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Your Mom – A Get To Know You Game


I plan for you to love me. Respect me. Be annoyed by me. Appreciate me. Wish I’d leave you alone for a while. The whole gambit. But should things take a turn I didn’t expect, I still want you to know me. To know I loved you. To know who I was, warts and all. People that are gone have a tendency to be remembered as saints, and that’s a lot to live up to. I’ll tell you right now, I’m no saint. I’m nice. I’m loving. I’m friendly. I’m loyal. But I’m also a bit vain, slightly over analytical, have limited patience, am a worrier and a panicker and do all together too much swearing. The truth of the matter is, there is no way I can possibly let you know everything about myself from my posts alone, so I thought I’d supplement the process by doing a number of ‘Get To Know You’ questionnaires and sprinkling them throughout the blog. My personal fav, the Proust Questionnaire (often seen in the back of Vanity Fair), will be among them.

The most important thing for you to know about me is that I love you. You are the joy of my life. You are the best thing I ever did. Truly. 

Now writing this feels a little self-important (and long) but, should I not be around later, these might be nice things to know. These 50 questions are from and will hopefully give you insight into the little nuances that make up your mother.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No. But I do have the same name as Granny’s cousin Leigh, and almost had the same name as Granny’s cousin Brooke. Not sure why we stuck with family names, but there you go. I also know that Granny deliberately chose a name that “couldn’t be shortened” and then spent a good part of my childhood lengthening my name to things like, Leigh-dee, Leigh-dee-pa-dee-dee or Leigh-ski. My name meant continually telling people my name was not in fact short for Emily or Lesley or anything else, and the spelling has lead to a life of telling people my name is pronounced Lee and not Lay. When we named you, we seriously considered going with Locklan so everyone would always be able to phonically sound out your name, but between my name and half the people who call your Dad “Seen”, we figured if people wanted to mispronounce your name and call you Lowch-lan, let em. When it really came down to it, I can’t guarantee that continually correcting people – in front of everyone on the first day of class, say – didn’t somehow make me a bolder person. And bold ain’t bad.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?   I most recently cried in frustration at my continued need to ask for money from Granddad, and the subsequent shame I feel having to justify my life choices every time I do. Your grandparents are incredibly generous and without them we’d be screwed. Mostly it’s about me being sick. They pay for most of my medical bills, for my acupuncture and monitored exercise, and for the extra classes I put you in. They also help out when we get into a bind like when my old car died in the drive thru of McDonalds. Humiliating for your father ,who had to push the car out of the way. Fascinating for you, who watched the whole thing go down, and discouraging for me, who knew that I’d have to make a phone call to ask for money for the repairs. The thing is baby, we’re artists, and we don’t yet make the kind of money that we’d like. Our life is a struggle, and money, or the lack there of, is probably our biggest source of pain and discord. It’s pretty much the only thing Dad and I fight about. But it’s a heafty thing. I want you to be able to come to us for help if you need it (God knows I hope our financial future finds us in the position to help), but I would also steer you towards making your own money. Do what you love, just know you have to hustle and work. The bohemian life is only charming to a point. And asking your parents for money when you have your own kids…Sucks.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I like my printing – and I do a mean bubble letter for signs – but I can’t do cursive and I’m pretty sure a handwriting person would have a field day with me, as my writing changes from day to day. It’s always one of 3 styles but they aren’t even remotely similar. It depends on my mood/fatigue, time constraints, and the necessity for legibility. But occasionally my handwriting will change right in the middle of a letter. Very weird.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? I’m not really a lunch meat girl. I like salad sandwiches – tuna, egg, chicken, salmon – I like grilled cheese. I like the chicken sandwiches Granny makes with hunks of chicken and lettuce on white bread with lots of mayo, and I love PB&J – smooth not chunky – But deli meat? Not so much.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Sure do. Best kid ever.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yes. I’m a good friend. A devoted friend. Plus, I’m usually the person that says something when others are too embarrassed and that often helps out.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT? I do. I like sarcasm. I know people think it’s a snarky form of humor but a well placed sarcastic comment can bring a room down. I just try not to be cranky about it.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes. And my appendix. And my wisdom teeth. They never came down so I’m sure they’re still there…somewhere in my face.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Never. And I have to tell you babe, I’d advise against it for you too. Research is now showing that it can result in permanent internal organ damage. If you must get some mad thrills, I’d prefer you went sky diving. Your dad loved it and wants desperately to go again. Personally, I’d rather you both passed. But I’m making a solid effort to not be ‘that girl’.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Oh cereal! I love me some cereal. I eat cereal almost every single morning. Favorite ever would probably be Corn Pops (the Canadian kind, not the American kind) or Post Raisen Bran (not Kellogs) or Frosted Mini Wheats. Though lately I’ve been doing a lot of Cheerios and Granola. That’s the thing about cereal, you can switch it up with your mood. When I was little Fruit Loops were my favorite, but I only ever got them with Grand Mimi, or on our cottage’s opening weekend, when you got that variety pack of small boxes and they were included. When I became a college student living on my own, I remember buying a big box of Fruit Loops just because I could. To this day though, I can’t really eat them for breakfast. There more of a late night snack kinda thing.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No. I slip out of all of my shoes…and then I leave them everywhere. It’s a bad habit I share with you and your father. Our house is like an obstacle course of shoes.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physically. I used to be. Now, not so much. Emotionally, probably not. I’m pretty sensitive. Spritually, yes. I go through every day doing what I need to to survive and be happy. I just keep trying.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Haagen Dazs Chocolate and Peanut Butter. Which is weird because I’m not a chocolate and peanut butter type of girl. I don’t even like Reeses Peanut Butter cups. But this ice cream is ridiculous. I generally eat it right out of the carton, and when I lived alone in NYC I had to actually stop myself from buying it because I could eat an entire pint in one day. I’d stand in the kitchen and tell myself I’d stop when the ice cream was flat (meaning I’d evened it out on all sides) but then I’d get a PB swirl and it would go into the next layer and then I’d have to flatten that one out…It was like OCD eating. A close second would be homemade peach ice cream at the cottage.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their clothes. It’s an easy one to see and make a call on from afar. And then the face. If I like it or not. Kind or not kind. Sour or sweet. Attractive or not…

15. RED OR PINK? Red. Pink and I were never close.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I have very limited patience and my skin is problematic.

Making Grand Mimi laugh. You'd also just stolen her sandwich.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Grand Mimi. Shows you what a blessed life I’ve had that the person that I miss most lived to 97. I don’t want to be your answer to this question.

18. WHATS YOUR PET PEEVE? Inefficient/Cryptic voice mail messages. “Hi, it’s Blank. I need to ask you something. Call me back.” Then you call back and inevitably get a machine and have to say, “Hi, it’s me. You needed to ask me something? What’s up? Call me back.” What a waste of time. If you’re leaving a message say what you need, give me the details and when I call you back I can give you the information whether I get you or not, and the productivity of the situation moves along.* Better yet, send an email.

19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Very old, beaten up cream cowboy boots. But really my answer should be no shoes because when I get home the first thing I do is take off my shoes – and then change into sweats (sorry Sean).

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? A chocolate from Sees Candy. I’ve recently become that woman who eats chocolates. Like bon bon chocolates. I’m a horrible cliche. But I’m hooked. You went trick-or-treating this year and I didn’t want any of your candy. All I could think of was a dark chocolate scotch mallow or a milk chocolate vanilla cream from Sees. I may be a cliche but at least I’ve got good taste.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? I’m loving the new tune “We are Young” by Fun featuring Janelle Maonae. It makes me so happy. It reminds me of my youth. It makes me think of your future. It’s such a positive, cool tune.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Really? A crayon? I don’t want to be a crayon. Next!

23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Sunscreen (coconuts), pine trees and bacon (cottage smells), Cool Water colone (reminds me of my youth), the ocean and home made roast beef dinner and chocolate chip cookies.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Sean. He called from the garage to ask me a question about something I’d said was wrong with the computer. Real phone call? The president of your co-op to discuss yet another thing regarding the silent auction for your fundraiser. People, like me, that willingly go into these kinds of volunteer jobs are slightly crazy. Fundraising is no joke. It can wipe you out.

25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE? Beach house. I can’t really do altitudes with PH. But I think I’d still choose the beach house. I love the ocean. Not so much swimming in it. I prefer a pool. Or eating on it. I’m not crazy for sand. But if we had endless money I would have a beach house. I feel calm by the water. Heck, if we had endless money I’d probably want a mountain place too. You were so into learning to ski at Big Bear this winter. I’d love to give you more opportunities to do it.

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?     Live – Hockey. TV – none. I find sports on TV mind numbing.

27. HAIR COLOR? Auburn or gold. I color it trying to recapture the hair of my youth. I used to say the color was “toasted eggo”. I thought it was an accurate description and far more true than blond.

28. EYE COLOR? Blue. Though they change colors with what I’m wearing. So they can also be green or grey.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Nix. Great vision.

30. FAVORITE FOOD? This is tough. I LOVE food. It’s been a problem since I got sick because I used to work out all the time and eat pretty much whatever I wanted. Now, not so much. Those chocolates I mentioned are a real issue. Sick is one thing. Sick and fat, is totally another. I’m trying to keep it in check, but I’d say…cheese, bread, roast beef with pan roasted potatoes and carrots or mac & cheese made by Granny. Lemon or Yellow cake from a box. Superb sushi. Great pasta (no alfredo sauce) or a hamburger and fries. Oh hell, fries in general.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy Endings. I don’t like to be scared. I watched the Exorcist when I was 11 and I never got over it. Scarred for life.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? 21 Jump Street. They did a great job. Super funny and totally what I wanted it to be.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Grey. You can pretty much assume I’m wearing white, grey, black or army green. My friend Keili once described my style as urban safari. I think that’s pretty accurate.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer!!! I love summer. Maybe it’s a, “it’s my birthday” thing, but I love everything about it. The heat, the long days, the fact that I get to drink on patios and go to the cottage. Even though I’ve lived in LA for 9 years where it’s pretty much always summer, I still get excited when the 24th of May rolls around – Memorial Day to my US crew and May 2-4 to my North of the Border peeps – and I know that soon I can stick my hand out the car window and feel the warm air on my skin. I love that.

35. HUGS OR KISSES? I guess hugs. You can get a lot from a hug and you can get them from more people. I remember I’d been in NY for about 2 months after moving there and someone at my school gave me a hug, and I started to cry. I had no boyfriend and hadn’t seen my parents or friends in a while, and I realized that it’d been a really long time since I’d been hugged. Human contact is very important to happiness. I personally can’t stop hugging and kissing you.

36. FAVORITE DESSERT? In general – cookies. Always cookies over cake or pie. In a restaurant – I’d probably go warm chocolate cake, though I’ve been known to branch out. Desserts are a great place to take a risk.

37. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO? I’m a pilates girl now. But even when I went to the gym all the time, cardio was my least favorite. And yoga and I have never seen eye to eye.

38. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION? How could I choose? Couldn’t live without? Computer. Like the best? Television. Or lately, television on my computer. Best of both worlds.

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Just finished rereading The Hunger Games on my iPad. I’m blow-out -nerd-excited about the movie. I guess next I should finally start the 4th book in the Game of Thrones series. I loved the first 3. Don’t know what’s stopping me from starting number 4.

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? My mouse pad? No mouse pad Mr. Outdated Questionnaire.

42. FAVORITE SOUND? Your laugh. Rain on the roof of the cottage.

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles. Though I’d take the Beach Boys over either of them.


45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I’m super fast at figuring out vanity plates on cars.

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Wellsley Hospital, Toronto, ON Canada.

47. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW? In a lovely little house in Studio City, CA.

48. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE? Dirty white. But since it’s a rental, we’re hesitant about putting any more of our money into beautification.

49. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR? Black 2012 Ford Explorer. I love it. I’ve wanted a black truck since I first started driving. I finally got one this year and I’m so thrilled. (See: Anticipation). You named it Schatzy. It’s totally stuck.

50. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 50 QUESTIONS? Actually it was pretty cool. Self knowledge is a good thing.

I love you baby. Get to know yourself and embrace all you are. I’m so very proud of you.

xoxo your mommy

The Family McGowan in our Loch's 4 Birthday Shirts that your Dad designed. I'm pretty sure you'll outgrow wanting to match with your parents, but for now we're embracing it!

*only time this doesn’t work is for very personal information not to be left on answering machines. Deaths, Births, Engagements. Otherwise just tell me what you need!

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Amy #

    I really enjoyed your family photos throughout this post. Also, the fifty questions was a great way to hear more about you.

    March 26, 2012
  2. What a lovely post! I really enjoyed reading it….I’m still so moved by the wonderful legacy you are leaving for your son….it’s a brilliant idea and no doubt good for the soul!

    March 26, 2012
  3. This is just so beautiful, and what a better way to not only share with your son who you are – but also to rediscover your own self! Thank you so much for sharing.

    March 26, 2012
  4. That was a really fun read. I loved #6 🙂

    If you don’t mind, I think our family will pray that you live, heartily, long enough to share a box of good chocolates with grandchildrenwho are of an age to appreciate them.

    March 26, 2012
  5. mum #

    Delightful read. I don’t think you know as much about me after 30-odd years as Loch will of you. Brilliant!

    March 26, 2012
  6. Beautiful, interesting post.

    March 26, 2012
  7. I enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing!
    Looking at your family photos makes me smile. You give us such positive energy.

    March 26, 2012
  8. icanwritesomething #

    Beautiful post! “By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life.”
    – Jean Baptiste Girard

    March 27, 2012
  9. I am SO. GLAD. that I’m not the only one who struggles with the flat ice cream pitfall. I also have some weird thing where I can down an entire container of golden raisins, because each one is like a beautiful jewel that i inspect, squish between my fingers, and pop in my mouth. It’s a bizarre loop that I tell myself I’ll escape, but I fall into a trance as soon as I pop the first one in my mouth. I do not keep them in the house.

    I’m getting your posts by email so I don’t comment often (catching up on a couple right now), but I would like to take this moment to say how glad I am that you are writing these. For you, for Loch, and for me. Bravo.

    April 4, 2012
  10. Nada #

    This is so beautiful, he is lucky to have you as a mother ❤

    March 11, 2013
    • Thank you Nada. The feeling is mutual. xo leigh

      March 12, 2013

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