Adventures in making and raising our test-tube babies

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tag: I'm "It"

I’ve been invited (actually “tagged;” see the rules below) to tell six random things about myself. And who am I to decline an invitation to expound on my favorite subject?

So here they are: six historical moments or characteristics in the “not important but influential” category from my life:

I have a fake belly button. It’s a reasonable facsimile but you can tell it’s fake if you look at it. Instead of looking like the knot of a balloon, it looks like a small tuck with stitch marks along the vertical seam. I got this modification when I was three months old and had a hernia operation. My dear twin brother, David, also has this feature, but don’t think he’ll let you look at it if you ask. Me, I’ll show you. It’s my favorite party trick.

I speak Portuguese. I learned it because a college advisor said that no Latin Americanist should stop at just knowing Spanish. I lived in Brazil for six months, got a scholarship for a free Master’s just for studying Portuguese further, and now am saddled with a huge burden. That is, I was familiar with the Brazilian fruit (and related fruit juice and ginger ale-like soda) guaraná before it became the rage in U.S. energy drinks. Now my biggest pet peeve is hearing it referred to as /gwa RAH nuh/ instead of the Portuguese /gwah rah NAH/. Poor James has to hear me rant every time it’s mispronounced on TV.

I think that education is the most important thing there is. I don’t know why I’m not a teacher, except that I’m already a Latin Americanist/democratization specialist, lawyer, and artist. I hope to be a mother next, but after that I’ll need a fifth career. In the meantime, I serve on the board of a new NGO called the Washington Collaborative for Education. It’s an organization run by two amazing DC public school teachers, and provides summer programs for DC teenagers, to get them ready (and encourage them) to go to college. We just applied for 501(c)3 status from the IRS, so watch out! I may be hitting you up for a tax-deductible donation.

When David and I were born, we had an older sibling: John Wayne, the hound dog. When Mom and Dad laid us on a blanket on the floor, John Wayne would run around the house, carefully jumping over us when he got to where we were. When we were about five or six, John Wayne “ran away.” We had just gotten a free Purina red-checked plastic dog bowl, having sent away for it with coupons from the dog food bag. When John Wayne never came back (because he was dead, duh), we used the dog food bowl as a salad bowl.

Twenty-five years and two weeks ago, I had the mind-boggling good fortune of becoming a child star in my small home town. By “singing loud[ly] and smiling,” as per my mother’s instructions, I wowed the judges with my enthusiasm and won the lead role in our community production of “Annie.” It wasn’t so much that I was talented as that I was a ham onstage. I loved every minute of it. I loved the theater itself, the costumes, the dance rehearsals, the “drama majors,” and yes, the fame. The experience changed my life, giving me a deep – and useful – sense of self-confidence. At my wedding (when, yes, I gave in to the “demands” and sang “Tomorrow”), my sweet cousin Ashley told me that she admired how unselfconscious I was. I just plowed into every situation with gusto, without fear that people would think I was weird or wrong. I was very touched. I attribute this fearlessness to having had my enthusiasm rewarded at an impressionable age. And hell no, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone should be a child star.

The love of my life, James, has blue eyes. I enlarged a photo of the two of us from our honeymoon and turned it into fabric art a couple years ago. James’s blue eyes now look at me from two fabric strips hanging on a curtain rod, on the wall across from our bed. I chose a beautiful deep blue paint color for our bedroom walls, to match James’s eyes. The walls cannot begin to hold the depth and tenderness that those eyes reveal, but they provide a good backdrop for the smile he starts every morning with. When we first realized we were having trouble conceiving a child, James’s mom’s reaction was not to worry: “God wouldn’t let those blue eyes die out.” I admit I didn’t think that was very convincing when she said it, but you know. Maybe she’ll be right.

Here are the rules of this tagging game:

1. Link to the person who tagged you:

Ashley at

2. Post the rules to your blog
3. Write 6 random things about myself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them

(tagging only the four bloggers I can think of: L*** at, B*** at, Polka Dot Creations at, and L**** at

5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.


DAVs said...

Glad to see you're back.
And I have super fond memories of "Annie"--good old HEAP! (wasn't it a HEAP production??).

The fake belly button intrigues me...

bzh said...

My tag response is posted. My apologies for the mix up the first time I posted. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, thank goodness. If you read the correction, you'll have a sense.)
Anyway... glad to have you back.
My fingers are still crossed.

Lisa Clarke said...

Ooh, a performer! I was in musicals in high school and I loved it. It's so freeing to be somebody else on stage. I really have no problem with hamming it up while playing a part, but in Real Life, I'm so much more reserved. Strange.

Thanks for tagging me, but I'm really all tagged out at this point :-D

GailY said...

Just wanted to pop in and say thanks for your comment on my recent post. I'm glad to be blogging. It feels good. Hope you're doing well and taking it easy. Thanks for all your support.

Laughing4Heir said...

OMG! Another Annie fan?? I KNEW there was something I smelled on you that I liked! I am SO jealous that you actually got to play her. Damn. Seriously. I'm a grown woman, jealous of your childhood. sigh.

I DID get your tag request. I promise I'll do it. I've been swamped lately.

Laughing4Heir said...

Oh! And I know portugese, too. Okay, just one phrase: tenio melecca! (sic - I suspect the i may actually be an h)
... which is not true now, as my allergies are not in full swing, yet.