Monday, June 18, 2012

7 Minutes in Heaven

OK, I've been in Chicago on vacation since last week and I'm dreadfully behind. But instead of sitting here feeling guilty for not keeping up with the prompts and then using that guilt as an excuse to avoid the massive pile of prompts taunting me from the screen, especially since I helped get this whole Reverb Broads thing off the ground in the first place (bad, co-founder, bad!) I'm going to cut myself plenty of vacation slack, and simply take exactly 7 minutes to answer each question. So here goes, blogging speed round. And time starts.....NOW!

Reverb Broads Prompt for June 11 - 19, 2012

June 11

If you were to play hooky from work today, what would you do instead?


Being that I just got back from vacation, playing hooky would be a supremely appealing, but silly idea. You have to spread out your hooky days. But otherwise, since I'm already committing the mortal sin of "hooky", I would go buy a very tall, very iced coffee, pick up three raunchy historical novels, look for an empty private pool, jump the fence, and lay by the pool all day, hookying. (It's 90 here today so pool is essential, even baby wading pool or plastic pool on patio.)

June 12
What was the best decision you ever made?

I could say marrying my husband. That was a pretty stellar decision, but instead I'm going with traveling to Cote d'Ivoire in 1998. My college minor was African Art and I was obsessed. My father generously offered to send me somewhere in Africa for the summer, if I could find a good program, and with the help of my art history professor, I found one studying textiles, bronze casting, pottery and wood sculpture for a month in West Africa. I had been toying with the idea of joining the Peace Corps with this fantasy of spending two amazing years teaching English somewhere exotic, but after spending a month traveling all over Cote d'Ivoire, I realized, "Nope. Not for me."

I loved the country. I loved almost everything about the trip: the people, the culture, the food, the art most of all, but something wasn't for me. I couldn't see myself living there. I missed my family and friends in just that short month. I also came to feel that learning English wasn't the skill that would have a huge benefit for most citizens of West Africa. If I had been a doctor, nurse, farmer, small business/micro loan expert, I might have felt differently. But I wasn't. I came home. I began dating my now husband again and I've never regretted not joining the Peace Corps. But more than that, that 1998 trip helped me become an adult. Traveling to a foreign country in the company of strangers, spending a month away from everyone, immersed in a culture unlike anything I'd experienced before. Exposed to the kind of poverty we can't grasp as US citizens, and exposed to the kind of generosity, enthusiasm and hospitality that is overwhelming and surprising from anyone, but particularly from people with so few material goods of their own. I loved that trip and it shrunk the world for me in a powerful way. I felt like I could go anywhere and do anything after that. I still hold that feeling inside of me.

June 13
What was your favorite childhood stuffed animal or toy? Do you still have it? Okay, admit it, do you still sleep with it sometimes?

Monk-Monk is a blonde, 3 feet tall, fluffy monkey that my favorite uncle gave me for Christmas when I was one. Still have Monk-Monk (he even went off to college with me), but he takes up so much space that I can't sleep with him anymore. Plus, Joe might be jealous.

June 14
In a world filled with more technological distractions than ever before, social networks, smart phones, etc, what strategies do you enforce in your life in order to stay focused on your goals and living life in real-time to the fullest?

I don't enforce any particular strategies. That sounds rather rigid and strict to me, and I get enough of that at work everyday. Sure, I could put away my iPad and shut off my phone more often, most of us probably could. But I like my online friendships and interactions. I find they only enhance my connections and relationships with people in real life. Blogging, Facebook, Good Reads, all have brought new friends into my life. Maybe when that stops I'll get all enforcy on myself, but I don't think it's a problem. Technology has actually helped me to stay more focused in some ways. Using great productivity apps, reminders, trackers, all help to keep me more organized and use my time well, at least when I'm not spending 30 minutes watching baby Corgi videos.

June 15
Who was your first best friend?

Megan O'Grady. She lived around the block from me growing up. We went to elementary school together. I moved away. Two years later, her family followed to the same area. And we went to school together all through high school. We grew apart in high school as so many childhood friends do, but still stay connected online.

She's an amazing writer for Vogue and has lived all over the world, though I still remember her as the girl that I played Little Women with (arguing over who got to be Jo) in her basement with the yellow and brown plaid carpet, or watching Ferris Bueller at her birthday slumber party while sleeping under her parent's ping pong table, when she introduced me to Nine Inch Nails and Echo and the Bunnymen, thanks to her older brother, or shelling pounds and pounds of shrimp for one of her parents' parties while watching A Room with a View and hoping desperately that we would each fall in love and live in Italy someday.

June 16
List all the idiotic things you have done for love.
List Your Self

Too long a list for only 7 minutes. And thankfully my faulty memory prevents me from remembering too many of the vivid, embarrassing details.

June 17
What three things do you want more of in your life? What three things do you want less of?

1. Children (one will do)
2. Play (goes with 1.)
3. Water (Maine vacation in Sept. will help here)

1. Guilt
2. Weight
3. Hesitation

June 18
What's in your garden?

Cilantro, two variations of mint, rosemary, sage, dill, chives, basil, salvia, dahlias, hosta, creeping phlox, vinca, and some kind of pink flowery bush that looks like a desert version of carnations whose name I've forgotten.

June 19
How do you define happiness?

Stop. Sit still. Breathe. The sun is on your face. For these brief minutes, everything is perfect. You aren't late. You aren't obligated. Your drink is still cold. You are smiling for no reason. You are with people you love. There is nothing looming over your head, clouds or fears or anxieties. You are still and content and it's just any Sunday afternoon, but all the pieces have come together to make today a really good day. Or any piece of time spent in a used bookstore.



margherio said...

Monk Monk!

Anonymous said...

You're the amazing writer! I remember the plaid carpet well . . xo Megan