Saturday, February 20, 2010

I beat Bob Dylan in a talent contest...and other little-known facts

Two young women whose blogs I really like have each selected me for the Beautiful Blogger award! I have exchanged many comments with Mad Woman Behind the Blog over at Diary of a Mad Woman; she shares anecdotes about work, home, and her adorable daughter, along with Friday photos of hot guys. And I have been drawn into Emma's story at Divorced Before 30, which opens with a bang: "How I Left My Husband On My Lunch Break."

Besides posting the award and linking back to those who bestowed it, I'm asked to post seven interesting things about me, and then pass it along. These are somewhat long-winded responses, because they are things I've been intending to write about for a while.

Seven things about BLissed-Out Grandma

1. I beat Bob Dylan in a talent contest. I was a couple of years behind him at Hibbing High School. He and his band entered the Hibbing Winter Frolic talent show in January 1959. So did my friend Sharon Nelson, who sang "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," and yours truly, who provided piano accompaniment and a brief solo. Sharon and I split the $25 first prize.

2. I gave my autograph to actor Bill Murray and baseball player Darryl Strawberry. As superfans of the St. Paul Saints minor league team, Peter and I have been at a number of gatherings with Bill. We also got to know Darryl, one of the nicest guys you could meet. They both seem to appreciate the fact that we never hounded them for attention or autographs. One day in 2008 we gave each of them a copy of the book we co-wrote, signed by each of us and the book's subject, Wayne Terwilliger, whom they both admire. Speaking of which...

3. I have a book on Amazon. It's called Terwilliger Bunts One, and it talks about his six-decade baseball career. It's Wayne's book; Peter and I spent about five years helping him write it.

4. I've learned that it can be useful to have people underestimate you. Peter and I were a couple of nobodies when we decided to save the Minnesota State Fair carousel from being broken up and sold at auction. We made a few calls, and before we knew it we were setting up a nonprofit organization, working with city leaders, and negotiating to buy a carousel with $1.3 million of borrowed money. We made headlines every day for a month as we put the deal together (and more headlines later as we raised money and moved the carousel into new digs). At several points high-profile business leaders and politicians tried to intimidate us into stepping aside so they could acquire the carousel for their own purposes. They underestimated both our resolve and our ability to strategize. We bought the carousel, restored it, installed it in an indoor park downtown and later moved it into its own new pavilion at Como Park. We operate it with one employee and 100 volunteers. We've gotten media coverage all over the world, and I won a Silver Anvil, the highest individual-project award from the Public Relations Society of America. We're still just regular folks. But we are proud of what we've been able to accomplish.

5. I kissed my husband on national TV. I mentioned this in my last post; here's the story. On the day we bought the carousel at auction in New York, CNN was among the media to interview us. The reporter played up the personal aspect (as in, this couple just bought this million-dollar carousel, are they crazy or what?), and at one point we gave each other a little celebratory kiss. They used it as part of the story, which of course drove our then-12-year-old daughter crazy. (ABC evening news did two stories on our work; one of Peter's claims to fame is that both Peter Jennings and Sam Donaldson said his name on the air.)

6. In real life, I don't talk about myself much. Just the other day at work, for example, a colleague asked conversationally, "Who's the most famous person you've met?" I mentioned Dylan. Then other people prattled on about people they had once seen across a crowded room, or on the street, or whatever. I didn't push my way back into the conversation to mention that I met for two hours with Gloria Steinem or spent a weekend at the 20-year reunion of the 1987 World Series champion Minnesota Twins. But here, in my own blog, it's fun to share these things.

7. Objects in the mirror are older than they appear. In March, I will turn 67. I am often told I look younger. I think it's partly because I got my mom's good-skin gene and partly because I still try to think young.

Now to pass this award:

* Amber at Airing My Dirty Laundry, One Sock at a Time, who is consistently hilarious and word-perfect
* Pearl at Pearl, Why You Little..., a fellow Minnesotan who cracks me up daily
* JenJen at Jen's Voices, who entertains with her writing AND is an awesome, friendly commenter
* Miss Buckle, who has a fabulous eye for color and form and a sunny outlook on life
* Sassy at The Sassy Curmudgeon, whose comments about fashion and life are witty and occasionally curmudgeonly
* Wow, That Was Awkward at It Was Dark, Stormy and I Lost My Serial Comma, whose blog title cracks me up while his stories about his sons melt my heart
* UberGrumpy, who seems more droll than grumpy and is always amusing in a British sort of way

The seven of you may post the award and follow some, none, or all of the other "rules." I'd love to read your responses, so I kinda hope you'll accept the challenge.

33 comments:

Kathy Sprinkle said...

Wow! What a delight to find out theses things about you! You are more interesting with every visit! So glad OWOH introduced us!

DJan said...

Gee, Nancy, you have already had your fifteen minutes of fame, and handled it quite well, it seems (no matter what daughter might think). Very interesting tidbits about you! And I am impressed to find that you spent two hours with Steinem! I'd love to know more about that one...

Tracie said...

Those were the most interesting "7 Things" I've ever read. (And I've read a lot of them!)

You said you don't talk about yourself much but Monique at A Day In The Life Of A Surfer Wife (http://surferwife23.blogspot.com/)
does a celebrity encounter Friday thingy. She is looking for submissions if you'd like to share your stories. I think they would be really interesting!

Colleen said...

Holy cow!! Just ONE of your interesting things tops anything I've got, LOL!! VERY cool list =)

Kat said...

Very impressive! Some of the most interesting reading of "things about myself" I have ever read. I love the carolsel story. I was heart-broken when Cedar Point decided to close down my hometown amusement park (Geauga Lake Park, OH; aka Six Flags (later)) and it has a claim to fame for a very old carosel that I rode many times.

WhisperingWriter said...

Wow, these were all very interesting facts about you!

Thanks for passing the award onto me.

MissBuckle said...

Oh, thank you. And it's true I try to keep a sunny outlook, although it doesn't always work.

So nice to get to know you better. And from that profile pic I would never have guessed that you're 67 :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks! This helped a lot! I've seen a couple
rather confusing blogs lately, this cleared up a lot confusion I had.

Lo said...

Hi, Nancy....thanks for stopping by "It's Always Something"....hope you will come back often.,
Love, Lo

The Boob Nazi said...

hahaha funny. Poor daughter. :)

UberGrumpy said...

Thank you! I'm touched.

And you are NEVER 67. What's your youthful secret?

JenJen said...

Blissed!

Thank you so much. And? What an amazing life...

CatLadyLarew said...

Wow! Somebody besides Bob Dylan who's actually from Hibbing! Impressive!

Thanks for stopping by the Cat Lady's house... and congratulations on being a Beautiful Blogger!

Pearl said...

I've heard of you!!! Isn't that funny? I remember when the carousel was up for sale, and I remember the couple that bought it, and it was YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND?! Small world!

Thank you so much for the award! I will take it, post it, and think about the "seven things"...

Pearl

JoeyRes said...

You have the most interesting facts I've ever read! Certainly better than anything I could come up with.

I agree that it's good to be underestimated!

Wow, that was awkward said...

Your list is fabulous! You are a celebrity! Now I know why you are always complaining about the damn paparazzi!

Thanks for the award. I admit I am guilty of not playing along with those too much. I do better with impulsive posts. But it made me come over here and find out amazing things about you, so thank you for that!

Cheers!

Nancy said...

Congrats on the award and it was great learning more about you! A very interesting life you've lived.

Ms Sparrow said...

Thanks for all your hard work on preserving that merry-go-round. Every time I take my three great-granddaughters to Como Park, that's the first place we go!
Thanks also for all the interesting facts on your life.

Boomer Pie said...

Just stumbled upon your blog and come to find out YOU are quite an interesting person! Beat out Bob Dylan no less. I enjoyed your valentine love note to your hubby. Very touching. I signed up to follow you. Stop by my place and return the favor if you like. http://www.boomerpie.com/

Jeanie said...

VERY interesting things about you and I am glad you chose your blog as a place to share them. I think Pearl is one of the most amazing bloggers there is and I will check out the others you passed the award to.

April said...

Loveit! Especially number 1! Stopping by from SITS

gayle said...

Loved learning all these interesting things about you. I must say you do look Much Younger than your age!!

Krista said...

You are a very interesting person, Blissed-Out!

Re: #6 - isn't that why we *have* blogs? LOL

I'm having a giveaway for my followers... you should stop by! :o)

Picture Imperfect Follower Giveaway

Bob West said...

God has greatly gifted you
I enjoyed visiting your blog
God Bless;

http://westbob.blogspot.com/2010/02/encourager-part-1.html

Allyson said...

Y'know...Surferwife has a fun little guest post spot every Friday where people tell amusing (or embarrassing or horrifying) stories about meeting celebrities. I would LOVE to read you over there, too! I love that you all rescued a carousel. They are a beautiful piece of my childhood and I am instantly delighted every time I see one. I think you should be very proud of yourselves for not kowtowing to the rich and quasi-famous. What would they want with a carousel, anyway, unless it was for their 3 grandchildren. You all provided happiness to countless children, not just 3. And maybe some adults, too.

I think if Neal and I were on camera, I'd kiss him, too. We have to let the world know how awesome our husbands are (and we would fight to the death for them). A kiss on CNN totally tells you that.

Kitty Moore said...

Congratulations! I'm going to go and check out the blogs you passed the award on to!

Kitty x

nanette Peterson said...

I did remember most of those 7 things. Thanks for posting them, brought back a lot of memories! And no, you can't be coming up on 67. I know I recently headed into a new decade but you're not that much older than me, are you?

Far Side of Fifty said...

So Interesting especially about beating Bob Dylan in a talent contest!! Your work with the Carousel project is a real achievement. Kids and adults alike are smiling everyday because of the work that you and Peter did..applause..applause..well done. I do need to get down there to visit Como Zoo and your Carousel...so much traffic..I keep hoping they will finish the light rail! :)

ScoMan said...

I think being underestimated is incredibly powerful, and I often strive to be underestimated. The problem is, people get used to it and then start overestimating you.

I think it's hard to underestimate someone who has beaten Bob Dylan in a talent contest and given their autograph to Darryl Strawberry though!

Cheryl said...

I'mm so glad you chose this post for your BON day. I can't believe these adventures. I personally love the carousel victory. That story is amazing.

Green Monkey said...

oh THAT was a fun read!

Loved the part about Darryl being one of the nicest guys you could meet! Darryl was my son's favorites - and he was a huge Mets fan. Everyone but you, Kerry and George Steinbrenner gave up on Darryl.

Pamela said...

WOW. What a great post!

jealous.(:

Terra said...

When I saw the words Bob Dylan I had to read this post. He is a genius with words and music IMHO and to think you beat him in a talent contest is way cool. Your list here is fascinating.

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