Willa's Journal

Fifty Things

A project for Fall 2003, when I turn 50. I wanted to make it a positive experience, because the number does seem momentous. I've gone on a diet and lost 20 pounds (so far), I've started exercising again, I'm growing out my hair. Trying not to stagnate, trying to do some new things, trying to stay focused and positive and happy. To look at this second half of my life as an adventure. The first half certainly has been.

This is what 50 looks like

  1. I've been married for over twenty-five years.
  2. I'm working at my dream job.
  3. I changed careers at 45--I used to be a secretary/administrative assistant/legal assistant/executive assistant; I'm now a web designer.
  4. I wrote a book last year during National Novel Writing Month.
  5. I learned how to knit on big pink needles in Girl Scouts.
  6. I used to know how to tat, but I don't remember how.
  7. My grandmother taught me how to crochet with steel hooks and crochet thread.
  8. I have her old sewing box.
  9. My mother is legally blind and doesn't do needlework; neither do either of my sisters.
  10. Bob's grandmother taught me how to make a ripple afghan and how to make a center-pull ball of yarn.
  11. I was a National Merit Scholar in high school.
  12. I tested out of a year's worth of college credits.
  13. I have my father's red hair and my mother's square jaw.
  14. I used to be a notary public, but I let the appointment lapse when I changed jobs and no longer had someone else paying for it.
  15. I still remember how to take shorthand.
  16. My first car was a lavender American Motors Marlin.
  17. I read mostly genre fiction: mysteries and science fiction. I seldom stray out of these two sections into the standard literary fiction shelves.
  18. I love the ocean, but I can't swim, and I get seasick on boats.
  19. I hate to wear shoes and socks and prefer to go barefoot, but I love funky socks.
  20. I write HTML by hand and haven't used a graphical editor in years.
  21. I love to sleep, and I write down every dream that I remember.
  22. I touch type, and I'm very fast, over 100 wpm.
  23. I have twin sisters and one brother.
  24. I was born in a college town (Warrensburg, Missouri).
  25. I switched to using a Macintosh computer from a PC three years ago, in 2000, and have almost forgotten how to use Windows.
  26. I love the way the air smells and feels early in the morning, but I never get up early by choice.
  27. I set my alarm clock nine minutes fast, and hit the snooze button three times before I get up, every morning. I call the resulting time "Willa Time."
  28. I almost never watch television; when Bob is out of town, I hardly ever turn it on. It doesn't even occur to me.
  29. My favorite television show of all time was "Nash Bridges."
  30. I love to feed the birds. I have several bird feeders in the back yard and keep them filled all year.
  31. My favorite season would probably be autumn if it wasn't the precursor to winter.
  32. I love Halloween.
  33. If I go out without paper and pen, I get a little panicky. When we went to the State Fair, I forgot to bring something to write with, and couldn't relax until I found a booth that was giving away free pens and notepads.
  34. I also often get worried about not carrying a flashlight, and carry one for awhile until the worry abates. This is generally precipitated by reading a book in which a character is in a dark place and bemoans and absence of a flashlight.
  35. I've also been known to dig the silver cross out of my jewelry box and wear it while reading a vampire novel. You can't be too careful.
  36. I was a vegetarian for a long time--probably about 15 years--but recently went on a high protein diet and gave it up.
  37. Eating meat still makes me uncomfortable.
  38. I also used to do yoga, and took weekly classes for years, but stopped. I've recently started again.
  39. Even though I keep my schedule on a PDA now, I still love calendars, and always pause longingly at the paper planner and calendar displays in stores.
  40. I collect my favorite movies on DVD, but don't watch them very often.
  41. My favorite movie is Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace mostly because I loved the relationship between the characters played by Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor. I don't like any of the other Star Wars movies.
  42. Bob and I were married in Miami, Oklahoma, and honeymooned at Bennett Spring State Park in Missouri. We didn't elope, but I wanted to avoid a big wedding, hence Miami, where there is no waiting period.
  43. I don't drink coffee, but I drink Diet Coke, and hot tea in the winter. I'm not fond of iced tea. Actually, that's Diet Coke with Lemon, for as long as they make it.
  44. It seems like everything I come to love, they stop making. I have a couple of years' worth of my favorite make-up because they stopped making it and I had to order it from the factory. That was the only time I've been lucky in that regard--that they actually had it to order.
  45. I hate reading dialect, and won't do it. If I open up a book and see that the author has written his or her characters' conversations in dialect, I won't read the book. I also don't read sword and sorcery fantasy, or hard science fiction, and one of my tests for both of those things is to open up the book and scan for names. If the names are just totally over the top, i.e., if I would have to concentrate every time I read a name, I don't.
  46. My favorite thing to read is urban fantasy, that is, fantasy set in the real, modern world. That's also what I write.
  47. I prefer reading (and writing) conversation to description.
  48. I learned how to knit socks this year--something I never imagined I would do, or would enjoy--and knit a half dozen pair in wonderful, crazy colors. I also discovered that I can wear wool. When I was a kid we thought I was allergic to it, because it always made me itch, but it seems to be okay now.
  49. Speaking of itching, joining things makes me itch. I'm totally a loner; even joining things like webrings makes me nervous. I don't like to have too many rules governing me, or give someone else power over me. I like to be unencumbered.
  50. I'm fascinated with Japanese culture, but I don't have any real desire to visit Japan. England would probably top my list of places in the world to visit. I'd also like to visit the Southwest someday, something that's probably a lot more attainable.

Fifty More Things

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