Thursday, 8 January 2009

Five Questions, Well, Four.

I volunteered to do the 5 Questions interactive thing at The Gym Isn't Working, and Loth sent me my questions earlier this week. I love this game. And Loth's answers are way cool. I'm not going to do that well, but I had fun trying.

Here are the rules if you want to participate in 5 Questions.

  1. Send me an email saying: ”Interview Me” to

  2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

  3. You can then answer the questions on your blog.

  4. You should also post these rules along with an offer to interview anyone else who emails you wanting to be interviewed.

  5. Anyone who asks to be interviewed should be sent 5 questions to answer on their blog. It would be nice if the questions were individualized for each blogger.

Here we go.

1.You obviously read a lot. If you could choose, which author would you most like to write like?(Rather inelegantly expressed question, that!)

I read and reread favourite books and none oftener than Jane Austen. Her name leapt immediately to mind. But then I thought better of it. I am not a patient, perfectionist kind of person and painting on that little bit of ivory would probably drive me into babbling idiocy.

No, the author whose skill I crave is someone you may never have encountered. Scott Young, a journalist, sports writer, columnist. He is the father of Neil Young, whom you probably know. And one of his best books is a biography of his son titled 'Neil and Me'. It is well worth reading as a record of a father/son relationship.

More important to me, however, is Scott Young's skill as a columnist. He wrote a personal column in the Globe and Mail for years, and if there had been blogging then, the column would have made a marvellous blog. I used to park the kiddies in front of the TV in the morning, get my coffee and turn to his column. It was as if I had a wonderful, humorous, erudite friend sitting across the table.

His sports books are also excellent of their kind. If you have a hockey loving son (sorry UK mothers), you could do far worse than get him 'Scrubs on Skates' and the sequels, books still in print after, maybe, forty years. But the best, for me, is an adult book he wrote, using the characters from the juvenile hockey series, called 'That Old Gang of Mine'. It is the funniest send up of Olympic sports I have ever encountered, as well as being a compelling read.

If I could only combine humour, elegance and economy of language, and the ability to engage the reader anywhere close to Young's work, I would be a happy woman.

2.If you could go back in time and give your 18 year old self some advice, what would it be?

I would tell myself to suck it up and work harder. As a child and teen I was blessed with a wonderful memory. I could listen to a lesson and remember it, regurgitate it onto an examination and get marvellous marks. I never learned good work habits because up until I was about eighteen, I never had to work to learn. And then I went to university and hit the wall. I crashed and burned in history because I did not know how to analyse and arrange data. I struggled in my second choice of minor, Latin, because I had never really learned it. And by my final year, there was too much material to memorize, plus my ability to memorize became only average. Nor did I do the work I needed to do to understand. I failed the same exam three times and ended up with a pass degree instead of the honours one I wanted. I feel as if I had wasted my university years. And the habit of sliding through things has lasted the rest of my life.

4.If you could change one thing about yourself, be it physically or an aspect of your personality, what would it be and why?

I have to pick just one? Oh, okay.

I procrastinate. I have been working on these questions for several days now, and I'm on number four only because I passed (temporarily) on number three. I should, right this minute, be putting together a draft letter for a committee to approve at 9:30 am tomorrow. Since I sat down at the computer I have 1.) checked my running Scrabble game (I just scored a triple word with a Q in it and I'm feeling smug, especially since I lost the last two games I played by a wide, wide margin), 2.) checked Facebook, 3.) read a half dozen posts or so and commented, 4.) sent off a series of emails, and 5.) reheated my coffee. I am now about to leave the computer and go and get another one. (There are two empty cups sitting beside me.)


Last month (it might have been two months ago) I posted a picture of my horribly messy office and said I was not going to blog again until I had Done Something about it. A while later I posted a picture of my half cleaned office. The desk and worktable are once again covered with books, papers, coffee cups, Christmas cards (the ones I received plus three I have not sent yet) and other bits of strayed stuff, including the 2008 calendar from the kitchen. I swear it breeds when I'm not looking.

I don't really think you want to hear about the laundry room. There are at least socks and probably long underwear breeding away down there.

I think that otherwise I have a fairly integrated personality, but if I could become an organized person, it would make my life a lot easier. You see, I am married to another procrastinator. And so, I cannot complain about anything he does not do, because he would be able to come right back at me, the easier because my office does not have a door on it, nor does the laundry room, and so my sins are right out in front of him at all times.

My much adored Younger Daughter, who has inherited the procrastination gene big time, comes up with many ways in which I could galvanize her father into action, or hire a carpenter, or ....... But I'm just too disorganized to do them.

5.Most embarrassing moment, please.

I only have to do one? Whew.

I don't remember people's names. I might be able to recollect them in tranquillity, but faced with the necessity of introducing people, I blank. My grandmother did not, due to age and illness, attend my wedding. And when I took my husband home a few weeks after the wedding, and presented him to my grandmother, I could not remember his name.

The other question of the five I was given is this:

3.You live in a country bordered by the biggest and most culturally invasive (in the nicest possible way!) nation in the world. What do you like most and least about your neighbour, the USA?

This question deserves a post all of its own, don't you think. And besides, if I leave it till later, I can, maybe, get the draft letter done. After I check the Scrabble board and Facebook, that is.

Edited to add, check out Kaye over at the Road Goes Ever Ever On. She's done five questions off this post. I'll add others as they are done.


  1. I always like reading your stuff, that was fun getting to know a little bit about you. My favorite, forgetting your husbands name. I'll bet that's a story the family loves to hear. I have to pick a book for Book Club, think I'll check out your recomendation. Thanks.

  2. great answers, very interesting

    I'm looking forward to your answer to #5, because I am very interested in how the US is viewed from the outside (because it's awfully weird here on the inside...)

  3. Ha! I knew you would knock those out of the park (that is the expression on your side of the Atlantic, is it not?) Also: I think we may be related. We should look into that. Some day. Off to Amazon now to look up Scott Young. Thanks for playing and I am REALLY looking forward to the answer to number 3.

  4. Oh my goodness. That embarrassing moment is hilarious!

    As for the are not alone.

  5. That's the expression south of the border, mostly, although Toronto has a 'major league' baseball team that plays teams from the states and Montreal used to have one.
    I am not sure what the pertinent hockey expression would be, other than 'he shoots, he scores'. And I do mean HE.
    You see what you started -- The war of 1812 all over again.
    Thanks, Loth. I enjoyed that and I hope we are at least sisters of the spirit, dilatory though that spirit might be.
    Alejna, it was not funny at the time, let me tell you.
    Painted Maypole, I would love to know what you think of the USA analysis.
    JF, I hope you like it! You need to know a bit about hockey to really get into it, but I think most Americans do. Your questions are coming up soon.

  6. You never told me that story - it is priceless (and I am SO glad I come by both procrastination and the inability to remember people's names honestly.)