My mom is really neat. Like really neat. So neat that I don't even know how to begin to tell you about how neat she is. So maybe I'll start with this picture:
My mom is the second oldest of five girls--she's the one with the cat shirt on. Four of the five girls are nurses, as was their mother. (The other does something with computers and maps.) My mom trained as a nurse at St. Michael's hospital in Toronto, and lived downtown while she was doing that. This has made her absolutely fearless: she can cross a busy downtown street while my sisters and I can only look at the oncoming traffic with total fear. St. Mike's is also right by Massey Hall, so she and her nursing friends would sometimes get to meet the musicians performing there.
My mom loves sock monkeys. She had one when she was a kid (that she still has, though he is missing an arm). She calls sock monkeys "minkeys". This interest has resulted in a family sock monkey assembly line at several points in the past. In fact, this spread to last year's Sister Weekend, from which we have learned that you should never drink and sock monkey.
My mom is one of the most generous people that I know. For the last several years, she has been travelling to Nicaragua to help run medical clinics in rural villages, as well as volunteering at the children's hospital in Managua. During her time there, she has seen and done some incredible things. The first year that she went, she met a woman who had just had a baby girl. As there were no respirators, my mom took turns manually "bagging" the baby so that her lungs would be forced to breathe. The woman and my mother spent a lot of time together, and the baby was eventually named "Luisa", the Spanish version of my mother's name. The next year, when my mother returned, her friend walked several hours to attend the closest rural clinic, and she brought with her a gift for my mother: Two live chickens, chosen because they were the most valuable gift that could be given. (And yes, she is actually holding the chickens by the feet there.)
My mom is also neat because she isn't afraid to be quirky or weird. For example, the year before she turned fifty, she told people that she was fifty-one, so that when she actually turned fifty the following year, no one made a big deal out of it. She also went through a phase where all of her MSN Messenger conversations with me contained no vowels, only consonants. t trnd t sh ws trng t s hw lng t wld tk t brk m. Of all my mother's quirks, though, my favourites are the ones that involve Jasper. When Kinsey, our twenty lb. torty, passed away, my mother promised Youngest Sister that she could pick out the next kitten. They visited the animal shelter a few times, and Youngest picked out a little calico who turned out to be Padme. My father had admired an older, friendly grey tabby named Jasper, so when we picked up Paddy, my mom decided to bring Jasper home too, as a surprise for my dad. As such things often go, Jasper soon fell in love with my mother. He is so attached to her that he "works nights" with her--when she has night shifts, he will stay awake all night so that he can sleep with her during the day. (He also knows what time she should be home, so if she is late, he gets upset and starts to walk around the house to look for her.)
These are only a few of the reasons that my mom is neat. There are lots more.