Back to the Questions

Well good golly, I had completely forgotten about my formspring page until I was notified earlier today that someone had asked me a question. And let me just tell you, it’s a doozy. We have to get through several more, however, before that one can have its turn. So let’s start where we left off, shall we?

We all know the moon is not made of green cheese, but what if it was made of spare ribs? Would you eat it then? Heck, I know I would – I’d have seconds and then wash it down with a nice, cool Budweiser.

Well, Harry Caray, it appears as though you’ve forgotten at least one thing about me, and that is that I don’t eat spare ribs. I wouldn’t eat green cheese either, and as I’m sure you are well aware, I don’t like beer. If you were not aware of that, now you are. I also don’t like coffee.

Now let me ask you a question. Would you rather be the top scientist in your field or have mad cow disease?

The next “question” isn’t really question at all. In fact, I’m not sure it’s even a complete thought. It just says:

your first

I’ll be honest. I’m not really sure what you’re going for here, and I really don’t remember a lot of my firsts, but I’ll make a list and hope it meets with your approval. Let’s go with alphabetical, yeah?

My first…

  • apartment – Junior year of college in an apartment complex called Pirate’s Cove. Becky, Faith and Nicole were my roommates. Ask me how I damaged the coffee table.
  • boyfriend – Brandon Inscore. We dated for about a year in high school, and we absolutely were NOT making out at the bottom of the stairs after the prom in ’97 when my mom snarled at us.
  • car – A light blue Toyota Corolla named Gloria the Disco Queen. Yes, that was her whole name.
  • date – With Brandon. I’m pretty sure we went to Wendy’s and a high school basketball game. Tres romantique!
  • email address – besufern@aol.com. Don’t try it. It no longer exists.
  • friend – I don’t know. Probably someone at church? There’s a great picture somewhere of me and 3 other kids in our 3-year-old Sunday school class. I went to 2 of their weddings in the past few years, and I go to all of the other one’s concerts when I can.
  • gynecologist visit – Don’t worry, guys, I won’t gross you out. I’ll just say that when she asked me what sort of contraception I was using, I told her abstinence. She asked me how long I thought that would last, and I said, “Until I get married.” She laughed at me and said, “Yeah we’ll see about that.”
  • hair color experience – I started out with the temporary stuff, back when they still made level 1 color that would wash out in a week. I’ve dyed it so many times now, I don’t remember the first one. But it was probably red, and Jeani was probably involved.
  • iPod – I bought it in NYC, in the SoHo Apple Store, just before I ran off to Europe for the first time, in 2004. I just bought my second one last summer.
  • job – If babysitting counts, then that’s what it was. But if we’re talking about work for which I was paid and then later received a W-2, then that would be Caswell.
  • knitting project – My grandmother taught me to knit when I was a kid. I have no idea how to start or finish a knitting project, but I can actually work those needles. In fact, in middle school, I played Beth in a drama class production of Little Women. In one scene, I sat by the fire, knitting. People were amazed by how real it looked. But alas, I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished a knitting project.
  • lemonade stand – I think it was with Rebecca Booi. Her house was in a great spot, right at an intersection.
  • musical – When I was in maybe 4th grade, my sisters and I got the soundtrack of The Phantom of the Opera on double cassette tape. We LOVED it, and the next year, we all went to New York for Thanksgiving and saw it on Broadway. So to all of you who have been (and will be) subjected to my random musical outbursts, you can thank my parents for getting me hooked early.
  • NYC apartment – It was graduate housing, which meant a shared studio with a Taiwanese Canadian named Lily Lu. It was in an unbelievably amazing location that made taxi drivers jealous, but I’m still paying for it.
  • origami – It might not have been my first, but I made literally hundreds of paper cranes in high school. What? I was the president of the Japanese club.
  • pet – I had a fish in high school named Chip. He was more than just decoration to me.
  • quadratic equation mnemonic device – It was to the tune of Frère Jacques and went like this: Minus b, minus b / plus or minus root, plus or minus root / b squared minus 4 ac, b squared minus 4 ac / over 2 a, over 2 a. BAM. Still got it. I have no idea what you use the quadratic equation for any more, but that’s how it goes. Music, check. Math, not so much.
  • rifle – No, I’ve never owned a rifle, but I sho nuff did learn to shoot one at Camp Cheerio when I was 10 years old. That was perhaps the unsung verse of the Cheerio Girl song (get me to sing it for you some time).
  • second language – I have a really vague memory of taking French classes when I was very young. Did I just make that up? Specifically, I remember a “cultural lesson” wherein we were expected to eat escargot, and I almost vomited.
  • trip outside of the U.S. and its territories – Honduras, 2002
  • UFO sighting – I’ve never actually seen one, but one Christmas at my grandparents’ house, we could have sworn Santa was on the roof with aliens, burping.
  • vote – I know several people who will be very upset with me for this, but I had never voted until the most recent presidential election. I plan on voting from now on, though.
  • wedding – Not MY first wedding, of course, but the first one I attended. And I have no idea. Someone in the family? An aunt and uncle, perhaps?
  • xylophone? – It is very late, and these letters are getting harder. I remember having one of those rolling xylophones as a kid with the mallet underneath that see-sawed as you pulled it, striking the same two bars over and over again. I learned to play “Do-Re-Mi” on that thing.
  • YouTube video – Has not yet been made, I told you. Sheesh. Give it a rest already.
  • Zumba class – Also has sadly not yet happened. But it will. Oh…it will.

Well that was fun! And exhausting. I’m going to bed. Join me again tomorrow for more blogging fun!

Open Question

This is one of those classic questions, almost on par with “If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?” or “If money were no object, what would you do with your life?” It’s one of those questions everyone is asked at some point, but I think some people think about it more than others. Here it is:

If you could do over one thing that you have done or said in the past, what would it be and why?

My initial, somewhat sarcastic response to this is, “What? Just ONE thing?” But I think that I think that’s what I’m supposed to say. Really and truly, I aim to live with no regrets, and part of that means living from here on out so that I won’t have any regrets, but the other part is not regretting anything I’ve done in the past.

Everything I’ve said and done and everything that’s been said and done to me have served in part to shape me into who I am now. And let’s be honest, I like who I am. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t put it up on the internet every day. So even though there are painful parts of my past, and even though I’ve done stupid things, without them all, I wouldn’t have learned valuable lessons that I can carry with me from this point forward.

But I’ll be honest. There have been a few boys I wish I’d kissed, a lot of money I wish I’d saved, and several unfortunate haircuts. So here are a few tips on how to live a life without regrets:

  • When considering a hair style, think about how it’ll look on your head for real, and not just how you’d like to imagine it looking in your imagination where you have that actor/actress/hair model’s hair and not your own.
  • When considering a hair style, think about what you’ll think when you look at pictures of it in 15 years. Will it just be a sign of the times, or will you think, “WHO ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN?????”
  • If you’re going to spend more than $200, do your research, and get someone else to help you.
  • Be honest.
  • Be straightforward.
  • Don’t kiss all the boys (or girls) you feel like kissing. Just because you feel like doing something, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea.
  • Eat your veggies.
  • Take risks.
  • Have regular adventures.
  • Have spontaneous adventures.
  • Ask questions.
  • Do what you love, no matter the cost.
  • Be about something bigger than just your life.
  • Hold a baby every chance you get.
  • Hug the people you love. Full frontal hugs.
  • Sing in the car.
  • Write down good memories so you don’t forget them.
  • Do unexpected things.
  • Surround yourself with people who make you laugh.
  • Savor every bite.
  • View every experience as an educational one.

And here’s the open question:

What are your tips for living without regret?

Cut the Mullet

Y’all, these questions are getting more and more bizarre. Not this one, but I was just looking at the most recent ones, and well, it’s about to get real interesting. Next week. For now, we’ve got to deal with this:

When are mullets going to come back into style? And be honest, are you counting down the days to that moment?

Dude, where have you been? The mullet has been back in style for at least five years, six in Europe. There are really two major differences I can see between mullet popularity now and the mullet popularity of olde.

  1. Many of today’s hipster trends started out as redneck and/or 80s trends, and the hipsters are now cycling them back through with a strong sense of irony. Hipsters love irony. Half of them don’t really understand what it means, but they love it regardless. Anyway, the mullet is one of those trends that was popular for a while in the 80s, and then the rednecks and big hair bands carried into the 90s, but now the only people rockin’ it are the rednecks who just can’t seem to give it up…and the hipsters.
  2. Curly mullets are OUT. Forever. And thank goodness because that is not a good look for anyone. It somehow worked for the glam bands of the 80s and early 90s, but once grunge came in, the curly mullet went out, I believe, never to return. Amen. I’ve seen a wavy hipster mullet here and there, but that is a very different animal. I’m talking about curl. A.C. Slater, Ogilvie home perm curl.

On my particularly funky hipster days, I will catch a vision of myself with some crazy hair style, and I’ll be all about it, and I might even try to get it cut that way. The last time that happened, I essentially wanted a mullet, but really what I was after was versatility. I wanted “bangs” I could sweep down from the top when I wanted bangs, but that I could push aside on days I didn’t want hair in my face – humid days.

It didn’t really work. I just sort of had a mullet. I did the bangs once, and they received rave reviews, but I could never get them to work again because my hair just does whatever it feels like doing with little to no regard for my wishes.

What I have learned from this is that I can do layers, and I can change up the color, but that is about it. Anything else either does not work at all or only works for about 2 days before the weather changes, or it gets too long to keep doing it, or I sleep on it wrong, or I don’t gel it just right, or the stage of the moon shifts, or American Idol gets a new judge. And then it’s pointless to even try.

So no, to be honest, I am not counting down the days until curly mullets come back into style because (a) I don’t believe it’s going to happen, and (b) dang. If the curly mullet ever is en vogue again, I’ll probably be too old to be among the trend-setting unless it’s only in style for women of a certain age, in which case, I still won’t get one.

Case closed.

Tat2 Questions

Y’all seriously, I have an UNHEALTHY NEED to combine words. I literally can’t stop myself. Like in the title there, do you see what I did? I have 2 questions today, both about tattoos, and I just couldn’t help it. It’s a sickness. But here we go with the questions.

What’s the tattoo, and where is it?

I think I mentioned in the answer to this question that I’d gotten a tattoo. Now, there was very little about that post that was serious, so I don’t know why this reader thought that the part about me getting a tattoo was true, but…keen eye, reader. Fine work indeed.

Let me just start by saying that I thought about getting a tattoo for YEARS before I actually did it. I was never opposed to them in any way; I just couldn’t think of something I wanted on my body FOREVER. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to get a design or a picture – I could get words, and y’all know how I love words. So then the question was, “What should it say?”

The first thing that came to mind was a song we used to sing in high school chorus (How many Madrigal Singers on the blog page???). The lyrics of this song came from the Song of Solomon 8:6, which King James translates as, “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death.” Based on that, I wanted a name of God “sealed” on my arm, but what name? I thought about all the names used for God in the Old Testament – Elohim (God Almighty), Adonai (Lord), Jehova-Jireh (The Lord will provide), Jehova-Shammah (The Lord who is present), El-Roi (The strong one who sees), El-Olam (The everlasting God) – but they were all just a little too specific for me. I wanted a word that would encompass God’s very nature. And then I remembered 1 John 4: 8 and 16. “God is love.”

At this point, there were so many Scriptures that this one word reminded me of that an entirely different thing came to mind. In Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” I liked the idea of having God’s words attached to me so I can see them whenever I use my hands. Walking around with a box attached to my wrist all the time, however, was just not practical. Walking around with a box attached to my forehead was even less practical, and clearly I was not going to get a face tattoo, so we were back to the arm. And this reinforced my original idea based on the Song of Solomon.

So. Love on my arm. That part was set…sort of. To make a long story short, a week or two before I actually got it, I found Galatians 5:13, which says, among other things, “serve one another in love,” and it was then that I decided to get serve on my arm too.

So I think technically I have two tattoos. On the top of my right wrist, facing me, it says “agape,” which is love in Greek. It is there, facing in that direction, to remind me that I am loved unconditionally, selflessly, sacrificially, as the word in Greek implies. On the other side (the palm-side) of my wrist, it says “douleuo,” which means serve. Literally, it means “to make oneself a slave.” I liked the specific meaning of this one as well because I feel like it’s the proper response to “agape.” It’s an intentional act of sacrifice to serve someone else. This one faces out, toward my hand, in the direction service should go.

They’re both in Greek because I liked the specific meanings of the words in Greek, and because Galatians 5:13 was originally written in Greek. Plus, I think the Greek letters are really pretty. And I got them both in brown for two reasons. (1) I wanted them to look more like henna than real tattoo – organic and natural. And (2) as they fade, I wanted them to look more like birthmarks than old tattoos – like love and service are just a part of me.

So that answers question #1. Now for #2:

If one’s husband were, hypothetically, opposed to tattoos, but one wanted to get one, where would be the best location to ensure the husband didn’t have to see it in, um, intimate moments?

Dude, you are asking the wrong girl. I know nothing of, um, intimate moments, but I would imagine he’d have to see it at some point no matter what. I mean, unless you got it in some bizarre place where no one would ever see it (like in your crack or on the bottom of your foot), and then what’s the point? Plus, I just don’t think you should get one if your husband is opposed to them. I know it’s your body, but what with you and your husband being “one” and all, it’s sort of his body too. I think it’s just more respectful of him and your relationship for you to not get a tattoo if he’s that opposed to it.

I mean let’s say I was married, and my husband wanted to grow a mullet, and then shave Mt. Rushmore in one side of his skull and a swastika in the other. So essentially, now he has a mohawk down the center with long, nappy hair down his back, our founding fathers on the right, and a Nazi symbol on the left. On the one hand, hey, it’s his head, not mine. But on the other hand, I would kill him. Especially if we’d talked about it, and I’d said, “No. Absolutely not.”

It’s like when my friend Emily’s husband wanted to name their first kid (boy or girl) Beef Supreme Gibson. And he was serious. It caused a big fight because Emily felt that Nick wasn’t taking their kid seriously, and Nick felt that Emily wasn’t respecting his opinion. Ok, so it’s not really like that at all, but that’s a true story. They named her Magnolia, by the way.

So to recap: Don’t get a tattoo if your husband is so opposed to them that you’d want to hide it from him during times when you’re supposed to be the closest two human beings can possibly be. Consider it your act of unselfish love and service to him.

an easy one

Here’s the question:

Have you ever done Locks of Love?

No. I wish I’d known about it in 1999 (?) when I cut my long hair all off. It’s pretty much been short to medium length ever since then, and they require you to have at least 10 inches to donate. If I can ever get it grown out, though, and then if I ever decide to cut it all off again, I would definitely donate it.

I’m beat today, y’all, or I’d answer another question. The next two in the list sort of go together, though, so I’ll try to do them both tomorrow. For now, I’m going to space out for an hour or so until I have to go to work. And y’all can go watch my new favorite video.

Like Breakfast for Dinner

Today I’m having Saturday on Friday. It’s like having breakfast for dinner, only there are no waffles, and I don’t get paid for any work I’ve done because I haven’t done any work. I’m also having Saturday again tomorrow, which is going to be awesome because I’m headed to WILKESBORO!!!!! in less than an hour. My friend Susan is getting married, see, and then Emily Furr Hogan and I are going to a lawn mower race. Yes, that’s right. Redneck men with souped up riding mowers will barrel around a dirt track (I assume it’s dirt anyway) lined with blocks of straw. I just hope I can capture one of them losing control of his mower and flying through the hay as his wife and kids (aka “pit crew”) look on in horror. Maybe the wife will cover the children’s eyes and then rush to her husbands side, giving nary a thought to the cleanliness of her freshly laundered, white, cut-offs as she kneels in the beer-mud and gently strokes the mullet out of his eyes, whispering words of love and encouragement while we all wait in shocked silence until the ambulance arrives.

And also, I’m wearing a cute dress (to the wedding, not the lawn mower race). It’s going to be a good weekend.

Jeware. Welcome.

Today’s formspring question isn’t so much a question as it is a request, and a rather vague one at that, but here goes:

More on Jews, Please. Thank Jew.

Friends, I’m not really sure how to respond to this, but I suppose I have several options.

  1. I could start an ongoing Jew segment, giving you the history, culture and traditions of the Jewish people. Honestly, though, I think that would be a little weird and not at all in keeping with the serious themes of online dating, disturbing dreams, food, and haircare products you’ve come to expect here. Sure, there’s the occasional bizarre writing activity, but I think I’ll save all my educational writing for Your Dictionary. I am actually supposed to write an article this month on the origins of Judaism, so keep an eye out for that.
  2. I could replace “Jew” with “you” in a sneaky reversal of the song-enhancing practice I learned from Collice and Grady, and tell you more about myself. But who wants to hear that? Oh wait. Apparently y’all do. You keep coming back here to read this stuff and asking me questions to answer (some of which are going to get REAL personal this week). So I guess in a way, I answer this request every time I post something new. Jew’re welcome.
  3. I could give you some awesome song lyrics with “Jews” in place of all the “yous,” but you have to promise not to think me racist or antisemitic in any way. I’m not talking about actual people. It’s just a word that sounds like another word. And makes every song hilarious (and sometimes horribly offensive). My apologies in advance to every Jewish reader I have. If I could do the same thing to followers of other religions, believe me, I would. I actually do it sometimes with “Mormon,” putting it in place of “moment.” That’s pretty funny too. “Where was the Mormon we needed the most?” “I’m hanging by a Mormon here with Jews.” – A DOUBLE!!

So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll give you some lyrics just like Bill and Ted gave the princesses before they got taken away by those royal ugly dudes. Let’s see…

  • “Jews don’t own me. Don’t say I can’t go with other boys, and don’t tell me what to do, and don’t tell me what to say, and please, when I go out with Jews, don’t put me on display. I don’t tell Jews what to say, and I don’t tell Jews what to do. Just let me be myself. That’s all I ask of Jews.”
  • “Jews, my darling Jews, mmmm…bittersweet memories – that is all I’m taking with me. So goodbye. Please don’t cry. We both know I’m not what Jews, Jews need. And I will always love Jews. I will always love Jews.”
  • “Jews must not know ’bout me, Jews must not know ’bout me. I can get another Jew in a minute. Matter fact, he’ll be here in a minute, baby. Jews must not know ’bout me, Jews must not know ’bout me. I can have another Jew by tomorrow, so don’t Jews ever for a second get to thinkin’ Jews irreplaceable.”
  • “Jews got a piece of me, and honestly, my life would suck without Jews.”
  • “If she would’ve been faithful, if she could have been true, then I would’ve been cheated. I would never know real love. I would’ve missed out on Jews.”
  • “Jews can’t escape my private eyes. They’re watching Jews.”
  • “Wherever Jews go, whatever Jews do, I will be right here waiting for Jews.”
  • “Tell me how am I supposed to live without Jews now that I’ve been lovin’ Jews so long? How am I supposed to live without Jews? And how am I supposed to carry on when all that I’ve been living for is gone?”
  • “I’m not gonna write Jews a love song ’cause Jews asked for it, ’cause Jews need one. You see, I’m not gonna write Jews a love song ’cause Jews tell me it’s make or breakin’ this.”
  • “For all those times Jews stood by me, for all the truths that Jews made me see, for all the joy Jews brought to my life, for all the wrongs that Jews made right, for every dream Jews made come true, for all the love I found in Jews, I’ll be forever thankful, baby….Jews were my strength when I was weak, Jews were my voice when I couldn’t speak, Jews were my eyes when I couldn’t see, Jews saw the best there was in me, lifted me up when I couldn’t reach, Jews gave me faith ’cause Jews believed. I’m everything I am because Jews loved me. Jews gave me wings and made me fly, Jews touched my hand, I could touch the sky. I lost my faith, Jews gave it back to me. Jews said no star was out of reach. Jews stood by me, and I stood tall. I had their love, I had it all. I’m grateful for each day Jews gave me. Maybe I don’t know that much, but I know this much is true: I was blessed because I was loved by Jews. Oh, Jews were always there for me, the tender wind that carried me, light in the dark, shining their love into my life. Jews’ve been my inspiration. Through the lies, Jews were the truth. MY WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE BECAAAHAAAUSE OF JEWWWWEWWWWWS!”

Are Jew satisfied?

Some of you are not taking my formspring page seriously.

It has come to my attention that some of you are not taking this “Question of the Day” thing seriously and are posting ridiculous questions on my formspring page anonymously. And all I have to say to that is:

Well done. Keep ’em coming. Today’s question is:

Why don’t you have a cross cut into your hair any more?

Well the thing about doing crazy stuff to your hair (like bangs that make you look like Peter Brady or dying it black, which, coincidentally, also makes you look like Peter Brady) is that it is very difficult to maintain. And as slowly as I feel like my hair grows when I’m trying to grow it out, it actually grows really quickly, and I was having to go to the salon like once a week to get that cross shaped up. It just wasn’t worth it. That’s when I decided to get a tattoo instead.

It has been an exceptionally good week.

Today I made a delicious lentil recipe I found here. I had to cook it longer than the recipe calls for, but it was REALLY good. I stuffed my face with it for lunch AND dinner, and I’m going to have it for dinner again tomorrow (and probably lunch on Friday). Apart from that, this week has just been really good.

The weather is perfect, I saved electricity today by drying my laundry out on the porch, my students and I all came back from spring break with renewed energy, so classes have been particularly enjoyable and productive this week, I have had lots of good conversations with friends, DLF IS A FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR!!!!!!!!!! (which means I am legally obligated to go to Belgium in the next year), I’ve had a couple of really awesome hair days, I read the entire gospel of John yesterday, Lost and Glee were both great, and I’m going to Wilmington this weekend with my roommate. I honestly don’t know that I could ask for a better week. I think to do so would be extremely selfish and picky (but I wouldn’t argue with a boyfriend being thrown into the mix).

I don’t know what else to tell you except good night, pleasant dreams, ask me more questions, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Question of the Day

Today’s question comes from my formspring page. I’m not sure if someone actually asked me this, or if maybe formspring just felt bad for me because no one was asking me anything, so they threw one out there for me to answer. I don’t really care. It’s a good question.

What are your long-term plans in life?

I kind of thought we’d start out with things like, “What are your favorite pizza toppings?” or “How DO you get your hair to be so awesome?” but no, we’re going straight for the big guns. Mama, is that you again? Do you really think you’re going to get a satisfactory answer to this one? I’ll try.

I got out of the planning business a long time ago. I don’t know how many of you know this about me, but I started out in undergrad as a music major. I had plans, see? I was going to be a music therapist. But then that fell through, and I haven’t done much planning since. My college advisor asked me one time what my five-year plan was, and I think I just stared at her blankly for a minute before I either started laughing or broke down in tears. I just could not envision my life five years out. I still can’t. I haven’t even tried since then, and five years is really not that long, so as far as long-term plans go…well, you got me. I have no idea.

I do have things I want to do, but I don’t have a time line for them or anything like that. I’m working toward some goals, but I don’t know when I’ll achieve them, and I’m not trying to plan my life out too much because (a) there are so many things I can’t control, and (b) where’s the fun in that? I really like the spontaneity I’ve got going and the freedom I have to change things up at a moment’s notice. But for those of you who really want a more concrete answer to this question, the things I want to do are as follows:

  • get married
  • have kids (although I’m really interested in adoption, so I might get some kids rather than having them myself)
  • publish books (multiple)
  • continue to see new places in the world
  • build my savings account back up
  • pay off my student loans
  • eat delicious food
  • own a home
  • live off of writing and teaching (although I could still do the Census for fun)
  • enjoy whatever life throws at me because somehow, it all has the potential to be beautiful

Who’s next? Keep ’em coming!