Sunday, November 30, 2008

Proust Questionnaire Revisited

I have been tidying up my blog posts, deleting a few along the way. I found this one and liked it. I've updated a few of my comments from the original three years ago and post them again in hopes some of you will write your own answers.

Marcel Proust was a French novelist, essayist and critic. He is quoted as saying, "All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last," and "Our intonations contain our philosophy of life, what each of us is constantly telling himself about things," and "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." I like the way he thinks.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A comfortable place to rest when I’m tired, something good to eat when I’m hungry, sunshine on my shoulders, good company in small doses.

Which living person do you most admire?
Each one of my children, for different reasons.

What is your greatest fear?
Unbearable pain.

What is your favorite journey?
The one that takes me home.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Of the seven, diligence. I'm a big believer in frequent breaks, naps, and just sitting, staring off into space.

On what occasion do you lie?
When telling the whole truth would do more harm than good.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Well, huh!" "And your point is?" "Knock it off!"

What is your greatest extravagance?
Books. Chocolate. Clothes. More books.

What do you dislike about your appearance?
Depends on when you ask that question. First thing in the morning? Egads, my hair! Middle of the day? Egads, my hair! Just before bedtime? Lordy, the bags under my eyes!

Which living person do you most despise?
That’s a strong word – I’m not fond of many Republicans at the moment.

What is your greatest regret?
Losing my home as a result of some poorly-made decisions.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family, my kids and grandkids. My old blue sweater. My down comforter ☺

When and where were you happiest?
Whenever and wherever I stop and remember that I can be happy anytime. As a specific location? My old homestead on Silver Street.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh, to be musical!

What is your current state of mind?

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I’d love to have both of my parents still alive and in good health. But if the question means, would I change anyone in my family, the answer is no – we’re a good bunch.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you suppose it would be?
A dust mote so I could dance in a sunbeam and travel the world on the wind.

What is your most treasured possession?
Family photographs. My books. Things my children have chosen as gifts for me over the years.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

What do you most value in your friends?
That they ARE my friends.

Who are your favorite writers?
Richard Bach; Elizabeth Berg; Maeve Binchey; Deepak Chopra; Billy Collins; Annie Dillard; Rumer Godden; James Herriot; Barbara Kingsolver; Garrison Keillor; Anne and daughter Reeve Lindbergh; James Mitchner; Mary Oliver; Cynthia Rylant, Rumi; Anne Rivers Siddons; Amy Tan; Lewis Thomas; Margaret Mitchell; Tolkein; Neil Donald Walsch; Laura Ingalls Wilder; Andrew Weil and a host of others.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Anyone who tries to be a little kinder than necessary.

What are your favorite names?
No favorites, though I’m partial to Annie and Jake.

How would you like to die?
Quietly in my sleep while dreaming about something happy.

What is your motto?
Life is short but wide.


What about you?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Break

The best china, the set handed down from my grandmother, is waiting to be taken from the cupboard, the turkey is waiting to be stuffed, the potatoes and the vegetables are waiting the paring knife, the delicate china cranberry dish is waiting to hold the shimmering sauce, the pies are waiting to be baked to golden perfection, and I am waiting for my family to arrive. Tomorrow and the next day will be a flurry of cooking and talking and eating. Happy Thanksgiving to those that celebrate it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

No Particular Reason

I’ve read several posts of clever sayings. Here’s my own contribution to the pile.

Seen on a t-shirt — “National Sarcasm Society: like we need your support"

Warning—I am the grammarian about whom your mother warned you

Overheard: I’m so far behind I thought I was first

Egrets? I’ve had a few…

On a greeting card: I’m fairly certain that, given a cape and a nice tiara, I could rule the world

On a doormat: Welcome to the (insert own name) —putting fun in dysfunctional since 1993 (or whenever)

On a sweatshirt: “Don’t make me use my opera voice”

On a sign: “Traveling at 33 rpm in an ipod world”

On a wall plaque: “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research.” (Albert Einstein)

and my favorite, printed on a plain gray nightshirt—This IS my sexy lingerie!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Preserving the Moment

My friend Peter often delights his readers with photographs of reflections and shadows. His eye is keen and discerning; his posts allow me a glimpse of things I ordinarily overlook. I had a Peter moment the other morning when I went to wash my face. There in the basin of my sink was a detailed reflection of the sheer lace curtains through which the morning sun was pouring. I grabbed my little digital camera and snapped these photos. The whole of the day I was more aware of my surroundings though nothing else rivaled that lovely sunshine play of lace on porcelain.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Walking With a Camera

When I was a young girl, I had a skirt made of the softest velveteen. It was sewn of squares in different fall colors—russet, mustard, forest green, brown. I loved the way it felt under my fingertips, the way the material shimmered in the light as if the colors were actually sunlit leaves. I wore it as often as fashion sense would allow; when I was 13 those things mattered more than they had at ten.

It’s funny what jogs the memory. Yesterday I was walking along my street past the pond, basking in the fretful sunlight, drinking in the last of the autumn colors—russet, mustard, forest green, brown. I saw that skirt in my mind’s eye as clearly as if it still hung in my closet. It brought back a rush of attendant memories, thoughts of other clothing (oh, that lovely flowered dress with bodice ties of black velvet, the leaf print blouse that looked like a watercolor, the brown dress with tiny balloons embroidered on the collar), of the scent of the leaves I scuffed through while walking to the neighbors’ house to iron (the wife had severe arthritis; her husband loved freshly ironed shirts but was unable to do them up properly himself). Injured during his stay in a concentration camp toward the end of WWII, he regaled me with tales of the war as I starched and ironed his shirts.

I stood stock still for the longest time as one memory after another washed over me. All that from the sight of a few colored leaves. I walked on, the young me, the present me, all of a piece and happy.