OK, OK I get it: you've all had enough of Tori. Tori this, Tori that -- I promise she's not the only topic I have on my mind these days! On the contrary, for once I'm sort of brimming with creative thoughts and reflections, so we'll see how productive I can make myself and share those things here with you and all the world. I've just been tremendously lazy these past few days, and I've been trying to catch up on my blog-reading. Now let's see if I can actually participate in some blog-writing for a change!
Oh, and on a side note, I just had to say thanks here in my own space to Petite, Le Meg, Mr. FwAB and Rhino for putting together the great Paris Bloggers' Picnic last Saturday. Yes, I did go (after hemming and hawing for days as to whether I would make it...) and I had a great time, but ended up leaving a little earlier than planned. Then again, I don't know if I had any particular departure time planned per se, so that may not be so true... Let's just say that my boy dragged me away kicking and screaming after he realized I had downed just a wee bit too much red wine. But that's nothing new! He doesn't say I'm the one with the bonne descente for nothing...
So that leads me to the point of this post: Ten Things about me that you may not (or probably shouldn't) already know, unless you're a mind-reader or are living the double of my life on the other side of the planet, like something out of La Double vie de Véronique...
Earlier last week my dear JennC at NPLI tagged me for a new meme, and this one I promised to participate in, even if it killed me... Which it may very well do, because although I'm sure there are loads of things I haven't shared about myself on this here blog (but apparently enough for certain somebodies to track me down and identify me though, eh?!) I'm not so sure all that many of them are "interesting". And that, dear friends, is apparently the goal of this meme. So "Ten Interesting Things" you say? Let's give it a go... (in no particular order)
1. I've always been crazy about illustration, cartoons or animation in some way, shape or form, but most especially as a little girl. It started out with a frightening obsession with Garfield (bear with me folks -- I was 9 at the time!), who I would draw everywhere and reproduce in all of my school notebooks. This eventually led to the creation of my own cartoon character, Binky the Mouse, who certainly would never be able to compete with our dear beloved Mickey. I also tinkered with the greeting card domain in my youth, drawing cards for family members and even trying to sell some of them. I distinctly remember a series of "Heart People" cards -- I should have had them syndicated! I moved into a heavy-duty Disney stage from 9 to 13, and then became fascinated with all things Pooh -- the Classic Pooh, thank-you-very-much, Ernest Shepard style, long before that particular fascination became popular. Now Pooh paraphernalia is rampant, mais bien sûr. I even bizarrely remember writing an Honors essay for a college entrance exam in which we were asked to create a holiday, and I decided that all children's book illustrators should be honored, and named E.H. Shepard as my prime example. I think a holiday like that actually exists now! (but I promise it didn't back then...) Wish I could take credit for it.
Later on, in high school, I mentored with a political cartoonist and toyed with the idea of pursuing that career path -- but I knew it wasn't for me when I realized how very much I abhor politics in general, and no matter how hard I try I cannot muster up enough strength or interest to devote more than 15 minutes' attention to a political discussion -- if that. So shoot me.
2. And this, ironically, leads me to my previous job posting in the U.S. before moving to France about five years ago... How in the hell I ever ended up there, I could not tell you really, aside from the fact that a random opportunity fell into my lap and I decided I would give it a go, even if it was only for six months or a year and if it didn't use any of the skills I had hoped to be using on a daily basis (namely my French...). That particular job had me, on one occasion, face to face in a limousine with Mr. Bill Clinton himself while he was being interviewed for Esquire magazine, one of his final interviews before the end of his second term of presidency. [As an aside, the author of that interview, Michael Paterniti, wrote a fascinating book about driving across the country with Einstein's brain in the trunk of his car. He was quite the character in person, too!] I did get to shake his hand before getting into the car (and quickly wish him a belated birthday) but I think the most memorable part of that experience was the deer-in-headlights look on my face as I tried to register the fact that if I didn't get that interview fully on tape, and if that tape was missing the slightest smidgen of dialogue, I would be in DEEP caca. (And I know about that look because I was recorded on video by military staff!) So how did a politics-abhorrent gal end up there? Again, don't ask; life sometimes throws us curveballs like that. But trust me, it didn't last long! (Especially since Bush, Jr. was soon to be in office, and I couldn't imagine finding myself in the same room as him in order to record his humdingers for posterity -- so I was transferred to an office at the State Department.)
3. Music played a huge role in my life for years (another thing missing from my daily routine now): I sang in a choir from the age of 10 to 21 and played the piano for even longer. I even had a music minor in college, although you could hardly tell now, given the fact that I haven't touched the keys in more than 10 years, I'm ashamed to say. I do miss it sometimes, although I think I was always playing for the wrong reasons. I'm hoping the desire to play, and the right opportunity, will arise when I least expect it, and that the notes will come back to me somehow. I'd like to think it's similar to riding a bike, but I know it's much tougher than that! I even think I've forgotten how to read music, and that frightens me. Strangely enough, when I sang in choirs, it was always with other gals, as I went to an all-girls high school and then a women's college. There's another intriguing tidbit for you! Singing in the shower today, in any case, can hardly qualify as living up to my musical potential. (Even if my boy finds this highly entertaining. Apparently it even brightens his day to hear me yodeling away in there.)
4. My first "real" concert as a teenager is also a reflection of my madness for all things piano-related: Billy Joel. (All right, all right, stop laughing -- these were the days of "We Didn't Start the Fire" not "Uptown Girl." Although I did end up loving all of his stuff! Oddly, I hardly ever listen to him anymore, although my older brother is still a fan.) Later on in college I saw Peter Gabriel -- now that was some performance! As you can see, my musical interests somewhat diverged at that point.
5. After all those years of playing the piano, and then my subsequent gradual love of all things French, I ended up becoming fascinated with Frédéric Chopin and his relationship with George Sand and managed to jangle those two interests together into an independent study in my final year of college, my justification for returning to Paris for three weeks in my final semester before graduating. This led to a paper entitled "Chopin : L'harmonie d'une double identité" or something of that sort, proof positive that I was probably not cut out to write university research papers for the rest of my life. I was (and still am, I guess) a pathetic romantic, and had a way of turning things so they all sounded stickily sweet and melodramatic. I still adore Chopin's work, but I was never able to play any of his work with true passion. My strengths lay in the domain of Bach, Haydn and Mozart... As romantic as I am, my perfectionistic personality tripped me up every time. And prevented me from truly interpreting any "romantic" work with personal flair.
6. I had a hernia operation in my belly (technically my abdomen) when I was four years old, and I hardly have any memory of it aside from visions of an adorable doggy puppet that I was alllowed to choose from the hospital gift cart after the operation. Of course, to this day I can't entirely forget that moment, though, as I have a scar just above my bellybutton that will remain there forever. And as a result I still feel uncomfortable wearing a two-piece bathing suit -- and I haven't even had kids!
7. That's not my only bodily scar, though, as a few years ago, in my tiny studio apartment in the 18th I managed to burn my right thigh with an iron as I attempted to do two things at once -- I never said I was very good at multitasking! Another reason why I now hate swimsuit season, as that scar is virtually impossible to hide or camouflage -- unless someone has some really powerful (and waterproof) makeup! I also have a tiny scar on my chin as a result of a backwards dive into the pool when I was about 10 -- trying to imitate my older brother, bien sûr. It was all his fault. The vivid image I've retained from that day is of my Olive Oyl bathing suit being stained by bright-red blood. What is it about me remembering what I was wearing in moments like that? Sheesh.
8. Like when my father had a stroke when I was 11; he was only 37 at the time. I was kneeling beside my bed with a hot hair iron in my hand, curling my hair under as my mother had so painstakingly taught me (without burning my ears in the process). This was 1985, people! To this day I have vivid memories of that morning -- and the peculiarity of my shorts-ensemble with tiny umbrellas all over it. I was preparing for Field Day at school. When I heard the commotion downstairs, I ran down and in the panic of the moment called 911 and proceeded to tell the emergency operators that my father had fallen off of a ladder while helping my mother clean the windows. In my defense, there was a ladder in the kitchen, and I think they were cleaning the windows together. But of course I didn't understand what had happened. All I could see was my daddy on the floor in my mother's arms, as she held a spoon in his mouth so he wouldn't swallow his tongue. He had in fact been helping my mom with the windows, and when I saw the ladder I put two and two together in my child's mind. There was no way I could know what had really happened, although I would soon learn and then speak about it at school in a future science class.
9. I can't stand anything science or math-related, so following my mother in the nursing profession was a virtual impossibility, even though I briefly entertained the idea in elementary school. I managed to get decent grades in those classes, but only because I was a complete nerd and studied like crazy for everything. But I am in awe of all those who work in the medical profession, including my best friend, who is a psych resident in New Orleans. To think that she's a doctor, and a really good one at that, is unfathomable to me. Yet it's true. And she loves it!
10. I hate the taste of licorice or anis, something I think I must share with a lot of other people out there. As a result, anything with those flavors, or something similar, including pastis or fennel, seems disgusting to me. There are a lot of things that I've grown to like over the years, and I know my tastes have changed enormously, but this is one that I think will remain unchanged.
Is it really obvious how completely unrelated most of these Ten Things were? Oh well, that's me in a nutshell. Just a jumble of random, unrelated information, and overflowing with contradictions! Someone recently told me this may be a result of the fact that I'm a Leo on the cusp of Virgo, something that probably also explains my extreme incapacity to make a decision. Does anyone have a cure for this?
Oh, and I believe I'm meant to tag some people out there with this meme thingie, although I'm not quite sure how many I'm meant to tag. But I'd love for y'all to participate! So let's hear it from:
Antipo (I'm sure she's done these before, but she'll make this real entertaining!)
Amy at C'est la Me
Colour Me Crazy (you haven't done this yet, have you?!)
Emily in France
Jennifer at RuebyStreet