What color are you inside?

Thank you to My camera and I for nominating me for the Liebster Award.

I think I’m going to have to declare this an award free blog, because the list of 11 questions to answer, thinking of 11 things to say about myself, then having to find blogs to nominate and making up a bunch of new questions overwhelms me…that qualifies as fact #1-I am easily overwhelmed.

Addressing, if not answering, the questions

The first couple were about my blog

The first question is where my blog name came from. There is a post I did about it: Happy Mama, back in 2015. Since the event in question was in 2014 that will be more accurate than a detailed retelling here. Basically it goes like this: I was at a coffee shop with someone who spoke no English and I spoke no Chinese. Xingfu is the word my phrase book gave me for happy and Emily called me Mama because she was close to my son and that was how he introduced me. Perhaps fact #2 is that I am happy to go places outside of my comfort zone for people I care about: that day trip to Qingdao was a real stretch for me but Emily really wanted to take me.

Question 2 is why I started blogging: I was taking a WordPress class and wanted to explore beyond the class assignments. Sorry, no great desire to reach out to the world with a powerful message, just desire to learn more and experiment. The blog was also a way to use my photographs (an instruction from a Community College course I took about digital photography). I’m really not crazy about attention, fact #3…but I like to learn new things, fact #4.

The next couple were about bucket lists and travel:

I don’t have a bucket list (Question 3 is what are the top 3 things on my list), here’s why: the best experiences of my life were things I didn’t know existed or would not have considered possible until they were happening. A few of these are described in Leap of Faith, Chance Encounter and Take Luck. I would rather live my life and take the opportunities that offer themselves as I go along…fact #5.

The next question is about going back to a country I’ve been to. My answer is short: I would happily go back to every country I’ve ever been to. I’ve never felt like I’ve seen or done it all. I try to go places at least twice, the second time is when you really experience the place, instead of figuring out how to manage and get around, you can relax and really be present.

The next few were about me personally

I can’t really think of a guilty pleasure (the next question) in the regular sense. I like chocolate, but don’t feel guilty about it. But on Memorial Day (this past Monday) I babysat my niece. It was not following the social distancing guidelines, she is in daycare and her father works in retail so they can’t isolate. But her father needed to work and the usual people weren’t available. He really needs the income, and his employer has reduced hours for everyone to try and keep them all on the payroll. If he missed his hours he wouldn’t be able to make them up. It really felt like a guilty pleasure to play with Duplos and rock her while she slept with Raffi playing in the background. I hadn’t seen her since February and she is the closest thing I have to a grandchild, the dogs are more like kids (really bossy kids!).

Picture of me, a scruffy tow head playing on the beach, at age 3.
Little me.

The next question was about what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was a kid I tried on many different career fantasies and none of them was stress analyst in aerospace industry. I chose a major, engineering, because I liked physics and got good grades in it, but I needed to get a job when I finished school so a physics major wasn’t practical. I wanted to be an architect at that time, but I do not have the personality needed to even get into the program (I am extremely shy, to the point that it is probably a social anxiety disorder-fact #6). I guess this is another example of a time when what life gave me was better than anything I imagined.

I don’t know what I would do if I won a lottery…I guess it would depend on the amount of the payout. It really doesn’t matter, because I never will win, because I never buy a ticket. I understand the math and have abysmal luck. Probably that is another fact, am I on #7?

My go-to attire, regardless of place, is pants and a shirt or tunic. I wear long pants most of the time because the dogs tend to jump up on my legs. I like loose fitting clothes that I can move around in so I don’t need to change to exercise or work in the yard. Also, I tend to cover up because I have a sun allergy. Fact #8 might be that I like comfort and #9 that I don’t like to fuss around with clothes…or other things, I try to streamline processes.

I don’t have a favorite activity. It depends on weather, mood, where I am…Right now, I seem to be taking a lot of photos of flowers and experimenting with photo processing. I take the pictures out walking the dogs or working in the yard and the photo processing is a good stay home activity that is both a creative outlet and intellectually stimulating.

Here are a few examples from this past month:

COVID-19 Question

COVID-19 hasn’t made me write more…possibly less. The disconnect between the dire situation and the beauty of spring in nature seems to silence me.

With blogging during the stay home orders/requests, the thing I have noticed most is that there seems to be a lot more people blogging a lot more. It takes me much longer to read the blogs I follow and look at than it did before. Since I figure that people are trying to connect I try to comment a bit more than before. But, at times, it has been hard to see everything, if I take a day off I can’t catch up…and I really need an occasional day without the computer.

COVID-19 has been on my mind, but it hasn’t affected my day-to-day life a whole lot, beyond worry. My son is in China and I’ve been keeping up on the virus since before most were really aware of it and it was given its catchy name. So many people are expounding on their theories and experiences that it doesn’t seem like I can be helpful by adding more.

Gratitude

I am thankful for way too many things to list. I think of thankfulness more as an attitude, not an itemized listing of all the good things I can think of. There are always things you miss or things that seem not so great now that turn out later to be the source of much good (and vice versa!). Gratitude is being aware of the beauty and good in the world and not believing it is your due.

Okay, I got through all of the questions, more or less, and 9 facts. That seems to be all I can manage.

In summary

We live in a world where we are all expected to have an elevator speech to sell ourselves, we’re supposed to have lofty goals, a plan to reach them, and something going on in our lives to expound upon.

The Liebster Award and the questions are aiming at letting one do this, and I truly appreciate the opportunity. But it is not me. I’ve been trying to finish this post for about a week. I’ve never found it easy to wrap words around complex things, and I think I am a complex thing (fact #10?). I’ve always been flummoxed by “describe yourself” exercises. Once on a college application I used the poem Colors to answer the “describe yourself” question:

My skin is sort of brownish, pinkish yellowish white.

My eyes are grayish, bluish green, but I’m told they look orange at night.

My hair is reddish, blondish, brown, but it’s silver when it’s wet.

And all the colors I am inside…have not been invented yet.

Shel Silverstein in Where the Sidewalk Ends.

I got accepted. Maybe the poem helped, maybe no one ever looked at it and acceptance was due to grades and SAT scores…I’ll never know. But, almost 40 year later, that poem still seems like the closest thing to a “right” answer to the “tell us about yourself” question everyone seems to ask.

No nominations:

If you would like to share a post about yourself feel free to add a link in the comments…consider checking out the post on My Camera and I to get ideas from her questions. If you share, please visit others who share and get to know one another.

What color are you inside?

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