Answer Me This: July 5

Y’all, thank goodness for Answer Me This, the awesome linkup sponsored by Kendra of Catholic All Year.  Otherwise, you’d have no posts of mine to read apparently. (Vowing to do better this week . . .)
1. How did you celebrate the 4th of July? (Or, for you international types . . . Do anything fun this weekend?)
My mother moved recently so this was the first holiday that she hosted in her new home.  It was a low-key event, just family (and not even all the grandchildren were there–we had a total of 12 people, I think.).  We had a meal and hung out for a few hours, and then John and I went to see the new Terminator movie.
2. Do you sunburn easily?
Fairly easily, at least until I acquire a base tan.  But I CAN tan, which is more than can be said of some in my family.
3. Hot dogs. Yay or nay?
Certainly not often, but sometimes there’s really nothing like one, is there?
4. Have you ever personally set off fireworks?
Absolutely not.  I am terrified of them.  Predictably, Jake likes to set them off and came very close to putting his eye out one year by lighting one in a garbage can and then LOOKING INSIDE to see why it had not gone off yet.
5. Have you ever jumped off the high dive?
Once or twice, as a grade-schooler.  I can’t believe I did it then and I would never do it now.  I’m afraid of heights.
6. Do you do anything weird in your sleep?
How would I know?  😉  Seriously, though, aside from crying out occasionally due to a bad dream, I don’t think I do anything except sleep.
Want to join in with your own answers?  The rest of the linkup is right here.

Answer Me This: Father's Day Edition

It’s Sunday and time for Catholic All Year‘s Answer Me This linkup!
1. What’s the best thing about your dad?
me and daddy at graduation 2
One great thing, that strikes me because as a parent I have not lived up to this ideal:  When I was a teenager, my father would come pick me up from the fan bus to whatever far-away football or basketball game I had attended, sometimes as late as 1:00 in the morning.  He NEVER complained.
2. If you’ve got kids, what’s the best thing about THEIR dad?
My husband never stops trying to be a better father, and he’s not afraid to apologize when he’s wrong.
John and baby Emily
3. What’s the best advice your dad ever gave you?
When I was in (many) spelling bees in grade school, and he was making me study when I didn’t want to, he told me that I could quit any time, but if I was going to compete I had to do my best.
4. What’s something you have in common with your dad?
When I was a little girl, I loved Nancy Drew.  Whenever I got a new book, my father always wanted to read them.  He was always joking about Nancy’s sporty roadster and her pretty frocks.
5. What’s the manliest thing you know how to do?
I try to avoid learning how to do manly things because then I have no excuse for making the men around here do them.  In fact, I think I will keep all the manly knowledge I possess a secret. 🙂
6. Who is your favorite fictional dad?
If anyone who has read To Kill a Mockingbird  picks anyone other than Atticus Finch, they must have something wrong with them. 😉  Atticus doesn’t just give good advice, he lives according to his beliefs: “Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.
That’s it for this week.  Happy Father’s Day, and be sure to click here to check out the other entries in the linkup.

Answer Me This #18

It’s Sunday so it must be time for . . .
1. What is your favorite picture book?
Oh, what a hard question!   I don’t really have one favorite, so I will just name the first favorite to come to mind:  The Runaway Bunny, which I like even better than Goodnight Moon, a more famous book by the same author.  This way of showing a mother’s love is SO much more appealing to me than sappy things like I’ll Love You Forever and its ilk.  I wrote about other favorite kids’ books here.

2. Are you a boycotter?
Not on a grand scale.  I avoid Nestle products as much as possible due to their flouting of the WHO code regarding advertising of formula in Third World countries.  It’s not making any difference; I know that–it’s about me, not them.

3. How do you feel about cheese?
I love it and am so happy that low carb eating allows it after I have spent my life avoiding it and feeling guilty about the fat content.

Lunch one day this week, including feta cheese
Lunch one day this week, including feta cheese

4. How many pairs of sunglasses do you own?
Three, which were purchased for me by my son Teddy a couple of years ago, I think for my birthday.  Before that, the last pair I had were blue and I purchased them at Cracker Barrel in 1986.  I had them till the house burned down.

5. How long has it been since you went to the dentist?
I’m not really sure but the embarrassing truth is probably 14 years.  I know it was before William was born.  We don’t have dental insurance, and I don’t get cavities, so it hasn’t seemed like a priority, especially since I brush obsessively several times a day and even in the middle of the night.  I plan to add a dental plan next year now that we are used to paying a monthly health insurance premium.
6. If you could visit any religious site in the world, where would you go?
First choice, Vatican City.  Second, Lourdes, where I have already been with my grandmother when I was 17.
For more fun answers, check out the linkup at Catholic All Year!

Answer Me This #16

It’s Answer Me This time again!


1. What do you still want to do this summer?

With school starting tomorrow here (yes, I know that is ridiculous), summer is effectively over for us.  Before the end of summer by the actual calendar, I’d like to take the kids to Dollywood, at least.

Lorelei at Dollywood last Fall
Lorelei at Dollywood last Fall

2. What’s your favorite kind of pie?

I don’t know how to begin to answer that!  First thing you need to know about me is that I am known for my pies.  Although we haven’t done it in years, we used to have a yearly Harvest Party at which we served pie, pie, and more pie, all made from scratch, crust and all, by me.  I made 30 or more and we invited everyone we knew.  I would make pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan, apple, and combination pies.  Oh, and did I mention that the pumpkin pies were made from ACTUAL PUMPKINS, not the canned stuff?  I must have been stark raving mad.

Anyway, I love all those pies.  But I also love lemon meringue pie, and key lime pie, and the chocolate pie my mother makes, and various berry pies.  I don’t think I can name a favorite, honestly.

Pumpkin pies from last Thanksgiving
Pumpkin pies from last Thanksgiving

3. How much sleep do you need each day? How much do you get?

This summer, I’ve set my alarm for 8:30, which means I’ve gotten at least seven hours a night and sometimes more.  During the school year I typically get six.  I haven’t needed to nap this summer, so I’d say I should be shooting for at least seven every night.

4. Do you prefer to swim in a pool, lake, river, or ocean?

I’ve never really swum (Is that right?  It looks so wrong.) in a lake or a river.  I enjoy the ocean occasionally but I don’t like sand and also I’m scared of the ocean.  So I prefer the pool.

Lorelei's first swim of the summer
Lorelei’s first swim of the summer

5. Do you know any poems by heart?

I’m an English major, so yes.  🙂  And I’ve blogged about this topic before, which you can see here.

6. Do you use the public library?

Every summer I go to the library the first week or so, and invariably at some point, despite the VERY BEST of intentions (hello, Road to Hell) I don’t turn them in on time and end up with so many fines that I can’t use my card (or Lorelei’s, or William’s) until I either pay them down or (what I actually do) wait until I can clear them by bringing cans of food for the hungry or school supplies for underprivileged kids.  It’s terrible, because I really do love the library.  We used to live within walking distance of one, and we walked there weekly in the summer for story time, summer reading, and playing in the park out front.

For more fun, check out the rest of the linkup at Catholic All Year.

Answer Me This #17

And now for the weekly Answer Me This!
1. What is your favorite room in the house?
I love my bedroom.  It is a sanctuary for me.  It is almost always clean and neat compared to the rest of the house.  It is cool and attractive and quiet and most of the time no one bothers me when I am there.  All it needs is an easy chair.  I’m working on that.
my bed
2. Do you subscribe to any magazines or other periodicals?
Not any more.  There are a number I would like to read, but since the internet became so all-consuming even my favorites tended to go unread.  There was a time when I would be very excited to receive an issue of Mothering, or The Compleat Mother, or Southern Living, and many others, back when I had little kids and no Facebook for company and entertainment.
3. How do you feel about the sign of peace in Mass? Enriching? Awkward? Overdone? Just right? Some combination of the above?
We sit in the second row so oftentimes we have only ourselves to shake hands with. 🙂  I can’t say I have a strong opinion about it one way or the other.
4. What is your least favorite sound?
Oh, something boring and predictable like nails on a chalkboard I suppose.  Or several shrill voices calling my name (that would be “Mommy” or some variation thereof) all at once.
5. What was your favorite TV show (or shows) growing up?
Like most kids of my generation, I watched a lot of t.v.  I don’t know that I can remember what I thought my favorite was at the time (I watched it all, from game shows to soaps to sitcoms), but I have fond memories of The Carol Burnett Show in particular.  My family gave up t.v. for Lent when I was in the 8th grade.  I realized I didn’t miss it, and have never again gotten into the habit of spending long hours watching television.
6. What are your favorite TV shows now?
I really, really don’t watch t.v. now.  The last show I watched regularly was, I kid you not, The X-Files.  (Well, there was that unfortunate period where Emily got me interested in The Secret Life of the American Teenager.)  Right now we are re-watching The X-Files one or two episodes at a time every evening and having great fun with it (although the fun is about to end as we are starting Season Eight and if you are an X-Phile you will know exactly what I mean!).  However, Emily wants me to watch the new Outlander series with her.  It just started last week, and we watched the first episode.  She will be taping them so that I can watch with her when it is quiet and no kids are around.
And that’s all for this week!  For more answers, check out the linkup.

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!