Thursday, April 25, 2013

Liebster II: New and Improved

Suze has graciously presented me with the Liebster Award.  While I have received this one before, I am not too proud to accept it a second time.  I know better than to hope for a Meryl Streep-esque triple triumph.

The award has evolved since the last time it came around, including a snazzy, updated graphic: 

There's a lot more involved in accepting and passing on the award now, too.  I am now charged to supply 11 fun facts about myself, answer the 11 questions Suze posed, award it to 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions. They in turn can, if they wish, follow the same steps to keep the award going. Check out her link so you can get to know her a little better, too.  Here we go...

Eleven facts:

1. The first piece of music I ever conducted was the first movement of Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil, also known as Vespers.  I brought my hand down and people sang - one of the truly magical moments of my life.

2. I was only in one play in high school.  I played Marcellus in The Music Man.

3. I love maps.  I've been fascinated by them since I was about six years old, when National Geographic's Our World book came in the mail.

4. I had both a Best Man and a Maid of Honor at my wedding.  Sadly, I haven't seen either of them in at least seven years.

5. I believe Cat Stevens is the world's most under-appreciated songwriter.

6. I'm afraid of heights.

7. I've lived in Vermont for almost eleven years and yet I've never been downhill skiing. I have no intention to try it anytime soon, either. (see #6)

8. I recently turned 40.

9. I celebrated the big 4-0 with a healthy dose of regression.  I got a LEGO set from my mother-in-law and bought myself my very first Transformer figure.

10. I believe smoking is a vile and disgusting habit.  However, I love the smell (and taste) of clove cigarettes.  I haven't had one in years and that's just fine.  Be smart, don't start, kids!

11. I love Quebecois folk music.

Suze's eleven questions:

1. Why do you blog?
What started as a way to chronicle my various hobbies has become a hobby in itself.  I can write about whatever I like and publish with a click of the mouse.  Networking with interesting people helps to fuel the creative fire.

2. What is your goal for the next six months?
I've become far more involved with the drama department at my school over the past two years and I'd like to learn more about the sound and light boards.  I've enlisted my teaching partner to teach me about both over the summer.

3. The next year?
To become a better poker player.

4. The next five years?
To learn French.  This is really a ten-year goal but it's not the sort of thing one can leave to the last minute.

5. If you could have any meal for dinner tonight, anywhere in the world, what would you have?
There's a bar in Yokohama where my friends and I would gather when we were all young, carefree English teachers in Japan (1996-98).  I would invite them all for one more raucous evening to celebrate the glorious time we shared.  I love my high school and college friends well enough but it's the Japan gang I miss most of all.  Food?  Yeah, I suppose we should order some food, too.

6. Who are your influences?
Twain, Salinger, Steinbeck, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Starr, Palestrina, Henson, Douglas Adams and, especially recently, Shakespeare

7. Have you ever had a recurring (sleeping) dream? If so, care to share it?
I've written about this before but a lot of my anxiety dreams since Japan have involved trains - missing trains, missing stops, trying to figure out train maps, etc.

8. Without looking it up, do you know what your birth stone and zodiac sign are?
Yes - diamond and Aries.

9. What was the first name of the first person you kissed/who kissed you?
Do Truth or Dare games count?  If so, Cicely.

10. What is your favorite pizza topping?

11. Most interesting teacher you ever had?
My Russian history teacher in high school.  He didn't like me much because I'd flaked in his Russian language class.  But to watch him in the history class was to see a true master at work.

It is my great honor to present the Liebster Award to:

1. MOCK!
2. Tony Laplume
3. Trisha F
4. Shawn Yankey
5. Michael Offutt
6. Nan
7. C.M. Brown
8. Bethie
9. millvallison
10. Matthew MacNish
11. Mark K

My eleven questions to pass on:

1. If you could live one year of your life again, which would you choose and why?

2. If you could be good or better at one thing without putting in the time and work, what would it be?

3. You've been invited to join a bowling league and you may choose any five people to be on your team.  There's just one catch: you can only pick fictional characters.  Whom would you choose?

4. How do you really feel about pears?

5. How do you feel about the metric system?

6. The Doctor knocks on your door.  He'll take you to visit any place on Earth at any point in history (he always seems to make the choices with interstellar travel).  Where and when do you choose?

7. If you could learn any new language, which would you choose?

8. You have one personal quality which eventually annoys everyone in your life including, on occasion, yourself.  What is it and do you feel it's within your power to change it?

9. If you knew when you were younger what you'd be doing with your life now, how might you have planned things differently?  Do you think your life would truly be better overall if you had?

10. If all went south and you had to turn to a life of crime (assuming you haven't already), what line of dirty work would you choose?

11. How do you get your geek on?


  1. Congrats on the award. Nice answers and good questions!

    1. Thank you, jaybird! I'd have sent one your way but I saw that you'd already gone through this process yourself recently. It's quite a lot of work for a little ego boost. As it should be, I suppose.

  2. Congratulations on you Liebster Award, and I'm honored you would choose my blog for one. Thanks, that is really cool of you!
    Shawn at Laughing at Life 2

  3. Cat Stevens! We were heart broken when he retired from public music. He wrote beautiful songs.

    1. I love so much of his work but for me, "Moonshadow" is truly magical.

  4. Thanks for the shout out, Squid! I did this one a long time ago, but I'll just add that I'm a love of maps myself. A real Cartographile, and if that's not a word, it should be. My own love started with Lord of the Rings.

    1. My pleasure - and I understand. It's a lot of work for this one, though you are most worthy.

      A Google search reveals the proper word is cartophile.

    2. 'A Google search reveals the proper word is cartophile.'


    3. Well, obviously since he brought it up, I had to know for sure!

    4. Obviously.

      Squid, I love your goal for the next six months. Sound and light were one of my absolutely favorite aspects of putting on a show when I taught Drama. I have long wanted to write a novel in which my characters were drama geeks and to explore the back-stage dynamics specifically. A part of me wants to go back to teaching drama in particular, or perhaps being involved in community theatre, so that I can properly write this story that's been quietly gestating for years.

      Incidentally, one of the last plays I put on with my students was Tim Kelly's, 'While Shakespeare Slept.' I remember using 'Walk Like an Egyptian' for Cleopatra's entrance into the dream. We used smoke machines, too. Man, it was fun.

    5. I might have known you were a techy!

      There were good reasons for why I only did one show in high school. I really did NOT enjoy it, despite the fact that I had a pretty good part. The stress leading up to a show really was not for me. I wonder, though, if I might have felt differently about the whole operation if I'd gone the tech route instead. I had a lot of good friends who did tech.

    6. As a teen, I loved the limelight. Particularly when I had a funny role. Senior year, I relished playing Cecily Cardew in Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest.'

      As a teacher, I had two students, 8th grade boys named John and Gary, would have sooner come to school in purple underwear and a Navajo headdress than be on stage in the play. Well. Bad comparison. I'm sure they would have been deeply averse to both scenarios. In any event, *they* were my sound and light boys (I taught at a very small private school) and they astounded me with their capacity for timing. You know how you say, 'I brought my hand down and people sang' ? Well, dropping my hand and having this incredibly shy brace-faced kid who, above all things, loved 'Ender's Game' and *not* being called on in class start the 'Kids in America' intro the microsecond my hammy Cleopatra finished her jokey crying babies and cell phone schpiel as the curtain came up behind her was unspeakably satisfying. It's all in The Moment.

      Anyway, I'm pretty sure you would have made a perfect John or Gary. :)

    7. It was not the attention I minded. I am a singer, after all - vanity in ample supply. I resented direction (the particular director may have been the problem) and truly hated the stress. My relationship with my girlfriend at the time suffered greatly.

    8. OOOOOOOOOOh. Okay. Well, gosh, I'm framing you differently all of a sudden because the whole Binkley thing has been at the forefront of my imagination with your personality.

    9. It's situational. There are instances in which I am quite shy, and others when I thrive on the crowd. If I feel like I know what I'm doing, I'm usually fine.

    10. I can completely relate to that. I think most people probably can.

    11. My current tech interests also stem from a desire to make myself more useful. Right now, a lot of responsibility falls to my colleague - the drama guy - simply because he knows more about all of that stuff than I do. If he teaches me some of it, we can share the burden more equally.

  5. Whoa. Thank you. Very cool. And weird, which makes it all the better!

  6. Congrats on the Liebster! I've lived in Colorado most of my life and only been skiing twice. Totally get you on that one. I also studied cartography in college as part of my minor in geography. I love maps and probably have National Geographic to thank for that as well. :)

  7. I've lived in Maine and Colorado now, and I don't ski. I would prefer cross-country skiing, because it isn't insane.

    1. I've done cross-country and enjoyed it. Snowshoeing is even better.

  8. Thanks for the nod! I've written my quick answers but will wait to post proper until after the A to Z challenge...I wonder if my answers will stay the same!!!

  9. Wow! Thanks so much for passing this award on to me, I am flattered you have chosen my blog. I will also wait until after A-Z to post my answers to your questions.