Sarah, who writes at the blog This Heavenly Life tagged me in a meme last week. The object of this little game is to post 11 random things about yourself, answer the 11 questions posed by the tagger, create 11 new questions, and tag other bloggers. I've been thinking about it ever since. While I loved reading Sarah's post and finding out more about her, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to come up with a response clever enough to be worth posting.
But I wanted to write something. So I decided the only place to start is where I'm at.
1. It's dusk. Dinner is done and I took on dish-duty, specifically for the chance to stand up straight. I've been holding the baby all day. She weighs down on me. But I step outside to bring in the laundry first. The light is fading and I have two arms free.
It's mostly his clothing in this load. I unpin a blue shirt. I'll need to iron this one. I fold it in half but hold it up to my face before putting it in the basket. It smells like the breeze that's been blowing all day, spring marinated into the fibers, but it still smells like him. This is why I don't use scented laundry detergent.
The air smells significant, too. Smokey, but not the wood stove smoke of the cold weather months. This is the campfire scent of summer, speaking of humid evenings, of roasted marshmallows, of ash soaring high above the flames. A neighbor must be burning a bonfire.
2. It reminds me of another time and place of a similar smell, bonfires all around. It was a Civil War reenactment. I was part of a "crowd control" crew, walking around the grounds with my Americorps NCCC team members, mostly just picking up cigarette butts and trying to look busy while taking in the sights and sounds and smells of a different time period brought to life. There were costumes and tents and weapons, food and animals and bonfires. I can't remember exactly where we were -- 11 years have elapsed since then and we saw so many places during our 10 months of service, traveling here and there in the southeast -- but this moment, taking laundry from the line, smelling the bonfire, reminds me that:
3. That year in NCCC was probably one of the hardest of my life. I was away from home, away from everything familiar, in a way that I hadn't experienced yet, even during my first couple years in college. I already knew I was an introvert, safe only in small circles (I had only attended one college party -- I walked in, looked at the crowd, and walked back out. It was coffee shops and libraries for me), but working and living so closely with a whole new group of people was something far, far out of my comfort zone. I had to work hard to hold myself together.
4. But it was also one of the most important years of my life, too. I learned so much. About myself. About the people and ideas outside my little world. But more than that, it pointed me home. Back to the Midwest, to my roots, to my family. But also to him. He would always be my front door.
5. He asked me to marry him during that year, when I was home for a weekend break. It was a bike ride in our home town, a stop by a river, him down on one knee, the ring. My mouth hanging open. Yes. And before we rode home -- on our bikes, on our joy and hopes and dreams -- I stopped to pick up a stone. It sits in my jewelery box, more valuable than any gem. Maybe someday it will be the first bit of earth I'm buried under.
6. When I was a kid, I buried a time capsule in my yard with a friend (how old were we, Anna?). I remember writing down various facts about ourselves, such as what we were wearing that day. It was my idea for each of us to also disclose one "secret" into the capsule. We intended to leave the jar underground for years, but it lasted a few months at best. When we unearthed it, my "secret" was this: I'm wearing a bra! I certainly did not need one.
7. I did not need one after my last kid weaned, either. This is not something that has ever bothered me.
8. Speaking of kids, you know how I have four? In many cases, mothering that many would mean that in general, I'm good with them. That I like them. Actually -- um -- not so much. I'm somewhat afraid of them. The idea of chaperoning school trips or volunteering in the classroom sends me into small fits of anxiety. This is true. And likely largely due to the fact that:
9. People in general scare me. In most cases, unless I know everyone going, I'd rather stay home. Nowadays, I have many excuses to stay home. But that was not always so. (See #3). And I have a hunch that as my girls get older, I'll have to come out of my shell to allow them to come out of theirs. I try not to think about that.
10. I don't think of myself as a good conversationalist. I'm not entertaining or animated. I'm better one-on-one than in a group, and I express myself better through writing than speaking. But I'd never call myself witty or funny. And you'll always win a debate against me. I'll only tell you about my religious views if I don't feel like you're trying to sell me yours, and I'd rather fold laundry than discuss politics.
11. Actually, there are a lot of things about laundry that I like. And I'd probably stay out here longer, taking these things down slowly, if the bugs weren't biting me...
And now, to answer Sarah's questions...
1. Do you always read the entire book once you get started, or have you
ever stopped halfway through a book? If so, what was it, and why?
I usually finish. But I quit Lord of the Rings before I got past the first hundred pages. There was too much description and I had laundry to fold...
2. Which would you prefer to spend an afternoon doing: painting with a
room full of preschoolers or painting with a group of adults?
Isn't is obvious? Neither. I'd rather if the room was empty.
3. Is there a television show on right now that you try to never miss? What is it?
Nope. I rarely choose to watch TV. I'd rather read. Or write. Or do yoga. Or stare out the window....
4. What is the most adventurous food item you've ever tried?
I will try anything. Unless it spent any part of its life underwater.
5. If you could have as many children as you wanted without fear of
discomfort (either physical or financial) or social judgement, how many
do you think you'd have?
I think I'm at my limit right now...
6. What foreign culture fascinates you the most?
I will read any book about any group of people and find it interesting. I don't have an itch to travel, though. At least not right now.
7. When you're grocery shopping, what snack item has the greatest ability to tempt you into an unnecessary purchase?
Chocolate. Enough said.
8. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you succeed?
An author. I'm working on it.
9. If you could go back to school and get any degree, would you choose differently than you did the first time?
I started in engineering and switched to English after two years. So yes -- I would have started in English so that I could have taken more classes in my major. I would have taken more creative writing classes as well.
10. You have a $500 gift card to the closest mall: what will you spend it on?
Clothing, please. But can I shop online?
11. You are headed into a party full of people you've never met before and where mingling is expected. What one word describes your mindset as you open the door?
I think, by now, you must know my answer. GETMEOUTOFHERE. Can that count as one word?
Next, I'm supposed to come up with 11 new questions and tag other bloggers. But I'm tired. So this is as far as I go. But if you want to leave me a comment with some random facts about yourself, the floor is yours.