The A-to-Z-about-me Challenge
November 26, 2017 4:00am CST
As @bluesa, @Maluse, and others have done before me, I took the “A-to-Z-a-bit-about-me” Challenge. It was much more difficult than I imagined it would be. However, it gave me a chance to remember some stories long-forgotten and never told. I hope you enjoy this share. * * * * * * A is for AIR FORCE. From August 1973 to July 1975. I was an Air Traffic Controller and the first female air traffic controller at Bergstrom AFB, Texas. B is for BEYOND. In order to LIVE life, I believe it is important to look, think, and see BEYOND the challenges in which we find ourselves. Things are not always as they seem. C is for CORAL. I was named for my maternal grandmother, Cora. They were considering Cora Lee or Cora Lynn before they settled on Coral Anne. D is for DAWNA. She is my daughter, an only child. She was born in 1975. E is for EDUCATION. I started school in the first grade, at the age of 5. I never attended Kindergarten. I graduated high school at the age of 16, and have a Bachelor of Arts in Critical Communications Studies from a small private university, which I received at the age of 47. I have several other courses under my belt, but have no other degrees. I am a lifelong learner. F is for FEISTY. “[fahy-stee] adjective, feistier, feistiest. 1. full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky; plucky: The champion is faced with a feisty challenger.” (Definition from Dictionary.com) G is for GUAM. I lived on the island from October 1989 until July 1992. H is for HEIGHTS. I have a strong fear of heights. Despite that fact, I have jumped from an airplane twice, and have gone ziplining twice. However, it frightens me nearly as much to stand on a chair to change a lightbulb. I is for INTUITIVE, INDEPENDENT, and INSIGHTFUL. Several have called me these over the years. J is for JELLO. As a child, my favorite Jello dessert that my mother made was made from Black Cherry Jello, chopped apples, sliced celery, and chopped walnuts. She usually made it at Christmastime. I made it last year for the first time since I left home at 18 years old. K is for KALI, the Hindu goddess. I have always been drawn to this figure and the stories that surround her. I do not practice any religion, though I grew up as a Lutheran (Christian), went to Lutheran school for five years, and then to a Baptist high school for three. L is for LEVANG, my surname. It is the name of my father’s paternal lineage, which is Norwegian. His mother was Swedish. My mother’s primary lineage is Scottish and English, as far as we know. M is for MUSIC. I grew up in a professional musical family. I was always involved in music growing up. I performed professionally for 10 years of my life as a singer and instrumentalist in the Navy, and in bands for weddings, in clubs, county fairs, and more. N is for NAVY. I was in the US Naval Reserve from October 1976 to April 1977, when I went into the regular Navy and served until November 1989. I held several rates (jobs)—Radioman (RM), Air Controlman (AC), and Musician (MU)—and a host of collateral duties. O is for OLDEST. I am the first-born of my parents’ children. (See S is for SISTER.) Both of my parents were youngest children. P is for PANS. As a Navy musician, I was assigned to the Navy Steel Drum Band with Navy Band New Orleans from 1982 to 1984. I played the cello pans which were comprised of three barrels, each pan with the notes making a diminished arpeggio chord. Cellos or Triple Guitars comprise three barrels, each with a minor third intervallic note relationship (diminished arpeggio). The range of the notes on these pans were about two octaves, starting at the C the octave below middle C. Warm, rich sounds, the cellos were played primarily by “strumming” chords, or playing counter-melodies or arpeggiated chords beneath the lead pans. Q is for QUESTIONING. I have always been a curious person and question nearly everything in order to try to understand. However, asking too many questions in my family, in school, church, military, and work spaces was not well-received most of my life. By asking questions, many times I was seen as “questioning authority,” and disrespectful, when I was simply inquisitive. R is for RATS. When I was in my early 40s, I had two pet domestic rats. The first was named Sir Churchill the ConservoRat (Churchie, for short). The other was Lord Templeton Whifflesnoot (Templeton). S is for SISTER. I am a sister to four other siblings. Of the five of us (four girls and one boy), my sister SONJA ( @sonjarae ) is the one to whom I am closest. She is my heart. T is for TUPPERWARE. After the Navy, I ran my own Tupperware sales business for several years. I was an Executive Manager, and led a team that ranked in the Top 100 in the nation, as high as #6 (1990-1992), from the island of Guam. U is for UNIFORM. I always felt more comfortable wearing a uniform. I wore them in Girl Scouts and the two military services. In addition to feeling that I was “more put together” when I was wearing them, I liked the fact that we could be identified by the uniform. It gave me a sense of “belonging” and not having to worry about what I should wear. V is for "V-rroom!" In 1963, I entered a contest on the box of a cereal box. We were to complete a picture. The picture provided was of a cartoon lion with a saw. My father gave me the idea to make the lion saw a tree limb on which he was standing. Of course, once the lion finished sawing near the trunk, he would fall down with the limb. I won third place in the contest. The prize was Mattel’s toy V-rrroom engine that would be attached to a bicycle. (You can see the commercial for it on YouTube.) W is for WASHINGTON (WA). I am the only one of my immediate family born in WA (in Renton). We moved to California, when I was one-and-a-half years of age. I was stationed (Navy) in WA from 1985-1987. I moved back to WA in 1992 and have lived here since. X is for XENOPHILE. I have always been attracted to those who are foreign to me, and curious about cultures, languages, and customs. Y is for YAP. Yap is an island in the Federated States of Micronesia, in the Pacific Ocean. Though I have never been there, I applied for (and did not get hired) a position as an English teacher at a Yapese school. I wanted not only to teach in the island school, but I also wanted to swim with the manta rays. I think that I would have liked it there, as I loved living in Hawaii and Guam. Z is for ZEBRA. This is what a person who has been diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs)/Carcinoid is called, as represented by a zebra-striped awareness ribbon. I was diagnosed in May 2012 with this disease. More than 95% of us are misdiagnosed for 6 to 10 years, and at the stage 4 level.
22 people like this
• Pleasant Hill, California
I'll have to go back to your post about Kali. I don't know her story. I had forgotten that you did air traffic control. I listen to a lot of air traffic stuff on YouTube. I like the way they communicate. A mistake in communication can have dire consequences.
• Pleasant Hill, California
@CoralLevang Very true. I like the way they have to say: "Like miscommunication in relationships. The Horse." Yesterday, my young friend's mom drove me nuts when we went cycling. She constantly interrupted me when we were talking. I don't know if she heard a thing I said. Had we been piloting an airplane together, we'd be in a tree right now. I actually teach "Active Listening" on the very last day of my class.
• United States
I appreciate what you said, however because I left home at eighteen and was the first to do it, they often felt that I abandoned them. I don't think any one of them really looked up to me and saw me is doing much, because I've done so many things and didn't stick to one. I do know that my sister Sonja and I have a special bond and that she and I follow some paths that run parallel.
• United States
I never felt like much mattered, because I didn't spend 30 years here or there. I think it takes all kinds of people. I'm an "experiencer"... There is a place for people like me...and there are many out there who are like me. But our culture surely has a different take on it.
• Johannesburg, South Africa
Thank you so much for letting me know! I love your A-Z. To have been in the Air force and Navy, must have been an adventure and to be the first female air traffic controller at Bergstrom AFB, is amazing! I always wanted to visit Hawaii, my gran did. @CoralLevang from a successful business to being musically talented, and so much more, you are an awesome lady.
• United States
Thank you. I never did things quite as I wanted them, and now that I'm older I realize I was more of a gypsy at heart. I'm grateful now that I had so many experiences in life, as it gave me a different view of the world. Never was I very successful by others' standards, but I recognize now in life that is or was okay.
• United States
@bluesa I appreciate you saying that. It was a good reminder that I don't have to accept the literal, dogmatic attitudes that others have tried to heap on me throughout my life. It also reminds me that a lot of people will use a very rigid definition of a word based on their own experiences, and then label someone else with it, even though I use it in a much more big picture sort of way. For example, when I say that I am a hoarder, for instance, it doesn't mean that I belong on a television show showing the horrors of living with extreme hoarding tendencies. Someone may be along a continuum of OCD, for instance. One is the person who gets rid of everything and controls everything by making sure that it's always in the same place in the same way each and every moment of every day. That person has the same tendency as those people who hold on and control their situation by not getting rid of things.It's the same controlling attitudes, manifested differently (behaviorly). Neither is better than the other. It's the same personality. And that's how I see my life...by Gathering experiences...hoarding experiences, so to speak. I did not do that in a particular/certain way that some people would look at as more acceptable. I didn't get a degree until I was 47; nor did I feel a need to go on and get multiple degrees...even up to a PhD, because I could do what I needed to do to help others by using what I I know from experience, not an educational system. A lot of overly-educated people do not have a clue about people and life, because they rely on their book-learning to espouse their expertise, and put themselves on a pedestal. I like smart, educated people. I LOVE those same people who are also real, and kind, and extremely loving and tolerant of others, and see the sameness in us all. You have just reminded me of that and I am so grateful to you. Thank you.
Great to know all this about you. You are definitely a very adventurous person and I live it that you say you are a life long learner. I will definitely answer your question on Kali.have not been here much as very busy with end of term exams and rushing up and down attending weddings. Please don't mind ...Already the answers are there in my head just got to write it down.The funny strange thing when I see a Kali temple now I think of you Bye and take care
• United States
Thank you so very much! Reading your comment makes me realize just how much my father had such a sense of humor. That was back in the old days before he ended up making some decisions to leave family but shows me some of the good-natured part of him.