Thursday, November 30, 2006
13 things that put the Q. in Quirky
No self-respecting art blog would be complete without a copy of Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises. I’ve always seen the single white iris as a self-portrait of the artist – a lonely man, alienated by his genius and mental illness. But his uniqueness also made him beautiful and made his artistic vision of the world priceless. I think that kind of individuality is worth emulating.
So today’s Thursday Thirteen – in honor of Vincent – lists 9 ways I have tried to stand out from the crowd plus 4 ways that my kids are carrying on the tradition.
1. I often sign my name “Julie Q.” This started when I was young and I felt deprived by my parents’ politically incorrect tradition of giving their daughters no middle names because they would get them when they got married. (Ask my 2 unmarried sisters how much they love this tradition.)
2. For a few years growing up, I also eliminated the “e” from the end of my name because there were far too many other Julies around. I confess, I occasionally even dotted the i with a cute circle that (in retrospect) was a little too large for common decency. I strongly deny any vicious rumors that I ever made the dot into a heart.
3. I have no white walls in my home. We’ve got yellow, two shades of green, a kind of pinkish-brown speckle, a paint color called “camel-spit,” and in the boys’ room sky-blue with clouds and green hills with a huge freight train that runs across the base of three walls. I’m sure if we ever tried to sell this house, the realtor would walk through and shake her head, “Good grief woman, have you never heard of neutrals?” But I like it this way. Color makes me happy.
4. I grew up in a family of polyglots which literally means many tongues but thankfully here means speakers of many languages. We sing “O Tanenbaum” in German, “I am a Child of God” in Chinese, “Un elefante” in Spanish, and an odd little song in Guaraní called “Wasington,” which we chant while passing rolled up socks around in a circle. I’m assuming this is somewhat unique, but you never know.
5. I have a blog. I named it something strange enough that I have to put a glossary in my sidebar.
6. At my Junior High, it was the height of coolness to own an Izod™ shirt. To be authentic, these shirts had to have an official Izod insignia alligator on the left side and be purchased in the mall at Copper Rivet for the exorbitant price of $12. Just to be different (and perhaps also because I couldn’t afford to keep up with the trend), I found a knit material with tiny, bright pink alligators all over it and made my own shirt. My motto: “If you can’t join ‘em, outsew ‘em.”
7. Our family celebrates Groundhog day. Every year on February 2, my husband and the kids and I watch the movie Groundhog Day and wax nostalgic about our visit to Punxsutawney, PA. I’ve suggested many times that GD should be a national holiday, but for some reason my bill never makes it out of the Senate committee hearings. Darn those politicians.
8. My all-time favorite movie – Sense and Sensibility – isn’t all that unusual since lots of people like Jane Austen. But my 2nd favorite movie is Harold and Maude – a dark comedy made in 1971 about a young man who drives a hearse, stages suicides to get his mother’s attention and falls in love with an 79 year-old flower child. Weird enough? My friend Tara and I have hosted a couple of Harold and Maude parties where we served food from the movie and decorated the place with sunflowers. And cleavers. And a severed arm. (You need to see this movie).
9. During each of the past few years we have homeschooled our kids in one form or another. This means we stand out from our neighbors. But we also do a kind of dual enrollment arrangement where the kids attend public school for part of the day. This means we stand out from our homeschool friends, who see us as less than fully converted to the cause. Maybe I just have a hard time making up my mind. Or maybe not. I’ll have to think about that one.
+ 1. You thought I was joking when I said that Ethan once wanted to be Hoover Dam for Halloween? We take the creative costume thing very seriously.
+ 2. McKay went through a phase where he insisted on wearing turtlenecks every day. For an entire year. Fall, winter, spring and summer. We humored him on his one and I bought a whole bunch of turtlenecks because he was the middle child and needed a way to assert his independence. When I’m looking through old family photos I can always date the ones from that year by what McKay is wearing.
+ 3. My 5 year old son Gabriel has more quirkiness in his little finger than I have in my whole body. The other night at dinner he befriended his biscuit and refused to eat little “Indoors,” and instead made him a bed in a Tupperware container. Gabie then made us put Indoors up on top of the fridge out of harm’s way. This was because the last time we had biscuits, Gabriel also made a new friend who sadly met his demise when a bouncy ball knocked him from the counter to the floor where he crumbled, as biscuits and sometimes friendships do.
+ 4. Admittedly it’s difficult for a 6-month old baby to distinguish herself. But so far Nora has shown an amazing aptitude at making dolphin noises. I don’t speak dolphin so I’m not sure if her vocabulary is particularly eloquent or not. But I suspect she’s going to be a poet. Either that or a yoga instructor.
Well that's my list, but I have one more side note. It makes me sad when on the first day of a new semester I ask my students to tell me something unusual about themselves and a few say they can’t think of anything. I’m hoping this is just because they go blank under pressure, not because they don’t feel unique. I think everyone needs to be quirky in some way or another.
Posted by Julie Q. at 10:22 AM