Monday, March 18, 2013

The Liebster and 5 Things

I was just tickled when my friend Erica over at Boys, Books, and Balls tagged me for "Five Things" and nominated me for a Liebster Award.  I'm not sure where "Five Things" originated, but the Liebster started out in Germany.  This blogging award carries with it no trophy or cash prize, but is a great way for bloggers to help their friends--friends whose blogs have less than 200 followers--possibly gain a few more readers.  I think it's a very sweet gesture to be nominated among those of us who plug away at our smaller, lesser-known blogs.  It makes you realize that even if you only touch one person, it's totally worth it.

Okay, I'm not the most interesting person in the world, so I'm not sure what five things I can tell you about myself that you'd really want to know.  Wait a minute, there we go.  I've got #1.

I feel like I'm more interesting on paper than I am in person.  (My husband would tell you differently, but he's incredibly biased.)  I'm a bit on the shy side and have a horror of suddenly finding myself at a table full of people where all the other conversation has stopped and everyone is looking at me while I tell some not-very-scintillating story.  One-on-one I do okay; but in a group, if I ever have the floor I find that my voice weakens, my throat gets dry, and I start staring at the tablecloth in order to avoid eye contact...A storyteller I am NOT--in person, anyway.  When I write, I think I sound a lot more interesting (or maybe not--but I hope so!).  So blogging is the greatest invention for me, because I can tell my stories uninterrupted, without having to see that inevitable moment when people's eyes start glazing over and they look for someone more interesting to talk to...Hey!  I'm still talking here!  Where do you think you're going?  (Ha ha.)

I think I always knew that I would give birth to only sons.  My high school sweetheart and I, after, 6 and 1/2 years of dating, got engaged over Christmas break our senior year in college.  And shortly afterward, my best college friend and I were talking about having kids--how many we hoped to have and stuff like that.  She asked me if I could have only all boys or all girls, which would I choose?   I immediately said, "I want both, of course," but she persisted, "But what if you had to choose?"  I thought it over for about a split second and blurted, "All boys."  She agreed.  And the funny thing is, I had five boys and she had four (but then her last child was a little girl).  I think God had already planted the seed in my head that my life would be filled with snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, and that was just fine by me.

I started out my college career as a biology major.  Big mistake.  In high school, biology was my favorite out of all the sciences (not just because it was so interesting, but because math was the least involved).  I had a vague dream of working in a lab and doing terribly noble things like helping to find a cure for cancer.  But after losing a terrifying battle with chemistry and calculus as a freshman, I made the switch to English major and spent the rest of my years at Holy Cross doing the reading and writing I loved so much.  I don't think I would have survived college if I hadn't made the switch to something I was naturally good at and enjoyed.

When my boys were growing up, I could not bear the idea of boarding an airplane and leaving them--and mind you, I am married to an airline pilot and can fly anywhere in the world I want to go, for free, as a stand-by passenger.  I had to do so once, when my four oldest were 7, 6, 4, and 3 (after writing tearful good-bye letters to my most-likely-to-be-left-motherless babies).  My grandmother had died and all four of my siblings were making the trip down to FL to offer my grandfather and my mom support.  I knew that if I said I wasn't coming, it would be unforgivable--after all, I was the only one who didn't even need to buy a ticket to get there.  I went, but I must admit something a little embarrassing: alcohol was involved.  On the way there, but even more so on the way back.  As we made our final descent into Boston, I kept trying to say Our Father's and Hail Mary's, and I kept losing my place and having to start over.  I had imbibed way too much liquid courage, to put it mildly; and the first thing my husband said (with a grin and a definite twinkle in his eye) when I met him and the boys at the gate was, "You've been drinking!"   And I was flabbergasted that it was even noticeable, so I said, "How can you tell?"  We laugh about that now, and it really is funny because I rarely drink, and when I do I might have one Mike's Hard Lemonade.  But on that trip, I was drinking Scotch on the rocks!

From the time I was about 10 or 11, after I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time, I dreamed of one day writing a novel.  I was surprised when I learned that that one masterpiece was the only book Harper Lee ever wrote--which is sad, really, because she was obviously one of the most gifted writers ever; and from that point on, I knew that I wanted to try to write a novel--just one novel--in my lifetime.  My book is no To Kill a Mockingbird, but I am thrilled that I was able to accomplish that lifelong dream of mine.

Okay, I just looked over Erica's "Five Things," and I fear I've been too long-winded.  So I'll try to be brief when I answer the 10 Liebster questions she has for me.

1.  If you had to choose three books to read for the rest of your life, what would they be?  (Book series can count as one book.)
Pride & Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Graham Greene's The End of the Affair.  Also Wuthering Heights.  And Gone with the Wind.  Woopsie, I guess three is not enough!  (I just realized I should have included the Bible, and I feel terrible.  But the aforementioned books are ones I've re-read too many times to count, and even so, I never get tired of them.)

2. If you could have a conversation with one woman in the Bible which lady would you choose and why?
Hands down, Mary.  I'm currently reading The Song of Bernadette, and I'm so in awe that Mary repeatedly appeared to and spoke with that  humble 14-year-old girl.  Imagine having a conversation with Our Blessed Mother!  When I was little, I used to stare at statues of Mary in church and will them to come to life.  As an adult, my wise husband reminded me that such a great privilege is almost always accompanied by unimaginable suffering (and I'm sure God knows I'm much too weak to bear that kind of cross).

3. Were you a girly girl or a tomboy when you were growing up?
Can I say both?  Definitely more girly girl--I played house, loved dolls, and dreamed of being a mommy.  But I never painted my toenails or fingernails, I liked sports (both watching and participating), and I was especially close to my older brother.  So maybe there was a little tomboy in there, too.

4. If you could visit another time period which one would you choose?
Oooh, that's a toss-up.  I'm a real Jane Austen/19th-century English lit fan, so I think it would be fun to go back to that time period in England.  I also love to read WWII-era stories, so the other period I'd like to visit  would be the 1930's through the 50's in this country. 

5.  Is there a movie you're looking forward to seeing in the theater this year?  And if so, which one?
Not that I can think of.  (The new Les Mis has already come and gone, after all.)  But I am looking forward to the next season of PBS's "Downton Abbey"!!

6. Winter, spring, summer, or fall?  Favorite season of the year and why.
Fall, definitely.  I love everything about it: the crisp (but not yet freezing!) air; the colors of the leaves; football games; wearing coats (Yippee!  I don't like summer clothing and exposed skin--I love piling on the layers!); the anticipation of the holidays.  Fall is the best!

7.  Do you ever dream of taking a vacation alone or with a couple of close girlfriends?  If so, where would you go and what would you do?
No, I'd so much rather take a vacation with my husband.  We'd love to go to Rome together.  He's been there multiple times for his job, and it's his favorite destination; but I have yet to visit the Eternal City.  Someday...

8. Night owl, or morning person?
Can you be both?  My husband and I both like to stay up late, a habit we got into when our boys were still living under our roof.  (We liked to have a little "us" time after they'd gone to bed.)  But I also love the early morning hours, having my coffee and getting a jump on the day.  I've never been able to sleep in til noon, not even when I was a college kid.  Actually, I wish sleep wasn't such a necessity--I'd skip it altogether!

9. What is your favorite dessert?
Hardest question ever!  But if I had to choose only one dessert to have for the rest of my life, I think it would be a good, old-fashioned, homemade chocolate chip cookie.  Or soft-serve vanilla ice cream.  Or solid milk chocolate. Or wedding-style yellow cake with white frosting.  Sorry, I guess I'll go with the chocolate chip cookie.

10. How many states have you visited?
23: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, and Wisconsin.  We've passed through many other states during car trips, but I'm not sure that counts as "visiting."

That's WAY more than enough about me.  Now I'd like to tag these blogging friends for "Five Things" and nominate them for the Liebster:

Renee over at Morning Glory
Kate over at Something Ivory
Maggie over at Regency Catholic
Mary over at Passionate Perseverance

Some of you may have been tagged/nominated already, or you may not be interested in participating.  But if you'd like to play along then:

1. Tell five things about yourself most people don't know.
2. Answer my questions (below).
3. Tag/nominate five (or more, if you wish) other bloggers who have 200 followers or less.
4. Ask them your new questions.
5. Have fun!

Here are my questions:

1. Would you rather read the book or see the movie?
2. Are you a coffee drinker?  And if you are, do you like a good old-fashioned cup of regular joe--or do you prefer fancier stuff, like lattes and cappuccinos and such?  (Don't be afraid to tell me if you prefer tea to coffee; I can take it.)
3. When your hair starts turning gray, do you plan to color it or just go au naturel?
4. Does the movie Dumb and Dumber make you laugh?  (This is a safe place; you can admit it here if it does.)  If not, what movie makes you LOL every time?
5. In your opinion, is sushi truly delicious or is it just something you're supposed to like because it's en vogue?
6. Are you fluent in any other language besides English?
7. Have you ever traveled overseas?  If so, where?  And if not, would you like to?
8. How long have you been a blogger (and what got you started)?
9. Regarding the most essential food of all, chocolate, which do you prefer: milk or dark?
10. Do you own a Kindle?  And if so, would you rather read an eBook or an actual book?  (I just realized I'm not even giving you the option of telling me you don't like to read books at all!)


  1. Thanks for tagging me! And you need to add WI to your states list!

    1. Oh my gosh--I can't believe I didn't add that. And Minnesota, too (after all, I've spent time in the airport...).

    2. Thanks for the heads-up. I've added two states to my list. Wow, I am obviously getting old and senile...

    3. And I just remembered we visited an aunt in Iowa when I was young...the list grows.

  2. I loved your post! Your answers are so sweet and interesting. I'm definitely not a good storyteller either and don't like the spotlight at all, if that makes you feel better!

    Thanks so much for tagging me, I'm really flattered :) You're going to think I'm such a party pooper but I was tagged for the Liebster once before, and opted out of writing the post because I couldn't figure out a way to write it that felt like "me." (Although your questions are so good, I'm tempted to try again!). This doesn't mean that I don't really appreciate the sentiment behind the nomination, though. This is a "it's not you, it's me" sort of situation :)

    Anyway, thanks again, and congratulations on the Liebster award! You deserve it!

    1. That's okay, Kate! I don't think I came up with very good questions (they are sort of shallow and silly). I looked at some that other people have used, and it seemed like all the good questions had been asked already. I had trouble thinking of 10 new things to ask (too much pressure!). So no worries. :)

  3. Our favorite desserts are the same except I like my chocolate really dark.
    I think your questions are fun! :)

    1. My husband likes dark, but I'm a milk chocolate person all the way. It's one of the few things we don't agree on! :)