30 random facts about me

By Caitlin Kelly

It’s my birthday!

Nope, not my 30th!

But inspired by London-based pal Cadence, and her 33 facts celebrating her 33rd this week, here’s some intel about the broad behind Broadside:

 

  1.  I love and collect vintage textiles — like 19th century paisley shawls. I love the notion that someone 100 to 300 to 500 years ago also wore or used them.

2.      My father is an award-winning filmmaker, with his own Wikipedia entry.

 

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3.      I speak what I call fluent French, (but don’t try any super-specialized vocabulary!)

 

I learned how to canoe at camp -- useful when we went to Nicaragua

On assignment in Nicaragua for WaterAid — Jen in the bow of a dugout canoe

 

4.     In March 2014, I shared a dugout canoe with a  blogger from Maine in backwoods Nicaragua, on assignment for WaterAid America.

5.     I hate hot, humid weather. Give me a good snowstorm any day.

6.     My favorite painting at the Met Museum in New York City is this one, an enormous image of Joan of Arc realizing her destiny, from 1879.

 

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7.    One of my favorite ways to spend time is rummaging around flea markets, antique shows and consignment shops.

8.   In my 30s, for four years, I took up saber fencing, with a two-time Olympian as my coach, and was nationally ranked every year.

9.   My first husband walked out after two years of marriage — but my humor essay about the divorce won me a Canadian National Magazine Award. Sweet revenge!

10.  I never had children nor wanted to. Being parentified early by a parent who needed too much from me too often left me burned out and unwilling to assume that responsibility. I admire loving parents. It’s hard work!

11.   I play softball and hit to the outfield.

 

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12.   At 25, I lived for a year in Paris, and traveled across Europe on an EU journalism fellowship. Best year of my life! I went to London, Copenhagen, Sicily and Amsterdam alone on 10-day reporting trips. I was one of 28 journalists from 19 countries — including Sweden, New Zealand, Togo, Japan, China, Brazil, China, Italy and Ireland — and was the youngest one, ages 25 to 35. Still good friends with several of them.

13.   My best journey that year was a reporting trip of eight days, from Perpignan to Istanbul, in an 18-wheel truck, (sleeping in it! no showers!) with a French trucker who spoke no English. Lovely man and great adventure!

14.   My husband, Jose Lopez, is a super-talented photojournalist and photo editor. He spent 31 years at The New York Times and eight years as a member of the White House Press Corps, including a flight aboard Air Force One. Oh, and a team Pulitzer Prize! Here’s his website.

15.   I’ve met Queen Elizabeth aboard her then-yacht Brittania, after two exhausting weeks of 15-hour days following her Royal Tour of Canada as a reporter for the Globe & Mail. She has some amazing jewels!

 

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16.   After deciding to leave journalism, I studied interior design seriously at the New York School of Interior Design. But my first husband bailed, and I was fearful of starting over at the bottom at very low wages alone and with a mortgage. I did love my schooling, and it helped me tastefully renovate our apartment.

17.   My mother and I are estranged. I’m her only child.

18.  I have three half-siblings, including a half-sister I’ve never met and don’t even know where she lives. None of us were raised in the same household and there are four mothers. Yes, it’s complicated.

19.   My favorite color is navy blue — a tone I associate with calm authority and competence, (like pilots’ uniforms.)

20.   I’ve published two non-fiction books, each of which was rejected by 25 publishers before the 26th said yes.

21.   I like to make a pot of tea every day between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m., for a lovely break and some hydration. Favorite teas include PG Tips and Earl Grey.

22.   A huge fan of the British paint company Farrow & Ball, (every room in our apartment in their colors), in July 2017 on holiday I made the 2.5 hour one-way journey from London to Dorset, by train and taxi, to visit their factory, get a tour and meet Charlie Cosby, their creative designer. So fun!

23.   I listen to TSF Jazz many days, online from Paris. Radio remains my favorite medium: intimate, portable, informative.

 

 

Have You Re-Visited Your Childhood Home? What If It's Gone?

Our apartment building in Cuernavaca, Mexico where I lived at 14

 

24.   I miss Mexico! I lived in Cuernavaca with my mother for 6 months at 14 and have gone back many times, but not since our three-week vacation in May 2005.

25.   We eat dinner by candlelight and use only cloth napkins. I like a slow and elegant meal.

26.   When I was 12 I wrote a fan letter to the legendary writer Ray Bradbury, from my summer camp in northern Ontario to his New York publishers. Within a few weeks, I had a hand-signed postcard from him, with his home address, thanking me.

27.   Mad for movies, I usually watch two or more every week, whether on TV, a streaming service on in a theater; this week Booksmart (go!!!) and The Souvenir.

28.   My fashion signifier is a scarf/muffler, worn in every season, whether silk, cotton, linen or wool.

 

 

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29.   I love to travel — but am a useless sniveling/weeping weenie if there’s much flight turbulence.

30.   My Instagram feed reflects my eclectic tastes: vintage textiles, historic costume, owls, a Danish printmaker, a female NY candlemaker, an Indian woman features her day’s saree, female commercial airline pilots, military aircraft, ceramic artists, photographers, mountain climbers and a UK woman who makes amazing marbled paper, some of which is being showcased in the (fab!) new BBC series Gentleman Jack.

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