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Happy Birthday to MY MOM!! She turns 70 today.

So here, as they come to me, are seventy things about my Mom.

1. She was born on a farm in Ohio in 1937.
2. She's a registered nurse.
3. She taught nursing for many years at Emory University.
4. Because of this, faking sick to get out of school never, ever worked with her.
5. Her and my father have been married for about as long as Nick Rhodes has been alive.
6. When she was growing up, she had to bake a cake every Saturday to be served with Sunday dinner.
7. She bakes really great cakes.
8. She's of Polish descent.
9. As a matter of fact, when she was five she spoke more Polish than she did English.
10. She doesn't remember much Polish now, but I remember one day seeing her read some kind of homework thing she'd written in Polish out loud and it was very strange hearing this language come out of her mouth.
11. She is an amazing cook.
12. The kind of cook who invents recipes.
13. Really good recipes, I should add.
14. She often volunteered to coordinate cooking dinner at a women's and children's shelter one Saturday a month.
15. Her rule for the menu was she would never serve anything at the shelter that she wouldn't serve her own family.
16. She loves the music of Chopin.
17. She also likes Enya.
18. She plays the piano, or at least used to and hopes to resume the habit soon.
19. She has four children. (Yours Truly being one of them.)
20. She bakes over a thousand Christmas cookies every year.
21. Some years, over two thousand.
22. No, really--she's been keeping track of the exact count since about 1981.
23. She's a touch technophobic at times, particularly when dealing with strange new computer programs.
24. Very much a Mac person.
25. Works out nearly every weekday morning.
26. Pushes herself harder on the treadmill than I do myself.
27. Can lift more than I can, too.
28. Has a limited edition Alexander Calder designed scarf in her drawers. Wears it on special occasions.
29. Has a collection of copper enamel pins that my father made for her. Wears them regularly.
30. When I asked her why she became a nurse, she exclaimed "It was the 1950s, for God's sake!" Teaching and nursing, she went on, were pretty much your two career options of you were a woman in that era. Teaching required college, nursing school was "cheap and close", so nursing it was.
31. She went into teaching nursing because she had to deal with a nursing instructor who was like a "drill sergeant" and figured she could do better than that.
32. She got her doctorate in education taking night classes and working during the day.
33. I remember that period involving a lot of hot dogs for dinner. (My dad can't cook.)
34. I also remember her cleaning the chandelier when she was finally through with all of it. I thought it was a strange way to celebrate.
35. She once announced to me that she was going to do something decadent--she was going to go into the West Wing (which is what we call the extension that was built on the house) and . . . read a book. I didn't have the heart to tell her what my personal idea of decadence was.
36. Actually, she told me sometime later that when she was growing up, going off and reading a book really was considered decadent, since there was always Work To Be Done on the farm.
37. She recalls--albeit distantly--the day they finally installed indoor plumbing in the house she grew up in.
38. She was very young when World War II hit. Since every single newspaper headline was about the war, she formed the impression in her mind that once the war was over, there would be nothing left to write headlines about.
39. She and my father used to go out and see the ballet on a regular basis. They don't do it as much these days.
40. They do, however, go out and see live theater nearly every week.
41. She once encouraged me to buy a shirt because it looked like a Miro painting. (I declined, given I was very much in my please-ignore-me-and-leave-me-alone phase.)
42. She knows the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.
43. When we go down to Florida for our week at the beach, she plans the menu for the entire week and has the shopping list worked out before we even pack.
44. One of my fondest memories is walking beside her on the beach as the sun went down and lit up the whole sky with its afterglow.
45. She loves to read mysteries.
46. She has little patience with science fiction or fantasy.
47. The Lord of the Rings excepted.
48. And Harry Potter.
49. She decided she had no interest in seeing the film Children of Men on the basis that she'd read the P. D. James novel and if the film was anything like it, it was going to be way too violent for her to want to deal with.
50. Her signature fragrances are Aromatics Elixir and Opium.
51. She makes a big pot of chicken soup right around the point that we're all getting sniffly.
52. She has perfected the "Mom Glare"--the look that basically says "Knock it off, right now, or ELSE!"
53. She has been known to use it on her students when circumstances require it.
54. She is unfailingly consistent when she makes a decision--a fact that messed me up a bit when I got out into the big wide world and found that grown-ups were not always so.
55. She once banned azewewish from the house for a week for failing to bring me home at the designated time.
56. She used to (no longer does) collect dragons.
57. It came from a sign we saw outside a Chinese restaurant in California--"It is unwise to make plans that do not include a dragon when the dragon lives close by."
58. She took to privately referring to a certain dean as "The Dragon."
59. When said dean took a downfall, my mother and some of her friends at the school celebrated by a viewing of Dragonslayer.
60. She continued to collect dragons and keep them on a shelf in her office.
61. When my siblings and I went to science fiction conventions, we'd make a point of stopping by the dealer's room at one point or another to buy her a dragon for her collection.
62. She asked people to stop giving her dragons when she retired.
63. The collection now lives in the living room of my parents' house.
64. She has two lovely grandchildren.
65. She talks to them through the iSight camera on her computer on a regular basis.
66. My sister's daughter, Caroline, calls her Grandma.
67. My younger brother's daughter, Genevieve, calls her Baba. Nobody is exactly sure how she came up with that, but as it turns out, "baba" is Polish for "grandmother".
68. When we were growing up, Mom wrote lists to put in our rooms that declared "This room is clean when:" and itemized all the conditions that had to fulfilled before the room could be declared clean.
69. She has scrupulous handwriting.
70. And I love her very much.

Today I took pleasure in realizing that the dishes were not as huge a task as I feared they might be, since nearly everything awaiting washing could be put in the freakin' dishwasher.

Today I learned that a cup of yogurt blended with a pulverized banana will, in fact, fit nicely in my QT mug.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 6th, 2007 03:55 am (UTC)
Your mom sounds like an amazing woman!! Happy Birthday to her!!
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
Nicely Done.
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)

I'll add one for good luck

71. Always willing to go over ONE PARTICULAR CHILD'S new condo and recommend paint choices. And teach how to clean the stove.

Mar. 6th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)
Dude, Helen!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

I do so love your mother. Mostly for the fact that she tolerated me a lot better than your dad. *g*

And hell yeah on both the glare & the cooking. ;)

Mar. 6th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
Birthday list
Thank you, Sheila!!!
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
What an awesome way to commemorate your Mom's birthday. I hope she'll get to see the list. It really shows how much you love her.
Mar. 7th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
wow Your mom sounds awesome. Happy birthday mom.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )