31 May, 2017

If the Covfefe Fits

I am always the last one on a trend. I never know about them until (usually) Brett tells me about something that happened or that he read somewhere. 

Today I happen to be awake and on my computer, and saw a bunch of tweets with #covfefe in them, so I looked up the hashtag, and joined the crowd.

It's the middle of the night in the States. For all the hub-bub, the average American is missing it by sleeping. They will awaken to a media furore*, and then the horrors of bipartisan reactions will set in. Right now is the fun. Some people are showing their political stripes through their tweets, but mostly it's goofy. I wish we could be this way all the time.

*yes. Furore, the British spelling has more impact.

The tweet heard 'round the world.
In case you missed it, POTUS apparently was tweeting about negative press coverage, and fell asleep. Or didn't proof-read and fell asleep before he could cancel it. "Covfefe!" It's a mistake anyone could make.

I'm never included in on the joke, so I am loving this.
You get a covfefe! And you get a covfefe! And you get a covfefe! Everyone gets a covfefe!

26 May, 2017

The Dragons are Coming! The Dragons are Coming!

This weekend is Dragon Boat Festival here in China.
Not a Dragon Boat. This was a beached party boat up north from our vacation.

I knew about Dragon Boat races because when I was in high school we lived in Taiwan, and the races are VERY BIG there. I usually got home for summer vacation just in time to watch the races on TV. I have to say, a Dragon Boat race is more interesting to watch than the Indy 500, which is also this weekend!

Mind you, Dragon Boat Festival doesn't always coincide with Memorial Day weekend in the States. Something new that I learned now that I live in China: It's the 5th day of the 5th Lunar month in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese are very big on double digits. 5-5. It's auspicious!
... which is why the patriot-poet Qu Yuan chose it as the day to kill himself by jumping in a river. 

That's right. There was political craziness going on, and he had been exiled from his home, and rather than watch "the wrong people" take over, he offed himself. 
LET'S CELEBRATE!


People celebrate by eating Zongzi - a kind of sweet sticky rice ball - and watching the Dragon Boat races. 
Why sticky rice? Because Qu Yuan was so beloved that after he jumped in the river, his mourning fans threw in rice so the fish would eat the rice and leave his body alone. (so says the legend) 

I'm kind of vague on the history behind the races, but it has something to do with keeping the River Dragon away from him. I know there are 20 oarsmen, a "sweep" and a "caller". The sweep steers from the bow, and the caller beats out the rhythm on a drum in the stern. Nowadays, it's a symbol of getting rid of the bad. This is considered a day to take care of health and hygiene, to chase away disease and evil spirits. With Dragons. Or something.

Confused yet? 
I think, like so many traditions based in history, this is only one of several reasons for the holiday, but of the few I've heard, this is the only story that incorporates all the elements. I know there are different statesmen celebrated in different regions, who also died on the same day, but I don't think dragons are tied to those stories. I could research it, but really? I like this story!

21 May, 2017

Fuzzy Truth - FiveMinuteFriday

Just a short Five-Minute Friday post. On these posts, I follow the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home.  
 
If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
  

It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week.

This week's one-word is "Truth". 

  
Timer starting...


My best friend is a real stickler for the truth. She will cut you out of her life if she catches you in a lie... maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but she won't trust you again. That lie will kick you in the shins for the rest of your relationship. I've seen it happen.

My husband is a great story-teller. He prefers to tell it the way it is funniest. He's popular on social media, and makes friends easily. When it counts, face to face, he's honest. He just has a fuzzy idea on the value of truth. It took me a while to get completely comfortable with that.

Which is best? Personally, I can't lie. Is that why I'm not nearly as popular as my husband on social media, and I struggle to make friends? I don't think so.

Truth is, I've gotten better at appreciating the moment for the moment. I'm trying to learn to accept things that happen and let go of the things that I only wished to happen. My will cannot change what is.

It might change the way I remember something happening, but the truth is, in fact, the truth. The truth is not what I over-analyze it to be even!

What is, is. I pray that it is right.

Stop timer.

18 May, 2017

Uninspired

I'm uninspired, so I'd better just write, right?

Now that my challenge is over, I have to make up my own stuff to write, I guess. Since people seem to appreciate my writing about things that are different in China from the US, I'll start there. Let's talk Tea.

Here, anything can be tea. The Chinese serve hot water all the time, but if you are in your own home or office, you may add something to it. Not just tea! Flowers or dried fruits are common.

Right now, we are looking at a series of 100-degree days, and there was still a huge thermos of hot water in my office this morning. They believe that drinking warm water is better for your stomach - less of a shock to the system or something. I'm used to it by now, but in this heat? Ugh. I poured some, and left it to cool to room temperature during my first class.
My tea, right now.

However, now that I've come home and had a couple glasses of normal water, I'm actually having some tea. (I'll let it cool a bit.) I was turned on to Chrysanthemum tea by my tea lady. After trying it and deciding this mild, pale (not even as colorful as the palest pinot grigio), flower was something I could drink regularly, I did some research.

Chrysanthemum tea is not just mild and easy on the stomach (lack of tannins), but it is good for the heart, liver, and kidneys! Go me! Also, it has "heat-reducing" properties - good for fever or heat rash, or, I'm hoping just being hot from 100-degree temps!

So when you hear the phrase "all the tea in China" just remember that all the tea in China includes more than just tea! I've even made "tea" out of orange rinds and cinnamon sticks! It'll knock your socks off.

15 May, 2017

The Goal Post

Haha. Goal Post. Like a football goal-post, get it? I got the jokes today.


Not really. The prompt is "What are your goals for the next 30 days?" So since I'm setting goals today, I wanted a title that I can easily find to check back on myself.

(Weak beginning, step it up, Red.)

First, I have been successfully posting every day, even when it's kind of crap. But I have been only so-so about checking in with the blogs I follow, and I want to fix that. So I think for the next 30 days I should intentionally visit my reading list daily. It's not realistic to check out every new post every day, but I will visit at least one from my reading list every day. And I need to update the blogroll on this page, to the right.

Second, I need to broaden my horizons. I will visit a new blog every day. My hopeful goal is to find at least one a week to ADD to my reading list. That would be cool. (Ann Bennett, if you are reading this, please provide your blog link!)

Those are blogging goals. In life, there are a few things I need to do within the next month.

PRIMARY TARGET - Tickets. We are planning a return visit to the US, and it is causing me deep depression and anxiety. Nothing is easy here, and somehow, planning a trip is even worse than getting a work visa! I hate it, and I typically love planning... I can feel my pulse racing just writing about it. But I MUST get our tickets this week. Today if possible. This was on my to-do list for last week, but when I went to buy them I found more hoops to jump through and these are on fire. 
Just shoot me now. :-(

Work Target - My final TKT test is in June. This is a 3-part test that provides me with a certificate saying I am qualified to teach English. I did the first two parts in December. I have about a month to finish the workbook in preparation for the final test.

Finally, the school year will end for me within the next 30 days and I am looking forward to never teaching again! That's not the goal, though. The woman who has been our primary contact in placing us in schools knows I will not be teaching next term, and I look forward to building a friendship with her without the strain of work. She is very sweet and kind and smart, but as our main contact, she hears all the complaints. 

Friends are good. I'm looking forward to meeting this goal. What about you? As summer begins, what do you have on the agenda?

14 May, 2017

Laugh-out-Loud

I'm in another slump, where trying to list things I enjoy is a good idea and might help, so I'm actually doing this prompt... if I can. They want FIVE things that make me LOL. Hmmm...

Here in China, I have to say, the off-color accidental misspellings make me laugh out loud. Or not even misspellings, but statements that would be off-color in the States and nobody knows the difference here.

Like the student with the legend "F*** Off" written across the knees of his pants. Seriously.  A 6-yr-old.

Or the teenager wearing a T-shirt telling the world "This body's for you" - really? For whom?

The examples are endless.

Secondly, my own typos often cause me to laugh out loud. It's fairly lonely in my head, and sometimes while proofing my own work at the engineering firm in Indy, I'd see something I wrote incorrectly that made an audible laugh escape my lips. No one around would understand if I explained, but it amused me!

Third, Douglas Adams' writing style. I'm currently re-reading So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and frequently laugh out loud. Actually there are several authors that do this: Jenny Lawson and Dave Barry come to mind. One time in the 90s I laughed out loud to Dave Barry while sitting at a bus-stop. The people around me were very curious what was causing my reaction!

That's all I can think of. Some TV shows do, my husband does, but I can't think of particular reasons that cause the laughter. 

... this is not my best work. As I think of better examples, I might update this post.

13 May, 2017

The Best Ever!

In contrast to yesterday, the prompt is to write about a part of my life that's kicking butt.
Easy Peasey.

I have a great job.
I had a great job in the States before we moved to China, too, but that was different. 

I work at the office of a publishing company, and speak English. I'm their English expert. My degree is in business communication - focus on written - so this is actually perfectly suited to my skills and education.

They have video-recorded me reading story books for young children just learning English, and we are in the process of scripting little videos that incorporate their beginning English curriculum, for very young learners. There are several other story book series' on tap for future recording, too.

I lead a conversational English chat group, where I teach parents short statements they can use specifically with their children, to help the kids practice English in the home. Things like "Zip up your coat" or "Breakfast is ready!" 

I have already gone through the English version of their website, to make it readable. Chinese is a very concise language, and a strict translation that you get from a translating app does not often make any kind of sense. So I was given the Chinese text, the literal English translation, and went through and added punctuation, articles, prepositions, everything to make it read well to an English speaker.

When my boss first hired me, she mentioned, "And maybe someday you will write a book, and we can publish it!" I don't know about all that, but I'd love to do some of their editing. 

The office has just a few employees, only one of whom speaks English fluently (besides the boss). It's easy to focus because I'm not distracted. Everyone is very nice, and seems to enjoy working there. So in addition to enjoying my actual work, it's a nice environment to be in.

Right now, it's just 10 hours a week, very part time, but the position is already changing and growing. I would be happy to do 20 hours a week if we get to that point!

12 May, 2017

New and Improved!

I almost skipped this prompt as it could easily be a negative post sending me on a downward spiral: "Something about yourself you'd like to improve." I'm far from perfect, and there are many directions I could go.

So let me just be superficial. That should be fairly painless to share! 

What would I like to improve? My fashion sense.

There you have it. I cannot put together an outfit to save my life. I worked in retail for years, and of course then, the store tells you what goes together. But it never looked right on me. I'm tall, which means nothing ever fits. (Don't get me started on the GAZILLIONS of stores that carry petites but not talls!

Forget dress pants. I have the option of jeans, or skirts. Well, shorts and capris are okay.
Yoga pants? Nope, one washing and they are floods. 
Flannel pants? Sure, at home, when I can wear them hanging off my hips.

But that's just half of it. Observant folks may notice that I only ever wear solid colored shirts. That's because they are easy to pair with bottoms and accessories.

My mother is always nicely dressed. She has enough accessories to wear something different every day for a year! Sister Diana is the same, and a bit of a clothes horse, to be honest. But always completely unique outfits - she looks artsy and cool, and no one could ever replicate her look. Even Hestia, who chooses clothes based on comfort, has well-matched outfits for every occasion.

I hate clothes. Shopping for clothes is the worst kind of torture, for me. People talk about "The curse of Eve" because she ate the fruit first and now we are all doomed to a life of sin... to me, "The curse of Eve" is that we now have to wear clothes. If there was no fall into sin, we would be blissfully naked and comfortable about it.

Maybe in Heaven. 
For now, I'll stick to jeans and tees as much as I can.

11 May, 2017

Some thoughts on Mandarin

Weirdest prompt ever:
"Think of a word...search for images...write about the 11th image."

So, I need to learn Mandarin Chinese, and I have a little phrase-book on my desk, and so "Mandarin" popped into my head. When I googled it:

True.

Okay, this is actually timely. You have no idea how many oranges there are here! The tiny mandarin ones are just past season. I could probably find them if I wanted to pay the off-season price.

Ugly oranges are in right now, but they are expensive to begin with. They're nice and easy to peel, like a tangelo, but sweeter. 

I asked Brett to pick up some oranges before our recent trip north, thinking of any of these easy to peel varieties, and he picked up standard oranges as we might find in the US... with the peels that cling like sticky rice to the slices inside. I discovered this when we stopped for a bathroom break on the way to the grasslands, and I decided to sate my hunger with fruit, only to have it juice all over me. I delayed everyone  because I had to finish my orange outside the van, and of course no one would share with me because I massacred it in the peeling process.

There's another type of orange smaller than the mandarin ones... or maybe the mandarins are the smallest and the slightly larger one is something else? Anyway, these also peel easily, and they taste almost exactly the same.

pop 'em like grapes!
But my favorites so far are the kumquats. LOVE them! 
 

Learned the Hard Way?

Today's prompt is "A Lesson Learned the Hard Way" Really? Is there an easy way? I mean, I guess I learned a lot of lessons by watching others get into trouble...

Okay, yeah. I learned the hard way not to follow my middle sister into all of her shenanigans. One time, I followed her into our eldest sister's room, on her word that she'd left something there, and we both got spanked for breaking Big Sis' privacy. OOPS!

I'm kind of at a loss here. I'm one of those people who has to re-learn life lessons multiple times. If I wasn't taught in school, it takes me a while. Just today, I learned the hard way that BOILING WATER IS HOT! ...as I poured straight from the kettle onto my hand.

So yeah, kind of everything under the sun is learned the hard way unless I was taught in school, or personally observed someone else (a sibling) get into trouble for it.

09 May, 2017

To The Workmen Upstairs

Dear Neighbor in 1201,

I'm so envious that you are making improvements to your apartment! Personally, I hesitate to buy anything that would require a dry-wall screw - is this even dry-wall? It might be cement with plaster over it.

The new owners across the hall were making improvements a few weeks ago. For a while it was quite loud with all the drilling RIGHT HERE. I'm usually home in the mornings, and it sounded like they were drilling into OUR walls from the hallway! haha. They weren't, of course.

But see, the nice thing was, their workmen quit work at a reasonable time. Some days they were still at it when my husband came home from school, but not usually by the time I returned from my later work hours. And NEVER on the weekends. I know that because we saw the owners one day when they were checking on the work, and he told us that he instructed them on the hours they should and should not work.

It was very considerate.


Do you think it's possible that you could follow a similar guideline? Could you quit hammering and drilling earlier in the evening? Even by 7pm would be great. And Saturday is the one day that both my husband and I have free from work, so sometimes we like to sleep in a bit. Maybe you could wait to start work until 9am? Maybe quieter work could be done during the resting hours.

It would be a nice gesture. 
Thank you for considering my request.

08 May, 2017

Music on Shuffle

Literally, the prompt was: Put your music on shuffle and share the first 10 songs.

I am providing the disclaimer that "my music" here is a shuffling of all of my CDs that I downloaded to my hard drive before we left the States. There is nothing current here. I hope you can appreciate the diversity though. I don't think this is an accurate representation of my collection, but it's kind of fun. I'm going to try to find files to share for the really unique pieces.

Here we go.

1. Bjork - Enjoy
 Here is a Sound file of the song
She's so bizarre.

2. The Cure - Just Like Heaven
This goes to the rock video
What a throw back! Classic Alternative...is that a thing now? It should be. All that 80s-early 90s Alternative was my life's soundtrack during those years.

3. Farzin - Yod Kardam (from "A Rough Guide to the Silk Road" collection of Asian music)
No video, just a sound file.
I actually like surrounding myself with world music at times. I got this CD at the Smithsonian, when my brother's family were living in Kyrgyzstan. Without the CD case, I don't know where this one is from.

4. Secret Garden - Evensong (No, not the musical. This is an actual musical group.)
Somewhat tamer than the previous three. 

5. Scott Joplin - Twee-Oodle-Um-Bum-Bo
IF YOU ONLY CLICK ONE LINK, CLICK THIS! 
This was such fun to listen to this morning on shuffle! I haven't listened to Scott Joplin in forever. In my ideal world, I will someday be able to perfectly play any ONE of his songs. This level of skill astounds me.

6. Tchaikovsky - Suite from Swan Lake #2
Not posting a link. I think I'd appreciate Swan Lake better if I ever saw the ballet.

7. Deep Forest - Sweet Lullaby
I was surprised to find a music video for this! 
Deep Forest - Deep Forest is one of my favorite albums that I own. If you listen to this and understand, you get me. In the 90s these dudes traveled the world collecting unique music, and blended it together in studio in France. I find their stuff calming. If you like scenes from other countries, watch the video. It's pretty cool!

8. Billy Joel - Just the Way You Are
You know this one, don't you?

9. Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Silent Nutcracker
Not their typical rockin' sound - audio only.
If you know TSO for just their Christmas hits that make the rounds each year, you may not have heard this gentle guitar solo combining Silent Night and the Nutcracker.

Okay, so this was more fun than I expected. I guess I can always learn new ways to create variety within my blog!

07 May, 2017

Starting Over

"If you can't be a good example, you'll have to be a horrible warning!"  
~ attributed to many different people, usually women. Take your pick.

If there is one thing that people can - and do, apparently - learn from me, it's that it's never too late to start over. Typically, my reset button has entailed lengthy moves, and new jobs, but that's not needed for everyone.

Since college, friends have told me how they admire my strength and independence. Part of that happened because I had no choice. If you don't have others to rely on, you simply must rely on yourself. And you CAN do it.

I hope that the younger generations within my family recognize that in me. If you find yourself in a place you didn't expect and don't appreciate, change it!

It's not always easy, and it may require sacrifice. It's a choice. How much is your happiness worth? 

Maybe relocating or changing jobs is not for you. There are many reasons this may be so. If that's the case, but you are not happy with the way things are, find something that you can improve, and DO IT! One particular mother whose blog I follow makes a point to get up extra early so that she can get in exercise and personal time before her husband leaves for work.

It's a sacrifice of sleep, for the benefit of self-care.

A newly divorced person I know took great care to make her new home exactly what she wanted. It is a charming place full of the art and books she loves, done in colors that appeal to her. She hadn't found the perfect dining set yet, so she's waiting for the right piece that makes her happy. Her new home is happier than her old one, because, although divorce is difficult and often sad, she embraced the change and made it work for her... and for her family.

Starting over happens in many ways, and I truly hope that anyone who observes my life can glean some strength about this. What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

Today's prompt was about what you hope people learn from your life.

06 May, 2017

Celebrity Crushes

I think I'm too old to have crushes. Everyone talks about crushes. "Twitter Crush" is one... I don't get that. I finally realized "celebrity crush" is less a crush and more fandom. I decided that the closest I have to that are certain celebrities who I have great respect for.


1. Drew Carey. Okay, he's less himself now that he's on TPIR. I love TPIR, but I'm not wild about the latest pandering to daytime TV fans that it's gotten into. And Since Drew took over he started wearing rings? and his hair is weird now. It's like they want to reincarnate Bob Barker. 

But once, years ago, when Drew had his sitcom and Who's Line Is It Anyway? I saw him on a celebrity version of some game show, and you know how celebrities play for charities? His charity was a Cleveland Literacy project. I've had a bit of a crush on him ever since then. He hasn't lost his roots. He didn't pander to the latest huge, giant, trendy charity. He gave back to his community, and BOOKS! Reading! Ya gotta love a literary man, right?

I would love to have lunch, or spend an afternoon hanging out with Drew. No idea what that would mean, but I have a feeling he'd be good company. Brett knows about this and is okay with my celebrity crush.


2. Gary Oldman. This is pure admiration for his skill as an actor. He is so diverse! Air Force One, The Fifth Element, Immortal Beloved, Bram Stoker's Dracula? And then a perfectly ordinary Commissioner Gordon. Without looking him up, it would be impossible to know where he's from, his accents are so perfect. I bow at his talented feet. When I saw him as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter movies, I fell in love with the character. His characters are always - with the possible exception of Zorg in The Fifth Element - perfect. And even Zorg, a terrible character, was perfectly performed. He commits! 

I know nothing of his personal life except that he is married and has kids... don't know ages or anything. I really don't seek out pop culture information. But this man can do anything. I would love to get an autograph or shake his hand or something, but could never spend any time with him because I'd be absolutely gob-smacked.

3. Rupert Graves. This is probably the closest to a true crush. Those eyes! This guy is just adorable. He plays Lestrade in the latest Sherlock series from England. (The series starring Benedict Cumberbatch - also crushable, imho.) He's talented, but rarely a leading name, so I'm always pleasantly surprised to see his gorgeous face in a movie or TV show. 

Apparently the first thing I saw him in was A Room With a View, an older movie I love for many reasons, and highly recommend - you'll see a very young Helena Bonham-Carter in it, too. When I first saw him in something else I thought... I know that face. Where do I know that face from? and suddenly remembered.

I really can't think of any other celebrity crushes. I often don't remember names as well as I do faces, anyway. What about you?

Holiday? What Holiday?

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo... a holiday that commemorates a little-known battle, that is significant to a small region in southern Mexico. I think. Cinco de Mayo has become a fun time for Americans to go out and drink Margaritas or tequila shots, although it isn't a "real" holiday for most of our Mexican compatriots.

I liken it to St. Patrick's Day. A holiday that is ostensibly Irish, but really is a much bigger deal in the States than in Ireland. A chance for Americans to go out and drink Irish beer or whiskey.

When we mentioned to a Russian friend that we were looking for Mexican places in Beijing that might have Cinco de Mayo specials, her first question was "what's Five May?" and when we explained as I just did here, her next question was "So do you have any fake Russian holidays?"

Well, no, not that I know of. 

Then again, it was what, like 150-200 years after the Spanish-American war before we started doing Cinco de Mayo on a grand scale? And right up to the 90s Americans were told to hate and distrust the Russians. So if we consider the Cold War as a marker, we still have about 100-150 years to build cross-cultural ties with Russia before conscripting one of their holidays!

I would like to find one now, and start using a Russian holiday as a chance to celebrate by drinking vodka shooters and Black or White Russians! Let's get on this.

What cross-cultural holidays am I forgetting? 

Chinese New Year is more about fireworks than booze. Maybe.

Mardi Gras - a French holiday to load up on sugar, fat, and liquor.

Others?

05 May, 2017

A Re-post

Today's prompt is to share 30 facts about myself. Since I shared 100 for my 100th blog post, I'm just re-posting that one here. Enjoy!

Some people would have us believe that on your 100th blog post you are supposed to list 100 things about yourself. What is that supposed to do? A. That's a very long list. B. Yes, I suppose I could list 100 things...but it would be incredibly dull. What 100 things?

What 100 things would I want to list for readers who don't know me? I'm not sure if there's a rule that the list of 100 should be things not divulged elsewhere in my blog. However, I know some people just recently started popping in here, and not everyone feels drawn to read every archived post by every blogger they follow. 

To make this Herculean labor easier for myself, and to make better sense for you, I'm breaking the 100 into 10 sets of 10.

Let's give it a whirl...
(upon re-reading, I think the boring stuff is first. Keep reading.)

I'm the little one with the crazy grin.
A. GENERAL, GROWING UP
  1. I'm the 4th of 5 kids.
  2. I was born in Iowa.
  3. I started piano lessons at age 5. (For the story about my 5th birthday, see this post.)
  4. I know all the words to a lot of old songs because of giant piano books we'd play from as kids: Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, Blue Moon, Beer Barrel Polka, Heart and Soul, Downtown...the list goes on.
  5. I grew up in Asia.
  6. I don't know where I'd live if I had my choice, but I'd like to get back to the Indian subcontinent someday.
  7. I'm obsessed with Stonehenge.
  8. Yes, I've been there.
  9. I'm obsessed with the Taj Mahal.
  10. No, I've never been there. (Ironic, huh?)
B. THOUGHTS ABOUT SCI-FI
  1. I don't really read sci-fi.
  2. I do not speak Klingon.
  3. I do enjoy Star Trek.
  4. In college, we played the Star Trek drinking game while watching The Next Generation. I no longer have the rules.
  5. I do not speak Wookiee.
  6. I know more about Star Wars than anyone I know (unless you count the videogames).
  7. Yoda does NOT always speak with reverse sentence structure: the script-writers of the prequel trilogy were lazy.
  8. My secret weight loss goal is to be able to successfully wear the Princess Leia slave-girl costume from Return of the Jedi.
  9. I've watched Dr. Who, but not enough to be caught up with current plot-lines and casting. (update: I'm all caught up.)
  10. I prefer Red Dwarf, when it comes to Brit-Sci-Fi.
C. A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT BOOKS

  1. I was reading and writing in sentences at age 3.
  2. My favorite book is Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker Guide trilogy. (yes, the 5 book trilogy)
  3. I own everything he's written.
  4. My most consistent author to read on a whim is Agatha Christie.
  5. I do not own everything she's written... I only have 40-some of hers. (update: My last count was closer to 75.)
  6. I started reading her mysteries at age 11.
  7. My favorite living author is Christopher Moore.
  8. His book "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" is HILARIOUS ... if you can separate fiction from your faith.
  9. Another whacky-fiction author? Jasper Fforde. Grandly twisted. Check him out.
  10. In the past, I have organized my books alphabetically, by color, or by Dewey.
D. ABOUT WORK
  1. I don't really know what I want to be when I grow up.
  2. My ideal job would ultimately be overseas.
  3. My former boss used to say I only ate popcorn, peanuts and pizza. He was pretty close. Add peanut butter.
  4. My longest job was at a marina. I could smell the ocean from my office when the windows were open.
  5. I've worked in housekeeping.
  6. I was on a paint crew for a summer job once.
  7. I worked in a TV studio during college.
  8. From there I worked captioning videos.
  9. Captioning was probably the most fascinating job I've had... too bad my boss was insane!
  10. I am about to go insane if I don't get a job soon! (obviously old.)
E. RESPONSIBILITY AND IRRESPONSIBILITY
  1. No kids: don't have any, don't want any.
  2. Eight nieces and nephews.
  3. Once when I was babysitting my niece and nephew for a weekend, there was a thunderstorm. My niece was 5, and terrified. I had no idea how to calm her: fear of thunder & lightning was absolutely foreign to me. She survived.
  4. Four godchildren. (In the church sense, not in the sense that I am responsible for them if their parents die.)
  5. I taught middle-school Sunday School at my church in Delaware. (grades 5-7)
  6. They were unbelievably fun.
  7. One of the 10yo's admonished me before I moved here to Indiana "Don't tell your new friends out there that you live with your parents!" She was embarrassed for me. Cute.
  8. No pets, mostly because I hate being a burden on someone else if I go out of town and they need to be cared for.
  9. I had a Dragon Amigus named Spartacus.
  10. Plants die in my care. I am fortunate to still have two that have lived for more than 2 years: a spider plant and a jade. (update: They both died. I now have 2 new plants.)
F. DEATH
  1. My grandmother died 2 1/2 years ago, at age 101. (update: more like 7-8 years ago.)
  2. Her funeral was all planned out...by her.
  3. At her 100th birthday, I asked her what the secret was to long life. She said, "love everybody."
  4. DUDE! That's really hard! 
  5. I don't want a funeral when I die. I want a "celebration of life".
  6. My family knows I prefer to be cremated.
  7. I want my sister to read Psalm 19 at my Celebration of Life, if she's still alive.
  8. She hasn't said definitively yes.
  9. There should be an open bar at the Celebration of Life.
  10. You're all invited.
G. ABOUT THE PANTHEON OF MY LIFE

  1. I do not use real names of anyone I write about from my personal life: I've swapped their names for a pantheon which can be found in this post. (I don't use it so much anymore.)
  2. I use (usually) the names of Greek gods and goddesses for pseudonyms in this blog.
  3. That is because in our family, we are steeped in that knowledge, due to Dad's college education. Yeah. Weird.
  4. ...Seriously. It was dinner table conversation. At age 4, I was hooked!
  5. When we lived overseas, my sister Diana and I, and the two daughters of the other missionary, would take Poseidon into the ladies' cloakroom, put his hair in pigtails, and exit into the public calling him Persephone.
  6. His hair wasn't really that long.
  7. I took "Greek and Roman Mythology" as an elective in college. It was awesome.
  8. Because of the whole boarding school situation, I really only got to know my oldest siblings when I was in college.
  9. I think I broke my mom's heart when I told her that. (and I don't know why)
  10. Not yet in the pantheon officially, my eldest niece will be Calliope for her artistic talent, and my youngest nephew will be Icarus for consistently going too far.
H. COLLEGE DAYS

  1. I went to the same college with my older brother.
  2. Unfortunately, this meant that I dated very little. His temper was well-known. I was gold.
  3. I had tried to start going by my full name instead of the age-old shortened version, but having a sibling there ruined that.
  4. I got my first apartment during my Junior year of college.
  5. I kept a double minor all through college because I couldn't decide what my "practical" minor should be. I graduated with one minor and a TON of elective credits!
  6. Like Old Testament Theology, from when my 2nd minor was theology.
  7. Or Adolescent Psychology, from when my 2nd minor was psychology.
  8. Or Music Theory, from when my 2nd minor was music.
  9. The minor I graduated with was Geography/Earth Science.
  10. This should have been my major.
I. A MOVIE WHORE IS BORN
...a.k.a. 10 movies I watch regularly if there's nothing on TV.
(Please note, these are not my Top 10 faves, just easy to have on and ignore because I know them well.)
  1. The Star Wars trilogies (obviously)
  2. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (obviously)
  3. Star Trek - 2010 version (obviously ...and because I don't own any others. If anyone feels like supplying me with Wrath of Kahn, I will be eternally grateful.) (update: When they re-did Wrath of Kahn, I got the original, too.)
  4. Casablanca (obviously)
  5. Clue
  6. Ghostbusters
  7. Young Frankenstein
  8. Kelly's Heroes (possibly the stupidest WWII movie, ever. But so funny.)
  9. Bridget Jones' Diary
  10. Muppets From Space (Best. Soundtrack. EVER.)
 J. The one you've all been waiting for:
The Red & Brett Story in 10 Key Posts.
(you're welcome)
p.s. There are others, but these are key.
  1. Your Bloody Valentines Day We'd been reading each other's blogs and commenting, but this is The Key Post. (If you don't read any others, read this and the comments.)
  2. Evidence That I Am Harmless (posted at The Transformed Non-Conformist)
  3. Of Axe Murderers and Other Creepy Folks This is my response to no. 2.
  4. The Secret's Out and the Plot Thickens Because I'm an anonymous blogger, all of this was only in the blogosphere of my world until now.
  5. Chaos Butterfly Powers (posted at The Transformed Non-Conformist)
  6. Red Arrived in the "Brett Zone" and Was Never Heard From Again Documenting our first meeting. There's a corresonding post at The Transformed Non-Conformist.
  7.  Red & Brett's Secret Squirrel Squad

  8. Allow Me to Explain (or What Really Happened at The Avengers) This one is kind of left-field, unless you'd been following some of the Twitter convos out there.
  9. The Kids of Indianapolis Have a New Hero
  10. Brett's Plans Fall Apart Again (posted at The Transformed Non-Conformist)
  11. That wasn't too painful, was it? 100 things you never cared to know about me, in 10 quick sessions. ...and all the pictures came from elsewhere in this blog.

    Whew.
    Time for a beer.