1. I spent the first 24 years of my life in Texas. When I told my family I was moving to the northeast, I was asked “Lubbock? Amarillo?” I’ve now been in New Hampshire for 18 years. I think the only things I miss from Texas are two-stepping, hats and boots.
2. I have had way too many last names. Born Thompson as my mother wasn’t married when she had me (4 years), then Ridenhower when her first husband adopted me (5 years), then Almon when her second husband adopted me (8 years) , then Woods for my first husband (6 years) , now Richards (18 years).
3. I haven’t spoken to my mother since October of 2002, when she called me up before my hysterectomy surgery to complain that my decision to have surgery caused her a sleepless night as she had to stay up praying that I wouldn’t remove my womanhood. I had huge fibroids, adnomyosis and endometrosis. I should have had the surgery years sooner. My doctor said it was the most diseased uterus she’d ever seen. (Wow. So curling up in a fetal position for three days a month isn’t normal?!)
4. Speaking of uteri, I had my cervix sewn shut when I was pregnant with my daughter. I’d had several miscarriages before and it worked. At the first contraction, I drove straight to the hospital and demanded they remove the stitches immediately. I was 8 months pregnant and it took me four very insistent hours to convince them, but I wouldn’t leave the hospital until they were GONE.
5. I sold newspapers at a busy intersection from ages 7-10, then had two paper routes, one morning and one evening. On the weekends, it was just the morning paper, but I had to do the route twice, one for the morning people, one for the evening. Every time I tried to combine it into one trip, I missed people. Dealing with upset customers on Sunday morning when you are 12 sucks.
6. I am incredibly proud of the fact that I put two kids through college, and neither of them had kids early, either! I attribute this to moving out of Texas.
7. Every year on their birthday, I would give them 10 x their new age as a gift, once they got to be teenagers. I’ve now stopped doing that, as they are out of college. They do not approve.
8. Selling an $80K deal is the same amount of work as selling an $8 million deal. The number of zeroes changes and not much else. Doing $80 in eggs? Almost as hard.
9. I was a corporate whore for years and years. Selling and marketing are the easy part. It’s always been the production that gets me, and that’s still my problems. Never again will I be a shill for a product that I don’t believe in. I will spend my time, energy and ideas selling my own crap, thanks.
10. I have many people who are willing to buy actual watered down barnyard crap. (It’s called live compost tea. Amazing stuff.) I even had a clever marketing ditty written all about it! “A witch’s brew of barnyard poo …” (I’ll spare you the rest, but it rocks.) (It’s called “Minnie’s Magic”.) (The illustration rocks! Have you seen my egg label? It has Icelandic chickens with Viking hats in a chicken long boat.)
11. I really enjoyed having a bottle fed piglet last spring. Minnie was adorable, and still is, actually, even though she weighs twice what I do now. However, I’ve done that now, and I hope to never EVER do it again. Also, chasing pigs? SUCKS. It is the worst part of farming, bar none.
12. I grew up in the city. Everyone who knows me now is amazed by that. Everyone who knew me then is amazed now.
13. We are concentrating on rare breeds on this farm. I’m not sure how it happened, but we are full speed ahead now. We have five endangered or rare breeds on this farm — Midget White turkeys, Toulouse Geese, American Milking Devon cow, Tamworth pigs, and Icelandic chickens.
14. I had weight loss surgery almost 10 years ago — in July of 1999. I am literally half the woman I used to be. I hated hated hated hated being really fat, though I was really fat continually until then. I lost 100 pounds twice before I had surgery. Once on drugs from Juarez (rapido!) and once on a medically supervised liquid diet. I still feel fat, though. I hate almost every picture of me because I think I look fat and awful. Yet I have many friends who are quite heavy and I think they look absolutely fine and wonderful, hot even.
15. I have loose ligaments all over my body. It sucks. I have no ACLs in either knee, my right shoulder is broken, and both of my wrists have bones grown crooked from too loosy goosy ligaments not staying all firm and proper. They hurt. I broke my ankle four times in high school from tripping while playing softball. Stupid ligaments. I hate them. Evidently, it is something you are just born with, and there is nothing I can do to fix them except surgery, and they will only do one joint at a time!
16. Our house burned in 1996. It was life changing. I lost no people, just stuff, and am still grateful for that. The kids were in Texas at the time. Every volunteer fire fighter who showed up that night freaked out when they saw us without the kids, wanting to rush in and save them. The kids weren’t told what happened until almost a week later, but they knew something was going on. They had decided between themselves that I had been killed somehow, so when it was “just a fire” and Mom is alive? Whatever!
17. I have had so many surgeries for someone who is basically very healthy and only 43. Two knee ACL surgeries. WLS, twice. Tummy tuck and hernia repair. Hysterectomy. I’m having my shoulder fixed this week. My problem with surgery is that I tend to almost die coming out of anesthesia and have woken up in ICU three times. I’ve heard “I think we’ve lost her” twice. I’m also allergic to morphine and most derivatives. Fun times!
18. I was rammed in the ass by a ram this fall. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever had happen, and that’s saying something. Even out in rural NH, many people don’t know what a “ram” actually is. A goat? The local ER released me when I said my pain level was “10”, and I had to write a very dramatic letter to The Powers That Be to get them to pay attention to me and fix me. Now, when I show up at the hospital? They nearly roll out the red carpet. I’m okay with that. I may forgive them, eventually. I have a numb spot on my backside that they say may be permanent.
19. I speak critter. I don’t know why or how, but I can pretty much tell you what that noise means. I know the dog word for “turtle!” and I know the cow word for “water” and probably 500 other examples. Everyone on this farm thinks I’m a little slow, but they know I will eventually figure it out. I’ve had a turkey with a string wrapped around her foot come up to me to get it taken off, and a ewe with a sick lamb ask for help. I know the sound of a hen going broody, and a pig who can’t find her mommy.
20. Molly Ivans and Ann Richards talked me out of starting my own bakery when I was 22 years old. They were probably right, but I still think I want to own a bakery when I grow up. Or a restaurant. I like cooking for people and I do it well. It’s the thing I’m most vain about.
21. I love bright colors. My daughter says I have “Fisher Price decorating” schemes. Whatever. I based my house colors on the Gay Pride rainbow colors. The more colors I am surrounded by the better.
22. I haven’t been to church in almost two decades. What I miss, though, is singing. I loved being in the choir and often had solos. When I watch Jeremy handle a crowd while he sings? I know where he gets that from.
23. I have a green thumb. We almost survived this year solely on things we grew here. This year we will come even closer. I’m obsessive about gardening, though. I dream about weeds. I’m not sure of a happier place than me all covered in dirt, out in my garden. I go so overboard though that it’s scary. I have 70 window boxes that line my deck, for example. I start them under lights in my basement in February.
24. Homebody doesn’t begin to define me, but it’s the closest I can come. After our house fire, they tried to tell me I was agoraphobic, but since I traveled for a living, too bad. I was just really stressed all the time. Maybe I moved too often as a kid or the house fire really warped my brain, but I really can’t understand why I should ever leave my home. It’s paradise.
25. Television puts me to sleep in record time. I used to use it as background noise to fall asleep to when I traveled for a living, and that habit stuck. I also think I don’t have the attention span required for an actual show. 30 minutes of the same topic? Either I’m in the kitchen doing something else or I’ve put my head on Frank’s lap and fallen asleep. It makes me feel very culturally unaware, as I don’t recongize 90 percent of the names and shows people think I should know, but since I never go anywhere or see anyone, that’s okay