Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Six Things About Me

Ewa has tagged me from her beautiful garden in Poland. Since I received this tag several months ago, I'll forgo tagging anyone else this time. But I don't mind listing six new, different random things about myself. (Last time it was ten, so six should be a piece of cake!)

The guidelines are as follows:
(I'll say guidelines, not rules. . . I don't like rules.)

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the guidelines on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post. (I won't be following this guideline.)
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. (or this one. . . )
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

The one thing anyone who's visited my blog or read my comments knows is that I tend to get a bit. . . ahem. . . wordy, shall we say? (If you don't believe me, ask my husband!) So what the heck, why should this post be any different?

1. My most serious injuries have occurred in the garden. They include almost severing part of my right middle finger with an electric hedge trimmer.
In my freshman year of high school I stepped on a pitchfork while working in our vegetable garden. One of the tines went between two toes and in pretty deeply. (I was barefoot.) I ended up with an abscess and missed the last week of school. I was teacher's pet in Earth Science, and my teacher, who was a hippie-type with long, flaming, curly red hair and a bushy red beard, gave me an A for my final exam grade even though I missed the final.

2. I used to have an awful phobia about blood, shots - pretty much any medical procedure involving needles, cutting, and/or blood. It started when I was little. Because I was kind of sickly as a small child, I had a lot of contact with doctors and unpleasant medical procedures. Eventually my fear developed into a full-blown phobia. Back when doctors made house calls, my doctor came to our house at least once a week, and I always got an injection. I'd try to run away when it was time for the shot. One time I locked myself in the bathroom. The doctor and my mom were on the other side of the door, and it took them a long time to coax me out. As I got older, I'd pass out at the sight of blood, or a needle. I've passed out in school during movies, at the doctor's office, at the dentist, and once almost dropped my newborn baby girl as I passed out when the oral surgeon was checking her father's mouth after his wisdom teeth had been removed. Even though he was just coming out of anesthesia, I had to hand her to him, because I was going down.

I worked on this phobia with an NLP Master (who happens to be my mom,) and with about two hours of therapy I was free of it. I haven't passed out at the sight of blood since. I even watched a PBS program that showed brain surgery in graphic detail to test my 'phobia cure,' and I got through it easily.In my HR manager position I did most of the first-aid treatment for the employees of the manufacturing firm where I worked, and patched up some pretty gory injuries before sending them off to the doctor or hospital. I would never have imagined I could so quickly and easily rid myself of a life-long phobia. But it worked, and it has stuck. I now get blood tests, novacaine, and have even undergone surgeries, and have taken them all in stride.

3. I love to bake - especially breads, cookies, and brownies. I don't really like to cook that much though. My husband does most of the cooking, and he's very good at it. He cooks, I clean up! Our second date was on New Year's Eve, and he cooked for me - a beautiful, romantic dinner. We shared a bottle of Dom Perignon. And that's been our New Year's Eve tradition every year since. New Year's Eve is at least as special to us as our anniversary. And since I met him, it's been my favorite holiday.

5. Between my husband and I we have five children, and they're all girls. His youngest daughter's first name is the same as my youngest daughter's middle name. We discovered many other coincidences as we were getting to know each other. Some examples: we both had a dog - both were labs - his chocolate, mine black. (George is actually a lab mix, but he looks almost all lab.) We were both driving the same make, model, and color car when we met. I named my very first dog, who I loved like no other pet before or since, the same name as my husband's middle name. Because he has the same first name as his father, he grew up being called by his middle name.

6. Our family is a mini-United Nations. We are English, Russian Jew, African American, Irish, Indian/Pakistani, German, Native American, Polish, Chinese, Greek, and more. Not all of those nationalities rolled into one person - we are a very diverse group of characters. My siblings and I grew up in a gem of a Chicago Northside neighborhood which was a mini-United Nations itself. The neighborhood in my eyes was idyllic, except for the requisite neighborhood bully. Our friends were Christian and Jew, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Greek, Italian, and Eastern European. I never thought twice about the differences, which were mostly only skin deep. We grew up seeing the people, not the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes, their country of origin, their religion, their politics, or their disability.

We played with the boy with a club foot, the blind girl, a couple of developmentally-disabled kids on the block, and the three hearing-impaired sisters. I don't remember anyone ever being left out, and we figured out ways that everyone could play regardless of their limitations. The oldest hearing-impaired sister babysat for us. My mom didn't discriminate against her because she couldn't hear. She was competent and loving, and that was what mattered. Growing up in that environment and with the parents we had helped shape our values, those of our children, and hopefully future generations who will follow them.

(Photos courtesy of K, my oldest daughter, taken during her recent trip to the Chicago Botanic Gardens.)

post script. . . fact #4: Proofreading has never been my greatest skill.


  1. Wow, so much with only 6 things! I’ll give it a quick stab….

    1. I was raised on the wrong side of the rail road tracks but never knew it until I was an adult.

    2. I use to be a shy follower and now I am a leader of sorts.

    3. I have a great fear of the unknown. I am a Worry Wart!

    4. I know how to take control when things don’t go as planned. There is always a Plan B.

    5. I cook mostly without recipes and some of my great dishes are one time creations from left overs! But I dont really bake much.

    6. I have daily food cravings that I cannot seem to overcome!

  2. That's fascinating! Hey, can you help my wife get over her fear of seeing blood and gore, and me fear of needles? I don't mind gore so much, but needles are a different story! I can watch surgery on tv, some guy's head getting blown off in a movie, and can dress wounds, but can't have blood drawn from me.

  3. wow! you are NOT alone with your phobia (though mine mostly has to do with needles). I had two spinal taps when I was a kid and they are reoccuring nightmares monthly. I've been actually trying to figure out how to get over this without having to see anyone with it. It didn't help that during birth,they put 4 Iv's in me and wrecked my left arm, which I just got an Okay from the doctor to go to Physo for. Sigh. And getting over those things are not easy. Congrads that you've done it. That is a HARD one to get over.

  4. How great to have grown up in such a mixed neighborhood. The town I grew up in was so white-bread. I'm almost surprised that you continued with gardening after incurring so many garden-related injuries. You must have been so into what you were doing that you failed to pay attention to anything else. (Been there, done that.)

  5. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Wow, you're interesting! I like to hear things like this, because when I visit bloggers, these things make them stand out and I remember them better. And feel like I know them better. You don't look like you ever eat, honey, from your photo, so you surely don't bake! Either that or you just have damned good genes in all that mix!

  6. Anonymous3:43 PM

    GG, that was the most interesting and beautiful post you've written (that I've read.) I loved it. You were one fortunate girl to have grown up the way you did. When my husband and I were children, busing started in OKC. He wasn't bused, but his school was integrated. I was bused one year, and then went to my local high school. We feel grateful for our exposure to cultures other than our own, and we sent our oldest to a Catholic school which is fully integrated for that reason. Sorry this was so long. You just touched my hear.~~Dee

  7. I just got to read this now GG ..wow .. you have had an awesome life so far and I bet it keeps getting more so as you get older .. I was a shy very tall girl for my age .. heard more cracks about that than anyone should hear .. but hey .. what doesn't kill you makes you stronger right ?
    So becoming any army wife and moving all over Canada and some in Europe .. and being on my own 75% of the time .. didn't kill me .. so I am strong .. most of the time : )
    That was a great post .. even though I 'shy" away from tags .. I probably annoyed some people doing that .. LOL
    PS you and your husband were destined to be together girl !

  8. Hi Linda, what a wonderful post about yourself. Your phobia cure sounds miraculous. Your mom may be getting contacted from some of the bloggers it sounds like. One question, how did you find the tag from so long ago? I have had several of these and awards that I never did anything about and wanted to go find them and could not. Did you go check each comment, that would be tough, or was it on blotanical?

  9. Ops, I thought maybe we were to post a quick 6 things too. Sorry if I messed this one up for you. Feel free to delete my comment earlier... Sorry, I goofed...

    After reading your 6 things, I have come to the conclusion that you are a wonderful person which enjoys life!

  10. Skeeter, and just imagine how much longer the post could have been if I hadn't missed #4!

    Thanks for sharing six things about you! I can relate to several of them. My biggest cravings are chocolate and ice cream. I often take care of both of them with a dish of chocolate ice cream!

    Benjamin, I still can't watch violence, so I can totally empathize with your wife. That's something I don't want to get over. I'm glad I haven't been conditioned to watch violence on TV and in movies. I still leave during the gory parts. If I like the movie otherwise, I'll come back, then leave again during the next violent scene.

    I don't have the skills to do what my mom did for me, but if you really want to get over the needle phobia you might see if you can find a therapist or coach who's skilled with NLP (neurolinguistic programming.) NLP is very effective in helping people get over phobias, and it often doesn't take very long.

    Andrea, it's not a fun thing to have to deal with. I can sure empathize. It was embarrassing. I had to lie down even for a blood test, and they were always right there with the orange juice. I got sick of having to put my head between my legs to try to keep from passing out (usually didn't work.) I had to warn every medical provider I ever had and then remind them, or I'd end up on the floor with a big knot on my head.

    I'm so glad to be free of that. It's been at least 10 years since I've overcome this problem. I think it's a hard one to get over too, and probably even harder without some help. I was very lucky my mom talked to me into trying NLP. I was extremely skeptical. I didn't think it would help. It was funny that brain surgery program was on PBS within a couple of days. I was sure I'd pass out trying to watch it. No one was more surprised than me that I watched the whole thing.

    I couldn't agree more - getting over traumatic medical experiences isn't easy. I hope you're able to find a method that works for you. It's not a fun thing to live with, since needles are so much a part of modern medical care.

    MMD, It was quite a shock when my family moved to a white-bread suburb. It was like moving to a different planet. Everyone seemed to be trying to be the same as their neighbors, their peers at school, and the family in the next pew. It felt weird. I like living where I do now. It kind of reminds me of the old neighborhood. I enjoy the diversity.

    Yep, I think that was most often the cause of my gardening injuries - being too absorbed in what I was doing. (except for the last one where George walked in front of me, tripped me, and sent me crashing into one of our lanterns (which I bent,) and a couple of planters (one of which I broke.) That one just happened a couple weeks ago. And let's not talk about the heat exhaustion and the yellow jacket stings last week. I think I've gotten injuries in the garden because that's where I usually am! Who ever said gardening was a safe activity obviously never met me.

    Brenda, Thank you! I actually think I'm kind of boring - reading all the time, gardening nerd homebody!

    Oh, I eat, believe me, and I bake. (not in the summer though - summer is for ice cream.) I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If I go too long between meals my blood sugar takes a nose dive.

    Dee, thank you. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I will always be grateful for those experiences, and for my mom especially, who was such a role model for me growing up. She was a role model in many ways, but especially when it came to seeing people for their character, not what they looked like on the outside.

    You can make your comments as long as you like. I might be one of the queens of long comments. I enjoy reading comments about as much as I enjoy reading blog posts.

    Joy, I can relate to being the shy girl - I was very shy after we moved to the suburbs. I don't remember being shy at all before we moved though. I'm pretty tall too, although these days there are lots of tall girls. So I guess you could say I'm tall for my age. ;)

    I don't often get very 'personal' on my blog, and that's one good thing about these kinds of tags - it's nice to get to know more about each other.

    Thank you Frances! Like I said I was very skeptical about it, and pretty amazed that it worked. Even more amazing is that it stuck.

    I've seen my share of needles, medical procedures, and industrial injuries since then, and there's no way I could have dealt with those things before. My method of dealing with them previously was just to check out, pass out, and not deal with them.

    This was the second tag I received, and since I posted the first one it was easy to find. I just went to the 'edit posts' page. It would be a lot harder to find a tag by the comments, unless you could narrow down when you got the tags.

    But you could just post anyway - check Ewa's post - she had lost track of one of the people who'd tagged her. It's kind of fun, and people seem to enjoy reading these posts. I know I enjoy them.

    Skeeter, I'm glad you did! I'd love it if anyone else would too! It's nice to get to know more about each other.

    Anyone else up for it? No pressure, but if you like, please feel free to post six things in the comments here, or consider yourself tagged if you're looking for a post idea. It's kind of fun, don't you think?

  11. Hi, I just wanted to tell you I love all your pictures of the flowers on your blog!

  12. Lynda,
    This is so interestingm post.
    I got most interested with NLP curing your phobia.
    Also your mini-United Nations reality hooked me, cos I live in similar environment. Actually it is not so easy to cope with all the differences.
    Thank you for taking part :)

  13. Thank you Annie. And thanks for visiting!

    Thank you Ewa! It definitely hasn't always been easy, but it's rewarding. We are more alike than different, and learning to accept and live with the differences is rewarding and character-building. Our lives have been enriched by our multi-national, multi-cultural differences. And the food. . . Yum! Family holidays and cookouts are ethnic food fests!

  14. What we learned about you mostly is that you had and have today an awesome family. For that you can count your blessings.

  15. It was nice to learn a little more about you, Linda. I enjoyed your comment about your melting pot neighborhood. I wish today's kids could be more accepting of others. It definitely would be a happier world, don't you think? I always enjoy your posts ...

  16. Linda,

    What a wonderful post! You're wordiness is the best!

    I often have mixed feelings about memes and awards(!) but they almost always turn out to be fun and a good learning experience! Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey with us!


  17. Jane Marie, I'm grateful for my family's uniqueness and strength.

    Thank you Beth, I think the world would be a better place if everyone, young and old was more accepting of others. There are so many influences on kids, and unfortunately not all of them are good.

    Thank you Gail. I'm really a pretty quiet person, but on some subjects I do tend to go on!

    I have mixed feelings about tags and memes too, yet they do turn out to be fun learning experiences.

    Thanks Marie!

  18. I'd like to know your mother's therapy for phobias! Last year I had a flu shot, and the nurse drew blood somehow. When I saw the blood running down my arm, I got light-headed and eventually passed out. I was so embarrassed!

    This was such an interesting post, Linda! I did not grow up in such a diverse neighborhood, but I think my parents taught me the same values. Your parents' attitudes had much to do with how you viewed different people. It's obvious from all your posts about your childhood that you had wonderful parents who gave you what was most important to a child--love and values.

  19. Hi Rose, I understand the embarrassment! I've had far to many embarrassing moments like that in the past.

    Mostly my mom has used her NLP training to facilitate improved communication, improved relationships, and better functioning in dysfunctional organizations. She really has a gift for this and was highly valued for her skill and talent in this area before her retirement.

    After retirement she's used her skills on a volunteer basis with some non-profits in her area.

    The method she uses for resolving phobias involves remembering when the fear began and helping the subject imagine replacing the feelings of powerlessness with a sense of control, competence, and coping skills. My laywoman's explanation is an oversimplification of how it works, as there is quite a bit of skill involved. I do know that it's very effective, and the results are lasting.

    I thing strong values are among the best gifts parents can give their children. We are fortunate to have grown up with parents who recognized that.

  20. Hi Linda,

    Thanks so much for sharing parts of your life-it was a truly beautiful post!

  21. Thank you Sherri, glad you enjoyed it!

  22. Where did your mom receive her training? Was she a speech pathologist? What a fascinating talent she has to help people get rid of their phobias. I really enjoyed reading your post. You sound like a very well-adjusted, kind-hearted person.

  23. Anonymous1:54 AM

    I enjoyed reading and learning more about you. You are wordy but it's always good and sincere. It's not meaningless words at all--keep it up.

  24. Walk2write, thank you! Mom attended the NLP Institute in Chicago, and also in another state I don't recall - I think it was somewhere out west, maybe Oregon? She may have attended some classes in New York or Washington DC, too, I don't remember,as it was a long time ago. NLP can be briefly described as "a human behavior system that combines aspects of psychology, linguistics, and computer science," and "the study of the recognition of language and behavioral patterns in others and in ourselves, the psychology of inter- and intra-personal communication. NLP is about how our minds work and about identifying the perception and cognitive patterns underlying all human communication. NLP is to people what mathematics and engineering are to the physical world. NLP is a powerful and explicit model of human communication and experience." Here's the web address to the Washington DC Institute's FAQs page: http://www.nlpdc.org/

    It's a very interesting, effective, gentle means of communication and change-management. Mom studied it for her own personal development, and used it extensively in her career before she retired. She was highly valued for her skill in getting work teams stuck in conflict and dysfunctional behaviors working together cohesively and efficiently towards common goals. After retirement she's used her skills to help individuals and organizations effectively transcend dysfunctional, self-defeating habits and behaviors.

    The method NLP employs for resolving phobias is gentle, low-stress, and highly effective.

    Thank you Anna, glad you enjoyed my wordy post!

  25. Thank you, GG, for the information. I had never heard of this particular type of therapy before, and I will certainly investigate it further. I have always been interested in learning about why language is so powerful as well as understanding why I am so fascinated by words. It would be satisfying to help people overcome their fears using language as a tool.

  26. NLP also considers "sub-modalities", that is how each individual functions with regard to the major visual, auditory, kinesthetic, taste and smell senses. These senses are involved in how we perceive the external and internal environment. The sequence of these perceptual senses is very individual, and how we process the inputs and generate outputs is a lot more important than we may be conscious of.

    Most phobias tend to be one-shot learning with periodic reinforcement. We are often completely unconscious of the initial incident, and the triggers developed from that, which then get hard-wired into our neurology. Often we have made up an explanatory story as to how we happen to have this phobia, but that story can be largely inaccurate and have the most salient details deleted (not part of the incident as remembered). NLP has processes, rituals if you will, that can get to the very first incident, which can be very far back even into infancy and, amazingly, fetal life, and re-frame the meaning of the initial experience. It can re-establish a person's self-efficacy around that incident so that they are no longer at the mercy of those old triggers.

  27. Thanks for explaining this Mom! I don't know exactly how it worked - just know it worked, and has stuck. As you know I find psychology fascinating.


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