Monday, June 4, 2012

Playing Tag With the Popular Girls

   I stalk read lots of smart, stylish, inspirational, and frankly intimidating women here on ye ol' blogosphere. In one year I have learned a truckload from these fine people and have started some pretty cool-as-beans friendships along the way. Once in a blue moon, though, I cross paths with some of them in a more intimate way. This weekend I was "tagged" by Tangled Lou over at Periphery, and you guys, I feel like I am sitting at the popular girls' lunch table, receiving an invitation to play at recess. She and the company she keeps make up some of this continent's smartest, wittiest, most soul-nourishing women, and I am pretty sure Depeche Mode, good coffee, and high-level reading habits are at the root of all this brilliance.
   What follows here is my contribution to the cause. The cause of personal confession mixed with an attempt at levity. I've given myself permission to be wildly long-winded today, so feel free to take notes. Not really.

Chapter One: Eleven Riveting Facts About Me
  1. I am an awful typist, like, the worst you will ever meet in your life. I spend huge amounts of time and energy editing the smallest typed things, even texts. It's embarrassing. Despite this, though, I can get stupidly indignant about spell-check errors.
  2. I am a recovering Grammar Nazi, but I remain proud of the fact that I can diagram almost any sentence thrown at me. Sometimes if a less than thrilling person is talking to me for too long and I start to doze, I mentally diagram their sentences to stay alert. This is fun, but the trouble is that it invariably reawakens the Grammar Nazi.
  3. Most people who know me already know this, but I have accidentally broken out my two top front teeth about nine times in my life. Or thirteen or forty, I have lost count by now. I have nightmares about them a few times a month.
  4. I first became a mother when I was twenty-two years old. I felt older and wiser then than I do now (more prideful indignation), and looking back I shudder to think of my precious daughter being trusted to the girl I used to be.
  5. I am a shameless hoarder of notebooks, spaghetti-strap dresses, romaine lettuces, and various black mascaras.
  6. In fact, I could get used to being without a lot of material things in life, but not notebooks. I probably could not function as an information-in/information-out kind of person without a stack of notebooks and a clutch of pens nearby at all times.
  7. Also perfect coffee.
  8. The level of peace I have about my girls being away from home right now is misunderstood by almost everybody. Almost. As is the depth and severity of pain I feel simultaneously. And the few people who do understand these twin emotions are more precious to me than I can express.
  9. Adulthood is different than I expected. True love is better than anyone ever told me. The notion that the glory days are all in youth is sad and misleading. These are things I hope to show my girls when the time is right.
  10. Gardens... Flower gardens, food gardens, formal, wild, personal, public... All gardens fascinate and inspire me in a thousand ways. When visiting new cities I am much happier finding their gardens than shopping their malls. And touring the outdoor spaces of  new friends is one of my favorite ways to get better acquainted.
  11. I could use some help with time management. Like, for real you guys. Please?
Chapter Two: Periphery Asks, I Answer. 
This should be interesting. Before we begin, may I submit that 
her questions are going to be a lot more interesting than my answers! Brace yourself.

1. If there were 5 birds in your yard, which one would you eat? And why?  As a matter of fact, we have LOTS of birds in our yard, and I am reluctant to eat any of them. Though I do eat their liquid offspring greedily. One day I aim at a rooster harvest. One day.

2. What's the best thing that happened to you when you were 7 years old? I was approximately this age when my parents and grandparents started their lamp company, Village Art Lamps in Oklahoma City. It was a family effort from day one. I remember Dad giving us a pile of lamp components on Grandma's carpeted living room floor and encouraging us to design lamps. Also, my Uncle Timmy had lived with us for a while. He couldn't have been older than seventeen or eighteen, and I loved him so much. I was devastated when he said he was moving out. I still get choked up when I remember that night. These things all happened together, so it's a strongly bittersweet memory.

3. If the mob was going to take one of your fingers to recover a debt, which finger would you give them? Why? (Or would you do that thing where you flip the table and grab the giant meat cleaver from Vito?) I might not have the prettiest manicure in town, but I like all of my ten fingers, thanks very much. And the only debt I might ever owe is a library fine. Is it that serious? Is losing a digit to the mob something I should worry about???

4. If you were to throw a drink in someone's face, what drink would it be and why would you do it? I have done this once in my life, and I don't want to talk about it. Yes, I am ashamed.

5. Someone gives you a gorgeous mink coat for a gift, would you wear it? Why or why not? I actually own a really beautiful black, waist-length mink jacket. Handsome bought it for me at an estate sale (because that's how we roll) and has asked me repeatedly to wear it out. He was raised with women wearing such things, while I was not. I agree it looks gorgeous and feels amazing, but I have only worn it out on the town one time, on New Year's Eve. I keep trying to think of new outfits for it but always wind up with the attitude: If I just went down two jeans sizes it would look so much better. Typical vanity stuff.

6. You are trapped in an elevator with the following people: Elton John, Kathy Griffin, Jimmy Carter and John Malkovich. What do you do? Would you take pictures with your cell phone? Okay, let's talk about this. First of all, Instagram. I would flood the web with highly edited Instagram shots of these people. Also, I saw video of a near-miss throw down between Kathy Griffin and Elizabeth Hesselbeck and was rooting for my fellow blonde conservative the whole time. Griffin is sometimes funny, but her shrill sarcasm gets to be too much. She needs to be taken down a peg or two. Carter? He was President while I was in gradeschool. I once thought my classmate who shared his daughter's name might actally be his daughter. I'd like to get that cleared up with him directly. Maybe see the photos in his wallet. I would hope Elton John didn't have ideas to steal my sultry black mink jacket. And I would invite John Malkovich for a nice meal and a garden tour somewhere. He is crazy-bones interesting!

7. Who did you want to be when you were 13? Are you that person? Why or why not? Believe it or not, I wanted to be a nun. And clearly I am not a nun today. But I also wanted to be a writer and a marine biologist. Hhhmmm, I do a form of writing now, though not for money YET, and I have all of these amaing animals, so... Maybe I was just off on the nun part and the marine part. Though I do feel tightly connected to God most of the time and I do still love the ocean. Cool question.

8. If you found a finger in your burrito, would you set it aside and keep eating? Why or why not? This is gross beyond words. As much as I love Mexican food, I might not eat for a year after this. I have a hard enough time finishing any meal where I have discovered a hair. Oh lordy, now I might vomit for real.

9. If your navel dispensed the condiment of your choice, what would it be? Why? Again, gross. Gag me with a spoon.

10. Are you a ferret person? I am so happy this has come up in conversation again. YES. Yes, I love ferrets so much. Not despite their smell, partly because of it. I like that weird, cellar-stink warning from nature. And I love their shape and slinkiness. I adore the way a ferret inspects the world and is kind of self-centered. Much debate surrounds my claim to have owned a ferret as a little girl, but I am sticking to my guns. I once had a ferret. And he loved me.

11. You are given an award for something you are very proud of. You get up to make your acceptance speech and they hand you a box of teeth. Does it throw you off? What do you do? Would you proudly display it on your mantel? Umm, did you write this question just for me, lady? Creepy though that prize might be, a box of extra teeth is not a terrible thing to have around the house. Because a person never knows when she might swim into a concrete wall, fall forward onto a gymnasium floor, or step on a heavy metal rake. Yes, yes I would accept the teeth proudly and gratefully.

Chapter Three: The People I've Tagged 
and the Things I Want to Know

   I am going to go ahead and tag a handful of writers who have my admiration as well as a healthy dose of my curiosity, but I should warn you that most of these fine people may not participate. Their blogs are either a slightly different tone than what lends to this kind of disclosure, or they have been tagged recently and have graciously bowed out of this game. No biggie, no hard feelings, no worries. I do hope you visit their blogs anyway and dip your toes in their waters.

Heather at New House New Home New Life Heather, my distant support in motherhood and also my gardening and up-cycling inspiration.
Katie at Cabbage Ranch Katie has horses, like us, and she also has a pet deer who just delivered twins! Not to mention an adorable little toddler and another on the way.
Lisa at Living on This Farm Have I pointed you her way yet? Lisa and her partner farm right here in Oklahoma and serve chef-quality feasts of locally raised foods to the community.
Brittany at Vesuvius at Home You know how you can hire an artist to render a painting of your home? I'd like Brittany to write our farm. You will fall in love with her prose and poetry, no matter the topic.
Jen Luitwieler I am a new reader to Jen's blog, but already a devoted one. She writes about running and about life, and she does so with great intelligence and sensitivity. She has a book Run With Me that is on my very short want-to-read list.
The M Half  M. You guys know M! She is the sassy chick who almost got me ax-murdered in the forest.

This is what I would love to know about you girls:
  1. What book did you finish last? What book are you reading now?
  2. How do you take your coffee? Or is it tea? Or something else?
  3. Are you a beach bum, a lake rat, or a land lubber? Where are you vacationing this year?
  4. What time of day do you find it best to shower, get made up, etc? This question is at once more serious and less creepy than it sounds. Pinky promise.
  5. Who is your most enduring female role model? Or do you have a male role model?
  6. Each of you is a special kind of writer, and I look forward to finding new material from each of you. I'd love to know about how much time you spend writing each day (or each week) and maybe also what time of day is best for your writing. What are your ideal writing conditions?
  7. Stephen King is publicly opposed to adverbs, to my understanding. I am passionately supportive of their magic. Where do you stand on this issue?
  8. Do you believe prayer can change free will?
  9. Which is more important to you, a sparkling clean and well stocked kitchen or a comfortable, well appointed bedroom and bathroom?
  10. If you had to change your full name, what name would you choose?  
  11. What little rituals do you perform in the name of good ole superstition?
   Do you know what I would really love? I would really love it if each of you had a few minutes to respond to at least a few of these eleven questions (or maybe Periphery's questions!) in the comments below, even if you don't have time to blog the whole she-bang. 

Have a really great rest of the night. Thanks for sticking with such a loooonnnng post!

No Stupid Questions, Right?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Oh boy. I wish I could HTML in here. And that I had proofread before I posted a minute ago ... sign.

    * What book did you finish last? What book are you reading now?
    I just finished The Handmaid's Tale and am now struggling through ... I mean reading Grapes of Wrath.

    * How do you take your coffee? Or is it tea? Or something else?
    Green tea latte. Soy. No syrup.

    * Are you a beach bum, a lake rat, or a land lubber? Where are you vacationing this year?
    I'm a mountain girl (land lubber?). This year, I am (or have been) vacationing in Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Denver, Oklahoma, California, Washington, and hopefully Vancouver.

    * What time of day do you find it best to shower, get made up, etc? This question is at once more serious and less creepy than it sounds. Pinky promise.
    Right after a morning workout. Or when I first wake up. I'm groggy until I'm clean.

    * Who is your most enduring female role model? Or do you have a male role model?
    This one is hard. My Mom, my sister, my aunts, my girlfriends ... my Dad

    * Each of you is a special kind of writer, and I look forward to finding new material from each of you. I'd love to know about how much time you spend writing each day (or each week) and maybe also what time of day is best for your writing. What are your ideal writing conditions?
    You flatter me too much. I probably spend 7-15 hours/week writing for my blog, and 35-42 hours/week writing for work. Phew. Ideally, for personal writing, I'm in a quiet house with music on in the background and a glass of tea next to me. There's probably a cat on my lap. Or I'm at the Lazy W, half listening to MIA, guineas, and Pacino yammer on.

    * Stephen King is publicly opposed to adverbs, to my understanding. I am passionately supportive of their magic. Where do you stand on this issue?
    I don't stand on this issue at all.

    * Do you believe prayer can change free will?
    I'm not sure what this means. I have always assumed prayer was an expression of free will, but we know I'm uneducated in this realm.

    * Which is more important to you, a sparkling clean and well stocked kitchen or a comfortable, well appointed bedroom and bathroom?
    I want the bathroom and kitchen clean enough that I'm not grossed out. Otherwise, I just need someplace to sleep.

    * If you had to change your full name, what name would you choose?
    Sparkly McFarklepants, of course.

    * What little rituals do you perform in the name of good ole superstition?
    I lift my feet when driving over railroad tracks.

    1. Vancouver?!?!
      I like it best when you write here at the farm.
      Can't wait tot discuss Grapes of Wrath.
      What does education have to do with belief? That's another thinker.
      Love you Ms. MsFarklepants.

  3. Hey, Marie! Oh, my goodness! I'm on question and answer overload at the moment! LOL! I so enjoyed reading this post and I'm in awe of Periphery's questions! How did she come up with those???
    The book I'm reading at the moment isn't worth mentioning and I can't remember the name of the one that is worth mentioning! So frustrating!
    If I have to get made up for the day, I prefer showering first thing in the morning. But the best days are stay-at-home no makeup days! :)
    Have a great week!

    1. Oh gosh I *KNOW.* LOL This is a lot to digest. I cringe to burden everyone with it, but the writers who participate are flat our irresistible to me.
      If you remember either of those books, let me know! I am always curious what people read, and I love adding titles to my long list.
      YESSS for stay home days! ; ) You have an awesome week too, Sonya!! Thank you for playing along!

  4. I was recently tagged in this game too. Isn't it fun? I love learning about my fellow bloggers. Great questions and answers!

    1. Hi Kat! Yep, I really enjoy reading everyone's responses and ideas! LOL So interesting. I remember trading tags with you a few months ago! : )

  5. Oh Marie, this is just the nicest thing to wake up to. Thank you.

    I love your eleven statements. They're perfect since I'm just getting to know you. How awful to lose your teeth! I would haven nightmares, too. And while I don't know the full situation with your girls, I do understand the twin emotions. I have them about just about everything.

    I'm on my way out the door but I'll see what I can do later.

    1. Hello there... : ) Thank you for reading! So glad you caught this, especially because I forgot to send a note to any of my tagging victims. LOL Twin emotions... are you a Pisces too, or is this a pretty common phenomenon? Yay for your exciting news today!!

  6. I'm a Gemini! I'm a quintessential Gemini. The twins, you know :)

    I kept thinking I was gonna do this in a blog post but it doesn't seem to be in the cards, so here I go. And thank you for tagging me, I am truly flattered.

    1: Last book was "Contents May Have Shifted" by the wonderful and friendly Pam Houston. It was so beautiful it hurt. It just smacked the wind right out of me. My favorite book in a long old time. Now I'm reading Cheryl Strayed's "Wild", a memoir about her solitary hike from southern California to Oregon. It's pretty amazing. I love an adventuress.

    2: Much cream no sugar, once or twice a day. I brew it stovetop, Italian style. I didn't love brewed coffee until I bought my Moka Stovetop Espresso doo-dad. I was spending too much money on lattes. Now I rarely need to, it brews such a perfect cup every time. (But alas, no timer.)

    3: I just love it everywhere, but I'd get tired of sitting on the beach after a day or two. I like to see the art and history of a place.

    4: I hate putting make up on but I do it every day, as soon as I can get the motivation. Which is some days seven am and some days one pm. Usually by 1:30. Sometimes 2:00.

    5: Tori Amos. She's an inspiration to me on every level. Creatively, emotionally, spiritually. She speaks the truth and doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks. I really would need whole blog posts to explain how much she and her work mean to me. I think of her as my spiritual mother.

    6: When the girls were in school, some days I would write for four hours a day. Some days, one hour. Some days less, some days more. I do write a lot. I believe the old decree that a writer should "write every day" was clearly issued by a man. No woman with children would ever make such a ridiculous demand.

    7: Recently I have really come to believe deeply that when I freely use adverbs plentifully, my writing is not at its best, truly. (She typed solemnly). But I don't like Stephen King at all. So eff him, Marie!

    8:I believe the Divine is love love love and doesn't meddle in our affairs. But I also believe the Divine is a current in living things that we can work with or against. I don't believe anything can change free will. But I believe intentions and thoughts and prayers have actual energy that can influence us and others around us. Short answer: I don't know.

    9:Ah, I have neither! I'm a terrible homemaker. I lack all domestic arts.

    10: J.K. Rowling

    11: I'm not superstitious in the slightest. I don't like to change the calendars until the 1st of every month, but I don't think something bad will happen if I do. I just don't like to ruin the surprise of what picture comes next.

    Thank you thank you thank you.

  7. Oh, Marie! This is such great fun. Your questions are great and I just love all of your answers. I didn't make my questions very easy to answer. You're a pro. Your sparkling lightness shows through everything you write. xo

  8. I love this! And I love getting to know SO much about you. AND at 13, I also wanted to be a marine biologist... although, my other thing was a mermaid. Either would've done neatly.

    Ok, so let's see: Last book I read was Thanks for the Memories. It was ok-ish, a real no brainer, which one kind off needs from time to time. Right now I am reading On the Road. I just can't get into this book, BUT I am awaiting my Harry Potter set (just finished watching all the movies again) and I don't want to start anything else. Also started Galileo's Daughter, which is brilliant, but which I want to read with a little more time and attention so I let it be. For now.

    Coffee black, no sugar, 1 cup a day. But I am an avid tea drinker. Green tea. Just add water. Although I really like all herbal teas, just not ceylon.

    I spend way to little time writing each day... uhm, week. I should really be writing every day, but I don't. My job has just been scaled down to halfday as of July, so I plan on making time then.

    I really don't have a female roll model, but I like all things Tom Cruise and tend to quote either Ghandi, Pratchett or Wilde.

    No amount of prayer can change free will because that is part of the deal: It has to be your choice (although a little voice might start whispering harder). If you are trying to get something done, you need to do the work and make the choice; If you are trying to change someone... I can't even go there... Suffice it to say, this is not from love and therefore has no power. But like I said, a little voice might start whispering harder and notes will show up all over the place, but it is still the other person's choice.

    I want a warm, comfortable kitchen because this is where we make the coffee and the tea, but it needn't be well stocked or pretty or perfect. The bedroom and bathroom... well, these places both serve a purpose: as long as I have hot running water and I can sleep warmly at night, I can go with very little.

    Having a black cat and all, I must admit I am not superstitious at all. i watch the heavens and I am aware of their movements, but I don't charter my ship to them. I wipe salt away without thinking about it, and I talk about what I want or what could happen without ever touching wood. The only thing I have which is a little quirky, is I need to wash my face and brush my teeth before I do yoga. If I can, I shower, otherwise, these items need to be done.

    So I change my name and it is now Princess Nadya. That's it. I just want to be an official Princess, but my name is my name. I have no idea what I would change it to if I could...

    Oh, and it's a go on the adverb thing. I would also be adverse to adverbs as well. Have you read the stuff he writes? If you were to adverb those, you would be really grossed out, I am sure.

  9. PS - what's with the belly button condiment squirter? That really grossed me out as well. Who thinks up things like that?


Hey thanks for commenting! I love hearing from people. It's the best. I have recently added word verification, a necessary annoyance. Have a wonderful day!


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