The following is the first in an occasional series of noteworthy Kansas Citians, past and present, responding to the Proust Questionnaire.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness for me is being surrounded by family and friends, all of us vibrantly healthy and energetic, doing what we love in life, and passionately.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I never do anything the regular way.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Not screwing up my children too much – raising them well enough that we remain a family, even now that they’re grown.
What is your greatest fear?
Well, of course, being a mom, my worst fear is something terrible happening to my kids. Outside of that, my greatest fear is not being comfortable being me.
What historical figure do you most identify with?
Which living person do you most admire?
My children. They are grabbing life with a gusto I never knew existed when I was their age. I wish I had that same awareness and courage in my youth. Then again, I didn’t have me for a mother. To my children’s rolling eyes, I always tell them, “Think what I could have become if I had me for a mother.”
Who are your heroes in real life?
My children. My Big Mistake, the husband I call Funk. All my birthing students who didn’t think they could give birth naturally, yet they did, and with passion. And anyone who has the guts to stand up to wrong, even when they’re afraid, because who isn’t afraid?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
That I have tangible fears, like that I’m afraid of flying and of being sick. While I always find my way to doing what I want, I hate that I sometimes have to take a detour to get there.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
That’s simple. Inertia. I don’t mind people complaining, but I have no patience for those unwilling to try to remedy the complaint, be it personal or global. Do something, or sit down and shut up. It’s very unbecoming to do otherwise.
What is your favorite journey?
My favorite journey doesn’t exist. I’m a homebody with a drive for adventure. Those attributes incongruous, I never feel totally carefree. There’s always a hidden thread of “what ifs” lurking in my head.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Hiding Behind Nice.
Which word or phrases do you most overuse?
What is your greatest regret?
Luckily, I don’t have regrets that I can’t live with. Unfortunately, being of Italian descent, now that I’ve said that, I’ll be waiting for the ax to fall.
What is your current state of mind?
Blessedly, I am as comfortable as it probably gets for me.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I wish that my family would worship the Earth Mother within me. Particularly, that they’d listen to everything I said, instead of saying after the fact, “yeah, you were right, I should’ve…” That’s so annoying.
What is your most treasured possession?
You mean outside of family, friends, health, and joyful work? My cabins and my rocks.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Losing someone you love. And betrayal.
Where would you like to live?