1) Read the meme that was
2) Add TWO new questions to the list. Answer those questions.
4) This series will conclude when we get 50 questions - so yes, it's 25 bloggers in the chain.
5) Please make sure that the next victim in the "link" doesn't have a password protected blog.
[Optional 6] Update the links so people can follow along (this is similar to the method I used in the Why China series).
[Optional 7] When you see an update, down the chain, update your own page with the new questions and answers.
[Optional 8] Copy these micromanaging instructions into the top of your meme post.
Me(1,2) -> Our Journey to China (3,4)-> 3D's Adoption Journey (5,6)->Waiting for Pumpkin (7,8)->Two Kayaks (9,10)->Watch Our Family Grow (11,12)-> Our Journey to Little Maple and Back (13,14)-> American Family (15,16)-> Chicago Mama (17,18)-> The Further Adventures of Spacemom (19,20)-> Mrs. Figby (21,22)-> Mortimer's Mom (23,24)-> Mimiboo (25,26)-> Sopapilla (27,28)-> Jiangli (29,30)-> Beeb (31,32)-> FD Chief (33,34)-> The Daily Grind (35,36)-> Different Dirt (37,38)-> twoladybugs (39,40)-> Forks & Chopsticks (41,42)-> The Mad Race for Macey (43,44)-> Digging a Hole to China (45,46)->The Sense in It All (47,48)-> Elena, r u? (LAST ONE!)
1. What secret/surprising/personal goal (that is realistically achievable within the next 15 years) would you like to fulfill?
I've always wanted to get one of those non-denominational certificates that labels me a "minister" that is allowed to marry people. A programmer I worked with years ago got one of those "degrees" and was able to (legally in the eyes of the law) marry people. Married two people I worked with in the biz. No, I don't want to be a preacher. I want the capability to be the official in a marriage ceremony.
2. Can you list an event in which you made a last minute decision or guess that significantly changed the path of your life?
A friend of mine in high school, who was in grad school, encouraged me to stop by her school and kiss ass with the professor in charge of admissions for my masters program. I told her that in no way was I going to suck up and kiss ass to a professor just to get into grad school. At the last minute, I relented and stopped by on the way home to visit my folks. Right in his office, due to some ass kissing on my part, he let me into grad school. And that started me on a different path in life.
3. What is one unrealistic goal (but your total secret dream) that you would love to come true, but are pretty sure it won't ever happen?
Go to cooking school in France and the US. Cordon Bleu in France and C.I.A. in the US. A dream, but not a reality that I'm willing to risk our family finances.
4. Who has had the most influence on your life and what did they teach you?
My Dad - for showing what it means to show up to work every day, even with jobs that don't terribly excite you.
My High School Drama Teacher - for teaching me about timing, scheduling, preparation, and the fact that everyone has something to contribute.
5. You are on a deserted island. You are stranded with someone from any point in time for 2 months (they are coming to rescue you but are busy right now). Other then family/friends/naval engineers, who is it?
Well, the answer to this IS a cheat. The answer would be "God" or the "Creator" or..... I want answers! I want to know or confirm life on other planets. I want to know if parts of history that historians and scientists have deduced are correct. I want to know! Nope, it's not a case of "What's the meaning of life God?" I want a resource that will answer all my questions I've ever had and answer them truthfully. Don't ya want to know if the Loch Ness Monster really exists?
A few minutes after posting this......I wondered......"Crikey, you've got the need to know!"
6.Name and describe 3 things on your mind lately. Is there any particular reason why you're thinking about a particular thing?
The Boy - His speech is a bit behind, but his comprehension is 100%. He suffers from nosebleeds for no reason whatsoever and has skin problems. Will he be "equipped" to go into the 3 year olds class next year? Due to his finding circumstances, I think about his parents A LOT.
The Girl - Will she quit resenting the Boy? I know she will, I'm just wondering how many more months we'll have of screaming fits due to jealousy? Will that temper of hers ever calm down?
The Job - I was a prisoner in my current job and offers were given to me (which my bosses said NO-GO). Now, I've been freed from my shackles and the previous offers are no longer to be found. It'll be okay in 6 months, but that's 6 months from now. Gah.
7. If you could go back to one moment in time and change it, what would the moment be and what would you change it from and to?
Hmmm. So many (emotionally) littered accidents in my past...so many choices. Well, I would say that I had a good friend from high school who made a drunken pass at me our first year in college. I accepted the "pass" and everything was different between us afterwards. One month later, we had a nasty falling out. I would have deflected the pass and pretended it didn't happen. Four years of friendship down the tubes because of one night. Ahhhh, youth.
8. What is your biggest pet peeve and is there anything that you can do or do do to stop other people from doing it?
The biggest peeve I have is when people show up late for a meeting with me. 1 minute...that's fine. 5-7 minutes, that drives me crazy. It's my theater training where you have to show up 1 or 2 hours before the curtain goes up that drives me to be early at whatever appointment I have. Others, they see it as "what's the big deal? chill out."
I think I've learned that I have to gauge the situation and vent accordingly. If it's something that's critical or really is important (like work), then I let people have it offline. If it's something like a dinner party...then we start without them. That's a message being sent to the latecomers as well as to those at the dinner party, without resorting to a lecture.
But if my kids are late because they want to play in the plastic play pool......hey, that's life baby.
9. Who has been the most influential teacher in your life and why did he or she have such an impact on you? Have you sent them a note?
As mentioned earlier, my high school drama teacher had a profound influence on my life. She believed and encouraged me in aspects of my life that didn't deal with math and science (where my parents were constantly prodding me). In fact, to this day I keep in touch with her and her husband. I met her in 1977. She was there for my first three years in high school, then her husband got a promotion and they moved away to Michigan. I kept in touch with mail (no email back in those days). And then, they moved to Indiana and I visited them for a weekend on my way to a wedding in NYC. Finally, they moved back to Texas as he left the rat race and they wanted to be close to family. Until recently, I would drive to their house, visit, and spend the night about twice a year. Now with my family, I don't have the time to visit them like I used to.
If you're a teacher, keep in mind that you just have to touch one person in your career and it has an everlasting effect on that person.
10. What three things do you regret not learning to do?
1) Believe it or not, the one thing I regret is not learning French. My dream has been to spend an extended time in France learning about food and eating well. French would kinda help.
2) Not taking lessons in sewing so I can repair my clothes.
3) Not learning how to program in Java - it's a job thingie.
11. What is your biggest fear?
Being at the wrong place, at the wrong time, in an uncertain economy and losing my job. When you are young, you are footlose-and-fancy-free. There are no obligations; there are no strings. Now, happily with a family and two mortgages....you realize you have a big responsibilities to two human beings who have no concept, no worry about these things. As it should be.
People tell me I'm too skilled to ever need to find a new position. However, I was told I needed to "start looking around" shortly before leaving China on our first adoption. That has always made me nervous ever since.
12. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
True patience. From this flows all sorts of ways I treat others as well as myself. I'm a combination of a hot-blooded mother and a cool-blooded Dad. My temper runs very hot and very cold, randomly.
13. What is the answer to life, the universe, everything?
When you can grab the pebble from my hand, grasshopper.
14. If you knew, beforehand, that the wait for your child from China would take this long and drastic a time frame, would you still go through with it or would you choose another country?
For our particular situation, kind of a "N/A". But in pretend land, we would have probably gone ahead and resigned ourselves to one child.
15. What is one food that most people like that you do not like at all?
Easy answer is eggplant. Also, cole slaw. Blech. I dislike cabbage.
16. Name one place in the world you would love to spend at least one month visiting? Is there anywhere on earth that is so repulsive to you that there is no amount of money that could convince you to visit it?
No Love: Mexico
17. What book have you just finished reading and why did you pick it up? Would you recommend it to others?
Harry Potter, duh. I've finished reading 4 books in the last 3 years. And the Potter book, I had to read until 4:15 in the morning to finish it. I'm a very fast reader (100 pgs/hr), and I used to read books on plane flights. The last books I read without interruption was on the flight to China 3 years ago.
18. Share a relatively quick and easy recipe for Fall. One pot/dish recipes given extra credit.
Shrimp & Ketchup.
19. Would you rather be financially well off, but unhappy or a happy person who is always in need of money?
This is tough because I'm a worrier. If I'm happy, but then wondering how to pay the bills, then I become unhappy. If I'm financially well off, but unhappy....couldn't I use that money to figure out how to be happy? (maybe the answer would be to stop the job that made me wealthy - but then we go back to the previous statement). The answer is I'm unsure because of my worrying nature.
Here's a diversion. There was an episode of "Married with Children" where Al Bundy is shown what the life of his family would be without him. It turns out their lives were absolutely great (without him). He demands to come back and make them as miserable as he was. The first thing he asks his son Bud (to make sure he is back in real life and not the dream world):
Al: Bud, quick, which is better? Money or Love!Yes, very cynical. But I've always remembered that exchange.
Bud: Well (duh) money. If you've got money, you can always rent love.
20. What is the most comforting sound in the world to you and why?
Rain fall. Growing up in Houston where it rained often for extended periods of time (hours instead of minutes) I found it soothing.
21. What is your all time favorite book? If you aren't a reader, what is your favorite movie? And why?
Casablanca - It has romance, comedy, heroism, cynicism, moral dilemmas, and La Marseillaise being sung at Rick's Cafe causing the French to stand up and sing. And he doesn't get the girl in the end, which is even more realistic.
22. Share one of your most cherished childhood memories.
When I was in 7th grade, we went back to Taiwan for the first time since I had left as a child. I remember spending a week at my grandparents farm (which was half a Hutong for you who have done those tours in Beijing). It had an outhouse and a bathing room (which was the back porch walled off) with just a water hose as the source of your bath water. It showed me where my Dad came from and what kind of life he was brought up in. Grandpa passed away a few years ago. Grandma is still there, waiting for her time.
23. What are you paranoid about?
Having my identity stolen. I've had my primary credit card number (where all our air miles accumulate) stolen 4 times. Internet purchases people. That's where they get the numbers.
24. What trait of yours do you MOST hope your children will carry on?
Resiliency. Many times in life I've made it through by putting my head down and just continuing when people around me (or me myself) were convinced something couldn't be achieved.
25. What is your guilty pleasure
Shaved ice with red beans, green beans, sweet peanuts and grass jelly. I've tried cutting down on them and only get them about once a month rather than once a week.
26. What would you buy if you had a thousand dollars to spend 0n yourself? The only catch is that it has to be a totally selfish purchase, just for you. No paying bills or buying a year’s supply of wet wipes.
A weekend trip and spa treatments (3 or 4) at Ten Thousand Waves in Sante Fe.
A really bad-ass expresso machine.
27. Help me update my iPod...name your favorite artists, and then your favorite song that they perform.
28. What is your favorite charity?
Meals on Wheels - taking care of real people at the grassroots level.
Salvation Army - They take in people that we normally cross the street to avoid.
29. In The Shadow of the Wind, there is a beautiful passage that says “few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.” Do you think this is true, and if so what is your “first” book and why.
I remember reading "Watership Down" in middle school as part of a book reading club. I went into it with an open mind (for a book about rabbits). I left pleased and amazed that a story about rabbits could give a meaning to me. To be honest, I can't remember a bit about the story. But, I remember the feelings of sadness and some happiness with the story. I also remember that this book club taught me about censorship. Our upper-middle class school had nixed the teacher's suggestions of "Catcher in the Rye" and "Lord of the Flies".
Guess which two books I've never read?
30. What is your favorite wilderness hike and why? (You knew I was going to ask this-if you aren’t a hiker, you can modify it to drive by landscapes or whatever speaks to you.)
I love driving along California's Hwy 1, next to the Pacific. Some parts of it are white-knuckle driving for me. But some parts, like near the Hearst Castle are just stunning.
31. What were/are your nicknames? Do you like them?
No nicknames, other than ones we gave each ourselves as high school drama dorks: "Dennis the Menace" and "Catwalk Killer". Dorks!
First - I think it may have been a Styx concert.
Last - The Wiggles (yes, be afraid. be very afraid - your life is doomed!)
33. Have you ever done someone the dirty? I mean really, foully, badly wrong. And would you do it again, and why, or why not?
I know I HAVE, I just can't remember exactly what it was. Knowing me, half the time I got away with something. And the other half, I went and fessed up and had someone mad at me. The "carrying around" guilt is sometimes worse than the directed anger from those I screwed over.
34. If you found out that the universe HAD been created, and you could ask the Creator one question, what would it be?
Why didn't you leave instructions to people on how to "lighten up" and not put words in your mouth about every single thing in the world?
35. What were your dreams as a child?
I wanted to have a skill that or a profession that was dramatic and admired. Something along the lines of a fighter pilot or a surgeon. Well, first my eyes went when I was in college. And the more I thought of it, the more I didn't think I would be a good fit in the military. A second, I really, really sucked at organic chemistry. Say adios to those professions!
36. What can you do better than most people you know?
I can cook better than MOST people I know (why bother with false modesty at this point?). However, a surprise you may not know is that I can tend and mow a St. Augustine (grass) yard like no one's business. I grew up on a corner lot in Houston where there was plentiful rain and sunshine. Some summers I would have to mow, weed whack, edge, and sweep up clippings of the yard every four days.
37. What's your favorite bird and why?
I'm not a "birder" but there are several types that always catch my fancy. I think though, my favorite is a hawk because it soars up and and hunts for it's food in an aggressive manner. Not just down on the ground pecking at seeds.
38. When/where did you last go camping?
Two summers (1987, 1988), I hiked and camped in the San Juan mountains in lower Colorado with a church group that a good friend of mine belonged to. It was a week of carrying all your provisions as you hiked 5 miles a day between camps. I just about died. But, that was truly being one with nature.
39. Is there something you feel you should love doing with your kids but you don't really enjoy doing at all?
Any kid parties. Argh! The sugar! The insanity! The avoiding stepping on munchkins as they run around in a frenzy!
40. What home improvement project is next on your list? Something as small as changing a light bulb counts.
I have vacation to BURN and so many projects to do around the house the next few weeks. I have to finish taking down part of a fence that used to divide our back yard in two. When we got married, to keep the dogs from killing each other when we went to work, we had a fence constructed very roughly down the middle of our back yard. Now that the most aggressive dog is in doggy heaven, I took down 10 of the fence panels (and recycled each of the 120+ pickets). Now that Fall and cooler weather is back, I have 2 more panels to go and dismantle. It's in deep brush down the bottom of the hill. Not going to be fun.
41. What season is your favorite?
Fall. Although it lasts about 3 weeks here, still anything is better than the 100 F broiler oven that lasts between June and October. Last week (2nd week of November), the high was in the mid-80's. Fall means it is below 90 F here.
42. Mac or PC?
Puleaze....Mac. I was there, at the student union in 1984 when the people from Apple came to demonstrate the first Macs. A few months later, I was programming on a 128K (of memory) Mac (that didn't have a disk drive yet).
43. If you had to name the best thing about getting older, what would you say it is?
Experience in life. Physically, things are going downhill. But now, when some life flareup occurs, I can compare it to what happened in the past and judge to see how important it is for me in the "big picture". Recently, someone done me wrong. But then, I considered how much angst I should give this person. And really, that person means zilch to me. So, I walked away without really throwing the rock right back at them. Experience tells me they want that...they want that rocked to be tossed back so they can toss it back again. Sorry, been there, done that.
44. If you were to name the most comforting thing to hold in your hand, what would it be and why?
When the Girl, on her own, takes my hand because she wants to. This is different than when I require her to hold my hand because we're walking across the parking lot. She takes my hand, rarely, when she just wants to feel me with her as we're walking together. And her hand fits in mine....just right.
45. What most surprising thing have you learned about the blog world?
That sometimes people put things out there that is really TOO-MUCH-INFORMATION and then they are shocked when people comment on it. And then, I'm surprised that I find myself putting things out in the blog world I would normally be thinking in my head and not saying out loud. So, this semi-private, NOT-private world makes you write down thing you normally would keep to yourself.
46. If you had to pick one actress to play you in a movie, who would it be?
For me, of course, it would be actor. Musing about this question in the past, I know I had some people....maybe Tom Hanks for his "everyman" persona. But, when I read this question, the name "Chow Yun Fat" flashed in my head....which I kinda don't like precisely because he is Asian. i.e. I chose him because he is Asian or people reading this would be nodding their head in agreement because he is Asian. Kinda like Asian George Clooney. I like the implicit suaveness he projects on the screen.
47. What are you currently watching on TV?
Amazing Race 12, Heroes, House, Law & Order: CI, CSI, CSI Miami (which we watch for the laughability factor), Pushing Daisies, Ugly Betty, Stargate Atlantis, Life, Chuck, Bones, Flip This House.
48. What is your favorite holiday and why?
Interesting question because when having to list one, I can say that I don't have a favorite one. Everything has become a reason for a sale. I don't look forward to one because it just gets to be too busy with traveling or providing for visitors. The days have lost their original magic, to me...I suppose.
49. What is your favorite scent and why?
The smell of "wild" roses is my favorite. The roses you send to your loved one on Valentine's Day? Those have very little scent as it's almost been bred out of them by the commercial nurseries. The "wild" roses are those you try growing in your flower beds and half of them get eaten by aphids. Those have a great fresh scent - reminds me of.....ironically, romance.
50. How did you meet your best friend?
My current two best friends. One is from work and one is an ex-neighbor. Both men were groomsmen at my wedding. The one from work, I happened to have to work with this guy as my particular part of the software occasionally needed interfacing with his. And I noticed this grumpy, sarcastic guy who might sarcastically point out that I could have figured out what I was looking for if I read the documents, still went out of his way to help me even if I was an idiot.
My ex-neighbor was a guy who told the other neighbors that he admired a guy who could wash his two dogs in the driveway without them running away from me. He was/is a car guy and would help me out with my stupid questions about car maintenance. But, we weren't buds until after I moved away from the neighborhood.
In both cases, we became good and close friends after I started inviting them over for dinner parties and found out that we liked good food, good conversation, good scotch, good cigars, and good company.