Monday MEME

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It’s Midterms, people, and though I am not as frenzied as I was for the ’08 POTUS race, I have fears.

Not for me personally as I live in the Canadian Utopia, but for all of you, who should be planning your exit strategies if things go drastically to the right because 2012 is the year the Mayans decided to end their calendar with – just saying.

As I imagine the airways are polluted with negative ads and phones are bombarded with robo-calls, perhaps a good movie is in order. Fave political movies?

Let’s see. This is what Time Magazine thinks:

I’ve seen Bob Roberts, The Candidate, Citizen Kane And Primary Colors. The last is probably my favorite Travolta role ever and the saddest, most apt commentary on the enigma that is Bill Clinton ever.

But I loved Kevin Kline in Dave.

And Michael Douglas as The American President.

I like my politics with a bit of chick flick.

How about you?

Today’s meme was stolen* from Bookends, LLC, an agents blog I follow. Bookends, in turn, lifted it from their client Jennifer Stanley and her Cozy Chicks blog.

The objective is filling four spots at a dinner party with authors with whom you would very much enjoy spending time eating and conversing. Said writers can be dead or alive.

They recommend choosing your authors before reading the picks of others because knowing who someone else chose will only increase the likelihood of second guessing and dinner guest envy.

I can only state my preferences of the moment. Who I’d like to spend an evening with discussing their work and the world in general fluctuates with my reading habits and genre interests.

But, here goes:

Stephen King, I adore his novellas and short stories more than his longer works – especially of late. I really think his better long work came early in his career. It would be neat to talk about The Stand though and how he would tackle it if he were writing it for today’s world.

Hilary Mantel, I can’t wait for the sequel to Wolf Hall. I ran across an interview where she reads a scene about Anne Boleyn and Cromwell. She is filling him in on the latest gossip concerning Jane Seymour’s father. Seymour would be Henry’s next wife. It’s wonderful and she read it like a kindergarten teacher to her rapt class sitting on the carpet at her feet. Nothing but expression and pure delight. And, she’s English. I could listen to them talk all day.

I would choose David Eddings and Anne McCaffery as well. The are fantasy writers and I love a good fantasy series. The skill it takes to create and maintain a reality is no little thing.

Helen Humphreys. She writes these amazing short novels. 200 pages more or less. That are poetic, compelling and make you wish they were longer even though you know that length would spoil them.

No pressure to meme this on your home base, but yes pressure to leaving a comment with at least one author with whom you’d love to sup.

*Memes were meant to be set free. Kinda like YouTube vids.

Today’s meme is via Rob’s blog. It is a “liberated” idea that is being freed all over the social media at present.

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s harder than you think.


Are you male or female: I am Just a Girl

Describe yourself: Super Trouper

How do you feel about yourself: I Am An A

Describe where you currently live: Waterloo

The first thing you think of when you wake up: If It Wasn’t for the Nights

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Tropical Loveland

Your favorite form of transportation: Another Town, Another Train

What is the weather like where you are at: Summer Night City

Your best friend is: Like An Angel Passing Through My Room

Your favorite color is: Put on the White Sombrero

If your life were a TV show, what would it be called: My Love, My Life

What is life to you: Dream World

What is the best advice you have to give: Move On

If you could change your name, what would it be: Nina, Pretty Ballerina

Your favorite food is: Honey, Honey

How I would like to die: Burning My Bridges

My soul’s present condition: Free As a Bumblebee

What are you going to post this as: When All is Said and Done

Now it is your turn— or not. List a few in the comments or link back at your convenience.

I stole this from Nathan Bradsford who stole it from someone else.

It is all the rage in authorland to have reader giveaways of character names. Novelists offer to name characters in upcoming works after the winners of their various contests. So the question today is what book do you wish you could inhabit?

For me, this is an easy one. I have always wished I could live inside Anne McCaffery’s Pern series. Sure, it’s a rustic existence on a rather inhospitable planet in some distant future, but the upside is dragons. Riding dragons with whom you share a telepathic bond and the ability to cross time and space in the flutter of an eyelash.

I can totally envision myself with aloft, battling the vicious thread with flamethrowers astride my golden dragon and being mistress of a weyr. I can also see Rob decked in leather and charging into the fray on a sturdy bronze, Weyrleader respected by all. 

Yep, I am geek like that.

What book would you live in? And don’t be wimpy with just title and author. Tell me who you’d be and what you see yourself doing.

So, on the 20th we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 and one small step and MSNBC wonders where in the world we all were that historic day.

I was 5 and I remember my mother had the little black and white that normally sat on the kitchen counter top in the bedroom so she could watch the news as she ironed. It was hot but the sky was black and rumbly with an impending storm. If there hadn’t been lightning, I’d have been outside getting wet. Playing in the rain was summertime fun. Racing little twig boats down the raging rapids of the curbs and watching them disappear into the yawning opening of the sewer. But lightning meant being kept indoors and Dr. Max, my favorite cartoon show, was being pre-empted by the moon and I was grumpy.

“Come and look at the moon,” Mom coaxed.

But there was nothing to look at but Walter Cronkite and child of television that I was – first generation Sesame Street after all – I didn’t see anything special about people on the moon. People on tv could do anything they liked. It was tv.

What’s  your story? Where were you?

Stole this one from Alicia too (thanks by the way).

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
I have not, but they did come to my high school to question me once.
2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?
I avoid all amusement park rides. It’s a puking issue.
3. When’s the last time you’ve been sledding?
With the daughter right before she got lice and that was the last time her little friends’ mother arranged for a playdate. Haven’t talked to her since.
4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
5. Do you believe in ghosts?
I believe that some souls don’t cross over or they go back and forth.
6. Do you consider yourself creative?
Yeah, okay, I do, but I envy the ease I sense in others where creative matters are concerned. You wouldn’t look at me and say “artist”.
7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
Without a doubt. I remember when the verdict came in the principal announced it during classes. I spent the rest of the day explaining the legal system and putting out arguments.
8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
I loved Jen on Friends and feel sorry for her now with the tabloid stuff. I find Angie, odd, with all the baby collecting. Can’t say either is a “must see” where movies are concerned.
9. Can you honestly say you know ANYTHING about politics?
I wish I was more ignorant of the process and what is going on than I am.
10. Do you know how to play poker?
Not really. I am not much of a card player generally speaking. In my dad’s family it was standard practice to teach kids to play Euchre as soon as they were big enough to tell the difference between the cards. It never took with me.
11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
Maybe back in college.
12. What’s your favorite commercial?
Still not watching television.
13. Who was your first love?
Steve Merfeld. We were in kindergarten together. He still lives in our hometown and my mom sees him from time to time at the grocery where she works.
14. If you’re driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around you, do you run a red light?
I don’t although it seems silly not to.
15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
There are things I don’t share, but I wouldn’t call them secrets or say that no one else isn’t in the know.
16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
I was a Pirates fan when this kind of thing mattered to me.
17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?
We skate most Sundays during the hockey season because there is a rink right across the street that has free family skate in the afternoon. I suck at it, but the wee one is improving. She is determined to skate like Rob.
18. How often do you remember your dreams?
I nearly always recall my dreams.
19. What’s the one thing on your mind?
I never have just one thing. Right now it’s writing, the house projects and my mom and aunt’s impending visit in the top ten.
20. Do you always wear your seat belt?
Yes, although I had to be coerced into it by state law in the beginning.
21. What talent do you wish you had?
I wish I could draw and play the guitar. Not at the same time though that would be a talent.
22. Do you like Sushi?
23. What do you wear to bed?
Nothing. I loathe pj’s. I don’t know how people sleep with clothing twisting around them all night.
24. Do you truly hate anyone?
I strongly dislike some people and some others are not worthy of my attention, but I don’t hate anyone at the moment.
25. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
There are famous men I find attractive but not enough to sleep with any one of them. I only really lust after celeb crushes when I am not in a relationship. I really don’t have crushes or attractions unless I am also available, does that make sense? Regardless, that is how it has always been with me.
26. Do you know anyone in jail?
I am sure I have a former student or two (dozen) languishing in penal institutions because that was how my students rolled in a couple of my assignments. I do know a man, the ex of an old friend, who is in prison for murdering their son. My brother, of course, has done time, but he is free and doing (for him) well at the moment.
27. What food do you find disgusting?
Anything pig.
28. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their backs?
In a vicious way? No. I do poke fun, but I hope it’s not seen as mean. Though, you have to be careful. Teasing is all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. so to speak.
29. Have you ever been punched in the face?
I got whacked across the forehead with a bat once. Does that count?
30. Do you believe in angels and demons?
Not exactly. I don’t believe in heaven or hell which is where the ideas originate. I do believe in the immortality of our souls and that some of us are shining examples and some or – not so much.
Feel free to steal this as I did. Or not.

On Monday I asked and some of you responded. Today I will reply to the questions my gentle readers put to me about myself.

Silverstar asked,

What is your dream vacation? If you had all the money needed, where would you go?

I don’t dream about vacationing. I find vacations stressful and physically/emotionally draining. I always have, which is why I am so poorly traveled at my age. One would think that a 45 year old woman who lived on her own until ten years ago would have been all over the world or her own country at the very least. Not true. And the reason? The act of traveling rattles me. And if I were rich beyond worries and the pesky inconveniences of mere mortals? It would still rattle me. However, since Rob is once again in the running for an overseas project, I have been thinking about places we might visit. There are the obvious suspects – London, Paris, Spain but I would like to see Greece. My friend Leslie traveled a lot and ended up summering in Greece and nearly settled down there when a local woman took a shine to her and offered to take her into her business. She didn’t have any children and wanted Les to help her run her shop and take it over someday. Leslie was tempted but in the end returned to Iowa and finished school. I wonder if she ever thinks about that anymore? I would like to spend time on some tiny island. Real time. A month or more. Just kick back. Eat fresh and local and walk everywhere I went – no mad tourist rush to see ruins or anything. Just live.

Daisyfae wanted to know,

What is the strangest, or most unexpected, thing you’ve ever done in public? That thing where your friends, or you, have to say “I can’t believe you (I) just did that!”

I was in university and there was this frat boy who worked in the dishroom of the dorm cafeteria where my friends and I lived. His name was Scott and he was a body builder. Very tan. Very buff. And as white blond as Boo Radley. Back in those days, I swore like a long shoreman (that is the expression, right?) and my girlfriends and I strove to be as crass and unflappable as any of the guys we knew. It was a point of honor. I think it may have had something to do with all the “having it all and frying it up in a pan” feminism thing that was going on at the time.

Scott made it a game to try and one up us or embarrass us, but he lost the game more than he won. When he didn’t, his scalp would get so red his hair looked like it was in danger of catching fire and his ears looked ready to combust. So we had more incentive than he did to win in our war of dirty words.

One Friday night though he got the better of Sarah’s friend Laura. I don’t remember the conversation now but he did his little snoopy dance taunt as she swore revenge. And he professed that we would never again get the better of him.

I saw him out that night at one of the dance clubs (actually we called them “bars” then). He was surrounded by a gaggle of sorority girls. We referred to them as “muffs”. Short for “muffins”, of course. Scott was the kind of guy who wouldn’t acknowledge you in public when he was with his fraternity or sorority peeps because it would have meant ‘fessing up to the fact that, unlike most of them, he had to hold down a job to bankroll his lifestyle rather than simply phoning home to the parental units for funding.

I’ll confess to having had a couple of kamikazees and I came up with a brilliant plan for ending his little contest with us forever. Something I knew he would never have the balls to top. I flounced over to him in my best muff imitation, wiggled past the entourage and sidled right up to him, draped an arm across his shoulder and purred – loudly – into his ear,

“You were great last night. I hope we can do it again tonight. You know where to find me when you’re done here.”

And then, for good measure, I nipped and licked his ear. ‘Cause that’s the way I rolled.

And, he never did find a way to top that.

Lora asked,

what is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
what do you miss most about America?

Brave is subjective. But in my opinion, the bravest thing I ever did was put my late husband into a nursing home when he become too much for me to care for without quitting my job, which was never really an option. I was lucky that my own family was very supportive because his wasn’t and even my BFF, who was wonderful and a rock, commented that she could never have done that. She would have quit her job if she’d had to but could never put someone in a home.

And America? I miss HyVee. It is a grocery chain and the stores are open 24hrs with a pharmacy, diner, deli, and a Starbucks. Dee (aka BabyD) and I often ate their during the week and always on Sunday mornings. During the months I took off after Will died, I went to Starbucks every morning after dropping Dee off at school. The clerks all knew me. The young man at the Starbucks had my order started as soon as he saw me. The pharmacists knew my allergies and would phone the DR’s for me to get refills if I forgot. Oh, and there was a bank open there seven days a week. Nothing as capitalistically wonderful exists here in Canada.

And then my dear Sally threw this spanner into the works,

Where would you be in your life if Will was still alive and healthy? What would your life look like if you and Rob had been together from the outset? How did you and Will get together?

I almost saved this for last. It reminded me of my sister, DNOS, asking me last fall if I thought Will and I would still be together today if he hadn’t died. I don’t entertain myself with those types of daydreams or fantasies. I know that a lot of people do spend time mourning what should have been or what was supposed to be, but I don’t believe in that kind of entitlement. There is no such thing as should have or supposed to have been. Our futures are not set in stone. The future is mutable and dependent on events that are occurring right now and that is all we have control over and even that is sometimes not a given.

Will and I had talked about moving back to my hometown because it was clear to us that we needed physical distance from his mother and that in order to raise a family, a couple really needed to be in proximity to extended family. If he hadn’t been ill, we wouldn’t have needed IVF so Dee would not exist, but we’d likely have a couple of older children – eight or nine years old at least. And beyond that, I can’t say. I am not the same person ten years on and he wouldn’t have been either.

As to Rob, the fact that he and I were not even born in the same country and met as a direct result of dead spouses begs the question of how fate could have brought us together in our late teens or early twenties in the first place. I would say that we wouldn’t have happened at all, but let’s say that destiny had other ideas. When we discussed Sally’s question Rob pointed out the fact that he is not the man he was at nineteen when he and Shelley married. I am certainly not the girl I was at nineteen , and in spite of the fact that I was at school and taking care of myself – I was hardly a real grown-up.

I didn’t think I’d have been as likely to have children had it been Rob and I, simply because we are both so lukewarm on the soul-fulfilling wonders of parenthood. He didn’t agree, but I think the longer we’d have been childless – and it could have lasted as long as the mid to late twenties because I think we’d have both pursued school, degrees and careers – the less likely we’d have been to trade the idea of “us” for the idea of “family”. Beyond that, I can’t say.

When Will got sick, I shut down that time line. I mourned it heavily for the first year and less and less and by the day of his death, I considered it closed and was interested only in the real possibilities and not lamenting “what if’s” or “it’s not fair” or “we were supposed to”.

And though I wonder about Rob’s past – because it seems so much bigger in terms of what he accomplished than my own life – I think of us from here on.

How did Will and I meet? One of my very first blog posts is a recounting of “our” story that I wrote when I was about four months out. The story is there.

Sharon wanted to know,

What book would you write if you knew that, no matter the genre or topic or length, it would be a success?

I wish I could write an epic. Something hardcore science and trilogy length. I have an idea and even titles, but I don’t have the stamina for the research to make it happen. But if none of that mattered, and I could  half-ass it like say, the new book The Strain, or take something that was a cool idea, but I didn’t have the chops to make it more than mediocre, like The Twilight books, I would go for it.

Alicia‘s question was about books,

What book have you owned the longest? Not exactly what’s the oldest book on your shelf, because that could be a hand-me-down or a collector’s item… but which book among the ones you currently own was the first one you bought/received?

This was exactly easy. I have three picture books that my Uncle Jimmy gave me in 1969 for my birthday. One is Peter Pan. I love the pictures. Especially the one where Tiger Lily is nearly engulfed by the rising tide in the lagoon but still refusing to tell Hook where Peter is. I also have Cinderella and Twas the Night Before Christmas. They are in terrible shape. Which is sad, but I keep them anyway.

I also have a complete collection of the Through Golden Windows collections of short stories and novel excerpts for children. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have them, so I must have been three or so when my parents got them for us. I have them because no one else wanted them. I have read them all, even the collection of poetry.

Uncle Keith’s inquiring mind wanted to know,

Would you rather be a vampire or werewolf? Why?

Another easy one. Werewolf. Why? Because it is a once a month thing and as a woman, I have been dealing with an affliction once a month since I was a young teen. The hairy thing is something I deal with now as I go through menopause and I am totally okay with spending some down time all alone in a small windowless room because – aside from the windowless thing – I do that already as a writer.

As a werewolf, I would retain my reflection and the ability to have garlic, which I love. I would not be restricted to the night or have to worry about bursting into flames. As long as Rob took care to have me secured during my monthly, I wouldn’t be a danger to anyone and wouldn’t arouse any angry mobs or hunters.

And, of course, I would not have to die, be buried and dig my way out of a coffin and grave with my bare hands. Or be more pasty looking than I already am.

Cindy asked two questions,

How do you motivate yourself? In writing, blogging, and just in general.

There is nothing tangible that drives me to write or blog. I have always written and for most of my life my audience was limited to non-existent. I think writers in general are compelled to write.

Like most people, however, I am motivated by the results. I blog. People read and, hopefully, comment. I do yoga, and my legs and bum look better. I walk daily and I do not get fat(ter). I give things away and the universe seems pleased with me. I offer friendship and (in most cases) get some back. Cause/effect is the oldest motivator.

So do you feel like it’s true? And if so what would be the new challenge and complete life change?

I am not colorful or charismatic. Gray is my favorite colour and I wear a lot of black and earth tones. And no one follows me really. I am a very small fish in the pond who watches more than she interacts or is noticed. However, I do like people who are deep thinking and have passion for something that is evident from time to time. And I am quick to react but bold and courageous only when I need to be and that is, thankfully, not often anymore.

I’ve had a complete life change really. The States to Canada. Working to SAHM. Teacher to writer. Widow to Wife. I am shifting to novels from short stories, which is a challenge.

Minor life change things? I am not disciplined enough. I haven’t pared down to the essentials-only yet. I still care too much about what other people think of me. I am not yet fully content with my body image. But really, I haven’t anything to complain about – aside from the weather. It just isn’t sunny enough or warm enough yet.

Marsha wanted to know,

Great minds are similar–don’t you think?

In my opinion, kindred spirits find each other and exchange ideas that are clearly simpatico. Rob and I had that kind of connection from the start and I still seem able to “read his mind”.

“Get out of my head,” he will say when I anticipate something he is about to say or finish a sentence for him.

I don’t know that being on the same wave-length makes minds great because some hive mentalities are not healthy or productive, but generally, birds flock by type.


So there you have it. If you have follow-up questions, leave a comment and I will get to it later today. I have a field trip, yoga and novel revising filling up most of my morning and early afternoon today so be patient.

I asked Rob if he was going to do this meme thing and he didn’t think he had readers enough to bother to ask for questions. You could leave him a nagging suggestion to do this on his blog today while you wait for me.