Thursday, April 24, 2008

tag. i’m it. whoop.

There’s a meme making the rounds and I’ve been invited to play. It’s my first time. Yes, I’m a meme virgin. I don’t know whether to be happy or offended. I guess I’m supposed to be flattered. Thanks Maggie May. I’m flattered. Sort of.

I’ve hit a bit of a wall with my graphic design project, so I guess I’ll let the creative/visual part of my brain work subconsciously while I play with the memory/language part of my brain instead.

I must admit. I was never a big fan of tag as a kid and this is the impression I get from memes. When you play tag, you touch the person and run away. Phew. Glad I’m not it anymore. Here. Have a meme. Glad that’s over with. It’s like a modern day chain letter. I’m surprised memes don’t all end with one of those “do-this-or-in-3-days-you’ll-be-attacked-by-a-pack-of-rabid-dogs” warnings.

Maybe I’m wrong. I suppose some people love memes, but I’m not exactly a big fan. Perhaps I shouldn’t be such a punk, but I think I'll do this meme rebel-style and take it out of the one-word-list doldrums and into the Verbose Storyteller’s Club territory. I mean, come on people. With all due respect to those who write one-word answers in memes, but do I really care if you prefer french fries over potato chips? No. And you probably don’t really care which I prefer either.

Sorry, but I like anecdotes. Stories.

Write a list and I’m bored. Spin me a yarn and I’ll listen.

The longer the better. (Big surprise.)

Remember the poem “The Invitation” I posted earlier today? No? Okay. Go read it here, then come back. I'll wait.

Did you read it? Good.

So that's how I feel. I really want to know you. I’m interested in what you ache for. What sustains you. Not what you ate for breakfast. (Although I suppose breakfast does sustain you.)

I should also say please don’t hate me, or yourself, because I don’t love memes. It’s not you, it’s me. There’s a certain blog I really enjoy reading, but the blogger often criticizes things that I love. For some reason it always makes me feel bad about myself. Isn't that silly? Like, she’s cool and I’m not because she doesn’t love the same things as I do, you know?

Well, don’t feel bad about yourself just because I think memes are lame.

And besides, I’m about to prove myself a total hypocrite by actually doing the meme (but I’ve done it out of respect for Maggie May because I like her blog so much. This is for you Maggie May, hope you like it!)

So, in the spirit of loving stories (and not just facts) and in the interest of showing you a part of myself, here’s my meme:

1.The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. The player then tags 5 people, goes to their Blogs and leaves them a comment telling them they've been tagged and asking them to read their Blog.

Q. What were you doing 10 years ago?

A. Ten years ago last March I married my husband Balazs. You can read all about him here. Our wedding took place on a cool March afternoon. It rained that day. Apparently rain on your wedding day is good luck in Eastern Europe, so I was happy about it. Balazs and I had been engaged for only three months when we got married and we’d known each other for less than a year and a half before that. We picked the March wedding date based on the wedding date of my best friend. She was getting married a week after us and many of our mutual friends had already made plans to be in town. How’s that for choosing a wedding date?

… Um, what the heck. Everybody will be in town, let’s just get it done. March 21st? Perfect!

Ten years ago, Balazs had only recently moved to Canada from Hungary, so we were temporarily living at my mom’s house until we found an apartment. We were also broke. (Funny, ten years later we’re back living at my mom’s house and we’re still broke.) Balazs wasn’t a citizen of Canada yet so he wasn’t allowed to work. I was employed in a law firm and supporting the both of us. Balazs would get up every morning and drive me to the office, just to give him something to do. He was bored silly, but we were young and in love so we worked through it.

Ten years ago, we couldn’t afford a honeymoon and we’ve never really had one. I suppose our trip to Hungary later that year to get married a second time in Budapest could be considered a honeymoon, but we stayed with his parents and the day after our Budapest wedding I took a road trip to Berlin with a girlfriend and left Balazs behind. To this day, the only vacation we’ve ever taken alone was before we were married. We took a trip from Budapest to the Cannes Film Festival and got robbed on the train before it even left the station. We laugh about this incident now. I suppose it’s a case of “tragedy plus time equals comedy”. Every other vacation Balazs and I have taken in the last ten years was either with his family or mine. (I should note that the robbery didn’t have anything to do with why we’re broke or why we don’t travel alone. It’s just always worked out that way.)

Ten years ago my biggest concern was being able to afford a new set of bedroom furniture. I looked forward to the day Balazs would get his Canadian Landed Immigrant status. We slept until noon almost every weekend and we rarely worried about anything.

Ten years ago, my life was hopeful and happy, full of love and promise. It was a nice place to be.

Q. Name five snacks you enjoy.

A. With all due respect to the creator of this meme, but this is exactly the kind of meme question I abhor. It isn’t even a question. Does anybody really care what my favourite snack is? Seriously. I doubt it. Unless of course you’re planning on sending me something in the mail (thanks again Jan!); otherwise, it really shouldn’t matter what kind of snacks I enjoy.

But I’m playing along, so I guess I’ll tell you. Pretend you care.

I don’t have any interest in salty treats. I eat potato chips about once a year. We don’t even keep stuff like that in the house. No crackers, no chips, no pretzels. It’s not that I’m ultra healthy or anything; I just don’t have a taste for it.

I enjoy cookies from time to time, but there’s only ever one bag kicking around the house at a time and it takes a month to eat them all. My mom bakes homemade cookies that are amazing. I could eat more than two of those at once if I had to. I used to love gorging myself on Oreos, but they make my butt look big, so I’ve quit that nasty little habit.

I don’t like salty things, but I definitely have a sweet tooth, so here’s where my list of five snacks I enjoy comes in:

1. I love ice cream. Check this out to see what I mean.

2. I enjoy M&Ms. We usually have a container full of them that I dip into once or twice a day.

3. I love Chocolate Pocky. Who doesn’t like a cute little crunchy stick all covered in chocolate?

4. Speaking of chocolate… I love it, but who doesn’t? Although I usually can’t eat more than a small square or two a day. Any more than that and my tummy feels yucky.

5. I can’t come up with a fifth. I’m not really a snacker. It's probably why my ass looks fabulous in my Lucky Brand Jeans.

Q. Name five things you would do if you were a billionaire.

A. Now this, I’ll admit, is a great meme question. But only if answered thoroughly. I have an extremely elaborate fantasy life that regularly involves winning the lottery. I daydream about it often and I’ve decided I could spend a billion dollars, no problem. If anyone doesn’t believe me, I welcome the opportunity to prove you wrong. In fact, if you have a billion dollars kicking around (I'm talking to you Oprah) and want to film some crazy reality television show starring me and my family in a quest to see how and if we could spend a billion dollars (I'm still talking to you Oprah) then sign me up.

I’m in. No questions asked.

It would be like Oprah’s Big Give on steroids. If you want to read more about what I would do if I had a lot of money, read all of this. As you can see, I’ve given it some thought.

Amazingly enough, I really don’t have much interest in material things. What I’m looking for in life are experiences. Okay, yes, I’d set myself up with a comfortable home and a nice, sensible hybrid car, but after that it would be all about the living, not the accumulating. I can assure you that if I had a billion dollars to spend, you would not find me in a shopping mall loading up on shoes. If I had copious amounts of money, you’d find me somewhere in Africa on an Abercrombie & Kent safari, or somewhere in Asia sampling some freaky food that you’d have to dare me to eat (okay, maybe not that).

But enough of my rambling. I’m doing a meme, so here’s my list of five things I would do if I were a billionaire. Oh wait. Before I name number one, we can all assume that my friends and my family have been well taken care off and that a sizable amount of money has been donated to charity.

Of course we’d all do that. With all due respect to the people who have meme’d those as answers before, but… Boooorrrrring!

Here’s what I’d do if I were a billionaire:

1. Build a leadership academy for girls in South Africa to rival the one that Oprah built. The way I figure it, somewhere in the process I’d probably score a lunch date with Oprah, which is what I really want anyway. If I have to build a school for girls in South Africa to get it, well then so be it.

2. Take a cruise around the world in a luxury-penthouse-suite-of-a-stateroom that even J-Lo would be jealous of (minus all the white flowers and entourage of course). I loved working on a cruise ship, but I’d love to be a passenger on one even more. Who doesn’t want to see the world in a bed that travels with you?

3. Drive up to orphanages all over the world with truckloads of toys, food and supplies. I know I’ve already said I’d give to charity, but it’s my meme and I’ll say what I want. When I worked on the cruise ship I was lucky enough to deliver some toys to an orphanage at Christmas time. It’s still one of the highlights of my life. I’d do that every day if I could.

4. Hike into the mountains of Rwanda to sit with the Mountain Gorillas for a while before they’re all gone. This will take some cardiovascular preparation, but I’m up for it.

5. Okay. I lied. I do want one or two material things. I’m not really into cars, or shoes, or clothes, or purses, but I sure would love me a gimongous sparkly rock to put on my finger. Diamonds baby. Oh yeah. Something huge like this would be just fine:

I don’t care if my arm is strong enough to support it. I’ll wear a cast if I have to. Or how about this ice rink?

Don't mind if I do.

Don't mind if I do this either:

Or these pretty little numbers:

You get my point. Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, Chanel, Chopard and Kwait here I come.

Q. Name five jobs that you’ve had.

A. I wrote a very long post about all the jobs I’ve ever had a while ago. Feel free to read it here. No sense re-inventing the wheel by writing it all again, but for the sake of this meme, I will simplify the post here:

1. The second worst job I’ve ever had, because I was the worst at it, was when I worked as a waitress. I’m just not cut out to be a waitress. I don’t have the short-term memory or the boobs to be remotely successful at it.

2. The second funnest job I’ve ever had (I know funnest isn’t a word, but it’s my meme and you know what I mean) was probably when I worked as a “sticker spotter” for a radio station. I drove around in a brand new Volkswagen cabriolet all summer long giving away thousands of dollars in prizes, including four cars. It was a heck of a lot of fun.

3. The second most demanding job I’ve ever had was when I worked as a promotions coordinator at the same radio station. The work wasn’t really life-or-death stressful, there was just a lot of it. I mostly loved the job and the perks, so it was all worth it, but the workload-to-pay ratio was pretty poor and it got a bit frustrating at times.

4. The second most rewarding job I’ve ever had was when I worked as a Junior Assistant Purser on the cruise ship. I got paid well, my meals were made for me, I had a bedroom steward who took care of me and the lifestyle was fun and exciting. I traveled to many countries and met many amazing people, including my husband.

And now, for the worst, the funnest, the most demanding and the most rewarding job I’ve ever had….

5. The job I have now. I work as a full time Mama and IT. IS. HARD. This whole blog exists in large part because of how challenging I find being a stay-at-home-mom, but Csilla is also the funnest, cutest, bestest kid in the entire world. She’s worth every bit of frustration I can stand. The pay is horrible, but Csilla’s kisses are worth a billion dollars to me (although I wouldn’t mind the billion anyway). And sometimes Csilla says things like this, which make everything about the job worthwhile.

Q. Name three bad habits.

A. I have many bad habits and most of them involve being extremely talkative.

1. I interrupt. A lot. It’s probably my worst habit, or the one I hate most about myself.

2. I’m a terrible listener. This goes hand-in-hand with the interrupting. I just can’t seem to shut myself up. I always have so much on my mind and so much I want to say, that I always talk talk talk about myself. Oftentimes after I’ve had a visit with a girlfriend, I realize that I forgot to ask anything about how she was doing. When this happens I feel like a complete jerk. I’m trying to be better about this, but it’s a very hard habit to break. I often give myself a pep-talk before I meet up with a friend. I tell myself to make sure that I ask her about this or that, just so I don’t feel so ashamed of myself. And maybe even the worst part about this habit is that I genuinely love my friends and want to know all about them, so when I don’t take the time to find out, I feel like I’ve denied myself the pleasure of knowing them better. I’m probably the only person in the world that wishes I would catch laryngitis* once in a while.

3. I can be a bit of a know-it-all. (I’m painting a bleak picture of myself aren’t I? Are you all just dying to spend some time with me? I suppose I could tell you about all of my run-of-the-mill bad habits, like I don’t exercise enough or I forget to wear deodorant sometimes, but I’m trying to get real here.) So, it’s true. I’m a know-it-all. At least with this habit I feel like I have a fairly good excuse. Without dogging too much on my father, who is a lovely person, let’s just say that he’s a bit of an intellectual snob. In our house growing up, it was hard for me to feel worthy sometimes unless I had a fully researched answer prepared for any conversation my dad and I were bound to have. As a result, I ended up with this habit of making myself overly informed about everything just so I could feel validated. I’ll never forget the time a couple of my best friends had “an intervention” and told me to drop the know-it-all attitude. I was horrified, but now I appreciate them even more for having the nerve to put a mirror in front of me like that. I still catch myself being a know-it-all to this day, but my need for approval has diminished, so I’m not as bad as I used to be (I think).

4. Balazs says I should include my computer addition as a bad habit. I don’t entirely disagree with him. I definitely use the computer as a form of escapism. Before I had a blog I would spend a lot of time randomly surfing the web, and before we had Csilla I was an avid PC Gamer. I used to love games like Age of Empires and Civilization. I would get lost in them for hours. It’s actually interesting to me that Balazs would mention this as my worst habit… maybe he’s trying to tell me something.

5. I can’t think of another big-huge bad habit right now. I’m sure I have many, but they’re not popping into my head at this time. Okay. Here’s one. After doing the laundry, I don’t turn my t-shirts right-side-out before I hang them up in my closet. Is that horrible or what?

Q. Name five places you have lived.

A. I wrote a post about this here. If you want the long version, read it. The short version (and keeping true to a proper one-wordish answer meme) is this:

1. Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2. Markham, Ontario, Canada
3. West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
4. Cruise Ship, The Ocean, The World
5. North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Q. Name five people you want to know more about.

A. I’d love to more about so many people, but if I could only choose five, it would probably be:

1. Audrey Hepburn. She seemed like a very regal and classy lady. I would have loved the opportunity to get to know her.

2. The Dalai Lama. Or Oprah. I can’t choose. I’d love to meet them both and have the chance to know them beyond their public persona.

3. Leonardo diCaprio. I don’t need to know much. I just want to stand close to him and find out if he smells good.

4. Same goes for Matt Damon.

5. Csilla. I can’t wait to watch her grow and get to know all the intricacies and facets of her personality. She becomes more interesting to me every day.

I know this last question was the part of the meme where I’m supposed to “tag” five other bloggers and flatter them by saying how much I’d love to get to know them better, but I read their blogs every day. They know who they are and they know I’d like to get to know them better.

I’m more of a Sardines girl myself, so if you’ve read this far and you want to jump onto the puppy pile with me and have a giggle, consider yourself tagged.

You’re it!

* Whenever I hear the word Laryngitis, it reminds me of an episode of Little Hourse on the Prarie where Half Pint wanted to stay home from school and told Pa that she had Laryngitis. The funny part, of course was the fact that she could talk and obviously didn't have Laryngitis, but it was also funny because she pronounced it Larin-geeeee-tis. Hearing the word Laryngitis makes me giggle every time.

ps – This wasn’t so bad after all. I actually had fun, but only after making it a little more my own of course. I’m such a rebel. Thanks Maggie May! Sorry it was a bit long, but you did say you wanted to get to know me better, right?


softinthehead said...

Sorry I like memes - that's reading them not really doing them cos I think the odd questions sometimes reveal something we would not normally get to know about a person so thanks!!

Aline said...

Oh my, Carolyn, seriously .. you don't know how much I enjoy reading your posts. You've got such a fantastic sense of humour and your writing skills are great.

And so today, I so enjoyed reading this by and about you. And though you don't like memes, I loved to read it and you made my day brighter.

Thanks for that!

Maggie May said...

Blimey! I wish I hadn't asked now!!!!! Still have to do some cross referencing & looking up & research!
Seriously though! Thought you did extremely well, so thank you!
I have mentioned this before, but I think it would be a very good thing if people could put a sign on their blog to say "no memes!" Just like people do when they don't want junk mail. I think I would put one up for memes maybe. Course I love awards but will soon run out of space! Shouldn't that have been on my list of bad habits? To blow my own trumpet. Well consider it added!
A very original way of making a meme into a very interesting way of getting to know you better. many thanks!

Jan said...

I will just have to say Carolyn, that was the longest meme I have ever read. But I really did enjoy the whoop.... I can't remember every detail of it, but I understand that you have a big heart and you care about whats around you. You have such a child like curiosity factor about you. You want so badly to understand and to all so be a little understood. I guess we all do. I think your take on consumption is really one to consider. I really like that.
I was a really good waitress. Isn't that funny. I couldn't stand it now though. I am not as tolerant of rude people like I use to be.
I hope all your dreams come true. And when you get that billion, call me. I so want to be in the truck with you going to the orphans. That is my type of trip.

Daryl E said...

Fabulous! And I stole your 'badge' since I am convinced it was created specially for ME .. :-D Daryl

Kimberly said...

~happy sigh~ You're so lovely. Love your honesty and openness.

Corey~living and loving said...

not a huge fan of Memes once you got into the actual meme here, I started skimming, but was pulled in on the "bad habits part" because I think you were descibing me instead of you. must be confused. LOL

CrazyCath said...

Well this is probably the BEST post i have read on this meme. But that could be because I am a member of verbose storytellers too.
Love it. You shared so much, Thank you.
And your jobs - as i was reading down "2nd best" on each one, i just knew the "best" was going to be being mum to Csilla. I knew it. I think i'm getting to know you...!

Jennifer H said...

My goodness, girl--I am proud and happy to say that I read every word!

I really don't like memes either, though sometimes a decent one comes along and I use it on a day when my mind is a blank of all else.

I love how you view life, and your take on what to do with a billion dollars. I would also use some of the money on experiences, instead of stuff.

And I would pay someone to fold all the socks for me. :-)