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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fascinating facts Lisa wanted to know

These have taken a while to think about, then I forgot about them, then I remembered them again. Applogies to Lisa, my *interviewer.* My life is full of busy-ness and won't be slowing day any time soon. So, I'd better get to it.

1. What situation gives you near-perfect peace? Near-perfect peace for me is that time when 1) my mind is free to think and find new ideas within itself, 2) I can dream of the future and develop ideas to follow and 3) when I can discover new connections between myself, ideas, things and people in my daily life that inspire me. It is usually during these times that I stop hearing the everyday noise around me, the kids, the traffic and my mind is in a different place. This of course requires time to allow my mind to wander and explore. I find this calm, quiet and thoughtful time mostly when immersed in my garden (I am looking forward to having a garden again someday), my sewing room, a kitchen project or a book. I can lose myself in any of these places and be physically doing something while my mind is somewhere else.

2. Top 5 books of your life?
In no particular order I chose the following five novels. These five contain fantastic commentary on societal expectations, politics, interpersonal relationships, economics and individual and collective power structures. It was difficult to narrow my choices down to a mere handful as I am an avid reader of anything that catches my fancy from modern to classic and really enjoy most of what I read.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Persian Pickle Club, by Sandra Dallas
The Stand and It, by Stephen King (a tie, they are my favorite novels of his)
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand

I often choose authors and read everything the write, rather than choosing individual books based on their title, flashy cover or previews. I also like big books, long stories that draw the reader in and capture the imagination. I also tend to favor hardcover editions or trade paperback editions (the larger sized paperback books) primarily for the size, less page turning, and smell of the paper used.

Other authors on my leaderboard include Diana Gabaldon, Michel Foucault, Cornelia Funke, L.. Frank Baum, Jean Auel, Peter Straub, C.S. Lewis, Christopher Paolini, Stephanie Meyer, Amy Tan, Madeleine L'Engle, Jennifer Chiaverini, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare and Leon Uris. That's all I can remember off the top of my head.

3. Do you have a favourite speech that gives you chills even just reading about it? Listening to the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign - really listening - to the speeches for the first time was a turning point in my thinking about being a woman (someday). As a class assignment in junior high we were supposed to watch the party convention speeches and discuss our opinions in class. Many ideas expressed in Geraldine Ferraro's acceptance speech for the vice presidential candidate of the Democratic Party impacted the way I looked at the world as a young woman - and still do today. She spoke of fairness, as America being a land where EVERYONE's dreams can come true if you are willing to work toward them, of equal pay for equal work, of not incurring debt for future generations, of opportunity for women, of human rights, of pride and excellence... Although I don't agree with either of the major U.S. political parties 100% or ally myself with them, this was a great speech. Those are things that still are important today and need the attention of leaders willing to tackle the difficult issues. She spoke of a government working for the public with the goal of bettering the lives of everyone, not just enriching themselves with money and power. My hope is that someday that is the reality.

4. How is your handwriting these days? I'm told my handwriting is good to excellent. I have very good penmanship if I say so myself. I took several calligraphy courses in college and penned all our wedding invitations myself. I like having nice handwriting, it makes sending a message much easier and nicer for the reader. I think penmanship is becoming a lost art. It isn't even taught in the school my children attend. Penmanship, along with spelling and proper grammar, are among the things my children's generation is not being taught in school IMHO. The the common use of keyboarding, typing, texting and email are outdating these formal skills. That said, I think the revolution of colloquial language and digital communication is a very interesting and exciting phenomenon.

5. How would you persuade a person with no goat experience to fall in love with them? Just look at this picture. How can you not love with that? (The little boy is pretty good-looking too.)Goats or chivos are the perfect pets to have. They are very green or environmentally friendly animals. They are fairly self-reliant, eating grass, weeds and other vegetation. They will work down a compost pile and recycle it in their own manner, eat yard and garden clippings - our herd prefers roses, blackberry brambles and sunflowers - and remove brush from the countryside to reduce fire hazards. They can remain home on the weekends alone as long as their trough is filled and the fence is standing. The love they return to you is similar to a dogs, they wag their tails when they are happy to see you, push their heads under your hands for a scratch behind the ears and always sniff at your hands and pockets for treats. They are like zebras, no two are exactly alike. They are similar in appearance, but have very distinct markings and personalities. They are the perfect size livestock for kids to interact with. They don't smell, even in a small pasture they don't have an overwhelming barnyard odor. They aren't as large and overwhelming as cattle to a child, they don't require the maintenance of sheep (unless you get angoras and then it's your fault) and they don't fly and scare little kids like chickens/chooks. They are also a fantastic source of protein, whether using their milk for drinking, butter, yogurt or cheese or raising them for meat. A majority of the world population relies on goats for their dietary protein.

Lisa created these questions for me. You can read the questions asked of her and her responses on her blog, The Tin House. Lisa's blog has been a draw for me since I *met* her online, we have so much in common, three children, academic careers, interest in current news and communication and a desire to live frugally. We just happen to live on opposite ends of the globe.

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