Answer Me This Returns!

I’m so excited that Kendra of Catholic All Year has decided to bring back her Answer Me This linkup!  It’s such a great way to start off my blogging week.  Here are this week’s questions.
1. Any big plans for the summer?
Summer starts early here in Tennessee–my kids have been out of school since May 22.  So we’ve already done one of our big summer things, visiting Baltimore for John’s mom’s 80th birthday.
Ripley's 1
80th birthday old bay lorelei crab
I personally have also had a trip to Dallas with my sister and a weekend by myself downtown as well.  The next big family thing is to spend a couple of nights in Gatlinburg at the end of this month.  And John and I are going to Chicago at the end of July for a wedding, with the added benefit that we will get to visit Teddy, who is interning there.  Here are pictures of him BEFORE and AFTER the haircut he got so he could look professional this summer:
teddy before
teddy short hair
2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?
My grandmother told me that there was a brownie living under the stairs in her basement.  We used to set out a bowl of milk for him when I spent the night with her, and it was always gone when I woke up in the morning. 🙂
3. What is your favorite amusement park ride?
I used to love roller coasters, but they scare me now.  As I tell my kids, real life is scary enough, so why do I want to scare myself more?  I can’t stand anything that goes in circles because it makes me sick, so that knocks out a lot of possibilities.  So I will go with water rides, specifically the River Rampage at Dollywood.
4. What’s on your summer reading list?
I don’t have a list, but I do have a stack.  There is always a stack.
booksThe stack has actually grown a lot since that picture was taken.  And I can’t tell you what is in it, except that Emily really wants me to read the Grisha Trilogy, so I guess I will comply.
5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?
Constantly.  I always fall asleep at the symphony.  ALWAYS.  It’s embarrassing.  I fall asleep at Mass during the homily if I’m tired.  But I can sleep sitting straight up so I hope Father does not notice, especially since we sit in the second row.
6. What is your favorite smell?
Honeysuckle on May evenings.  Barbecue smoking in the Fall.  A certain cologne my husband wears that reminds me of when we first fell in love.
094 honeysuckle closeup
And there you have it!  If you want to read the other responses, or play along yourself, click here.

Ask Away Friday!

I’m participating in a new (to me!) linkup today:  #AskAwayFriday was created by Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber from Bold Fit Mom, as a way to connect with other bloggers.  Two bloggers pair up to ask each other ten questions, any questions!
These days the linkup is hosted by:
Tamara from Tamara (Like) Camera
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter
Christy from Uplifting Families
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
Echo from Domain of The Mad Mommy
I am pairing up with Mrs.Tee today and answering the challenging questions she came up with for me!
  • Because most issues are life issues, if you think about it.”  This is your site’s tag line. What does it mean to you?

Before I was a blogger, I was a columnist for the local Catholic newspaper.  Because I was the chair of the Diocesan Respect Life Committee at the time, the topic of my column was life issues.  So I wrote about abortion, the death penalty, birth control, assisted reproductive technology, war–basically anything that could fit under the umbrella of respecting life “from the womb to the tomb.”  When I started blogging, I took the name of my column for my blog, and I was excited to have a platform to write about basically everything.  I figure if it’s in my life, it’s pretty much a life issue, right?  I like the title because I think it reflects the broad and eclectic nature of my blog.  I’m not a niche blogger.  You are never going to know what to expect when you come here.  Maybe one day I will be writing about politics and the next I’m reviewing my latest nature hike.  One day I’m sharing pictures and history of a local graveyard and the next I’m explaining my parenting philosophy.  You might even spot a recipe or two.

  •  What is your favorite childhood memory?

I have many happy memories of my childhood.  As the weather gets warmer I like to remember my daddy grilling out on the deck, after rigging the speakers from the stereo to play out of the open windows so we could listen to Rod Stewart and Carly Simon while we ate in the backyard.  A lot of my happiest memories have to do with being outside, and a certain aroma or song or breath of fresh air will bring those feelings flooding back.

  •  If you could take a trip anywhere without care to cost where would you go?

Europe, absolutely, and specifically Rome.  I was fortunate to have traveled in France with my grandmother as a teenager, but that was my only trip abroad.  It makes me sad sometimes to think of all the wonderful sights all over the world that I will probably never see.

  •  If you had to present yourself as a 3 course meal (appetizer, entree, dessert) what would the dishes be?

This is the hardest question!  I don’t even know how I am supposed to answer that?  By presenting character qualities as the dishes?  Or by thinking of foods that I am like somehow?  I’m going to go with a sort of combination of those ideas.  So for an appetizer, I would serve something fairly conventional and non-threatening, like wine and cheese.  And then the main course would be a familiar and filling item like a good steak, perhaps, but with some kind of completely unexpected seasoning and side dishes you have probably never heard of before.  Then dessert would be something sweet and filling, like a homemade pie with real whipped cream.  Make of that whatever you will. 🙂

  •  What’s your favorite season of the year?

Spring!  I cannot stop smiling at this time of year.  I love everything about it–the weather, the flowering trees and bulbs bursting through the earth, the longer days, the sweet-smelling breezes, the chirping frogs.  I always forget, though, that it isn’t REALLY Spring until mid-April, no matter how many warm days we have.  It’s going back into the 20s this weekend!

  •  What is the last thing you watched on TV?

Star Trek “Shore Leave.” We are about halfway through the first season, watching one or two episodes every night.  Before that, we watched the entire seven years of The Next Generation, and prior to that we watched nine years of The X-Files plus both movies.  I don’t watch broadcast t.v. but I am having a great time introducing these shows to William and sharing this time with whichever big kids are around and want to join us each evening.

  •  If you could recommend a Must Read book what would it be?

I recommend books on this blog quite often as I have always been a voracious reader.  It’s hard to recommend just one book, though, because it depends on the person you are offering it to.  My favorite book is Pat Conroy’s The Lords of Discipline.

  •  What’s your favorite color?

Yellow.  I love it because it is bright and sunny and happy.  When I was a little girl my bedroom had three yellow walls, one wall papered with yellow roses, and spring-green carpet.  I thought it looked like springtime in there and it made me happy.

  •  Do you prefer outdoor or indoor activities? What are a few of your favorites?

Outdoor.  I love hiking and blog about that a lot!  I also love gardening, and walking around old graveyards, and going on picnics in the mountains.  Having said all that, I spend 95% of my life in the house in front of the computer, it seems.

  •  Are you a coffee tea or other drinker?

Coffee, no contest at all!  I love my sweet tea like any Southern girl, but I drink three cups (big ones) of coffee most days.  The caffeine doesn’t even register with me.  I can drink it right before bed.  One of my greatest accomplishments (not even kidding a little bit) was weaning myself away from sugar in my coffee last year.  Maybe this year I can get rid of the cream so I can achieve my goal of drinking it ALL DAY LONG with no added calories!
That was fun!  Check out the rest of the linkup to meet some new and interesting bloggers!

Just under the Wire

OK,y’all, I know this is lazy, but the thing is, it’s a quarter till midnight, and I have to do something quick, and besides my daughter tagged me with this and I want to oblige her.
Rule one: Always post the rules
Rule two: Answer the questions the person who tagged you asked and write your questions
Rule 3: Tag 11 people and link them to the post
Rule 4: Actually tell the people you tagged that you tagged them
Tagged by: Emily
1. If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be and why? (If you already do, what is it and the story behind it?)
I’ve been warned that I cannot say I would never get one even though I totally never would and anyone who knows me knows that. So if I were forced to be tattooed I suppose I would choose some meaningful quotation, probably “Faith is constant assurance concerning what we hope for and conviction about things we do not see.” Only that’s really long, so I guess it would have to go on my back or something. Which is kind of pointless, if you think about it.
2. If you could pick one fictional world to live in, what would it be?
Middle-Earth. I would live in the Shire and be a happy hobbit, and go with Bilbo to Rivendell to visit the elves now and again.
3. Is there a quote or saying that sums up your philosophy of life?
The second question in the Baltimore catechism: “Why did God make me?” “To know Him and love Him and serve Him in this life, and to be happy together with Him in the next.” (I think I got that right–I’m a post-Vatican II Catholic after all.)
4. If you had to pick a song to perform live onstage in front of a huge crowd, what would it be?
A church song of some kind. For whatever reason, in my opinion, those are what my voice is best suited for.
5. Do you have any items you would consider “lucky” or that you have a superstition about?
Not anymore. Since they all burned up. Which means they weren’t really so lucky, I guess. I used to have a little token a friend of mine embroidered for me that I carried in every spelling bee that I was in. It said, “God Bless you with words,” and I used to chant that in my head while I waited for my turn to spell.
Tagging: here’s where I break the rules. I’m not tagging anyone, although anyone who reads this is welcome to answer these same questions. No one ever responds when I tag them in these things.