Who am I?

1. I'm nice. This seems to be my defining characteristic - a while ago, my parents even told me, flat out, that I'm one of the nicest people they know. Which is all very nice, I suppose, but I've always harboured a suspicion that 'nice' is a default term you use when there isn't really anything else to say about a person. Still, I'm glad my parents think I'm nice instead of a bitch (FWIW, there are no bitches in my family - not blood relatives, anyway. Nice seems to be in our genes).

2. I'm intelligent. I don't mean that in a boastful way, it's just a fact I know about myself. I get a kick out of taking online intelligence tests, and consistently score between 145 and 152. I don't know how valid those numbers are in general, but I also know that I scored 760 on the GMAT when I wrote it 10 years ago (they've probably changed the scoring system so that number is now totally meaningless), which put me in the 99th percentile. My main goal in writing it was to beat my dad's score - he scored in the 97th percentile circa 1966.

3. I'm low maintenance. I have a real dislike (bordering on phobia) of inconveniencing or imposing on people, so I go a loooooong way out of my way to avoid asking for favours. Or imposing my problems on anyone else. Or expressing any sort of need that doesn't coincide with the desires of whomever I'm with. This is not a particularly good thing, especially when one's marriage is falling apart, as mine did about 7 years ago. I'm getting better at asking for help when I really need it, but I feel terribly guilty when I do.

4. I'm an extrovert around people I know well, an introvert around everyone else. Combined with #3, this can make me seem fairly stand-offish, as I generally assume that people I don't know don't like me until they prove otherwise and so am quite poor at striking up casual conversations. I'd rather keep my mouth shut than impose my opinions on someone who doesn't want to hear them.

5. I tend to downplay my strengths and magnify my flaws to an alarming extent. I'm trying very hard not to do that here - to be objective and rational. Himself will say I'm still being too hard on myself, I'm sure. With his help, I'm working on my self esteem. I have a long way to go, I fear.

6. I'm a stickler for accuracy in grammar and spelling (although I'm a lousy typist, so my work is not without error) in my own work. Sloppy writing by others bugs me if the presentation is formal - I work in marketing, so that includes anything that's going to be seen by a customer - but I can deal with it the rest of the time. I'm a natural-born editor and proofreader, although I only apply that to other people's work at their request. I have, however, abandoned otherwise enjoyable books because they were so poorly edited I wanted to get out my red pen and fire corrections back to the publisher.

7. I'm interested in pretty much everything. I'm a fast learner, and a fast reader, so I can become fairly proficient in almost any subject (except calculus) quite quickly. I'm also not afraid to experiment - of the 18 or so software apps listed on my resume, I've had formal training in exactly one of them, but I'm more expert than 75% of the people I work with, because I'm not afraid to fool around with a program to see what it can do for me.

8. I can't draw worth beans. Every well-meaning soul who has ever told me my lack of ability was all in my head wound up laughing as soon as they saw my attempts at sketching. I'm OK with this - I make wicked play-dough animals, and I'm excellent at colouring in the lines (as long as someone else draws the lines for me).

9. Last but definitely not least: my family means EVERYTHING to me. Himself and our children, I would die for. They are what gives my life meaning, colour, and depth. But my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandfather ... are almost as important, in that they provide the background and framework for who I am. I am extremely lucky to enjoy the unconditional love and support of a large extended family, a varied and fascinating group of people.