25 Random Things

Floating around Facebook is a meme titled, "25 Random Things." In the getting-to-know-you department, it's a perfect fit.

When I finished my list, a few things became evident. I've currently got travel on the brain...where I've been (South Korea, Cuba and Thailand) and where I want to go... (Morocco? Ethiopia? or India?).

And this time of year, you can often find me hunkered under a lofty down comforter, curled up with a good book. When I finally gave it some thought, I realized...I read close to 1,200 pages a week[!]. No wonder my brain is on overload!

The rest? Straight up randomness.

Here goes:

1. I am a direct descendant of Henry Hudson, the English explorer who is credited for discovering Canada’s Hudson Bay and Hudson River. Guess you could say I've got explorer in my genes....

2. I like my travel long and slow. I’d rather play backgammon with little old men on the corner than visit museums or a beach.

3. To date, I’ve traveled in 17 countries and encountered hurricanes, military coups, and diving in shark infested waters.

4. I’ve had romantic interludes with a gold trader, a nuclear particle physicist, a shaman, a US Secret Service agent, and a modern day jaguar hunter.

5. I always thought I would learn to fly a plane, speak French, and play the guitar. Never say never.

6. I am a certified cold water scuba diver. I own a dry suit and have logged over 150 dives in the chilly Pacific waters. After a dive, my hands are so stiff I can’t get my gear off, which sucks because I usually have to go to the bathroom.

7. I want to experience Carnival in Rio, Trinidad and Venice. New Orleans? Been there. Done that. Got a truckload of beads to prove it!

8. I am in denial about my fear of heights, which makes for an extremely funny bungi jumping experience. The video? Hysterical!

9. I read everything I can get my hands on and often read several books at a time. On average, I cover about 1200 pages a week, plus audio books. I’m especially fond of non-fiction and cookbooks and I always make notes in my books. Always.

10. “No” and “It can’t be done” are my two favorite statements and I readily take on the challenge. If it makes sense, I’ll defy the odds and move heaven and earth to make sure it happens.

11. I write in a journal nearly every day…and never leave home without my camera. (I’d rather forget my wallet than be without my camera.)

12. I am on a quest for the ultimate molasses cookie recipe (moist & chewy with a big bold flavor).

13. I wish I was funny. While I love having serious and meaningful conversations, I wish I had the ability to make people laugh (especially myself).

14. I love chick flicks and old black & white movies—especially sentimental tear-jerkers.

15. When I was a kid, I told everyone I wanted to be a war correspondent—even though I had no concept of war. Today, I’m drawn to conflict-ridden countries and over the past year have been reading numerous books on geopolitics, microfinance, conflict resolution and photojournalism. (Emphasis on photojournalism here, here, here, and here.)

16. I prefer to speak with people, not to them. There’s a difference…and it matters.

17. I love the little moments....the way the light shines in shafts through the trees, racing towards the water to catch the last of a dying sunset, and the way he laughs heartily, with wrinkles that extend well-beyond his eyes.

18. The smell of hayacins and lilacs stop my dead in my tracks.

19. I was married in the penthouse of Seattle’s landmark building, the Smith Tower. (The triangle at the tippy top is a swank private residence, which used to house the building's boiler room. For a number of years, it was also the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.) While my husband and I are now divorced, I’m happy we still stay in touch.

20. Summer in Seattle? There is no better place.

21. My cat Jacques is not named after Jacques Pepin, but after Jacques Cousteau. In a strange coincidence, I also owned a cat named Calypso, which I later discovered is the name of Jacques Cousteau’s first boat.

22. I’ve been a horse nut my entire life and can identify nearly every breed. A childhood accident resulting in a broken vertebra put an end to an all-too-brief stint in show jumping.

23. I miss the easy going friendliness of the Midwest…where people make eye contact, smile at strangers, and say, "Thank you". This adjustment has been the hardest part about living in Seattle and I still haven’t overcome it.

24. While I am an avid baker, a brief stage at Bakery Nouveau put an end to any fantasies I had about being a professional baker.

25. My first trip to Seattle was for a blind date. I was living in Illinois at the time and flew out to meet a guy who worked at Microsoft. We dated for three years and I owe him an immeasurable debt of gratitude. He encouraged me to go back to school, travel internationally, and although I was a reluctant student, he patiently taught me how to use a computer. We had numerous discussions about authors, government and foreign affairs. In the end, he was looking for a place to stand, and I wanted to fly. Graciously, he gave me wings.