Friday, September 10, 2010

Eight Cubed

My dear friend Robin, at Your Daily Dose, picked me as one of the recipients of her "Eight to the Eight to the Eight" post: "... eight lucky people ... get to answer these eight questions, make up eight of their own, and pass them on to eight of their friends."

I had to think about this ... only two easy answers here (#s 5 and 7). Good thing I color my hair, so you can't see how many new grey ones I got while bursting a few brain cells as I debated my options (both in terms of answers as well as bestowees)! But thinking is actually good for me -- keeps the ol' neurons working. So thank you, Robin, for doing your part to forestall my aging ... :)

But enough prologue! Here we go:

1. What career would you choose for your own if you had all of the gifts (i.e. creativity, genius, dexterity, etc.) that went along with said profession?

I would love to be able to sing -- I envy you that gift, Robin. Performing in a Broadway musical would be an experience beyond description! I also wish that I had patience and more refined fine motor skills, so that I could be a pastry chef and create extraordinarily gorgeous works of confectionery art.

2. If you could travel back in time to observe what life was like in a specific time period in a specific place, when and where would you go?

Brain paralysis! Too many options, too many choices, too much curiosity! The first Election Day after women got the right to vote in this country? The Italian Renaissance? The building of Stonehenge? Homesteading out West? Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century? So many fascinating periods and people to observe!

3) What is your biggest vice?

Cheetos? Milk Duds? They tie (for the moment, anyway) as food vices. Personal vices,using the Merriam-Webster definition of "a moral fault or failing"? And this is conveniently asked just when I'm supposed to be taking an inventory for Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), too! Hmmm .... I can hold a grudge better than almost anyone I know, except for Jeremy. I sometimes have a tendency to ruminate down negative paths. And I'm stubborn and proud when I should ask for help.

4) Do you find yourself getting in trouble from speaking your mind too often or not enough?

I sometimes dare to state opinions, and they are not always received well. There are circumstances to explain this sensitivity, but there is inevitably a debate about excessive negativity vs. the right to have and express an opinion and to express it in any tone that I might choose. I believe firmly in Rabbi Israel Salanter's adage that "Not everything that is thought should be said," though, so I will usually keep my notions to myself if there is any doubt as to whether they will be effective and productive.

5) Do you like your name? As an aside, do you know what it means? If so, just curious ....

I hate my name, which happens to mean "bitter."

Well, let me clarify that a bit. I've always hated my name, but am becoming fractionally more sympathetic towards it.

I'm a flaky, cheerful, giddy, enthusiastic and effusive, pink-and-glitter bedecked prissy city girl and Fancy Feast cat (this last descriptor being what my son thinks of me), but I have one of the most boring and pedestrian and over-used names in history ... and that is truly not an exaggeration. I graduated in a class of 41 girls, and 8 of us -- 20%! -- were named some variation on "Mary."

I'm named for both of my grandmothers (paternal: Mary Brigid, who died when I was 2 weeks old; maternal: Mary Dorothy, whom I loved dearly), as well as being named -- obviously -- for the Virgin Mary. (My birthday is December 8, too -- the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, honoring the day on which Mary was conceived without sin in order to be a proper vessel for the son of God ... according to the Catholic Church, that is.)

But in the Jewish community (work and otherwise), I'm one of only 2 Marys (the other being my dear friend Mary Schuman); rather than being the 613th Rebecca or Miriam, I'm unique. And Tom's mother was named Mary. She died of breast cancer in 1995, so I never got to meet her; she sounds fascinating, and if ever a woman deserved to rest in peace, this woman did. Tom's sister Anne, upon learning my name, said "Oh, that was Mom's name!" And she said it with such love, such affection, such an attitude of "Well, this means you belong here with us" that I can't help but feel a certain pride in it now ... a little bit, anyway ....

6) What do you like most about yourself?

I'm the sorta girl that people talk to, share with, confide in. And I'm glad that people find me warm and welcoming in that way, that they feel I'm kind and empathetic ... heymish [HAY-mish] in Yiddish.

7) What is your favorite record? That would be a record as a whole and it cannot be a greatest hits album. It's not your favorite song, but the collection as a whole on a record.

"Avalon" by Roxy Music. Don't even have to burst a brain cell to answer this one! I've loved it since it first came out in ... ahem ... 1981. I cannot tell you how many times I've listened to it, how I know every nuance of every song. (And mucho credit to Robin for actually calling it a "record," rather than a CD! I have both versions, but the latter lacks the warmth and the familiarity of the former.) There is beauty, love, loss, and all in a sumptuous and romantic package ... life in general, summed up in 10 songs. "More Than This" is one of my very favorite songs ever, ever ever; and I intend to have the title track played at my funeral.

8) What song, book, movie, tv show, short story, etc. comes closest to hitting you where you live? You heard it, read it, watched it and thought it could be describing my life. It is like it was written for me.

"Galileo" by the Indigo Girls: "Look what I had to overcome from my last life -- I think I'll write a book ...."

Okay, now here are my 8 victims ... um, "invitees":

Heather - Girlichef

Sheila - Reforming U

And here's what I'd like to know about you:

1. What is your favorite work of art?

2. What do you collect, if anything?

3. What faith were you raised in? And do you still belong to that one, or have you found another, or ...?

4. What is your favorite flavor of jelly/jam to use for a PB&J?

5. What song did or would you play for your first dance together at your wedding reception?

6. What is your favorite charity?

7. Nuts in brownies -- yea or nay?

8. What is your favorite cookbook, the one you rely on time after time?

Have fun!!!


Nicole said...

Loved learning about your name!

Candace said...

Ok, I was freaking out a little bit reading the questions that you answered...because I was anticipating answering the same ones myself. I, then, got to the end and saw the ones that you chose for me! Much easier for me to answer, I think. I had to go back and read your answers again...relieved that they were yours and not mine. :0)

Loved getting to know you better! Thank you for sharing them with us.

Have a great weekend!

Jenn said...

mmmmmmm......Cheetos and milk duds!!!! :)

Keri said...

YM... great post here. Hope you're having a wonderful holiday. Will have to go and read the saga of the indian cooking challenge in a minute.

I referred a fabulous lady to your blog recently. She's a doctor by day and an incredible baker by nite. I featured her work on my blog not long ago. Anyway, she's trying to grow her blog and I told her how yours has grown so incredibly fast. Still don't know how you did it. I'm not that clever. Her blog is
This lady made her own wedding cake and is probably the most talented baker/artist I've ever seen. She may contact you. I know you'll be just as impressed as I am.
Take care, Keri

Keri said...

p.s. THANK YOU for not having word verification turned on.

This is fast becomming one of my pet peeves. and heaven knows I have plenty of um...LOL Keri

Cranberry Morning said...

Fun to read, getting to know you better. :-) I'm with you on the Cheetos (deep fried to a crackly crunch!) and Milk Duds. I can no longer have Cheetos, due to food allergies, but I can remember how wonderful they tasted!! and Milk Duds? Who can eat just one - kinda like Dots for me. :-) Have a great weekend!

Robin said...

So many thoughts on this... first, I am glad that you are coming to like your name. I believe that liking your name is strongly tied with liking yourself. Hard to hate your name and still love yourself. Make sense? And I am so with you on the song Galileo by Indigo Girls. I know just what you mean!

Sheila said...

Yes to #2! How do you pick??? :)

I've posted my 8! Check it out at:

Happy Friday!

girlichef said...

You're must mean. Now I have to rack my brain ;) . Kidding, you're so sweet...thank you for thinking of me. I will get you some answers as soon as I can! Loved learning more about you!!!

Karen Harris said...

Oh my gosh Mary, I knew we were soul sisters. Avalon is my one of my very favorites of all time. When I was 25, I took every dime I had and went to Europe with a friend of mine. Through the whole continent, this was my soundtrack on my walkman (it was 1985). Everytime I hear any track it takes me back to that wonderful, exciting time.

Sorry about your having to take your son's keys but I hope he knows how much his mama loves him whether he's walking or driving! He sounds a bit like my daughter. My son is yet to reach this stage so I have this to look forward too (yipee!!!).

Beth Zimmerman said...

Hi Mary!
Life has been busy and I've had less blogging time but I was delighted when your name popped up in my reader! I've missed you! :) Glad to hear that all is well in your world! Have a blessed weekend!

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