Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 3: Your parents, in great detail

My parents are really great people.  I have almost always appreciated them for the great people that they are!

My mom is the second of nine children.  You may know her as Helene who comments on my blog.   She is tone deaf and says she's bad at languages.  She does "speak" ASL fluently, though, which I think is really neat.  Something I really admire about her is how fearless she is at speaking her mind.  When I was younger, I didn't love this trait as much, since she "embarrassed" me in front of my friends a lot.  But now, I just hope that I can be the same way some day.  My mom loves reading, and she passed it on to me.  For Christmas for the past few years, I have given her a book that I really loved.  Sometimes she will also love the book (Doomsday Book), and sometimes she will not (Pillars of the Earth).  But either way we can usually have a long talk about it!  She is also my travel buddy.  So far, she has come to visit me in Spain and France when I lived there, and she paid for Jube and I to meet her in Norway.  We have also gone to Guatemala and Russia together.  On our Russia trip (which was a cruise, by the way), everyone kept commenting about how great it was to see a mother and daughter who got along so well.

My dad is a music teacher who plays the piano and sings.  Because of him I have loved music all of my life.  He is a born storyteller, like most of his family.  He tells us stories about his past (like the time he played "mutiny on the Bounty" on Easter Sunday with his Jewish friend, who wanted to be called Fletcher Jew instead of Fletcher Christian); on camping trips, he tells us made-up stories based on trucker songs or flatulence.  He also loves car racing, but is kind of a snob about it.  He really likes open-wheel road racing, although he makes an exception for the Indy 500 of course.  With Dad, my brother and I watched almost all of Jackie Chan's oeuvre; with my Dad, we learned about comedy classics like Blazing Saddles and Spinal Tap, along with some more serious ones like Harold and Maude and Dr. Strangelove.  So my dad made me into a woman who knows more about F-1 than the average American, who can recognize Saint-Saens's "Carnival of the Animals" in part because of the movie Herbie Rides Again, and who is almost always ready to launch into a long and complicated joke at the smallest encouragement. 

My parents divorced when I was 2 years old, so I can't remember a time when we all lived together.  My mom remarried when I was 6.  My stepfather is the first of ten children.  It is because of him that I grew up in Ohio - before the age of 7 we lived in the DC area.  It is because of him that I was baptized and confirmed as a Catholic.  It is because of him that I learned how to hold a knife and a fork properly, and what not to order on a business lunch (nothing smelly like garlic, no finger food like French fries, and nothing potentially messy like pasta with sauce).  Our relationship has always been contentious, but it has grown into a loving and respectful bond.  We share parts of our senses of humor, and I am very happy to have him in my life.

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