VAnity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire

This was a fun, fast, easy read. For something like 15 years, Vanity Fair magazine has been asking celebrities this “Proust Questionnaire”. In the early days of the 20th century Marcel Proust published this list of questions and his answers. Some of the answers were really funny. Some were repeated over and over. Here are my answers to the Proust Questionnaire. Feel free to play along.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? An empty house, a warm dog/cat, and a pile of good books.

What is your greatest fear? Losing a child. Or tornadoes.

Which historical figure to you most identify with? I would like to say Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, but really there’s not too much similarity between our lives. I just like her. history hasn’t recorded a lot of suburban wives and mothers who just live day to day.

Which living person do you most admire? I don’t know. I don’t admire a lot of people. I will say the person I most appreciate is Mike, because he tolerates me.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Cattiness. I can be really unpleasant when I am annoyed.

What is the trait you most deplore in others Stupidity. I know this is bad, because stupid people can’t help it, but I get really annoyed when something that is clearly spelled out has to be repeated ad nauseam before it is understood.

What is your greatest extravagance? I’ve been thinking about this. I don’t spend a lot of money on anything. I don’t think I have to have “the best” of anything. Probably the one thing I buy the most of, that is not a necessity, is books. But I usually buy paperback. I know books are a necessity, but I work in a public library for crying out loud!

What is you favorite journey Anywhere with Mike. Well, maybe not to the dentist, but even that would be better with Mike.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Selflessness. Only because I don’t have it.

On what occasion to you lie? Hedy Lamarr said, “When I am tired of standing.” In all seriousness, I am a terrible liar. Everything I think ends up right on my face, so I only try to lie when it would be cruel to tell the truth. But usually, I can’t do it.

What do you dislike most about your appearance? My apple-shaped figure. Gr.

Which living person do you most despise? The guy at the ballet last night on the front row who answered his cell phone during act 2. Everyone in the theater could hear him. Including the dancers.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Are you on crack?” and “Brutal” and “Awesomesauce.”

What is you greatest regret? Selling out first house.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Mike Hee!

When and where were you happiest I’m usually pretty happy, but I’ll go with June 28, 1997.

Which talent would you most like to have? I’ve got some pretty good ones. I’d like to read faster, though.

What is your current state of mind? Active passivity.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? More energetic

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? Lived closer together.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? After I see how my kids turn out, they will probably be it, but until then, I’m going to say: helping quantities of teenagers navigate adolescence.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? A bookshelf.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A pampered house cat.

What is your most treasured possession? My wedding album?

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? First, losing someone you love. Second, having nothing to read

Where would you like to live? Somewhere cloudy.

What is your favorite occupation? Reading or dancing.

What is your most marked characteristic? My voice.

What is the quality you most like in a man? The ability to fix stuff.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Laughs at my jokes.

What do you most value in your friends? A quick wit.

Who are your favorite writers? Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Malcolm Gladwell, and probably many more I’ve forgotten.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Elizabeth Bennet

Who are your heroes in real life? People who have overcome great adversity with a good attitude.

What are your favorite names? This is a stupid question.

What is it that you most dislike? Throwing up.

How would you like to die? No thanks. Is this a threat?

What is your motto? Somebody’s on crack.

In Tongues of the Dead by Brad Kelln

In Tongues of the Dead is a suspense/mystery in the vein of The Da Vinci Code. There is a religious mystery that the Catholic church wants to cover up. Granted, in this book, the mystery is a little more obscure. Most people have never heard of the Voynich manuscript. I hadn’t, anyway. Apparently, such a thing does exist. It is written in a language no one has been able to decipher.

In the book, the manuscript is on display at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, where there is a Catholic priest posing as a museum curator whose job is to watch over it, to let them know if someone ever seems to be able to read it. When an autistic child who never speaks reads the manuscript, a corrupt cardinal (well, maybe corrupt is too harsh, just misled. Or crazy.) sends Benicio Valero to ascertain if the boy is The One. Then he sends his hit men to get the boy. Nobody counts on the angels who also want to do him in, in order to get back in the good graces of God.

In several places, the plot is helped along by vivid, bizarre dreams. In other places people do really unnatural things. Like when Jake goes to the library to look up stuff about the Voynich manuscript while his son is in the hospital prepping for brain surgery.

Here’s my big question: at the end, the boy with the brain surgery can read the manuscript, so I assume the autistic boy inhabited his body like the other angels inhabited bodies. But, the rules seem different now. When the angels inhabited bodies, they kicked out the original personalities that owned those bodies. In this case, the boy is still himself, he hasn’t become the autistic Matthew. Why did the rules change? I don’t understand!!!

Anyway, if you like a page turning suspense-mystery, especially ones involving supernatural beings and events, you ought to give this one a shot.

Reading stall-out

I am trying to read The Devil in the White City. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book. I’ve read 5 or 6 chapters and so far it’s both creepy and boring. The parts about H.H. Holmes are really, really, creepy, but everything else is excrutiatingly boring. Anyone else read this and have thoughts?


but I’ll be able to make a meatloaf soon!

Last week, my oven gave up the ghost. This poor range has held out as long as it could. We’ve replaced all the burners, and all the plastic knobbies. 5 years ago, the oven timer freaked out and wouldn’t shut off. We had to shut off the breaker to the kitchen and disconnect the wires to make it shut up. We’ve replaced the element in the oven, too, but it finally threw in the towel.

Today was range shopping day. Considering that my current range is 30 years old, I am quite easy to please. I consulted Consumer Reports. Or rather, I consulted my father who consulted Consumer Reports and I think I made a good choice.

My new GE electric range (because I’m sure to blow us all up with a gas one) has a smooth cooktop and push button oven controls that lock. It has a clock and a kitchen timer! Glee! But wait. Listen to this. One of the burners, has a choice of two sizes! You turn the dial one way to use the small size, and another way to use the large! This is brilliant.

Reading update.

I have a huge pile of library books waiting for me. My favorite part of my job at the library is going through all the new books and deciding which ones to put on the “New Books” shelves and which ones will find their way directly to the regular shelves. Today, I found a few that made their way to my shelves.

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James. She wrote The Secret Diaries of Jane Austen which I enjoyed a while back, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely. Okay. I’m only partially sure of what the connection is to Pride and Prejudice. From what I can gather from the jacket copy, a girl named Elizabeth is invited to her Aunt’s bed and breakfast in Cape Cod to one of those host-a-murder things. Hilarity ensues. I hope.

The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolano. I’ve been wanting to read some of his work since 2666 came out, but I was too chicken to read anything that vast. This is a much slimmer novel. I think I can handle it.

I wish I didn’t have to shop for a new range this weekend so I would have more time to read. Such is life.

Tweak by Nic Sheff

Nic Sheff was one messed up dude. The majority of this book takes place when he was 22 years old. The first part of the book is the story of the 30 days when he went off the rails and relapsed on crystal meth and heroin. It is really, really difficult reading.

After about a month, he pulls his head out and starts over again. The second part of the book is about him building up his sober life and then relapsing again. He finally agrees to go to a rehab center in Arizona which turns out to be a blessing for him. His description of the rehab center sounds like an amazing place. Really new and powerful therapies happening there.

This book was pretty heartbreaking so I’m glad it didn’t end badly. I wouldn’t wish an IV drug addiction on anyone.

New food obsession.

Last spring, my aunt came to visit from Los Alamos, NM. She brought with her Snapea Crisps. At that time, you could not buy them here, which posed a problem for me because I quickly became addicted to them.

Last week I found them at my local grocery store. Oh Happy Day!

I think they’re basically dried snap peas, salted and flavored. They have the consistency of Cheetos, but a little lighter. I can eat the whole bag all by myself.