Sunday Salon – In Which I Actually Assent To A Personal Meme – Twenty Things About Me

The Sunday

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.

This one shows Liverpool at the center of the universe, but except for that one aberration, it is a beautiful example of an innovative orrery

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 name 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!

National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., September 2011

11. I love magazines

12. I love street art

Seen while at BEA in New York in 2011

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.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

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.)

A young Richard Feynman

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.


About rhapsodyinbooks

We're into reading, politics, and intellectual exchanges.
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32 Responses to Sunday Salon – In Which I Actually Assent To A Personal Meme – Twenty Things About Me

  1. BermudaOnion says:

    You are quite the interesting person and have so many interests! I could make a Wondrous Words Wednesday post from this!

  2. JoV says:

    You are such an unusual loves Jill. I enjoy reading this! More meme from you please. 🙂

  3. JoV says:

    You have such unusual loves, I mean.

  4. This blew me away Jill – you are very deep and so interesting.

  5. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    And this is why I love you!! You are one of the most interesting people I”ve ever met. Your brain blows me away and I always intrigued!! 😀

    Can I come visit you in your old-fashioned looking home???

  6. cbjames says:

    I’m with you on the dough. I wish it were socially acceptable to serve is as desert. I think you could put small scoops of it into those little paper cupcake cups and serve it with chocolate sprinkles on top, maybe a bit of Cool Whip.

  7. Julie P. says:

    Fantastic post — one of my favorite ones ever. You are so interesting!!! I’m afraid my meme would be rather boring!

  8. Sandy says:

    I’m right there with Julie. I wouldn’t even be able to come close to being this smart or interesting, even if I tried really hard. I am a boring old fart.

  9. Vasilly says:

    I love this post! I also enjoyed how everything you listed is about something you love.

  10. Lisa says:

    Love this! Although I do feel like quite a slacker now – and must go do something that will expand my mind.

  11. I loved this post! I think Cleopatra must have been very charismatic to make up for her looks – either that or fashion standards were much different then. Had to laugh at the bit about Betelgeuse! My favorite thing with logic puzzles seems to be starting them and never finishing! 😉

  12. Trish says:

    This I love: This post!! I love love love learning more about you guys and I”m glad you shared this Jill. I especially love your #20. We have some beautiful old homes in our town’s downtown and we always admire them when we head to the square but always wonder what the upkeep would be (and how the AC would run…as we NEED AC here). But they are gorgeous! And quilts that you’d make, huh? 😉

    I love books that surprise me, too.

  13. Woo hoo #9!
    I totally love Giant Stuff and Tiny Stuff.
    I have, while on a road trip, gone hours out of my way to see the World’s Largest Axe..or the World’s Largest Basket.
    And here I thought I was the only one.

  14. Jenny says:

    I agree about the modern conveniences… I try not to take them for granted!! And that quote from Kavalier and Klay is great! That’s on my soon to be read pile here.

  15. I’ve always wanted to be able to sit in an English country garden without sneezing too. 🙂

    And – I love toponymy too, I just didn’t know the name for it! I have that “All Over the Map” book – have you seen it?

  16. I love book festivals too and I love that the National Book Festival is local to me!

  17. CuriousSue says:

    If you get six dogs, you could also name one pair Truth and Consequences.

    This post is pure delight.

  18. Ti says:

    Very interesting. Some stuff I knew, but the other stuff was new to me. I think gossiping with Cleopatra would be a lot of fun. Imagine the stories she’d tell.

  19. zibilee says:

    I love a lot of the same things, or rather the same things that are not the uber-intelligent things. I liked this meme, it made me feel like I got to know you just a little bit better! You are a very wonderful and eclectic person!

  20. Meg says:

    How very interesting! You know I also love book festivals (with pumpkin spice latte in hand, yes?) and am likewise a huge fan of cookie dough. Your interests in science are awesome — Spencer is a physicist, so I spend an inordinate amount of time questioning him on all the things I don’t understand about the universe and world. (Which is basically everything.)

  21. Toponymy – I’ve loved it all my life and never even knew it had a name! Great post.

  22. Beth F says:

    I would love to meet Cleo too (see, we’re buds and I can call her Cleo). We have a lot of similar interests … especially the house that is miraculously spotless so I could garden, make lace, read, and cook all day. Money, obviously, would also magically appear.

  23. Great post, I had this big smile on my face the whole time I read it. I especially love no. 20, with the special mention that a ghost would be great too, preferably one from a few hundred years back so we could have amazing conversations while I sit by the fire and knit. 🙂

  24. I really enjoyed this post. No wonder you, me, and The Girl get along so well…we love raw dough and kill plant life. HA!

  25. Care says:

    You are too cool.

    Did you know that New Mexico has PIE TOWN? (ha, you probably are the one who told me.)

    And this post is probably a good time to share a street art experience I saw in Chicago this past weekend. We were walking along when we saw a young couple – the boy was hoisting his girl into the air so she could place a rose in a tree branch. They then kissed and held hands as they walked away. I don’t know what it was all about but it charmed me.

  26. Jenners says:

    OMG … I LOVE THIS!! I love getting a more personal glimpse into your wondrous and kooky and smart and funny personality!! I hope you will share more at some point. I love your fantasy life … mine is somewhat similar (magically clean without my help) but probably in a different house. You ROCK!

  27. Rtia K says:

    And I thought I knew a few things about you – but thanks to this I do now. By the way, I plan on learning to quilt in 6 and a half months! But I will never challenge you in a puzzle contest – I think I already knew better than to try.

  28. stacybuckeye says:

    Jill, I’m so happy that we’re friends 🙂 Is it possible to hire you to homeschool Gage?
    I’m intrigued by your orreries. I wasn’t even familiar but now I want to see one up close.
    Roadside wildflowers make me happy too 🙂

  29. This is such an interesting read! I think I learned many new words too, as well as more about you 🙂

  30. Pingback: Wondrous Words Wednesday « Bermudaonion's Weblog

  31. Laurie C says:

    I can identify with so many of these! (OK, not the star map models thing or with the idea of four dogs, but #20 all the way!)

  32. Rachel says:

    What a great list! I love miniature things too, especially dollhouses and the furnishings for them.

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