11 Questions, 11 Answers

This blogging world has brought me so many gifts.  One of the richest has been The Tribe, a group of creative women who have (foolishly, and I’m still waiting for them to realize their error) included me in their number.  One of these years I will be able to join the annual retreat on the coast of Oregon.  Elizabeth Grant Thomas is one of the Tribe, and if you don’t know her luminous, thoughtful writing, you should.  She writes about many of the same themes that haunt my work (and my life): impermanence and what endures, relationships and family, the fallibility and brilliance of memory.

Last week Elizabeth shared 11 questions and her answers.  I loved reading her stories, about the adorable way her husband proposed, her favorite historical period, and what day in her life she’d go back and re-live.  Then she tagged me in the meme, and I so enjoyed reading her answers that I was excited about answering with my own.

This is how it works:

  • Post the rules
  • Answer 11 questions the tagger posted for you
  • Create 11 new questions to ask the people you tag
  • Tag 11 people
  • Let them know you’ve tagged them

So herewith, my answers to Elizabeth’s wonderful questions, my own set of new questions, and the 11 people I would love to hear answer them!

1. What book has moved you the most in recent history?

I was tremendously moved by Stephanie Saldana’s The Bread of Angels.

2. What’s your favorite way to spend idle time?

Sitting in my bed, with my daughter next to me, reading (separately).

3. Share a silly photo of yourself.  What’s the story?

This was in high school, when my dear friend C and I were in the Dance Concert together.  We also ran cross-country together, and part of why I love this photograph so is that we are teaming up to run a 10K Mud Run in May together.  20 years and 5 children later, we’re back to running in the woods side by side.  I can’t wait.

4. What astrological sign are you?  Do you believe in astrology, or think it’s a bunch of hooey?

I’m a Leo.  I oscillate between believing and thinking it’s hooey.  Fun fact: my father and my husband are both twins and Geminis.  When I was growing up, I thought being a twin was a requirement of being a Gemini, since my father was both.

5.  What is the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?

Several dinners, cooked over a campfire, out in the African bush when Matt and I were on safari in the summer of 1998.  Somehow they conjured the most extraordinary meals out of nothing, and the setting sure helped.

6. Do you believe in fate, or that we’re masters of our own destinies?

This is a tough one for me.  I’m really not sure.  I lean towards the former, because I often sense the hand of something large and ineffable at work, but I also believe adamantly in the power of hard work and good decisions to shape our lives.

7. What is one of your favorite memories from childhood?

Singing Circle Game with my sister and our “four family” siblings, the extended family we grew up with.  We wore white, we stood in line by height, and all eight of our parents watched us with tears in their eyes.  There are also many special memories from my summers at sleep-away camp.

8. If you know it, what is your Myers-Briggs type?  If you don’t know it, would you characterize yourself as an extrovert or an introvert?

I am an INFJ.  100% F, 100% J, closer to the middle on the other two.  I am a big believer in the Myers-Briggs as a framework for understanding ourselves and others in our lives.

9. What is your favorite flower?

Peonies, hands down.  Ranunculus after that.

10. No one can ever believe that I’ve never seen The Princess Bride.  What movie have you never seen that everyone else seemingly has?

Silence of the Lambs.  I’m too scared.

11. What quote or motto best describes how you endeavor to live your life?

There is no such thing as a complete lack of order, only a design so vast it appears unrepetitive up close.  (Erdrich)

It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work. And when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.  The mind that is not baffled is not employed.  The impeded stream is the one that sings. (Berry)

To miss the joy is to miss all.  (Stevenson)

Did you really think I could pick one?

And so, here are those I “tag”:

Aidan of Ivy League Insecurities
Christa of Carry It Forward
Denise of Universal Grit
Pamela of Walking On My Hands
Lisa Bonchek Adams
Kathryn of Good Life Road
Hilary from A Year On
MK Countryman from My Suburban Life
Katie Gibson from cakes, teas, and dreams
Rebecca from June Carol Claire
Erin from Elements of Style

And these are my questions:

1. What is your favorite book?  Why?

2. What song brings you back most viscerally to a moment in your history?  Where does it take you?

3. Who is your favorite character in fiction?

4. What is your favorite food?  What about foods you abhor?

5. Are you a morning or a night person?

6. What is your default font when you write on your computer?

7. How many siblings do you have?  How many children do you have (as of now)?

8. What season do you like best?

9. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

10. If you practice yoga (even sporadically) what is your favorite pose?

11. When was the last time you cried?

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  1. Posted April 23, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks for playing along, Lindsey! I loved reading your answers (and your new questions — a few of which I considered asking myself!). I am an ENFJ (I think my “N” is most highly expressed of the four), and I would have characterized you as an INFJ, hands down. I am also a Gemini! And yes, I was most definitely thinking of you when I posed that last question 🙂

  2. Posted April 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    YAY!! Love that Elizabeth was tagged and that she then tagged you. So fun to read your responses. I’m an ENFJ — just like Elizabeth. xoxo

  3. Posted April 23, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Love this. Loved reading your answers and I look forward to replying with mine (it will provide a much needed break from the crevices of my mind.) xo

  4. Posted April 23, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Ooooh, fun! Tucking this away for a rainy day, or for when I run out of things to write about. Which amazingly, hasn’t happened yet!

  5. Posted April 23, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    What a fun post–I love the quotes you chose, but best of all? That photo is PRICELESS! 🙂

  6. Posted April 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Just 11 more reasons why your words resonate so much with me! I, too, am an INFJ (though very slightly in all categories, which I see as more evidence of the constant tug-o-war that keeps me falling into chaos and indecision). One of these days, I really do fervently hope our physical paths cross again!!

  7. Carey
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Love the questions and the answers, Lindsey….BTW I’m a Leo too! August 5.

  8. Posted April 24, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Oh, wow. Thank you, Lindsey. My first question will be What was the hardest part of this project – answering the questions, creating new questions, or picking who to send it to.????

  9. Posted April 24, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I’ve answered on my blog – here’s the short (ish) version… I loved doing this, thanks Lindsey!

    What is your favorite book? Why?
    Oh. I can’t choose just one – you will notice this is a recurrent theme here. Maybe “Operating Instructions” by Anne Lamott, because it helped me to see that motherhood is just not a perfect science. Or “Little Women” because it inspired me in a way that no one did when I was young. Or anything by Rilke or Rumi because they bring magic to us on every page. “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach is the book I recommend to anyone who wants to change their life – it certainly transformed mine.

    2. What song brings you back most viscerally to a moment in your history? Where does it take you?

    Stairway to Heaven. It’s bittersweet – from high school, when I figured out that I was going to have to leave in order to live.

    3. Who is your favorite character in fiction?

    The Little Prince. Or Harold, of the Purple Crayon

    4. What is your favorite food? What about foods you abhor?

    Foie gras. Or kale/spinach/any dark green. Both together = perfect. I know…
    I abhor things that are filled with chemicals and come in colors that don’t exist in nature. Though I would be very happy if someone came up with a gluten free clone of Twinkies…

    5. Are you a morning or a night person?

    By nature, morning. I live with night owls, though, so that might explain a lot…

    6. What is your default font when you write on your computer?

    Century Gothic. Finally, a clear answer!

    7. How many siblings do you have? How many children do you have (as of now)?

    Four, one of whom I did not grow up with.
    One. We were of the very lucky to get one variety, and I wouldn’t change it for the world now…

    8. What season do you like best?

    Back to hard choices. I like seasons – could not live somewhere where the weather was the same all year round. Sorry, Florida.
    Very likely, spring is best for me. The coming back to life bit is hard to beat.

    9. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    A marine biologist. A nurse, like Cherry Ames. Maybe a veterinarian. Always, a teacher. And often, Nancy Drew. I think it was the convertible. Interestingly, and not that you asked, my first real kiss was with a boy named Ned.

    10. If you practice yoga (even sporadically) what is your favorite pose?

    Besides sivasana? Pigeon/Legs up the wall/Downward Dog. What I really want to be able to do, someday, is a full backbend – Wheel.

    11. When was the last time you cried?

    I cry a little bit on a regular basis. The last time was last night, watching the last episode of Frasier. Again.
    The last really big cry was on a ranch in Arizona, brushing a horse and realizing that I had been holding on to something really painful for a really long time, just because of some really misinformed perceptions about how it might cause others pain.

  10. Posted April 25, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Here are my responses, Lindsey… thanks for including me!

    1. What is your favorite book? Why?

    I’m not hedging when I say this is like choosing among my children. I love so many books! I just finished a fabulous novel, The Baker’s Daughter, by Sarah McCoy. I love novels that transport me. This one kept me turning pages on vacation. For sure one of my favorite books is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot because of the way it merges important science with storytelling.

    2. What song brings you back most viscerally to a moment in your history? Where does it take you?

    I guess I’d have to say Ave Maria at the moment. It had me crying in the Christmas light displays a few months ago. It was one of the songs playing at my mother-in-law’s memorial service and in the slideshow my brother-in-law made. I can’t hear it without thinking of Barbara and missing her desperately (she died in 2009).

    3. Who is your favorite character in fiction?

    I usually don’t think of books in terms of favorite. I love the one I’m with! But I was recently talking about Gilly in The Great Gilly Hopkins (a YA book) and I remember loving her spunk and grit. I love characters that can use their imaginations to get through difficult circumstances. In that vein, Milo from The Phantom Tollbooth would be on my list.

    4. What is your favorite food? What about foods you abhor?

    Oh, I love so many foods! Bacon, sushi, coffee, vanilla, truffles, mango, chocolate, peanut butter… and on and on. I do not like black licorice, sea urchin, or cherries.

    5. Are you a morning or a night person?

    Is it possible to be neither? I feel like I am tired all the time! I am more a morning person in middle age. I can’t sleep late anymore but I do enjoy lazing in bed even if I am awake early.

    6. What is your default font when you write on your computer?


    7. How many siblings do you have? How many children do you have (as of now)?

    I have one brother, 4 years older than I am. I have 3 children (13, 10, and 6).

    8. What season do you like best?

    I love Spring and Autumn. Spring is fabulous seeing the garden come alive and watching things bloom. I get a great deal of joy from the plants and flowers in the yard. Fall is my favorite weather-wise. I love falling leaves, a warm drink, and a thick cashmere sweater as a jacket. I seem to have more energy in cooler weather, so that’s a bonus.

    9. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    I remember doing a report on the occupation of zookeeper when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I always loved learning about animals… the more exotic the better. I did also really love science and thought about being a doctor.

    10. If you practice yoga (even sporadically) what is your favorite pose?

    I don’t do yoga. I did start doing Pilates about 6 weeks ago and have definitely found something I love. I just did a shoulder stand type exercise on the cadillac during the last session that was really hard and felt great. I can see how much stronger I am already and its a great challenge every time.

    11. When was the last time you cried?

    Shockingly this one stumped me! I’ve cried a few times in the past few weeks though I cry so much less often than I used to. I know I have cried about my parent’s split after 50 years. I know I’ve cried this month talking about Barbara. I know I got choked up last week on the airplane looking at my family stretched out across one row of the airplane as we embarked on our vacation. There is something about being together on an airplane that makes me emotional.

  11. Kate
    Posted April 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I am an INFJ Leo too. Must be why your blog resonates so with me!

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