Monday, December 06, 2004

The obligatory "100 things about me" post

1. I was born May 23, 1973. I may be on the cusp, but I'm a classic Gemini.
2. I was born in Glen Cove, NY, because it was the closest hospital from where my folks lived.
3. I've never been back to Glen Cove.
4. I have one sister, who was born 13 months after me.
5. We moved to Texas when I was two years old.
6. My mom was allergic to Texas, so we moved to Florida when I was six.
7. I don't have a lot of memories of Texas, but they include the day care center, Kindergarten, chicken pox, weekly visits to the library, Kung Fu on tv, and my dad's cousin Mary and her then-husband coming to visit.
8. In Florida, we lived very close to Kennedy Space Center.
9. I remember getting off the bus from school and looking up to see the space shuttle riding piggy-back on a 747 en route to KSC.
10. If the shuttle was taking off on a school day, the school always had a "fire drill" so the students could see it take off.
11. We didn't have a fire drill the day the Challenger exploded because it was too cold, but I saw it all the same.
12. My hometown kinda went downhill after that, as NASA didn't put a lot of contracts out to bid after that, and a lot of kids in my school moved away.
13. I'm left-handed.
14. I'm the only left-handed person in my immediate family, and I was alternately teased about it and made to feel special about it.
15. I started taking dance classes when we moved to Florida.
16. I took Tap and Jazz classes.
17. Turns out I was quite a good tap dancer, and the teacher held me back from joining the advanced class only because I was so much smaller than the other dancers.
18. My sister took gymnastics, and I can remember her doing front handsprings in the living room.
19. We had dance recitals every year. I was well acquainted with heavy makeup and too much hairspray at a very young age.
20. This may explain why I hardly wear makeup or take great care with my hair now.
21. I wanted to be an actress for as long as I can remember.
22. When I was in middle school, I thought this goal was out of my reach, so if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I usually said "librarian," because I liked to read so much.
23. Around this time my sister and I joined a local children's theater group.
24. By the time I got to high school I wasn't so shy about telling everyone that I would be an actress.
25. My high school didn't have an auditorium or a competent Drama teacher.
26. All our plays were performed in the old cafe-torium that used to be in an elementary school before the high school took it over.
27. I was the president of the Thespian Society my senior year. I think I was the only one running.
28. I was in the school choir. It was exceptionally good.
29. When I was 15 years old, we entered a contest. The French government was inviting one choir and one orchestra from each state to perform in Paris in celebration of their bicentennial.
30. We won.
31. When I was 16 years old, I traveled with my choir to France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
32. I cried when we went to Notre Dame de Paris. I couldn't explain why and I was very embarrassed.
33. I wanted very badly to shock my parents when I was a teenager.
34. I wore combat boots with fishnets, pierced my ears several times, and even shaved the back of my head.
35. My parents barely flinched.
36. In retrospect, I know it's because I didn't drink, do drugs, break the law (or get caught, anyway), break curfew or flunk out of school. I hope I have the same kind of perspective with my kids one day.
37. I was in high school when the Berlin Wall came down.
38. Around the same time, Jesus Jones put out a song called "Right Here, Right Now," that really sums up what I felt about that time.
39. I was very excited to be a part of a generation that was coming of age during a time of great progression, of what seemed to be a collapse of the World Order, and old regimes. I felt like my generation would explode into the world and make the world a better place.
40. What happened?
41. I graduated high school in 1991.
42. I went to college in North Carolina. I was the fourth generation of my family to attend this particular institution.
43. The first semester I was terribly homesick. After the second semester, I didn't want to go home.
44. If I could change one thing about my life thus far, it would be to wait a few years before going to college.
45. I look back ten years and see an immature drama queen whining for attention. I don't like her very much.
46. I recently told that to three of my closest friends, all of whom I met in college. I think I kinda hurt them, because the time in my life I hate the most is when these people came into my life. Honestly, I don't know why they stuck it out.
But I'm so happy they did.
47. I didn't find out that I could really sing until I was in college.
48. I can say now that I can sing pretty darn well.
49. I decided I wanted to major in Musical Theatre. I failed the audition the first time, and was let in only provisionally the second time.
50. I guess what I lack in talent, I make up for in stubbornness.
51. My favorite job of all time was during college. I worked at Walt Disney World in Florida for two summers in a row.
52. I worked at MGM Studios, and worked at the Backstage Studio Tour. I gave a 20 minute tour which required me to memorize 40 pages of script. I also drove a Mack truck cab which pulled the huge tour tram around the tour.
53. The coolest thing about working for Disney is that you can go to the three parks anytime you want for free.
54. No wait, the coolest thing is that we had access to Disney merchandise that was super cheap and we had killer discounts.
55. You know what? The coolest thing is that I got to keep my Disney name tag with my name on it.
56. I still have that name tag.
57. I know Disney is a huge corporate monster and is evil, but I still liked working there and the people I worked with were really fun to go park skipping with. I'm not a Disney freak or anything. Really.
58. Meanwhile, back in college, I was required to do a recital, with a partner, a student choreographer and student director.
59. Due to my immaturity/lack of ability to get my shit together, I had to cancel the recital, which meant I would not graduate on time.
60. Calling my parents, who were a) footing the bill and b) would only foot the bill for four years and That Is All and c)whose approval I desperately needed and I was terrified of disappointing, to tell them this news, was possibly the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.
61. I was crying so hard when I called they thought I was hurt very very badly or someone was dead.
62. Thus began the long hard process of finally growing up.
63. I finally did my recital in the Fall of 1995, and while it was far from perfect, it was done. And I passed.
64. I was wasting time working at Blockbuster waiting to get my diploma the next spring, when I got my first (and only)professional acting gig.
65. I had gone to ACTF (a regional theatre conference/audition mecca) to try to find some professional work. So I got a call to replace an actor in a children's theater in Mobile, Alabama.
66. Those were the strangest three months of my life.
67. Turns out I was the 13th actor in a cast of four in a season that only runs during the school year. I was hired in February. There would be one more replacement during the three months I was there.
68. It got so bad I and the other actress threatened to quit two weeks before the season was over.
69. This company closed two years later. I was hardly surprised.
70. I did get to go back to walk in my college graduation. Apparently being the fourth generation to attend a college is a big deal; they took pictures of me and my family and put it in the alumni newspaper. That was kinda nice.
71. This is really kind of boring, isn't it? I bet you want to know how I ended up in France, huh?
72. Well, in May of '02, I came to visit a friend that was living here. I met my husband on that trip.
73. When we first met, he didn't speak English and I didn't speak French. When I say "didn't speak," I mean considering we took the languages in school and this was ten years later.
74. He didn't look twice at me, and I was too busy looking at really old cathedrals.
75. By the time his English had improved, he was dating one of my best friends. I can't explain why this bothered me a lot, considering he and I had barely said 10 words to each other since we met.
76. The next time I saw him, he was in the states visiting the friend. He said he wanted to see me because I was the only other person in the country he knew. We talked a lot.
77. The next time I saw him, in August of '03, he and the friend had broken up. I was visiting my ex-pat friend again. Two days before I went home, we made our lives very complicated.
78. We started talking almost everyday online. He invited me to come back for Christmas. So I went.
79. We decided to get married after a series of internet discussions weighing our options. There was no proposal or engagement ring.
80. When I came back to visit in April, we bought our wedding rings.
81. So why was I the one doing all the traveling? 'Cause he spent almost two months with me in the states before we moved to France.
82. He is the best boy I know, and I'd follow him to the moon if it meant making a life with him.
83. Oh, and the friend who dated my husband? We're still really good friends.
84. Well I'm sure I can come up with some random tidbits to round out 100...
85. I spent my last seven years in the states in South Carolina.
86. I gave up on the dream of being a professional actress, but I'm not broken up about it.
87. Even though I majored in Musical Theatre, I don't like traditional musicals.
88. I still love to sing. I am a member of the Vocal Ensemble at the National Conservatory in Troyes Due to a long string of family emergencies, I've had to put singing on the back burner, but I've been assured by the director that I'm welcome back whenever I'm ready. In the meantime, I keep my voice up to par by singing in the shower. A lot.
89. In one of the two choirs I joined in my first year in France, we sang Faure's "Cantique." This piece has been following me since high school, when we sang it in a church in Paris. It's one of my favorites.
90. I come from a mixed marriage: my father was Republican and my mother was a Democrat. Ever the peace-maker, I am Independant.
91. I have always had six grandparents - my father's parents divorced and remarried before I was born. I didn't lose a grandparent until I was 22 and two of my grandmothers are still rockin' it. At least one of them reads this blog (hi Grandma!).
92. Having been so blessed to know all of my grandparents, and especially being close to several of them, particularly my father's mother, I am devastated that my children will never know my mother, who passed away in May 2005 after a lengthy battle with Scleroderma (see sidebar for info on this terrible and fatal disease) and my father, who passed in October 2006 after battling cancer.
93. I am in touch with only one friend from high school. We lost touch for about three years, but I called her folks, who still live in the same house, before I moved to France. She's still the coolest person I know. Update: I've finally joined myspace, so now I'm in touch with lots of folks from high school. Yay!
94. When I was a kid I played in a softball league. I still love to play softball, though there's very few opportunites on this side of the ocean.
95. I was in the gifted program from first grade until fifth grade, when I just gave up. I think I just didn't want to be the geek anymore. Unfortunately it would be a few more years before I could shed myself of the geek label, only to end up embracing it in adulthood.
96. I also had a lisp when I was young - my esses sounded like "th"s. So I had to go to speech therapy. Ironically, I went straight from Gifted class to speech therapy. I still lisp when I'm very tired or drunk.
97. I learned how to type on a QWERTY keyboard in fourth grade, in Gifted. Therefore I can type faster than many without looking at the keyboard. That's about the only thing I took from Gifted.
98. I have a handful of very very good friends. They are the kind of friends that I would sell my computer to buy a plane ticket back to the states if they needed me.
99. I have a wonderful, supportive, funny, loving family. And it's huge! How many people can say they hang out with their second cousins on a regular basis?
100. I am so lucky to be going on this adventure of living in a different country and making a life with my favorite person in the world. How do I know I'm so lucky? When I met my husband's colleagues, they said, "So YOU'RE the girl he won't shut up about!" Yeah, he makes me feel like a princess. Well, most of the time. :P

updated 15 January 2007

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