20 Things you don't know about me!
by Janice Tucker Rhoda

This article is in response to friends of all ages on Facebook wanting to know more about my personal life and habits. If you were not a musician, which profession would you have chosen? Do you cook a lot? What other hobbies or interests do you have? Do you own pets? What is your favorite type of food? Where did you meet your husband? Everything and more is answered below.

1. I wanted to take violin and swimming lessons at the same time but my mother said I could only choose one. When a violin teacher said my "thumbs were too long to play violin" I was going to pursue the swimming lessons, but another violin teacher came to my rescue.

2. I wanted to be a psychologist or cook if music didn't work out. I took a few psychology courses, but they were too tedious, and I took many Japanese and macrobiotic cooking classes in my 20s. However, while in college, I passed my Italian and German language classes with honors. Years later I traveled to Florence, Italy and took teacher training classes and obtained my teaching certificate to teach Italian.

My first official job at age 16 was at a factory making transformers for televisions in downtown Lynn, Massachusetts, USA. I also worked at the cosmetic counter of a pharmacy and walked two miles each way to work. I was able to take a bus to downtown Lynn for my factory job. Other junior high and high school jobs were in the retail department of TW Rogers department store in downtown Lynn, and babysitting two roughneck boys across the street.

While going to college, I continued to work at retail stores, and cleaned houses for extra money. I also worked at two health food stores. Years later, after an injury from an auto accident affecting my violin playing and teaching, I sold fragrances at Lord and Taylor, and worked in the marketing department of Bain and Company.

3. My husband and I knew each other when we were age 14. We played in an orchestra together and went out on one date to a dance at age 16. My father didn't want any of us dating or getting boy crazy. He said it would interfere with my violin practice, so I ignored his phone calls after the dance.

Many years later, he and I accidentally met at an Italian festival in the North End in Boston, Massachusetts. We reconnected and got married!

4. I love Shirley Temple movies. What an incredible child prodigy she was! What a breath of fresh air even today. I hope parents will expose their young children to her films as much as possible.

I watch old and new sitcoms. Laughter is the best medicine.

5. I saw baseball player Carl Yastrzemski at the plate when our school took us by bus to Boston's Fenway Park! My husband and I enjoy going to baseball games and often get tickets ahead before traveling to other cities and states. We've enjoyed games at the Skydome/Rogers Center in Toronto, and the old Shea and Yankee Stadiums, among others across the US.

6. Years ago I attended Trekkie conventions and got autographs of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nicols, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis. Mr. Shatner and Mr. Nimoy's stories from the past were absolutely hilarious. Ms. Nicols and Ms. Sirtis complimented me on the chic sweater I was wearing. Mr. Frakes was as handsome in person as on TV. May the force be with Star Trek and Next Generation for years to come.

7. Many years ago I was in the middle of a bank robbery! Two men opened the door for me to a bank at noon while politely saying hello. In the next few seconds, they held up guns and screamed: "This is a robbery, everyone down or you will get shot!" I was wearing a fancy, fluffy white coat, and dived for the floor thinking: "Oh no, is this how I'm going to die?" I was one of two customers. They were given money by a bank teller and ran out. The next day a big arrangement of flowers was delivered to me from the bank with a card apologizing for the robbery!

Another time I was mugged while going into the Boston Public Library! A young man jumped into the same turnstile while I was entering, and took my wallet out of my coat pocket. Once I realized he did it, I turned and yelled: "Give my wallet back to me!" He was holding my wallet behind his hat with his hands shaking! I grabbed it, turned around, and noticed at least twenty people watching the incident. The young man looked at his friend and ran!

8. I'm a neat-nick. I don't like clutter and label many things including pretty boxes stacked on top of several book cases. Everything is well organized in my refrigerator so I can act quickly while cooking. If something is accidentally hidden that has spoiled, I won't use it and feel it is very wasteful, so I try to keep on top of things.

9. I need to be surrounded by works of art on every wall, as though I were at a museum. My artsy refrigerator magnets include most of the places I have traveled to.

10. I'm a moderate germ freak. I always bring CVS alcohol hand wipes with me and use them before eating at a restaurant. I always wash my hands after returning home. I keep a dispenser filled with alcohol at every sink, in order to spray it down regularly, so we don't catch each others' colds.

11. I make a Fruit Smoothie almost every day consisting of:
1 banana
1/4 cup Frozen Blueberries
1/4 cup Frozen Raspberries
1/2 cup Apple juice
1/2 cup Water
1/2 teaspoon Amazing Grass Organic Wheat Grass
1/2 teaspoon Nordic Cod Liver Oil with lemon (has a mild, good taste by itself)
One capsule of Source of Life Garden Vitamin D (made of organic mushrooms)
1/2 teaspoon of Molasses for iron

I can't taste the wheat grass, cod liver oil and Vitamin D, so it's delicious.

12. I've always been very close to my family. My father and sister passed away several years ago, but I talk or communicate via texting every day with my relatives, as well as visit. Update: In the summer of 2015 I moved closer to my family on the north shore of Massachusetts, so I see my family more frequently. It's been great!

13. When eating out, I preferred Asian restaurants for many years, but that has changed. I cook a lot of Indian and Mexican food. I have always enjoyed cooking vegan meals.

14. I have 3 belts in Karate. After we were flipping each other over on to the floor too much, I decided to quit. I was afraid I'd hurt my arms and affect my violin playing. I've taken classes in modern dance, swing dance, ball room dance, yoga and tai chi.

15. I like to take walks after a snow storm; the air is very fresh and smells clean. I feel like a child happy to see the winter wonderland! I enjoy going out on rainy days. I have a coat, jacket, long rain coat and sweater with hoods, and dislike using an umbrella. My hands are free for carrying a musical instrument or groceries.

16. I love studying languages! In addition to Italian and German, already mentioned in No. 2, I adore French and Spanish. I studied all of those languages starting in middle school, high school or college, and after college at adult education centers. I began studying Russian and enjoyed writing the Cyrillic alphabet, but haven't had a chance to continue. I have learned some Japanese from violin students over the years.

17. My grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet. I have given away many scarves, mittens and doilies as gifts, and only own one small doily today. I used a sewing machine to make dresses, skirts and blouses in my 20s, and left my favorite skirt on a bus to NYC. I took jewelry classes and gave away everything I made. Eventually I sold a necklace to a jewelry store for $90. It was made of turquoise and rare silver African beads.

18. I don't own pets due to my husband's allergies, but enjoy their company. Animals gravitate towards me when I am in public or visit family and friends, especially cats.

19. While writing my ABCs of Strings method books years ago, I hand wrote everything; my publisher engraved all of it for me. I finally learned the Finale music notation software program while writing my Complete Technique books. (Released in 2014)

20. Cooking is my main hobby. Here are recipes and more personal things you don't know about me: Janice's Recipes

Thanks to my Facebook friends for inquiring!

~Janice Tucker Rhoda
Author of ABCs of Strings and Complete Technique
Published by Carl Fischer Music

Article: 20 Things you don't know about me!
Copyright © January 2, 2014
by Janice Tucker Rhoda
Inspired by Facebook friends sending messages wanting to know more about me.
Janice's Facebook Page
Contact Janice: abcsofstrings@gmail.com