Sunday, May 13, 2007

Five More Questions

I have returned from the black hole of periodontal recovery and I'm ready to write once again!

Last month I participated in the Five Question meme with Rebecca from Circle of the Muses. And I really enjoyed writing about topics chosen by someone else. So I decided to do this one more time.

This time the questions come from CS at another tangential thinker. CS's writings are always entertaining and thought-provoking and I knew she would offer up five more good questions. And I was right! CS really looked at some of my postings and challenged me with questions that made me look more deeply at some things I had written about. So here are her questions and my answers:

In your very first post, you talked about blogging out of a love of computers and the internet and said, "I'm not really writing to find or entertain a particular audience. I'm writing for my own pleasure. If someone comes along, that's cool. If not, that's okay, too." As you've gained an audience, has your thinking about blogging changed?

Yes, my thinking has changed. I still write primarily for my own enjoyment. I like having a few quiet moments to take a stab at turning some daily event into something a little entertaining. It pushes some creative button for me. But in the beginning, I really didn't think much about comments. Now I do. I don't write to get more comments. My choice of topics probably proves that cause I don't strive for earth-shattering topics. But when I get comments, I love it! It really makes my blog feel more like a bit of a conversation with people. That has allowed me to "get to know" a few bloggers a lot better. That's been a lot of fun. But knowing that some folks are reading really challenges me to at least try to write better. I try to be more creative. I check my spelling. And I really enjoy the conversation aspect of being a blogger.

You talked some about your mother's negativity and how she said, "the bible never told me I had to be nice to everyone." Are there good and bad things you've taken from how you were parented which have shaped your own way of being a father?

It would probably be untrue and unfair to say there are no good things from how I was parented that help me be a parent. We are all obviously influenced by so many things. But I could not list one. Perhaps it is because my mom is still alive and often still a conflicted relationship, so finding the good parts still gets a bit lost.

But I did take away a couple of negative things that I've tried hard not to use in my own parenting. Key among those would be a negative, pessimistic point of view about everything. My parents - particularly my mom - looked for the gray lining in every silver cloud. She was always suspicious of everyone. She believed the world was out to get her. People were generally bad. And she passed that along in every interaction that we had. I made all "A's" on my report card...she wanted to know why there weren't all "A+'s". I joined the youth choir at our church...she wanted to know why I didn't volunteer to sing a solo. When I think about growing up, this constant criticism and negative point of view is what I recall most. And what I've really had to struggle with as a parent. It is surprising how something like that can impact my parenting even when I usually have a pretty upbeat view of life. But it does. I can really quickly slip into criticism with my kids. And I battle against that every day.

On a related note, now that you are no longer eating exclusively from boxes or cans, what would be your ideal meal? (Because, after all, the mashed potato story in January was the first post I read of yours.)

LOL...well I'm still not the mashed potato expert in our house...but if I'm going to talk about my ideal meal, it would be meal that was cooked by someone else and served to me, so my cooking skills would not be an issue. So what would I eat? I would have to say that shrimp would be somehow involved. I love shrimp. Fried shrimp. Shrimp with pasta. Baked stuffed shrimp. Suddenly I sound like that guy in Forest Gump! But I really do love shrimp. So I would start there...probably shrimp and scallops, some sun dried tomatoes, a nice red sauce spiced up with the red pepper flakes over a bed of angel hair pasta. Steamed asparagus on the side with a bit of butter and salt. Fresh, warm bread on the side. And a glass of some really good white wine. And dessert would probably be a nice slice of cheesecake with a cup of Hawaiian Kona coffee.

Are there things you've not yet done that you'd like to accomplish in your lifetime

That's a tough one. I've never had a lot of specific aspirations about accomplishments. Just that word implies some type of achievement. And I've always focused more on just being happy, enjoying life, enjoying my family. I never had goals of being "teacher of the year" or getting lots of promotions or owning my own business. So in that sense, I've accomplished what I wanted because I'm happy and I have a great family. So the only real accomplishment I would like to put a check mark beside would be providing a bit more financial security for my family. Teacher salaries don't lend themselves to lots of savings and investing. So that might be the one real accomplishment I would still like to get to.

But what if the question had just said...things you've not yet done that you would like to do? That changes the tone of the question a bit. And yes, there are many things I would like to do. Probably my biggest wish would be to have the chance to travel more. I would love to go to Europe. London, Paris, Rome. The opportunity to travel to some of these wonderful places would be awesome. And I've just never had that chance. I've been lucky enough to travel through much of the states, but other than a couple of trips up into Canada (which I really enjoyed) and a trip to the Bahamas, I've never been outside the US. So I hope to do that some day.

5) You commented that you'd be turning the idea of friendship and respect over in your head for the rest of the day. What did you come to?

When CS answered a question about friendship, she said the most important thing in a friendship was respect. But she elaborated about her thought process and I left a comment that her writing had left me thinking about the idea of friendship. And what did I think about? Well, respect is crucial in a friendship. As is honesty and loyalty. There are many qualities that are necessary in the development of a true, deep friendship. And I'm not sure that the quality I settled on is so different from CS's. Perhaps at some level it is just semantic differences. But the key quality I think is essential in both the person I'm befriending and in the relationship itself is - integrity. To me, this implies a person who is honest. A person who can be trusted. A person that I can admire and respect because they stand up for their beliefs and principles. But the word doesn't just apply to the person...but also to the relationship. Being in a relationship that has integrity feels as if we both have made a certain commitment...a bond to be honest with each other, to share advice when asked, to support each other, to encourage each other, to share love and compassion toward each other. But I also like that the word integrity means solidarity, togetherness, unity. That is a part of a deep friendship that can't be achieved if the people involved don't have a personal quality of integrity. In this sense, the personal qualities come together to form the qualities of the relationship itself.

It was fun thinking about these five questions! And it was certainly a challenge. Thanks to CS for her great questions. If you've never checked out her blog, pay her a visit. She has some excellent writing and some awesome photos.

And in the spirit of the meme, I will gladly compose questions for others. Leave a comment that says you would like to be interviewed. Or send me an e-mail. Just make sure your e-mail is on your blog or somehow included in your comment so I can send along your questions.


rhea said...

Gosh, your mom's qualities sounds a lot like mine. She was very critical of everyone. Ouch.

meno said...

There's a lot going on in this post. The questions range from playful to very thoughtful.

Criticism is the one thing from my mother that i have tried the hardest to not pass on.

EsLocura said...

Those were great questions and answers. It's interesting the things we take with us from our childhood into adulthood. I'm with you about traveling, I love to travel, haven't traveled much of late but prior to the last 2 yrs, I went everywhere.(am glad to see you back and having less pain.)

Jocelyn said...

Your intelligent, thoughtful answers have done justice to CS's amazing questions. What a great pairing you two are--like, um, Johnny Carson and Bette Midler?

Or something.

Bardouble29 said...

Sounds like a bunch of us were all raised with the same mold of mom. I too have tried to leave those qualities out of my own daily life. that is a lone of mine. Try them sauted with butter and garlic. Seved with rice...*drooling*

Sheila said...

I love the post today. What interesting answers. I too love being interviewed, answering questions posed by other people. It really makes you think sometimes.


charlottalove said...

I admire your determination to break the criticism cycle. And I don't remember now how I found your blog but I'm glad I did. I enjoyed the post. ...not ready to be interviewed yet though if the questions will be that deep. :o)

CS said...

What a great set of answers - they had the quality of a friend answering questions aloud. Your answer about how your thinking about blogging has changed mirrors my own thoughts on it. And I think we are aligned on feelings about friendship. Also, I am so not achievement oriented, that that meaning of it didn't occur to me - I was thinking along the lines of your second answer when I sid acomplishments - just things you'd like to do while you have the chance. Thanks so mch for playing along! And that dinner sounds pretty close to perfection to me, too!

Dorky Dad said...

Wow. Those were tough questions, and great answers. I, for one, agree with the desire for added financial security. That's why I'm selling a new service "pet my fat cat." $5 and I'll let you pet my cat. Actually, I'll pay people to do it for me, as my cat is sitting right on the desk in front of me making it nearly impossible to type this sentence. Just so you know what I put up with to blog ...

Anonymous said...

great questions and answers!
your ideal meal is well.. ideal.

KT said...

I just stumbled across your blog. Just wanted to compliment you on such an honest and thoughtful post.

One of the reasons I started my blog was to learn to be as truthful and introspective as you are here. :)

Jay said...

Glad your mouf is feeling better.

Great thinking questions and answers. Makes me think a little about the friendship issue myself.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Isn't it interesting how the things we disliked most in our parents are the same things we battle against in ourselves?

Love your thoughts on friendship.

SzélsőFa said...

wow, I had pleasure reading through your thoughtful answers

psycho-therapist said...

i think i need to get back out and play. so... interview me. (and i'd love to share that meal. yummm!)

Starrlight said...

Really interesting post, your mom and my mom would so get along. I once asked her why she had to rain on every parade I had. She questioned my dreams so much when I was a child I just gave up on them. I love the woman, but man. I would so not want to be her. It just looks so unpleasant!

Bahamas Karen said...

Yikes - your mom has more evil twins out there than she probably suspects ;)

On a lighter note - I've had fun reading through your blog. Thanks for sharing!

Gretchen said...

Great post. Again, so glad for Mama P's referral. :)

And...BTW, I thought we were the only people who had multiple fit balls and mini tramps and fidget tools right near the dinner table.