Some odd, but true, facts about myself

A couple of years ago, I was invited to write “25 Things About Yourself”

Well, while I am not certain that there are many folks who would find this a riveting list, I decided to do it as a sort of writing exercise. Shocking revelations aside, what I am about to reveal may do nothing more than confirm what you may have always suspected about me–I am that ‘odd duck’ you have always heard about.

Here goes:

1. I am a true bibliophile and am happiest with several stacks of unread books just waiting for me to pick one. I am not to discriminating and will read just about anything in front of me. I do have my favorite categories though.

2. I am very much an introvert (stop laughing ) and am quite happy with my own company. I love to listen to music. No, really, I mean just sit and listen, so I can be present with it. Silence is also a dear companion.

3. I am mad about anything that involves dirt, digging, weeding, or planting. I annoy my best friends by knowing the Latin names of things and using them (thanks mom) I also love mowing my lawn.

4. I was a precocious child and drove my mom crazy with my early attempts at science experiments. One of the best ones was when my brother and I found a dead catfish, buried it in our backyard, then charged the neighborhood kids a nickel to see it when we dug it up every few days. I kept a decomposition chart. Not kidding. My mother finally put a stop to it ( once she found out) and we had to leave the poor thing to rot in peace.

5. Young Einstein or Young Frankenstein? I won a berth at a Washington State M.I.T. Conference at 16 by injecting 25 chickens with gonadotropic hormones then lopping off their heads and weighing their testes and ovaries. Yes, I did do this. I can tell you from experience that chicken testes are very small and hard to locate. Mr. Dave Alfred was my science teacher and he never did return my field notes.

6. I was diverted from what could have been a brilliant ( or frightening) career in science by my interest in Theology/Theosophy. I sent away for the Self-Realization Fellowship  material at age 14 with money I earned babysitting. I studied it for 3 years and , at age 22, went to live in an SRF commune in Olympia, WA.

7. I skinned and tanned the hide of a road-kill porcupine for extra science credit when I was a Jr. in high school. *I did not run over it, another teacher brought it in.  I got an “A”.

8. I was a hair model for the Gene Juarez studios in Seattle in my early 20’s. Many strange hair-do’s…I was also a boot and shoe model for Nordstrom’s. * I still am a shoe fiend.

9. My senior picture was the one that Kennel Ellis Studios chose to blow up as a giant advertisement for them. They did not ask me first. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the cafeteria and saw a VERY big me on display.

10. I lived in a tiny cabin on the beach on Vashon Island in my  20’s where I had to heat up the water for my bath in the reservoir attached to the wood stove. I rode my bike 4 1/2 miles to the ferry, then got on the Island Transit bus with Mr. Harlan Wakefield, the driver. Harlan would drive us downtown to 5th and Seneca, then head on back. I was working for University Properties back then and would go to my locker, shed the Bike Gal clothes and climb into one of the four seasonal I-Magnin suits they provided and morph into Business Gal for 8 hrs. I just reversed it all to go home. I did not love the in-the-dark bike riding in the winter so much.

11. I have baked bread for pleasure for 40 years. When my three offspring were young I baked twice a week. *Yes, they know how lucky they were.

12. I am a Master Gardener in WA. State and have had a big veggie garden for  the last 41 years. When the kids were young we would can 400+ pints/quarts of food a season. Loved it.

13. I love poetry and words in general. I am so grateful to my mother and father who read and sang to me often.

14. When I was young I wanted to be a pirate. Not the pillaging and plundering kind of pirate, but the adventuring kind of Pippi Longstocking kind of pirate.

15. False modesty aside, I am an excellent cook. Making great food for people I love is one of my joys. I still plan out my menus for the week in advance and find it suits me well. If you come to my house you will eat good food.

16. I think reading aloud to young children is a must. I am fortunate in that my own children enjoyed this even into their teen years. I , of course, think this contributed to them being brilliant, sophisticated and unusually well socialized.

17. I know I have a random and wicked sense of humor and don’t often find people who ‘get me’ most of the time. I don’t know what this says about me, but I have fun and don’t ever take myself too seriously.

18. Once at a restaurant with my family, I had a pair of my underwear go flying out from under a sweater I removed (the dreaded static cling). They landed right in the path of a young waiter who was bringing water to our table.  It was pretty clear that we all could see the underwear, so I just said, “Yes, it is underwear, and they are mine”, then reached over and picked them up. What else was there to do?

19. One of the best trips of my life was two weeks in Europe with my whole family. I don;t think I have ever laughed so much in my entire life. I am grateful that all of my adult children have been able to travel extensively and are such good will bearers for the United States.

20. I am proud that our whole family did service projects together when the kids were young. Even very young children know they can make a difference and this contributes to being them showing up as good neighbors and citizens in the future.

21. I am a loyal friend and have had the same two BFF’s for 48 years. We vacation together once a year, and have a champagne lunch once a month. We were ‘Ya-Ya’s’ before the book was written and have secrets we will take to the grave with us (unless we are hard up for cash…just kidding D & S)

22. I did not learn to drive until I was 25 when my pal Sylvia coerced me into learning by saying she was going to disinvite me from our intended 6 week hiking trip to British Columbia, Canada –UNLESS!  There was a lot of lurching around in local parking lots I can tell you, and we did go on the trip.

23. I try to learn something new every day.

24. I never met a vegetable I did not like and have had a lifelong love affair with the humble combination of rice and beans.

25. My family and close friends are a source of great joy for me.

In closing I will say that Odd Duck though I am, I am also a very Lucky and Happy one.

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4 Responses to Some odd, but true, facts about myself

  1. katie says:

    I’ll add one: You can make up a song about anything, rhyme anything, make a limerick / play on words / nickname out of anything. Particularly if you have some young listening ears sitting at your kitchen table. Your pride (lack of shame?) around this particular ability was a bit dubious for me during a few of my teen years, but all the other years of my life this has been (and continues to be) a quality I love about you.


    • Penny Gruver says:

      …”I knew a gal and her name was Katie…” Thanks love. A skill set inherited from Grandpa Gordon I think. xo


  2. Rachel says:

    You have had a fascinating authentic life. Wondering what interesting thing you’ll be up to next. ❤ you!


  3. Margie says:

    One woman’s Odd Duck is another’s Rare Treasure. I count you in latter category; with just enough spice from the Odd Duck side for deliciousness!


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