This list of 35 40 things reflects one thing for each year of my life. I have updated this list annually since I was 33. I am lazy and haven’t updated it every year, but I do have an item of interest for every year of my life. If you want to know anything about me, this list is definitely a great starting place!

1. I was born in St. Louis. As a kid, I moved around a bit, but was not a military child. You can consider me a university brat. I lived in St. Louis, Palo Alto and just outside of Boston. The St. Louis Cardinals are the only major league team I cheer for.

2. I have a very typical nuclear family: 2 parents, 1 younger brother. Growing up, we had a dog and a white picket fence. My parents have been married for almost 40 47 years. They rock.

3. My brother is gay. When I was in college and for many years into adulthood, I didn’t advertise that information. I was never ashamed of him, but was anxious about what others would think of me. Though I’m much more open about who he is now, I still don’t advertise it – he’s my brother and that’s all most people need to know.

4. I was raised Jewish. Though I relate to many of the Jewish traditions, I am not particularly religious. Spiritual, though, for sure. My brother likes to say, “Nilsa, you’re not Jewish. You’re Jew-ISH?”

5. The first time I got drunk was when I was 2. My parents brought me to a wine tasting with their friends. I guess everyone thought it’d be cute to offer me tiny sips of their wine, not realizing others were doing the same. At the end, when my mom set me down, my legs collapsed under me and I slept for a number of hours. It was also my first blackout – I don’t remember a thing.

6. Though I met one of my best friends while living in Wellesley (outside Boston), I didn’t love living there. The place lacked diversity. I used to have more to say about that place, but I now just prefer to leave it alone.

7. I have had two anxiety dreams in my life. The first was before my first piano recital – I dreamt I fell off the stage after my curtsy. The second was before I moved to California – I dreamt everyone there had blonde hair.

8. I am usually mum about where my dad works (and mom used to work), because I know people will judge me and my family without merit. It sometimes comes across that I’m not proud of what they do, but that’s not true. I should probably tell them how I feel more often.

9. My grandmother was my hero. She returned home from a double date and told her mother she met the man she was going to marry – her friend’s date. One day, that man became my grandfather; my grandmother was waiting for him, marriage license in hand, when he returned home from the war. She knew what she wanted, went after it and got it. Yet, she remained full of grace. Plus, when I showed her a picture of a high school pal with his ass half out of his pants, she said she wasn’t aware I was friends with the repairman.

10. I wanted to go to a small to mid-sized university in a city. I ended up going to a large public university in a college town. I figured had the rest of my life to live in big cities and probably would never choose to live in a college town. Next to the Cardinals, the Tar Heels are the only other team I follow.

11. An ex-boyfriend once told me I’m like a computer. When I’m on, I’m really with it – nothing gets by me. But, when I’m off, like screen-saver mode, everything seems to float right over my head. I hate to admit, he’s right.

12. Very rarely do I remember lines from movies. Except one from Dazed and Confused: That’s the thing about them high schools girls. I keep getting older and they stay the same age. I’m not sure why I choose to remember that line because that movie isn’t a typical genre I like.

13. I love grapes; hate raisins, though I’ll eat them if drowning in chocolate. Love plums, hate prunes, under all circumstances. Think cucumbers are alright and thoroughly enjoy most pickles. I’ve also lately had a hankering for jalapenos (and no, I’m not pregnant!).

14. I cried uncontrollably during the movie Big Fish. So much so, I couldn’t get up at the end of the movie. No hyperventilating or other dramatics, but I did need a few extra tissues.

15. One of my best friends is Asian. When she learned I might have other Asian friends, she responded with horror. She wanted to be my “token Asian friend.”

16. I’m 5’2 and and weigh more than I want to, though you may think I look just fine. No matter how much I weigh, I’ll always be able to call myself petite due to my height.

17. I can curl my tongue and wiggle my ears. I have no other stupid human tricks to offer.

18. After college, I lived without a TV for 6 weeks. Then I lived without cable for many years. Now, we just bought own a 42″ flat screen LCD TV with HD digital cable. *sigh* At least we still haven’t succumbed to Tivo DVR. And we also have a DVR. *double sigh*

19. I have dated a student, bartender, police detective, secret service agent, lawyer, sales rep, art director, dentist, IT geek and mortgage broker, but have fallen the most madly in love with a nurse.

20. When I was on the dating scene, I used to like my men tall with dark hair and light eyes. However, unless on deck, they should never wear boat shoes. That was (and still is) a deal breaker. Thankfully, my husband would have made the correct decision on his own!

21. I started taking piano lessons when I was 6. I stuck with it through high school and into college. One day, when I we have more space we have enough money saved, I we will get a piano and I will start playing again. I miss those days.

22. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. We used to celebrate every year on Cape Cod. Those years were the best. Now, the Cape has to share with Maine and Chicago. I miss going to the Cape every year, but try to be a good sport when gathering in other locales (though I don’t always do a very good job).

23. The last time I went to Disney World was before Epcot was built. I’m kind of proud of that fact.

24. Men with foreign accents don’t impress me. Neither do men in uniform or musicians. However, I have always had a thing for left handed men. Something about the way they protectively cradle a pen in their masculine hands.

25. I have completed one triathlon and five marathons. After watching me complete my second marathon, my dad said to me, “Your mother and I have always been able to take credit for different parts of your personality. However, we’re really not sure where this marathoning thing came from. It’s great, though. Really great.”

26. I hate roller coasters. I have only been on one upside-down roller coaster. In Vegas. And I was sober.

27. I have only thrown up from alcohol twice in my life. Some might argue I can hold my liquor. Others would argue I’m a lightweight who rarely drinks.

28. I’m allergic to red wine – it gives me migraine headaches. Sometimes, the strong scent goes straight to my head. I also should probably admit that I don’t like the way I feel after drinking white wine. For this reason, I am shamed by my father, whose hobby is collecting (and drinking) wine.

29. I don’t wear glasses. Though I have a pair for when my eyes “tire” from being in front of a computer for too long. I haven’t worn them in years. At the ripe old age of almost-38, I got glasses. Though I still held my head high when the eye doctor said my eyes are in really great shape. And, at 40, I now am wearing them most of the time. Sigh.

30. I hate disinfecting. I don’t do toilets. And I barely do floors. Strangely, I’m OCD about taking Clorox homemade, child-friendly wipes to the kitchen counter after I’m done cooking.

31. The only time I ever dated Jewish boys was when I was in high school. After that I steered clear because I didn’t want to be good enough for their Jewish mothers – I wanted to be good enough for them. Now I date am married to a fabulous Presbyterian and have been welcomed by his family without judgment.

32. In my 33 35 40 years on this earth, only one man has asked my parents for their blessing in a marriage proposal. Thankfully, they said yes! (So did I!)

33. I have never felt a greater sense One of the greatest senses of responsibility than being has been being a mom to our dog, SoMi. One of the main purposes in my life is to see she’s cared for and happy. That’s why she got to sleep on the bed last night gets to sleep on the bed almost every night even though I just bought her she has a perfectly good dog bed, which rests right next to my our bed now resides by my desk in the kitchen, which isn’t in the bedroom.

34. I got married at the age of 34. Even though most people think I’m made of steel, I cried throughout the day. The tears poured out heaviest when Sweets and I exchanged our vows and when my father did a reading. There is nothing quite like seeing your own father get choked up.

35. For our honeymoon, Sweets and I decided to travel to Costa Rica, where we fell in love with casado (rice, beans and whatever else falls into the bowl). We also met a couple we’ll likely be friends with for a long time to come. For our one-year anniversary, we are contemplating a trip to Europe or a trip to South America. The strength (or should I say, weakness) of the American dollar will likely determine where we go.

36. We were too lazy to do much planning for our first anniversary, but I surprised Sweets with tickets to a U2 concert – it was awesome! For our second anniversary, we spent a long weekend in New York City. Our third anniversary was quietly acknowledged at home and followed up by a belated weekend in Galena, IL.

37. In October 2010, at the age of 36, I gave birth to our first son. We named him Gavin Cole. He arrived 9 weeks early, weighed 3 lbs 15 oz, couldn’t eat on his own and spent 5 weeks in the NICU. So far, he has had no medical or physical or psychological issues related to his premature birth. We thank our lucky stars every single day!

38. My parenting style is a mixture of attachment parenting and free range parenting, if that’s possible. In the first year (and beyond), I advocate for baby wearing, co-sleeping (in the same room) and responding to a baby when he/she cries. As the baby becomes mobile (and curious), I advocate letting them explore their surroundings without a lot of parental intervention. Parents are there to make sure their children are safe, not stifle them from discovery.

39. My favorite alcoholic drink is likely Prosecco (I certainly love Champagne and Cava and other sparkling wines, too), though I drink beer much more than Prosecco (tell me, why doesn’t wine come in single servings the way beer does?!). During the summer, I’ve been known to enjoy a Gin and Tonic and when out for brunch, Bloody Mary’s are often my go to.

40. To celebrate my 40th birthday (!!!!!), my 5th wedding anniversary to Sweets (!!) and Gavin’s third birthday (for good measure), we took a two-week trip to Italy to visit my parents (who were living in Milan for the year) and to travel around the northern part of the country. It was both magical and absolutely insane to spend so much time with and in such close proximity to my parents to travel with a three-year old. Seeing a country through the eyes of the very young is unique and quite fun; dealing with meltdowns while trying to enjoy my own magical trip was not.

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