I am a dedicated enthusiast of going big or going home. I have 4 dogs (Sydney, Wiley, Penelope, and Romy) who have their own personality, voice, perspective on the family, favorite treats, and would be appalled that I listed them parenthetically. A special shoutout goes to Sydney, who at 17 ½ human years young, is my business, finance, fitness, nutrition, and life manager.
My personal library catalogues all things related to 19th century history, Detroit, and race relations. I’m showing my age with this comment but remember “Book It”? Well, as an adult, I still set reading goals, though my rewards are far more exciting than a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.
In an alternate universe, I am a veterinarian. But, on this plane of existence, I joyfully spend a small fortune feeding giraffes at all of the local zoos, carefully braking for squirrels who gamble at crossing the local roads, and lovingly returning all stray dogs to their owners just like I would want someone to do for mine.
My home’s junk drawer is evidence that I am the original Marie Kondo. If I’m not using something or won’t be using something in the next year, I donate it. This mentality does challenge my lifelong love of collecting something. Stuffed animals and Lego and sports cards ruled my childhood; these days, rocks, comic books, tattoos, and books are more my speed.
I am an avid sports fan. I will watch almost any sporting event — besides golf and NASCAR, those really aren’t sports. Football and basketball are my favorite sports to play and watch. In fourth grade, I broke my femur while playing touch football with my best friends. Yes, you read that correctly, touch football.
I have five tattoos – a tree, a phoenix, and three geometric designs. All have deeply personal meanings.
Most people know when they meet me that I am not native to my current home in America’s heartland. One of my little pleasures is finding other Northerners in the wild. We can typically spot each other easily. We know the accelerator is on the left (the other left for some of you). When snow falls, we don’t cancel our day or rush to the supermarket to stock up on milk and bread. We speak directly and, sometimes, colorfully, without any intended disrespect. We don’t wear flip-flops past September or before June. We say pop. Never ever soda.
I came to my current profession almost haphazardly and certainly not by design. As an undergraduate, I dreamed of writing the essay at the end of Newsweek — turns out I don’t really like journalism — and then planned to dedicate my life to 19th century antebellum American history. Fortunately for me, I met a young autistic boy at a summer camp that changed my life’s trajectory in ways I could never have imagined. Had you told me 20 years ago I’d be living in Kansas City working with autistic children and adults, I would have told you to shut the front door. But, you would have been right... and I hate being wrong.