100 Things

I have been working on this for a while….

  1. I am 5’5” and wish I were about 2” taller. However, my husband is 5’9” so in that way my height is just fine. I would just like to be a bit taller, I think it would bring me a bit more respect.
  2. I have a total of three brothers and one sister, only one of those brothers, however, is a “whole” brother.
  3. My parents are divorced. My dad is remarried, buy my mom is still single.
  4. I really love U2. I know a lot of people say that, but for me they are amazing musicians with amazing, relevant lyrics and on top of all that, Bono does amazing things for the poor and underprivileged in our world.
  5. There are songs that remind me of times in my life. For some reason, there are a few that really stick with me. I bought an illegal copy of “All that you can’t leave behind” by U2 in a backpacking town in the south of China in 2000. I listened to that CD as we traveled all around China, and every time I listen to it brings me back to those great times.
  6. The smell of certain Bath and Body Works products brings back vivid memories of junior high and high school church trips for me.
  7. I am a pretty level-headed, logical, undramatic person, but I have a soft spot for a good soap opera.
  8. I can watch television in Spanish now and understand at least 60 percent of what’s going on thanks to watching the telenovela “La Madrastra” for three or four months a few hours a week.
  9. I dislike cartoons, pretty much across the board. I can enjoy the Simpsons, but if I haven’t watched it for a while, I really have to struggle to get back into it.
  10. I used to be very Conservative, but I think I just didn’t know any other option.
  11. Because of a good friendship with a Madison-raised son of environmentalist parents, I slowly became something of a liberal.
  12. I loved Supersize Me! and Fahrenheit 911.
  13. I subscribe to Michael Moore’s e-mail newsletter; he’s sort of a crazy, but he’s also very thought provoking.
  14. I read Sojourners, Sun, Ode, Relevant and occasionally Time magazine.
  15. I didn’t vote in 2000. I was in China and too lazy to get an absentee ballot mailed to me. In addition, I wasn’t sure I would vote for Bush, and pretty sure that my colleagues in China would be shocked if they found out.
  16. I lived in Beijing for one year during college. I was there on a college missions trip, although now I see that time as the most formative in my life, for many non-spiritual reasons.
  17. I learned a ton about myself, about accepting people the way they are, about cultural nuances and getting to know a place as home.
  18. My friends are amazing. I don’t know why they are friends with me.
  19. I can remember being three or four and “helping” my mom cook in our blue and cream kitchen. She was asking me to watch the second-hand on the clock for something and I couldn’t see it. She realized it and took me to the eye doctor, where they realized I had terrible vision for such a small child.
  20. I got glasses when I was four years old. One of my earliest memories was in pre-school, walking alone into class with glasses on, and the teacher explaining to the rest of the kids what I was wearing on my face. At that time, it was very rare for such a small child to wear glasses, so I think my teachers were feeling a bit sorry for me.
  21. I now wonder if the reason I have few memories pre-glasses is because I couldn’t really see anything. It’s probably true.
  22. As many of my old, old friends will attest, I did, in fact, wear powder blue glasses as a child through middle school when I got contacts. They actually had some pink on them too.
  23. I played soccer as a kid, and perhaps because of that, when I was angry at a friend or my brother, I sometimes would kick them.
  24. I was sort of a dork in high school. I tried to dress well and look sort of cool, but I wasn’t so successful.
  25. I have many high-school aged employees and they see me as sort of a cool adult, and I have to admit, I kind of enjoy it.
  26. I bought my first new car in 2004. I bought a new Toyota Corolla because I was so tired of the hassle of car repairs on an old car. Two months later I was rear-ended and my new car was totaled. I later bought a second new car, but I lost $1500 between the deductible and the gap between the car’s actual value and what I still owed.
  27. I am a very good sleeper. I can sleep for 10 or even 12 hours at a time if I don’t set an alarm.
  28. This talent for sleeping actually turns out to be something of a curse, because it’s really hard for me to get out of bed in the morning unless I have something really exciting to do. Work, however, does not qualify as exciting.
  29. I love reading. I started when I was four years old, and never really stopped.
  30. My (current) favorite books about China are China Wakes by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and Foreign Babes in Beijing by Rachel DeWoskin.
  31. Ever since I went to China for the first time I have loved tea. Someone there told me that drinking tea with a meal aids digestion, and by experience I’ve found this to be true. I drink many kinds of tea, but favorite is homemade chai and an African Red Tea made by the Republic of Tea.
  32. I used to unconsciously whistle when I was a kid. My dad used to get irritated because it was a reedy sounding weak whistle and I never had any melody going, just random noise. Sometimes my dad would tell me to stop from the other room and a few minutes later I would start up again without even realizing it. When I am really pensive I occasionally start whistling again.
  33. I prefer Borders to Barnes and Noble.
  34. I LOVE Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, TLC’s What Not to Wear and most recently Bravo’s Project Runway.
  35. I am currently addicted to watching the past seasons of the WB’s Smallville. Apparently the show is really popular (dubbed in Spanish) in Mexico, and when my brother-in-law brought home season one, my husband and I started watching it. Now we’re both hooked.
  36. My favorite store-bought cookie is the fig newton. I recently found out that they make whole-wheat varieties. They are very tasty!
  37. One of my favorite places to hang out is any bookstore. My usual pick is Harry Schwartz (a Milwaukee original), Borders or Half-Price Books. I can spend hours and hours browsing in bookstores.
  38. I have a bit of shopaholic in me.
  39. I am terrible at saving money. If I could change one thing about myself, I would become more frugal.
  40. I have a strange capability to remember obscure numbers. For example, I could tell you several of the phone numbers of my friends when they were in high school, and a few from elementary school, even though I haven’t used them in years.
  41. I am a Capricorn, born just two weeks after Christmas, which is a terrible time for a birthday. My brother was born June 25. This is a perfect birthday, ensuring gifts and celebration every half year.
  42. I really enjoy going to pick out a Christmas tree every year. I also really enjoy putting up the lights and decorating it.
  43. I have a persistent “what am I going to do with my life” line of thought going through my head.
  44. I am not unhappy with my life, but neither am I content with it. I am always looking for change, fulfillment and happiness.
  45. I used to think that one important qualification for me in a husband would be that he was smarter than me. I like to debate/argue and I know I am not right a lot of the time, so it was important that he would be able to put me in my place sometimes, I need that.
  46. My husband is actually ridiculously smart. He possibly thinks more intensely than I do about life. In addition, he was the math star of his schools growing up and can do large multiplications very quickly in his head.
  47. I am not a morning person. I inherited this curse from my mother, who once told me that well into her 40s she had trouble getting up for work. Boo.
  48. My dad, on the other hand, gets up before 6 every day. I cannot think of a time he ever was still in bed when I woke up.
  49. I have watched the TV show ER since it started (save the one year I spent in China). I am a little embarrassed by the fact that in college I would watch with friends and start to describe in detail the background stories for the character when plot questions arose.
  50. I spent two weeks in India working at a school for underprivileged children in 2003.
  51. When I was in kindergarden I had a classmate who had the same birthday as I. I believed that made us twins.
  52. One of my earliest memories is of myself holed up in by brother’s room singing: “Fame! I wanna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly” at the top of my lungs. I’m no longer sure why I did this, but I still remember it very well.
  53. As I recall it, my dad walked in on me, but I don’t remember being embarrassed, I assume he didn’t know what to say.
  54. I remember very few of my dreams, but I have one that I have remember since I had it when I was a kid. All I know is that my aunt Diane, myself and a gorilla were in a room that had some sort of obstacle course and was decorated in the hip pink and sea green motif of the ‘80s. Any interpretations?
  55. I can’t decide if I want to write non-fiction or fiction for a career (or at least just a really serious hobby).
  56. If I could start life over again I might become a photographer.
  57. I would like to retire to a foreign country, but not until I am about 75.
  58. I have never broken a bone, or been to the hospital for really anything.
  59. I did, however, have to be put under to get my wisdom teeth taken out, after which I don’t remember anything for like two days, including apparently walking out of the clinic.
  60. When I was in sixth grade I wrote a story for school and I remember the two teachers coming up to me after it was turned in and saying “well, Laura may turn out to be something of a writer.” That was one of my favorite compliments ever.
  61. I spend too much money on fast food, coffee, and anything sold at Target.
  62. I have been teaching myself to garden since we bought our house. I have one year of experience under my belt now.
  63. One of the success stories of my garden were my 10-foot high sunflowers. Unfortunately I planted them in such a spot that they shaded some of my veggies. Nonetheless, I produced at least 10 pounds of jalapenos this year from about five plants I bought at the farmers market.
  64. I live with my husband and five of his family members. His sister and husband have a three-month old baby, and oh my god, he’s the cutest thing in the world.
  65. The baby’s name is Carlos, my first nephew-in-law, and he smiles all the time.
  66. Advice to newlywed women who start yearning for children but feel they shouldn’t really start a family yet: move in with someone who has a really nice baby – you can get your fix and not have all the responsibility.
  67. I enjoy watching thought-provoking movies, so I watch a lot of independent and foreign films. I would highly recommend the recent “Born into Brothels,” and 2000’s “City of God.”
  68. I really enjoy navigating on road trips.
  69. I currently work for Qdoba Mexican Grill, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am a General Manager.
  70. My job has many facets. I am responsible for hiring/firing, running shifts, maintaining cleanliness, food quality, store financials and profits, managing labor, repairs and maintenance and the list goes on. It’s not a difficult job per se, but it involves really good time management and keen multi-tasking skills.
  71. I think I was a better Assistant Manager than I am a General Manager. I don’t enjoy disciplining people and I get very frustrated and passive-aggressive when people don’t do things the right way after I have told them once or twice.
  72. I have a great boss. She is very intelligent, has a lot of integrity, and is a very interesting person. Unfortunately, I don’t like a lot of other things about my job right now.
  73. I don’t love confrontation, although it’s a really important part of my job, and I suppose I am learning to be better at it.
  74. In the past, when a friend, family member or co-worker would confront me about something in the past, I would occasionally laugh. It was very inappropriate, and I knew it, but I guess it was a coping mechanism.
  75. I love Thai, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Mexican, Italian and Cuban food. There are many other nations that I need to try, and I am guessing I will like those too.
  76. I have the unfortunate tendency to look down upon those who don’t like onions, spicy food or anything that isn’t “American.” I need to stop that.
  77. I enjoy trying to convince people to eat things they normally wouldn’t. This also gets me into trouble.
  78. I once ate some dog stir-fry in China. Contrary to popular belief, dog is not part of typical Chinese cuisine, however, it is eaten regularly in Korea, and therefore some restaurants in Beijing (and I am sure many other places in China) serve it.
  79. I love maps, mapquest.com, atlases, etc. I always have a Milwaukee and Waukesha county map as well as a U.S. atlas in my car for emergency situations. Because of this, I almost never get lost.
  80. I have never had a cavity, which is a testament to having strong teeth, not because I avoid sweets.
  81. I am quite competitive, but only in a few areas. Those include any games I play with family and friend, ie. Monopoly, euchre, spades, etc.
  82. I have severe devil’s advocate syndrome. I tend to immediately comment on the negative possibilities of any idea presented, in just about any situation. I mean, it’s nice to have a devil’s advocate. I provide reason and balance, but I think I also bring annoyance and irritation to my husband or my boss at times.
  83. I almost never drank alcohol in all the typical “sow the wild oats” time of one’s life (late high school, college, and immediately after). However, now I enjoy a glass of wine some nights and going out for margaritas every once in a while with Fermin.
  84. I have been drunk exactly once, at my company holiday party in 2004.
  85. I met Fermin one month after I graduated college. He was one of the first Mexican people I met in a restaurant. I was a shift supervisor and he was a cook at a new restaurant opening in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
  86. The first memory I have of Fermin was thinking he was a bit intimidating and scary, because for a few weeks during the opening of the restaurant, he rarely spoke and never smiled.
  87. We became friends and started seeing each other while I was the assistant manager and technically his boss. We kept it a secret for a while, and it truly didn’t interfere with our jobs.
  88. In May of 2004 we got married at the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
  89. I never envisioned myself in a big princess wedding, although my parents probably would have preferred it. But hey, it’s my life, right? I have no regrets about it. It would have been terribly awkward to plan an American wedding with Fermin.
  90. I feel a bit embarrassed when I am forced to display any cultural ignorance. Today, for example, someone at work started talking about some musical (I guess) called “The Producers,” and I felt myself trying to make agreeable sounds and nods while not furthering the conversation so that I didn’t have to reveal my ignorance.
  91. In certain social situations I feel awkward about my relative naiveté regarding drinking and “the bar scene.” I am glad to have been saved from all the negative consequences of this lifestyle, but I wish I could go to a bar with friends and know what to order. Because of this, I sometimes pick the brains of my friends for good drinks to order in certain situations.
  92. I was lucky enough to have Spanish classes beginning in kindergarten at my elementary school. I credit this for my aptness with learning languages. I studied Spanish until the start of college, then switched to Chinese for a few years. After college I started working with Mexican immigrants and the Spanish came back. Now I would say I am fairly proficient in Spanish.
  93. Sometimes, when I am tired, especially at work, I have a tendency to mumble.
  94. Like my father, I sometimes learn a new hobby or craft and go totally gung-ho about it. Examples include scrapbooking, gardening, photography, and lately, baking bread.
  95. Some of those hobbies stick, others fall to the wayside after I have invested maybe $100 and 15-20 hours.
  96. I once spent a day learning to bake bread from my grandma, who makes great homemade bread. Then I came home and made my first 2 loaves of bread, which miraculously, turned out.
  97. The second loaf of bread I tried to make, which included some interesting organic flours, did not turn out. But I think it’s because I killed the yeast. So sad.
  98. Sometimes, when I am crabby, I am not so nice to my husband. Later on, however, I will deny that I was a bitch, and then still later, I will feel badly about it.
  99. I love coffee – my favorite beverage is an amaretto latte. Alterra Coffee in Milwaukee makes the best one.
  100. This list took me five months to complete.

7 Responses to 100 Things

  1. Mary says:

    laura, i LOVE this. i laughed out loud reading about you singing “fame” in your brother’s room. oh, man. that made my morning 🙂

  2. Jack says:

    This is a great list, Laura. I’m thinking it would be theraputic for everyone to write one. I would do one myself, but it would be very boring, because I would be way too guarded and unwilling to show my inner thoughts like you are able to do.

    For the record, I don’t remember the singing of Fame, although you are probably right that I wouldn’t have know what to make or it or say. I do remember the whistling – you used to drive us nuts with that!

    I’m glad to see you are down to sleeping only 10 – 12 hours at a time now. We used to be amazed at your ability to go for much longer times than that as a teenager. 🙂

  3. Jen J says:

    Very cool LauraFern! It’s amazing how there’s always so much more to learn about a friend:)

  4. steve says:

    Hey Laura…
    Thanks for your post on my blog. I grieve when I hear what you’ve been through. Hey, I noticed on your list that you love Alterra coffee. Yes, I’m a believer, too.

    I’m in Mke March 2-5. Let me buy you a cup of your favorite brew and let’s catch up.

    Email me!

    Peace, friend-

  5. Adrianne says:

    When I look back I think that I was a dork in high school, too!

    Maybe that’s what made us friends…

  6. jennie says:

    I loved your list, Laura. Very enlightening. I don’t like onions. I’m really sorry!

  7. xeper says:

    Wonderful post. I can”t say why. But wonderful. And impressive. 5 months is just about the time you needed.
    Im a Capricorn (Jan 3), not being a morning person probably comes from that.. not from the parents.. I will go through your post in detail some time (one reason why I leave a comment here, to come back to you later :P)
    You should try Egyptian food.. though its not as established as the other foods you find internationally, but youd probably like it 🙂
    I am 170 cm and wish I was taller too..

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