For a while now, Philosophy Mom has been posting a Friday Five (which I love reading, but rarely think to do).  Then, earlier this month, Terry posted a Random Facts About Me That May Surprise You and, well... I thought, I can do that (posting, that is; can't guarantee your level of surprise)!  Here goes:

Do you make your bed?  Depends on how you define "making" as my comforter/duvet is usually pulled up but beyond that, it's a mess.  I blame The Herd, particularly the one that burrows under my comforter every morning, making it difficult to do more without disturbing her.  This seems to be a cat thing, as years ago my mother complained that I hadn't made my bed only for me to inform her that bedsheets didn't usually purr (or move away from your hand... although that'd make a great horror short story!).

What's your favorite number? A former colleague used to say that her favorite number was Ε (no, I don't get it either) but I've never met another person who had a favorite number.

What's your dream job? I'd say the one I have now, but there are parts I don't enjoy.  And isn't the idea of a "dream job" supposed to be the one you love absolutely?  Thinking about it, there's no job I'd love absolutely so perhaps I already have it.

If you could, would you go back to school? I work in a school, so... There are things I would love to study, and taking a class or two with people who are as excited about the topic as I am wouldn't be bad.  But going back for a specific degree?  No, thanks. 

Can you parallel-park?  Of course.  It's easier now with the rear-view camera, but I've been parallel-parking for nearly 40 years.

A job you had at which people would be surprised?  Chambermaid at a resort in the Adirondacks or personal maid for an older couple on the Cape.  Both were summer jobs and gave me a great appreciation for the work that chambermaids in hotels do. Tip well, people!

Do you think aliens are real?  It's incredibly unlikely that we are the only planet with life on it, but what that looks like, or how advanced it is, is beyond my imagining. It's also incredibly unlikely that anyone has visited, much less created advanced ancient civilizations or abducted us for medical experimentation.

Can you drive a stick shift?  If this answer surprises anyone who knew me in college or saw my first two cars, well... yes.  Yes, I can.  Don't get me wrong, living in a city it's great having an automatic car but I miss the control.

What's your guilty pleasure?  Despite being raised a Jew, this is one thing I feel no guilt about.  Claiming a guilty pleasure is a little too humblebrag for my tastes.

Tattoos?  No.  I have thought about getting a tramp stamp spine label (the librarian equivalent) but haven't managed to find the time... or courage.

Favorite color?  My wardrobe would suggest grey, black or green but really it's any "jewel" color.

Things people do that drive you crazy?  That's several blog posts!  Right now I'm irritated by people outside, walking down my street, yelling because they can't hear the person on the other end of their phone call.

Phobias?  Heights.  Not a great help if you're 5'4.5", right?  Dying alone (probably not alone in that).  Going blind.

Favorite childhood game? Jacks (does anyone play that any more?), which I perfected at summer camp. 

Do you talk to yourself?  Of course.  Usually when I'm alone, but apparently I also do when I'm at work (mostly when I'm trying to work something out or when I'm shelving books - that QRSTUVW part of the alphabet can be tricky!)

Do you like doing puzzles?  I like American-style crosswords.

Favorite kind of music?  I'm not sure I have one favorite, but I do dislike modern rap/hip-hop.  I won't mention groups/people I don't like (there's one married couple whose music I find rather "meh", much to the dismay of many of the people I know) and I'm not all that fond of those who are better performers than artists (Madonna, I'm looking at you).

What story do you adore?  Huh??? That's an odd question: does it refer to authors, or genres, or a specific book? Or maybe movies? Without a clearer guide, I'll say any story that takes me away from my current world and transports me into a new one (could be a movie, play or book, fiction or non-fiction).

Tea or coffee?  The answer will only surprise those who don't know me.  Tea.

The first thing you remember you wanted to be?  It was always a toss-up between secretary (all those office supplies!) or teacher.

So, go ahead.  Surprise me.


Ending an era

For decades (since before I was born, definitely, but possibly far longer than that) my mother was known for remembering birthdays and anniversaries with cards.  Her handwriting was gorgeous - despite being a lefty, and there's a long story behind that - and getting a card from her was a highlight for friends and family.

Then her memory started to slip.  No problem, my father was there to help.  What she used to remember effortlessly she now needed a list, and armed with that they'd go out each month, buying a fistful of cards appropriate to the occasion.  She'd still do the addressing and the main message, with Dad signing as necessary.

Then her handwriting went, thanks to the arthritis, and her memory got worse.  They'd still go shopping, but now Dad would do the majority of the work with her just signing.

Last summer, with both of them out of commission, things got worse.  But after missing a major birthday, Dad rallied and things seemed normal.

Yesterday, he admitted that things weren't normal.  It was a lot of work, keeping up with all the shopping and dates (conservatively, I'm guessing about 10 cards a month got chosen and sent).  So, with some overt sadness (but secretly, I suspect, very relieved to be done with this duty) he told me that he was just giving up.  He'd use the list to circle the calendar with immediate family dates, but extended family? Not so lucky.

I've always been the "good" daughter in terms of family, always attending funerals and weddings and dinners and keeping up with everyone.  But I'm not going to take this on.  It was my mother's gift to others, and that's how it's going to stay.

It'll be the end of an era, and yet another reason to miss my mom.


That old adage

For decades I've heard older people saying that they have a doctor for every body part (or that the sign of getting old is when you have a doctor for every body part).  So when I hit 50, I took stock: one primary care doctor (who also did my gyn exams) and an endocrinologist.  That was it.  Whew!  Not old.

Here I am, halfway through my 50s, and, well... I still have one primary care doctor and an endocrinologist.  I also have three doctors for my left eye. 

So, tell me: #winning?  or Sad!