25 things you should know about me
Recently the girls have been asking me about who I was BK (before kids). At six and a half, I think Lucy is hankering to know “just what kind of woman are you mom?”. A few years ago someone sent me a sort-of facebook chain letter asking me to write down 25 random things that best describe my life. I updated it for you Lucy:
1. I went to the same homegrown Waldorf school you do. My teacher was a self-proclaimed socialist from Great Britain who ate banana-tamari sandwiches and brewers yeast on oatmeal.
2. When I was 13 I learned all the names of the trees in my forest and how to chop them down with an axe.
3. When I was in high school I took buses and trains and dangerous car rides with friends to Grateful Dead shows. I wanted to like the energy of the crowd, the music and the dancing, but mostly I got bored with waiting around for something to happen.
4. When I was 18 I met a woman on the beach in Baja who was illustrating a Peterson guidebook to reptiles. That was the day I realized I too could be a professional artist-naturalist-vagabond.
5. When I got home from that trip I bought a field notebook and started identifying and drawing every new species of bird that I saw. That same year I got a tattoo of the Maine State bird on my shoulder (black-capped chickadee).
6. When I was 19 I hitch-hiked to Harper’s Ferry, WV and started hiking north on the Appalachian trail. In the pouring rain, with an 80 lb pack. Somewhere along the way I stayed with an elderly couple that lived on disability and ate from grocery store dumpsters. I learned a lot about poverty and generosity on that trip.
7. I started practicing yoga when it was still called stretching. 20 years later my favorite thing about yoga is the stretching.
8. I went to art school for one semester and got all A’s. I decided it was too easy so I switched to biology and promptly got all D’s. I’m still recovering.
9. Yes, your favorite fun-loving transgender uncle is my identical, mirror-image twin. Yes, you can fully be yourself and we will love you fully.
10. I’ve driven across country at least 12 times. I only ran out of gas once, in the middle of the night near a ghost town in North Dakota with my friend Bekah. We pitched a tent next to a field of snorting buffalo.
11. I climbed Half Dome at night by the light of the full moon.
12. I once escaped the amorous intentions of a Pakistani Ambassador by staying in the apartment of a famous nude model in Oslo, Norway. Later, on the same trip I slept on lice-infested feed sacks in Prague and subsisted entirely on black tea and chocolate croissants.
13. While working as a NOLS instructor in Alaska I got to medivac a student in a super-cub plane. We took off from a riverbank and flew low across the tundra. I saw a pack of wolves, lots of caribou and a grizzly playing with her cubs. It was the best flight of my life.
14. I hiked the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail alone in 1999. Three years later I hiked 2,000 miles of the Continental Divide Trail with your father.
15. I’ve cross-pollinated a lot as a climber and field-tech, but one of my favorite jobs was getting to set up bat nets at night in the Costa Rican rain forest canopy for a crazy German bat biologist. That explains how I’ve been bit by a vampire bat.
16. I love the Boreal forest, the tundra and in general, the northern third of the northern hemisphere. I’m also very fond of warm water and tropical bugs.
17. The closest I’ve ever come to willfully killing myself was on a climb in the Gunks when I made a desperate lunge to clip a rusty bolt and almost missed. Of all the stupid things I’ve ever done in my life, this is the one my own mother doesn’t need to know about.
18. I like to run barefoot. Except when they salt the roads.
19. I spent an entire ski season in high school skiing around in circles on one ski – learning how to kick. By the time I got to college my ski coach would lament “now if only you knew how to use your poles!”.
20. I have amblyopia – which is a fancy way of saying I have a lazy eye and my depth perception sucks. Please don’t throw things at me, it will only piss me off.
21. I haven’t taken antibiotics in 13 years. Before that I ate them like candy. (And yes, I also ate a lot of candy. Which is why I have a filling in every tooth. Yes, every tooth. Yes, you can see them. Again.)
22. I have never smoked a cigarette. Not even a pretend one.
23. I lived in my pickup truck for a few years. Her name was Marge and she was perfect. Except on cold nights when my hat froze to the tailgate and got pulled off my head when I turned over.
24. I delivered both of my babies at home, in the living room, with my mom as my midwife. I’m not a personal fan of pregnancy (mine included a lot of vomiting) or labor, but I am a big fan of natural childbirth, home birth and midwifery.
25. Right now a really good day goes something like this: snuggle and giggle with you girls in bed. Practice some yoga, drink a quart of green juice with Dad, head out to teach a yoga class. Bike, run, ski or swim for a couple hours on back roads or trails bathed in blue sky sunlight. Come home to draw with the you, build a snow fort, take a walk, feed the chickens, and build a rock wall or a gnome home together. Work a little, pick up a little, cook a little, play the violin together and go to bed early so we can do it all over again tomorrow. (2012)