The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Posts tagged ‘Girl Scouts’

25 Random Things About Me as a Kid

This is another one of those Facebook deals, but anyone blogging should feel free to join in.

Once you’ve been tagged, you write 25 random things facts, habits, or goals about your childhood. Afterward, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about what you were like as a kid.

  1. My mother went into labor with me during a Christmas gathering and they raced to the hospital in a blizzard. I wasn’t born until two days later and I think she held it against me my whole life.
  2. I had an older brother who died at birth. I’m pretty sure my mother held that against my dad but I’m not 100% sure as it was a taboo subject. I am sure that I felt I had to make up for his death. Hence I was the oldest girl and my father’s only son. Pretty strange orientation on your place in the family.
  3. My  parents adopted a baby when I was 20 months old and then gave birth to another one seven month later. For those of you who are math challenged, that’s three kids in 27 months. I went from being a baby to being Susie of “Susie and the Little Kids” overnight. While it might have been a great rock group, it was not a great sibling group. My sisters resented my status as the big kid and finally carried out a successful rebellion when I was about 13. Since by then they were both bigger than I was it sort of made sense.
  4. Because I was small, I got hand-me-ups. That was just wrong. The practice kid gets enough shit heaped on them without having to wear the cast-offs of the others kids.
  5. My mother had her hands full with those babies so I was sent to school at the age of 2. I liked chapel, French, and nap. I still like those things.  Did I mention I went to an Episcopal school?
  6. I started writing poetry, quite illegibly I’ll have you know, at the age of four. My father transcribed my scribbles and saved them in an old Bible. The Bible is now lost, along with my poetry, but the Bible was in German. My poetry is not. If you find a German Bible with scraps of paper and little kid poems, please return them to me.
  7. It made me really mad when my sisters got menus in restaurants and I didn’t. I was the only one that could read. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
  8. Private school is a mixed bag. I got a great education but none of my friends lived in my neighborhood. Well, three boys. But I was not then, nor am I now, interested in playing with boys.  I didn’t much like playing with my sisters either because they were “little kids.” (See #3 above)
  9. In the summer, some kids came to visit their grandparents on our street and there were two girls my age. We spent the summer playing blind man’s bluff with our younger siblings. This involved blindfolding the little kids, then walking them off (small) cliffs. We also set up a slip-n-slide to go over a (small) cliff and land in blackberry brambles. When we tired of this, we would play penny ante poker, with the same little kids. We made up rules as we went along and by summer’s end we were very rich in pennies. Then we’d sleep in somebody’s backyard under the stars. I’ve loved to camp ever since. Although it does remind me of my life of crime.
  10. When I was 12 my friend Tisa and I stole cookies from Strohecker’s bakery counter. Up until then, I was pretty sure I was sinless and destined for heaven. Those cookies changed everything.
  11. I joined Girl Scouts in 4th grade and loved it. I went through Cadettes and probably would have gone on to Seniors if the troop hadn’t been so freaking girlie. I wanted to be a Boy Scout and do fifty mile hikes, but without the boys. Back then Girl Scouts didn’t do that sort of stuff.
  12. I learned to sew when I was very young, attending Mrs. Leech’s sewing class. For $.50 we got to spend an hour after school every Thursday learning how to make rolled hems, pin cushions, do blanket stitch, and embroider. I was really good at it and eventually won the Make It With Wool contest for a tailored coat my senior year in high school. I made almost all my own clothes back then.
  13. I also learned to knit, crochet, and weave (on a real loom, not a potholder loom) at an early age. My lifelong love affair with fiber was well underway by the time I was 8.
  14. I took piano lessons but the piano was in the basement and when they urban renewed the city, the rats came to live in our house which was on the side of a hill. The house had settled and had some cracks in the foundation so the rats could get in and the day a rat ran across the top of the piano was the day I took up the violin. In the dining room. Upstairs.
  15. I was in 7th grade French class, staring out the window,  when the head mistress came in to announce that JFK had been assassinated. The whole school gathered in the Lower School chapel, including the Upper School students and the nuns. Up until then, there had been rumors of nuns teaching in the Upper School but none of us ever saw them because we were not allowed in the Upper School or in the wing where the nuns were rumoured to live.
  16. I fell off my tricycle at the age of two, in the house, and hit my head on a corner of a brick hearth. The hearth and I both have scars to prove it. I bled like the proverbial stuck pig.
  17. I wanted to be a chemist when I grew up and had a great “lab” in the basement (after the rat-festation was dealt with.) My neighbor Brownie and I would spend a lot of time blowing things up. I had my first subscription to Scientific American in 3rd grade although I had no idea what they were talking about.  I sort of gave up on chemistry after I learned the hard way that drenching your arm in alcohol, filling a pipette with same, and then emptying the pipette on top of a lit Bunsen burner results in a) a big bang and b) all the hair on your arm igniting. Fortunately, alcohol burns fast. Still, seeing my entire right arm, up to my elbow, engulfed in flames was enough for me.
  18. In seventh and eighth grade I had to attend Friday Night Dancing School. This was a very socially proper thing to do and involved girls in dresses and heels, boys in suits, and all with white gloves, learning to waltz, fox trot, and swing dance. The only good part was when there weren’t enough boys and I got to dance with the girls and going out afterwards with my carpool buddies for ice cream.
  19. By the time I was in 8th grade, I hated private school so much I rebelled and convinced my parents to let me go on to public high school.  Since I already had lots of friends there from dancing school and Girl Scouts and church, it seemed like a good choice. Welcome to the land of cliques. I did not fit in because I had not gone to the right grade schools and because I was smarter than my peers in everything except math. The latter was not the school’s fault, I just hated math. I flunked algrebra II within a month because I apparently had never had Algebra I. When I got a 684 on my math SAT, the guy that flunked me was pretty sure I had figured out how to cheat on the SATs.
  20. I was labeled an underachiever in my English class after I didn’t hand in some homework because our house had caught fire the night before. The teacher didn’t believe me, even when I told him he could check with my mother. The house really did catch fire.
  21. My school offered horseback riding every Wednesday afternoon so I would spend an hour or so trotting, cantering, and occassionally galloping away on a horse that stood 17 hands high. I was about 4′ tall so that was a BIG horse to me.  One time, some fools decided to canter with a beginner in the ring and her horse ran away with her and started a stampede. I could barely control my horse and, when another horse cut in too close in front of her, my horse threw me. I remember watching hooves flying everywhere while I laid there on the ground. Somebody got me out of there but I’ve had back problems ever since. I truly hate idiots.
  22. In first grade, my teacher was named Mrs. Mallory and she had a grey house with a purple door. I always wanted a grey house with a purple door so a few years ago I talked Jenny into painting our house (very light) grey and the door was sort of magenta. Close, but no cigar. My first grade class room had 12 students and four of us were named Susan.
  23. In third grade I found a spider’s nest and kept it in my desk. Naturally, the spiders hatched. Now, I love spiders and these were really cute baby spiders but nobody else liked them much. The school kept wondering where the spider infestation came from in the third grade classroom. I never fessed up. My best buddy was Jeff Seaman because we both liked dinosaurs.
  24. I learned early on in social studies that if you didn’t know the answer, maize was always a good guess. I still can’t travel south of the border without having random thoughts about maize.  In Peru, I even drank maize beer.
  25. My favorite school project was trying to color the map of the US with four colors in such away that the same color never touched. If you give me an uncolored map of the US and four crayons (red, blue, green, and yellow would be nice) I will be occupied for the rest of the day. Colored pencils would be even better.
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25 (truly) Random Things About Pat

Well, FINALLY someone won the contest. My birth date is readily available both on my blog and on my Facebook page but NOBODY (except for the ineligible) was able to figure it out. Until tonight. Pat probably looked up my records in the church files but so what, she wins. So, tonight, my random fact generator goes to work on Pat.

  1. Pat is the leader of Chrysalis, the women’s writing community in Clackamas County. So I know she is already getting out her blue pencil to find all the errors in my grammar and punctuation. Fortunately, I spell fairly well.
  2. Pat used to be a pirate. Really. Well, at least that’s what the arrest warrants say.
  3. She was actually with Greenpeace and chained herself to whaling vessels. Odd way to make a living but not the oddest I’ve heard. The oddest was probably beheading chickens.
  4. I found out about Pat’s pirate past when she offered me the name of a good criminal attorney in Peru. I was just going to go meet my daughter’s inlaws, I was not planning any major heists or even small sprees. I was just going to Peru to see ruins, speak bad Spanglish, and drink Pisco Sours with my daughter and her husband’s family. So I thought the offer of a good criminal attorney was a very odd thing.
  5. Pat has had three books published, all on weird factoids about the natural world of the Pacific Northwest. It took years, but she finally got a royalty check.
  6. Pat has probably, almost certainly, touched a slug on purpose.
  7. However, she did not know that slugs in the Oneonta Gorge have no predators so they don’t make your tongue numb if you lick them. No, I have not done this.
  8. Pat has a 14 year old daughter who is busy reminding the whole world that she will get her driver’s permit very, very soon. Pat is in denial about this. She needs to get over it. Car mitzvah is the only truly American rite of passage for young people.
  9. Pat has written a truly amazing book, sort of an environmental thriller, but she has yet to get it ready to make the rounds. Of course, I should not talk about this as I am even further behind than she is.
  10. Pat is an atheist, or maybe an agnostic. One of the those ‘A’ words. But she is a Unitarian Universalist evangelist and that is truly weird. Even oxymoronic.
  11. Pat is also the office administrator of the church. Go figure.
  12. She spends most of her day putting one person (usually me, I’m sure) on hold while other people call her. It’s a busy church.
  13. Pat is also a freelance editor. She and I both find many scholarly books just too precious for words.
  14. Letterboxing is one of Pat’s odder pursuits. If you don’t know what this is, I would consider Google.
  15. She has placed several letterboxes. I know where some of them are.
  16. Pat is tall and thin. I am short and fat. When she gave a sermon on her life as a pirate, we wore pirate garb. We looked quite strange and made the real minister, who was in the audience, quite worried. Until we took the pirate stuff off. We were dressed, appropriately I’ll have you know.
  17. Pat is a knitter or a crocheter or one of those handy yarn crafts. She comes to knitting group anyway.
  18. She likes to hike and carouse out of doors. Not that kind of carousing. She has a kid, after all. In fact, she carouses with the kid, out of doors.
  19. Pat HATES it when people use the same words over and over again. Since English has fewer than 1,000,000 words (1,177 words exactly), and since some of us talk and write a lot, it would seem that we would have to use words over again. However, she has been known to take notes AND take names.
  20. Pat probably just started making up new words just to decrease the likelihood that I will use the same word too often.
  21. I’m willing to bet that Pat knows what the word “flummoxed” means.
  22. Pat is very good at keeping a waddle of wordsmiths under control every Wednesday. I made that “waddle of wordsmiths” up just now. But I did not make up any of the words. Maybe I should have said a wordle of wordsmiths…..see, a new word. Beat to you it, Pat.
  23. Pat is not a lesbian although I have tried to convince her otherwise. As punishment, she has to read all my lesbian sex scenes out loud to the group. They make her blush. That’s the whole point in writing them.
  24. Pat retaliates. She is very creative about it. Yes, she retaliates for those sex scenes.
  25. Pat does not yet have a cell phone although her daughter has slowly been wearing her down. Like water on rock. Betcha once that kid has a driver’s license, there will be cell phones involved.
  26. Bonus random thing. Pat is a Girl Scout leader and extorts cookie money from everyone she knows during cookie season. Last I heard, her troop had something like  $900 coming from cookies this years. Maybe she needs a good criminal attorney here. I think extortion is still a crime in this country unless you are rich and powerful. Then it’s expected. But Pat is not rich, and her power is not the kind I’m talking about. But, I have to admit, for a straight woman, she is one powerful woman.

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