On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you look forward to your birthday?
I have a love-hate relationship with my birthday because it is December 21: So close to Christmas that insensitive friends have often carelessly written “P.S. Happy Birthday” in Christmas cards, it is difficult to plan celebrations because everyone is busy with Christmas parties and events, and as a child, I felt cheated because I never had a classroom party (my birthday was always during what was known in those days as “Christmas break”). Thankfully, by the time my kids started school, teachers had “wised up” and all kids whose birthdays fell during breaks picked another day for an “un-birthday” classroom celebration.
To my parents’ credit, my birthday was always a distinct event, never overshadowed by Christmas, but my mother put my presents under the tree. I still vividly remember coming home from college after finals and walking into the living room to find my presents — wrapped in pink — under the tree amid the red and green boxes.
As an adult, I learned not to care that my birthday is rarely celebrated on the exact day . . . in fact, I don’t care if it is celebrated at all since I am no longer getting any older. I’m only getting better. 😎
What is one word you don’t like the sound, spelling, or meaning of?
The only thing that comes to mind is a phrase I never, ever use: “Passed away.” I absolutely hate that expression, never use it, and cringe whenever anyone else does.
People do not “pass away.” They die. I prefer to say that they “cross over into eternity” or, simply, “cross over” because I believe that they continue on their journey to another sphere. “Pass away” has always sounded like a weak cop-out explanation of what actually happens when life in this form comes to an end and is re-manifested in a place beyond our mortal reach.
Do you wear sunglasses when you’re outside? If so, what does your current pair look like?
Always. My water aerobics sunglasses are fairly large, medium brown. I use them to deflect the splashing water and keep as much of it as possible out of my eyes because I always have my contact lenses in place. For everything else, I have fairly small-frame polarized lenses that deflect glare and are great for driving.
If you were to write a book, to whom would you dedicate it?
I would dedicate it to Wayne Field, my high school journalism teacher. He is a low-key, straight-forward, plain-spoken man who is not easily impressed, rarely gets worked up or visibly excited about much of anything, and has a wry wit and love for words.
He was one of the very first people in my life who made me feel that I was a writer. He quietly empowered and affirmed my work, but not in an overt or flowery way. He just nonchalantly assigned me — the newest member of the yearbook editorial staff — the task of writing one of four major essays to be published in that year’s edition. At the time, I considered it an honor but found it daunting. He spurred me on as I researched, drafted, edited, rewrote, and, finally, sent my product off to the printer. I have never forgotten that experience or the pride I felt when he edited my work, saying quietly, “Good.” That one word was enough.
Name a beverage that you enjoy.
I enjoy iced white mochas, but I gave them up more than a year ago.