Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | June 5, 2008

“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 40”

In honor of my 40th birthday, I’ve decided to share 40 facts about me that you may or may not know…

1. My favorite colors are hunter green and burgundy.

2. My first pet was a gerbil. His name was Ninky. My second gerbil was Harvey.

3. I was born with a bilateral choanal atresia. This means that I was born without air passages leading from my nose to my throat.

4. I was also born with thin bands of skin tissue over both eyes.

5. I was also born without tear ducts.

6. All of these defects were fixed before I left the hospital after I was born.

7. I was in an incubator for the first two months of my life.

8. When I was nine, I had to have surgery on my nose because the air passages created when I was born had begun to close up.

9. Both of my parents are left-handed. My brother and I are both right-handed.

10. I throw a Frisbee with my left hand.

11. I’ve eaten frogs’ legs. They do taste like chicken.

12. I played Little League baseball/girls’ softball for ten years. My favorite position was first base, though at one point or another, I also played at second and third bases, shortstop, and pitcher (in softball). I’ve also played the outfield.

13. I traded away my Snoopy pencil sharpener to get my first baseball glove.

14. When I was in fifth grade, I won a pre-Thanksgiving archery competition. First prize was a 20-pound turkey.

15. I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lived in Staten Island, NY until I was six years old.

16. I missed my kindergarten graduation when we moved.

17. One of the earliest memories I have is being in my grandparents’ synagogue in Brooklyn when an elderly woman – Mrs. Goodman – fell down a flight of steps. I can still remember watching her being carried up the steps.

18. I’ve been a New York Yankees fan for as long as I can remember. This did not make me terribly popular during baseball season when I was living in Boston.

19. My mother once had to take me home from a birthday party because I was petrified of the clown. I still don’t like clowns, though I no longer run away screaming and crying at the sight of them.

20. I was in the Brownies, and I still remember the song we sang at every meeting. I never made it to Girl Scout level. I do, however, like Girl Scout Cookies, especially Samoas. I do not like Thin Mints.

21. I liked Hebrew school. Enough said.

22. I can’t ski. I was in the lowest level at Maple Ridge Ski School, and they had to bring in a private instructor because I couldn’t keep up.

23. I’m a sucker for certain accents, and have even gone out on dates with guys just because they had these accents (though not since meeting my husband, obviously).

24. I’ve never been really drunk, nor have I ever been stoned. I’ve never had a hangover.

25. One of the first R-rated films I saw was “Animal House“.

26. When I was six years old, I wanted to be a boy because I was always being picked last for sports teams during recess. Then I became better than the boys.

27. I was always a tomboy, and have never been a girly girl. I’m still not.

28. I loved “Welcome Back Kotter“, and sent Gabe Kaplan a fan letter. He responded with a form letter and photo.

29. I also sent a letter to Amy Carter, during her father’s election campaign. She typed her own response and sent it back. I’m glad I never sent a letter to her father.

30. I grew up with the wife of one of our local bloggers, and have been friends with another local blogger since meeting in the bus station in Schenectady, NY when we were teenagers.

31. My parents took me on the NY subway when I was a little girl. I believe they very nearly crapped themselves when I pointed out a black man and said, “Look, a robber.”

32. My friend Sheri and I refer to a certain period of our lives as “the geek years”. Today, Sheri is gorgeous, successful, and very hip. I, on the other hand, am still stuck in the geek years. And I still use the word “hip”.

33. I cried when my sixth grade social studies teacher – Mrs. Tolar – made me stay after school on my birthday.

34. I like the song “Shadow Dancing“, by Andy Gibb, and have it on my mp3 player.

35. I hate being the center of attention, and more often than not, I blush when given any kind of compliment.

36. I know at least three other people who also have birthdays today. One of them is my brother-in-law.

37. I knew I was going to marry my husband two weeks after we started seeing each other.

38. I never sleep on the train during my commute, no matter how tired I am. I’m more concerned about drawing attention by snoring than I am about missing my station.

39. If I could have lunch with any famous person, it would probably be Bill Bryson, whose writing style not only keeps me in hysterics, but also influences my own style. At times, his writing inspires me to keep writing.
40. I still have no idea what I want for my birthday.



  1. Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns!

    I am a recent reader of your blog, so I definitely learned a lot about you here – thank you for sharing!

    I love Bill Bryson’s books too! I need to find more of them – not easy in our local library here in Pardes Hana…

    And funny, my husband knew he would marry me a week after we started dating (took me an additional six months to figure out the same thing though).

  2. Happy birthday, my friend.

  3. Dear Lisa,

    Happy birthday! Wish you all the best!

    Well, I’d give you some compliments, such as – ‘I like your writing style’, or: ‘Your blog is very intersting, I come back to read it once a while’, or this one – ‘It was nice to run into you the other day – it was quite like meeting an old friend despite we only worked together for a few months’

    but I know from your blog that you blush if given a compliment, so I have no choise but to keep those compliments meanwhile 😉

    You’re the best, Liza. If you ever decise to write a book – I’m buying. Can I get a signature with that?

  4. Happy Birthday Liza. I think I need to let you win at Scrabulous today (this is especially generous – NOT – because you are beating the pants off me in our current game.)

  5. Mazal Tov!

    “I missed my kindergarten graduation when we moved”… This one really moved me 😉

    and about #40 – the best thing is to wish to get to 41 and then wish to get to 42 … etc

  6. Yes, we absolutely still need you.
    For another 42 years, at least.
    Happy Birthday!

  7. Happy Birthday!!!

  8. Happy birthday!!

  9. Happy, happy birthday. Great post. I only knew a couple of these facts — and i had no idea that you also had gerbils as a child. My first was called Caramel, and my second (which was my sister’s gerbil until she realised that she was allergic to it, and passed it off to me) was called Fruity. (She named it.)

    (And if you do ever have dinner with Bill Bryson, please let me know so that i can briefly table hop. I wouldn’t want to hijack the whole meal, just a coupla minutes… please…?)

  10. That subway story is horrifying. And it made me laugh really hard.

  11. My Dearest Liza,
    Although it has been a while – we did go through some ‘moments” together… I won’t compliment you publicly, for fear of making you blush :), But – I do think of you fondly and wish you all the best that you wish for yourself, and much more…
    Maybe a DS reunion soon??
    Enjoy, be happy and healthy.

  12. יום הולדת שמח

    I think, btw, that more shocking than enterering our 40s — together across “the pond” — is thre realization that we can say we’ve known each other for over 30 years! LOL!

    Many, many, happy and healthy returns!

  13. Now anyone that likes Bill Bryson can’t be all bad. Happy Birthday yet again. 🙂

  14. Happy Birthday to a fellow “Welcome Back, Kotter” fan!

    Whaat? Wheah? When? Love that Barbarino!

    That was quite a rough start you had in life, glad it all worked out OK!

  15. How can you not like thin mints!!!???

    Sorry I was un-PC’d for your entire birthday weekend!!
    Just seeing this now. And I even learned some new things!!! 🙂
    Love you, my dear!

  16. Happy (belated) Birthday to both you and the Little One. I’m so glad you found each other! (It means lots of thought-provoking and/or laugh-inducing posts for the rest of us.)

  17. Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!

  18. Bit late, but better than never –

    Ad 120 :-).

    I have another few months to hit the big 4-0. Not unhappy at all, it seems to be quite liberating actually, I care less and less every day what others think and enjoy being in my own skin more. Hope you feel the same way.

    Bummed we couldn’t meet up when you were in my neck of the woods – BUT, I will be in YOUR neck of the woods shortly. Drop me an e-mail and we’ll set something up. Looking forward to it.

  19. Happy birthday! Party hardy! Eat chocolate!

  20. Aha!! Life has BEGUN!!! As we say in Arabic-accented English, “Habby Bearsday”.

    Many fun tidbits :). Amazing you survived your infancy, God had a plan. Part of which is amusing people in a region so desperately in need of a giggle or two.

  21. An overwhelming treasury of information. So I shall try to be short here.

    I have suspected these gerbils in your pedigree somewhere…
    Frog legs – check.
    Baseball – well, it couldn’t be helped. Maybe another surgery…
    Fear of clowns – check (you, me and Kramer)
    Never been drunk – could be arranged.
    Wanted to be a boy – good thinking!
    Hobnobbing with bloggers – hmm…
    “I knew I was going to marry my husband two weeks…” – you and all the rest of the better gender, I guess. Well, I am not exactly guessing, though…
    Bill Bryson – oy!
    Blushing when given any kind of compliment – but you are the best, and the best always blish!

    Anyway – happiest birthday and you have still lotsa years to maturity, so take it easy.

  22. Dear Liza —
    I am reading this a couple of weeks after your birthday but today happens to be mine (yay!) so I’m still in the birthday spirit!
    Warmest birthday wishes!

    I don’t think I’ll have the courage to write up 40 interesting things about me though – I simply don’t have the courage and won’t have much to say 🙂 – but I think your list was hilarious!
    And the robber on the subway… priceless..

  23. I cried when I read your post.

  24. I am the same way when it comes to sleeping on the plane during work. I don’t want my co-workers to see me drooling or some other equally embarrassing trait. LOL!

    Thank you for stopping by my site!

    Aloha ~ Kailani
    An Island Life

  25. […] “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 40″ (2008) […]

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