Get to Know Me Monday – No. 4

I Don’t Collect Books

Back in the day I surrounded myself with piles of books. There were books on every flat surface, including the floor. There were stacks on shelves, piles on my dresser, and a heap on my nightstand. I mean, that’s what book lovers do, right?

One day, when my kids were small, I decided that enough was enough. I recall telling my husband that if I didn’t do something soon we’d have nowhere to keep the children. I started boxing up books and taking them to local thrift stores, giving them to friends, or donating them to the local library for their used book sale.

That was probably 15 years ago. Since then I’ve gotten more creative in the ways I keep books under control. One of the best decisions I ever made was to put up a Little Free Library in front of my house. I get to share books with my community, and keep them from piling up around me. When my own library is full I drive around to add books to the others in town.

I’ve had to fight against the impulse to prove my book loving bona fides by starting up a collection again. I feel (self-imposed?) pressure to demonstrate my love of reading by having large and lovely stacks in the background of every photo. (All the cool kids are doing it! I want to be popular on Instagram! Will publishers send me books if I don’t share evidence of my devotion!?)

Let me remind you, and myself, that we can do books however we want. Read 4 or 400 books a year, collect a few favorites or make large pieces of furniture out of the excess novels in your house. It doesn’t matter how full or empty your shelves are. I love books. You love books. No proof required.

Get to Know Me Monday – No. 3

My Hands

I’d like to talk to you today about my hands. My silly, curved, chubby little hands.

When I was born both of my pinkies were crooked. The doctor told my parents that they would straighten out as I grew up. The doctor was wrong. As it turns out, I have a form of Clinodactyly. (Clinodactyly is a medical term describing the curvature of a digit.) It’s a genetic condition, though I don’t know of anyone else with crooked fingers in my family.

It was embarrassing when I was younger. Children didn’t have the kindest reactions, and adults weren’t much better. I spent a lot of time tucking my fingers into my hand, not letting them show, and being hyper-aware of their strangeness.

Now, I rarely think of them. They do get sore when I type because they don’t reach the keys the way normal pinkies would. If anything, I’m a little proud of my quirky digits.

Those of you of a certain age might have learned how to print and write in cursive in the D’Nealian method. I remember a very official handwriting teacher coming to my elementary school. He walked up and down the rows of desks correcting or praising our handwriting.

I was a little full of myself, quite sure I had the most beautiful penmanship in my class. Imagine my dismay when this gentleman stopped at my desk to tell me that I was holding my pencil wrong! There’s nothing that a child loves more than being singled out for being different. He made such a fuss, and his face showed such confusion. He manipulated my hand into the “correct” grip. I tried to maintain his correction, but it was impossible.

In doing research I’ve learned that there are more than a few different pencil grips, and that none of them cause legibility or speed problems (according to a 2001 study). Thanks a lot, D’Nealian guy! I still use the dynamic quadrupod grip, so sue me.

Now, I’m not supposed to talk about my latest hand drama stemming from the fractured humerus I suffered in October of 2019. It pains me to be silent about it because one of the most effective ways for me to work through something is to write/talk about it. Alas!

I can tell you that I ordered a few silicone rings from Enso because they fit comfortably on a hand that is far from comfortable.

A few fast facts about my hands:

  1. I love manicures but haven’t had one since the accident I mentioned above
  2. My fingers are short and chubby
  3. I have a small brown birthmark on the inside of one of my wrists. A babysitter once tried to scrub it off because she thought it was dirt
  4. My fingernails are brittle and pitiful
  5. My (latest) favorite hand lotion is Hempz. Oh no, I just saw that they have a limited edition pumpkin spice & vanilla chai scent…

That’s it for this Get to Know Me Monday. I hope some of you will play along. I’d like to get to know you better!