Beth Takes The Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your current state of mind?  I am calm, peaceful, happy, looking forward to the new year and new adventures.
  2. What is your favorite journey?  A long walk through the woods.
  3. What is your idea of perfect happiness?  My family and friends happy and healthy, me in love, a book, a hot cup of coffee, a good film, a blanket.
  4. What is your greatest fear?  That I would outlive one of my children
  5. What is your most marked characteristic? My ability to always see the positive side of things
  6. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  My lack of control over my blurting or interrupting (just because I’m excited or have a story or idea)
  7. What is the trait you most deplore in others?  Cruelty.
  8. What is your greatest extravagance? Very soft things- clothes, scarves, fabric, blankets, bed – worth every penny
  9. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?  Having to be the best 
  10. On what occasion do you lie? To save someone’s heart
  11. Dislike most about your appearance? My height is 5′ 3″ – it would be fun to be tall sometimes, but I’m okay with it overall
  12. Which living person do you most despise?  Our current president – so much cruelty flows from him
  13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  ‘done’
  14. What is your greatest regret? that I wasn’t able to have more time with my daughters when they were young and I was busy trying to make life better for all of us
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?  my family
  16. When and where were you happiest?   when all of my family is together
  17. Which talent would you most like to have?   to be a singer with a beautiful voice and a dancer with grace
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?   to spend more time helping those less fortunate in life
  19. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?   that they would never have to suffer
  20. What do you consider your greatest achievement?  my children
  21. What is your most treasured possession? my 7 dollar wooden kitchen table made from one plank of wood (found at the Salvation Army and a gift from my children)
  22. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?   losing a love
  23. Where would you like to live?   in a quiet small home near the water and woods
  24. What is your favorite occupation?  writing
  25. What is the quality you most like in a man?  kindness, compassion, humor, honesty  
  26. What is the quality you most like in a woman?  same as #25
  27. What do you most value in your friends?  loyalty
  28. Who are your favorite writers?  pat conroy, roald dahl, ann patchett, fredrick backman, david sedaris, bill bryson, erma bombeck, rod serling
  29. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? King Arthur
  30. What is it that you most dislike?  clowns/dentists
  31. Who are your heroes in real life?  children
  32. How would you like to die?   asleep in my soft bed, dreaming
  33. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?  a pygmy goat living on a lavender farm
  34. What is your motto? “this is the best day ever.”
  35. Bonus Question: How did you find my blog? I have no memory of my stumbling upon you, just that is was a pleasant experience from the get-go
  36. Bonus Question: Why do you keep coming back to this Blog?  because it is beautiful, heartfelt, thoughtful, kind, and intelligent. it offers me food for thought and a wonderful aesthetic experience, plus I love to give my feedback/opinion. 

Notes:

  • Beth is a virtual friend and faithful follower (and me of her blog) and she kindly agreed to share her responses to the Proust Questionnaire. When I think of Beth, I think of her in response #5. She is exceptional. You can find her website and bio here: I didn’t have my glasses on.
  • See prior Proust Questionnaires.
  • The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.  (Source: Vanity Fair)

Lightly child, lightly

Human beings are creatures made for joy. Against all evidence, we tell ourselves that grief and loneliness and despair are tragedies, unwelcome variations from the pleasure and calm and safety that in the right way of the world would form the firm ground of our being. In the fairy tale we tell ourselves, darkness holds nothing resembling a gift. What we feel always contains its own truth, but it is not the only truth, and darkness almost always harbors some bit of goodness tucked out of sight, waiting for an unexpected light to shine, to reveal it in its deepest hiding place.

~ Margaret Renkl, “Be A Weed” in Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss 


Notes:

  • Photo: via Mennyfox55.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

  • Photo by Joshua Cripps: A very special experience today (Dec 26, 2019) to watch the annular solar eclipse from the Empty Quarter in the middle of the UAE desert. (Thank you Darlene and Horty for sharing)
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

 

Mimi Takes The Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your current state of mind?  A pint of grateful with a chaser of anxiety.
  2. What is your favorite journey? Any road that leads to my kids.  And I love Paris…and the beach…and the mountains.  I fear I’m going to struggle with this questionnaire, but I figure Proust would too.
  3. What is your idea of perfect happiness? My family together, happy, healthy and belly laughing.
  4. What is your greatest fear? Anything happening to anyone I love
  5. What is your most marked characteristic? I have no clue, so I cheated.  Upon asking a few people who know me well..a friend said ‘kind’’; Andy said ‘you’re short’; my kids said ‘perceptive, empathic, entertaining, sincere and relatable’.  I love my kids.
  6. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I apologize for everything – even the poop that’s not mine.  A former boss who later became a friend once told me that he had never met anyone who could advocate for others with the tenacity and passion that I did and he had never met anyone who was so awful at speaking up for themselves.  C’est moi.
  7. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Refusal to own what’s theirs (or in the vernacular people who don’t ‘own their shit’.)  In the immortal words of Eric Clapton, ‘before you accuse me, take a look at yourself’.  Please understand this as a general statement, there is absolutely no one to whom I’m directing this statement.  
  8. What is your greatest extravagance?  Being able to even consider one’s greatest extravagance is an extravagance few people really get to consider. I am humbled by how spoiled I am
  9. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Any virtue in excess is overrated and tiresome
  10. On what occasion do you lie? if I think my words would hurt someone deeply.  I will try to tell the truth, but I may wait until I’ve formulated the message and/or the person is better prepared to hear.
  11. Dislike most about your appearance? Seriously?  Most days the list is too long to write here.  Some days though I realize that I’m being superficial and stupid and embrace what is.
  12. Which living person do you most despise? I’ve got some pretty strong feelings about our current commander in chief, but the verb is too strong.  I despise some of the decisions he has made, some of the beliefs he touts and I may not look at an orange in the same way again, but I hesitate to say that i despise anyone.
  13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Again, I deferred to those who speak with me the most…Andy offered up “I love you” a lot; Donna thinks I say ‘seriously?’; my kids think my most overused expressions are ‘will this matter to you in five years’, ‘who are you doing this for’, ‘everyone has to own their shit’ (see question 6)
  14. What is your greatest regret? Not getting my PhD or continuing with singing.
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?  Andy, my kids and my grandkids
  16. When and where were you happiest?  Snuggling with my granddaughters and listening to whatever they have to say
  17. Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could draw.  My sister is uber-talented and has the kind of artistic talent that my mom also had.  Me?  I can draw a mean stick figure…
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?  I’d be physically healthier.
  19. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?  I’d see them more (and I see them a lot).  My sister would live in closer proximity (like upstairs).
  20. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Hands down growing up with my kids.  I realize that every parent says this and every parent means it.  But, is there anything one can achieve that parallels the enormity and magnificence of playing a part in someone else’s development as a human being?  And no joke, these men of mine are fabulous people. 
  21. What is your most treasured possession?  My wedding ring and my books
  22. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  Just thinking about anything unfortunate happening to those I love propels me to a place that is so dark and foreboding I have to quickly move away from this question.  I was truly miserable when I was sick, but I didn’t know how sick I was, so I don’t think it counts.
  23. Where would you like to live?  Wherever my family is of course…I’ve had the good fortune to travel to a slew of countries and have lived in many cities.  As trite as it sounds, wherever my heart is is where I want to live.
  24. What is your favorite occupation?  I know ‘mom’ isn’t an occupation, but it is the role I always wanted and exceeded my expectations when I became one.  I loved my career, even though it involved some plot twists I didn’t anticipate.  It might have been awesome to be on Broadway, but I didn’t have the ego (or the talent) for it.
  25. What is the quality you most like in a man? Humor, sensitivity, the ability to be present.
  26. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Humor, sensitivity, the ability to be present.
  27. What do you most value in your friends? Their ability to love me despite my flaws. My friends are trustworthy, smart, emotionally generous…and they like me.
  28. Who are your favorite writers? Seriously?  From which century?  Fiction or non-fiction?  Essayist or poet?  
  29. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Again, there are too many coming to mind – Scout (To Kill A Mockingbird), Jo (Little Women), Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web), Max (Where The Wild Things Are), Ari (Exodus), any main character of Toni Morrison…I could go on…Holden Caulfield…
  30. What is it that you most dislike? Self-absorption
  31. Who are your heroes in real life? Greta Thornburg, Lizzo, John Lewis, Barack and Michelle Obama.  This is a pretty fluid list, and it changes with the day – right now the firefighters in Australia are coming to mind.
  32. How would you like to die? Very old, very healthy and happy while dreaming a delicious dream.
  33. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? If I were to come back – wait a minute, I’m not going anywhere.
  34. What is your motto? “Say yes – save your no’s for when you really need them”
  35. Bonus Question: How did you find my blog? Kismet, pal, kismet.  Years ago when I first signed up for WordPress, I found you the first day and I’ve been at your mercy ever since.
  36. Bonus Question: Why do you keep coming back to this Blog?I agree with everyone who has already responded to this – your posts incite and excite, they are intriguing and thoughtful and at core, you write damn well.  For me though the reason is really more personal and you’ll think I’m crazy.  I immediately felt that I knew you, your work life, your family.  Not in a creepy way – we both worked in professional services, my parents lived nearby,  I grew up on the trains you take everyday.  And you pushed me to say something.  In your insistence and encouragement, I found some words to string together albeit lamely.  I come back each day because your blog is diverse and amazing – and because it’s yours.  

 


Notes:

  • Mimi is a virtual friend and faithful follower and kindly agreed to share her responses to the Proust Questionnaire. She has been with me from the beginning and I consider her a critical inspiration in this blogging effort.  And as you can see from her responses, she is something Special.  You can find her website and bio here: Waiting for the Karma Truck.
  • See prior Proust Questionnaires.
  • The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.  (Source: Vanity Fair)

Sunday Morning

No opera, no gilded columns, no wine-dark seats…
no altos, no basses
and violins sobbing as one; no opera house,
no museum, no actual theatre, no civic center–
and what else? Only the huge doors of clouds
with the setting disc through which we leave and enter…
No masterpieces in huge frames to worship,
on such banalities has life been spent
in brightness, and yet there are the days
when every street corner rounds itself into
a sunlit surprise, a painting or a phrase,
canoes drawn up by the market, the harbour’s blue…
So much to do still, all of it praise.

~ Derek Walcott, from “No Opera” in White Egrets


Notes:

  • Poem Source – Cha Journal Blog. Image: Via Mennyfox55
  • Excerpt from “‘White Egrets” book review by Tom Payne in The Telegraph: “But some poems startle with their directness and truth; the images connect, and the ebbing tide leaves some real treasure on the beach. Among a handful of pearls is a love letter to his home, modest as Ithaca, with resonances of the poet’s life.”

Bro, if you’re reading this post from above, hit “Like” please.

Lightly child, lightly

Sometimes, when I haven’t slept or the news of the world, already bad, suddenly becomes much worse, the weight of belonging here is a heaviness I can’t shake. But then I think of the glister of a particular morning in springtime. I think of standing in the sunshine and watering the butterfly garden, which is mostly cultivated weeds punctuated by the uncultivated kind that come back despite my pinching and tugging. I think of the caterpillars on the milkweed plants, unperturbed by the overspray, and the resident red-tailed hawk gliding overhead, chased by a mockingbird and three angry crows, and the bluebird standing on the top of the nest box protecting his mate, who is inside laying an egg. I think of that morning—not even a morning, not even an hour—and I say to myself, Be an egg. Be a mockingbird. Be a weed.

~ Margaret Renkl, “Be A Weed” in Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss 


Notes:

New Year

 

I pause to check the milkweed, and a caterpillar halts midbite, its face still lowered to the leaf.

I walk down my driveway at dusk, and the cottontail under the pine tree freezes, not a single twitch of ear or nose.

On the roadside, the doe stands immobile, as still as the trees that rise above her. My car passes; her soft nose doesn’t quiver. Her soft flanks don’t rise or fall. A current of air stirs only the hairs at the very tip of her tail.

I peek between the branches of the holly bush, and the redbird nestling looks straight at me, motionless, unblinking.

Every day the world is teaching me what I need to know to be in the world.

In the stir of too much motion:

Hold still.
Be quiet.
Listen.

~ Margaret Renkl, “Still” in Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss


Photo Credit

Ray Takes The Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your current state of mind?  Restless.
  2. What is your favorite journey? A 3-week mission trip to Tanzania in 2007. My favorite Journey song however is Wheel in the Sky.
  3. What is your idea of perfect happiness? On the back porch with a book, a glass of bourbon, a cigar and a dog or two at my feet
  4. What is your greatest fear?  Something happening to our daughters and now granddaughter.
  5. What is your most marked characteristic?  Being comfortable in a room full of strangers.
  6. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Speaking before thinking
  7. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Not following up after promising to do so.
  8. What is your greatest extravagance? Fountain pens.
  9. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Tolerance. Relativism is helping destroy our society.
  10. On what occasion do you lie?  I have gotten better at telling the truth as I get older since I don’t get in trouble as much.
  11. Dislike most about your appearance? My three chins and four waists.
  12. Which living person do you most despise? I don’t hate/despise anyone, but would like to have a word or two in private with a few representatives from California.
  13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  I polled my family and was advised: “Drive Gently”, “Swell”, “Roger that”.
  14. What is your greatest regret? At times, being selfish in my marriage.
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? My wife and daughters, but I think our granddaughter is positioning to take over.
  16. When and where were you happiest? Vacations at the beach.
  17. Which talent would you most like to have? To be able to sing in addition to playing the guitar. Played in a band for years, but can’t sing a note.
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? See #6 above.
  19. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? To go back in time and get a do-over at being a better husband/father.
  20. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Helping raise three daughters into productive adulthood without getting pregnant or needing to be bailed out of jail.
  21. What is your most treasured possession? A photograph, taken on Memorial Day, 1976 of three men who had a profound impact on my understanding of life and real friendship. Background can be found here: A Difficult Task Indeed.
  22. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Feeling worthless and unloved
  23. Where would you like to live? The beach. Any beach.
  24. What is your favorite occupation? As crazy as it may sound, I loved being a funeral director for the 30+ years I worked in that world.
  25. What is the quality you most like in a man? My, isn’t that a bit personal?
  26. What is the quality you most like in a woman? I’ll defer to my wife of 33 years.
  27. What do you most value in your friends?  Rigorous Honesty. . . absence of any intent to deceive.
  28. Who are your favorite writers?  Michael D. O’Brien and NYTs Best Selling Author, Andra Watkins
  29. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? John Galt
  30. What is it that you most dislike? People who pretend to like you, but sabotage you at every opportunity.
  31. Who are your heroes in real life? Don’t have any
  32. How would you like to die? In my sleep, after a great dinner out.
  33. If you were to die and come back, what do you think it would be? A dog living with one of our daughters.
  34. What is your motto? Life is short, dead is for a very long time.
  35. Bonus Question: How did you find my blog? I’m not sure how I found DK’s blog, but my WordPress stats page indicates that I began following it on April 22, 2012. 
  36. Bonus QuestionWhy do you keep coming back to this Blog? Dk’s blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what to expect each morning (when I read blogs) and you are never disappointed.

Notes:

  • Photo of Ray Visotski and his beautiful Grandaughter Adeline Louise.
  • Ray is a virtual friend and faithful follower (as I am of his blog) and he kindly agreed to share his responses to the Proust Questionnaire.  Ray’s Blog can be found at Mitigating Chaos.
  • See prior Proust Questionnaires.
  • The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.  (Source: Vanity Fair)

Lori Takes The Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your current state of mind? Happy and a wee bit antsy.
  2. What is your favorite journey? Any that takes me to family and dear friends.
  3. What is your idea of perfect happiness? An evening of good friends, fine wine, and lively conversation.
  4. What is your greatest fear? Hurting those I cherish.
  5. What is your most marked characteristic? The ability to giggle, sometimes at the most inopportune times.
  6. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My need to please.
  7. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Callous indifference.
  8. What is your greatest extravagance? A gorgeous piece of art.
  9. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Righteousness
  10. On what occasion do you lie? To protect another’s feelings.
  11. Dislike most about your appearance? My legs—I’ve always yearned for long, willowy gams.
  12. Which living person do you most despise? In this instance, I am Switzerland.
  13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I need to let that percolate…
  14. What is your greatest regret? Not trusting my heart.
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? My family—those by birth and those by blessing.
  16. When and where were you happiest? In the midst of a great conversation or a good belly laugh.
  17. Which talent would you most like to have? The ability to speak multiple languages fluently.
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be braver.
  19. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? They’d be physically closer to me.
  20. What do you consider your greatest achievement? My education.
  21. What is your most treasured possession? My family, friends and dogs.
  22. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being bitter and alone.
  23. Where would you like to live? Anywhere that’s near to nature.
  24. What is your favorite occupation? Writing
  25. What is the quality you most like in a man? Intelligence paired with a dry sense of humor
  26. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Compassion
  27. What do you most value in your friends? Their ability to love me despite my flaws.
  28. Who are your favorite writers? Can’t choose just one…
  29. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Never been into hero worship.
  30. What is it that you most dislike? Cruelty in any form.
  31. Who are your heroes in real life? Those who give their hearts & voices in service of the greater good.
  32. How would you like to die? In bed with a book on my chest.
  33. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? An owl.
  34. What is your motto? A good laugh makes everything better.
  35. Bonus Question: How did you find my blog? Can’t recall, but so grateful that I did.
  36. Bonus Question: Why do you keep coming back to this Blog? The community and camaraderie I’ve found here are a balm to my soul.

 


Notes:

  • Lori is a virtual friend and faithful follower and kindly agreed to share her responses to the Proust Questionnaire.  Lori is a professional writer. You can find her website and bio here: Lori Ferguson.
  • See prior Proust Questionnaires.
  • The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.  (Source: Vanity Fair)
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