1. Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?
My first choice is always the ocean, but when that isn’t possible, any change of scene will do. The other day I spent several hours at my favorite local coffee house, Java Stop, with my laptop. I needed to get some writing done. Getting away from my usual surroundings and routine helped me to concentrate and get the work done.
2. What would be one thing that would embarrass you a great deal?
I read a lot of other blogs and just when I think that I can no longer be shocked, I find myself completely flabbergasted by some of the topics people write about and the details of their personal lives that they publish. A few months ago, one woman wrote about her inability to control her temper and what, in my estimation, amounted to verbal abuse of her children. She revealed her real name.
A lot of people post incessantly about the most boring, mundane details of their lives. Frankly, I doubt that my readers care that I got my hair cut, went to the car wash, did the laundry . . . I don’t really care to read about that level of detail of other folks’ lives unless such details are relevant to a vignette, experience or situation that is the main topic of the post.
A few days ago, I happened upon a long, rambling diatribe about the blogger’s inability to think of something to write about. I admit that I kept reading because I thought there was going to be a moral to the story, i.e., she would segue into a valuable discussion about where/how she finally was inspired to write about something significant or decided to walk away from the computer and go do something constructive which then provided her with an idea which would be the focus of the remainder of the post. Alas, the entire post was about nothing more than her desperate desire to write even though she had nothing to say. I found myself feeling embarrassed for her when I closed the browser window, as though I were a voyeur who happened upon an event I never wanted to witness because, in the process, I learned something about another person that I was happier not knowing.
3. What values did your parents instill in you?
The prime value I learned was the inherent value and worth of working hard, making my own way in the world, and being proud not just of my accomplishments but of the extent to which I am responsible for my own success, as well as my failures.
I’m glad that my parents are not alive to perceive and experience the current economic crisis. They would be appalled and quite fearful, given that they survived the Great Depression and their experiences fueled the remainder of their lives. In particular, my father would be furious about the mortgage crisis and the government’s response. I live in a home that they built and paid for solely through their own labor. They wanted a larger home, but they believed in living “within our means.” That mean that they waited until they were more financially secure to enlarge and remodel the house. It seems that Americans no longer understand or appreciate the satisfaction that comes from “delayed gratification,” i.e., acquiring goods and services by working and saving money until you amass enough to make the purchase. That’s how I was brought up.
4. What’s a fad of your teen years that you remember well?
During the 1970’s, nostalgia was the rage. We wore clothes that were styled much like those of the 1930’s and 1940’s, and watched movies like “Summer of ’42,” “The Way We Were,” and any starring Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, et al. In fact, one of the most popular movies of that time period was “That’s Entertainment,” an homage to MGM’s classic film library and stars.
5. What is your favorite breakfast?
Eggs benedict with country potatoes and mimosa eaten leisurely at my favorite restaurant while chatting with BigBob and friends.
6. What is the best birthday gift that you have received?
I got a new wedding ring last year . . . that was pretty memorable!
7. What gadget could you not live without?
My car. I vividly remember life without cell phones, computers, cable television, and any of the gaming systems. (Pong was the big new thing when I was in high school. We were fascinated by it.) So I could function without being “connected” all the time, but I would be very unhappy if I lost my independence as a result of being unable to drive. I am very particular about my car. Even BigBob does not drive it without my permission. And he does not have a key. He uses mine and then must return it to me so that I know where it is at all times.
One day many years ago, he was running late for work. Since he was working the night shift, and couldn’t find his own key ring — a never-ending issue — he decided that he would just borrow my keys since I was asleep. He was certain he would be home before I had to take the kids to school and go to work. Sure enough . . . he had to work overtime. I turned the house upside down looking for my keys which are always in my purse. Finally, I called his workplace and had him paged. As soon as he answered, I heard the guilt in his voice. To say that I was livvid would be a major understatement. Luckily, my mother was still able to drive, so she picked up the boys and took them to school. Fortuitously, I did not have a court appearance that morning. But I was so infuriated that I did not speak to BigBob for several days. I felt violated, trapped, vulnerable, and helpless being stuck in my house with my car sitting right there in the garage but unable to start it and go. That incident is the reason that BigBob has never again touched my keys without permission.
I’m sure that my attitude is a direct result of being the daughter of an auto mechanic extraordinaire. Cars and all that they symbolize figured very prominently in my formative years, and from the moment I was old enough to drive, I always had ready access to a reliable, lovingly cared-for vehicle. My father took excellent care of my cars for me well into my adult years and, even when he could no longer do the work himself, he used to stand on the driveway and guide BigBob through a repair job, point by point.
8. Do you collect anything?
Angels playing flutes:
9. What website (non-blog) do you regularly visit?
The Lodi News-Sentinel.