Five Question Meme

From the wonderfully named blog, Rocks in My Dryer (hey, I found a watch in my dryer recently.  It's now a science project.), here's a five question meme:

  1. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Chocolate, as much as I love it, would get too monotonous.  Therefore, pizza.
  2. What's the most nerve-racking "close call" you've ever had?  When daughter was about 2, we were playing with some neighbors in their front yard.  Daughter was standing right next to the neighbor when one of the kids kicked a ball into the road, and it started rolling downhill.  Thinking that daughter was fine, I ran to get it, and turned around and looked uphill to see daughter running after me - with a car right behind her.  The driver had a quick reaction, and daughter was fine - but she'd run so unexpectedly that the neighbor didn't catch her.
  3. Name five features your ultimate dream house would have.   Most of them are in the library.  Our current library is what should be the dining room in the house plan.  We've got two computer desks and four bookshelves crammed in here, and the books are all double shelved with others lying sideways on top.  I'd love to have a library big enough for lots of books - single shelved, a fireplace, some large windows, and room for a few comfortable chairs to snuggle in with a good book.  I'd also love to have lots of windows in the whole house, a sunroom where I could also start seedlings in the winter, some large trees in part of the yard for shade, but also a large sunny spot for gardens and for apple trees (you have to have two).
  4. Who has been the most influential non-relative in your life?  Non-relative.  That knocks out lots of people.   I'd have to say Father C.  At a point where I was ready to give up on church, his sermons and his emphasis on welcoming people kept me going. 
  5. What one non-physical feature would you most like to change about yourself? My temper (I mentioned this in another recent meme).

Rocks in My Dryer also has a funny post on the book The Purse-Driven Life and a link to a funny video by the author (Mothers, especially those in the throes of mothering, need to watch this!)(I don't say all of these things, but sometimes it's tempting).


A Meme to Get Me Writing

I've had no impulse to write at all lately.  It seems somehow irrelevant.  I'm not sure why.

However, I'm stealing this meme from Rachel Lucas's blog because it's actually making me feel like writing something.  Not something profound or thoughtful, but something.  And that's something.

Check out her nicely tart "Helpful Online Dating Guide"'s for Men (for example, "Do not post photos of yourself with attractive women. Women who are evaluating your dateability are NOT TURNED ON by seeing you with your arm around a Hooter's waitress with a dopey grin on your face. It's just the way we are. Get with the program.") and for Women (for example, "First and foremost: NO PHOTOS OF YOUR CATS.  Apparently, this really, really turns guys off. Especially if you are not even in the picture yourself, because nothing says abject loneliness and seriously flawed understanding of heterosexual men more than a photo of Mr. Furrylicious Snooperpants posing cutely on your sofa."). 

On to the meme:

WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Not that I know of.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Father's Day, like usual.  But that's better than snapping at everyone and ruining dear husband's Father's Day.  More on that later.

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
No, but not enough to try to change it.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Liverwurst.  Younger son actually also eats it.

DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Three.  When I was in high school, I didn't like babysitting.  I was sure I'd never have kids.    

IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
What an interesting question!  Hmmm.... would I be friends with someone who liked music, musicals, books, nature, was comfortable with silence but liked bawdy jokes.  Sure!  Though I would consider myself one of my weirder friends.

DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
No.  It goes over an eight-year-old's head. 

DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes.

WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
No way. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Usually Cheerios, but I've had an odd craving for AlphaBits lately.  Do they still sell them? 

DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
No. I'm usually in a rush. 

DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
No.   I used to be stronger, but with occasional carpal tunnel problems, I can't do much with weights anymore. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Girl Scout mint cookie ice cream from Emack and Bolio's in Boston's Back Bay.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Eyes.  That's why I'm bad at names.  I'm too busy trying to get an impression of a new person from their eyes to pay enough attention to their name.   

RED OR PINK?
Red.  I've never cared for pink (or at least not since 4th grade).

WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
My temper. 

WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My father.  I came up with a long blog post on Father's Day which I didn't actually write down because it would just have made me cry (and possibly other members of my family also). 

WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Beige shorts and white shoes.

WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
A small York peppermint patty.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Cheryl Wheeler's Right Way to Do the Wrong Thing from Sylvia Hotel

IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Bright blue.

FAVORITE SMELLS?
Either lavender or the smell of younger son's hair just after he's taken a bath. 

WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
My sister.

FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Olympic pair skating. 

HAIR COLOR?
Blond. 

EYE COLOR?
Blue. 

DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
One went down a drain, another ripped.  I stick to glasses now. 

FAVORITE FOOD?
Chocolate.

SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Happy endings. 

LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Chances Are with Robert Downey Jr., Cybill Shepherd, and Ryan O'Neal.  Happy ending.

WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
White t-shirt with clownfish on it from the NC Aquarium.

SUMMER OR WINTER?
Gardens.  Summer.  I used to prefer the winter until I started gardening.  The gardens almost make the heat worthwhile. 

HUGS OR KISSES?
Hugs - from most people.  Kisses - from... you know who you are!

FAVORITE DESSERT?
A chocolate brownie with chocolate chips and Haagen-Daz chocolate ice cream on top.  I don't have this one all that often, though. 

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Book?  Singular?  Patricia McKillip's The Book of Atrix Wolfe, The Barefoot Home, The Highly Sensitive Person, and The Price of Admission

WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
It has a flower pattern with dogwoods and other flowers.  What else did you expect?  (Okay, cats would be a good guess)

WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?

I got home from Theater dance (we did a dance to "Ease on Down the Road" from the Wiz) feeling energetic so I cleaned the kitchen and the bathrooms.  No TV.  Actually, most of what we watch are DVD's from Netflix - I'm too busy to keep track of what's on TV.  We taped the Tony awards a week ago and still haven't gotten around to watching them. 

FAVORITE SOUND?
The door when dear husband gets home.

ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Hmmm... difficult one.  If I have to watch them, the Beatles.  For just listening, the Rolling Stones.   

WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Finland.

DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Flute.  And logic.  But no one likes that one. 

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
That's one of those password questions.  I'm not telling.  A hospital in a city in Michigan. 

If you do the meme, please leave a note in the comments!


Seven Random Facts Meme

Emily at All Right Here tagged me for this meme last week.  I've been thinking about it off and on during this busy week.  All three kids have been sick with a bad cold, daughter's got dance rehearsals all week for the recital on Sunday, and I've been trying to get everything cleaned up and put away after camping.


1.  I can't stand having anything tight around my neck - which rules out turtlenecks altogether, and I don't like t-shirts with small neck openings.

2.  I think the first wildflower name I learned was gentian. 

3.  I can eat one truffle.  Two truffles have too much caffeine, and they give me a migraine.

4.  When I was in Junior High and we lived in upstate NY, I used to listen to WLS at night before falling asleep - when it came in.  It was top 40, AM station in Chicago. 

5.  I can't stand buzzing lights or computers.

6. I've lived in North Carolina since 1975, but I've never picked up any of the accent.

7.  I loved going to amusement parks when I was growing up (particularly Cedar Point in Ohio), but dear husband and the kids get motion sick so  we've never been to one as a family. 

You're supposed to tag people for this meme, but I don't have the energy.  If you like this meme and haven't done it yet, consider yourself tagged.  Leave a note in the comments so I can come see!


Nearest Book Meme

From Pages Turned:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

Mine is:

He [John Adams] decried a system in which the untalented, but well connected, whom he satirically labeled "miniature infinitesimal Deities," were regarded as his superiors.  He could not be a courtier.  Such behavior was terribly demeaning.  He refused to go through life servilely enduring the "passions and Prejudices, the Follies and Vices of Great Men in order to obtain their Smiles, esteem, and Patronage and consequently their favours and Preferments."

From here.


A Book Meme

(Tagged by DF of Breakfast With Pandora)

ONE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE:

Dread Companion - Andre Norton.  A good, but not great, science-fiction/fantasy young adult novel.  I read it for the first time in 7th grade.  Before that, I'd loved reading, but most kids books back in the 60's and early 70's were everyday stories.  There were many good ones (Beverly Cleary, Elizabeth Enright, the Betsy-Tacy books), but I read and reread all of the fantasy authors in the children's section - and there weren't that many (C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, Edward Eager, E. Nesbit).

Dread Companion was the first science-fiction type book that I'd read - and it opened up another whole new world.  Even the children's fantasy had mostly straight-forward settings - magic and princesses, talking animals, etc.  But Dread Companion had a whole new type of imagery - and I was hooked.  The scene I couldn't forget was when the main character, an ordinary person who is undergoing a transformation on an alien planet, took off her boots and:

My feet!....they were not as I had always seen them either.  The toes were longer, thinner.  They appeared to uncoil, to show an extra joint on each as I released them.  And they were far more prehensile than any human toes should be.  These new, flexible ends curved down without my willing it and dug into the soil.

And throughout my body I felt a shock, as if those toes, in so sinking into the ground, had encountered therein source of energy that flowed back through them up my legs, into my body.  I jerked them free, tyring to force on my boots again.

But that could not be done...   (p. 96)


ONE BOOK THAT I'VE READ MORE THAN ONCE

MoonharshmistressThe Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein.  Although it's not his most well-known book, I think it's Heinlein's best.  Writing-wise, it comes between his earlier more adventure-focused novels, and his later novels which start focusing more on social situations.  It has enough of his politics to be Heinlein, but it doesn't overdo the politics like some of his later books.  The bare bones plot is that it's a revolution on the moon.  But, what makes it interesting is the whole society which has developed on the moon, and the characters involved in the revolution.  Mike, one of the two main characters, is one of my favorite characters in any story - book, movie or otherwise.

It's one of the books I recommend most often to people.


ONE BOOK I WOULD WANT ON A DESERT ISLAND

From Dawn to Decadence:  1500 to the Present, 500 Years of Western Cultural Life - Jacques Barzun.  800 pages of excellent writing about the cultural achievements of the last half-milennium.  I've really enjoyed everything I've read of his.  And, if I were on a desert island, I'd actually get around to finishing this one!


ONE BOOK THAT MADE ME LAUGH

Oh Susannah - Kate Wilhelm.  I've also enjoyed everything I've read of hers, whether it's science fiction, suspense, lawyer drama or mystery.  This is her only humorous one - involving a cross-country chase, a mysterious suitcase, an amnesiac, and the son of a children's book writer trying to escape his past.


ONE BOOK THAT MADE ME CRY 

Every year, when I read The Littlest Angel to whatever young child is around (or whatever older child who wants to listen), I always cry at the end.  They're used to it.


ONE BOOK I WISH HAD BEEN WRITTEN:

Before he passed away, my father had been working on a cold-war espionage novel (which had to be changed once the iron curtain fell).

ONE BOOK I WISH HAD NEVER BEEN WRITTEN
I'm tired of hearing about the Da Vinci Code.


ONE BOOK I'M CURRENTLY READING

Stexupery_2 Wind, Sand and Stars by Antione De Saint-Exupery.  I briefly mentioned this in a library post a few weeks ago.  It's a book to savor, not to gobble down.  He writes about being a mail pilot in the late 1920's and early 1930's.  Not my normal subject matter, but I have the feeling that an excellent writer can get you interested in anything.  And his writing is beautiful; here he's describing help a veteran pilot gave to him when he was starting out:

But what a strange lesson in geography I was given!  Guillaumet did not teach Spain to me, he made the country my friend.  He did not talk about provinces, or peoples, or livestock.  Instead of telling me about Guadix, he spoke of three orange-trees on the edge of the town:  "Beware of those trees.  Better mark them on the map."  And those three orange-trees seemed to me thenceforth higher than the Sierra Nevada.

He did not talk about Lorca, but about a humble farm near Lorca, a living farm with its farmer and the farmer's wife.  And this tiny, this remote couple, living a thousand miles from where we sat, took on a universal inportance.  Settled on the slope of a mountain, they watched like lighthouse-keepers beneath the stars, ever on the lookout to succor men.   (Chapter 1)


ONE BOOK I'VE BEEN MEANING TO READ

The Universe and the Teacup:  The Mathematics of Truth and Beauty by K.C. Cole.

NOW TAG SOME PEOPLE:

Emily at All Right Here
Jennifer at Sob'ah My Soul
Rachel at Green Cathedral
And, though this may not work, Nigel Tangelo (who hasn't been seen since the spring, but who is wandering somewhere around Hamjamser).


Partially off the subject....If you've read Breakfast with Pandora, you know that DF can bring anything back to Roman and Greek mythology or culture (It's his field).  And I've been impressed (I've even tried it with a few movies and failed).

But, I realized recently, I tend to bring everything back to music...so here goes.

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is also a song written by Jimmy Webb.  Heinlein's title inspired the song title (although the plot of the song is nothing like that of the book):

The title is from a short story written by Robert A. Heinlein from an anthology called A Man Who Sold the Moon," commented Webb to Paul Zollo in SongTalk. "And I liked the title and it stayed with me for years and years and years and years. It haunted me. And I finally wrote the song. I've hardly ever done that. That's a special case. Taking a title from someone else's work. But I'm very straightforward about it; that's what I did. But it was because it was so hauntingly beautiful."

It's been recorded by numerous singers including Linda Ronstadt and Judy Collins

(Judy Collins responded strongly to the song's downbeat qualities, telling Corby Kummer in an interview included in the booklet to her 1981 Book-of-the-Month Club box set, "In 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' I want you to feel devastated, totally wiped out by the end of a love affair. It's a song to jump out the window by.")(also from the Jimmy Webb album liner notes)

and, the version I heard first and still love, Joan Baez.  Go give it a listen!