Wednesday, February 4, 2009

100 Things About Me (or My Life)

I know it is tacky to resort to a meme so soon, but this is probably the easiest way to outline my backstory. So, without further adieu:

1. My first and middle names are Sarah Helen. Helen was for my Dad’s favourite great aunt, a lovely Victorian lady. Sarah is a traditional family name on my father’s side. My Mom also taught a Sarah that she loved. Finally – both the Anglophone and the Italian relatives could SAY Sarah, so that was a win.

2. If I had been a boy, I would have been named Stephen.

3. The name of this blog is a nod to my maiden name (which I still use, as I hyphenated my name when I got married). It was a pseudo-nickname in high school, and I am sure I will be singing that song in the very near future.

4. My Dad’s family has been in Canada for generations. We have Loyalists, Irish Catholics and Habitants from New France in our family tree.

5. My Mom was born in Italy and moved here when she was 7.

6. I enjoy being a mix of all these different cultures.

7. I was born in a suburb on Montreal, QC.

8. I am a Libra. I was born on the feast day of the Guardian Angels.

9. I am an only child. My Mom had a difficult pregnancy with me, and I was an emergency caesarian section. The doctors advised her not to risk pregnancy again.

10. My family moved to suburban Toronto, ON when I was 17 months old (30 years ago this weekend, in fact).

11. We were part of the Anglophone exodus from the province of Quebec after the election of the separatist government in 1976. The company my Dad worked for, as well as hundreds of others, moved to the Toronto area and so did we. Which is strange, as we all speak French.

12. I am the tallest member of my immediate family at 5ft4. My Dad is a hair smaller than me and my Mom is 5ft.

13. Though he is not tall, every guy I have dated (including those over 6 ft tall) has been either intimidated by or terrified of my Dad.

14. My Dad is smart. Really smart. As in I still believe that my Dad is one of the smartest people I know.

15. You want him on your trivia team. The man knows facts about everything!

16. I like to think that I take after him in this way.

17. My Mom is no slouch in the intelligence department, either.

18. When she moved to Canada, she spoke absolutely no English. Seven months later, she spoke English fluently and had finished both 1st and 2nd grade.

19. My parents met at a homecoming football game for their University. My Dad was back in town visiting mutual friends.

20. This fact is hilarious, given that my mother is so not a sports fan. She believed that the offense and defense switched because one side was tired.

21. I am a huge sports fan, thanks to my Dad. I will be the one teaching sports to my kids.

22. My father worked for over 30 years as a food chemist. He spent the longest stretch of his career at Lipt*n.

23. My mother, before her retirement, was an elementary school French teacher for over 30 years.

24. They are both retired. They relocated to a town about 40 minutes from us, which is wicked.

25. I had the amazing good fortune to work at both their workplaces (summer jobs with my Dad, supply teaching with my Mom) and it was so amazing to see how great they were at their jobs and how well respected they were.

26. Most of my family members are teachers.

27. I am a Roman Catholic., as is virtually all of my family with the exception of my paternal grandmother.

28. I attended Catholic school until I went to University.

29. In the province of Ontario, Catholic education is publicly funded.

30. The patron saint of my elementary school was St. Francis of Assisi.

31. My high school was named after a former bishop of our diocese. It was in the next town over, so I was bussed to high school. This meant more snow days when buses were cancelled.

32. Though I had lots of friends, I was a nerd in school. For example, I had the top average in both elementary and high school, and won student of the year and school spirit awards when I graduated. NERD!

33. My family traveled a lot as I was growing up. At first, it was mostly in Canada and the US. Over time, we headed off to Europe and all over the world.

34. I have been to 9 provinces and 33 states. I try to keep the number of states visited above my age.

35. I have also visited over 30 countries on 4 different continents.

36. My travel goals include: visiting all 7 continents, visiting all the provinces and territories, visiting all the states and visiting all the countries on the European land mass.

37. My husband’s name is Dave. He blogs at: .
38. He is hilariously funny. He is also incredibly considerate and terribly good looking.

39. Dave’s parents are from Newfoundland, our easternmost province and the last to join Confederation. For those of you who aren’t Canadian, Newfoundlanders are like no other Canadians. Their accents sound Irish (since the bulk of the islanders have Irish ancestors) and they know how to drink! Their hospitality knows no bounds.

40. My husband and I went to the same elementary school. Our parents lived about three blocks from each other.

41. He is two years older. As such, we were not exactly close as children. I knew who he was and thought he was weird. It was the spiky haircut.

42. We also attended the same high school, where we became friends because we were both drama nerds. He was one of my closest friends in high school well before we started dating.

43. The big production at our high school each year was a musical. We were both in “Bye, Bye Birdie”, “Pippin” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. He assistant directed our version of “The Wiz” which I was in.

44. Hilariously, I was “The Wiz” in that musical. It should be noted that our Catholic school was 99% white. Such a strange choice of musical.

45. I was also in two non-musicals, “Exit the Body” and “The Mousetrap”. My best friend, Beth, was also in both of these. More on Beth later in the list.

46. The best of all of these was “Joseph”. So much fun, and the cast was amazing.

47. We jokingly got engaged at a Barenaked Ladies concert the summer before my grade 12 year. I told him that I was going to marry him and he said “OK”. As a result, we’d been ‘engaged’ for about a year before we actually ended up dating. My then current boyfriend wasn’t a big fan of Dave.

48. He dated a number of my friends in high school. To their credit, all were thrilled when we finally got together in the summer of 1995.

49. Dave and I dated for 2.5 years, though we were at different universities in cities four hours apart for 1.5 of those years. We broke up in January 1998.

50. We remained good friends throughout the breakup. I dated someone else for over a year, but the breakup with Dave was never a clean one.

51. In January 2000, half way through our fourth year, Dave and I got back together. We’ve been together ever since.

52. I attended this University . Attending it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

53. I did my undergraduate and Master’s degrees there, studying Food Science.

54. My blog url is a nod to my computer-assigned email address at University. It is so odd that NO ONE else ever wants it.

55. I lived in residence for 3 years (the last year I was president of my 600 person residence hall).

56. For the next 3 years I lived in an apartment in a funky old Edwardian house downtown, steps from the river.

57. The city of Guelph is lovely. I miss both the school and the town, but find that Ottawa is just a bigger, bilingual version of Guelph.

58. My university nicknames included SarahMac and Smac.

59. Smac stuck. I went through 3 or 4 years where the only people who called me ‘Sarah’ were my family and Dave. People would say to me “We know that you are Smac, but what is your real name?”

60. My nerdy ways continued in University. I was involved in student governance, in Senate, in work with my faculty and other volunteer work on and off campus.

61. I still fit in a great deal of drinking, though. The age of majority in Ontario is 19, and I turned that right at the beginning of my first year.

62. One of the coolest things I was able to do was to study abroad, via Michigan State University. I went to Europe, then to Asia, to study International Food Laws. Both were AMAZING experiences.

63. These led me to pursue a career in the public service.

64. My Master’s degree, though in a scientific field, was an analysis of international laws and regulations. Seriously – NERD!

65. Dave and I got engaged in July 2003.

66. One day I will tell the proposal story. It involves breaking into my wallet, a list of places we want to visit written on a napkin, and wearing jeans during a heat wave.

67. We were married in October, 2004. Our anniversary is exactly one week after my birthday.

68. It was a big Italian-Newfie Catholic wedding. We were married in our home parish. The reception was at an Italian Canadian banquet hall, so there was good food and an open bar. It was a blast.

69. Dave and I went on a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon. It was our first cruise, and we LOVED it.

70. It was also Dave’s first time outside of North America. His first city – Venice. He hadn’t believed me when I had told him (even showing him my photos) that there really are no roads. It was fun to watch him absorb the culture.

71. We have since introduced my parents to cruising and they are HUGE FANS.

72. We have now cruised in the Caribbean, the Baltic, to Bermuda, and to New Zealand and Australia. I went with my parents to Alaska this past summer as well.

73. My favourite country is Italy.

74. My favourite city is Florence.

75. The countries I have visited to which I am dying to get back: Russia and Australia. Australia is the only country to which I have entertained thoughts of immigrating. Also Thailand (though I don't want to move there).

76. Countries that I have not yet visited yet am dying to: Ireland, South Africa, Tanzania, Egypt, Peru, Argentina.

77. I don’t think I will be getting to them any time soon, though, with a newborn.

78. We currently live in a suburb of Ottawa (part of the megacity of Ottawa). It is an adorable community of about 10,000 people, completely surrounded by greenspace (trails, soccer fields, etc.). It has a library, and arena, a grocery store, etc. It is like a little town within a city, and it we love it.

79. We moved to Ottawa the same week we got married. I moved up first; I moved to a new city, started a new job and got married in an 8 day period.

80. For our first 3 years, we rented a funky apartment in the manse of a Lutheran church near the city centre. We made our rent cheques out to that parish.

81. We purchased our house in August of 2007. The house was built in 1967 (great workmanship, hardwood floors throughout, but an ensuite and other amenities. SCORE!) and we purchased it from the original owner. She is in her late 80s.

82. Our neighbourhood is about 60-40 anglophone-francophone. This is fun for me, as I speak French fluently.

83. My job hinges on me speaking French fluently, in fact. And has nothing to do with what I studied in school.

84. My exact job will likely change while I am away on maternity leave. I am not sure exactly what I will be doing when I return.

85. We have two cats, both of whom were adopted from the Humane Society.

86. Gunther is a big brown and black tabby. I saw him on Petfinder and fell in love; I call him my online love.

87. When we went to the humane society, I was insistent that we not get a kitten and we not get a long haired cat. We ended up with Morris (aka Moe, MoeMoe, the Zose, the Dode).

88. Moe is a long-haired tuxedo cat who was 4 months when we adopted him. He seduced Dave in the room of kittens. It was love at first sight.

89. Though we have had them for 3.5 years, the cats really don’t like each other. They tolerate each other, and will occasionally groom each other, but each would really prefer to be the sole cat of the household.

90. Neither of the cats meow like you would expect. One meeps (Moe, the little one) and one kind of groans (Gunther, the big one). Our kids will not do so well on the “what sound does a cat make?” portion of the test.

91. Since the arrival of the baby, the cats have been a bit stressed out. His cries do sometimes sound like a cat in distress.

92. As mentioned above, my best girlfriend’s name is Beth. I should note that her full name is now Dr. Beth Snow; she has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences.

93. Beth blogs at: I occasionally guest post over there. Beth calls me the “resident historian/political commentator”, a title for which I hold no real qualifications besides being a self-trained history nerd.

94. Beth and I met in 4th grade; all the ‘gifted’ kids in our school district got thrown together several times a year, and though we went to different schools we bonded over our mutual love of the Blue Jays. We hit the same school in the 9th grade. Beth also did her MSc. at the same Univsersity as me.

95. Beth now lives in Vancouver. Impressively, we still see each other several times a year. I miss her, though, and wish that she lived closer. But this gives me an excuse to visit Vancouver and eat and drink. Vancouver restaurants and local beers ROCK!

96. I have other friends whom I love dearly, but none of them have blogs, so I will not highlight them in this list.

97. I love pop culture, and am not too proud to admit that I love TV. My favourite TV show of all time is “Veronica Mars”. I MISS YOU, LOGAN ECHOLLS.

98. I started reading blogs (which were really just personal websites) back in 2000 or 2001.

99. I started reading Mom blogs (most of which were infertility blogs) in late 2003/early 2004. They have been part of my daily routine ever since.

100. And now…here I am, adding my thoughts to the noise on the internet.


  1. Awww, I miss you too! So glad you are blogging now! Welcome to the blog side!

  2. You called me terribly good looking. YEAH! I love this blog!