It’s easy to write “100 Things About Me.” But almost a dozen years ago, I was challenged to write “100 Good Things About Me.” Let this serve as an introduction to newcomers, here, as well as a list of affirmations. If you prefer a visual intro, click here. When you’re done reading, why not write your own version?
113. I rejoined Toastmasters, almost a year ago. I’m no longer terrified of public speaking, and have even been paid to do it. But as clubs make the shift to online meetings, my experience in working from home and using teleconferencing software is a plus. My focus, now, is to help my club and its members to achieve their goals.
112. With the proper motivation, I am finally learning how to sew.
111. I grew “accidental” turnip greens from a forgotten turnip on my counter; last night, I harvested and sautéed them, served them with rice and salmon. Next time, it won’t be an accident!
110. I’m terrified of spiders, but have become the Protector of the Spiny Orb Weavers in our yard. Their webs are annoying to anyone doing yard work (mostly my husband) but I make him let them have their breakfast before (gently) dismantling them so he doesn’t get a faceful of spider, sticky silk, and dead flies.
109. I tried snorkeling and SCUBA diving for the first time in 2018. Next up: Indoor parachuting. (Hate free-fall, love flying without a net!)
108. I have learned to keep a few houseplants and an herb garden alive, and in the process, I’ve taken up recycling and composting to better nourish them. And, apparently, a whole community of tree roaches.
107. After several decades in technical writing, I changed careers and became a data scientist, with a focus on NLP and text analytics. Always stay curious and keep learning new things.
106. I wrote, illustrated by the amazing artist, Carrie Salazar, in 2013.
105. With a little trial and error, and a lot of determination, I got that whippet geometry figured out. Next up: Cat Calculus. [Update 4/8/2020: I managed to create a cat sweater that seems to function similarly to “clipnosis.” Cat falls down, stays put. I’m not seeing the downside, but perhaps the cat is lazy and the sweater is too restrictive.]
104. I learned to crochet. I can make scarves, hats, bulky sweaters… but the geometry of a whippet is still giving me fitting fits.
103. I can’t count. No, seriously – 103 is “I love words like ‘infinite’ and ‘limitless‘ and ‘inclusive.'” I dislike arbitrary limits. My 100 has grown a little over the years – so sue me.
102. I’m afraid of bugs, but I joined Boy Scouts with my son and went on the family camp-out with his troop. I went on a 5 and 1/2 mile hike with him in the woods – and let him lead. Typical man: He never once stopped and asked for directions. Didn’t need to – he knew how to use a compass and a map! In 2008, I swallowed my fear and hesitation to go camping with my son and some long-time friends at Lassen Volcanic National Park and hiking at Multnomah Falls!
101. I can spell “onomatopoeia” and “floccinaucinihilipilification” and “eleemosynary” without looking them up. I needed my husband’s help to finally get “broccoli” planted in my brain, once and for all, though. I was smart enough to marry a smart man.
100. I am confident, but not arrogant.
99. I really believe that “pretty is as pretty does.” Actions speak louder than words, and you can’t dress up ugly-on-the-inside.
98. I’m generous, even if I am a selfish only child who never had to share.
97. I’m loyal.
96. I can keep others’ secrets, but I have precious few of my own.
95. I’m honest to a fault, but I can tell a “little white lie” when the truth would do nothing but hurt.
94. I’m easy to please.
93. Patience is not one of my virtues, but ask anyone I’ve taught to do anything, and they’ll tell you I’m very patient. I have patience for those who try, sincerely.
92. I’m a good cook, when I bother to be.
91. I’m empathetic. By that, I mean not only can I imagine myself in someone else’s place, I can feel it – physically as well as emotionally. I don’t shut that off to protect myself, but I have learned to distance myself from the chronically miserable – the folks who enjoy their misery and really don’t want anything but someone to share in it.
90. When I love, I love deeply and forever. I’m not obsessive and weird about it, though. I just don’t say the word “love” if I don’t mean it.
89. I’m a good driver. I hate dealing with heavy traffic and crowds, but I don’t trust anyone more than me to drive my kids anywhere.
87. I’m calm in a crisis.
86. I’m a good problem-solver.
85. I don’t really have much of a temper, and there are only a few things in life I’d bother holding a grudge over. I get angry; I get over it.
84. I’m a fiercely protective mama tiger. I once killed a wasp with my bare hands, because it had the sheer effrontery to be in my baby’s room. I’m terrified of wasps. But in that moment, it could just as well have been a Bengal tiger or a flea – and it had to die.
83. So long as they’re not threatening my children’s well-being, I love animals. I just wish the possum that now visits me once or twice a week on my back porch hadn’t figured that out. I’d like him (or her) to think I’m a mean sonofabitch.
82. I will try any food – once. There are few foods I’ve tried that I don’t like. (Buttermilk, rosewater, doogh, kashk, beef liver, fried chicken liver – that pretty much covers it, I think.) Actually, there’s a rule in our house: You can’t say “Ewwww, yuck, gross!” unless you’ve actually tasted it. However, you can say, “I’m not quite ready to try that just yet.” I’m not sure I see the point of eating something to prove your machismo (of course, I’m a girl – I have no machismo to prove, and that’s fine by me). I ought to amend that item, though – I am no longer willing to try certain foods that carry an unacceptable risk of disease (brain matter, eyeballs – CJD) or injury/death (fugu, scorpion stingers) – I mean, when I said “try any food” I really was thinking of things typically regarded by a large number of people AS food (that even included things like sheep’s eyeballs, at the time – you know, things like tripe and haggis). Only lately have I heard of things like eating live scorpions, or worse, live monkey’s brains. Nooooooo… to me, that’s just not “food.” That’s a sick sort of entertainment, maybe, but not “food.”
81. I’m pretty adventurous, but not foolhardy. I love to live life to the fullest, and encourage others to try new things.
80. I’m smart, but I have Swiss-cheese holes in my brain that keep me humble about it.
79. I appreciate the talents and abilities of others. I don’t always tell them just how much, but I’m working on that because it matters.
78. I write well. There’s always room for improvement (and what fun would there be in it if there weren’t?) but I write well enough to clearly express my ideas without frustration, and that gives me pleasure.
77. I’ve given birth to two gorgeous, intelligent, amazing children. Nothing I could create now would equal or exceed this accomplishment, and I’m okay with that.
76. I do know when to let go, when push comes to shove.
75. I can’t magically heal all wounds with a kiss. But I’ve learned how to apply a bandage, drive to the ER in just under four minutes, and distract a kid from pain and worry with a hug and a kiss and the knowledge that I won’t leave their side until they’re well.
74. I’m not jealous (not much, anyway) when the kids say Daddy’s grilled cheese sandwich is as good as mine. After all, I’m the one who taught them about tact and diplomacy.
73. I’m a material girl, but if the house burned down tomorrow and my family got out safely, I’d be okay.
72. I don’t wear make-up except on special occasions. I have healthy skin.
71. I wear sensible shoes that make my feet feel good (all the better to chase my children in!) – not spiked heels that make my calves look sexy.
70. I love my husband. But, best of all, he loves me. We’ll celebrate 35 years of marriage, this year, and are looking forward to the next 35 or 40.
69. I’m a good mother. Not a perfect, Donna-Reed-type mother, but a good one, nonetheless.
68. I love my children unconditionally, even when I wish I loved them less. I love them unconditionally, even when they say “I hate you!” (Which they never do, now that they’re all grown up!)
67. I am a lousy housekeeper, but I’ve learned there are more important things in life, so I no longer beat myself up over it or post armed guards at the door when the house isn’t “presentable.” I’ve discovered that most people I know are a mess, which only means we’re now welcome in each others’ homes on a moment’s notice.
66. I have a good eye for composition, and take interesting photographs. I’m not always as discriminating as I should be when I share them. There probably were not 800 great photos of Istanbul and Paris, but by God, I uploaded them all to Ofoto and sent everyone links, believing they’d enjoy them. (I apparently have a crappy memory. Ofoto?? Does that even still exist? I don’t even remember writing this.)
65. Some of my photos are selling as stock photography, right alongside professionals’ work. This has made me remember what it’s like to be a struggling, amateur writer and get that first acceptance note. It’s gratifying, humbling, and quite pleasing.
64. I love to teach and mentor others. I don’t mind at all – in fact, I’m quite pleased – when their skills and successes surpass my own.
63. I can be very intense and driven when a project piques my interest, but aggressively advancing my career is not a project that interests me right now. I manage to keep a fairly healthy balance between work and personal life.
62. When I volunteer to do something, I’m committed to seeing it through.
61. I work best with tight but reasonable deadlines.
60. I generally give people the benefit of the doubt. I’m honest enough to admit to my prejudices, but open-minded enough to put them aside and give everyone a chance.
59. I have never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings.
58. I don’t pick at my food and complain the portions are too big. I know how to enjoy a meal when I’m hungry, I know how to stop eating when I’m satisfied, and I’m not embarrassed to ask for a to-go box.
57. I finished reading Anna Karenina. I didn’t skip the chapters about Levin. That took discipline! I do read the first couple of pages and the last couple of pages from any book I pick up, then decide if I give a damn how they got from A to Z. If I do, I read the book. Knowing the ending rarely, if ever, spoils the story for me.
56. I am a fast reader, and I inhale books. (My breathing, lately, has been a little shallow.)
55. I’m a good swimmer.
54. I do a beautiful back-dive. (Unfortunately, I haven’t dipped a toe into a pool with a diving board in over 10 years.)
53. I’ve traveled to many places in the world. I’ve never really felt like a tourist, even though I was one. I’ve felt…accepted, almost without exception.
52. I make a great cup of coffee.
51. I make a pretty decent cup of tea, too.
50. I can whistle a tune. I can sometimes whistle “Westminster Cathedral,” but not on a hot, dry day. (And not when I’m laughing hysterically, which is something I’m apt to do if I start whistling in public.)
49. I can blow bubbles with bubblegum.
48. I enjoy a good water-gun-and-hose fight with my son.
47. I have thick hair that’s naturally blonde. I’d go naturally gray, but it’s more fun to play with color. I don’t mind the gray hairs, though; I never pull them out. I’m actually rather proud of them; I earned each and every one. (I spent nearly $100, several years ago, to have my hair dyed to match my roots, in order to go gray naturally. It grew out ash blonde. I got bored waiting for more gray to show up, and started coloring it again.)
46. I give great advice. Proving, once again, that it’s better to give than to receive.
45. I’m trustworthy.
44. I tend to “see” personalities before I really see people. As a result, appearances don’t matter much to me, unless there’s something especially off-putting about them.
43. I’m 50+ – I’ve lived half a century, or as my mom used to say, “I’m older than some trees.” I’m not at all embarrassed to admit my age in public. I don’t want to be pushed aside, careerwise, due to age or gender, though. I’m not sure my kids are quite ready to support me – nor should they have to!
42. I see similarities before I see differences. The similarities give us common ground; the differences keep things interesting.
41. I have a good job. Most days, I like it and most days, I do it well. [Update 4/8/2020: I’m retired, as of 3/31/2020. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ve run out of interesting work – it means I’m returning to my roots, writing more creative fiction.]
40. I don’t have any real regrets.
39. I will stubbornly stand on a matter of principle.
38. I’m not easily intimidated. I do tend to come across as intimidating, but usually to the wrong people.
37. I can have strong opinions and values without feeling threatened by hearing and considering other points of view. I enjoy a good, intellectual debate, and I’m not afraid to think I might be wrong, or admit it if I realize that I am.
36. I am quick to apologize when I’m wrong. (Apologies are a great way to disarm a foe; unfortunately, I think we all get worse at giving them as we age. My theory on that is that we’re owed a lot of them that we never got, and by God, we’re just going to hang onto our store of them until we get the ones we’ve got coming to us. How stupid is that?)
35. I am strong, but not rigid. Strength, without flexibility, tends to crack or break.
34. I have a sense of humor. Hell, I even found reasons to laugh over having cancer.
33. I appreciate the talents in others. My grandmother once said “I used to think I had no talent. Then I realized I had the greatest talent of all, the ability to truly appreciate the talents in others.” She was a wise woman, and a very talented one.
32. I love to sing, and I have a pretty voice. I just find it horribly embarrassing to sing in front of other people, so only my showerhead and a few random motorists have heard me sing in several decades.
31. I give good backrubs.
30. I chose my husband wisely and well. I considered my mother’s advice: (1) “If our approval or disapproval would sway your decision to marry a man, then he’s not the man you need to be spending the rest of your life with; (2) “You don’t just marry the man, you marry his family.” Yep, I chose well.
29. I don’t drink often or to excess. I don’t enjoy being drunk, nor does it heighten my creativity.
28. I don’t take illegal drugs and have absolutely no interest in ever doing so.
27. I’m not a prude and I’m not without a vice or two. (In 2006, I listed smoking and cursing – but quit smoking that year and I’ve cut way down on the cursing, so now what? Um…I procrastinate and I’m a clutterbug?) I’m listing this among my “100 Good Things About Me,” because it’s one of those things that keeps me humble and human and able to be kind to other imperfect human beings.
26. I have faith. It’s gleaned from personal intuition and the best of many religious traditions, and it is constantly evolving. It’s flexible enough to consider all possibilities within the realm of God, and strong enough to leave me impervious to fanatics and cults.
25. I’ve never tried to “convert” anyone to my beliefs, because one of my beliefs is that we all come to our own faith in time and through experience – not through being told how we should think and how we should believe, or by being frightened into it by others’ visions of eternal damnation.
24. I have a nice butt. (That’s actually my husband’s contribution, but I have the self-confidence and sense of humor to include it.)
23. I’m not a mean person. (That’s his, too.)
22. If I’m having a hard time coming up with 100 good things about me, I’d probably have a harder time coming up with 100 bad things about me. 100 interesting things about me, or 100 slightly-eccentric things about me, or 100 cool and offbeat things I’ve done – those would be easier.
21. I’m not afraid of the dark.
20. I’m not superstitious.
19. I’m very trusting, until I’m given reasons not to be.
18. I’m an avid reader.
17. I’m a fast reader. The downside to that, combined with #18, is that I spend entirely too much money on books.
16. I hate to shop, and I’m not all caught up on what’s “fashionable,” “trendy,” or “in style.” Classic is classic for a reason. (That said, I do realize I can’t elevate jeans to the level of “classic style” just because I’m too lazy to explore the rest of my wardrobe or add to it, some days.)
15. I like to inspire and encourage others.
14. I have become much more punctual over the years. I procrastinate something awful, but I’m almost always on time, and rarely miss a deadline.
13. I have sensitive hearing, and I try to protect it. This is really amazing, considering all the ear infections I had as a kid and young adult. Never had tubes, but had my adenoids out twice.
12. I’m a good listener. I don’t always remember what was said, but I’m a good listener.
11. I have a lousy memory and a tendency to repeat myself. This is a good thing only in that I’m aware of it, and never give anyone else a hard time for doing the same. I do sometimes step on the punch line of old jokes, but better that than trying to fake laughter and pretend I never heard the joke. Of course I can’t remember half the jokes I’ve heard until they get to the punch line, so I’m usually willing to listen to the same ones over and over again. 645! (Yeah, I know…some people just can’t tell a joke.)
10. I’m computer literate. I once swore I’d have nothing whatsoever to do with computers – they were “borrrrrring.” Now I write user’s manuals for PCs and software. My third grade teacher, the one who wrote on my report card “antisocial, doesn’t pay attention, doesn’t follow directions” would no doubt have a cow if she knew what I did for a living.
9. I’m not antisocial. I love solitude. But I like people just fine, if they’re nice people. (INTJ, D on a DiSC, A-)
8. I can always entertain myself.
7. I don’t judge people on what kind of car they drive, what kind of house they live in, how much money they make, or how they dress. I don’t judge people on how much education they attained, but a natural curiosity, innate intelligence, and a desire to learn more always gains a few points in my estimation.
6. I can BS my way through almost any sort of essay question, but I’m having a damned hard time with the last five items in this list!
5. I have walked over 100 miles for charity in my lifetime.
4. I have donated about 5 gallons of blood, and I’m on the bone marrow registry.
3. I’m not afraid to talk to anyone, regardless of position or rank. (I am afraid to crash a sit-down dinner for celebrities when there’s an armed guard at the door, but that’s…different.)
2. I have always talked to my children. Not baby-talk, but full sentences with eye contact. This never struck me as unusual or special, but according to the caregivers at my son’s first daycare, it’s rather exceptional.
1. I am me. And that is good enough.
Now, why don’t you tell me 100 good things about you? Feel free to post a link to your journal entry here.