Answer Me This #15

The last days of summer are flying by, and it’s already time for another Answer Me This!
1. When driving, are you more likely to listen to the radio, to CDs or an iPod, or nothing at all?
Nothing at all is my first choice.  I don’t get nearly enough silence, as you might imagine.  Also, it usually just doesn’t occur to me to turn on the radio.  If I’m in a certain mood, I might. but that’s rare.  I only own one CD, the one that was in my car when the house burned down, and it’s still in the car, so occasionally I listen to it.  I don’t have any music on my iPhone, but when I was driving to and from Notre Dame all alone earlier this year, I did listen to my Pandora stations.
2. Do you prefer window or aisle?
Window.  I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve flown, so the novelty of looking out the window has not worn off.
3. Do you fall asleep on your side, back, or stomach? What position are you in when you wake up?
I haven’t slept on my stomach since I was a baby.  I fall asleep on my side, and sometimes wake up that way and sometimes on my back.  If I wake up on my back, my back hurts.
4. When is the last time you attended a zoo, circus, carnival, county fair, or parade?
It’s been a long time!  It’s been about five years since I’ve been to the zoo.  Longer than that since I’ve been to the circus–I think it was when the big kids were little.  I can’t think of a carnival I’ve attended since the ones we used to have in the backyard when I was a kid.  I can’t remember the last time I went to the fair either, although it may have been more recent than the zoo.  This is making me feel sorry for myself!  So probably the most recent thing I’ve done is go to the Christmas Parade, although honestly it’s been several years since we’ve done that.
5. Do you have a favorite quote or inspirational saying?
Lots of them.  I usually say that this one is my favorite: “Faith is constant assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.”
6. What’s the best thing about summer?
First is not having to deal with school.  I’m as happy as the kids are about that.  Second would be the nighttime bug noises.  They take me straight back to childhood.  After that would be food, like tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn on the cob.
Y’all, I have zero pictures to illustrate any of that.  I feel like this is the most boring post ever.  But sometimes you just have to do what you can.  You really should visit the rest of the (much more interesting) links at Catholic All Year.

Answer Me This #14

It’s Answer Me This time!
1. What’s your favorite thing on YouTube?
I love to look up old Sesame Street and Electric Company clips from my childhood and show them to my kids.  Also old commercials.  Here’s one favorite:

2. Who taught you to drive?
My parents.  I think my father took me out the first few time, and then after that my mother just let me drive everywhere we went (only if my sisters weren’t in the car, though, because they would freak).  I also took Drivers Ed.  And I failed the test the first time I took it!  I was past 17 before I got my license.
3. What’s your favorite thing to cook?
I can’t think of one particular thing.  I like to cook things out of my head, with lots of ingredients, that don’t require recipes.  I make wonderful cakes, but get a little tired of having to bake so many!
aunt hatties cake
4. Are you a hugger or a non-hugger? Why?
I’m not one of these people who wants to hug you every time we cross paths, but I put up with it.  I have been clung to by so many children for so many years that sometimes when people touch me it makes my skin crawl, frankly.  But I enjoy a good hug with people I have not seen for a long time.
5. Where do you pray best?
In church, if the kids aren’t bothering me.  Otherwise, in my bed before I fall asleep.
Picture of IC that looks like a painting
6. When is the last time you saw/spoke to your grandparents?
My grandparents are all gone now.  My paternal grandfather died when I was about one month old, so I don’t remember him at all.  My maternal grandfather died in September 1980.  I was 13 and it was my first real experience with death.  He used to bring us treats from the grocery store–he loved to hunt for bargains–and I think the last time I saw him was a couple of days before he died when he came to visit and left some nectarines for me.  I remember how strange it felt, eating them after he had died.  My paternal grandmother died of a stroke in April 1995.  She was in the hospital for several days, so that was the last time I saw her alive.  Before that, Teddy was born in February of that year, and she would have visited me in the hospital, so that was probably the last time I spoke to her.  Finally, my maternal grandmother died in January 2009.  The last time I saw her was on Christmas at my sister’s house.  She’d had a stroke years before and was aphasic, so I didn’t often speak to her by phone.  I do, however, have the last time she called me to wish me a happy birthday saved in my messages.

My maternal grandmother, Mima.
My maternal grandmother, Mima.

My paternal grandmother, Granny
My paternal grandmother, Granny

Head on over to the Catholic All Year to read other responses.  You can answer for yourself in the comments if you want!

Answer Me This #13

Are you ready for another installment of Answer Me This, hosted by Kendra at Catholic All Year?
1. What’s something you’ve won and how did you win it?
Oh, gosh, y’all, I have won so many things.  I’m kind of lucky like that it you believe in that sort of thing. When I was a kid they were having a giveaway for a lamp at, I think, the drugstore in our neighborhood shopping center.  This was the kind of drugstore you really don’t have any more, that sold a little bit of everything, and had its own charge account system, and delivered medicine, and had a soda fountain in the back,  Anyway I remember I wrote my name all different ways and put it in the drawing.  I didn’t even put my address but when they drew my name they knew who I was because that was the kind of place this was.  Anyway, it was a pretty ugly lamp.  I’m not sure where it;s gotten to but it was in the family living room for years.
2. Do you save old greeting cards and letters, or throw them all away? Why?
I used to save every letter I ever received.  Boxes and boxes of letters I had from college.  Then they all burned up,  This was a crushing blow.  Now I really don’t have the heart to save things like I used to.  Maybe I learned something, or maybe I’m just afraid of having things that can be lost.  Anyway, I only save cards from my husband and children, unless someone writes something really special on one, then I might save it,
3. When you’re at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?
I used to always go barefooted, because I grew up in a house with wall to wall carpet, and we pretty much went barefooted indoors and out as soon as my mother said it was warm enough because this is the South, y’all.  My husband is from Baltimore and doesn’t understand this hillbilly habit (his word) and is always fussing at our kids to put on shoes.  All of our houses except this one have had hardwood floors, and I got tired of wiping grit off my feet all the time and started wearing shoes or slippers all the time.  Now that we have wall to wall carpet, I tend to go barefooted again, unless I have shoes on when I come home that would be a pain to remove.  I keep a pair of shoes by the front door for quick trips outside when it’s too cold for bare feet, or if I want to drive somewhere and don’t feel like looking for my shoes.
4. Who’s the most famous person you have ever met?
I’ve been in the Rose Garden with Jimmy Carter, and in Gaston Hall with President Clinton, but did not actually get to meet them.  I have, however, had my picture taken with Barry Williams (that’s Greg Brady to the rest of you).  When I was thirteen my we were at a motel in Chattanooga where for some reason that will be forever unknown to me there was some sort of B-list celebrity conventions.  We also got to meet Ron Masak and Trini Lopez (I still don’t know who they are really but my parents said they were famous) and Pat Boone (who was the least friendly).
5. What has been your best work of art?
My children, of course. 🙂  I did draw a lot as a child–like all the time, in the margins of my workbooks at school!  I loved drawing horses and ladies in old-fashioned dresses.  I had a sketchbook in high school where I used to draw (from pictures) sketches of my friends and illustrations for a book I wrote.  Those were probably my best technical work.  I don’t know why but I lost interest in drawing after high school.
6. What’s your strongest sense?
That’s a difficult question but I am going to go with touch.  I can feel remember the way things feel in my head more strongly than I can remember smells or taste.  When I do this it’s almost like I am really feeling them again.  Maybe this is no big deal and everyone can do that?
That’s it, friends.  If you want to read more entries in this linkup, or join in the fun yourself, please go here.

Answer Me This #12

It’s time again for Answer Me This, the brainchild of Kendra at Catholic All Year.
1. How did you get your name?
I am named for my mother’s sister, Mary Leslie.  There’s a street here in Knoxville called Leslie Avenue, and I believe that was what gave my grandmother the idea for the name.  I don’t like my name and never have.
2. Do you have a set time for prayer in your day?
When I tell people (usually via Facebook) that I will pray for them, I try to do it right away so I won’t forget.  Other than that, I pray before bed.  And of course I send up random prayers throughout the day.  But I wish I had a more disciplined prayer life.
3. Did your mom work or stay home (or both)?
My mother was in school off and on when I was little, and occasionally she worked part-time.  But my primary experience was that of having a mother who was always at home and always available.
4. Do you vote?
Absolutely.  I have missed the occasional local election for one (bad) reason or another. But I haven’t missed in years.  I’ve also always made it a point to take the kids with me over the years to impress upon them the importance of this responsibility.
5. What’s your favorite drink?
Coffee.  Then Mountain Dew.  But these days I am mostly drinking water because carbs.
6. How are your photography skills?
The only photographs I take are with my iPhone.  With the help of Instagram and Picasa, I am very satisfied with the results.  I’m sure people who use actual cameras would disagree, though.  A few of my favorite pictures are below:
William at 13
Flower and Bee
Jake with Easter Baskets
Lorelei at Target
Picture of IC that looks like a painting
Spider and shadow
Storm over Knoxville
That’s all for this week!  Please check out the other posts in this linkup at Catholic All Year!

Answer Me This #11

It’s time for Answer Me This, courtesy of Catholic All Year!
1. Have you ever walked out of a movie?
No, but I BEGGED John to walk out of Spaceballs, which I thought was incredibly stupid.  He wouldn’t.
2. What do you most often use for blogs and blogging: desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone?
My laptop, which might as well be a desktop since that’s where I leave it unless we are going out of town.  I also have a Chromebook, which I have used once or twice while out and that I hope to use more.
3. Have you ever had anything stolen from you?
Sadly, yes.  My first experience was the most traumatizing.  We had a desktop computer stolen from a storage space at the apartments where we lived when Teddy was a newborn.  Served us right, I guess, for having such a thing in plain view protected only with a padlock; but what was worse by far was the other thing they stole:  a picnic basket my sisters had given me as a wedding present.  It had no resale value and the thought of the criminal giving it to his mother or girlfriend was disturbing to me.
Our Victorian house was broken into twice, with a laptop being the only loss both times.  And we also had a stroller stolen right out of the front yard there.
Finally, a couple of days after our house burned down, some truly despicable people STOLE THE TIRES off the two singed cars sitting in our driveway, along with some computers that were in one of the cars.  They were broken, though. 🙂
tire-less durango Lincoln on blocks
4. Do you identify as a member of a particular ethnic group?
I don’t guess Southern qualifies as an ethnic group, does it?  I’ve been encouraged to identify as Irish most of my life, but my recent genealogical research informs me that I’ve got healthy doses of German and English.  I haven’t worked out the percentages yet.
My ggggrandfather Confederate General James D. Hagan, who was born in Ireland.
My ggggrandfather Confederate General James D. Hagan, who was born in Ireland.
5. Do you abstain from meat on Fridays?
Only during Lent.
6. Seen anything weird lately?
I have five children.  I see weird things on a daily basis.
And a postscript:  I’m hosting a giveaway and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post.  Let’s just say that at the moment your chances of winning are VERY good.  The post is about regret, and the book is about letting go of regret.  Please check it out!
And post-postscript:  check out the other links at Catholic All Year!


Answer Me This #10

Once again, I’m linking up with Kendra at Catholic All Year for Answer Me This!
1. How often do you take public transportation?
That’s easy.  Never.  In Knoxville, all we have are buses, and out this way the routes are extremely limited.  Now, when we lived in an urban neighborhood close to downtown, I did take the bus a few times.  And of course when I lived in D.C. I took the Metro frequently.
2. How many cousins do you have?
Well, there’s no way to know that, is there?  Unless we are talking about specific levels of cousins.  That I can do.  So, I have eight first cousins.  And I have 12 first cousins once removed (the children of my first cousins).  I guess I also have first cousins once removed in the opposite direction (my mother’s and father’s first cousins) but I wouldn’t have a clue how many.  And I have five precious first cousins twice removed (the granddaughters of my cousin Joey).  Let’s not even get into second and third cousins, even though I am in contact with a few.

Me, my sisters, and three first cousins, circa 1979
Me, my sisters, and three first cousins, circa 1979

3. Have you ever fired a gun?
No, and I don’t expect I ever will.
4. Do you ride roller coasters?
Well, last summer I rode the log ride and the Blazing Fury at Dollywood, but I didn’t ride any of the really scary coasters.  Once upon a time I loved them, though.  I vividly remember my disappointment when, at the age of four, I was too short to ride the Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags over Georgia.  I even rode those rickety ones at the TVA&! Fair.  I’m not prepared to say I will never ride again, but the older I get the more scared of them I feel, and the more I wonder why people want to scare themselves when life is terrifying enough already.
5. What’s your favorite flower?
Daffodils.  I love the color, I love the way they smell . . . you should see the way I carry on the first time I spot any each Spring.  At our first house, I planted an enormous plot of them that I added to every year.  Once of my favorite sights in D.C. are the daffodils blooming near the Lincoln Memorial  I can say Wordsworth’s daffodil poem by heart, and if you were here in person, I’d make you listen. 🙂
Daffodils growing by the side of the Pellissippi Parkway earlier this year
Daffodils growing by the side of the Pellissippi Parkway earlier this year

6. Are you allergic to anything?
Grass–when I mow the yard I get a headache.  Presumably pollen as well–in fact, I just got put on medicine for that, and I have spent the whole day in a groggy fog so I think I’m just going to have to suffer the allergy.
That’s all, folks!  If you want to play along, share in the comments.  And visit the other folks in the linkup right here.

What We're Reading Wednesday #2

It may be Hump Day to the rest of the world, but to me it’s What We’re Reading Wednesday hosted by Housewife Spice.
what we're reading
Y’all, I am so boring.  Whenever I look at anyone else’s reading posts, they are either reading theology or the latest literary best seller.  Me, I’m still re-reading Anne of Green Gables books.

If you could see my stack of books-to-be-read (well, you CAN see it, because I’m going to share a picture below!) you would think I was crazy to keep reading things I’ve already read a million times.  My husband certainly thinks I am.  But 1) I find it comforting and relaxing and 2) I always, always find something new when I re-read a book.  In fact, this time I am finding so many new things that I have a sneaking suspicion that some things in this particular edition actually ARE new to me.  There’s no way to check that though, since the copies I read almost to pieces are gone.  Seriously, though, there is nothing like the thrill of reading the unabridged version of a book you originally read abridged.  It’s so delightful to read new things about your favorite characters!  Here’s my stack:
This is actually an old picture but the stack has gotten bigger, not smaller.  The afghans had to be put away to make more room.   How can this be? you ask.  Well, a couple of friends gave me boxes and boxes of books because they knew how sad I was about mine all burning up.  Then my church has an awesome book swap once a month.  Father Ron actually suggested to me last week that maybe I shouldn’t take more books home until I read the ones I already had but that’s not going to happen!
Anyway, I am going to START reading something interesting this week:

I’m participating in a blog tour for the release of the above book in my capacity as one of Beacon Hill Press’s Off the Shelf bloggers.  I’m very excited about reading it and writing a reflection on it.  I’ve also got to read this:
act of contrition
Because, you see, it’s a library book and I’ve already endangered Emily’s library card by forgetting to return the movie we checked out for the little kids last week.  This one is on Lorelei’s card and if I mess her card up I will not be able to go to the library any more until I pay some massive fines. I mean, I’m going to tell them the missing books burned up in a house fire, which is true, but they were already way overdue before that happened so I’m not sure the fire card will work this time.
Finally, here is something I read a couple of weeks ago, that I loved, and am going to review just because I want to when I have a free half hour or so:

I am so proud to know the author of this amazing book.  Maggie writes about marriage like no one else.  I mean, everything she writes is beautiful but her posts on marriage are my favorite.  More on this one later for sure.
I’m not sure whether I will be able to link this post today or not as the hostess is over 40 weeks pregnant, has not put up the post today, and may well be in labor!  So I am going to go ahead and put this up since I’ve written it, and I will add the link later if possible.  If you want to tell me what you are reading, please share in the comments!