Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Now it's seven

Eero asked me to share "seven little-known facts" the other day. I think I did this meme a few months ago when the number was still five. But I haven't tried seven yet, and I didn't go for a ride today, and I do owe her for lending me a bivy to use in the Susitna 100, so I thought I'd oblige. Seven "little-known" facts about Jill:

1. Somewhere deep in the recesses of childhood memory, I know how to play four different instruments: the accordion, the string bass, the harmonica and the piano. That may sound decidedly nerdy, but put them all together and I could form a mean one-woman zydeco band.

2. I have an irrational but paralyzing fear of moving water - whitewater rapids, ocean swells and the like. I can trace this fear back to a lot of incidents, but the first was when my parents took me to a Sesame Street theme park near Dallas, Texas, when I was 3 years old. One of the "attractions" was little more than a narrow, dark tube that children crawled through while jets of water blasted from all sides. I still have vivid dreams of a shadowed line of big kids' faces and large hands yanking me forward as I thrashed against the deluge, screaming and screaming and screaming.

3. I also am afraid of dogs. I am more afraid of dogs than I am of bears. This is because I know bears for the most part want to leave me alone. Dogs, on the other hand, have lunged at me, mowed me down, and a couple of times even bit me - hard enough to cause permanent scarring. I do not like dogs. But I'm sure your dog is great.

4. I am a big advocate of not attaching oneself to things. "Need Less" is, in fact, my zen goal in life. I really like the idea of living independently, minimizing my footprint (I am a second-hand queen) and keeping my lifestyle options open - even if it means leaving everything I own behind (I try to include my bikes in this sentiment, but I have predictably become attached to them.) The upside is that I have more money to spend on the intangible and fleeting things I really love, like food and travel. The drawback is that I own the world's ugliest couch, a Salvation Army TV that only picks up two channels, and a bed I hate so much that I only sleep in it about 30 percent of the time. But hey - I could walk onto the Alaska State Ferry tomorrow and never look back.

5. I finished my first "century" ride, the 2004 Salt Lake Century, in 5 hours, 25 minutes. However, after two years of riding with an odometer, I have concluded beyond much doubt that I must have inadvertently skipped part of the course. It's highly unlikely that I actually rode 100 miles that fast. But I guess I'll never really know.

6. I suspected a botched finishing time by the end of my second century attempt, the 2004 Ride for Life. Not because it was decidedly slower, but because I discovered how poor my route-finding skills really were. I showed up 45 minutes late and took off down the road, quickly becoming confused by the hordes of runners I was passing. Thirteen miles later, I was back where I started. Only then did I realize that I had inadvertently followed the course of a half-marathon that was happening that same day. Then 90 minutes late, I still did the ride, because I was "sponsored" back then and somewhat obligated (Thanks, Cycling Utah!)

7. I was born in Denver, Colorado, moved away when I was 9 months old, and have never actually been back (drove by on I-25 once, at night, without stopping.) It's kind of strange to have no mental picture of the place where I was born.

So there you go ... seven things. The idea is to pass this on, but I don't really feel comfortable telling others what they should write on their blogs. So I'll leave it up to you, because it's always fun to hear from others. Tell me a little-known fact about yourself.


  1. Hey Jill, Since you don't know me, every fact about me will be little known...I'll try to pick some good ones:

    1. I was born and hald raised (school here, summers there) in Hungary.
    2. I love fancy, beautiful, old stuff, the kind of stuff that weighs you down and makes it impossible to move: copper pots, riveted leather couches, carved wood pictureframes, paintings, persian rugs....I guess I'm a maximalist....?
    3. I have to move to NYC (from California) in 6 months (gasp!)
    4. My knee started hurting again out of nowhere two days ago, hurt for a day, and then stopped hurting. (double gasp-- I'm on the total inactivity plan, as you recall, and on this plan *there is supposed to be no pain.* Life is not fair. But I've got 19 more days of inactivity to go, and then all bets are off.)
    5. I play no instruments but speak seven languages, two of them dead.
    6. I watch lots of TV, unashamedly.
    7. I don't have any irrational fears; I save my irrationality for incessant neurotic worrying about: my son's health, my ability to ever bike again, my prospects on the academic job market...and many more.

    your recovery partner,

  2. Well, let's see:

    1.I was born and raised in Germany.
    2.I didn't like Americans much growing up. I grew up during the Cold War and all I knew of you guys was Pershing II and scary stuff (Like McDonald's and such) I am married to an American, love (most) Americans and live in the US.
    3. I HATED English in High school and I would have never thought to use this language more than my mother tongue.
    4.I started biking through my boy-friend (now husband) and it was a love-hate relationship, the biking part that is. I started on one of his bikes with clipless pedals and my second ride I fell head first in a river...
    Yes, you can laugh, everyone does:)
    5. I am surprised that I still ride today because for the longest time I thought, I absolutely suck at biking, but I didn't give up/in and now I am racing and I won my first races this season (XC)
    6.I love dogs and I have yet to encounter a bear. I don't mind snakes and other "beasts" I just let them be. (I have a dog, a Jack Russell Terrier named Mr. Whiskers}
    7. Fears: that my husband, who is in the Army has to go back to Iraq, living in Nebraska, getting hit by a tornado, log-crossings on the MTB,...

  3. Interesting stuff...I'll do my seven things sometime next week. I bet several folks will take your lead and do this. Should be interesting.

  4. I'm a Dallas native....did a quick Google of "Sesame Place". It rings the faintest of faint bells...apparently it was only open from 1982 - ' essentially it was you Jill and about 43 other visitors that made this Irving Texas "fun park" such a short-lived "un-destination".

  5. I like your zen need less goal. Simplicity and cycling are a good match.

  6. Jill, thank you so much for stopping by at my "place":) It's great to meet you! I forgot one fact, that I added on my blog:) and it's true: I hated gardening as a kid. My parents still can't believe that I go out and pull weeds on my free will....

  7. I have a tattoo. No big deal these days of course, but most people don't know about it because it's far enough up my arm that even short sleeves cover it. This was deliberate, I got it for myself, not to display something to the world.

    I had done the design a year before and hung it on my fridge to see if I would still like it in the long term. Oh ya, I'm a rebel!

    I got done on my 30th birthday, the same day I finally cut my long hair. It felt like the right thing to do. I was cutting my hair because my hairline had receded to the point that I looked like I was wearing a wig that was sliding back on my scalp. Not because I wanted to. Genetics was taking something away from me so it felt like good to fight back with something permanent.

  8. Colorado's pretty suave. Maybe it's good you've never stopped to look - you might stay.

  9. No biggie on not remembering where you were born. I don't remember the town where I was born because my own town didn't even have a hospital and I moved away at three months old.

    Nice to know ya ain't alone, isn't it?

    Savor Alaska. I did.


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