Recently in her blog, Cindy Butts said

“There’s a thing on blogs called meme – giving personal perspective on random topics or questions. Bloggers tag other bloggers to write things …. this time about themselves. Likely to make us seem like real people? I was tagged by Ben Martin on this topic, so here goes” ….Cindy then lists 8 Things People Don’t Know About Me, and concludes with “I’ll tag: GertieCranker. She’s such a gifted writer and her personal blog is a glimpse into the realities of unexpected turn of events after retirement from 30 years in association management”. (

Thanks for the compliment on my writing, Cindy…but now I have to come up with 8 Things People Don’t Know About Me. And then I have to tag someone else, right? I assume the person I tag will be another blogger, too….

Coming up with things people don’t know about me is tough: I like to think I live a pretty transparent life with few hidden secrets. What people know, or don’t know is not an issue for me, I think, though I’ve never been particularly outgoing about my private life. Anyway, I’ll try.

I like gargoyles. I don’t think there’s a reason that I put this first, but I was thinking back into my childhood, and the thing I remember is gargoyles. I belonged to a Methodist-Episcopal Church, a weird denominational combination, and our sanctuary was very formal. Lining the walls at the end of every arch was a carved wooden face. All those years of sitting in the choir and staring at those guys, and I never knew who they were—some said the Humors of Man, and others said The Twelve Apostles. I didn’t know for sure, but I found their round mahogany cheeks comforting and friendly, and I have always been attracted to masks ever since—although right now I have an aversion to those white paper ones the nurses put on when they come in my room….

I’m a frustrated blues singer. Never mind that I can’t sing a note—in my most colorful fantasies I am up there on stage, looking and sounding a lot like Peggy Lee in that classic George Shearing album, “Beauty and the Beat”.

Privacy is important to me. I need to have a space to call my own where I can read and think. I used to think that it was somehow shameful to be an introvert, until my friend Jeremy pointed out that introverts recharge their batteries with a quiet evening and a good book, while gregarious people need a party and a cell phone. That also explains why I live alone in a cute little cabin in a swamp in Northern Michigan.

Simplicity is a major goal of mine. I haven’t always done too well at achieving it—I acquire way too many ‘things’. Who needs five hurdy gurdies and twenty-two pennywhistles, after all? But I am committed to change all that. Bedside tables are important in helping me determine my priorities, I am finding. A book, a computer, and some ice water is about all I can handle these days.

Travelling is fun. I frequently travel alone, so I get used to staying in one place and looking around me, rather than skimming lots of places to say “I’ve been there.” Travel to Eastern Europe has been one of the most revealing experiences of my life.

I don’t like exercise. I’ve never been particularly athletic, and I just don’t trust my body when I am in a tight spot, like walking a plank or hanging from a tree branch. One of the most humiliating moments in my life was seeing my husband and my very strong girlfriend take off on cross-country skis, leaving me far behind and struggling through the snow banks. I tolerate working out in the gym, but only because it’s good for me, just like spinach or cod liver oil.

I am working at eliminating competition in my life. I was brought up in an atmosphere in which I was compared to others at every turn: “Nancy got all A’s.” “Patty is always so polite.” “None of the other girls eat with their left hand.” Defining one’s self in terms of how others managed the same activity was the way I thought one evaluated personal worth. What a great sense of freedom it brings me to truly not care if I ‘win’ or ‘lose’, or receive recognition, or triumph at Scrabble! I am making a conscious effort to walk away from all competitive activity, and concentrate on ‘personal best’ as a marker of achievement. It is why I am enjoying music again, too—the world of folk music is a world of enjoyment , not a place to have ‘challenges’ for solos and to see what part the musician will play.

Is this ‘eight’ yet? No—it’s only seven! Sheesh.

Well, let’s see…I read mystery stories as a way to relax my mind. I’d say I read an average of three a week. But I don’t watch television—ever. And why do I like them? I think primarily because there is an ending to the tangled web humans weave, and that’s a relief from real life, where there are no endings, just another tangled web to sort through. But in the classic mystery, by the end of the book the murderer has been found, the lovers love, and justice is done. It’s not that way in the world I walk in, so it’s a relaxation to have everything turn out all right, and have a sense of justice in the world—unrealistic as that may be.

Ok, that’s ‘eight.’ Now I get to tag someone with the same challenge: name 8 things about yourself that people don’t know about you. I will name my friend and fellow life coach Julia Fabris McBride ( . Julia, I hope you have as much fun with the topic as I did. And I hope the challenge brings you back to your blog of wonderful discovery at .




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