Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A New Meme

Sphinx Ink tagged me for a meme, which basically involves coming up with six random things about myself that you may not know. It's been a while since I've done this, and it's always fun. But I have a lousy memory, so if I'm repeating myself on any of these points, my apologies. As usual, I'm not posting rules or tagging anyone else, although any readers who are so inclined to pursue this may consider themselves tagged. Here goes...

1. As a child, I was desperate for piano lessons. Since we moved frequently and my parents were not musical themselves, lessons weren’t a priority with them and it never happened. Thanks largely to that disappointment, when I became a parent I was pleased that both my children expressed interest in learning an instrument and encouraged (but never forced!) them to pursue it. Sam was a wonderful flutist, but dropped it after five years; Danielle still loves her piano, and gave serious consideration to minoring in music. I occasionally think about taking lessons myself, even at this late date, but apart from the problem of finding the time to devote to it seriously, I have finally acknowledged to myself that I don’t have a musical gene in my body.

2. When I was in high school, I taught myself to play the guitar. I was never anything but a rank amateur, but I always enjoyed it. I had a wonderful old handmaid Spanish acoustical guitar. I put it in storage when I was 27, expecting to retrieve it in a year. We were recently reunited, but, alas, playing a guitar is not like riding a bicycle—at least for me. Perhaps when my kids are settled, the houses restored, and I’m down to writing just one book a year, I’ll pick it up again. Perhaps.

3. When I was in grade school, I loved to take my blocks and cars and tiny horses outside. We lived in the country in Oregon for five years, and I’d find a hollow at the base of a tree and build myself a ranch, complete with house and pastures and stables and a winding lane I’d “landscape” with bits of vegetation. I could happily pass hours that way.

4. I’m a direct descendent of Mary, Queen of Scots. My nth great-grandmother, also called Mary Stuart, was the illegitimate daughter of James II by his mistress Goditha Price. When King James lost his throne in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Mary helped her half-brother, and then her nephew Bonnie Prince Charlie, in their attempts to regain the throne. After the Rising of 1715, Bonnie Prince Charlie entrusted the beautiful, gold-trimmed and illuminated genealogical pages torn from the Stuart family bible to my ancestor, and Mary’s son carried them with him when he fled to America, with each successive generation faithfully recording their offspring. They’re still in the possession of a cousin. But the only thing I’ve inherited from my ill-fated royal ancestors is a tendency for my hair to turn red in the sun, a proclivity toward making bad choices, and their %#@% porphyria.

5. A Spanish general whose name I never knew had his brains blown out by Communists on the front porch of the house I lived in as a child in Madrid. This ghoulish tidbit was a source of endless fascination to me. Although it had happened decades before, during the Spanish Civil War, I often gave that door an extra hard look as I passed by it, searching for vestiges of stray bits of his gray matter. What affect this had on my growing up, I’ll never know.

6. Today is my wedding anniversary; Steve and I have now been married for five wonderful, happy years.

On a side note, Nick's visit to the vet yesterday did not bring good news. More about that later. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Charles Gramlich said...

Interesting. If you taught yourself to play any kind of guitar you are defintely not without some musical talent. I didn't know you were related to royalty. There's none in my family. Congrats to you and STeve. Yeah.

Steve Malley said...

Congratulations on the anniversary!

Sad to hear about Nick...

Barbara Martin said...

I can identify with #1 where I did learn to play the piano; and #3, I did the same thing with legos, horse and cowboy figures with my brothers' toy construction graders to push dirt around. I refused to play with dolls much to my mother's dismay.

How wonderful about your connection to Mary Queen of Scots. I don't have a connection quite that grand, only two family lines on my mother's side through the female line with family coat of arms, and a distant ancestor, nine generations back, who knew Sir Walter Scott personally: Catherine Hutton (11 February 1756 – 13 March 1846) an English novelist, letter-writer and illustrator of travel journals.

I hope you had a wonderful anniversary, and I am very sorry to hear that Nick is unwell.

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