25 Random Things About Me

A friend recently sent me a “Memory” of hers that popped up on Facebook. It was something I’d tagged her with ten years ago. What’s still the same? she asked me. What has changed? Here’s my answer.

THEN: I am going to Liberia in February.
NOW: One of the writers I worked with there has told me a few of them had stories published in an adult collection last year. (I’ve bought it (Monrovia Rain and Other Stories) and look forward to reading it). I’m happy to know they’re continuing to write children’s stories too.

Crossword puzzleTHEN: I am going to South Africa in March.
NOW: I am going to Halifax in March.

THEN: I am also going on a European river cruise in March.
NOW: I’m also going to the dentist in March. (We were feeling quite flush in 2009, having just downsized to a smaller home.)

THEN: I will have my novel-in-progress ready for my Writing Group before I go.
NOW: If that novel was What Happened to Ivy, it got published three years later. The novel I’m “working on” now has been set aside for the umpteenth time, while I work on other smaller projects.

THEN: I have one son, one daughter, and two stepdaughters.
NOW: I still do.

THEN: Through my stepdaughters, I have four grandsons and one granddaughter.
NOW: Add one grandson to that count, thanks to my son and his wife.

THEN: I have been living with Peter Carver for almost 24 years. That’s more than twice as long as I lived with my first husband.
NOW: Make that almost 34.

THEN: I can’t believe my sister can suck me into doing these lists when I already have a million and three things to do!
NOW: If my sister still engages with these things, she doesn’t involve me.

THEN: One of my favourite games is Making Words & Taking Words. Some people think I can’t be beat, but it’s not true.
NOW: One of my favourite games is Spite & Malice. As the name suggests, it is a spiteful and malicious game. Let’s not think too much about what that says about me.

THEN: My favourite breakfast is yogurt and fruit and nuts and cereal all smushed together in on bowl.
NOW: I regularly make granola that’s loaded with nuts and seeds and eat it with fruit and yogurt pretty much every morning.

THEN: I rarely have breakfast without a crossword puzzle beside me.
NOW: I rarely have breakfast without a crossword puzzle beside me.

THEN: My dog will be 3 years old in March. She needs a refresher course on “Leave it.”
NOW: My dog was 3 years old in December. (My previous dog died just short of her 10th birthday.) My dog now is pretty good at “Leave it” — sometimes.

THEN: I would like to fit yoga into my life more regularly.
NOW: I practise yoga at home 2-3 mornings a week. At the moment. I hope I keep it up this time.

THEN: I would also like to get back to my painting.
NOW: I no longer care about doing that. My love of photography has taken its place as my non-word-related creative outlet.

THEN: I haven’t done a jigsaw puzzle in several years, even though it’s one of my favourite leisure pastimes.
NOW: I finished a 1000-piece puzzle last week. I was given three for Christmas and am eager to start the next. (It’s a more satisfying addiction than Facebook.)

THEN: I live in my MEC fleece pants all winter. (But I probably won’t take them to Africa.)
NOW: Yikes, I am still wearing the very same fleece pants!

THEN: Peter Gzowski wrote about me in the last “Gzowski’s People” column he wrote before he died.
NOW: This still amazes me. I miss hearing him on the radio.

THEN: I usually have one or two books on my bedside table, but right now I have four.
NOW: I have one book on my bedside table, five on my desk.

THEN: This exercise reminds me a bit of writing the title story in my collection called 101 Ways to Dance. If you don’t know that book, it’s time you visited my website.
NOW: It’s always time you visited my website. Right now there’s an announcement about my new book right on the Home page. And my webmaster-sister has made it easier than ever to subscribe to my blog, if you haven’t already.

THEN: I will be talking about censorship at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo on February 10.
NOW: It was the person who invited me to do that who sent me the “Memory” that Facebook sent her. (Thanks, Lorna!)

THEN: I am currently reading my 17th book as a volunteer in the CNIB’s talking books program.
NOW: I’m honoured to be working on Richard Wagamese’s last novel as my 49th book for CNIB.

THEN: I bet that if I can think of 25 people to tag with this note, only 1 or 2 will play along. But I hope the others will prove me wrong.
NOW: I no longer play Facebook Tag.

THEN: Peter and I have finally found a contractor to do the work we’d like to have done in our basement.
NOW: I’m very content with the house we’ve been in for 10½ years.

THEN: My favourite feature on my new camera is the Digital Macro feature.
NOW: I take most of my photos on my iPhone (7Plus).

THEN: Tomorrow I need to make appointments for an oil change and a hair cut.
NOW: Mundane tasks still appear on my calendar, but fun ones, too. The day after tomorrow I’m going to my granddaughter’s high school musical.

What’s the biggest thing that has changed for you in the past ten years, and what has stayed the same?

Post your answer as a Comment on this post (on my website, please not just on Facebook) for a chance to win a board book copy of Big Or Little? — published in 2014 — quite different from the 1983 and 2009 editions. (The random draw will take place on February 17.)

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Webmaster on February 6, 2019 at 10:04 am

    This was fun!

    I don’t remember tagging you, but I wish I could find my post, because I’d love to copy your “now and then” idea. xo

    • Kathy on February 6, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      Ten years would be a lot of posts to wade through, for sure, but if there’s a way to find it, I know you’re the person to figure it out! 🙂

      • Webmaster on February 6, 2019 at 4:15 pm

        I’ll let you know if I do. 🙂

        • Kathy on February 6, 2019 at 4:18 pm

          Please do!

        • Janet Barclay on February 16, 2019 at 11:11 am

          Just realized I didn’t answer the question! The biggest change for me is that I’ve gained two wonderful daughters-in-law and four delightful grandchildren!

          • Kathy on February 16, 2019 at 10:20 pm

            Those sound like pretty lovely changes!

  2. Lorna on February 16, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Happy to see this revisited, Kathy!
    To answer your question: The biggest thing that has changed in ten years is that our sons changed from being 14 and 16 to being 24 and 26, no longer living at home, and many other changes stemming from all of that.
    What has stayed the same… same house, same kind husband, same job!

    • Kathy on February 16, 2019 at 10:19 pm

      It was fun to revisit, Lorna. So glad you thought to send it on. Looking forward to one of those son’s upcoming concert!

  3. Anne B on February 16, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Wow so much has changed in the past 10 years. 10 years ago I was just starting my career in education, single and traveling every summer. Now, I’m married , own a home , and have 2 beautiful children. Quite a change !!

    • Kathy on February 16, 2019 at 10:24 pm

      Quite a change indeed! Pretty wonderful!

    • Kathy Stinson on February 17, 2019 at 9:23 pm

      Anne B, you have won the copy of Big or Little. Please use the Contact link on my site to send me your mailing address privately. Congratulations!

  4. Jan Coates on February 16, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    Fun! Biggest changes for me over the past decade: several more books in print, an empty nest that has resulted a new son and daughter (thanks to my kids both getting married), and an obsession with learning to illustrate. Same: compelled to write, husband, house, second-hand shopping. Cheers!

    • Kathy on February 16, 2019 at 10:22 pm

      Good changes for you, Jan, and learning to illustrate- how exciting. I do envy you your proximity to Frenchys for great second-hand shopping!

  5. Kathy Stinson on February 17, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    And the winner of the Big Or Little board book is Anne B! Congratulations! Thanks to all for participating!

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