Musings From A Bookmammal


Sunday Stealing–It’s All About Books This Week!

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I haven’t participated in the Sunday Stealing meme in ages, but how could I resist it this week? All the questions are about BOOKS! Ready? Let’s go!

1. Favorite childhood book? It’s a tie between Charlotte’s Web and Harriet the Spy.

2. What are you reading right now? I’m about half-way through the new novel by David Nichhols called Us. I’m reading an advance copy on my kindle—it’ll be released on Tuesday 10/28. It’s about a British family who go on vacation through Europe right after the wife tells the husband that she wants to leave him. Not exactly the carefree trip that was originally planned!

3. What books do you have on request at the library? I’ve got 15 books on the hold list right now.

4. Bad book habit? I’m not sure there’s any book habit that’s bad—but I buy A LOT of used books. I mean A LOT of them. I recently bought a new bookcase so I could keep all the used books I’ve bought but haven’t yet read in one place.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? A ton of new releases on my hold list all came in at once, so I have a whopping 16 books checked out right now. Two are finished and waiting to be returned—the rest are clamoring to be read! Luckily my library loans books for 3 weeks and you can renew—but only if no one else is in line for the book. My library also doesn’t have a limit on the number of books that can be checked out at once.

6. Do you have an e-reader? I’ve had a kindle for almost four years, and I just ordered the new Kindle Voyage. I use my kindle mainly for digital ARCs and sometimes for library books. I always prefer a “real” book!

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? I’m usually reading more than one book at a time, but right now I’m only reading one. That’s rare for me.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? YES!!! I’m reading many more new releases because I keep hearing about them from my blogging buddies!

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?  I just did not understand all the hype about the novel We Were Liars. I think I’m the only one in the world who didn’t like this book, but I just didn’t get it.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year? That’s a tough one! I’ve read a lot of great books this year. I’ll narrow it to two favorites. Favorite nonfiction: The Boys in the Boat—about the 1936 US Olympic rowing team. Favorite fiction: The Paying Guests—a psychological thriller set in post WWI London.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? I’ve been getting better about this since I started book-blogging. There are so many blogging buddies out there whose opinions I’ve grown to trust, so if one of them loves a book I’m pretty likely to give it a try, even if it’s one that I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up.

12. What is your reading comfort zone? I prefer realistic, contemporary fiction, and narrative nonfiction.

13. Can you read on the bus? I haven’t ridden a bus in ages, but since I can read in the car, I’m sure I could do it.

14. Favorite place to read? The big blue overstuffed chair in my office/library. It’s especially my favorite pace to read when one or both of my cats join me there!

15. What is your policy on book lending?  I will loan out my books but only if asked—I don’t offer to lend because I think it puts the lendee in an awkward position if they don’t really want to read it.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books? If it’s my own book and there’s no bookmark available, I will dog-ear—but it’s not my first choice.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Yep! But again, only in my own books, of course.

18. Not even with text books?I’ll take this to mean did I ever write in my textbooks—YES—highlighting, notes, the whole thing.

19. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?  I actually wasn’t too sure about The Paying Guests (see #10)—I’d never read anything by Sarah Waters before, I haven’t read much fiction set overseas in the early 1920s, and I didn’t know much about the plot. But I’m so glad I took the plunge and picked it up!

20. What makes you love a book? I love a book when I am invested in the characters and find myself thinking about them even when I’m not reading the book.


Sunday Stealing–Random XV

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1. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet? Wow–that IS pretty random! I have no idea. I probably have a pair of dressy shoes way back in the closet that I bought years ago for some specific outfit for a specific event and then never wore again.

2. Did you buy Girl Scout cookies this year? If so, what variety? I bought two boxes of Thin Mints. Is it just my imagination, or were there  A LOT MORE cookies in each box back when I was selling these?

3. Do you know how to ballroom dance? Nope. I’m not a good dancer at all. I do love to watch really good dancers.

4. Were you a responsible child/teenager? Yes—I was definitely a rule-follower.

5. How many of this year’s Oscar-nominated movies did you see? I don’t even remember what any of them were! I haven’t gone to the movies much at all lately—there just isn’t a lot out there that I want to see these days.

6. If you’re going to have a medical procedure done, such as having blood drawn, is it easier for you to watch someone else having the procedure done or have it done yourself? I don’t like to watch—I won’t even watch when I have my own blood drawn. I’m just fine if I look away and don’t think about what’s happening.

7. What is your favorite day of the week and why? I love Sundays—I usually have all my weekend chores and obligations completed and can spend the day however I choose. There’s usually some combination of reading, cooking, playing with pets, and napping involved.

8. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received? Years ago, from a fellow teacher—“You’re the kind of teacher that I’d want for my own child.”

9. Do hospitals make you queasy? Not really.

10. At which store would you like to max-out your credit card? A bookstore, of course! Except I wouldn’t–see #13. 🙂

11. Are you true to the brand names of products/items? I’m brand-loyal for some things—for example I only buy Crest toothpaste, Heinz ketchup, and Lays potato chips. But not so much for others—I’ll buy whatever peanut butter or tuna is on sale. I’m not sure why there’s a difference, but there is!

12. Which is more difficult: looking into someone’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into someone’s eyes when he/she is telling you how he/she feels? Hmm. . . I think it’s easier for me to look into someone else’s eyes when they’re doing the talking, because that’s how I gauge their truthfulness. On the other hand, it’s harder for me when I’m doing the talking because I’m afraid that I’ll say more than I may want to reveal through my eyes.

13. What’s one thing you’re deeply proud of — but would never put on your résumé? I’m very proud of decisions I made in the past that now allow me to be completely financially independent and have absolutely no debt except for my car payment and my mortgage.

14. What’s the most out-of-character choice you’ve ever made? I’m stuck on this one. . .  let’s move on.

15. What’s your personal anthem or theme song? I don’t have a theme song, but my motto is “You do what you have to do.” Sometimes you just have to push through and get to the other side, even if it’s not fun. Don’t talk about it, don’t complain about it, just do what you have to do.


Sunday Stealing–The 20Q Meme

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1. When you buy a greetings card are the words or the picture more important to you? Words. Actually I usually buy a blank card so I can write my own message.
2. What’s your favorite kind of cake? I had a piece of chocolate éclair cake from Portillo’s the other day that was out of this world. I’m sure it was about a million calories, but it’s OK to splurge once in awhile, right?
3. Do you ever make gifts for people, if so what, or do you buy them? I’m not very crafty, so I usually buy gifts.
4. You are chosen to have lunch with the President. The condition is you only get to ask one question. What do you ask? Why on earth did you want this job?
5. Which do you dislike most: pop-up ads or spam email? I hate popup ads. Spam I can filter and ignore—popups are in your face and sometimes I can’t figure out how to make them go away!
6. What was the best party you’ve ever been to? I’ve been to a couple of summer barbecue parties that were a lot of fun—good friends, good food, good conversation, and a lot of laughs.
7. Which is worse, being in a place that is too loud, or too quiet? Too loud—I hate having to shout to be heard.
8. You are offered an envelope that you know contains $50. You are then told that you may either keep it or exchange it for another envelope that may contain $500 or may be empty. Do you keep the first envelope, or do you take your chances with the second? I’d gamble—the worst that could happen would be that I didn’t have $50 that I didn’t have in the first place.
9. Do you wish cellphone etiquette was a required class upon purchasing one? I think etiquette classes should be required for a lot of things these days!
10. What’s the most messed up food combination that you’ve had that was actually good? I recently made a recipe for Cincinnati Chili and the spices included cocoa, cinnamon, allspice, chili powder, and oregano. I thought it might be a cooking failure but it was DELICIOUS, especially as leftovers the next day. It’s a keeper!
11. What’s one of your most random pet peeves (something that annoys you)? People cracking their gum. I can’t stand it.
12. When is the last time you had home cooking? A couple of days ago when I made homemade Italian vegetable soup.
13. If you could be a fictional character from a book who would you choose? Hmmmm . . . that’s hard. Can I get back to you?
14. If you could be in a television sit-com, which would you choose? This is going to date me—but I would have liked to have been on the Mary Tyler Moore Show—I would have liked to hang out with Mary and Rhoda and the gang from the newsroom.
15. If you could be any animal or creature for one day, what would it be? I’d like to be some sort of flying creature.
16. What’s your favorite girl’s name? Sara (without the “h”)
17. What’s your favorite boy’s name? Alex
18. What’s your supermarket of choice? Jewel for my general food shopping, Trader Joe’s for unusual items such as chocolate covered blueberries and little tiny pizza rounds.
19. If you were to attend a costume party tonight, what or whom would you go as? Do I have to go? I really don’t like dressing in costumes. Can’t we just go over to someone’s house in our normal clothes and have snacks and good conversation? That’s the kind of party I want to attend!
20. What is your concession stand must-have at the movies? Popcorn with butter–I guess it’s really “butter flavoring” these days–and some sort of soda. Maybe Junior Mints if I’m really going all out!


Sunday Stealing–The Yeah Meme

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Do you have another window or tab open? If so, what are they for? Shockingly, I’ve only got one tab open right now. This is not normal for me!

Do you like to cook/bake? I like to bake, but I LOVE to cook. I’m better at cooking than baking. Baking is usually so exact—measurements, temperatures, baking times, etc. I have more baking disappointments than cooking disappointments. What I love to do is make things like homemade soups and stews where I can just keep chopping things up and tossing them in and at the end of it all I have something comforting and delicious.

What are you currently listening to? I can hear the furnace running.  It’s also really windy right now and I can hear some of the windows rattling a bit.

How long have you lived in the house you live in? It will be 15 years this July! Buying this house completely on my own with no help from anyone was a huge “Wow, I am really a grownup” moment for me.

Are you tired? Not yet—it’s early! Give me a few hours . . .

Do you pick your words carefully, or just tend to blurt everything out? Depends on the situation and how comfortable I am with the people around me.

Are you nice to everyone? I’ve got to admit that there are a couple of people who I am struggling to just act neutrally towards right now. It’s a workplace situation so I can’t blatantly be “not nice” but I’m definitely not going out of my way to initiate any niceness, either.

Have you ever tripped in public? Of course!

Are you a morning person or a night person? I used to be a total night owl. Now, if I’m up past 10pm that’s late for me. These days I’m really productive in the morning and then it starts slowly going downhill around 3pm.

Is it easier to forgive or forget?  I’ve gotten a lot better at forgiving over the past couple of years, but I’m not sure forgetting is always a good thing. Lessons can be lost if you forget . . .

Is there something that’s recently shocked you? I was shocked this past week at a betrayal that happened in my workplace–although, in retrospect, I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked at all. I am trying SO HARD to believe in karma . . .

Which is harder: walking away from somebody you love or coming back? Walking away can be gut-wrenching, even when you know it’s the right thing.

What were you doing at midnight last night? At midnight last night I’d been asleep for about 2 hours.

What color are your eyes? Blue


Sunday Stealing–The “Fifteen Meme”

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1. What was your first job like? My first real job was working at the local Dunkin’ Donuts. This was before they had drive-throughs—and the only non-donut/pastry item we had back then was soup. I worked the take-out counter and the eat-in counter—and on Sundays I worked “in the back” frosting and filling donuts. I learned a lot on that job—I think everyone should work retail and/or food service at some point in their life! I worked there my last two years of high school, and then the owner always saved a spot for me when I was on breaks from college. I finally quit when I started my student teaching.

2. It’s a typical Sunday, how are you spending it? Saturdays are usually my day for errands, chores, and seeing friends. My Sundays are much more laid back and I often don’t leave the house–especially in winter when the weather is bad. A typical Sunday (much like today!) would be: Wake up between 6-7am and stay in bed reading for at least an hour. Get up when the cats demand their breakfast. Putter around. Talk with my mom on the phone around 10:30 am. Do all my laundry throughout the day. Probably take a nap with the cats at some point.  Maybe bake something to take to work on Monday. More puttering. More reading and probably some TV watching. Make something for dinner that will also provide leftovers for a couple of nights. Maybe work on some blog postings for next week. Wash my hair and maybe do my nails. In bed between 9-10pm.

3. What was the happiest day of your life? I don’t know how to answer that!

4. What was the best decision you ever made? To break a contract and leave a job that was physically, mentally, and emotionally unhealthy for me. I made that decision nearly 20 years ago–and took a huge paycut to do it–and I have never, ever regretted it. Not for one second.

5. Tell your go-to “pretend” game as a child (who was your alter-ego?) I don’t understand the “alter ego” part of the question—but I used to LOVE to play school with all my stuffed animals.

6. What email service do you use? I’m an old-school AOL girl.

7. What fandoms would you consider yourself a part of? I don’t think I’m of the fandom generation . . .

8. Do you use anything on your lips? (eg. Chapstick, gloss, balm, lipstick) I wear lipstick or gloss when I dress up. Otherwise, nothing—except I do love Burt’s Bees lip balm in the winter!

9. How many devices do you own which can access the internet? 3—my laptop, my Kindle, and my iPod Touch.

10. Last strong smell you can remember smelling? At work on Friday someone brought leftover Mongolian beef for lunch and it smelled awesome!

11. If you had to move your birthday to another date, which one would you choose and why? I wouldn’t.

12. Inspiration behind your blog title? I’ve always been a typical “bookworm” but the term has always sounded kind of icky to me. Besides, bookMAMMAL is much more accurate! So—Musings From A Bookmammal seemed just right!

13. If you could spend a rainy day with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why?  I actually love spending rainy days alone at home. I love listening to a good, hard rain if I know I don’t have to be out driving in it! And I LOVE falling asleep to the sound of rain.

14. Is there a foreign culture that you love? Unfortunately, I really don’t know enough about any foreign cultures to love any of them.

15. Do you have a favorite soft drink? I rarely drink soda anymore—never at home and only sometimes in restaurants or at other people’s homes–but when I did I favored Caffeine Free Pepsi.


Sunday Stealing–Book Survey!

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An AWESOME theme this week over at Sunday Stealing! Remember–you can join the fun simply by answering the questions and then adding your link–just click on the icon above!

1: Favorite children’s book: If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that it’s Charlotte’s Web!

2: The last book you’ve read: I finished Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld earlier this week and really liked it.

3: Books on your “to read” list: Oh my gosh—seriously? There’s just no way.  Check my Goodreads account via the Reading Challenge icon on the right sidebar if you’re interested . . .

4: Top 5 authors: It’s so tough to limit it to five, but my favorite authors of fiction include Jodi Picoult, Ann Packer, Beth Gutcheon, Anna Quindlen, Stewart O’Nan. Bonus answer–my favorite authors of nonfiction include Studs Terkel, John Feinstein, and Robert Caro.

5: Favorite genres: Contemporary, realistic fiction—followed closely by narrative nonfiction.

6: A book that has made you extremely mad: A book I’m reading right now is making me very angry—it’s called Play Their Hearts Out and it’s a nonfiction, investigative book about youth basketball. I have some pretty strong opinions about what youth sports programs should and shouldn’t focus on—and the priorities and behavior of most of the adults in this book are so misplaced that I’ve actually had to set this book aside for awhile.

7: A book that you’ve cried over: Eleanor and Park was the last book that I cried so much over that I had to stop and catch my breath. We’re talking “ugly crying face” here. What powerful writing!

8: A book that made you laugh out loud: I don’t laugh out loud when I read very often, but there were some lines of dialogue in Where’d You Go Bernadette that made me laugh out loud.

9: Fiction or nonfiction? Both—right now I’m in the middle of a nonfiction phase, but I love fiction as well.

10: First book you’ve read by your favorite author: The first Jodi Picoult book I read was The Pact, and it made me a Picoult fan for life. That being said, I haven’t loved everything she’s written—but I automatically read every book she publishes.

11: Best book-to-movie adaption: I loved the nonfiction book about high school football in Texas called Friday Night Lights–but I ADORE the movie. It’s one of the very few films that I enjoyed more than the book—and that’s saying a lot because the book was great. There’s a line that Billy Bob Thornton says to his star quarterback that gets me every time.

12: Do you read comics/manga? No—that’s one genre I’ve never dipped into.

13: Hardcovers or Paperbacks? Both.

14: Do you buy books as soon as they come out or wait a while? Depends—I usually wait and then either buy the paperback, or find a nice used hardcover copy once the paperback is released. On the other hand, there are a few books that I’ve gone out and purchased in hardcover on their release day–because sometimes I JUST CAN’T WAIT!

15: Do you buy books spontaneously without any prior knowledge of what happens in it? I usually have some idea about the plot or topic before I buy a book. I’m much more likely to borrow a book from the library on a whim, rather than to purchase a book without knowing anything about it.

16: Have you ever bought a book based on the cover alone? I’ve been drawn to find out more about a book because of it’s cover, but I can’t recall ever buying a book just because of how it looked.

17: Where do you usually buy your books?  I am a HUGE fan of abe.books. If you’re not familiar, abebooks is a central, web-based hub for thousands of used book stores all over the US and even in a few other countries. You can search for just about any book you want and then compare prices and condition with used bookstores all over the country. It’s also a great source for finding out-of-print books.  I’ve bought well over 100 books via this site over the years.

18: Book that had a strong impact on you: This is a hard question—there have been many. I’ve read a lot of books about education that have made me really examine my own beliefs about teaching and our country’s educational systems. That’s my favorite kind of book—one that makes me think.

19: Historical or science fiction? I don’t care for science fiction. Nothing against it-I just have never been able to get into it. I do like some historical fiction—but my favorite books tend to be set in contemporary times.

20: Dystopian or Utopian? Neither—again, not my taste.

21: Worst book-to-move adaption? This isn’t the worst—but I did not like the movie version of The Help. Maybe it was just the reactions of the other people in the theater that affected my opinion—people were laughing throughout the film as though it were a comedy. I left the theater shaking my head.

22: Book that should have a movie adaption? I would love to see what a good director and screenwriter could do with Stewart O’Nan’s Songs For The Missing.

23: The first book you’ve fallen in love with: Charlotte’s Web made me fall in love with books when I was in second grade.

24: Humor or angst? Humor, I guess. I’ve never really had a good grasp of what angst is . . .

25: How many books do you own?  Over 1,000.

26: Do you go the library? I usually stop by every Friday after work—I have holds that have come in almost every week, and checking books out on the same day of the week helps me remember when they’re due back.

27: How many books do you read a year? Great question—and one that I’ve never been able to accurately answer! I have never kept a formal tally of what I read. Since I started my blog this past summer, I’ve realized that I won’t be able to do any of those awesome “What I Read This Year” posts unless I start keeping track. So I started using Goodreads at the beginning of 2014—my goal  is to read 75 books this year. I think that’s realistic, but we’ll see! So far I’ve read 13 books.

28: Favorite “required reading” book? I can’t think of one—different people “need” to read different books at different times. I can’t think of a “one-size-fits-all” book.

29: Favorite quote? I have a lot of favorite quotes about books and reading, but, to me, it all boils down to this one: “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”–Maya Angelou

30: A book you absolutely hate: My mind is a blank on this one! I know I’ve read books that I couldn’t stand—but apparently I’ve blocked them out of my mind!


Sunday Stealing–The “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost” Meme

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Click here to play along!

  1. Put your music player of choice on shuffle and list the first song. OK–here goes–it’s Closer To You by Seals & Croft. I’ve got a lot of 70s stuff on my iPod.
  2. If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Would you take anyone with you? I’d like to spend a week in Washington DC. We went there on a family vacation when I was twelve, and I know I didn’t appreciate it back then. I’d love to spend the week wandering around and going to the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, the Capitol, etc.
  3. What is your preferred writing implement? (eg. Blue pen, pencil, green pen) Blue pen or a really sharp #2 pencil.
  4. When did you go on your first trip alone (without your parents)? I went to Florida by myself to visit a friend from college when I was in my early 20s—that was the first trip I took where I was traveling completely by myself.
  5. Do you have connections to any celebrities (even minor)? List them. None.
  6. Name 3 items you could pick up from where you are. Box of tissues, my checkbook, my cat Miss Maggie.
  7. How would you describe your sense of humor? Off-beat and odd. Sometimes the smallest things will get me going.
  8. Do you ever play board games or other non-computer games? Got any favorites? I used to LOVE playing board games—we’d have Monopoly games going that went on for days.
  9. A musical artist you love that isn’t well known. I really like Vonda Shepard—she was all the rage when she did the soundtrack songs for the TV show Ally McBeal. I don’t know what she’s doing now, but I love her voice and I’m always happy when it comes up on my iPod.
  10. A musical artist you love that is well known. I love James Taylor.
  11. What is your desktop background currently? It’s the complete drawing of the image that’s on my blog header, and it also has the quote “Every book you’ve ever read is a combination of the same 26 letters.” Think about it . . .
  12. Last person you talked to, and through what you talked to them. The last time I spoke to someone was the clerk at the grocery on Friday night. It snowed all day yesterday and I didn’t leave the house, and also didn’t talk to anyone by phone.
  13. What do you carry your money in? My wallet, which is so old that it won’t stay closed anymore. I need to get a new one, but I love this one and I’m afraid I won’t find another one like it.
  14. What timekeeping devices are in the room you are currently in? A small gold clock on my bookcase, the digital clock on my radio, and the clock on my laptop.
  15. What kind of headphones do you use? The earbuds that came with my iPod.
  16. What musical artists have you seen perform live? I’m going to date myself here . . . James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, Genesis, The Go-Gos, Kenny G, Al Jareau—all in my college years or in my 20s. I haven’t been to a concert in ages.
  17. How often do you clear your browser history? Whenever I think about it–maybe a couple times a month.
  18. What’s the best job you’ve ever had? I am incredibly fortunate to have it right now! I work in marketing for an educational publishing company. My job combines two things that I’m passionate about—books and literacy. I really like most of the people I work with on a day-to-day basis, and I get along very well with my boss.
  19. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? One of my teaching jobs only lasted for 2 months because it was such a horrible environment that I had to leave in order to keep myself emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy. That was a really bad time in my life and I’m often able to comfort myself in tough situations today by remembering that, whatever I’m going through, it’s not as bad as having to go to that job every day. Leaving that job was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I’ve never regretted it.
  20. What magazines do you read, if any? I subscribe to Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, Time, Yoga Journal, and Horn Book. I used to get the New Yorker but I stopped a couple of years ago because I felt like I couldn’t keep up with it. I miss it– I may need to try it again.


Sunday Stealing–The “Ask Me” Meme

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1: What was the last argument you had about? Do you mean the kind of argument where there’s shouting and possible inappropriate language during the heat of the moment? It’s been awhile since I’ve had one of those.
2: How long is your longest relationship? I’m assuming we’re talking about romantic relationships here–Three years.
3: What is something not many people know about you? There are a couple of things—and I’d like to keep it that way!
4: Two truths and a lie. Go. I am stumped. Moving on . . .
5: Do you believe in fate/destiny? Sometimes. I’ve had some things in my life happen where it’s seemed like the universe had everything lined up and in place for a particular outcome to occur.
6: Where is somewhere you’ve always wanted to live? San Francisco
7: Has there ever been a song that made you cry? Of course! Too many to list—I’m pretty sentimental about memories evoked by music. One song that doesn’t have a specific memory attached to it but just makes me cry in general is “The Good Stuff” by Kenny Chesney—there are a couple of lines in that song that do it to me every time–and I’m talking about “tears rolling down my cheeks” crying!
8: Do you jump/scare easily? Yes—if I’m involved in something I’m usually pretty focused and I tune out what’s going on around me.
9: Which birthday has been your favorite? I don’t even have to stop to think about this one. My 22nd birthday was the best. I’d just graduated from college two months beforehand. My five best college friends came for the weekend and we spent the time grilling out, playing silly games like croquet and badminton, going to the lake, and watching old movies. The day after they left I went on an interview, got my first “real job”, and started a whole new life chapter. I have great memories of that weekend.
10: Have you ever been pulled over? Arrested? I must admit I’ve been pulled over several times for speeding. I’ve never been arrested, but I’ve gotten tickets.
11: Have you ever been to a fortune teller? No—that kind of thing kind of freaks me out a little.
12: What’s your favorite series of books? I used to love the Faith Fairchild mystery series by Katherine Hall Page—the main character is a caterer in a small New England town. They are fun, light books with good mysteries and also some humor—and recipes! What could be better?
13: Who is someone that you think knows the most about you outside of family? I have a couple of girlfriends with whom I share pretty much everything.
14: What is the weirdest thing you’ve eaten? I don’t eat a lot of “weird”—I can’t think of anything. However, my grandfather used to tell stories about eating chocolate covered ants and caramel covered grasshoppers.
15: List one of your quirks. I have to have a clean kitchen before I go to bed.
16: State 1 bad habit of yours. Procrastination about things that I know are good for me—like exercise.
17: Has a scary movie ever given you nightmares? Scary movies have kept me awake at night, but I don’t recall any nightmares caused by them.
18: When was the last time you got your hair done in a salon? I get my hair cut in a salon about every two months. The last time I actually got my hair styled in a salon was years ago.
19: What was the last thing you did with your friends? Went out to lunch.
20: What’s something that you like to do that others might see as weird? I love to make lists—and I often put things on my lists that I’ve already done so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off.
21: What was the last trip you took? I went to Sarasota last summer for a conference for work. Our hotel was right on the beach and it was lovely—unfortunately I was stuck inside in meetings most of the time.


Sunday Stealing–The Last Night Meme

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Did anyone call you last night?  Nope
How late were you on the computer last night?  I think I checked my email at about 10 pm.
What did you have to eat last night?  I tried out a new recipe for Hungarian Mushroom Soup—delicious! I’ll be having it for lunch again today, and will definitely be making it again.
Did you watch any good TV shows or movies last night?  I watch part of the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards. I can’t believe that Rita Moreno is 82–she looked gorgeous, and not all “I had plastic surgery because I’m trying to look like I’m still 40-ish” either!
Did any news items stand out to you last night?  No—I didn’t have the radio on at all yesterday, I didn’t watch any news, and I don’t receive a weekend newspaper. Please let me know if I missed something major!

Did you go out last night?  Nope—I didn’t have plans, and with the weather being bad I was glad to stay inside and off of the roads. I went out to the grocery mid-afternoon and the side streets were really slick.
What was the weather like last night?  It snowed most of the day yesterday and into the night–it looked beautiful!
What was the last thing you said last night?  I don’t remember, but I’m sure I said something to one or both of the cats.
What time did you go to bed last night? About 10:30pm, which is late for me—especially since I was up at 5am yesterday.


Sunday Stealing–The Generic Meme


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1. What did you want to be when you were little? I always wanted to be a teacher—I constantly played school with my stuffed animals when I was really young. My dad was a principal for many years and he used to bring me extra grade books and planning books from the teacher supply room at his school—I thought that was the greatest thing ever! I ended up teaching in a high school special ed program for nine years.

2. Would you prefer to have a large group of friends, or a small group of friends? Why? I’ve pretty much always had a small group of close friends. I prefer to have deep relationships with a few friends rather than more casual relationships with many.

3. What is your fashion “style”? Or what type of clothes do you wear on a daily basis? I don’t deal with the public in my job, so I usually wear jeans to work every day. If I need to dress up, I wear nice pants, a fitted jacket, and the highest heels I can get away with. I don’t think I’ve worn a dress or skirt in a couple of years. I probably wear black, grey and blue most often. I don’t look good in yellow.

4. If you could live anywhere where would you live? If money wasn’t an issue, I’d love to live in San Francisco—I love the atmosphere there, the homes are beautiful, the weather never gets too cold, the food is great. . . unfortunately the cost of living out there is crazy high.

5. What is your biggest hope for the next year? Continued good health for myself and my loved ones.

6. When you pass by reflective surfaces do you check yourself out? Sure—doesn’t everybody at least take a peek?

7. Favorite genre of movie as well as TV show? I like a good drama that makes me think. . . The West Wing and NYPD Blue were two TV shows that fit that bill for me. I miss them both!

8. Top favorite books? (limit of 5)  Oh boy—only FIVE??? OK—Charlotte’s Web, Harriet the Spy, The Dive From Clausen’s Pier, The Pact, and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

9. Have you ever taken a cooking class? Not since taking Home Ec in school. I still can’t eat stuffed peppers after a bad Home Ec experience in high school.

10. What three words would you use to describe yourself? Opinionated, creative, decisive

11. Favorite animal? Favorite pet is any type of rescued animal. Favorite wild animal . . . I always like to watch penguins!

12. What is your dream job? I have it right now! It combines books, literacy, and education—my three passions.

13. If you could go back in history to any moment that you did not live, what would it be and why? That’s a tough one – nothing is coming to mind—let’s just move on . . .

14. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why? I would love to have the ability to instantly and accurately diagnose illness. I am the biggest hypochondriac ever—if I had this power it would save me a lot of (usually) needless worry.

15. What is your favorite movie? Just ONE? It’s a tie between Ordinary People and The Big Chill.

16. What is your best childhood memory? Riding bikes to the library in the summer with a friend, and then coming home and reading, and then talking with each other about our books.

17. What is your favorite part about blogging? I love knowing that other people around the world are reading what I write.

18. What is your favorite quote? Again, just ONE? I love collecting quotes.  I’ll go with “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.” I read this somewhere about a year ago–it stopped me in my tracks and made an enormous difference in my process of moving on from a hurtful relationship.

19. What song do you feel like describes your life the best? Why? I’m coming up blank here–

20. Would you describe yourself as shy or outgoing? Totally depends on the situation. In big groups I’m usually quiet. In smaller groups I’m often a leader.


Sunday Stealing–The Blerp Meme

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When you get a headache do you take painkillers right away or try to wait it out?  I don’t like taking meds unless I have to—so I’ll usually wait it out. I don’t get headaches too often.

 Is there a really funny YouTube video you’d like to recommend to me?  To me, there’s nothing better than a baby belly laugh—this is one of my favorites!

Did you watch Sesame Street when you were little?  Of course!

What’s the last thing you touched, other than your computer?
  Bag of cat food

When was the last time you talked to your best friend?

How often do you listen to music?
  Every day

What color is your cell phone?  black

What is the last non-alcoholic beverage you drank? Crystal Lite raspberry lemonade-I always have a pitcher of it in the fridge, even in winter.

Do you like to wear sweatpants?  Yep–I’m wearing a pair right now! However, I only wear them at home–not out of the house.

What song are you currently listening to? Who sings it?  I don’t have any music on at the moment.

Have you ever gotten a black eye? Yes

What caused it?  I tripped and fell onto the handlebars of my bike once—got me right under the eye. I looked like I’d been in a fight for a couple of days.

How many times have you checked up on your ex?  I don’t do that any more–trust me, I’m much healthier when I don’t!

If you had to get a tattoo what would it be?  No idea—I don’t see myself ever getting a tattoo.

How many tabs are open right now?  Just one.

Are you scared of needles?  Not as long as I don’t have to watch–if I turn my head away I’m fine.

Do you believe love can last forever? Sure!

Are good-byes easy or hard for you? Depends on what or who I’m saying goodbye to, but I’m pretty sentimental, so I guess they’re usually hard. I try to keep a quote in mind—I forget who said it—it’s something like how lucky we are to know someone so wonderful that it makes the goodbye so hard.

Would you rather sing or dance? In public? Neither. Alone? Both!


Sunday Stealing–The I Amuse Myself Meme

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01. What is something that you have lost recently?: Right now I can’t find the USB cable to my kindle.

02. Do you own any self-help books?:  This is just about the only type of book that I DON’T own!

03. Do you live near the sea or ocean?:  No–but I used to live very close to the mighty Mississippi river!

04. Have you ever spent ages making/writing something on your computer when it suddenly crashed and you lost it all?: Sure—hasn’t everyone gone through that? I now obsessively back up everything.

05. Do you enjoy food shopping?: If I’m shopping for ingredients to make something special, then I enjoy it. I also really like going to Trader Joe’s and buying new things to try. Regular, mundane grocery shopping is just something on my to-do list that needs to get crossed off.

06. What are you having for lunch?: Leftover Mexican chicken and rice casserole from last night.

07. Are you one of those people who can sleep through anything?: I’m a pretty light sleeper, unless I’m sick—then I’m dead to the world.

08. Do you like love letters?: Of course! It’s just not the same today with emails and texts and instant communication. There is NOTHING like seeing a letter from that special someone in the mailbox.

09. Have you ever received or written one?: Yes to both!

10. How far does your nearest relative live?: My parents live about 10 miles away

11. Do you like velvet?:  Not especially.

12. What kind of art do you like?: I like realistic watercolors and pen/ink drawings. I collect prints of people reading.

13. If you went to London, where would you go first?: Probably to see Big Ben or Buckingham Palace—then I’d want to browse through as many used bookstores as I could find.

14. If you had to pick one friend who is the most interesting, who would you pick?:  I work with someone who has made a series of choices in her life that I find fascinating. I don’t necessarily agree with all of her choices, but I admire her for making them. Her life is very different from my mine, and I find that very interesting.

15. Can you think of the meanest thing you have ever done/said to someone?:  I called  someone out on their extremely unprofessional behavior at a department meeting at work once. It would have been nicer  to do it when there weren’t other people around, but I was feeling very fed up with her and I really let her have it. In retrospect I suppose it was mean, but at the time I just couldn’t hold it back anymore.

16. What magazines do you read?: I subscribe to Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, Yoga Journal, and Time. I read my mom’s copies of Real Simple when she’s through with them.

17. What/who has been on your mind today?: The weather-it’s freezing outside and we’ll probably get some snow tonight.

18. Would you be interested in ghost-hunting?: Nope—but I have a friend who regularly goes on ghost hunting trips. I enjoy hearing her excitement when she talks about them, even though I’m a total skeptic about that sort of thing.


Sunday Stealing–Suck It, Nerds!

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What would you totally eat right now?:  I could totally eat a big chocolate Bavarian cream doughnut—but I’ll settle for a bowl of Raisin Bran.

Do you always wear a certain piece of jewelry?:  I always wear a gold ring on my right hand ring finger and little gold stud earrings.

What kind of jeans do you like?:  Good old Lee jeans.

What’s something on your want list?: I want a new dock for my iPod. Since I upgraded, my old dock isn’t compatible.

Is animal print tacky?:  I wouldn’t call it tacky, but I don’t usually wear it.

Give me a good quote that you like.:  I have this one on my desk at work: “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.” (Frank Serafini)

Do you bite your nails?:  I used to bite my nails horribly for years. I finally quit for good a long time ago when I was going to be in my best friend’s wedding–along with an ex of mine–and I wanted every part of me to look fabulous. It worked–I quit biting my nails and have never gotten back into the habit. Now I’m often complimented on my pretty nails!

What kind of smells do you like?:  I love walking into a house and smelling a home cooked meal.

Do you wear perfume or cologne?:  Not anymore—it seems as though so many people are allergic now.  There is actually a policy at my office that we do not wear perfumes. I do use scented body scrub sometimes, and that doesn’t seem to bother anybody.

What do you think is overrated?:  Recording TV shows. I don’t have a DVR and I don’t feel deprived. If I miss a show, I miss it.

Next movie you want to see?:  I want to see “About Time”. There’s time travel involved, which I’m not usually into, but it’s supposed to be this year’s “Love Actually”, which is one of my very favorite movies. If you’ve seen it, please let me know what you thought!

Would you change your eye color if you could?:  Nope.

And what are your goals for the remainder of this year?:  Start exercising regularly again. I’ve let myself get out of the habit and I need to NOT wait until the new year—I need to get back into the habit NOW.

When is the last time you were at the hospital?  Almost two years ago when my dad had successful heart surgery.

Who introduced you to your current significant other? If you’re single, who introduced you to your last ex? I met my last ex when we were on a committee together—so I guess we introduced ourselves to each other!


Sunday Stealing–Thanksgiving Meme

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thanksgiving1. What do you have for breakfast on Thanksgiving? The usual—maybe a bowl of cereal—but not too much!

2. Do you go to a Thanksgiving parade or watch one on TV?  My dad likes to watch the parades on TV—I can take them or leave them.

3. Do you serve appetizers, lunch, or snacks during the day?  We eat the main meal mid-day—then snack on leftovers later in the evening.

4. What are the traditional favorites?  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatos with brown sugar glaze, cauliflower/broccoli/cheese casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, some sort of pumpkin desert.

5. What new recipes will you try this year? None-we are traditionalists! It’s been the exact same meal for years. The only thing that MIGHT change is dessert–sometimes we will have something other than pie, but there’s always pumpkin involved.

6. What part of the meal do you never compromise?  See above!

7. Who gets to carve the turkey? We usually just do a turkey breast—my dad carves it. There is always plenty left over for sandwiches and various other recipes throughout the next week.

8. Family style around the table or buffet style and everyone sits wherever there’s room? We sit at the dining room table that’s off the living room—we usually have a fire in the fireplace.

9. How many will be at your table this year? Thanksgiving has always been just the three of us—mom, dad, me. I am always amazed when friends tell me they will be having 10 or more people for dinner—the thought of that just exhausts me!

10. Once you’re at the table, do you say grace or a toast or does everyone go around and say what they’re thankful for? We are not a family of grace-sayers. My dad usually does a toast of some kind.

11. Cranberry sauce… yay or nay? Yes—but it has to be the kind that comes in a can and you can see the rings when you take it out of the can and put it in the serving dish. Cranberry sauce and the rolls are the only things on the table that aren’t homemade.

12. What time do you eat Thanksgiving Dinner?  Usually between 1-2pm—early enough so we’ll be hungry for leftovers before it gets too late!

13. Three best pies for Thanksgiving dessert?  Pumpkin, pumpkin, and pumpkin.

14. Do you have dessert right after the main meal or later on?  We usually clean everything up, and then have dessert.

15. Favorite leftover? Stuffing with gravy–I usually even have it for breakfast the next morning. My mom makes the best stuffing in the world.


Sunday Stealing-The “What’s What” Meme

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What is on your bed right now? 1 quilt, 2 cats

What’s your favorite word or phrase? I’ve been told I use the word “absolutely” a lot.

What is the best ice cream flavor? Usually the more chocolate, the better—but sometimes there’s nothing like plain old French vanilla.

Did you wake up smiling this morning? 
Probably not-but I don’t think I woke up frowning, either.

Is there something in your life you used to have, and now miss? There’s a friendship that ended about 2 years ago that I miss.

What major company would you like to work for? I’m really lucky–I’m working for it right now! It combines two things I’m passionate about–education and literacy.

What time do you wake up on a typical morning? 5:30 am—but I don’t get up until a little after 6am. That’s on work days–on weekends I still wake up around 5:30, but I stay in bed longer.

What holiday makes you sad?  I get nostalgic on New Years, but I’m usually not sad.

Where does a good night’s sleep rank on your priorities? It’s right up there–I’m pretty cranky when I’m overtired.

One song that makes you cry? “The Good Stuff” by Kenny Chesney—there are a couple of lines that make me cry EVERY TIME I hear it. I mean “actual tears running down my cheeks” crying.

How old was your mom when she had you? 25

When is the last time you went to the beach? I was at a conference the summer before last and our hotel was right on the beach in Florida—it was heavenly. That is, it was heavenly when I wasn’t stuck in the hotel going to meetings!

What is the most random object around you? There’s a little stuffed beagle sitting in one of the file trays on my desk—he’s half buried in papers.

 What is your favorite sushi? I’ve never eaten sushi.

What food do you find disgusting? I can’t eat raw tomatoes—it’s a texture thing.

If you could have any type of dog in the world, what would it be? Some sort of medium-sized hound from a shelter.

What was the last meal that you made for yourself? I made a tuna casserole the other night. Tonight I’m making vegetable-cheese soup.

Is the hard drive on your computer full or getting close to being full? nope

Are there any songs that you prefer the acoustic version over the regular version? I’m sure there are, but I’m coming up empty on this one. Let’s move on. Oh, wait–we’re done!


Sunday Stealing—Time Keeps On Slippin’

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dont-forget-to-fall-back_t1) Do you think Daylight Saving Time is still necessary? Maybe not so much anymore–It was originally because of agriculture and farmers, right?

2) How long does it take you to adjust to the time change? It takes my cats awhile to figure it out. No one tells them to adjust their furry little clocks, so they expect their breakfast an hour earlier than they get it for a few days.

3) What’s the hardest part of the time change? Coming home from work in the dark. It makes me want to go straight home, get into my pjs, and hibernate. I have little to no initiative to stop on the way home from work to run errands when I’m coming home in the dark.

4) How many clocks are in your house? 8–stove, microwave, clock-radio, BOSE radio, laptop, little stand-alone clock, ipod, cellphone.

5) Are you generally early, late, or on time? I really try to be on time or a little early. I think it’s a sign of disrespect for other people’s time if someone is chronically late—that’s a pet peeve of mine.

6) If an invitation to an event listed the time as 8-11pm, what time would you arrive? Depends on the event. Do I have to try to get a good seat, or is it assigned seating? That will make a difference.

7) Do you wear a watch? Not anymore.

8) Have you ever glanced at the time and had to glance again because you didn’t pay attention the first time? sure

9) Are most of your clocks digital or dial?  I have one “old school” clock with hands on one of my bookcases. Everything else is digital.

10) What does your alarm clock sound like? Beep. . . beep. . . beep. . . BEEPBEEPBEEP!

11) Do you use the snooze feature on your alarm clock? Always—at least once per wake-up. I plan it that way.

12) Does clock ticking drive you nuts? I can’t even remember the last time I heard a clock ticking—but I don’t think it used to bother me.


Sunday Stealing–They Say It’s Your Birthday

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cake1. As you get older, are you jazzed about your birthday?  Not so much—I don’t dread it, but it’s kind of just another day. However—I was THRILLED to turn 50 earlier this year! I was in a really good place emotionally and mentally to hit that marker—and I still feel that way. So far 50 has treated me really well!

2. Do people usually remember your birthday? My family does—and at work we make a big deal out of each other’s birthdays.

3. An ex-coworker used to begin 3 mos. before her birthday flat-out reminding us that it was coming up. It’s amazing what no self-esteem does for you. Anyway, do you know anyone who pre-announces their birthdays? Nope.

4. What was your best birthday? Why? I don’t even have to think about this one. Best birthday I ever had was my 22nd. I’d graduated from college a few weeks before, and my five best college friends all came to my parents’ house for the weekend (one of them told me she couldn’t come and then showed up as a surprise). We all spent the weekend together doing dumb, fun stuff like playing ping pong and croquette, going to the lake, and watching terrible movies. Then the day after they all left I went on an interview and was offered my first teaching job–and started a whole new life chapter. I still smile when I remember that weekend.

5. What was your worst birthday? Why?  I can’t remember any horrible birthdays, but I was not excited at all to turn 30. I was still in the phase of what I “should” be doing with my life then, and I didn’t think I was where I was supposed to be at 30. Turning 40 and 50 were a breeze compared to that birthday!

6. Name your best birthday gift.  I remember getting a 2-wheeled bike for my 6th birthday and bursting into tears because I was so happy. It was blue with streamers on the handle bars. We didn’t wear bike helmets in those days, but I survived!

7. Name the best birthday gift you’ve gotten for someone else. I am honestly coming up blank here–let’s move on! 

8. As I age, I value SLEEP as a priceless commodity. I didn’t get any for my birthday, however. What do you want this year for your birthday? I really don’t need any more material stuff. I’d like “sappy” stuff like continued good health and continued years with my parents. But if you insist on getting me a tangible gift–I’ll never say no to chocolate!


Sunday Stealing–My Random Randomness, Part 2

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  1. What was your first alcoholic drink? beer
  2. What was your first job?  Dunkin’ Donuts—I worked behind the counter and in the back frosting and filling the doughnuts. I  started working there when I was a junior in HS and kept working there during the summers and on breaks all through college.
  3. What was your first car? A used 1982 Toyota Corolla named Sweet Pea. I loved that car!
  4. What was your first mobile phone? I have no idea. My current cell phone has no bells or whistles and I only use it for emergencies or to order pizza on the way home from work (which I guess could be considered an emergency). I use my iPod Touch much more often.
  5. What is your first proper memory? Feeding the deer at a local park when I was about 3.
  6. Who was your first teacher? Mrs. Koehler in kindergarten
  7. Which fictional character do you wish was real? I’d love to hang out with Harriet the Spy.
  8. Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane? Los Angeles when I was in 5th grade—we went with my dad when he had to go there for a conference for work.
  9. Who was your first best friend? Marty Weir—I can remember crying with her on her porch the day she moved away when we were in 2nd grade.
  10. What was your first detention for? I can only remember getting one—for being late to class. I was not a rule breaker in school.
  11. What’s your strongest sense? I have ears like a bat—I think it’s a carry-over from teaching.
  12. Who was your first kiss? JLM
  13. What was the first film you remember seeing at the cinema? The original “Lady and The Tramp”—I was in 2nd grade and my parents dropped me and a friend off at the local movie theater. It was no big deal back then—can you imagine any parent letting two seven year olds go to a movie alone today?
  14. What’s the largest amount of money you’ve ever won? I won several hundred dollars on a slot machine once.
  15. What’s the largest amount of money you’ve spent in one spree? Hmmm…maybe spending money on furniture? I redecorated my bedroom about a year ago.
  16. If you had a warning label, what would yours say? Liars will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
  17. Have you ever got sweet revenge on anyone? I’ve wanted to… but I usually try to remember that what goes around, comes around.
  18.  Have you ever been to a live concert? Sure! James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, Al Jureau, Genesis…I know I’m dating myself here . . .
  19. Have you ever been to see stand up comedy? no
  20. Have you ever needed stitches? Nope—I’ve never had to be put back together!


Sunday Stealing–Movies/TV

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Name your favorite movie actor: Do I have to pick just one? I’ll  watch almost anything if it’s starring Gene Hackman, Alan Arkin, or Robert De Niro (in his Raging Bull days—not so much lately)

Name your favorite movie actress:  Again—only one? Glenn Close, Sally Field, and Meg Ryan (before she got her face done—now it just makes  me sad to see her).

Name your favorite tv actor: What is with the limited choices? Jimmy Smits, Martin Sheen, John Krasinski

Name your favorite tv actress: OK—now I’m getting irritated. Mary Tyler Moore, Tyne Daly, Julia Louis Dreyfus

Name your favorite television show right now: I really like The Middle. My favorite character is Brick. (“Brick!”)

Name a few really cool movies you’ve recently seen: It’s not recent AT ALL, but the first movie that came to mind was The King’s Speech– for a lot of reasons.

Your favorite canceled television show:  OK—this is going back a ways—but I never understood why “My So-Called Life” got cancelled after only one  season back in the 90s. That was one of the most true-to-life shows about teens that I can remember. Of course, Claire Danes has done quite well for herself since then . . .

Name one movie you wish you hadn’t wasted time/money on recentlyComing up empty here—let’s move on!

You would never watch a movie with:  someone who insists on talking all the way through it. Focus, people!

Favorite candy/food to watch movies with:  Buttered popcorn is a must, followed very closely by something chocolate.

Three favorite tv channels: Bravo, TLC, MSNBC

Favorite reality or competition show:  Real Housewives of Orange County—it has absolutely nothing to do with my life or with anyone I know,  so it’s total junk food for my brain. I make no apologies.

Cable or satellite? cable

Do you watch more movies at home or at the theater? Probably evenly split.

Is there a time of year that you watch more tv? Winter—it’s part of my hibernation routine!


Sunday Stealing–Random Randomness

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  1. How did you choose your baby’s or pet’s names? My male cat is named Dickens because I was working in a bookstore when I adopted him, and he also looked like he was going to be a “little dickens”—and he is! (Well, he’s not so little anymore!) My female cat is named Miss Maggie because she just looked like a Maggie, but she also looked like she was going to want to be addressed a bit more formally.
  2.  Have you ever been fishing? Once or twice when I was a kid. I’d rather just be on a boat or on the shore with a book and not mess around with the fishing part.
  3. Have you ever had your national flag painted on your face? Nope
  4. What was the last social faux pas you made? I can’t think of any.
  5. What makes you nostalgic? Old letters.
  6. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? The last scary thing I remember is driving home alone on a narrow stretch of two-lane, unlighted road in a horrifying combination of fog, blizzard-like snow, and darkness. I couldn’t make out any landmarks to figure out where I was. I never want to do that again.
  7. What fairy tale character would you most associate with? I’m coming up blank here…let’s move on!
  8. How much do you tend to swear in public? I only swear when I’m  around people that I’m very comfortable with—and I almost never swear in a public place.
  9.  If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem? If he were still alive—Woody Guthrie.
  10. Who is the most intelligent person you know? I don’t know her personally (I wish!), but I think Rachel Maddow of MSNBC is one of the most intelligent people around today.
  11. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for someone? Left work in the middle of the day—and in the middle of a deadline–to help a friend in crisis. Maybe crazy isn’t the right word–but it was absolutely the most spontaneous, most “I don’t care what the consequences are” thing I’ve ever done.
  12. What’s the worst piece of advice anyone has ever given you? “It’s too late for that.”
  13. If you had to describe yourself as a flavor, what would it be? Milk chocolate—the ultimate comfort flavor.
  14.  If you had to describe yourself as a car, what would it be? I know nothing about cars—on to the next!
  15.  If you had to describe yourself as an animal, what would it be? A prairie dog—they always look like they’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen next.
  16.  Do you think laughing at someone else’s misfortune is wrong? I guess it’s wrong unless you’re laughing with them, not at them.
  17.  If a loved one was to serenade you, what song would you most like them to sing? The Water Is Wide. A couple of the verses make it the best love song ever.
  18. Would you ever let your parents pick out a partner for you? I wouldn’t let ANYONE pick out a partner for me.
  19.  Have you ever tried spam? (the meat product) My dad likes spam, so I’m sure I was convinced to try it as a kid.


Sunday Stealing–Fall/Autumn Meme

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Click here to play along!

First of all, is autumn your favorite season? Why or why not? YES!!! After a long, hot, humid summer, I LOVE the nip in the air that comes with Fall.

Is it ‘autumn’ or ‘fall’, to you? See above 🙂 (I always capitalize Fall, even though I don’t think that’s the correct way to write it. For some reason I just think the Fall season deserves a capital “F”.)

What kind of weather does your area get during this season?  Temps normally range from low 70s down to the 30s—but we can have the odd 80 degree day, and sometimes it  snows on Halloween.

Were you born in an autumn month? Nope—July

Do you pay attention to any ‘fall fashions’? I don’t really pay attention to any fashions—I wear what is comfortable and what I think looks good on me. I do like to see what colors are “in”, but I don’t necessarily wear them myself.

Which leaf color is your favorite? I love the bright yellow leaves. No, wait—I love the bright red ones.  Forget it-I love them all!

Is it still fun to rake the leaves and jump in piles of them? I haven’t had to rake leaves in years!

When can you really tell that it’s autumn? When I hit a certain spot on my drive to and from work that is blazing with color from the trees.

Do you enjoy carving pumpkins? I used to love it—but I haven’t done it in a long time.

Do you eat the pumpkin seeds? If so, do you put any kind of flavoring on it? Nope—don’t eat them.

Are you planning to go to a pumpkin patch this year? Probably not.

Which was your favorite Halloween costume to wear? Hmmm… the only one I really remember is a queen costume that I made myself when I was probably about ten—I made it out of an old set of draperies.

Are you planning to go trick-or-treating? Why or why not? Nope—I’ll be handing out the candy.

Are there any county fairs or festivals held nearby during this time? There are usually several Oktoberfests in the area.

What is your favorite dessert for this time of year?  I love all things pumpkin ANY time of year!

Is your Thanksgiving Day in October or November, if you even celebrate it? This year it falls on November 28

If you do celebrate it, where do you usually have Thanksgiving dinner? My parents’ house. My mom makes the best stuffing on earth.

Do you remember any crafts you used to do that were autumn-themed? I remember ironing leaves in between two pieces of wax paper to make a placemat—sounds like something I did when I was in the Girl Scouts.

(Whew! This is a long one this week! Stick with me . . .)

Are any of your favorite bands doing a fall tour this year? I have no idea.

Which new TV show are you looking forward to this season?  Can’t think of any.

How does autumn typically make you feel?  Energized! I love the nip in the air.

What color do you always associate with autumn? Orange

Is there a song that always reminds you of this season? “Five little pumpkins sitting on the gate . . .” complete with the finger movements! You have to love those old preschool classics!

Do you have any seasonal traditions? Not so much any more. I used to go to a big corn maze every Fall with some friends, but we haven’t done that in quite awhile.

Do you spend a lot of time outside during this time of the year? No more or less than the rest of the year.

How can you tell that fall is over?  When it’s too cold to sleep with my bedroom window open. I love to sleep with the window open a crack, all burrowed into my blankets—but when it just gets too cold for that, I know winter has arrived.

What is a typical autumn outfit that you wear? Jeans, sweater, some sort of jacket or blazer, boots.

Do you hate it when stores start promoting Christmas early? Yes—but I sympathize. When I worked retail, Halloween night was always an all-nighter when we completely re-did the store for Christmas. There were many years when, instead of handing out candy, I was up on a ladder hanging huge signs.

What is your favorite thing about this season? Cooking comfort foods! I love to cook meals that need to simmer on the stove all afternoon, like chili, soups, spaghetti sauce, and stews. I don’t do too much of that kind of cooking in the summer—Fall means it’s time to get out my big soup pot! (I’m actually planning on making beef chili today!)


Sunday Stealing–More Meme, Part 3

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Click here to play along!

Most daring Dare you have ever done? I can’t remember, but I’m sure there was alcohol involved.

When is the last time you did something you knew was wrong? I made an illegal right turn on red the other day.

What was on your mind most today? It’s still pretty early—I haven’t thought about much past what I’m going to have for breakfast.

Have a best friend? I have a number of really good friends. It’s been a long time since there was someone who I considered a best friend.

If you were upset, who’s the first person you would go to? Depends on what I’m upset about. If it’s work, I’m very fortunate that I can go to my boss with just about anything. Personal life—I pick and choose depending on who/what has upset me.

When was the last time someone yelled at you? Well, not AT me but TO me. My neighbor across the street yelled to me the other day when I was trying to get one of my cats to come in from my open garage—he was helping me figure out which way she was headed.

What have you done today, so far? Got up, thought about getting dressed, then posted this instead.

What did last weekend consist of? A lot of very productive errands and chores, some reading, and some football watching.

What are you listening to? I can hear my neighbors rattling around next door.

Who were you last in a car with? I drove with my parents to a restaurant recently.

Have you ever been called cute? I am often told that I’m wearing cute shoes!

Describe how you feel right now in one word: chilly

Has anybody ever told you that you talk too fast? All the time—especially when I’m really excited.

Did you have fun yesterday? I did!

Do you like to cuddle? Depends on my mood and who I’m with.

Do you think someone is thinking about you? I think so.

Are you stubborn? Yes—it’s something I’m trying to work on.

Is there a friend, boyfriend/ girlfriend, or ex that you will never forget? I’ll never forget my first true love—does anyone?

Thinking back, are there people you have no idea why you hung out with? Absolutely. I look back at my early 20’s sometimes and I have no idea what I was thinking.

How’s your heart? It’s OK.

Are you easily amused? Very much so! The littlest things can get me going if I’m in the right mood.

Do you speak more than 2 languages? No—just English. I wish I would have taken Spanish in HS instead of German—I would definitely have had more opportunities to practice speaking and understanding Spanish and it probably would have stuck better. I remember about 5 words of the German I spent three years learning.

Are you doing anything tonight? I’ll be going through my usual “Sunday night getting ready for the work week” routine—wash hair, finish laundry, do my nails.

Is there a person of the same sex who means a lot to you? Sure.

Is your hair naturally straight? Yep–stick straight.

What happened at 10:00 am? It’s too early—can’t answer that one yet!

What were you doing at ten last night? Reading in bed.

Have you made someone happy today?  My cats were pretty happy when I fed them this morning—do they count?

Is it hard for you to get over someone? Yes.

Think it’s disgusting when girls get really wasted? I’m not sure I feel disgusted–I mostly feel sad that they have such little self-respect. And I feel that way when guys drink too much, too.

How long did it take you to get over you last ex? Too long.

When you are home alone do you still close the door when you shower? Nope—the cats like to wander in and out at will. Plus, I can’t stand a steamed up bathroom!


Sunday Stealing–More, Part 2

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Click here to play along!

What would you choose to be famous for? All that paparazzi? No thanks–I’ll pass on being famous!

If you have a webcam, are you ever paranoid people can see you? I have one on my laptop but I’ve never used it, and I don’t even know how to turn it on.

Do you find it difficult to sleep at night? Any reason(s) why? Yes! Unless I am extremely tired, I wake up at least 1-2 times every night. It used to be worse. I think it’s just because I have “monkey mind” and have trouble turning it off.

If you had to go on a game show, which would you choose? I think it would be awesome to be on Jeopardy!

 What about if you had to go on a reality show? Which would you choose then? Oh boy. This is my guilty pleasure. I do watch and enjoy certain reality TV shows (they make me feel as if I have absolutely NO PROBLEMS in my life!), even though I know the reality isn’t real. But I know enough about them to know that I’d never want to be on one myself!

Tell me about your favorite TV show. I like “The Middle” which is a sit-com about a “typical” Midwestern family. Brick is my favorite character.

Why were you last irritated? Friday at work when someone else’s failure to plan ahead somehow became my problem. I hate that! Clean up your own mess, people!

What time did you get up this morning?  I woke up around 6am but I didn’t actually get up until almost 7am. I can’t sleep late even if I try!

The last city you were in: Where was it and do you like it there? I was in Sarasota this summer. I was there for a conference so I didn’t see much of it, but our hotel was right on the water and that was heavenly!

Do you like the countryside? I do, but I don’t see it very often.

If you see someone yawn, do you often yawn as well? probably

Recommend me a good movie: One of my favorite movies of all time is “Ordinary People” with Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland—and it was Timothy Hutton’s very first film. If I ever just need a good cathartic cry, watching certain scenes in that movie will do it for me every time.

Do you think you’d make a good model? Would you ever want to be one?  I’m not too interested in fashion—I want to look presentable, appropriate, comfortable, and clean, but that’s about it. So, no—I don’t think I have the right mindset to be a model. Not to mention not having the physical requirements . . .

How often do you change your hairstyle? What does it look like now? Well, right now it’s combed, but that’s it. If I’m leaving the house, my bangs are swept to the side, and the sides are curled back. I’ve had the same style for a long time.

Do you have a favorite day of the week? Which is it? Right now I really like Mondays because Monday night is when I go to my yoga class.

Are you alone? Nope—my two cats are here with me. In fact, one of them is on my lap.

When is the last time you were on the phone after 2 am? The last time I got a “middle of the night” phone call was when I was still working retail—the security alarm at the store went off and I was first on the call list because I was the manager who lived the closest. I had to get up and go meet the police at the store. Turned out to be a false alarm. That’s one of the many reasons why I no longer work retail!


Sunday Stealing–More, Part 1

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Click here to play along!

Have you ever said you would never love again? Probably—but I didn’t really mean it.
Have you heard a song today that reminds you of somebody? Not yet!
Do you apologize first? If I know I’m in the wrong I try to apologize as soon as possible.
Has someone made a promise to you and broke it? Of course–but I can’t think of an example.
Have you ever won a lot of money in a slot machine? How much? I don’t gamble too often, but I once won about $200 in a slot machine. I took the friends I was with out to dinner that night with my winnings.
Do you watch sports on TV even though you aren’t a sporty person yourself? I don’t “do sports” at all but I LOVE to watch sports. My favorite is hockey, followed by baseball and football, and I’ve been known to even watch golf. I also am a TOTAL Olympics geek—both winter and summer games.
Do you eat / drink at your computer? At work—yes. I always have a big travel mug of water nearby, and I often eat lunch at my desk. At home–not so much. My desk at home is usually too cluttered with paperwork and pets to have room for any food or drinks.
How much do you overeat at special occasions? (Birthdays, Christmas, etc) Depends on who’s doing the cooking—if I’m at my parents’ house, it’s tough not to overeat because my mom is an incredible cook.
Do you require glasses / contacts to see properly? If so, which do you use? I had to get glasses in the 3rd grade. I got contacts in high school and wore them for years. About fifteen years ago I went back to glasses, and just last year I “graduated” to bifocals. I’m too scared to get Lasik surgery.
When you hear your voice back on a recording, do you think it sounds awful? I don’t hate it, but I don’t think it sounds like me.
When was the last time you got the hiccups? Can’t recall . . .
If you had to, which record would you go into Guinness World Records for? I have no idea–Most books read? Best cat owner? Best chocolate chip cookie baker?
The last sweet thing you ate: What was it? Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils. Decadent and delicious!
Do you have a middle name? I do!
Do you find it embarrassing? Not at all!

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Sunday Stealing–Young At Heart


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1. Are you a young heart or an old soul? Young at heart, I guess–as I never feel as old as my chronological age.

2. What makes someone a best friend? Someone who knows deep things about you, who can disagree with you without judging,  who you can freely look foolish in front of, and who would go out of their way to help you.

3. What Christmas present do you remember the most? I got a Barbie Dream House one year and it makes me smile to think of my parents putting it together and arranging the furniture.

4. Tell me a movie/song/TV show/play/book that has changed your life. This is hard—there are a few. But going way back—when I read Harriet the Spy for the first time (when I had the mumps in 2nd grade!) that was the first big chapter book I had ever read by myself. I loved it and it sparked my appetite for more—and I’ve been reading pretty much nonstop ever since.

5. Name one physical feature that you like about yourself and one that you dislike. I like my hands and fingernails. I dislike my upper arms right now because I’m getting that “fifties flab” –but I try not to  obsess over it.

6. Can money buy happiness? No, but it can buy physical security—which should never be confused with happiness.

7. What’s more important in a relationship: physical attraction or emotional connection? An emotional connection lasts much longer than any physical attributes.

8. Is there anyone close to you that you know you can’t trust? Not anymore—I removed that person from my life almost exactly two years ago today.

9. Where was your favorite place to go when you were a little kid? In the summer when I was a kid I loved riding my bike with a friend to the library downtown and then to the candy store on the next block—then we’d come back to my house and we’d sit in the back yard reading our library books and sharing our candy.

10. Have you spent a night in the hospital? No

11. Do you enjoy being only with 1-2 friends or with a large group of people? I do better in small groups-big social groups tend to make me uncomfortable.

12. Have you ever been bullied?  When I was in third grade a girl in my class wanted to fight me, but I have no memory of why—and the fight never happened.

13. If your partner wanted to wait until marriage until having sex, would you stay in that relationship? I think so.

14. Do you believe in God? Wow, you want me to sum that up in just a couple of sentences? I believe in a higher power or force that is bigger than us, but not as a physical being.

15. Out of all the social networks in the world why use a blog? Why not?

16. What is your quirkiest habit? Hmmm. . . I shelve all my books by theme. When bringing a bag of books home from the bookstore, it would NEVER occur to me to just put them all on an empty shelf together. No—they need to go in their correct sections.

17. What is normal? Are you normal? Being normal is relative! I feel normal to me . . .

18. Someone close to you is dying! You have the choice to let this person live for 10 more years but if you do you cause the death of 10 strangers. I hate this kind of question! Pass . . .

19. What is one thing you could never forgive? Betrayal.

20. When you’re alone in your own home, do you talk out loud to yourself? Absolutely! Although I guess it’s not really to myself since the cats are always listening.

21. Who is your favorite super hero? Don’t have one.

22. Could you be in a long distance relationship? I’ve never been in one—I think it would be tough but worth it with the right person.

23. Do you know what makes you happy? I do! I just need to work on recognizing it when I have it!

24. Who was your first crush? Jimmy Logan in 2nd grade.

25. Where is your favorite place to go out and eat? On The Border for Mexican—I love their stuffed avocados and their chips & salsa.

26. Are you an early bird or night owl? I used to be a total night owl—especially in college. I rarely even started getting ready to go out until about 9-10 pm. Now—if I’m not in bed by 10pm I know I’m going to be cranky the next day.

27. Give me an unpopular opinion you have. Fair doesn’t always mean being equal—sometimes fair means someone else having more or someone else having less.

28. Do you believe in giving kids medals and trophies for participation? Not as a rule. Life does not give prizes for participation—you have to learn to find that reward within yourself, and you might as well start that habit young!

29. What song best describes your life right now? I’m stumped on this one!

30. How do you express your creativity? Luckily my job provides an outlet for my creative side, as I do a lot of copywriting and even some design work. Plus—I am ALWAYS writing a story in my head!

31. Describe your neighborhood. I live in a quiet townhome community in the suburbs. It’s close to a major road, but set back enough so that there’s not much noise from traffic. I’m within easy walking distance of the grocery, the vet, several fast food places, my bank, the hardware store, and the drycleaners. There’s grass and trees and birds and rabbits. The neighborhood has become a pretty even mix of small families, couples, singles, and retirees.

32. Give me the story of your life in 6 words.  Never thought I’d end up here!


Sunday Stealing–8/18/13


Do you prefer a lot of ice in your drinks or just a little bit of ice? just a few cubes
Which condiment (ketchup, mustard, etc.) do you use the most of? ketchup
Does war scare you? the collateral damage of war scares me
Do you know any songs that are older than you are? I know quite a few traditional Christmas carols
Are you comfortable sharing drinks with your friends? usually
What season were you born in? summer
Have you ever spent over $100.00 on an article of clothing? What was it? winter coats
Do you think you’re too hard on yourself sometimes? way too often!
What pizza place do you usually order from? Rossatti’s
Honestly, have you ever mooned or flashed somebody? nope
Do you have a least favorite color? I don’t like to wear yellow, but I like to look at yellow things
Honestly, have you ever written something on a bathroom stall? no
Who do you consider to be the king of pop? hmmm . . . gotta go with Michael Jackson on this one, I guess
Do you know all of the words to any childrens song? I do!
Can you name 3 purple foods? eggplant, grapes, purple onions
When was the last time you made a pinky promise? can’t remember that far back
What celebrity do you wish would have a big comeback? that’s a tough one
Do you think your parents know things about you that you don’t want them to? not too much–I’m pretty private about things I don’t want others to know about
Have you ever walked into a spider web? maybe at a haunted house
What grocery store do you usually get your food from? Jewel
What would be your happily ever after? to be content with who I am and where I am
When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people? how large is large? I speak in front of about 10 people pretty regularly
Who is the worst driver you know? all the drivers I know are pretty evenly matched
How about the best driver? ditto
Are you shorter or taller than most of your friends? taller
Do you know anybody who was born on a holiday? my boss
What is one thing you really don’t like sharing? I’m pretty generous–but I guess I don’t really like others to drive my car
Have you ever been hit on through text message? no
What was the last junk food you ate? Lay’s potato chips
Do you prefer sweet or sour candy? sweet
What was the last alcoholic beverage you consumed? a sip of white wine
Currently waiting on something/someone? no
What was the last thing you watched on television? Real Housewives of Orange County–a guilty pleasure!
How old will you be in 12 months? 51
Do you sleep naked? no
Have you ever held hands with someone in a car? yes
Could you go the rest of your life without smoking a cigarette? it’s worked out well for me so far!
What do you say during awkward silences? I usually let the other person fill the silence–I’m OK with quiet
When will you next see the last person you texted? I’m not really a text-er
Honestly, when is the last time you have been to Texas? I was in Houston last summer for a conference