Tag Archives | listicles

Listicles: Ten Questions

This week – a holiday weekend in Canada (Happy Canada Day!)  and in the United States (Happy 4th!)  – Stasha has given us an easy list: ten questions.  If you’re looking for a friendly place to hang out, stop by the yeahwrite hangout grid: I’m guest hosting the front porch conversation over there this week, so come keep me company.

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, and find line 4. What is it? From Father’s Day, by Buzz Bissinger, a brilliant and brave account of a father’s cross-country trip with his son Zachary, who suffered brain damage at birth. It’s an amazing book: “In previous lives, we had obviously both appeared in Waiting for Godot. And perhaps written it.”

2. How many times a day do you say Hi?  Er…lately? Not very many because I spend most of the day inside staring at my computer. I say hello A LOT to my keyboard. Occasionally to Husband; sometimes to my children. There are a few “salaams” here and there, but not a lot of “hi.” Hmm.

3. Have you ever worn a uniform?  Black pants, white shirt: the uniform of waiters everywhere. Sometimes with an apron, sometimes with a stupid-ass bowtie, always with black shoes. A hideous pink-and-brown polyester apron over my white shirt when I worked behind the counter at a fudge store in Mackinac Island one summer. Thank god I was fired and the apron had to be returned. I thought about burning the apron but it was made of polyester and probably would’ve just melted into a pink vomiticious puddle.

4. What do you think about the most? kidshusbandwritingworkbookmotherfamilyweatherheatlosetenpounds

5. How many keys are on your keyring?  Three: house, office, Husband’s office. There is a separate ring with a car key and a house key, which Husband and I pass back and forth, depending on who is driving where on a given day.

6. What was the last thing you bought?  Some really lightweight trousers that zip off into shorts. Not my usual style but am getting ready for our Rather Significant Trip next week. More on that later.

7. Are you growing anything these days?  I have one small pot of basil on the windowsill. I wish I had a yard, or even a place to put some big pots with more herbs. I miss my big terrace in New York, where by this point in the summer, I would have killed several tomato plants, any number of herbs, and several flats worth of petunias. The morning glories thrived, and the sunroses. Everything else got crisped.

8. What is under your bed? Husband’s shoes. Dust. The upside of moving around the world? You shed a lot of crap, including most of what had lived (for decades) under the bed. Of course, much of that crap is in our storage facility, waiting for us to return. If there should be a fire in a storage facility in Westchester sometime late next year, it wasn’t me.

9. What is most important in life? Well, happiness. Health. Imagination. Work that matters. (And within “happiness”  I include those people who bring me joy: Husband, kids, family, friends.).  Tom Lux has a great poem about work and love, and loving work: “A Horatian Notion.”

10. What is the strangest word you used this week? Pilgarlic. (Liam asked me for some of my favorite words, and this one is near the top. Cress Delahanty, a book I adored when I was growing up, makes a fantastic list of words, and some of them I adopted as my own).


What would your answers be to the questions on this list?

Continue Reading · on July 2, 2012 in Books, Monday Listicle

Listicle: I do well…


Once again, Stasha’s Monday list is being made on Tuesday night, but that’s because I couldn’t figure out how to write this list until I read someone else’s post. And then I decided to plagiarize. Although, is it plagiarism if I tell you my source? I borrowed this idea whole cloth from the Sisterhood of Sensible Moms, which is a blog you really should put in regular rotation.  They asked their kids to make this list for them, and so I did the same thing – I even got one kid to make his list while we were driving, just like they did. Lest they be insulted, I will remind them that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The original prompt for this list came from Mommy Padawan, with whom I feel a special affinity because Star Wars pretty much rules my entire household: her prompt was for us to list either 10 things we’re good at, or what we’d do for 48 hours with unlimited money and no responsibilities.  Well, writing that list would simply make me cry, having not enough of the former and WAY too much of the latter; so I went with “what I’m good at.” And then punted and asked my kids to make the list for me.

Caleb gave me his five items when I was driving him home from soccer the other night.  He was in the back seat trying to read Order of the Phoenix by the light of the streetlights; I told him not to try to read because he’d strain his eyes in the dark; he said YES I CAN TOO READ IT and held the book pretty much on the tip of his nose. And then, as if by HP magic, I was suddenly my mother, saying the exact same thing to me, when I was about the same age. As if on cue, Caleb said, look the light looks like water, mommy, and I knew exactly what he meant: speckled windows do cast a watery light.

I say, Caleb, I need a list of things I’m good at. I need five things.

You take care of us.

I wait, drive a little bit. Resounding silence from the back seat, pages rustling.

Um…Caleb? Five things?

Five? Continue Reading →

Continue Reading · on May 1, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, Kids, Monday Listicle, Parenting

Monday Listicle: Rubbish. The Skill Set

Ah, Stasha set us an easy list today.  List ten things you’re rubbish at, says Jessica.

Only ten? Sheesh. I could rattle off a list of ten in my sleep (which is something I do badly. I don’t sleep. I want to sleep, but I can’t. Not well. Husband sleeps pretty much anywhere, under any circumstances. Infuriating).

So what else am I rubbish at besides sleep?

1. Math.  Me and numbers began our rocky relationship way the hell back in about third grade, when I held up three fingers to my teacher and said “why do they call this three and not four?” She said “because that’s just the way it is.” We call that a missed teaching  moment.  After that moment of philosophical inquiry, I tried to make sense of numbers, really I did. But then it was 9th grade algebra and that confounded X, which became even more horrifying in 11th grade, when I had to take something called algebra 3/trig.  I spent most of the year cataloging my teacher’s outfits. She never wore the same thing twice. I promise. I mapped it in my notebook, instead of all that sine co-sine crap she was trying to teach me.

2. Learning from instructions. I need someone to show me. Preferably more than once. Trying to figure out anything from a manual–cameras, microwaves, watches–makes me crazy, because…

3. … patience is not my strong suit. Reading instructions takes too damn long. I want to intuit how something works (the ol’ trial-and-error method, which mostly ends up in error and trial and swearing), or I want someone to just show me, and then I’ll do it on my own.

4. Skiing. I should’ve learned to ski a long time ago, before I had fear. Alas, I grew up in Illinois. You know what they have in Illinois? Corn fields. Some cows. Hills and mountains, not so much. Occasionally we went to Wisconsin, where they have slightly larger hills and people do ski there, but I never figured it out.  And now all I can think about is that if I fall it’s going to hurt, a lot.

5.  Seeing the world from my Husband’s perspective. Says my husband. He’s wrong of course, but there you are, now he can’t complain that I don’t ever listen to him.

6.  Not eating cookies. Can’t stop. Shouldn’t buy them, shouldn’t have them in the house, but can’t stop.

7. Tending to the sick. I’m reasonably sympathetic to my children when they’re sick (although not so sympathetic as to make them think that it’s fun to stay home from school), but when pretty much anyone else is sick, including myself, I’m an inhospitable nursemaid.  I take after my grandmother, whose remedy for pretty much everything was vaseline and a nap. Vaseline as a topical, the nap for anything internal.

8. Reading maps under pressure. I can do pretty well navigationally when I’m alone or when I don’t have to decide instantly TURN LEFT HERE, NO WAIT, HERE, NO WAIT MAYBE IT’S A RIGHT.  Of course, there was that time in Indiana when Husband believed what the GPS said–that we weren’t at our destination–as I looked out the window and said, um…it’s right there.

9. Singing. Couldn’t carry a tune if you put it in a bucket for me. Unfortunately for everyone around me, I love music and love to sing.  The upside of having to drive everywhere, as I do now, is that I play music and sing along, loudly. I figure it helps the crazy Abu Dhabi drivers know I’m on the road. They might not see me, in my tiny little hatchback, but they can hear me!

10. Make-up. I would love to be one of those women who know all the intricacies of make-up: foundation, concealer, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick.  The women with luminescent skin and wide-open eyes. I just can’t do it. In part due to reason #3–who has time for all that?–but also because I never get it right. I’ve tried the full maquillage and I end up looking like Tammy Faye Baker on a bad day.

It occurs to me that in this day and age of “everyone gets a prize!” we shouldn’t call this list “things I can’t do.”  Let’s instead call them my non-strengths, shall we? What are your non-strengths?


Continue Reading · on March 6, 2012 in me my own personal self, Monday Listicle

Monday Listicle: Class Reunion? should I stay or should I go?

Monday…the day after I didn’t watch the Oscars. It was either the red carpet being streamed live at 230AM or me, sleeping on my blue sheets? I went for the blue sheets and would like to thank the academy for creating a show that fueled a fabulous twitter stream that I dove into with my morning coffee…at 6AM. Continue Reading →

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Continue Reading · on February 27, 2012 in growing up, me my own personal self, Monday Listicle

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