Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Hundred

In Pilates, it's a grueling core strengthening exercise. In blogging, it's a rite of passage when one reaches 100 posts. I've been eagerly looking forward to trying my hand at it. It's okay if you don't want to read them all. But if you do, I hope I am able to sufficiently entertain. And I hope you'll still like me.

1. I was named after Conan the Barbarian's girlfriend, from the comic book! My dad told me he still has the copy of that issue.

2. I attended kindergarten at Timpanogas Elementary in Provo, UT, and I still very vividly remember my teacher, Marilyn Hatfield sitting me on her lap when I cried because of what she told the class were "butterflies in my tummy".

3. I also still remember the school song, and if you'd like I'll sing it for you anytime. With gusto.

4. My family moved to NJ after my kindergarten year, when my dad had graduated from law school.

5. We lived with my Italian grandmother for a while when we first moved there.

6. That was when I began to idolize my dad's sister, my Aunt Lori. She would camp out with me on the livingroom floor and tell me about the neighbor's rooster that sounded like Donald Duck.

7. I went to five schools before 4th grade.

8. Once, when I was walking to school by myself in Willingboro, NJ (not the safest place, but hey, it was a different time), I got to the corner and couldn't remember the way. I started to cry, standing there on the street corner at an intersection. A blue Cadillac pulled up, rolled down the window, and the passenger asked if I was okay. I told the woman I was lost and couldn't remember how to get to my school. And I couldn't remember the name of the school. She figured it had to be a certain one, asked if I wanted a ride, and though I knew I wasn't supposed to get into a stranger's car, I did. They took me to school. And I never told my parents. (Sorry, Mom and Dad)

9. I was skipped from the first grade to the second grade.

10. I loved to play school as a kid. I even taught my brother Josiah how to read. Neighborhood kids were students of mine as well. And there was homework.

11. My favorite Christmas present as a child was when I was 8 and I got a chalkboard.

12. My third grade teacher ruined Santa Claus for me. She said to the class, "We all know Santa doesn't really live in the North Pole." I played it cool, but I was ever so confused. My mom confirmed this terrible truth when I got home and asked her. I still fought to believe and listened for sleigh bells for several years afterwards.

13. My favorite house we lived in was a huge white Colonial on the Delaware riverbank in Beverly, NJ. I could draw a floor plan still to this day, though I was 8 when we lived there. (and check out that sale price back then...1981??)

14. Once I got a pretty good spanking for going down to the river to play on the frozen ice chunks that had been pushed ashore in the winter.

15. Next to the Carriage House/garage of that house I used to dig up shells, beautiful shells. I had a Simon and Schuster Shell guide and I would identify them. I would wash them and coat them in clear nail polish and lay them on my windowsills.

16. We lived in that house when my Grandfather Baker died. I remember my mom coming into my room to tell me.

17. My favorite town I lived in was Merchantville, NJ. I still think it's probably one of the best towns in the world, and every child should be so lucky as to grow up there. I miss it.

18. I attended Merchantville Elementary School from the middle of 4th grade to 8th grade, and my favorite teacher was Mrs. Holt.

19. I walked by a Pet Shop every day as a child, People's Pet Shop, and would go in and look at all the sad pets. I saved my money and bought my own cat when I was in 5th grade. He was a black Persian/mix and we named him Merlin.

20. I was in the County Spelling Bee in junior high.

21. It was down to me and 2 other kids, and I got out on the word 'insidious'. I thought it was a trick word, spelled like 'hideous'. It's not.

22. I loved Little House on the Prairie as a child. I looked very much like Laura Ingalls, and I was called that quite often. But I've been called worse.

23. I won several poetry competitions and had some poems published in state anthologies. I had to go to a local college and read my poems.

24. I won the Knights of Columbus coloring contest in 5th grade. My grandparents took me to the awards ceremony and I was given a medal and my picture, framed. A family pledging allegiance to the flag. The trick was in the outlining, people. Really makes it look finished.

25. I have never stolen anything from a store.

26. But I have snatched a few things from people's houses when babysitting. Like I used to take their Afterglow tapes home to make copies, and then return them. What a nerd.

27. I loved to play house with my sister Amanda. We were mothers to our other two sisters, Hannah and Abby.

28. We had made-up names. I was Dianne Myers, she was Kathy Smith.

29. We would take the big thick JCPenney catalog and circle bathrooms and bedrooms in the home decorating section of what our houses looked like.

30. The only pop star poster I ever had hanging on my bedroom wall was this huge poster of Debbie Gibson. I had every tape and knew every song word for word. I also had a video of her concert. I told you. Nerd.

31. My husband saw Debbie (who now goes by Deborah) Gibson in his acting class last year, and almost embarrassed me, but he restrained himself.

32. In junior high, I was completely on board with the Cabbage Patch Kid craze. My kid, Kristin Marie, even had a slumber party and all of my friends' kids came. Even my 6th grade teacher's doll attended. What a good sport.

33. I can wiggle my ears.

34. I used to love going to my friend Marnie's house after school because she had great junk food and pretty much no rules. We would split a can of Beefaroni and watch Charlie's Angels, and then eat Butterscotch Krimpets and dance to the (record) soundtrack of A Chorus Line. One song made me very embarrassed, and I made Marnie skip it. Again, nerd.

35. When I was 7, I found in a drawer a diagram of an episiotomy in some pamphlet my mom had stashed away. It scared the living daylights out of me.

36. When I walked to school when I was about 7, I passed by a candy store each day that sold penny candies. I loved to go in and buy 100 Swedish fish, which were put into a brown paper bag and I would eat them as I walked.

37. It was in that candy store, while I was waiting to buy my Swedish fish, that I heard grown-ups talking about how President Reagan had been shot. I went home and told my mom, and she hadn't yet heard it on the news, so I felt like I had important things to say.

38. I still love Swedish fish (only the red ones), and sometimes I still have important things to say. But not as often as I wish.

39. One of my favorite things about being the oldest child was being able to get the other kids to do what I said. They were like my own little army of slaves, as long as I didn't abuse the privilege.

40. For a small price, they would walk to the store for me to buy me treats. For instance, I went through a Welch's grape soda and Cheetos phase, which then switched to Funions, which then switched to Planter's Cheez Balls. Sometimes I had a 100,000 bar (not called 100 Grand yet) to go with it, or a Butterfinger. As long as the sibling got a candy bar out of the deal, he/she would happily walk to CVS for me.

41. I used to collect stickers. My friend Marnie and I spent much of our time together in 4th-6th grades arranging, acquiring, and trading stickers. Her parents even took us on a few trips to New Hope, PA to shop for stickers. I had an album and the stickers were organized by category: Dazzles, Scratch-n-Sniff, Puffy, Hello Kitty...

42. I stopped biting my nails in 4th grade. It was around the time we were learning about Saudi Arabia and had to make shoebox dioramas, although these two facts are not related.

43. When we were learning about Saudi Arabia we had to eat stuffed dates. I took one bite and thought I was going to throw up. I ran to the drinking fountain and almost did.

44. Back to my nails: when I was waiting for them to grow out, I wanted them to look long and pretty, and since I wasn't allowed (or rich enough to afford) Lee Press-On Nails, I made my own out of Scotch tape. I would put a piece of tape on my nail, cut it into a rounded shape on the end, and then polish it. They were bendy, but I thought I looked like hot stuff.

45. I used to pretend to smoke candy cigarettes. But that's as close as I've ever come to substance abuse. I've never had a sip of tea, coffee, or alcohol, and I've never smoked or tried drugs.

46. I used to ask my mom to make Snickerdoodles for me. She made the best Snickerdoodles.

47. "Snickerdoodle" became my first husband's pet name for me when we were newly married.

48. When I was in 8th grade, Miss America, Sharlene Wells, came to our Stake to do a fireside. I
wrote her a letter afterwards and mailed it to her, and she wrote back with an autographed picture. I still have it. 49. Also, when I was in 8th grade, astronaut James Lovell came to our school to do an assembly. I got my picture taken with him and his autograph too, which I also still have. What a groupie.

50. That summer I worked at my dad's law office, and my favorite part was when he took me to lunch every day. We would walk down the street to a little Italian place and he would buy me a slice of pizza.

51. It was during that summer while working at his office that I got my period for the first time.

52. Thank goodness the secretaries kept sanitary supplies in the bathroom.

53. It took me 2 days to tell my mom, and I finally got up the courage during a commercial break for Action News, while she was folding laundry. I blurted it out, red in the face and sweating bullets, and she exclaimed, "Well, Hallelujah!" And then she asked me if I knew how to count out my cycle. I was so relieved, and embarrassed.

54. Once we had a pet squirrel. It was a baby that had fallen out of the nest. We named it Sylvester Stallone and let it crawl all over us. It slept in a Fisher-Price van out in the garage, but after about two days we woke up to find it frozen to death. We buried it in our pet cemetery in the backyard.

55. I started taking Latin as my foreign language in high school because I knew I could never trill my r's for Spanish, or sound authentic enough for French. Plus, my dad had Hebrew and Greek covered.

56. I won the school spirit cake decorating contest my freshman year of high school. And then again in my Junior year.

57. Even then, I loved looking through Wilton cake decorating books.

58. I used to pretend to do shampoo commercials while taking a bath. I would read all the fancy marketing stuff on the bottle and do the Price is Right hands thing. You know what I mean.

59. The first guy I ever kissed was Tommy Johnson, just before I turned 16, but it was only a sweet peck on the lips. It was enough of an initiation though to give me the confidence to hit the field.

60. The first guy I was ever in love with was Hank Groman, a tall, dark, and handsome musician. He always wore shirts and ties, and dress shoes, and could play the piano like nobody's business. He also played the steel drums. I tracked him down a few years ago and he still makes my heart go pitter-pat. Ah, the memory of first love. I'll always be a goner for Hank, no matter how old we get. And I can never hear "Bridge Over Troubled Water" without thinking of him. He played it often on the piano. And those eyes....Hank? Are you reading this? Kirsten knows what I mean.

61. I have this weird quirky thing where I have to smell my hands after something has been on them. Like, if I get milk on my hands, after I wipe it off I have to smell the spot where it was.

62. This is why I don't like ketchup. Have you ever smelled your skin after there was ketchup on it?

63. I also have to smell my dishrags, and my hands after I use a dishrag.

64. I used to be very dramatic about life. Like, when I was a teenager, I would make cassette recordings of me talking about life, my feelings, my testimony, etc., just in case I died. That way I could leave something of me behind. So retarded, I know. I should listen to some of them sometime and get a good laugh.

65. I do not like to share milk products. Gross. I will not give bites of my cereal, or ice cream, or give you a swig from my glass of milk.

66. I am not a daring eater like Luisa. The most daring thing I've ever eaten was piranha that I caught in the Amazon River. Tastes like chicken. I'm kidding. More like tuna.

67. I love casseroles. I know that to many they look like piles of brown glop, but they are so good and comforting to me.

68. I used to play records at home and pretend to lead the orchestra with a piece of dry spaghetti. Don't act like you didn't.

69. My favorite candy bars are Milky Way, Caramello, 100 Grand, Peanut Butter Cups, Take 5, Twix, Cadbury Cream Eggs, Peanut Butter M&M's, Peppermint Patties, and Junior Mints.

70. I used to be addicted to doing aerobics with Jane Fonda. I felt the burn, baby. And I had great abs.

71. My senior year I beat the girls and boys record for sit-ups in the whole school. My dad still talks about his pride.

72. I was in the school musicals my Junior and Senior years. My Junior year was "Annie Get Your Gun". In my Senior year, we did "Once Upon a Mattress" and I was up for the lead against my best friend, Kirsten. She got it. I was not disappointed to "lose" to her, and she did a fantastic job.

73. Several romances developed with the boys in the plays. Maybe I've always had a secret thing for actors.

74. I love to have a bowl of cold cereal late at night in bed. I love Cocoa Puffs and Captain Crunch the most. Oh, and Cookie Crisp. All the bad kinds.

75. I am an avid journal keeper. I've been journaling since I was 4 years old.

76. I also keep journals for each of my four children. Each one was started on the day that I found out I was pregnant with them. I will give them to them when they move out.

77. I also keep Baby Books for each of my kids.

78. Oh yeah, and a separate Christmas Journal, that has beautiful holiday photos of Williamsburg, VA. It has pages for each year, with things to fill in about Christmas that year and a place for a family photo. The husband in the pictures changed halfway through, but it's still so fun to look back on.

79. My children all keep their own journals too. And they LOVE to hear journal entries from when I was their age. They love to laugh at what a nerd I was.

80. I cannot dance. I always wished I could. In fact, it's deeper than that. When I watch a dancer perform, I have this swelling within me, like it's familiar to my spirit. Like it's something I once knew how to do, or would be good at, but I just never learned. Does that make any sense at all???

81. I used to play the flute and the piccolo in the school band.

82. I have been homeschooling for twelve years, with a one year break in there.

83. My mom taught me to sew, knit, and cross stitch, but I never could pick up crochet. Of course, I was 8. Maybe I should try again.

84. For most of my childhood I wanted to be a teacher, but for several years through junior high and high school I considered being an OB/GYN.

85. I'm so glad I didn't pursue such a challenging career because of how it would have taken me away from my own children, but I do sometimes toy with the idea of becoming a midwife.

86. In 1985, our parents took us on a vacation to Washington D.C. (I think we lost Micah in one of the Smithsonian's), and to Mt. Vernon, home of George Washington. Mt. Vernon was my favorite part.

87. In 1989, My parents took us on a really great vacation that included visits to the Joseph Smith home, the Sacred Grove, the Hill Cumorah, and then on up to Niagara Falls.

88. I wish, wish, wish that I could see Riverdance on Broadway. And have my husband there with me, who has never been to NYC.

89. (11 more to go...this is getting harder!) I love to plant things and grow things. I have also toyed with the idea of becoming a Master Gardener, just for fun. One of my dreams includes having my own yard, lush and blooming, with fruit trees, berry bushes, and a gorgeous garden.

90. Someday I really want to go on an African safari. And to Rome. And to the Orient.

91. And everywhere, really. The only country I've visited has been Peru, and that really put the bug in me. There's a lot of world to see!

92. I've had many jobs, including managing a dry cleaners, managing a mail service/packaging store, bank teller, and yoga instructor.

93. When I'm caught off guard and scared (like if someone sneaks up behind me) I sing opera really loudly. I don't know why, it just comes out.

94. I have many, many favorite memories of my first marriage, but up there at the top was the trip we took with our three children to Alaska for a few weeks. It was heavenly, and had you told me that less than a year later he would leave, I wouldn't have believed you.

95. I have horrible teeth. We seem to have inherited really weak, soft-enameled teeth, prone to disaster. I have spent more on my teeth than I ever spent on a car, and I've never even had braces.

96. My life has not turned out the way I planned, and I'm trying very hard to be happy and grateful anyway. My faith is that the end result will be even better than I planned.

97. Oh! Here's a weird random one! I used to idolize this one teenage girl in my ward. I thought she was so pretty, and so cool, and so everything. She was a senior when I was a freshman, so anytime she gave me the time of day I felt like a queen. She sat next to me in Seminary, and clipped her long fingernails off one day, and asked me if I wanted them. (long story). I said yes, and I kept them in a ziploc bag in my drawer for years. I told her about that 15 years later and she laughed her head off.

98. (you can see I'm really scratching the bottom of the barrel now, right?) I love all things bedtime: nice pajamas, quality bedding and pillows, bedtime stories, etc. Someday I want to have a very dreamy bedroom that truly feels like a sanctuary instead of half media room, half office...with a bed in there.

99. I collect Noah's Ark things, especially Christmas ornaments.

100. I love to cry. I love books that make me cry and I love movies that make me cry. I love to be able to evoke strong emotion like that in other people. Crying feels good sometimes. But even more, I love to laugh. Hard, loud, bent over, hysterical laughing...the kind that makes me cry.

Now that this list is done, I'll probably think of a million other things that I should have put on here. Oh well, if you've read this far, then you rock! And I want to be your friend! Thanks for sticking it out with me till the bitter end!


Abby said...

Awww..you're more than a friend though. You're my mister sister! I read them all and I remember doing quite a bit of the same things that you did. Awww..what a sweetheart. Good job! So..when you get to 200 are you going to do 200 more things? There's so much to know about you, Jen! I like these things!

Annette Lyon said...

I LOVE your list! Makes me feel like I know you so much better now. Several things are similar to me (I have butter-soft enamel on my teeth too, for starters), and lots of different things, of course.

Here's a random thing that connect to you: one of my best friends ever married her high school sweetheart--named Conan, after yep, the comic book. His dad was one of the artists.

Madam Crunchypants said...

I love your list. I especially love #38.

Sarah said...

YAY! We get to be friends cuz I read it ALLL! I don't think I ever knew you played the flute! I played from 5th-9th grade but quit my sophmore year in HS so I could be in choir instead.

careyttops or katelyn's kid kitchen said...

wow...i must be your friend- i read all 100 and learned so much about you!

1.i smell my hands after using a dishrag too! oh, and i smell my dishrags daily, hoping that they won't smell!

2. i confess that i used to wear "tape nails" since i was not allowed the fake ones! (i was in jr. high!)

3. i still get excited over candy cigarettes & think they have the best taste and texture!

4. i keep journals for all my kids & just started keeping a "gratitude journal" (thanks to Pres. Eyring's talk).

i'm glad you checked my blog out & am excited to have a new friend! :)

Ritsumei said...

This 100 things post is a custom that I was strangely ignorant of when I passed 100... I think my next milestone is 300, and I think I'll pass on that. But I love reading these lists! Yours is funny!

#80: I feel the same way about dancing. It (quietly) drives me (a little bit) crazy that my husband is not only not at all interested, but it's the only thing he's ever really been jealous over. So no dancing for me. But seriously, you should try swing dancing lessons sometime. I did it once (that's how I know he gets jealous - take your husband with you!) and it's not only fun, but it's pretty easy.

#84 & 85: I never really thought about being an OB, but I seriously considered midwifery when I was in high school & entering college. Had I realized that there was such a thing as a 2 year nursing degree I would probably have done that, planning to go on into midwifery. But alas, I had no idea that such a thing existed, and nursing holds No. Appeal. Whatsoever. I didn't want to do it for 4 years. So I didn't do it; I studied Japanese instead.

Unknown said...

Wow! That was a marathon! I skipped a few en route, but loved the ones I read. You have an excellent memory.

Hannah said...

Okay Jenna some of those made me laugn so hard. Especially the one about you singing opera when you get scared. You TOTALLY do!!!!! That's so funny!!

Also, #86, that was me not Micah. The guard gave me a lollipop and I sat in the booth until someone came and got me. It was also the Air and Space museum. I wanted to look at an airplane longer than the rest of you guys I guess.

I loved the picture of the Beverly house!! That's the house I was born in right? (and by born in I don't actually mean born "there" but you know what I mean.

The keeping of that girl's fingernails though, gross Jen. Just gross!

Hahahaha You're Gee!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Love you more than ever now! And #80? I get that in such a deeply profound way it's just amazing to me.

Sometimes...I fool myself into thinking I actually do know how...till I catch sight of myself in a mirror, that is. I do it anyway though. It makes me happy.

Thanks for sharing all that with us.

Laurie said...

Wow! Reading this brought back so many memories of my own childhood. You are such a fun person and I love when you post! I know that you don't know me at all, but I love your blog. You are such an amazing person and you have so much inner strength. And Congratulations on 100!

Jenna Wood said...

I just had to come by and say "hi" when I saw your comment on "Mom2My6Kids" blog. My name is Jenna, too! That is very unusual for people our age.

You are really Jenna and not Jennifer, right?

Congrats on 100!

Holly Homemaker said...

I am just now meeting you from mom2my6kids too. I like you already. Congrats on the 100. Someday I'll make it there!

Jenna said...

Thanks, y'all! Such nice feedback! It can be scary to reveal so much all at once. Hannah...that was you and not Micah? All these years! And yes, that's the house we lived in when you were born. I remember your cute baby face coming home well...

Don said...

I always enjoy reading these 100-things posts. The web is full of fascinating people.

I knew a Marilyn Hatfield when I lived in Hawaii - I wonder if it's the same one?

YogaNana said...

I have exactly the same feeling about dancing, and also about most sports. But I don't really mind not being a great ball-player amd I *do* mind not being much of a dancer.

And I see Hannah got there first, but yes, it was her, and yes, it was the Air and Space Museum, and yes, we found her sitting on the guard's desk eating a lollipop. I had been constantly counting heads like I always did and we came out of one little hallway exhibit and the count was one short. There was a particular lot of talk about Stranger Danger and people stealing children at that time and I don't think I've ever been so scared.

I knew most of these, but not about you getting into someone's car, young lady. You've got dishes for a week!


Leslie said...

After a couple of days and a couple of breaks from my squirmy baby I finally read the whole thing. I think I am impressed most by the fact that you have kept a journal since you were 4. That's awsome and I wish I could say the same. I did keep a journal here and there but unfortunetly I was never really good about it. But I think I am going to make that one of my new goals.

anjmae said...

Jenna, we have so much in common! Except, you were a MUCH more exemplary youth than I was. Plus, I am a terrible journaler (is that a word?), but there are so many others that I can relate to. I read each one and appreciate your candidness (again, a word?)
So, were we friends already, or did I just seal the deal?? tee hee

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I loved your list! Especially the "borrowing" Afterglow tapes and your own little army of slaves. Being the oldest was cool, wasn't it?

Josi said...

Debbie Gibson--totally
I played the flute, I have horrid teeth, I once dreamed of becoming a midwife. I smell my dishrag and my hands, loved candy cigarettes and Swedish fish--though I only want the green ones. I can't dance either.

That was super fun, Jenna, I loved it.

Anonymous said...

I will be completely honest. I read up to 50 yesterday, and came back today to read the rest. It is an awesome list. I did one back in November 9th for my 101st post, so did 101, which was also my 6 month blogiversary day. I will be doing 99 on my 200th post. There were so many things I could have commented on as I was reading each of your points. Each one of your 100 could be a post on it's own. Now if you are stumped for a post, just take one and elaborate. Great list.

C. Michelle Jefferies said...

I lived in Provo for seven years. My oldest went to timpanogos elem. for a year and a half. It is a small world.


Laurie said...

OK, I seriously felt like you were my long lost sister as I read that list! So many things in common!

Your home in NJ seems like a very romantic for a child to grow up!

I so admire that you keep journals for each of your kids- they will treasure those when they are older!

Thanks for visiting my blog, and if you don't mind, I will add you to my sidebar so I can visit often.

Luisa Perkins said...

This was so very really way majorly awesome. I'm so glad to be your friend!

And Riverdance will be our treat if you two can ever get yourselves out here.

Life ticks on said...

Wow! I can so relate to a lot of your stuff. Maybe I will do one soon... I dont know if I can though haha.

Wonder Woman said...

This was SO fun!! I lost count of how many times I burst out laughing!! I loved learning so much about you. What a full, dynamic, unexpected life you've led.

p.s. Everytime I come here I think, "I LOVE her background!" Where did you get it?