A blogging challenge: 15 random facts about me

26 Jul

totally-random

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

And now for something completely different . . . My blogging sisters Marie Ennis-O’Connor (Ireland) and Nancy Stordahl (Wisconsin, USA) inspired me recently to follow their blogging challenge called “15 Random Facts About Me”.  Because I’d really enjoyed learning random gems about both Marie and Nancy  (after admiring their work for years), I was happy to take up their fun challenge: 

15 Random Facts About Me

1. I have bunches of cut flowers in every room of my home every day (and whenever I’m staying in a hotel longer than two nights, I buy fresh flowers for my room there, too).

2.  I was a distance runner for 19 years. Our running group motto: “No course too short, no pace too slow!” Later on, I wrote a column for Runner’s World about being a former runner.

3.  I’m the eldest of five children (two brothers and two sisters) who are now spread out from Belgium to British Columbia, Canada.

4.  I love paper. All kinds of paper, especially handmade rag and fibre papers, and especially for card-making and collage.  This week, I’m experimenting with lovely vintage sheet music papers.

5.  One day long ago, when I was a student at Queen’s University, I accidentally backed into the car belonging to Michael Ondaatje, famous author of The English Patient and many other award-winning books. My hubby and I had to pay $55 to cover the repairs (and that was a full month’s rent for us starving students back then!)

6.  My high school years were spent attending a convent boarding school, Mount Mary Immaculate Academy. And my sister Catherine attended Mt. Mary, too!

7.  For over 20 years, our family lived on a 40-acre fruit farm in the Niagara Peninsula, and to this day, the thought of picking strawberries makes my back hurt.

8.  As a young Mum, I volunteered as a La Leche League support group leader/peer counsellor for nursing mothers.

9. I’ve been an active member of Toastmasters since 1987 (when I was just a baby. . .) and still attend meetings of the Rise and Shine Toastmasters club every Thursday at 7 a.m. in beautiful downtown Victoria.

10. Very early morning (say, 4:45 a.m. when my internal alarm goes off) is the best part of my day, when the world is silent and the only small sound outside is the sweet trill of the first bird singing.

11. Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 5.54.36 PMI’m the co-author (with my late friend Jill Stewart) of two best-selling travel books: Island Treasures: An Off-The-Beaten-Track Guide to Victoria, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and Island Treasures 2  – both published by Harbour and both, sadly, long out of print.

12. Speaking of travel, one of my best ever travel experiences was spent camping for six months across Canada. I’ve always maintained we should see own country before sightseeing in any foreign land.

13. My new grandbaby Everly Rose (born May 7th this year) is the sweetest angel-baby on earth. Snuggling with her is my favourite way to spend my time these days. Lucky me, only three blocks away from her home! I am so in love . . .

14. The Happy Gang is the name of a really fun group of my longtime girlfriends. We like anything that involves crazy dress-up costumes. Or food.

15. I am known for my extremely colourful, gorgeous scarves. But I do have waaaaay too many and should really stop collecting them. I can quit any time. Honest.

.

Thanks for setting this blogging challenge, Nancy and Marie –  it was fun!

36 Responses to “A blogging challenge: 15 random facts about me”

  1. WindyCitySue August 3, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    Wonderful article – thank you Carolyn! Easy to believe that you were a best selling author, your words just pull us, the reader, into your world and your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth Gainer August 3, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    Carolyn, I LOVED learning more about you. I had no idea that you were a runner! Also, I think it’s wonderful that you have fresh flowers everywhere. What a wonderful, happy thing. Wonderful to have a grandchild so close. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Keddy July 27, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Dear Carolyn:
    Loved your blog. I want to tell you one thing about me that is new, another that is old.

    The new: I have become a person who colours! Imagine! I bought an adult colouring book- one on mandalas (I love mandalas; watched one grow in the bookstore of the University in Tucson and then a week later watched it taken apart). I have found it to be among the best ways to become meditative. Apparently the publishers can’t keep the books in stock. It has become a craze:-)

    The old: Today there are elephants on the page and that is the second thing I can tell you about me. I love elephants. After all, the leader of the herd is the oldest (and heaviest) female. I am probably (hopefully) not the heaviest, but I think among the oldest of our herd of women with heart disease, so enjoying the process even more today.

    I developed a course in Sociology many years ago called “The Sociology of Women and Aging” and always wore elephant earrings as I told the students the above story.

    Let us all continue to grow old and become the leader of our own herds.
    xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas July 27, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

      Coincidentally, I watched a clip on the TV news recently about this new meditative phenomenon of adult colouring books! I studied mandala painting years ago with the late Madeleine Shields – truly it’s a focused ‘point of the brush” meditation! Were the Tucson mandalas made of coloured sand like the ones Buddhist monks create? We’ve had those created (and then effortlessly destroyed – all things are impermanent – here at the Art Gallery of Victoria.

      And I did not know that about the oldest heaviest female elephant being the leader of the herd, so thanks for that, Barbara!! 🙂

      PS Your sociology course sounds like something I would have loved to sign up for!

      Like

      • Barbara Keddy July 28, 2015 at 7:29 am #

        Yes it was coloured sand and made by a Buddhist. My book is about animal mandalas, such fun!

        I used to ridicule the days I spent as a youngster colouring between the lines in Catholic school. Now I realize it was a way to quiet us all and it actually helped with calming our childhood restlessness.

        I believe I have heart diesase primarily because I have never had a calm, quiet nature (read: personality) and have been driven all my life. But then there are other factors in play as well, so who really knows which of many are at play? Nevertheless, quiet meditative practices are urgently needed in everyone’s life, I think.

        As for the oldest female leader in the elephant herd, she is also very family oriented and a vegetarian (like all elephants). Used to be a vegetarian and wish I had stuck to it now that I am a carnivore.

        Now you know three things about me…enough! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Carolyn Thomas July 28, 2015 at 7:54 am #

          Colouring between the lines may have turned out to be a very valuable skill after all…

          Like

      • Jane Johnston October 26, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

        Hi Carolyn, I was googling mandalas and Madeleine Shields which pulled up this thread. Madeleine was my mentor as well and I am writing about her work right now. I would love to connect.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Carolyn Thomas October 27, 2015 at 6:50 am #

          Jane, I’m sending you an email…

          Like

        • Astri Wright November 14, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

          Hi Jane,

          I am so delighted to find you here! (And also Carolyn Thomas).

          I was just googling about Madeleine, as I am revising an essay I wrote about Jack Wise 15 years ago, and I studied with Madeleine too.
          Her teachings really moved me, as a personal entry into mandalas I had studied as ‘other places’ art’ for many years. How exciting to find you here!
          I have talked with John a couple of times in the 11 years since Madeleine passed away, all too prematurely, about writing about her work. He told me someone else was doing that. He was going to send me name and contact details, but he never did.

          And I have a crazy-busy job, teaching Asian art history (yes! including about mandalas!), and raising two daughters, and was not been able to follow up as succinctly as I should have. Now my daughters are off on their own. And so – the timing is perfect to ‘find’ you here.

          How is the work on the book going? Is it finished? Can I purchase it somewhere?

          Madeleine and I had a deep friendship and I have always wanted to write about her. If the book is not finished yet, is there any way I could contribute a blurb to it? Do you need help getting the book together?

          I would love to hear from you! My email is: astri (at) uvic (dot) ca

          Sending warm blessings and light in this dark season, dark in so many ways. Keep the light at the core of the mandala shining.

          Astri (Wright), Victoria, BC

          Like

  4. sbonokuhle July 27, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    wooowww…how i love babies…send my love to Everly Rose….i love cooking….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas July 27, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      I love babies, too – but especially my own darling grandbaby – the best kind!

      Like

  5. Nancy's Point July 27, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    Hi Carolyn,
    Love your totally random list! I really enjoyed this challenge and reading everyone’s lists, including yours. You are even more amazing than I realized! It’s wonderful that you have fresh flowers around like you do. I love that idea. And I didn’t know you had those travel books…how wonderful. I don’t travel a whole lot because as I mentioned in my list, I’m a a real homebody. Too much so probably.

    So glad you are enjoying your sweet grandbaby and what a pretty name. There is nothing like snuggling with a baby. Interesting about the scarves. I really only have one, and that one my daughter brought back for me from Paris. Well, I do have a couple of winter keep-me-warm scarves, but those don’t count.

    Thanks for participating in this challenge and thank you for the mention too.

    Like

    • Carolyn Thomas July 27, 2015 at 9:52 am #

      Hi Nancy! You and I share a lack of swimming expertise – even though I did take “Scared Stiff” swimming lessons in my 30s in case one of my babies ever fell into the ocean. And no, most of those winter keep-me-warm scarves don’t really count – utilitarian, but rarely as “gorgeous” as I need for my collection! 😉

      Like

  6. Marie Ennis-O'Connor July 27, 2015 at 3:12 am #

    Loved learning more about you through this fun exercise Carolyn. Congratulations on your grandbaby – I missed that wonderful news some happy. I adore cut flowers too and I love that you put them in your hotel room – what a wonderful idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas July 27, 2015 at 6:42 am #

      Thanks for commenting, Marie – and thanks for the original inspiration. I’m guessing you spend quite a bit of time in hotel rooms these days – so you too could start your own ritual with beautiful flowers!

      Like

  7. Helen Holshouser July 27, 2015 at 2:54 am #

    I loved this also, and I love flowers and dressing up! LOL I am a red hatter and we have so much fun getting together and donning our bling and boas! Red, purple and laughter, I swear it has saved my life!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Curious to the Max July 26, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    NOW I know why I love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. MioMyo July 26, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    Than you Carolyn for sharing — it’s extremely interesting, and I feel so warm after reading these lovely facts about you.

    I love fresh flowers too, and I planted them all around my garden — roses mostly.

    And some other facts from your background are what I was dreaming about in my childhood: a big friendly family, a fruit farm, a house, full of flowers… Sigh. Now I have almost all of it and thank God every (early) morning for that. 🙂

    Everly Rose is so cute, how proud & happy you feel I even cannot imagine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas July 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

      I love roses!!! That’s the other piece of making a random list – that profound sense of gratitude that comes from compiling a thoughtful review like this! And you’re so right about my precious little grandbaby: I never would have predicted that becoming a ‘Baba’ is as fabulous as my girlfriends have been telling me it is!

      Like

      • MioMyo July 26, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

        Oh Carolyn, do you have Russian or Ukrainian roots?! My kids call their granny Baba too! This is the shortened Russian word “Babushka”. 🙂 I am from Ukraine.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Carolyn Thomas July 26, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

          My grandparents on both my mother and father’s side were Ukrainian immigrants to Canada. I have a photo of my late mother here with her homemade Easter paska.

          Like

          • MioMyo July 26, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

            We have so much in common — thank you for sharing the photo & story. I missed this post somehow, and didn’t realize your loss happened not long ago… I am so sorry, Carolyn.

            My appetite actually disappeared forever when I lost my parents many years ago. But I do love to cook and feed everybody around me. And vareniki is our family’s hit (pelmeni too!) Topped with fat free sour cream…

            Liked by 1 person

  10. Sharon July 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    You have always felt like a close friend even though we have never met, but now I feel even closer to you! I so enjoyed hearing about all the adventures of your life that make you the special YOU that you are today! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas July 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

      Thanks for your kind words, Sharon. And how’s your search for the ‘gnarly tree’ coming along?

      Like

  11. The Accidental Amazon July 26, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Wow! That’s so cool about the travel books! I’d love to take the trans-Canada rail trip sometime. Also, I am with you on #15. I have way too many scarves. I’ve made myself stop buying them, but I can’t part with any of them, even ones I haven’t worn for years. I keep telling myself I’ll do something creative with them someday…

    How’s your grandchild? xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas July 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

      Thanks Kathi! I have taken the train from Toronto to Vancouver and it is indeed an incredible adventure. There is also a shorter version called the Rocky Mountaineer that’s a spectacular trip through the mountains (as the name suggests).

      Scarves!! I need a 12-step group, I think…

      Grandbaby is getting sweeter by the day, honestly!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Denise July 26, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    This is a great list, Carolyn! I enjoyed learning more about you and your interests and background. I also love the early morning hours, the peacefulness and the beautiful sound of birds chirping as the morning unfolds. One of my work responsibilities is to monitor a network of real-time webcams positioned at forests throughout the U.S. I get to see these majestic forests wake up everyday. And I get paid for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas July 26, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

      Denise, I would be SO GOOD at that job of monitoring early bird webcams in the forest (at least, first thing in the morning before I have to take my post-lunch nap every day….) You are lucky to have an opportunity to appreciate those majestic forests every day in such a unique way.

      Like

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