20 July 2014

Answer Me This

When we got up and turned the light on to get ready for Mass this morning, Little Bear dramatically flopped back onto his pillow, arms outstretched, and declared, "Nap!"

I couldn't have agreed more, child. Why didn't you feel that way at 2 o'clock this morning? Some of this week's questions for Answer Me This took way more brain power than I have right now.

1. What's something you won, and how did you win it?
I'm sure there are better, hopefully more recent, examples for this, but Little Bear was up half the night and I'm exhausted and somehow the only thing I can think of is the school spelling bee in eighth grade. I hadn't intended to enter: didn't register until the morning of. But the year before, my younger sister had won the school bee, the state bee, and gone to nationals in DC, and that morning I decided that I was better at spelling than she was and I signed up, without studying at all. It came down to just the two of us at the end, and we went back and forth over and over again until I was given the word "stroganoff." I completely blanked. Then I spelled it so horrendously—s-t-r-o-u-g-h-a-n-o-u-g-h—that I threw her off, and she stuck a "gh" in it as well when they asked her to spell it to win. I have no idea what word I actually won on, but my siblings still remind me about that misspelling when Mom makes stroganoff.

(Neither of us won the state bee that year; I took fifth (missing "gynecologist") after she missed a word in an early round, and she won and went to nationals again the following year.)

2. Do you save old greeting cards and letters, or throw them all away? Why?
I typically throw them away—I really dislike clutter, and am I ever really going to go back and read them again? But I did save Little Bear's baptism and first birthday cards, and the cards we received after Alex's miscarriage. And I know that somewhere, Matt has many of the letters and cards we've written to each other since we started dating.

3. When you're at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?
I definitely prefer to go barefoot! My feet get cold quickly, though, so I'll wear socks in the winter, and when it gets really cold slippers. But whenever I can be, I'm barefoot; even in the middle of winter, I can't sleep with socks on.

4. Who's the most famous person you've ever met?
I've been around famous people a number of times, especially while writing for Franciscan University of Steubenville's PR department. My favorite story comes from my senior year of high school, though: then-governor Sarah Palin hosted a "Fire and Ice"-themed celebration of arctic life for international dignitaries. One event was a fur fashion show, and I was asked to model for a local furrier. Other than Palin, the one person I particularly remember from the event, although I've forgotten his name, was a young Polish diplomat who complimented my "Russian forehead."

Probably the most widely-famous person I've actually met, though, is Newt Gingrich; I participated in a press conference with him prior to a screening of his film Nine Days that Changed the World.

5. What has been your best work of art?
Can I just say Little Bear? No? I'm pretty bad at visual arts, and there's nothing I've done in any other art form standing out in my sleep-fogged memory as being particularly spectacular. It's been a long time since I've done any writing or music that I could really class as "art"... Maybe this quilt?

I made that the summer before my freshman year of college; I certainly don't have time or energy for projects like that anymore! I was pretty happy with how it turned out, though.

6. What's your strongest sense?
Sight, I suppose. Not because my sight is exceptional, just that nothing else is unusually good and I know that sight is typically the strongest sense in humans. Although, thinking about it, maybe my sense of taste is equally good; I really enjoy playing with recipes, making subtle changes to ingredients and quantities to try to find just the perfect combinations. And last night Matt and I were teasing each other about how we make oatmeal: to one serving of oats, he adds dehydrated strawberries and a drizzle of agave, and that's all; I add up to a quarter-teaspoon each of a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, and maple extract, plus molasses, brown sugar, or honey. And raisins or dried cranberries, and sometimes coarsely-chopped almonds or pecans. It's probably unnecessary to note that Little Bear would rather share his father's oatmeal than mine. I like trying new foods, creating interesting flavors, trying to figure out what herbs and spices go into different foods when we eat out.


  1. Dear Madam:

    Excuse my impertinence, but your memory must have become clouded in regard to some historical details concerning spelling bees. The progression of bees proceeded in this form:

    2002: K took 3rd place in the IDEA school bee, and 2nd at regionals
    2003: R took 1st in IDEA, 5th in regionals; K took 2nd in IDEA
    2004: K took 1st in IDEA and 1st in regionals
    2005: K took 1st in IDEA and 1st in regionals

    I realize that we participated in several bees together and details get confusing; you are probably remembering the 20-something rounds I spent battling with Colin in 2002 over 1st place in regionals. That was fun, but I finally missed "postnuptial"... perhaps that has implications for my vocation?

    Respectfully yours,
    A Concerned Historian