Share Your World – 2015 Week #2

Time for 2015’s second Share Your World!

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

I used to be a hugger, but I’ve really been leaning away from it in the past few years. Maybe because I haven’t been around many big huggers lately? Either way, I don’t mind the occasional hug, but I do like my personal space.

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

I know it’s weird, but I love the strawberry soy ice cream from Trader Joe’s. Never would have thought those flavors would work together, but they do. Other than that, it’s Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy all the way.

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

Hm, now that I think of it, I guess I do both in a casual, everyday kind of way. I read all the time, and I’ve gotten through a lot of nonfiction lately. I walk all the time too, though slow-paced and not very far. I don’t have much of a preference, I enjoy both and could happily do either all day long.

20140411_140121

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Why?

Don’t laugh, but I remember my third grade friend group having a mini playground war between dog lovers and cat lovers. I was always firmly in Camp Kitty, and that stands no chance of changing now.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

So many big changes came my way last week! Not all great ones, but I’m confident that they’re going to work out for the best in the end, and I’m excited to see what the coming weeks and months will bring.

Share Your World – 2015 Week #1

I’m late for 2015’s first Share Your World, but I figured I might as well put it together anyway before Week 2 goes up tomorrow! I’m going to do my best to get as many of these as possible done this year.

How do you get rid of pesky phone calls from telemarketers?

Mostly, I just don’t answer. I started using Google Voice, though, which helps. It gives me a new phone number that redirects calls to my cell and email. It translates my voicemails to text and allows me to block numbers, which helps a lot in getting the telemarketers off my back.

What are you a “natural” at doing?

Spelling! (Watch me make a spelling error in this very post after saying that.) I read so much as a kid that I sort of absorbed the basics of the English language without trying. I’m no grammar expert, but I can usually figure out how to spell a word on my first attempt.

How often do you get a haircut?
20130603_115319 It’s been over two years now since I last went to an actual salon. Over there to the left is a picture of me in early 2013, not too long after my last haircut. At $40 a pop plus tip, the cost just got to be too much, especially considering that it’s rare for a hairstylist to understand how to work with my thick, wavy hair.

I trim it myself every three or four months now, and I think it works fine. I’m considering going short again though, which might merit another visit to the salon after all.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “fun”?

I was hoping to come up with a real insightful answer, but all I can think about is the song from Spongebob. I guess this is proof that what we learn in songs sticks with us better than anything else? I can still recite every South American capital city thanks to a song we listened to all the time in middle school, too.

Skipping the bonus question this round, will answer it tomorrow!

Share Your World, Week 40

It’s time for Cee’s Share Your World again! With luck, I’ll be able to keep up with this challenge each Monday even in the busy upcoming months.

You’re given $500,000 dollars tax free (any currency), what do you spend it on?

20131128_122449 Let’s say, just for fun, that I’m not allowed to save any of it.

I’d split the first $100k between my family and friends who need it most. Another $100k goes to home care and pet care — look at that sweetie to your left and tell me he doesn’t deserve a shiny new dog bed. For my part, I want a couple new cat trees and a ridiculous glitter floor.

The next $100k goes to my partner, partly to spend on the students at the special needs school where they work. Hopefully there’ll be enough to take a few kids (plus their parents and caretakers) on a vacation they’d otherwise never get to experience.

I’ll keep $100k for traveling, new clothes, a new computer, and a couple of tattoos. With the last $100k, I’d start a charity to support creativity in local communities. There are so many stories out there waiting to be told through art, so many voices that go unheard, and I have to admit, I constantly daydream about being able to help lift them up and show them to the world.

What’s the finest education?

I wish we were taught compassion in school. Right now, it’s something you learn only through life experience — through hurting others, or getting hurt. It wouldn’t translate perfectly to the classroom, but I can’t envision anything negative coming from education on accepting and understanding others’ perspectives and ways of life.

What kind of art is your favorite? Why?

All art is beautiful, but writing is my favorite. As an anxious child, I liked that you could follow a set of rules to produce competent writing. As I grew older, it helped that I could write without any special materials — I still remember how much the supplies for my painting classes cost. Writing just meshes with me in a way other art forms don’t, even with practice.

Is there something that you memorized long ago and still remember?

In my freshman year of high school, I played a fairy in our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But I had a crush on the boy who played Lysander, and when I heard that the girl cast as Hermia was going through a family emergency, I memorized her lines overnight.

I became her understudy and stood in for her during almost every rehearsal. I’m still in awe of how quickly I managed to learn the part. Hermia’s actress showed up late to opening night. The director had a split second to decide whether she’d wait or send me in. She chose to wait.

I never did get my moment in the spotlight (or get to date Lysander), but I remember every line.

Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.

Share Your World

It’s been a while since I last posted, so I thought I’d do Cee’s Share Your World this week.

Did you ever get lost?

Once. I must have been seven or eight years old. When my family moved to this part of Florida, we’d go to all the holiday celebrations in the area: the Fourth of July parade, the Christmas boat parade, and of course the annual Italian-American carnival.

This particular night, we were at an outdoor Mardi Gras party. It was tame enough for kids, but I was still awed by all the bright colors, loud music, and happy, noisy adults. (It didn’t occur to me that they were drunk.) I had handfuls of shiny plastic necklaces, and I was probably counting them and toying with them like a dragon with its hoard when I got separated from my family.

I looked at all the people whirling around me. I had a butt-eye-view, and there were no familiar rear ends in sight. Someone said, “Uh oh, lost kid.” Even though it was true, I remember getting so mad that someone would dare treat me like a child! (By age seven, I was convinced that I’d done about all the growing up anyone ever did.)

It didn’t take me long to track them down. They were just a few steps ahead, waiting for me to catch up. Score one for overprotective moms!

Who was your best friend in elementary school?

I met her at the orientation for my new school, right after the big move I mentioned above. We sat at the same table with our moms. We were both shy, but they got to talking, and after that it only seemed natural that we’d talk to each other during class too. I couldn’t tell you what we had in common at that point, but she was my only friend that year.

I made a few other friends eventually, but what’s most memorable about my best friend is that when I got sick, when I had to attend school only part-time and drop out of gym classes, she stuck by me. I think I would have spent my whole childhood as a loner without her.

We’ve met twice since graduation. I tried to fall back into the patterns of our old friendship, to be honest and open with her, but I ended up just feeling confused and vulnerable. It isn’t her fault. I guess we’ve both changed.

I took this picture the last time I saw her, over sushi.

20140208_200921

She was the first person outside my family to read any fiction I wrote, and she loved it so much that she showed it to everyone who rode her bus. She introduced me to both people and hobbies that changed my life, for better or worse. I probably won’t see her again, but I could never forget her.

Since the news television season has started in the US, list three favorite TV shows.

I’m not much of a TV watcher these days. As a kid, come hell or high water, I’d be in front of the TV with popcorn for The X-Files and Are You Afraid of the Dark? even if a rerun was airing. Later on, I LOVED the MTV reality series Fear. My love for creepy shows backfired, though: I became convinced at one point that my TV was possessed, and I never turned it on again. (It’s still a creepy story, looking back. I’ll write about it here one day.)

After that, I only watched TV with friends. In high school we’d have overnight parties where we’d watch anime, and in college, a few of us got together for every new episode of True Blood. Other than that, I occasionally put Food Network on as background noise. My partner did finally convince me to watch Orphan Black, and we’re excited for season 3.

If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing?

This is a decent summary:

20140609_121054

That’s five cats, all sniffing around the living room carpet, which I sprinkle with catnip on days I plan to vacuum.

My partner comes home around five, and the cats surround us much as they’re doing in the photo while I serve dinner. After that, we have fairly simple evenings — if it was a stressful day, we’ll stay at the table and chat for a while, and maybe have a glass of wine. Eventually, we’ll go to our computers to unwind with some browsing or games.

The real interesting stuff comes in when we roleplay (more like this than like this). It might sound like a completely nerdy thing to do (because it is), but I bet you’d get pretty invested in the stories if you were a mouse hiding in the corner. If you can evade the cats, at least.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I met a lot of new people and made more friends last week. Having a big social circle is all very new to me, and I’m still figuring out how to keep up with all of them, but I’m having a good time learning.

As for the coming week, the countdown to NaNoWriMo is about to begin!

Cee’s Share Your World

I always have trouble figuring out what’s important enough to include on an “about me” page, so instead, I’m going to try participating in Cee’s Share Your World challenge, where every Monday the excellent photography blogger Cee Neuner asks four different personal questions.

What is your favorite smell? What memory does it remind you of?

I can’t pick between two different smells, but they both evoke the same set of memories. Gasoline makes me think of the parking lot tram at Disney, and the smell of water indoors (it’s probably mildew, to tell you the truth) always reminds me of the rides. Weirdly, I’m not the only one who adores mildewy-water-ride-smell.

100_0678

Funny, relevant story: When you walk through the Disney parks, if you keep your eyes on the ground, you’ll see manhole covers marked “gasoline” now and then. I’m assuming they lead to tanks that power the rides, but as a tiny kid, I used to assume there was a big lake of gas running beneath the whole place. Back then, you could smoke anywhere in the parks, and I was horrified at the idea that someone could drop their cigarette in the wrong place and blow us all to pieces!

Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack to your life?

Ever since I swiped my parents’ copy of Aerosmith’s second album, the song “Seasons of Wither” has been my all-time favorite. It may not be about me, but I couldn’t leave it off my soundtrack.

Picking a second one is harder, but it’s probably one of my loved tracks on last.fm. Or maybe I should pay some homage to who I was around age fourteen and count what I considered to be my theme song around then. Such cheery lyrics, right?

Do you play video/computer game?  Which one(s) or most recent? 

I’ve been a casual gamer since the day my dad brought out his old NES to show the family. (Honestly, though, I was too nervous to pick up the controller for a couple weeks.) You had to stick a rag into the console along with the game cartridge to get it to work, but I think that thing even outlasted our first PlayStation.

In the future, on Tuesdays, I’m toying with the idea of posting about the games I play and the fandoms surrounding them. I love the Silent Hill series with all my heart, and I couldn’t be more excited for the sequel everyone’s talking about. I also play World of Warcraft nearly every day, and there’s a lot to say about the community surrounding any MMO, let alone one that has gone a long way to help me figure out who I am.

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best?  Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be?

The more I draw on memories to come up with blog posts, the more I realize I’m an absolute Disney nerd at heart. Maybe it was inevitable after growing up in Florida. (And on that note, if the characters lived anywhere around here, the eighth would be Sweaty). Anyway, I’d have to be Sleepy. I don’t know anyone else who can literally sleep for twelve hours straight if no one interrupts.

Fond as I am of Disney, sometimes I do look back at the older films and wonder what they were thinking!? Dwarves are a fantasy staple, and they turn up in plenty of media I love (see above), but I do get tired of seeing them portrayed as a separate race from humans, or as comic relief. Even some of the actors who play them feel the same.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I picked up my blogging pace last week and I’m grateful that it helped me get to know some wonderful new people, most notably Kiran and others who I met through them. This week, my partner’s birthday is coming up! We’re not big on celebrating, but I’m looking forward to a peaceful evening together at home.