Beats the Alternative

One of my first bloggin’ buddies, Georgette of Georgette Sullins’ Blog tagged me for a blogging game.  My choice of morning activities was to respond or clean the house.  Guess which I chose.

The Rules:

1. Post these rules. (CHECK)
2. Post a photo of yourself and eleven random facts about you. (CHECK-ish)
3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.  (CHECK)
4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them. (CHECK)
5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged. (I’m goin’, I’m goin’)

Here’s me.  Sort of.

Yes, I'm a hairy beast.  Mine is more blondish red, but same idea

Yes, I’m a hairy beast. Mine is more blondish red, but same idea
(Google image)

Eleven facts you may not know about me.

  1. No one has ever accused me of being neat.
  2. I went to secretarial school.
  3. People for whom I worked as a secretary in the 1970s are still trying to find stuff I filed.
  4. My interest in politics started during the Vietnam War but really took off in my freshman year of college when a professor suggested I take his course then next semester.  He thought I was brilliant, so I took his course for an easy “A.”  It was a course on the Kennedys  — the best history course I ever took.
  5. I cannot work on one thing all day.  My mind bounces around too much.  I call it a “Superball”; others say it’s ADHD.  You choose.
  6. My husband John and I were introduced by my old boyfriend, Erik; they worked together.  John and I often sat next to each other at firm functions and insulted each other mercilessly.  Erik used to get really mad at me because “other people just don’t understand that you are joking.”  John and I started dating 4-5 years after I broke up with the other guy.  The “people that didn’t understand” were a bit surprised.
  7. I was Daddy’s girl from the start.  I’m guessing conception.
  8. My brothers and sisters didn’t hate me because Daddy liked me best.  They used me to get Dad to say “yes” to something they wanted.  Worked for me.
  9. I routinely skipped school in 4th grade.
  10. I feel panicky whenever I have to drive across railroad tracks after living next to the NY-New Haven railroad line growing up.
  11. When we got bored just hopping across the railroad tracks when a train was approaching, my brother and I used to pull down our pants and then hop across the tracks in front of approaching trains.  Yup, every day is a gift.

Now, here are my answers to Georgette’s questions:

1. Did you have a cousin close in age to you?

Maureen, my mother’s sister Ruth’s daughter is 10 months older than me.  Aunt Ruth was a widow and she and Maureen spent most Sundays at our house.  Aunt Ruth was always placing Maureen and me back-to-back to see which was taller.  Of course Maureen always “won.”  It used to make me cry.  I didn’t like Maureen much as a kid.  We’re great friends now.

2. What was the first novel that transported you?

My sister Beth used to read my brother Fred and I the classics, right from the start, and I’ve always read voraciously.  But the first time I remember really consciously being aware of the power of words to transport was when I read Great Expectations.  I was then at the intersection between my own childhood and adolescence.  Dickens, who was clearly an adult when he wrote it, was able to go back so clearly and understandingly into Pip’s childhood feelings that I was comforted that I’d always be able to go back to mine.

3. Is the work you do to pay the bills a passion or practical?

My career has been completely accidental.  In my teens I dreamed of being an actress and a singer.  My mother worked in an office and it seemed like the worst sort of drudgery imaginable.  In my arrogance, I knew I was better than that.  More interesting.  More creative.  Smarter.  (See The Silver Lining – thankfully, I grew out of being such an ass.  Mostly.)

But I had health problems – colitis they thought (it’s actually Crohn’s).  I would always need health insurance and so my parents forced me, kicking and screaming, to secretarial school.

They were right.  I HAVE always needed health insurance.  But I managed to turn secretarial jobs into other (still office-bound) jobs that have been more rewarding and really interesting.  I have been incredibly lucky.

My current job is wonderful.  I get paid to write and to learn and to look at this wonderful view every day from my office window.

(Google image)

(Google image)

I have no complaints about taking the practical path.

4. Do you have a favorite country western song? If so, which is it?

5. If you could (or do) grow a garden would there be flowers or vegetables to fill it?

The only successful gardens I’ve ever had were vegetable ones.  There is nothing like the taste of that first tomato.

6. What would you like to see in the US that you haven’t seen yet? Or abroad?

In the US, I’d like to see some more of the west, particularly the National Parks – the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone (Jellystone would be nice, too 😉 I’d love to meet Yogi and Boo-boo)

In Europe, I’d love to see Rome.  But not when they’re trying to elect a Pope.

7. Have you ever caught a fish? If so, tell us about it.

One summer night when I was 7, our first summer living near the beach, my brother Fred grabbed me and we ran to the beach. There was a creek that ran with the tide, which was coming in.  Fish were swimming upstream to spawn.  The moon was full and shining off the silver scales of millions of fish.  We went in the water and caught one with our hands, took it home and put it in the bathtub.  We were going to keep it as a pet.  He(?) surprisingly died and we buried him in our garden that year.

I’ve never seen anything like it.  We never saw the fish migrate like that again — it was magical.  I think of it every time I see moonlight on water.

8. What’s your favorite breakfast, lunch or dinner meal?

Dinner:  Roast beef (medium rare) with gravy, egg noodles and green beans.  I don’t eat too much beef any more so it is a rare and wonderful treat when I do.

9. Have you been surprised recently? What surprised you? When?

Blogging has surprised me constantly since I started doing it.  I didn’t expect to make so many friends this way.

10. What is a state you have never traveled to, but you plan to visit someday?

Colorado.  I’ve never been and I love mountains.  It sounds like the perfect place.  I’d also love to visit the Pacific Northwest.

11. Is there a 2012, 2013 movie you would recommend?

Lincoln and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Now I get to ask questions:

  1. Were you closer to Mom or Dad (if you were spawned by aliens, please explain)
  2. There are moments in history that everyone alive at that time remember (for me it was the Kennedy assassination).  What was your first?
  3. Favorite pet ever
  4. Funniest quote
  5. Best insult you ever delivered and why the recipient deserved it.
  6. First memory
  7. What do you dislike most about blogging?
  8. Do your friends/family members read your blog?
  9. How would you be using your time right now if you weren’t answering my stupid questions
  10. Your dream job.
  11. What you expect to be reincarnated as in your next life?

And now, my victims.  Please feel free to ignore this or do it.  It is your choice.  I will not be hurt, I will not, in fact, stop stalking you.  I chose folks I thought would continue speaking to me after naming them.  If you’re not on it, you weren’t forgotten.   But feel free to answer my questions.  Feel free, in fact to make up your own.

Benze from Benzeknees

Carrie of The Write Transition

Cheryl of Crumb Snatcher Tales

Chris of Word Play

Cooper of Security is for Cadavers

Courtney of The adventures of Miss Widget

GOF from The Bucket

Guap of Guapola

Janice of Aurora Morealis

John of Johnbalaya

Lisa from The Big Sheep Blog

Michelle of The Green Study

Peg of  Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings

Rara of Rarasaur.

Revis of Stuphblog

Sandy of Sandy like a Beach

S7 of Speaker 7

Tops from Life With The Top Down

TwinDaddy of Stuphblog

Val of QBG Tilted Tiara


Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Childhood Traumas, Family, Humor, Music, Pets, Stupidity, Word Press

62 responses to “Beats the Alternative

  1. Thanks so much passing this on! No, really. I was kinda hoping someone would give me the clap, but this is almost as good. Elyse, I love you like a sister – actually MORE than a sister (because my sisters remember me from the nose-picking days and, hence, don’t show the proper respect), but this looks like WORK.

    I’ll put it on the back burner for a little simmer, shall I?


    • You know Peg, I’ve always dreamed of being popular enough to give someone an STD, but until today I never thought I would be.

      You are welcome to do this or not. I try to mix up my victims!


  2. Lily

    I found you via GOF. Thanks for having fun stuff!


  3. The big question for me is why is much of this not surprising to me? 😉 …. Although I am surprised that you need to get to the Western US. Thanks for sharing …. and for not including me on the list!


    • I had just read that you’d lost a friend, just gotten back from a whirlwind trip to Italy and your past. I figured you didn’t need to feel the guilt!

      I have been to the west. In 1976 I flew to California and drove back east with my then-boyfriend. I was expecting it to be a long, drawn out drive where we’d stop but I wasn’t in on the planning. We drove highways and saw only the Chicago museum of Science and Industry which was fascinating, but I would have preferred Jellystone ;). Later on I fell in love with Maine and that’s where we always go. Maine is magical and makes up for the rest.


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  5. I really enjoyed reading this on my first night out in a long time. Now in secretarial school, they didn’t teach you to get coffee did they? I just can’t imagine you getting anyone’s coffee.


  6. Enjoyed learning a little about you. Made me smile to read that Georgette Sullins was one of your first blogging buddies. She’s wonderful!


  7. GOF

    Thank you Elyse for including me in your list.
    I always enjoy reading the responses of my blog friends to surveys/games like this which pop up from time to time.
    For the technical reason we’ve discussed by email I am unable to fully participate in the ‘game’ but as you’ve put so much time into this project I will respond to your questions soon.


  8. Elyse … I love getting a glimpse into the secret folds of your life blanket … no wonder you have become the spectacular version of yourself that has evolved … anyone that has ever caught a fish with their bare hands is a force to be reckoned with, and that’s no kidding! Thanks for sharing these tidbits of memories.

    Now, in turn, I’ll share one of mine: What was the first novel that transported me? When I was seven or eight, or thereabouts, I received a very large and heavy hard-backed version of 365 Fairy Tales (Grimm). It wasn’t so much the stories therein, but rather, that there was such an abundance of words squished between the pages of that precious portable escape. Of course, I swore to myself that I would only read ONE per day, but as you can imagine, I gobbled them up, again and again, in generous scoops of delight. In fact, in reading your response to this question, I could almost swear I caught a whiff of that delicious blend of heavy grade paper and smudgeable ink … for just a moment there, I was transported back to that time when all it took to bring a smile into my heart was the ability to get lost in the pages of that gift of deliverance. Thanks for being the catalyst in allowing me to touch that yummy memory. 🙂


    • Oh, 99, I love the smell of books — particularly the old ones. They feel and smell like love to me. Grimms Fairy Tales were part of our repertoire, too. My favorite was Rapunzel because of my crazy hair. My sister Beth used to read it over and over — I can picture the illustrations now. Thanks for the memory.

      As for catching the fish, there were so many in the water it would have been hard to not catch one. My memory is a bit hazy, but I think I stood there, the fish swam into my legs, and my brother picked it up. We plopped it in his shirt and carried it home to let him (which cracks me up we were sure it was a boy fish) live in the bathtub. The family’s ONLY bathtub. My parents were saints.


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  10. Now how did you know I like to play games? Was it something I said? It make take a little while (hubby goes back to work Tuesday, woo hoo – so I’ll have a little more time to myself!!!!!) but I will participate.


  11. You had a good ex beau if he introduced you to Hubby. Hope he’s just as happy.


    • Actually he is quite happy. I run into him from time to time. He’s a good guy, but if I’d married him, I’m afraid he’d be dead and I’d be in jail! Sometimes life works out for the best!


  12. cooper

    I did mine.


  13. You did get right on to it! Shoot girl you’re fast! Loved your answers (especially the fish story–there’s a post in that) and loved your questions! Sorry, I’m just catching this…I’m working today the consulting job and took a peek and stayed much longer. I think we have a lot in common…I could so relate to many of your answers…when will we see a picture of you? I “revealed” two in one week.


    • No real pictures of me — I am mostly hair, anyway. I promised my husband I wouldn’t put any real current one on because of all the gun and political posts I write — he worries.

      Sadly, there isn’t more to tell about the fishing story. That’s pretty much it. Once in a lifetime. We did name the fish, but I’ve forgotten.


  14. bigsheepcommunications

    I’m flattered that you picked me among this roster of esteemed bloggers and deeply grateful that you (in your wisdom) gave us an out of we choose not to play, though I certainly hope those other bloggers don’t crap out on you – we wanna know EVERYTHING about you!


  15. I love reading “Facts about me” from other bloggers. And you and I have the same hair! Except mine is darker.


  16. A daddy’s girl – hmm? I wonder how many of us writing females share that sentiment. I think we all gave a little sigh when we read it. Great post with lots of fun info. Funny how we do come to think of each other as good frineds. Perhaps we learn more about each other through blogging where our thoughts and ideas are how we get acquainted.


  17. I’m going to miss that view!! You have the best in the office 🙂


  18. Oh I loved reading this .. so fun. Especially the part about being your dad’s favorite since .. conception – ha!
    Love that song, too.

    Fun Post, Elyse!


  19. Thanks, Elyse. I was actually looking for something to write about today. Seems you made that easy for me.


  20. Thanks so much for thinking of me! I appreciate it. Even if I never get to it… (I do have a bookmark folder of blog awards and tags I need to get to, so I’ll tuck this one away with the other neglected ones. Oy vey, I’m bad.)

    As for the following: “I routinely skipped school in 4th grade.”—I do believe there must be a blog post in there somewhere…


  21. Some great answers, and some that would match mine!
    You’ve put me in some great company on that list! Going to have to think about those questions, but I should be able to come up with printable answers…


    • I like printable, but I am not averse to editing. Having gone to secretarial school I have the unusual skill of being able to touch type symbols. Sort of like keyboard bleeping.


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