, I begin the morning with a bowl of high-fiber cereal. Mmmmm, fiber.
34. My middle sister, Mary, just moved to Washington, DC. She's pregnant and expecting a baby girl.
35. My favorite thrill about going to college was walking around campus, wearing my walkman, and listening to Paul Simon tapes. All the McBride girls are Paul Simon fans.
36. As a part of a class I took in college, I went on a three-week trip to Bolivia in South America. There, the class helped a small village build a school, a well, and a green house.
37. My favorite memory of Bolivia is riding atop a bus as it wound its way down a narrow river valley road into a dense cloud forest.
38. My second-favorite memory of Bolivia is walking the cobblestone streets of La Paz and bargaining with a merchant for an alpaca sweater.
39. My least-favorite memory of Bolivia is meeting the guy who I later married…and divorced.
40. What was my first marriage like? Imagine Rebel Without a Cause combined with Slacker combined with Dazed and Confused.
41. After getting divorced, I found myself in Seattle, Washington, working for the Seattle Public Library. The best part about working for the library-the books!
42. In Seattle, I discovered this great little sandwich shop in the Pike's Place Market where you can get a bowl of soup and salad and a window seat with a view of the Puget Sound. Then, for the next half hour, the sight of ferries sliding in and out of port, the view of the Cascade Mountains, the green hills of West Seattle, there's all yours for under $5.
43. My sister Heather-she's the next oldest-she just had her third baby, a little girl she named Michelle.
44. After getting divorced, I took a bunch of classes. I think it was a part of this whole "self renewal, self discovery" phase that follows most divorces.
45. First, I took a knitting class. Then a creative writing class, then a year-long seminar on human resources management. I finished up this school-going streak by earning a masters degree in public administration from Seattle University.
46. The self-improvement phase also involved a vegetarian diet, a membership at the local YMCA, many aerobic classes, and another shot at learning Japanese.
47. During a ride with a Seattle bicycle club, I met a cute biker named Randy. He looked great in a pair of bicycle shorts.
48. Three years later, Randy and I took our honeymoon to Banff, Canada.
49. While on our honeymoon, we read the first two Harry Potter books together. Isn't that romantic? During the four years of our marriage, we've read the entire Harry Potter saga together.
50. These days, I work at Illinois Central College, a fine community college. When I'm not on the job, I like to pretend to be a freelance writer.


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