Twenty Things About Me
1. I love orreries – the more unusual, the better. (An orrery is a model illustrating the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in the Solar System.) If I could, I’d have them sitting and hanging everywhere.
2. I love the word hermeneutics. If Jim and I ever get the two dogs we would like to have, I could see naming them Herman and U-ticks, although since we have already picked out names (Deuterium and Tritium, or, more familiarly, Doody and Tritty) we probably need FOUR dogs.
3. I love raw dough. It is a struggle to get myself to finish baking cake or cookies or brownies when all that great raw dough is right there for the taking.
4. I love being surprised in a book. It could be because it is so good and I hadn’t expected that, or it could be a great twist (as with Fingersmith by Sarah Waters or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn), or it could be that the book gave me a great insight. Or it could be that, like To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal, (paraphrasing poet Seamus Heaney) it caught my heart off guard and blew it open.
5. I love when I plant something and it actually grows instead of dying. This is such a rare occasion it gives me the greatest joy.
6. I love conveniences that I don’t take for granted even though I was born at a time when we’ve always had these things: indoor plumbing, electric lights, heating and cooling, showers…..
7. Roadside wildflowers make me very happy.
8. I love toponymy (the study of the origin of place names). Whenever we go on a road trip, I take along a relevant book (such as one of my favorites that pretty much works for the whole southwest: The Place Names of New Mexico by Robert Julyan). Knowing the background for the names of, e.g., Truth or Consequences, New Mexico or Show Low, Arizona gives you a whole new insight into the place.
9. I love outsized stuff and undersized stuff: like baby vegetables or baby ketchup bottles or giant roadside attractions. (…which is, by the way, why I like Las Vegas, in spite of the fact that I don’t gamble, shows are too expensive, I’m allergic to cigarette smoke, and I get apoplectic over all the female exploitation going on. Because if you can ignore ALL THAT, there are all those miniaturized places that are so fun to see!)
10. I love book festivals. What a great opportunity for us to get to hear some fine minds in action!
11. I love magazines
12. I love street art
13. I love hot and cold together (e.g., hot fudge sundae)
14. I love racing my husband in puzzles and games – especially when I win.
15. I love encountering outstanding turns of phrase by an author. For me, no one beats Michael Chabon at that: take this example from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: “the trumpeting of foghorns and melancholy steamships” under a sky that is “a bright superman blue” and “cloudless but for one lost lamb overhead.” Great or what?
16. My favorite star is Betelgeuse.
Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, is expected to go supernova anytime now in the next million years! I check it regularly….
17. The person I’d most like to have a gossip session with is Cleopatra. She was purportedly not as attractive as the many women who have portrayed her in film, and probably looked like this coin that she approved:
But this amazing woman, the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, had affairs with both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, and supposedly had remarkable political savvy.
18. My favorite movie genre is musicals – usually, the older the better.
19. We hold birthday celebrations for Isaac Asimov, Richard Feynman, and Galileo Galilei. (Unfortunately, Galileo’s birthday – February 15 – is also Feynman’s death day, so that’s usually double tribute day.)
20. If I could be a different person, I’d be one of those women who lived in an old-fashioned looking house (but with all the modern conveniences and wiring and so on) and it would be full of quilts (that I made, of course) and peonies (that I grew) and herb baskets and spices and jams and colorful everything, and it would always be clean (miraculously: not by my own efforts) and everything would be bright and breezy (wait, am I segueing into a song from The King and I?) and I would sort of waft through and gravitate from cozy chair to cozy chair with whatever book struck me at the moment except when I was making pasta from scratch for dinner which would only take 20 minutes or so because, after all, I would want time to sit out in the English country style garden with the lilacs and morning glories and poppies and snapdragons and so on, which I would be able to do without sneezing.