Thursday, February 05, 2015

Reviving the "25 Things About Me" Meme

It's probably the ultimate in navel-gazing, but what the hell. I responded to the meme in early 2009, I've added some additional comments [[in double brackets]] in early 2015, just after my 58th birthday.

  1. My parents met at Middlebury College in about 1950. Dad was a history major, Mom was an English major and I've always been interested in both history and English (though I went on to be an English major, too). They had relatives who were into genealogy, so I know I've had ancestors in New England from both sides of my family since 1642.
  2. I'm the oldest of four children - two girls/two boys. As was more common in the '50s and '60s, my mother had four children in seven years.
  3. I learned how to read when I was 5, mostly because I spent weeks in the hospital and at home suffering from nephritis. I was hyperactive and was one of the few girls on Ritalin in 1962.
  4. I was one of the tallest kids in kindergarten with one of the biggest voices so I played Santa Claus in the Christmas pagent. "Ho Ho Ho."
  5. My father spent most of his career as Director of Placement for Worcester Polytechnic Institute and my mother was a free lance writer who went on to work for WPI's Alumni Journal. Dad was active in local theater groups (including playing Mr. Gibbs in Our Town the week I graduated from high school) and Mom was sometimes sang in a church choir.
  6. We rarely traveled out of New England while I was growing up (with 4 kids, it was a little tricky), but in 1968, we made a big cross country trip with our grandmother completely by train since my mother wouldn't fly. We went to Chicago, Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, Anaheim, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Vancouver and Montreal. Ironically, a landslide hit the train in the Canadian Rockies and killed one passenger.
  7. In the '70s, West Boylston Jr.-Sr. High was a small school with an odd configuration - grades 8-12. The eighth graders were not supposed to join the senior high clubs, but I showed up at Drama Club anyway and wasn't tossed out. There may still exist a black and white tape of my adaptation of "Repent Harlequin, Said the TickTockMan" that I wrote and starred in for a Drama Class in about 1974.
  8. I touched my first computer keyboard nearly 35 years ago. It was an early Wang that our school got to teach students computer programming. Paul Yankowskas was also in the computer class, where we learned how to program "Hello World" in BASIC.
  9. During high school, I was in Central District Choir three times and Massachusetts All-State once. I made a touring choir (Concordia Youth Chorale) in 1974 and spent three weeks touring Germany, Austria and Italy, with a lunch in Switzerland. This trip made me love international travel and lager beer.
  10. While my parents strongly encouraged me to go to Middlebury, I wanted to go to a college in a city out of New England but in the northeast. After spending years researching colleges, I narrowed it down to Case Western (Cleveland) and Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh). I visited both colleges a few weeks before graduation and picked CMU because I liked Pittsburgh much more than Cleveland.
  11. I met Jim Mann at a science fiction club meeting on campus two weeks to the day that I arrived. While we became fast friends, we didn't start to date until the following February. The rest, as they say, is history.
  12. When Jim and I got married in Massachusetts on May 22, 1977, it was 96 degrees! We had a simple ceremony with an informal reception at an estate on the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
  13. I made the University of Pittsburgh College Bowl Trivia Team, at a time when College Bowl wasn't televised but was an interscholastic competition. We placed second in a regional competition. While I later did well playing trivia in bars, I've taken the Jeopardy test twice and failed both times.
  14. Leslie was due Election Day 1980, so I got an absentee ballot...which I never needed to file since she wound up being nearly three weeks early. Her first trip outside was so I could go vote. I have voted in every federal election since 1976.
  15. When we moved up to Massachusetts in 1982, a huge number of the members of NESFA, the local science fiction club, worked for Digital Equipment Corporation. I was interested in going to work for a computer company, and, eventually, got a job with Stratus Computer (thanks, Kurt Baty!). I worked for Stratus in a number of jobs for nearly ten years; Jim later worked there for about eight years as a technical writer.
  16. I've had an E-mail address since 1983, owned a PC since 1988 and been active on the Internet since 1988. At Stratus, I created a departmental intranet in 1986, in an effort to help track forms, training information and other information about publication production.
  17. I learned HTML in 1994 and created the first Hugo/Nebula site in HTML (AwardWeb) that October. I went on to run Women Leaders online for a few years, and then took over Dead People Server, a site I've been curating since 1997.
  18. I burned out after working for about three years at ANSYS (which included an insane schedule to convert documents to XML in advance of our then-current publishing software failing at the end of 1999), and went back to finish my long-delayed college degree at Pitt in 2000. I graduated with honors in April 2001.
  19. I'm enough of a movie fan that 2009 marks the 40th year I both predicted Oscar winners and will be watching the show. In 2004, I actually watched the Oscars from a ballroom in Hollywood along with 1,000 rowdy Lord of the Rings fans. About 20 members of the cast and crew of LOTR visited our party later than night with their Oscars.
  20. Our daughter had no first cousins (except for one step-first-cousin) until she was 23 years old; now she she has 4.
  21. While most of my family have been longtime Republicans, my mother's cousin Alice was a Democratic legislator in Vermont who used to commute to Montpelier with Howard Dean in his pick-up truck. Politically, I take after Alice's side of the family (at least after 1975 or so).
  22. While I can't say "I was nominated for a Hugo," I can say "A book I edited was nominated for a Hugo" since William Tenn's "Dancing Naked" was nominated for a Non-Fiction Hugo in 2005. Since Phil was unable to go to Worldcon in Scotland, I was his designated acceptor. It was an honor to be a designated acceptor! ;->
  23. I worked for Obama, voted for him (only the 3rd time I voted for a winning president), and attended his Inauguration (1.5 miles away from the Capitol, but what the hell).
  24. My movie geekdom probably reached its peak in 2008 when I was an extra on "She's Out of My League," and I started the fan site "The Road Rumors and News." Both movies are due out in 2009. [[Since then, I've been on about 30 different movie/TV sets.]]
  25. [[We've been able to take some big trips since 2009, and have gone to southeastern Australia, Alaska, England, Ireland, Wales and Canada (twice).]]