Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Things About Me ~

Robin Atkins with her favorite things, Fossies; 1943

1. I am daunted by making lists, especially one with this many entries. But I'm going to give it my best try because I've so very much enjoyed reading these lists on other's blogs.
2. "To do" lists, really help me, especially when I prioritize them.
3. I like writing "ten things" lists, such as "ten things I’m grateful for" or "ten things I love about my husband" or "ten things I forgive myself for doing or not doing."
4. Most of the time, I love my life just the way it is.
5. Touch is a very important sense for me… probably why I adore beads so much.
6. I used to read much more than I do now. As a child, I "read books" before I could read, as you can see below.

Robin Atkins loved her books as a child; 1944
7. I’ve been noticing short term memory problems lately, and it frightens me hugely.
8. I’ve struggled with weight issues most of my life.
9. Laughing out loud is one of my top ten favorite things to do.
10. My husband, with his wacky, irreverent sense of humor, makes me laugh… no, let’s say "guffaw"… many times daily. Bless him.
11. Writing is a pleasure for me, something I do fairly easily.
12. I take some pride in being a bit iconoclastic, frequently following the roads less traveled.
13. Intense, strident, loud music in any genera makes me nervous; I turn it off or leave the source.
14. My three favorite types of music are: Baroque classical/chamber music, rhythm and blues, and Hungarian folk music.
15. For eight years, I performed with a Hungarian folk dance group. I was co-leader of the group for a couple of years, did some of the choreographies and sewed many of our costumes. What got me started was falling in LOVE with the music.

Robin Atkins in costume for first performance with Hungarian folk dance group; 1983
16. I took Argentine tango lessons for a while, and loved the dance form passionately. The style calls for the woman to be thin and willowy, wearing flowing low-cut gowns and high-high heels. Totally NOT me. But I loved it anyway. And the music is awesome!
17. My hands are my favorite body part.
18. I used to HATE my stocky legs until my husband took me and my legs out to dinner one night and told me I should appreciate my legs for all they’ve done for me, all the hiking and dancing . Now I put cream on them and rub them with affection after every shower. Did I mention "Bless him" previously?
19. I’m a closet singer.
20. Maybe that’s why I like the idea of American Idol. I like watching the actual competition, but not the auditions because the judges are sometimes brutal when they jeer at and bully some of the unrealistic contestants.
21. I love to watch dancing of any kind… ballet, tap, hip-hop, jazz, folk, ballroom… you name it… any dancing appeals to me!
22. My biological father died in a car accident 5 days before my 5th birthday. My husband was born 6 days after my 5th birthday. The accident and the birth, 11 days apart, both happened in California; and both individuals are photographers. Wooo-wooo. This is a picture of my Dad taken before I was born.

Clifford Atkins, Robin's daddy, with a black rabbit; picture taken prior to 1942
23. We didn’t have a TV in our family when I was growing up. I didn’t own a TV until I was 34 years old. When conversation turns to childhood TV favorites, I’m in the dark.
24. My husband enjoys a wide variety of TV shows, and early in our relationship introduced me to "The Simpsons." At first I thought the show was rather goofy, but now I love to watch and laugh at their crazy antics… the goofier the better.
25. The editors of "500 Beaded Objects" chose my piece for the cover of the book. When they called to tell me about it, I was speechless for several seconds. "Hello.. are you there? Hello?..." Sometimes I still have to pinch myself.
26. My earliest sewing experience was making crepe paper ballet costumes when I was about 6 years old. My grandmother taught my brother and me how to sew on her treadle sewing machine for this purpose.
27. Machine sewing is ok, but I much prefer to stitch by hand.
28. With a boy friend, I rode my bicycle around Europe (England, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany and Austria - about 4,500 miles altogether) for three months in the summer of 1974. By camping and cooking most of our meals, we did the whole trip (except air fare) for $300 each. That was a highlight of my life.
29. Another highlight was hiking all the way around Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland Trail (about 100 miles) in 1973. There were four of us; it took 10 days; we carried everything on our backs (no stashes). We had no bear encounters, but we did get snowed on one night. I was the only one with a camera, so there's only this one picture of me from that hike.

Robin Atkins hiking the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in 1973
30. While we’re on the subject of highlights, another has to be performing (Hungarian folk dance) at the World’s Fair when it was in Vancouver, BC. Scared… excited… whirl of time and clap of hands… relieved to be finished… fun memory!!!
31. It sounds like I’m bragging, which I don’t like.
32. I love all cats, including tigers, lions, snow leopards, etc. The jury is out on dogs. At age eight, I adored my first cat, Tippy.

Robin Atkins and her first cat, Tippy; 1951
33. My parents were avid bird watchers and instilled an early knowledge and appreciation of back yard birding.
34. I believe in the concept of totem animals.
35. Writing poems and journaling are two things that nourish my creativity.
36. I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology and worked as a counselor for about 7 years. Those were not the happiest years of my life.
37. My next career was in the theatre business… first as a subscription and box office manager for an equity theatre, then ten years in marketing for a company selling theatre equipment and supplies. Fun times; challenging work.
38. Box office hours were 5 days on, then 5 days off… During my days off I was a metalsmith, making fabricated gold and silver jewelry. This was great fun! Except that I didn’t much care for making more than one of anything, and flat out didn’t like the selling aspects of it.
39. Therefore, when beadlust hit me like a tornado, I decided to make my living selling beads and teaching rather than trying to sell my work. Good plan! Never regretted (or changed) that decision, although I do sell some jewelry at local events and on line.
40. Ok.. a new subject needed here… what about "true confessions?" OK. I’m addicted to chocolate. I hoard it, binge on it, lie about it, feel controlled by it. Finally, I decided there was only one solution – abstinence. I have not eaten any chocolate since the summer of 2002. This is good.
41. Red, rose and pink were my favorite colors for a long time. Now I'd have to add purple to that list. This picture was taken in 1982, just after I had my long hair cut and permed.

Robin Atkins; 1982
42. I’ve always tended to dress conservatively.
43. I don’t wear makeup; never have, except for an occasional party when I was young.
44. I love learning how to make or do new things.
45. I’ve played more games of spider solitaire on the computer than I care to admit.
46. This list was going ok for a while, but now it’s overwhelming me again… I’m not even half way yet.
47. Did I tell you I ride motorcycle? Nope, I’m definitely NOT a Harley babe. I ride a Suzuki Intruder, 800 cc bike and totally love it!
48. I took the Motorcycle Rider Safety course (which I recommend), just to be on the safe side, in case something happened to my husband while we were cruising a back road… so I could ride to get help. Ha! Wheeeeeeee! Thanks, I’ll get my own bike, dear! This was my second bike, a Honda Shadow 500 and I'm with my husband, Robert.

Robin Atkins with husband, Robert Demar on motorcycle ride
49. I was 54 when I met my husband and 57 when I got my first motorcycle.
50. No kids. Married (first/only time) at age 58.
51. Regrets about not having kids? Oh, just a little sometimes. Fortunately, I have a close relationship with my nieces and nephews. This is my nephew, Andy, who is now a grown man and a special person in my life.

Robin Atkins and her nephew Andy Cook;1984
52. My husband has kept active friendships with his friends from high school. I haven’t kept in touch with any of my HS friends, and only two of my college friends.
53. But my best and dearest woman friend and I have been confidants for more than 35 years.
54. By nature, I’m a night owl.
55. I lived on a houseboat on Lake Union in Seattle for about 5 years. That was back when it was a rather hippie thing to do. Now it’s yuppie and EXPENSIVE.
56. Learning and practicing tai chi was a passion for about 5 years.
57. I regret that I haven’t kept at it.
58. I especially love "tree chi gong," which is about sensing and drawing in vertical and horizontal energies from trees. I still do it.
59. As a child I wanted to be a ballet dancer when I grew up.
60. As a teenager, I wanted to be a math teacher when I grew up. I enjoyed learning in High School. This is me, a junior in HS, writing a paper.

Robin Atkins writing a HS paper; 1959
61. As an young adult, I didn’t know what I wanted to be and didn’t want to grow up.
62. Finally, when I discovered beads, the artist in me awakened and flourished and I knew what I was.
63. The jury is out on "rebirth," but if there is such a thing, it might be fun to come back the next time around as a well-loved pet cat. Here's a picture of our darling and somewhat comical cat, Hollie Three-Bell-Huntress.

Hollie Three-Bell-Huntress, our Siamese cat
64. Heights frighten me. As I walked across a rope suspension bridge crossing a gorge on our hike around Mt. Rainier, I had to close my eyes. My brother said I kept repeating "Oh mamma, oh mamma…" all the way across. If we hadn’t been three quarters of the way around, I would have insisted that we not cross, but rather turn back the way we came. Here's a picture of my friend, Anne, crossing that bridge.

Crossing the suspension bridge on the Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier, 1973
65. The name of my favorite childhood book is "Marshmallow," about a rabbit and a cat.
66. My favorite childhood color was pink. I still like it. I can almost remember the corduroy coat I'm wearing in this picture; I think it was pink.

Robin Atkins, 1943
67. If our family could have afforded it, I would have loved to take ice skating lessons. I was a fearless skater.
68. My ballet teacher told my parents (in my hearing) that I was too large to be a dancer… that male dancers wouldn’t be able to lift me…. and that they were wasting their money paying for ballet classes for me. Scum bag.
69. The jury is out on zoos… some good, some bad things about them. But always, my first impulse is to find the tigers. This is Olivia; she's in a rescue shelter located in Idaho.

Olivia, a Siberian tiger at a wild animal rescue shelter in Idaho, photo by Robin Atkins
70. I’ve traveled alone in Hungary, Romania, East Germany and the Czech Republic when they were Communist countries. Someday it might be fun to write about my travel adventures.
71. Hungary is in my blood. I feel at home there, even though I have no Hungarian ancestry that I know of. And, did I mention before that I adore Hungarian folk music?
72. Part of me appreciates and values being an American, especially after traveling in Eastern block countries and China. Part of me is embarrassed to be American. Yet, our basic rights, our freedom, should not be taken for granted.
73. One place I’ve always wanted to visit is "down under" – both Australia and New Zealand.
74. Another place I’d like to see is the Andes, the mountains of South America, especially in Peru.
75. And while we’re on the subject of travel, let’s add southern China, especially Yunan Province.
76. Really, the truth is I’m a little worn out with travel. At first I think the idea sounds great; then I get discouraged by the effort and cost involved.
77. Miniature things fascinate me.
78. A stuffed tiger (white with black stripes), stuffed chicken (white with black polka dots) and an itty-bitty figurine of a Dalmatian puppy (white with black ears and spots) are sitting on the top of my computer.
79. My favorite postage stamp is of a samurai rabbit – 1986 –Korean.
80. During my college years, I considered myself to be a card shark, especially bridge. I played duplicate bridge for a while (and did fairly well at it), but didn’t really enjoy being around other sharks. Besides playing solitaire and hearts on the computer, I haven’t played cards for ages and ages.
81. Beads, paper, scissors, glue, needles, thread, paint, crayons, rubber stamps, stencils, fabrics, yarns, ribbons, lace, cameras and computers are blessings in my life.
82. Digital cameras save me a HEAP of money, because I like to take a LOT of pictures.
83. I’m hardly shy at all when I get in front of an audience, even a really big one.
84. But, at a party or any social gathering, I’m painfully shy. Go figure.
85. I can write HTML, and enjoy it.
86. I do not like to cook… not at all.
87. Baking is OK, especially making bread.
88. House cleaning is another chore that becomes a millstone around my neck, although the results (when I finally get around to doing it) make me feel really good.
89. Sorry, my thumbs are NOT green either, although I love to arrange flowers.
90. I’m the eldest of 5 – three brothers and one sister. Roxanna, the youngest, is 16 years my junior.
91. Mostly I vote Democrat.
92. I’m nearly omnivorous, although in my 50’s I developed intolerance for the entire onion-garlic family and for lactose.
93. For a while I was a volunteer reader for the blind. I read text books on tape for use by blind students. It made me feel a bit guilty to have so much fun volunteering.
94. My best woman friend and I volunteered for oiled bird rescue for a couple of weeks. It would have been unbearably sad had not a few of the birds been returned safely to the wild. The good part was that so many concerned and kind-hearted people gave of their time and energies trying to save some of these poor creatures.
95. I’d like to do more volunteer work, and look forward to that during the next ten years or so as I wind down traveling to teach.
96. My husband says this "100 things" was too easy… I should go for 200. HA!
97. My husband wants me to make a moss angel in the wet soggy moss during our spring rains. Maybe I’ll surprise him one of these days and actually do it!
98. Right now I have an urge to knit some wild and wacky socks.
99. Wildflowers, sunshine, rain, mountains, Orcas, Kingfishers, Wren Tits, Quails, trails, Madrona trees, foxes, deer, rocks, pebbles and oceans are among the many blessings in my life. I took this pictures of Orcas swimming off the west side of San Juan Island, where I live.

Orcas swimming off the shore of San Juan Island
100. I am richly blessed by a loving husband, close family, solid friendships, questioning students and creative colleagues. Life is good!


  1. Wow Robin!

    That was an ambitious undertaking. I can't even read it all tonight, but will by tomorrow! I have to attend a thing tonight so must leave early. Very interesting. You are such a neat lady.

  2. Thank you so much for doing that. I loved learning all about you. You have had a fascinating life! I never would have guessed the Hungarian music part!! Loved all the photos, too....you have a great smile.

  3. Wow - what a task - I can't even begin to think about that many things about me. I am going back to read yours more carefully.

  4. Anonymous12:30 PM

    On to looooooong blog posts, are we? I've nearly finished reading, but have to go as the internet cafe owner starts looking tired. Do you really expect thorough comments? Afraid they might bust the computer. I honestly think there's a lot of books inside your mind waiting to be written and devoured by many readers. How about it?
    Thanks and blessings, Sabine

  5. To all my wonderful, patient Readers ~ Yes, two long posts in a row... sorry about that. But now it's out of my system, and I promise some nice short ones next. I only did this 100 things because I've read others who have done it, and really enjoyed it. So I hoped you would too. Thanks for reading.

    Also, it was rather fun to do. Let me know if you do one, and I'll be right there to read it!

    Sabine ~ Actually, I don't "expect" anything... whatever works for my readers is great with me.

    1. Robin it was so nice to get to you know better! I found your 100 things interesting and comical at times. I love cats too, but I also love dogs. I stumbled upon your blog this morning while having a coffee, your work is amazing and very inspiring. Keep writing...you now have another follower! Take care. Lisa

  6. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Love this post! It WAS fun to read! You've had the most unique and interesting life! So many travels and creative adventures!! I loved hearing about the Hungarian folk group era of your life. You'll have to tell us more about that!


  7. Robin I loved reading the 100 things about you. What a great and wonderful life you are living.
    Thanks for sharing those special moments with us

  8. I'm only to #77 but must comment now.

    Have you seen the movie 'Chances Are"? It's silly & funny, but could be how you ended up with your hubby.

    You were probably Hungarian in a past life. I doubt we get to come back as animals though. I love the photos on this post.

    If you like miniatures, have you checked out
    http://willard-wigan.com/ ? There's also a link in my sidebar.

  9. Robin, that was a great list! So many interesting things.

    I was just writing to a friend a little while ago and told him about how my babysitter from my childhood (at least 7 years of it) was from Hungary and had such a strong accent! I learned to say mild curses in Hungarian because my brother aggrivated her so.

    I also love motorcycles but don't ride anymore.

    Lisa (From Gourd College Online)

  10. Hi Robin,
    The responder ate my first comments a few days ago. I love your list and all the photos!! I enjoyed learning more about you. Number 7 I wanted to address, as it can be affected by so many things - not drinking enough water, not enough sleep, a bit of the blues with this winter weather and storm damage, grieving your dad's death. And anyway, you're great at making lists, so that can help you keep track of everything!! Thanks for sharing and wishing your well!

  11. What a wonderful thing to read today, especially in my uninspired state of mind at the moment. Your memories brought up memories of my own. Similarities. Differences. Curiousities.

    You're someone I'd love to sit down with a plate cookies and a pot of tea and talk the day (and night?) away.

  12. What a great list! I especially love all the old photos.

    That suspension bridge pic made my palms sweat (I am deathly afraid of heights also). Thanks for sharing!

    Chrissy G

  13. To Karen and NEB ~ Thanks for your encouragement and for visiting!

    To Deb ~ "Chances Are" is now on my NetFlix list.. thanks for the recommendation. And the miniature site you mentioned... WOW! Difficult to believe such work is even possible. Thanks!

    To Lisa ~ I would have LOVED to have your babysitter. How smart of your parents to introduce a different culture into your young lives.

    To Vicki ~ Oh, thanks, dear heart... you are such a comfort! This I won't forget.

    To Teantae ~ Yes, I'd love that too. If you ever come to our islands or even Seattle, please give me a call and we'll do it!

    To Chrissy ~ Yup, looking at the photo and remembering makes my palms sweat too... not good for knitting ;>)

  14. I'm a nite owl, too.

    And, when in the world did you have to time to write all of this down??

    I'm gonna have trouble thinking of just 6 things about myself. LOL

  15. What a great concept - to make such a list. I don't read many blogs, so the depth of your writing surprised and pleased me. It might be a good thing for me to try. If I ever get up to the Seattle area, I'll look for you. But, like you, I'm a bit travel-weary.

  16. HI ROBIN...
    I think I've stumbled across your blog before ... wow...
    I bow to you.. just getting started with our blog 5 months ago having the time of our life .. thanks for the wonderful BJP .. mona & the gaffer girls

    sorry we missed you saw your post a little late that you were in town.. so sorry we missed your presentation .. would have love to have been there...

  17. I read every one. Thank you.

  18. Im glad I found this page...very interesting , thank you for being you! Its great to know you better!

  19. Anonymous3:34 AM

    Hello dear Robin!

    Your blog is a real work of art!

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  20. Hi Robin: I had such a good time reading about you and visiting your blog. As a beginning blogger/beader/jewelry designer, it always amazes me how much so many of us have in common! From volunteering to help oiled birds to dancing and other arts I can identify with you so much. And you live in the San Juans! One of my favorite places on Earth. You are blessed. I'll be visiting often! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Hi Robin! I enjoyed reading your list. The fact that you got your 1st motorcycle at 57 is inspiring as I've always wanted one. You've had a much more varied life than I, but I found many things in common: love of nature, cats, beads, ice skating, no children, birth father deceased, hiking, and along those lines. But also things different. I def think you should write at least one book. I want to make a list on my *newbie* blog like this sometime. bye for now

  22. Hi Robin , what a truely great post, I feel I know you ! Its really great too be able to feel somewhat connected with other artists , thanks for that:)

  23. Just discovered your blog and find it inspirational--thanks! It's great finding people who are on similar life journies.

  24. Hi Robin, not sure if this is the appropriate "post" to "comment" on, but here goes: I just finished reading/browsing through your book The Complete Photo Guide to Beading. I am a self taught beader/jewelry artist, and have spent, well I don't even want to begin to put a dollar amount to that, Lord knows how much $$$ on books to help me learn along the way. I have to tell you, this book is by FAR the most informative, well written, best photographed, best explained, most eloquently beading book I have EVER had the pleasure of getting my hands on. And let me tell you, I have HUNDREDS!!! Thank you SO much for FINALLY getting it right. I have Multiple Sclerosis and find beading SO calming and relaxing. And, quite frankly, had given up on bead weaving, until NOW. I know I could of always taken a class, but.... I hope others will see this post and find it helpful. I plan to write a review on Amazon as well. Take care, and again - KUDOS to you!!!!

    1. Hi Robin! (Gee I like your name) ... ;>)

      Thanks so much for your wonderful review of my book. OMG... it's right at the top of favorable reviews. I so appreciate your offer to write one on Amazon!!! That would be awesome. The book hasn't sold as well as the publisher hoped, which means (unless sales pick up) that it won't be reprinted. Maybe your review will help. I don't think the publisher's PR people have done anything to get it sold in the bead shops. As far as I know it's only sold in Michael's, JoAnne's, and Barnes & Nobel, not often where folks serious about beading would look. That leaves Amazon as the only likely seller.... and I know that good reviews help.

      I'm sorry that you have MS, but glad to hear that beading helps to keep you calm and relaxed. I think that's true for a lot of people who suffer from illnesses.

      Thanks again and beady blessings, Robin

  25. Anonymous6:50 PM

    Hi Robin, I’ve just discovered your work via your brothers book on ebay! Thanks so much for sharing details about yourself, and for book “One Bead at a Time”. We sound very similar and you’ve renewed my passion for beading and creativity. Big hugs from Australia, I hope you make it down here sometime! Xxx Amelia


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!