Wednesday, January 11, 2017

All about me: One of those Facebook things I never do

These exercises show up on Facebook in various forms, covering different topics. I saw this one today and I thought it would be interesting (to me) because it's all about me! It's not a polite conversation of give-and-take, back-and-forth. It's like being interviewed.

And it's easy. I'm working on some pieces that are a little more difficult and require some research so I liked this one.

1. Who are you named after?

I think I remember asking my mother if I'd been named after anyone she knew and the answer was no. Neither my sister nor I were named after anyone. They were just names my mother liked. (I'm pretty sure my father would have been happy with Mum's choices.)

2. Last time you cried?

I saw a film called Lion a few days ago. It's the story of a tiny boy of five — played by Sunny Pawar, maybe the cutest little guy ever — who gets lost in the teeming streets of Calcutta. I won't tell you the story although Sunny grows up to be played by Dev Patel and along the way, there are some touching and some quite wrenching moments. Anyone might shed a few tears.

Sunny and Dev at the Golden Globes

3. Do you like your handwriting?

Sure. What's not to like? I do remember that I was a terrible writer in early elementary school but by about grade five, I became aware that I was surrounded by fellow students who had such pretty writing that I made it a project to improve mine. I don't think I ever made it "pretty" and I didn't dot my "i's" with little hearts or anything like that. But I think my writing is pretty nice.

4. What is your favourite lunch meat?

Such an odd question and so out of place. I remember as a little kid really liking sandwiches made with one of Mum's freshly baked rolls, a slice of Kam and French's yellow mustard. I told Mum it was what I was going to serve at my wedding. (I didn't.) There were also Spam and Klik and Prem. Probably others too but it was always Kam for me. I don't eat Kam any more. I do like a good ham. We had an excellent one over Christmas.

5. Do you have kids?

I do.

Here he is. His name is William and he's a university student studying political science. He's just started an NDP students' association. (Photo by Keisha Toner.)

6. Do you use sarcasm?

Who, me? Why I'd never even consider it.

7. Do you still have your tonsils?

I do not. I had my tonsils removed when I was 21. It's considered major surgery when you're an adult and it was quite an ordeal. I was in my final year as a nursing student at the Montreal General Hospital and I was admitted to the 20th floor — a private floor and the height of hospital luxury. Even still, I wouldn't recommend it as a casual experience.

8. Would you bungee jump?


9. What is your favorite kind of cereal?

I'm not a big eater of cereal although I grew up eating porridge and shredded wheat — remember those big dry clumps that you'd crumble into your bowl and soak in milk?

I like corn flakes and rice krispies. I don't like any cereal that's "frosted" or is so obviously sugared-up.

10. Married?

I am. I've written about meeting my husband right here and about our wedding over here. They're both awfully good stories and I recommend them.

11. Do you think you are strong?

Tough question. Do you think I'm strong? I haven't really been tested the way so many people have; in general, I've led quite a fortunate and privileged life. I did, however, go through a robbery where I was held at knife-point and left bound and gagged in my bathroom and there were people who thought I handled that with some fortitude. I wrote about that too and you can read it here.

12. What is your favourite ice cream?

Oh, it changes. Right now, I like a small bowl, every so often, of Breyer's Gelato, vanilla and caramel. It's decadently lovely and you must not eat too much of it because you don't want it to become commonplace or familiar. You want it to remain an aloof luxurious enigma.

13. What is the first thing you notice about somebody?

Hmmm. It depends, of course. Are they walking toward me? Am I being introduced to them? Are they alone? Is there something terribly unusual or eccentric about them? Are they behind me? I find this question almost impossible to answer. When I get an answer to all my questions, I'll try again.

14. Football or baseball?


15. What is one thing you like about yourself?

Golly. What can I say? I guess I like the fact that I'm quite self-disciplined and quite organized. I think I'm considerate of others and I try to make the world a better place. I like my hair.

16. What colour pants are you wearing?


17. Last thing you ate?

Beef stew with dumplings.

18. What are you listening to right now?

SiriusXM Streaming. Margaret Whiting singing The Way You Look Tonight.

19. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?

Probably forest green.

20. Favourite smell?

As so many others do, I love the smell of bread right out of the oven.

And on a more romantic note, I love the fragrance Summer Hill by Crabtree & Evelyn.

Don't worry, I mostly wear it at home or to my hair salon where I assume it will fit right in and won't cause any allergic reactions. I'm respectful of allergies and there are plenty of perfumes and colognes that I really hate. But Summer Hill is light and floral and irresistible — in its place.

21. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

My sister, Marilyn. She had a birthday last week and I called a day or two post-birthday for an extended chat.

That's Marilyn in front with her beloved granddaughter Aleesha. Standing behind her are her husband Tom, her daughter Lisa, son-in-law Mike, and son Matthew (Aleesha's dad.) The picture was taken at their cottage on the upper Miramichi.

22. Favorite sport to watch on TV?

Baseball. Or basketball. It depends on what's on. I know and love the game of baseball and I always wonder how anyone could find it dull. There's so much to watch for in a baseball game: a perfect double play, or a bunt laid down the third-base line and a dramatic slide into second, or the tension as the pitcher shakes off the catcher's signals, looking for the perfect pitch and rattling the batter a little while he's at it. So exciting and suspenseful and dramatic. Basketball is, of course, not very subtle. It's just exciting because it is.

23. Hair colour?

I often say it's platinum but it is, admittedly, snowy white.

24. Eye colour?


25. Favourite food to eat?

Whatever is placed in front of me when I'm really hungry. One of my most-read posts on this blog is called The best thing I ever ate. . .

26. Scary movies or happy?

There are more than two categories of movies. I don't particularly like scary movies but I like lots of movies that wouldn't be described as "happy." One of my favourite movies, going back quite far, is Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean Jimmy Dean. It's a Robert Altman movie and it stars Cher, Sandy Dennis, Karen Black, Kathy Bates. One of the reviewers called it "soft and sad" — which it was, so neither scary nor happy.

27. Last movie you watched on TV?

The Railway Man: "A former British Army officer, who was tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labor camp during World War II, discovers that the man responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him." It was good although I usually don't watch movies if I sense there's going to be torture. There was torture but I averted my eyes.

28. Last movie you watched at a theatre?

Lion, as noted above. Far far above. However, the second-last movie I saw was La La Land. I won't go into any detail because I don't want to provide spoilers so if you want to know what I thought of it, send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope and I'll definitely be in touch.

29. What colour shirt are you wearing?

White with a red and black geometric pattern. (?)

There's the shirt on a London sight-seeing bus. If I'd been thinking ahead, I could have used this photo to illustrate number 5 and number 23.

30. Favourite holiday?

Christmas, I suppose, although that seems very conventional and predictable. I really like Easter too. Both are religious and traditional and steeped in family lore but Easter seems a little more flexible. It's a beautiful time of year also, alive with hope and lengthening days. The feast is fresh and bright and there's lemon in every course.

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