Entries in Dancing with myself (32)


Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping...

This post is brought to you by approximately .5% of the Haldane Student Body, shown above.

How is it that:

- summer vacation went by so quickly?
- the leaves are starting to turn so early?
- my oldest son is a freshman in high school?
- the laundry hamper is full again already?

September is not my favorite month. I'm pouting and generally feeling sorry for myself for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, the angelic Jenna has tagged me for a meme, so I'll work on that instead of whinging to you all for several paragraphs. The object of the Middle Name Meme is to describe oneself by creating an acrostic with the letters of one's--you guessed it--middle name. Here goes:

M usical: I like most kinds of good music, but polyphony of any sort--from Palestrina to Louis Armstrong to Boston--tops the chart in my mind. Right now, Thomas Tallis's piece The Lamentations of Jeremiah suits my mood perfectly. But later I'll be checking iTunes to see whether they have Wire's fantastic 154 yet. Come on, Apple! Get with it!

I nvestigative Family Historian: Genealogy rocks my world. It's as fascinating as forensics, but without all the gross smells. Who knew that there was the perfect channel for my obsessive bulldoggishness?

C omfort food-loving: If God answers our prayers through other people, doesn't it make sense that He would answer them through food as well? I'm sure I can find a scripture that supports this theory, right after I make some Chocolate Drop (Mostly) Dead Cookies.

H opeful: At some point, I hope to get up regularly at 5:30 and like it; finish reading Don Quixote; and find an easy-care hairstyle that flatters my face.

E rudite: Fancy word describing that geek in high school whose homework you always wanted to copy. Yep, I'm that kid, 20+ years later.

L ovestruck: I have the most awesome husband on the planet. I'd rave on and on, but half of you females would shut yourselves in a closet and cry in despair that you can't have him; the other half would commence stalking him. They're hard on stalkers here in New York State, so I'm doing you a favor.

L ucky: I also have the best kids ever; they embody every virtue listed in the Boy Scout Law and more. I'm not really lucky, just very blessed. But there's no 'B' in my middle name, so we do what we can.

E nthusiastic: I am passionate about my many interests. There's just not enough time in the world to write all the books, read all the other books, knit all the sweaters, grow all the roses, classify all the rocks, find all the ancestors, sing all the motets, and cook and eat all the recipes I want. This doesn't keep me from trying. Like I wrote before: I'm hopeful.

I tag RaJ and Millie, because they're both hilarious and because I'm dying to know what their middle names are. I also tag James, but he has to finish his homework first. Finally, I tag my baby sister Angie, who should have her blog up and running any day now. Can't wait!


Petits Fours

Well, thank heavens Anne Bradshaw tagged me for another meme, because I am a Bear of Very Little Brain this week and can't come up with much on my own.

Four Jobs I've Had:

Secretary in the grant-writing department of The Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene

Waitress at Marie Callender's in Orem, UT (Jeff Holland and Jimmy Osmond are both great tippers.)

Layout Editor at a French software company (Sadly defunct lo these many years; they published software for the Apple Lisa.)

Admissions Desk Personnel at The New-York Historical Society

Four Places I've Lived:


Four Favorite TV Shows:

Any Mets game
Star Trek (the original series)

Four Favorite Foods:

Confetti Salad (even better with shrimp in it)

Four Websites I Frequent:

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:

Four Movies I Love:

The Cutting Edge
The Lathe of Heaven (1979 version)
An Affair to Remember (1957 version)
The Freshman

Four Bloggers I Tag Next:


Short and Sour

The gracious and talented Anne Bradshaw (it's so silly: I always want to refer to her as 'Anne Bradstreet') tagged me for The Moaning Meme. It's just the ticket for a muggy Monday morning. Thanks, Anne! (Sorry to disappoint, but I was not annoyed.)

5 people who will be annoyed that I tagged them:

4 things that should go into Room 101 and be removed from the face of the earth:

Bratz dolls
Japanese beetles

3 things people do that make you want to shake them violently:
When people say 'home' when they mean 'house.'
When people say 'impact' when they mean 'affect.'
When people use 'transition' as a verb or 'reveal' as a noun.

2 things you find yourself moaning about:
In a good way: Shoulder rubs
In a bad way: Not enough shoulder rubs

1 thing the above answers tell you about yourself:

I'm so confrontation-averse that this post was harder to write than I thought it would be. It was hard enough to admit publicly the other day that Colin Firth is not first in the Mr. Darcy corner of my heart.


Fantastic Fiction

I got back from my very satisfying visit to Godric's Hollow and Ottery St. Catchpole to discover that the spectacular Bubandpie had tagged me for the best meme ever. It was a challenge to answer the questions without just copying her excellent work, so definitely go read it as well.

1. If you could host a party with seven literary characters, whom would you invite and why?

I'd invite Georgie and Lucia so that they could play piano duets for us. Not to be outdone, Thea Kronborg would sing something gorgeous. Charles Swann would regale us with all the latest Parisian gossip. His wife Odette, despite her checkered past, would be a welcome addition. I'd want Thursday Next to tell us all about her fascinating work in Jurisfiction, and we'd need Kilgore Trout for some comic relief.

2. Who is your literary role model?

For writing: Jo March. For cooking: Fritz Brenner. For knitting: Molly Weasley. For gardening: Mary Lennox. For parenting: Uncle Alec and Atticus Finch.

3. Which literary house would you like most to live in?

4. Which literary couple would you like most for parents?

5. Pick three literary characters you would like to have as siblings.

Jem Finch, Ender Wiggin, and Joey Pepper. Joey would be the oldest; he'd be so exhausting to parent that Dr. and Dr. Murry would be very relaxed when it came to the rest of us. Jem would be second, the ideal older brother and adventurous companion. I'd be next (the pampered and petted only girl), and Ender would be the brilliant baby who went on to save the universe.

6. Who is your favorite literary villain?

Richard III. We just saw the play at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. I worried that I wouldn't love this production, because the last time I saw it, Ian McKellan played Richard at BAM (years ago, before the movie came out). Sir Ian is a hard act to follow.

It turns out my worries were unfounded. Chris Edwards was fabulous as Richard. Shakespeare totally understood the concept of the hot bad boy, and Mr. Edwards made the very most of his character. Delish.

7. Name a character that most people dislike, but that you do not. Why do you like him/her?

Poor Fagin. He's just trying to get by. He finds those homeless kids on the streets, gives them life skills, feeds them, and shelters them. What--he can't be rewarded for all his selfless work?

8. Which minor character deserves a book of his/her own, in your opinion?

Phoebe Caulfield. I'd love to read about her brother through her eyes, and what it was that kept her from sharing his feelings of alienation and despair. I've read everything Salinger has ever published, and I still want more. Here's your chance to come out of seclusion, J.D.!

9. Which character do you identify most with in literature?

Elizabeth Shulman. She's a woman devoted to her family, religion, and culture who finds a way to define herself as an individual while remaining true to her ideals. I wish she lived next door.

10. If you could go into a novel, which one would it be and why?

So hard to choose! So I'll cheat instead. I'd adventure by day in The Lord of the Rings, but jump out and into Farmer Boy at mealtimes (including Second Breakfast). Whenever I read the descriptions of Mrs. Wilder's bounteous tables to my children, we all groan with desire and envy. I'd bed down in a comfy spot in Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book, then wake up rested and ready to rejoin The Fellowship.

11. Name 3 - 7 books that you rarely see on people’s favorite book lists that are high on your own.

The Diamond in the Window, by Jane Langton
Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan
Roadside Geology of New York, by Bradford Van Diver
The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub
Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens
Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
Anna and Her Daughters, by D.E. Stevenson

12. Which is your least favorite book of those that are considered "classics?"

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. Ugh, please make it stop.

Jenna, Annette, Julie Q., Kara, and Brillig, consider yourself tagged!


I Have All the Answers

(For last post's quiz, anyway.)

Oh, you all did so well, despite some very tricky questions! I have such entertaining pals; thank you for playing.

Here are the correct answers:

1) 'B' is correct. "Me Likey" is a collection of all my favorite running songs culled from several earlier mixes. I use it on the days when I'm trying for a personal best. As much as I adore our neighbor, Mr. Richard Butler, the Furs did not make this particular cut.
I love Bon Jovi! Especially now that he has short hair; he's aged very well. (Kara, you have my permission to stop respecting me.) And "You Give Love a Bad Name" has exactly the right amount of anger (and heavy drums) to make it a good running song for me.

2) My second cat was named Tantôt (pronounced 'Tonto'). When I was living in Montreal, I heard this word used in casual conversation constantly. It's flexible in meaning: 'pretty soon,' 'a little while ago,' 'when I get around to it,' and 'now' are all valid translations. Our current cat is named after Goldberry of The Lord of the Rings fame (she's only in the book). But she's my third cat.

3) Latrell Sprewell es mucho más macho. This question is paraphrased from a Saturday Night Live skit involving Lloyd Bridges, and therefore shows my age.

What's wrong with you people? Don't you believe in forgiveness and repentance? Poor Latrell made one (admittedly large) mistake, apologized, and sought counseling for anger management. He's made reparations. Give him a break! It's been years since that happened!

I am not an ardent basketball fan, but when Latrell was playing for the Knicks, I missed very few games. He plays with balletic grace and a compelling natural charisma; when he's out there, you don't really notice anyone else on the court. I like George Clooney, don't get me wrong. But Latrell....

Bubandpie, j'adore le Canada et ses citoyens. Et vouz pouvez me tutoyer, si vous voulez.

4) I have enjoyed all three of these junk foods in the past, so 'd' is the correct answer. Taco Bell doesn't taste good to me anymore, and I eat Lucky Charms (not as breakfast, as Annette correctly guessed) maybe once every two years. But Magic Shell--it's the Latrell Sprewell of dessert items.

5) This was a tricky question, as all four of these selections were in heavy rotation at my house of origin circa 1978. I got Saturday Night Fever first, but as a gift. My sister Stephanie owned ABBA:Arrival on cassette. Billy Joel's brilliant album The Stranger was the second I ever bought, making b) Grease the correct choice.

6) Hands down, no contest: If I could somehow clone myself, I would pursue a Ph.D. in Geology, preferably at Yale. It's clear that I haven't made my love of this branch of the earth sciences sufficiently manifest to you all. I'll have to rectify this.

But if there were a degree offered in Kara's answer, that would tempt me mightily.

7) It's comforting to me that so many of you agree that all of these critically acclaimed writers are highly overrated. But c) Hemingway is the correct answer, because he's the most revered of the four. I also hate most Steinbeck (except for The Winter of our Discontent), most Updike (except for The Witches of Eastwick), and most Fitzgerald (maybe all, since I can't come up with any exceptions right now).

8) b) Pilgrim's Progress, by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Pilgrim's Progress is my favorite book, and RVW is my favorite composer. The combination is magic. Unfortunately, this opera has significant staging problems, and consequently is very rarely performed.

I've seen a spine-chilling production of The Turn of the Screw; it is one of my favorites, so that was a good guess.

9) This was really a question about whether you recognized a quote from that most quotable of films, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. All answers alluding to said film were scored as correct, with a bonus point given to Jenna and to Annette for giving the correct speed.

The air-speed velocity of an unladed European swallow is 11 meters per second, or 24 miles per hour.

Annette, the four capitals of Assyria were Ashur, Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Nineveh.

And asking Tim was a very good (though potentially explosive) suggestion, RaJ.

10) Bubandpie was prescient when it came to this question.

Weboggle is horrendously addictive, but is a mind-sharpener, so may be rationalized.

"One Week" is a terrific song for exercising; memorizing all the words to it distracted me from the pain of many a mile (and I would never dis Canada or The Barenaked Ladies).

Getting a massage is never wrong.

I'm not a Law and Order fan; therefore, the correct answer is 'd.'

Bonus Question. Annette is partially right; I did choose the photo of Ralph Fiennes because I was giving a quiz. However, 'b' is also correct: I have direct ancestors with the surnames 'Van Doren' and 'Fiennes.'
Bubandpie: 5 correct
Annette: 5 correct
Kara: 6 correct
Brillig: 3 correct
Jam: 5 correct (I counted your initial instinct on the Bonus Question)
Jenna: 5 correct

So it's Kara by a nose as far as number of correct answers, with a four-way tie for second place. Congratulations, Dr. Ennui! I'll drop your prize by later this week.

Brillig is the contestant who has known me the shortest amount of time, so it's understandable that she would get the fewest correct. However, since she wrote her answers in the form of a somewhat slipstreamy narrative, she gets the 'Most Creative' award. Brillig, email me your address, and you'll receive your fabulous prize shortly. Call it a late birthday present if you like, but you earned it!

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