Friday, May 01, 2009

I just spent a long and virtuous morning cleaning out the garage.
Well, some of the garage.
But our garage is so big and so messy that cleaning even just the front half is quite an accomplishment. But I had to do it. Just yesterday, I wrote on Facebook that cleaning out the garage is my "least favorite household chore". So, to prove to myself that I'm not a shirker and all-around lazy whiner, I made myself get out there and have a go at it.

But you don't really want to hear all about my garage. Trust me. So, send your words of thanks to fellower blogger TeacherMommy, who has tagged me for a new meme.

While some may consider them a plague, I rather enjoy them. It's fun to read other people's answers and concoct my own. There seem to be three main styles of answering:
First of all, you have the bloogers from the Short and Sincere school. Their answers are succinct, factual and...maybe a teensy bit dull.
Then you have the Economically Witty people. The ones that can come up with a very funny twist in just a few well-chosen words. This is the hardest to achieve. I have occasionally aspired to it, but fallen short.

And finally, there are the Out of Control Ramblers. They's my peeps. We are the ones who tend to use each question as an excuse for a good two or three paragraphs of exposition.
Sounds good?
Great! Here we go:

1. What are your current obsessions? I just discovered Project Runway and am watching it on dvd. It's fabulously addictive, so I watch episode after episode after episode... It's out of control.
I'm also out in the yard an awful lot, doing the gardening thing. I don't know if I'm really 'obsessed' with, say, weeding the flower beds, but I seem to be doing a lot of it and no one is making I must really like it.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear the most often? Our lovely old house is cold inside all year long, from the height of summer to the depths of winter, even with the heat turned all the way up. I deal with this by wearing my favoite bright green fleece jacket. It is, quite possibly, the ugliest jacket in the entire world. But at least it allows me to get on with my day and not torment others with constant cries of "It's so COLD in here!" as some people do. "Some people" would be my beloved spouse, who stalks through the house looking fetching in black track pants and a black t-shirt, as though he's sauntering through the streets of Cannes on a sunny day.

3. What's for dinner? Dumplings and potatos in sour cream sauce, a dish that I can make in my sleep and blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back. It's a dish from my childhood, learned at the side of my Grandma Lillie and my mom, who probably had to learn to make it before my dad was allowed to marry her. My paternal great-grandparents were all Volga Germans that immigrated to Nebraska. So, in my family the ethnic foods were things like glace (the aforementioned dumpling dish), grebble (doughnut-type pastries) and runzas ( meat and cabbage in a bread pocket). The latter is such an institution in my home state that there is actually a Runza fast-food chain...and it's really good! Not as good as my Grandma Lillie makes, of course...

4. Last thing you bought? That would be three huge tubs of sour cream (creme fraiche, actually)purchased up in the village mini-mart in a frantic just-before-closing-time shopping trip. At 6:48 last night, I realized that the next day would be a holiday and all shops would be closed then. And I had to have creme fraiche for the next day's dinner (see #4)

5. What are you listening to? Right this moment I am listening to the twins bicker over their elaborate Playmobil scenario. As far as I can tell, Alexa seems to be hindering the expansion of Mallory's farm with her "big butt", which is right where the new goat pen is supposed to go.

6. If you were a god / goddess what would you be? I'd be the deity of books. Yes! Beth the Book Goddess...that works. NOT the goddess of literature, mind you. Too fancy-schmancy for me. Bring me your recipe books, airport novels, French-English dictionaries...whatever, and I'll bless them with showers of sparkly fairy dust for you. But you must bring me tribute. ..Yes! Much tribute! Cash would be good, but Crispy Creme doughnuts will also be accepted in lieu.

7. Favourite holiday spots? Paris, where else? I'd never want to live there (unless I suddenly became very, very wealthy and could afford a house there), but I love getting off the train, dropping off my bags at a friends' house in a lovely guest room and going off to enjoy the museums, monuments, movies and other things, some of which don't even start with the letter 'm'.

8. Reading right now? The Terror by Dan Simmons. It's a 936 page novel based on the real-life, doomed Franklin Expedition that set out to find the Northwest Passage. I am a fan (is it weird to say that?) of early polar exploration expeditions, so this caught my eye. It's long, but I'm finding it riveting...

9. Four words to describe you? blondish, bookish, brainy-ish and bloggish

10. Guilty pleasure? NA. If it makes me feel guilty, I don't get any pleasure out of it. On the other hand, there are some things that I like that I'm a bit ashamed of. But I don't feel guilty about them. Take LOL Cats. I love them. Srsly. I check the site nearly every day and always have a good laugh. But it's awfully embarrassing to admit that I'm crazy about pictures of spelling-impaired kitties. So, I mostly don't talk about it. Shhhhh....

11. Who or what makes you laugh? See #10. But mainly my family. Special faves are: Sev singing me Wierd Al Yankovic songs, Alexa doing her crazy African dances, Mallory talking in her Stitch voice, and Valentine snarking on whatever target comes within range . Good fun.

12. Favourite spring thing to do? This is my first real spring after nine years in Africa and I am finding it very beguiling. I tend to go out and wander in the yard, sniffing the hyacinths, admiring the bright, fluffy grass, inspecting the apple blossoms.... it's so beautiful and clean and amazing. Go spring!

13. Planning to travel next? No definite plans. But we do have an the use of a friend's house up in Brittany for the first two weeks in July. I'm thinking about it....And in the second half of July, our friend's Paris house is empty and available to us. Then in August, I can go to Germany and visit my cousin Mike....
No. No definite plans, but lots of possibilities.

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately? Lotus Speculoos spread!! It's Heaven in a Freaking Jar, people! Think spreadable cookie dough.

15. Last time you were tipsy? It's been so long that I can't even remember. Or does that mean that I'm drinking so much that my memory is going? I just don't KNOW!

16. Favourite ever film? Just one? Pretty tough. Today, I'll say Meet Me in St Louis, but The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz are equally adored.

17. Biggest life lesson you've learned from your kids? In Disney films, there is often a heartwarming lesson along the cloying lines of "Home is where the heart is" . It's unoriginal and trite because it's true, but I didn't know that until I had children and moved from Switzerland to France to Africa and then back to France. My kids like people outside their family, but don't need them. No matter where they are, they tend to stick together, circle the wagons and get with the cocooning. If they are with each other, they have everything they need (even the occasional stress-relieving bicker-fest).
I only had one brother, so I never knew the power of the pack. It's amazing.

18. Song you can't get out of your head? "Elle a des yeux revolver" Ignore the cheesy video (It's from 1985. What can you say?) Just close your eyes and listen.

19. Book that you absolutely love and want to encourage everyone else to read, too? Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing.

Now to pass it on: first off, I'll tag Tya, who REALLY needs to write in her blog. (Do you hear me young lady?)? I'll also tag Reb , Joy and Pardon My French , as well.
I'll leave it at that. Some of my blog pals hate these things, some don't have the time and some have private blogs, so I can't tag them.

(Rules of the meme: Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag 8 people. )


La Framéricaine said...


I really love #17. It is very touching and quite fascinating for a person such as myself.

In the book, "You Can Go Home Again: Reconnecting With Your Family" by Monica McGoldrick, Chapter Seven, "Sister and Brothers," is devoted to talking about what the author calls ..."sibling relationships...generally the longest relationships we have in life." Your description of what you have learned from your children's relationships with one another illustrates so beautifully what she had to say. I wish I knew more about that kind of camaraderie. It sounds very empowering and grounding.

Wonderful post! I especially enjoyed learning about for fondness for polar expedition histories. And I'm with you on the Goddess of Books crowning! Happy reading!

babzee said...

I forgot to steal "The Terror" back from mom on today's journey to Roswell. I read "Endurance" years ago - wow, still recovering. And yes, I loaned it around a good bit.

Oh, now I miss my Grandmother Schumacher Marron Meistersinger and Pennsylvania Dutch food!

oreneta said...

I got tagged with this one too, I just haven't had a chance....too much going on.

You and I are kindred spirits. My kids also love to hang out (and fight) with each other, and my husband and I both adore early polar exploration. Have you read Cherry's book? The Worst Voyage in the World? Incredible. There is an exhibit about Shackleton on in Bilboa, here's the link if you want to make a field trip. Runs to the 12th of July. They claim it was in BCN last year, but I cannot imagine how we could have missed seeing that.

Beth said...

Thanks, Pam. I don't know HOW you find the time to keep up with other people's blogs and even write thoughtful comments... Aren't you, like, MOVING to another CONTINENT right now??!!

Babs- Steal it BACK asap. It's a great read!

Rocky-actually I saw that you were already tagged. That's why I didn't, otherwise you would have been right there on my list.
And OF COURSE I've read the Cherry book. It's one of my faves. I often use it as my inspiration when I'm out doing some cross-country skiing in really miserable cold and wind. I pretend I'm transporting valuable penguin eggs and it keeps me going.
Thanks so much for the link!!

somebird said...

ha! the marc lavoine music video is so BAD! i love it. directors notes: zoom in and out of pretty boy's face while he barely moves his lips. don't forget the blush.
i always get the ahyaiya bad ground singers (?) stuck in my head.

also madame book goddess, have you read any jeanette winterson? might not fit with your Arctic- expedition tastes, but i'm currently enthralled with her wit and the way she weaves words together to unexpectedly, even though the subject matter is more scandalous than anything i can conceive of.

TeacherMommy said...

Yay! I very much enjoyed reading this. Question (and be honest): which group do I fall into? Honest feedback helps me hone my writing skills, so I need to know if I'm being blah.

As for the goddess thing--fine, fine, I'm fancy-schmancy. :P Does it help if I confess that the bulk of the literature over which I reign is sci-fi and fantasy?

And LOL Cats--Oh yes. Oh yes indeed. On days when I'm down in the dumps or just very bored, that site is guaranteed to bring tears of laughter.

Pardon My French said...

Hey, I'll play along! *going off to write it down* Just might take me a couple of months...

I'd write more, but this post made me very hungry.

Beth said...

Well, have a nice snack and then get writing. I look forward to reading your post!!