A Bit Of My Life, M

The award that wasn’t. Or was it?

Confusing title? Exactly. And that’s all you need to know.liebster-award

The talented and adorable Jessica Freeburg presented 11 lucky bloggers in her corner of cyberspace with the LIEBSTER AWARD.

Now, I’m a researcher by nature. For instance, I won’t share a quote or statistic on Facebook until I’ve researched what I can on sites non-Wikipedia. In this case, I took one look at what popped up in my search and decided the less I knew, the better. Because the point is, nobody knows. So then really, we all know, right?

Even more confused? Good. I’m going to refer to it as the THE AWARD THAT ISN’T, because really it is.

It provides an opportunity to learn about others and share a bit about yourself. Perhaps even learn a bit about yourself? Not to mention, it’s fun! I’m going to participate because Jessica is a dichotomous pixie who I happen to think is pretty neat! And, because I have this crazed need to fill in blanks. (Remember MySpace surveys? My favorite color is redurple.)

The Liebster Rules, by way of Jessica, are that I must post 11 random facts about myself, answer 11 questions that she has asked, then nominate 11 more blogs. Being that many of my blog friends are clients and there is that whole confidentiality thing of which I like to be respectful (oh yes, not everyone is ok with the world knowing they hired an editor) and further, that four of the blogs Jessica nominated would have also been in my 11 choices, I am going to forgo the final step. Instead, I am going to put 11 times more effort into my answers than I normally would and wish 11 times over that I don’t bore you. I’m scheduling this to post on January 11th at 11:11am. Then, I’d like 11 of you (choose amongst yourselves) to repeat the process.

WARNING: Much of what you will learn here will be so shocking you will not be shocked at how not shocked you are.


Yep. Click the pic. It’s real.
  1. I have the word SARCASM tattooed inside my lower lip. It pretty much sums up the me that is me.
  2. My brothers and I all have the initials M.R.G. We were often called “the 3 M’s”. My mother worked in the corporate offices of 3M before and during her pregnancy with me. She claims this has no bearing on how she named her children.
  3. I am not particularly emotionally animated. I don’t cry at funerals or gush at babies. On rollercoaster’s I don’t like to scream because I can’t focus on all the stuff going on around me. (I want to take it all in!) I startle easily, but am rarely afraid. It is almost impossible for me to be embarrassed. I grin a lot, but don’t often truly “LOL” unless I am with my children, my brothers, or my best friend. My daughter teases that I am like Tardar Sauce Grumpy Cat. (I love Grumpy Cat, so I’m OK with that.) However, anything to do with elephants, pet food commercials, random acts of kindness and goodness, and I am a blubbering ball of mush.
  4. I apparently didn’t watch tv in the 90’s, because I can’t relate to any conversation about Ally McBeal, Dawson’s Creek, 90210, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even Friends I really only caught in re-runs. I watched Frasier. And re-runs of Golden Girls. Heck, I still watch Frasier and Golden Girls almost daily!
  5. I’m terrible with names. I can meet a person 10 times and remind them what they were wearing, where they were standing, what they were holding/drinking/eating/doing all the other times I saw them. But I will probably not remember their name. This really irritates the bejeebers out of me too, because I feel that remembering things about people is respectful. Especially their name! I worked with a woman for two years (long ago) and had a brain fart every time I had to say her name. Janet or Janette? I still don’t know.
  6. I am the first person in our family born in The United States.Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear Painting My parents both emigrated from Holland as kids, lived next door to one another in New Jersey for a while, but did not meet until years later.
  7. My paternal great-grandmother was a van Gogh. Of the van Gogh van Gogh’s.
  8. I belt out the song “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” so often that my children know the words yet have no idea where the song comes from. I’m not even particularly an Evita fan. I get songs stuck in my head all the time. But not like, “Uh, I’ve had this stupid jingle in my head all day!” More like, back in the second week of September 2011 I started singing one line from The Cure’s “Pictures of You”. “There is nothing in the world that I ever wanted more…” No further line, although I know the entire song by heart. Just. That. Line. Going on 17 months, folks. When I was first married, I was constantly squawking, “Nacho, nacho man!” from that ridiculous Old El Paso commercial. That lasted four years. (The song. The marriage lasted longer.) I have true OCD (not the glib kind, but the scrub brush and bleach kind) that I keep somewhat healthily in check with my doctor. (Stop laughing, it’s true!) The “C” is what keeps my bathrooms clean, my doors locked, and makes me a good editor. I’m sure it is the “O” that is somehow contributing to the jukebox in my skull. Insanity comes in all shapes and sizes, I guess.
  9. I collect dead trees wrapped in dead animals.  Leather-bound journals! What were you thinking? I have more than I’ll ever use. I have more of any kind of stationary product than I will ever use. But, still I gather, still I collect.
  10. I once wore a coordinating sweater set to a suspension. I am just as comfortable with my tattoos and piercings as I am with my pearls and diamonds. I admired the way Barbara Bush dressed when she was the First Lady. She could have rocked a few tattoos though.
  11. I have never had ankles. My knees simply fall, log-like, onto my feet. Even as a 5’10” 117-pound 18-year-old, I had cankles.


1)      What did you want to be when you grew up?
A singing, truck driving, doctor. My plan was to be a singer, who drove long-haul from state-to-state. Each night I would park in a sad, dusty town and put on a huge concert. (In my mind, all the sad, dusty towns had giant arenas.) Then, I would scrub in, pull on my mask, and provide free surgical care to whomever needed it. It didn’t occur to me to be a writer until junior high school. I mean… a writer!? That would be too daring of a dream to even dream! But a singing, truck driving, doctor? No problem.ralph_macchio_2011_04 (I even wrote a song entitled “I Love Trans Ams”.)

2)      Who was your celebrity crush as a kid?
Ralph Macchio – and that’s all I have to say about that.

3)      Favorite movie?
Ack! Only one!?

Oliver Stone’s Platoon. If you really want me to prove it, I’ll watch it with you on mute. Trust me, you won’t miss a thing because I have every bit of dialogue (and really every bit of audio whatsoever) memorized and I’ll happily speak all the parts for you. I could go into why it is my favorite, but that would likely be a three-day explanation. Instead I’ll share this:

For one of my English classes, in my first year of college at Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Professor Killough asked that we recite a portion of a movie or play, and read it as though we were on stage. (A prep exercise for the reading poetry aloud.) We had a week to get ourselves together, but I didn’t have to study one single second. That Friday morning (quite possibly the last semester I ever took an 8am class) when my turn came around, I stood up and recited Chris Taylor’s final monologue without hesitation and with Shakespearean flair. My face was bright red, but not from having to present to a room full of people. It was Friday! 8am! Freshman year! I was stressed because I was still wearing the clothes from the previous day and the girl who lived in the dorm room directly below mine had spent 7:15-7:45am throwing up while I held her hair. Something left over and pink was all over my chukka boot and I was certain everyone was staring at it.

I also love Atonement – it is one of those movies that blows the book away. The incessant clacking of the typewriter in the audio background is at once divine and anxiety inducing.

Finally, Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett.

Finally, finally anything by Baz Lurhmann.

And finally, finally for really, Despicable Me.

4)      Favorite book/author/illustrator?
This question was designed by some sadistic Greek philosopher to make the bookish person chase the proverbial tail, wasn’t it? Begin the spin…

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. No wait…

I can never properly answer this question. My movie answer was as close to the “one favorite” rule as I could get. There are too many favorite books from too many different times in my life, and no one story is more of a favorite than any other.

Michel Faber is a craftsman of storytelling because he is not pinned into any one genre. I have two particular favorites of his. The Crimson Petal and the White, an almost Dickensian story of a Victorian-era prostitute. And Under the Skin, a modern-day tale of a female serial-kidnapper, for hire, who happens to be from another planet.

Sometimes I’ll answer with Charlotte’s Web by E.B White. Or The Trumpet of the Swan. Or anything by Stephan King. Bram Stocker’s Dracula. Mila 18 by Leon Uris. A Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank. Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk. By the Light of My Father’s Smile by Alice Walker. The Poisionwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Atonement by Ian McEwan. Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone. And more and more classics…

I just finished (again) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and it is up on the awesome list. Ask me again tomorrow, I’m sure the answer will be different expanded.

5)      Do you believe in ghosts?  Why or why not?
Absolutely, yes. Because I’ve read Jessica’s work. 😉
To be specific, however, I’d say I believe in energy. Just because the shell of an individual dies, does not mean the energy “stops”. Sometimes it goes to another place, like into the ground to feed the soil and grow beautiful flowers, or back to remix with the stardust of the cosmos. And sometimes energy stays…

6)      What is your stupid human trick (for example, I can fit my entire fist in my mouth:  giant mouth + small hands)? I don’t have one. OH MY GOSH, I DON’T HAVE ONE! I’ve never realized this.

7)      If you could go back in time and tell your teenage self one thing, what would it be?
This will be the worst time of your life. Until the next worst time of your life. And in between all the worst times of your life, you’re going to do ordinary everyday things, in ordinary everyday places. Those will be the best times of your life.

8)      Most embarrassing moment?
Barf on my boot during freshman English was not it. I have to preface this with the fact that it is nearly impossible for me to be embarrassed (as mentioned above). If you ask those closest to me, it is nearly impossible for others embarrass me, which can be frustrating for them, as well as embarrassing for them since I will double down on any attempt made.

As a wee kid, I’m sure I was embarrassed by everything. But by my teenage years, embarrassment fell away and in it’s place I adopted the shoulder-shrug-eye-roll combo. Which is the physical expression of “whatever, moving on now.” My parents used to still try this obnoxious form of embarrassment while walking through any public area with the capacity for echo. They’ll make loud and strange sounds, almost sea-creature-like sounds, which echo off the walls of even the most populated mega-malls. Then they’ll stare at me as though I was the nutball who made the whale call. When this is what you grow up with, you learn to adapt quickly.

I was attending my final term of college at the University of Oregon. One of may favorite times of the day on that gorgeous campus was late morning, when the sun was in the sky but the brightness was mottled by all the trees. (Yes… there are a few rain-free days in Eugene.) Every day that spring I’d enjoy a lunchtime walk; breathing deeply, feeling the cool air, smelling the earthiness of rainforest moss. I’d leave the north side of PLC (Sociology headquarters at the time) and pass Schnitzer Museum, walk through courtyard by the Pioneer Mother statue, then round the east side of majestic Gerlinger Hall (always under construction) and along the east path of Pioneer Cemetery until I reached the edge of campus, cross 18th, and find my car for a 45 minute nap. For those unaware of the layout of the U of O campus, this jaunt was over the concrete river and through the ballet woods and beyond the graveyard. Yes, I know, right!? Long walk! On a particularly bright day, I was smiling and humming, listening to the ginormous ravens and the jack hammers of Gerlinger. I’d also occasionally hear something sounding like a woman calling out. But each time I looked around, I saw no one. Finally, just prior to 18th Avenue (waaaaay after the river, the woods, and most of the graveyard) a girl a smidge younger than me, ran up behind me, panting heavily, “Miss! Miss!” I recognized her from PLC – you know, that first location on my long trek. “Miss, I’ve been trying to catch you since you left Booker’s office, but I lost you. Um, your skirt is tucked up under your backpack.”

I remember the outfit – a boxy v-neck lime-green sweater, brown corduroy mini-skirt, adorable brown Oxfords, very light green, almost sheer, spring tights. Now may or may not be the time, depending on how we are connected, to let you know I don’t care to wear underwear when I wear tights.

9)      What’s the one thing you’d most like to be remembered for when you’re gone (you know, dead…sorry, kind of morbid, but it’s a deep thought kind of question).
Honestly, I think about this often and I have no specific answer. I don’t care to be famous. Most of what I write will never see the light of day, by my own choice. I have no grand scheme of leadership or cures or sacrifice. I want my children to grow to be wonderful adults, but I think all parents want that, right? I volunteer and do a bumble-load of non-profit work, but it is because I enjoy it and feel it is my duty as a human – I have no aspiration to be remembered for it. I have no big picture – my legacy will be different for each person I’ve known.

There is the saying attributed to that treasure of a human, Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I want people to remember how I made them feel. All of it.

I want them to remember just how happy or satisfied or cared for or proud or safe or loved or brave or full or sexy or excited I made them feel. And, if they were the kind of person who harmed me or those close to me, from long tortuous betrayals to the brief encounter with the ass-hat who almost ran me off the road with his boat trailer, I want them to remember how with one snap of my neck, one dead glare of my eye, and one strongly worded written commentary, I could shred them to ribbons. (This is the part where you’re wondering if I’m still joking, right?)

10)   Do you talk to yourself (out loud, when no one else is around)?
Not any more. It’s all internal now. I’ve streamlined the system to maintain optimum performance with little or no disruption in conversation.

11)   What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
I have many, but there is only one I can speak about without people slowly backing away from me in fear. Once a month, LUCKY Magazine, diet Dr. Pepper, and early 80’s easy listening. (Air Supply, anyone?)


4 thoughts on “The award that wasn’t. Or was it?”

  1. Okay, I wanted to type what blissflower1969 typed about Air Supply, but my fingers froze up when I got to the F-Bomb…so I’ll just say that I second that! 🙂

    New goal for 2013…figure out Michelle’s stupid human trick! Thanks for playing along, girl! It was so fun to read your responses.

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