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Jules Pieri

Author Archives: Jules Pieri

Founder and CEO of The Grommet.

  • Grommet in the wild (can I call a person a Grommet?)

    I had the pleasure of hearing author and WSJ columnist Jeffrey Zaslow speaking last night, at a Carnegie Mellon alumni event.  We featured his wonderful book, The Girls from Ames, about friendship on Grommet last year.

    You probably know his most prominent book which is an international phenomenon, having sold 5 million copies in the US alone, and translated into 47 languages:

    And you might know his latest book:

    But here's the point of this post....if you ever have a chance to see Jeffrey speak, run do not walk to do it.  I went with a friend and he said:

    These author things are often kind of lightweight because they are not comfortable speakers.  Ten minutes and then a Q and A.  But Zaslow!  It was long, but sooo worth it.   The first ten minutes he was like a stand-up comedian.  But the guy has worked with such interesting and inspirational people, and he has  a real gift for extracting the story within the story.  You know what it is like?  Like seeing Springsteen live.  Other musicians might just phone it in, but Springsteen totally delivers.  So does Jeffrey Zaslow!

    Beyond that, Jeffrey was very gracious when we spoke and fondly remembered details of his Grommet experience.  I remember how excited we were to discover the book.  Our team devoured it and were delighted when the actual girls from Ames participated in our online discussion, alongside Zaslow.  It was a very rich day of conversation.  No wonder, with this author at the helm!

  • Inspired by Design

    Today I would like to share a recent exchange  with Grace Bonney of the ever-popular design blog Design*Sponge. Although Grace needs little introduction, I'll point out that she has forged the way for many design bloggers looking to tap their talent and share their design. Grace started D*S in 2004 and it's readership wildly surpasses 60,000 a day. Grace's talent, eye for design, and humble approach are all inspiring.

    Design*Sponge also hosts an annual D*S Scholarship to support up-and-coming art and design students. Perhaps future Grommets will be given life as a result of Grace's mentorship and generosity, it is very possible.

    Grace BooneyInterview with Grace Bonney

    We love to share stories…  Can you tell us the story behind the name Design Sponge?

    I chose the name Design*Sponge because I thought it represented who I was and the way I soak up design- like a sponge. Looking back, part of me always wishes I'd chosen a cooler name (it can feel a little silly to say the word "sponge" 20 times a day), but Design*Sponge is perfect because I'm not a super cool or slick person- so something slightly dorky and upbeat is pretty accurate ;)

    What makes you stop to look at a particular design or piece of art twice?

    Like a lot of people, I respond to things on a completely gut level. If it makes me smile, laugh, feel sad or reminds me of something that's meaningful to me, it's almost always a good sign that I'll consider posting it. I only post 6 times a day (which isn't a lot if you consider only 2 out of every 6 posts is product-based) so I'm really careful with what i choose to post, product or art-wise. I try to never post something that's appeared online before and always focus on something that I think will make our readers smile, or will in some way inspire them to do something in their own home.

    DIY salvaged wood inspiration board from D*S

    With the rise of popular design blogs like yours, do you feel design is more accessible to the masses? Has this changed the design industry- if at all?
     
    Absolutely- it's impossible to ignore the way the web and design blogs have effected design and the design market as a whole. From crowd-sourced product-design to the increased access to designers and products from around the world, it's as if the wall between consumers and products has completely crumbled. That wall was built out of things like fancy interior designers and high end trade magazines- things that created this myth that "real" people couldn't create a well-designed home without the help of someone in the profession. But when the design world came online (blogs, Etsy.com, online designers at affordable prices) people realized, 'wait a minute- I can get advice, access to products, trend tips, and shopping roundups online for free?' then why do I need someone to tell me what to pick, how much to pay, and where to buy it? You can do all of that online for free now. If you need a little extra guidance you can pick a design blog that speaks to your style and get an edited list of suggestions. But if you're enterprising you can go online and order everything you need for your dream home without ever consulting an interior designer or cracking open a fancy trade magazine.
     
    Why do you think Design Sponge hits a nerve with so many people?
     
    I think D*S was in the right place at the right time with the right content. I started the site pre-Domino magazine and there were only a handful of blogs running back in 2004. Originally, there wasn't a place for young women on limited budgets to find something inspirational and that spoke to their specific style. So in the early stages, I think it was about filling a niche that wasn't being filled yet. But as the site has grown (and more blogs have started to fill the same niche), I've done my best to expand and grow so that we focus on bringing unique and original content to the table. It's hard to stand out if you just post new products, because everyone gets the press releases and news on practically the same days, so instead of getting into that race for "new new new"- we focus on trying to share new ideas and original columns that our readers won't see anywhere else. I think people (I know I'm like this with the blogs I love) appreciate seeing any site that is always trying to push itself further and serve their audience in more and more ways.
     
    How is your book coming?
     
    Well we're finally in the end of the design phase! Design*Sponge At Home will be on shelves next spring! It's 400+ pages of home tours (75 at last count), DIY projects and DIY basics (50 projects and a huge list of basics like wallpapering, electrical wiring, and upholstery), Before & Afters (50 makeovers and tips to recreate the look in your own home) and a fun section on Floral Arranging. I can't wait for everyone to see what I've been poring over for the last year :)
    -
    Your work is a life force in celebrating and preserving craft. How do you approach merchants like IKEA who have high design sensibilities but compromise on construction and materials to meet a low cost?

    I think some people feel handmade and machine made can't exist in the same world- but they could and should. There's room for all design if you know how to use it. Personally I don't feel IKEA compromises on construction- they're pretty up front about offering basic furniture at basic prices. I'm disappointed when I see larger brands offering shoddy merchandise at higher prices. I would never walk into IKEA and expect hand-crafted dovetail joints for $99 so I'm never disappointed ;)
         However, I think it's all about a balance. If you only bought handmade all the time, you'd really be spending a lot of money and if you only bought mass-produced you'd start to have a cookie-cutter home and would miss out on supporting great local artists.
         So I think my responsibility is to point out what you can do with great affordable things from shops like Ikea (ie: diy projects and customization) and to point out great indie artists doing things by hand. It's up to readers to decide how best to integrate that into their own homes to suit their needs.
    ...at the end of the day, great artists will find a way to get their work out there.

    I have two sons studying design in college, so thanks for your work to support students. Which schools do you see doing world-changing work these days?

    Oh man, I LOVE student design. I really wish I could teach a summer course on properly using the internet to advance a young career- it would be a blast. I think just about every furniture and product design student I see coming out of Pratt is amazing. And I love the creativity of the fibers students at the Savannah College of Art and Design. FIT's pattern design students are fantastic, and the open-minded students coming from the California College of the Arts (formerly "of the Arts and Crafts"- so sad they changed their name) are amazing. RISD is consistently churning out great artists, as is Cranbrook. But at the end of the day, great artists will find a way to get their work out there. Some of my favorite designers are people who discovered art without a formal education.

    Is there a reason your team is nearly all women, like ours, or is it serendipity?
     
    I think our aesthetic is inherently a bit girly, so we're going to attract a primarily female audience and editorial team. But we do have a few guys on the team- Derek Fagerstrom (DIY), Nick Olsen (trend watching), and Ryan Walker (Behind the Bar column) contribute and I'm always looking to have more male voices on there. But I think the site in nature is highly feminine so it will probably always be skewed that way until, and if, we expand to embrace a more masculine look.
     
    Grace, thank you for sharing with us. We look forward to reading your book when it comes out and always, look forward to the day's inspiration over on D*S.
     
    While browsing Design*Sponge, we stumbled upon some "grommet" inspiration.
     
  • Claire from 0 to 60 on video

    I was so delighted to see this final (for now) video from our recently departed intern Claire Lorman. She's headed back to Savannah College of Art and Design for her Junior Year. Claire wrote a heartwarming departing blog post and this video was like another form of greeting card for me.

    I just loved seeing her learn and blossom and really contribute in her summer stay at the Grommet. I think of my own son who also just finished his summer internship and hope he endeared himself as much to his employer as Claire did with us.

  • What it is REALLY like to have your picture taken for The New York Times

    First off let me state clearly that we were over-the-moon-happy with Amy Wallace's feature story on Daily Grommet in The New York Times Sunday Business section yesterday.  Here's a picture of me holding it.

    This is our first "big" national story and we were lucky to be in the hands of such a skilled journalist.

    But here's my former fantasy (held since childhood) about what it would be like to get my picture taken for an important article:

    • I'd get a good night's sleep before the photo session.  And I would be serene and composed, having deferred all difficult tasks to another day.
    • I would make sure my hair looked good.
    • I'd carefully plan my wardrobe to be flattering and, surely, project the right image.

    Here is what really happened.  We had one hour's notice of the photo shoot. I've been traveling non stop and we realized we HAD to do it on a rare day in the office. The NYT pulled a photographer out of the hat very quickly to accommodate.

    Joanne and I each had a brief 10 second panic.  Not just for the surprise.  More that we were in no state to be photographed.  And that is not vanity talking...

    It was a 95 degree high humidity day in Boston and we had spent most of it shooting video.  That is tiring in itself, but the hardest part is we have to turn off the air conditioning in the office to avoid the blowing sounds.  It's a challenging day for all of us because of that.  (No heat in the winter either, but that is not as uncomfortable.)

    Joanne and I were stained, rumpled, sweaty messes.  Whatever hairdo or makeup we had sported in the morning had been long wiped out.  We each  made a quick plan to buzz home and put on something clean.  I said, "I'm coming back in a white t-shirt and a black vest."  She said, "No!  That's my go-to outfit for pictures." Clearly we've been working together too closely.

    I thought about fighting back.  But I then realized I could make no such impressive claim to having a "a go-to outfit."  So I stuck with the wrinkled (never ironed it in the AM anyway) linen print dress I had on.  (Julia reassured me it was "very Grommet.")  I did go home to slap on some makeup...but the reality of that photo is we were still dripping with sweat and anything but fresh.

    When the actual article came out (online first) I was afraid to look (not so much for the photo but for any stray bonehead quotes I had provided).    We knew it would hit at 3PM on Saturday and I cowardly stayed down on the dock in Maine while my family and a bunch of friends from Dublin and Detroit  were up in the camp hitting "refresh refresh refresh" on the NYT site.  When the article finally appeared, 19-year-old Julie (who won Miss Trinity College Dublin this year) used her finest elocution skills to read the article to all assembled.  Then, my "toughest critic" son showed upon the dock sporting an iPad and a big smile.  I knew I was in the clear.

    Amy had spared me from myself, this time.

    My hair does look sweaty, though.

  • More Grommets in the Wild

    I recently posted updates about Grommets I spotted in San Francisco...now here's an update from the Detroit and Boston fronts.

    First stop, the Maker Faire Detroit.  I was there to give a talk on Citizen Commerce (tm), while also kicking off a "Great Grommet Search" for Michigan based products.

    Here I am struggling through some AV challenges before my talk, which were nicely mitigated by the Make Magazine editor Goli Mohammedi.

    I chatted with Bethany Shorb and the Cyberoptix Tie Lab Studio Manager David at the Maker Faire in Detroit--where they had an expectedly well-conceived and merchandised booth.

    Bethany has some terrific new designs.  My favorite was the blueprint for Cass Technical High School.  She said, "But I won't tell you where I got the originals."  The former (current?) rocker likes to live on the edge of danger in her art too, apparently.  I like this particular set of designs because Cass Tech was the Detroit public high school I was slated to attend until I snuck in my parents' basement, called a posh boarding school, and scared up a scholarship to attend (true story, abbreviated to make it snappy).

    I ran into one of my junior high pals and "almost" Cass classmates while in Detroit.  I learned what I would expect...Cass Tech would have been a great educational home for me if the suburbs and a dorm by the lake hadn't called me away.

    Back on the ranch, in Boston, I spent a few happy hours at the SOWA Open Air Art Fair on a steamy July Sunday.  I bumped into Jeff Weeks of Mean and Wroughten (remember the hand-made cribbage board from discarded tools?)

    I forgot to snap a pic of Jeff, and when I went back to his booth, I found it being manned by a not-too-pleased Scott, who play-acted his anger at Jeff (with a dagger for prop) for taking off and not getting back at the agreed time.  That's Jeff being Jeff, methinks.  But we love his work.

    I hung with Olivia Chamberland in the Zamforia booth of clever "It Says Love" t-shirts. They've opened their first retail location...if you are in the vicinity of Quincy, MA go check it out.

    Speaking of retail locations, I also popped in to visit Michelle of Michelle Wiley Home on Union Square in Boston.

    Michelle discovered the Jokipiin Pellava line of luxury Finnish bath towels and did  a gorgeous job explaining them in this video.  She's since expanded her shop, added a tight line of apparel, and an enthusiastic store manager named Keith, who gets to bring his dog to work too.

    Michelle has a such a lovely sensibility to everything she chooses, and the way she does her displays.  Keith is making his mark too.  I am signing off with a few eye candy shots from the shop.

  • My (funnier) cousin separated at birth

    Self portrait on right.

    Illustrator, designer and artist Maira Kalman has long been a heroine of mine.  If you have kids you might recognize her children's books like Max Makes a Million.

    If you read the New Yorker, you already know her covers.

    If you are up on your industrial design history, you know she founded M & Co. with her late husband Tibor, and they created these watches:

    And these paperweights:

    The San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum is exhibiting the first-ever show (of thirty years) of her work. Because of that, and because the man in the cafe just gave me a free Coke, this is my new favorite museum.  I have been trying for a week to get here, taunted by the brightly colored !!Maira Kalman Exhibit!! banners flapping from virtually every lamp post in downtown San Francisco.  When my Bay Area trip got unexpectedly extended a day, I made a beeline over the museum, even catching the once-weekly docent tour of the Kalman work.

    I knew I loved her but I was getting positively creeped out at the oddities and affections we share:

    • We have both created a piece of art from onion rings
    • She says, "The best way to see a country, unless you are pressed for time, is on foot."
    • We both collect string, rubber bands, old boxes, and she collects ladders, which I would if I had that kind of space
    • She says she finds 500 things to draw or write about on a simple walk.  So do I.  And let me tell you I am pretty frustrated not to be her and to get paid to actually do it.
    • She irons sheets.  (OK I admit it.  I used to do that when I had time.)
    • She loves Abraham Lincoln, stationery stores, Saul Steinberg, Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeleine books) and Gertrude Stein
    • She loves being an entrepreneur and once ran a store called Milton that changed every day.  THAT CHANGED EVERY DAY.  I did not even know that.

    OK, admittedly this is a list that many designers would share, so perhaps we are not uniquely soul mates.  But I wrote this in her guest book anyway:

    Maira,

    You are my (funnier, more creative) twin separated at birth.

    Except I have neater handwriting.  I changed it when I turned 40.  I had to.

    The ligatures were killing me.

    jules @ dailygrommet . com

    I deliberately left my email as my signature.  I hope she contacts me and offers to work together.  Stranger things have happened to me.

  • Grommets in the Wild

    I'm writing this from the window of a Peet's in downtown San Francisco.  I have been here for a week of quasi-vacation.  Any entrepreneur knows what I mean when I say "quasi".  I did more Grommet stuff in my "spare" vacation time (i.e. while the family was sleeping or otherwise entertained) than I'd like to admit.  But when you love what you do....and are in a hurry to do a lot...you do what it takes.  And the whole family enjoyed shooting video of a really special upcoming Grommet my own son discovered while living in SF.

    A highlight of any of my travels is seeing Grommets we discovered months ago starting to get retail distribution.  I snapped a few shots, all in the fabulous Ferry Building.  It's a spot any foodie visitors to the Bay Area certainly know.  I can also highly recommend the North Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto tours for that same crowd.)

    In front of Ferry Building, San Francisco

    Anyway, here are my shots of the Grommets spreading their wings:

    My son with a Spencer Peterman Bowl

    This shop had a very nice range of Spencer Peterman's bowls made of spaulted maple, displayed very prominently on the edge of the pedestrian concourse.  Go Spencer!  His bowls take an amazing amount of patience...he basically curates very particular wood specimens from fallen and aged trees.

    The Gardener is one of my favorite Ferry Building shops, so I was not surprised to see they are featuring the Lunch Bots line.  A very smart choice, see below.

    Finally, this family business which is a combo kitchen store, farmer's market and deli had a couple of Grommets tucked in the displays.  Innovative kitchen tools from Joseph Joseph (see a broader range here) , and a wine tote from Built.

    People sometimes ask why I would tell them about "bricks and mortar" places to buy Grommets--and effectively give away sales.  It's because specialty retail is the lifeblood of young companies and innovation.  I am delighted to send those shops as many customers as I can.  I don't want a world where every transaction is over the internet.  The reality is most Grommets can't be found outside of major urban centers or a region close to their "homes".  So while e-commerce plays a key role in telling meaningful product stories, there is room for everyone to support these kinds of companies.

    I'm looking forward to the day when Anthony, Jeanne and I get to realize our vision of a Grommet mobile app that helps you find "Grommets in the Wild".  I want to give people a way to take photos and help us map them all across the world.  How cool would that be?  You could geo-locate a really talented independent retailer, in a town you never visited,  just by finding a concentration of Grommets.  Oh to have more time and people to make this happen tomorrow!

  • My Rambler surprised me.

    My family is driving two used cars.  One is a ten-year-old "Grandpa Car" that was purchased because it is reported to be the safest vehicle for teenage drivers.  You will never see a picture of it in this blog, as the mere sight of it depresses me.

    The other, the '64 Rambler, is my daily driver.  It is very cool, but it can be disconcerting to drive.  When I am behind the wheel, strangers on the street frequently wave, point, and gesture--enthusiastically.  Since I am always thinking about something other than my car, I am usually startled by the cheerful public response.

    The Rambler has two features I adore.  First, it has these tough little antennae that scrape loudly and "boing" when you are grazing too close to a hard surface, like a curb.  It's a refreshingly low-tech and durable solution to an enduring problem.

    Second, I am charmed by the "Vibratone" rear speaker system.  When you turn it on, your radio sounds are projected through two back seat speakers that are literally vibrating.  The echo-ey sound is supposed to make you feel like you are in a live concert venue.  Not exactly.  It just makes me laugh.

    But I found a new aspect of the car that charmed me yesterday.  Under the dash is a swiveling chrome tissue box.  I call it my "windshield defrost system" because it works better than the blower.

    But what surprised me this weekend?  Well, I have to admit that I have never looked inside the tissue box myself...but I was watching my husband fill it yesterday.  And was so delighted to see that the tissues get placed inside this hand-crafted wooden box whose lining is an exact match to the seat upholstery!

    Now those were the days...when a car was a car and someone fussed over the hidden rectangle of fabric in my tissue box.  And to think the Rambler was a real budget car, in its heyday.  (It still is inexpensive today...they call it the "orphan car" because so few people collect them.  You can get one for a song.)

    If you are really into this, you can see me driving my car in this video.

  • Rob Walker strikes again: where do gadgets come from?

    Rob Walker writes the "Consumed" column in the Sunday NYT magazine.  Partly in response to the terrible string of suicides at the Foxconn facility in China, he explored the issue of "knowing" exactly where the stuff we buy comes from, in an article called Open Secrets.  He's acknowledging the fact that when something goes wrong (like the pet food recall, or YouTube video phenom of the slumbering Comcast repairman) the transparency culture and social media tools are quick to surface these blunders.

    But Rob is highlighting the 99% cases in which we buy something, and nothing goes "wrong" but we have no idea where it came from, who made it, or how.  He argues that this precise information would be even more compelling to people than aggregate scores of "goodness":

    "I suspect it’s the specificity that matters; knowing something about a particular laptop or pair of sneakers or pet food resonates with consumers more than an aggregate score or a big-picture summary. Imagine an open-source effort emerging to make that brand/production relationship much less opaque than it is. I don’t expect that most consumers would actually turn every impulse buy into a research project, but I bet it would change the way brands scrutinize their supply chains if they knew that every thing we buy was really, truly transparent."

    This article hit me at just the right time as we've been evaluating a Grommet submission which does reveal exactly this kind of information.  In my mind having precise supply chain information (factories used, location of each, people employed, component materials information) elevated the product (which is wonderful, but not revolutionary on its own) to a different category.    To "here's a company raising the bar for everyone else."

    Rob wrote an update to the NYT article on his Murketing blog.  It is worth checking out...turns out there is some progress being made on this issue.

    These are the original images from the NYT article...by Sam Panthaky/Agence France-Presse — Getty Image. I hope it is kosher to share them....nice work.   I will pull them right down if I am crossing a line.

  • Someone in this photo has a prehensile tail

    Someone recently called me "odd" and meant it as a high compliment.  I took it that way, at least.  Now I know why I love this Daily Grommet team so much.  Because if I am "odd," then this collective bunch is "odd-to-the-tenth."

    Let me explain.  We recently had a Clam Bake company outing for the Boston-based team, down in gorgeous Rhode Island.  We played a game.  (Not a creepy ropes-course-corporate-"trust" game.  Never!)  We tried to match a secret list of "little known facts about me" with the actual team members who self-reported individually.  Here we are playing it:

    Here is the list of stuff we reported on ourselves. We had to stop to eat clams and we never found out who said, "I have a small, prehensile tail, which makes bike-riding uncomfortable, and wearing spandex or lycra, out of the question." Any guesses????

    (You can see a whole bunch of photos from the outing here, on Facebook. )

    Grommet Trivia Game

    _______________   I was a cheerleader in college.

    _______________   My first "real job" was at Double D's.
    _______________   In high school I could eat 2 Big Macs in one sitting.

    _______________   My first job was cleaning horse stalls/horse barn.

    _______________   My first job was slicing bologna in the deli. Then I moved on to cashier at the local grocery store.

    _______________   My first job was pushing an ice cream cart selling ChipWiches at a Six Flags.

    _______________   My first boss weighed over 300 pounds, wore a toupee, and was investigated by the FBI and sent to prison for tax evasion.

    _______________   One of my 1st jobs was sorting pearls at a costume jewelry factory.

    _______________   My great grandmother, Ann Scott, was the first woman in Massachusetts to have a motorcycle license.

    _______________   I have officiated a wedding.

    _______________   I was an Alpine Ski racer in college.

    _______________   My first boyfriend’s name was Dave.

    _______________   I refereed IM Football at college on a Work/Study grant.

    _______________    I saw a dead body in one of my summer jobs.

    _______________   I dance the tango, bachata, merengue, cumbia and cha-cha-cha.

    _______________   I was born premie and nearly died .

    _______________   I proposed to my wife in Disneyworld and we had our honeymoon there.

    _______________   My spouse proposed to me the day we met.

    _______________   I have lived in the same house my whole life.

    _______________   I fulfilled my college science requirement by taking the following three courses: Sports Physics, Space Physics, Trees  & Shrubs.

    _______________   My dad was at sea on the day I was born.

    _______________   My father was out to dinner drinking martinis at the Top of the Hub when I was born.

    _______________   I swing dancing in my spare time.

    ______________  I worked for a community development organization - where one day I drove through a drug dealer’s shoot-out.

    ______________   I pine to spend a summer (for starters) on the Greek Island of Skiathos.

    ______________   My first two children were born in London in the same hospital wing, and possibly room, as Princes Harry and William.

    _______________  Two of my uncles played minor league baseball.

    _______________   My great-uncle was in the Guiness Book of World Records as the World's Kite-Flying Champion

    _______________   I slept in a Berber village in Morocco.

    _______________   My father and grandfather dug a tunnel and rescued Jews from Nazi ghetto next to their town, and boxed  with Fidel Castro.

    _______________   I played the violin in the Longwood Symphony.

    _______________   My first car was a tan 1983 Chevette, known throughout college as ‘the Vette”.

    _______________   I race cars (sanctioned events only, no street racing).

    _______________   There is a keg-orator in my basement.

    _______________   I waitressed the summer after graduating from college at the Hard Rock Cafe where every hour I stood on a guitar-shaped table to sing and dance.

    _______________   My grandfather's company built the underlying structures for all the rides at Disneyland.

    _______________   I worked on cruise ships in Alaska and the Caribbean teaching computers.

    _______________   I like to needlepoint.

    _______________   I was state track champion two years in a row.

    _______________   I had my nose pierced.

    _______________  I was the first girl safety patrol officer at my elementary school

    _______________   I'd like my ashes scattered on the beach in Hanalei, Kauai.

    _______________   My father-in-law was an inventor of cooling agent used in all Wrigley chewing gum and other products.

    _______________   If I could be reincarnated, I would come back as a cat. Preferably, one of my cats.

    _______________   I performed in a play with a boa constrictor around my neck.

    _______________   I love heavy metal music.

    _______________   I broke my leg skiing in 3rd grade.

    _______________   Eminem is a constant CD in my car.
    _______________   My favorite thing to do is sit on the end of the dock at the lake and read.

    _______________   I won ‘Miss Personality’ in high school.

    _______________   I always get mistaken for “someone I knew in high school” by people on the street.

    _______________   I was the Saint Patrick’s Dance Queen my senior year. (Kind of like prom for college kids.)

    _______________   As one of five children (we also had two dogs) the ONLY family car was a British Racing Green, XJ12 Jaguar. Money was scarce but we did have food and a Jaguar!

    _______________   I worked on cruise ships in Alaska and the Caribbean teaching computers.

    _______________   I love slalom water skiing.

    _______________   I have a small, prehensile tail, which makes bike-riding uncomfortable, and wearing spandex or lycra, out of the question.

    _______________   I used to demonstrate software at conventions, wearing roller skates and a 'madonna style' head set.

    _______________   I went to two K-12 schools at the same time. One was regular primary and secondary school and the other one was music school.

    ______________  I once built a bridge out of toothpicks that could support over 500 lbs.

    _______________   My fingerprints are on file with state and local law enforcement.

    _______________   My grandfather ran away from an orphanage at the age of 12 to later become a “millionaire” in the 1920s and had 12 children.

    _______________   My great, great grandfather left the family and went to back to Italy. He never came back. It’s believed that  he got into a bar fight and was wanted for murder in Boston.

     

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