Daily Archives: April 21, 2012

11 Question Tag

Yesterday, Gilly Gee the Lucid Gypsy invited anyone who feels like it to join her for a game of “Tag – you’re it!” –

The rules:
You must post these rules.
+
Each person must post 11 things about him/herself on their blog.
+
Answer the questions the “tagger” listed for you in their post,
(And create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer, if you can).
+
Choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post.
+
Let each blogger know that you have tagged them.

(But I’m going to do it Gilly’s way. Do you feel like answering some questions? Great! If you’d rather not, that’s great too. No pressure around here.)

1. Is there an item that you never leave home without, if so what is it?
My front door key! If I can lock the door behind me when I leave, I know I can let myself in again. But actually I take the key even to go as far as my front yard, even if I’m not going to close the door.

2. If you were given a free holiday is there a destination you would refuse to go to?
I love to travel. There are places I’m more eager to see than others, but even countries where I felt uneasy were interesting.

3. Did you have a school uniform? describe it!
When I was in school, only religious schools in the US used uniforms – not public schools like the one I went to. (These days, there is a small trend toward uniforms.) I did wear a uniform for marching band – red pants, red jacket with a triangular white overlay front and back, red cap with a small white plume. Our school colors were – did you guess? – red and white.

4. Do you still have friends from your school days?
No – maybe they remember those band uniforms! The friend I’ve known longest is a woman who started working where I did almost thirty years ago.

5. Have you ever tried any extreme sports/
No – too much of a klutz. I’d probably manage to break every bone I have.

6. Whats the longest you have slept in one go?
About ten hours, I think – I was sick at the time and not really paying attention to details like that.

7. From what you know about me is there a book you would recommend?
Tough one! I don’t want to pick a subject you have no interest in, but I also don’t want to suggest a beginner’s book about something you’re an expert on. I’ll make two suggestions: Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flanders (how things really got done behind the facade of ladylike idleness), and Women’s Work: the First 20,000 Years by Elizabeth Wayland Barber (a surprisingly fascinating history of spinning and weaving). At the moment, I’m also spellbound by A Forest of Kings by Schele and Freidel (a history of the Maya) – but it’s a 419 page book plus 120 pages of notes and index, and I’m only 80 pages into it. It could get boring later.

8. Could you ride a skateboard for a hundred metres without falling off?
Not hardly! That’s more than the length of a football field (American) – one of the lengths I know by instinct thanks to marching band – and I could probably manage to fall off a hundred times or so in that distance.

9. Favourite breakfast?
Well – usual breakfast is black coffee. But I think the best breakfast I ever had, in a restaurant some years ago, was blackberry pancakes, with blackberries incorporated in the batter and blackberry sauce over the pancakes. Mmm.

10. Can you navigate on a journey to a strange town a few hundred miles away?
Sure! Just let me study a map first and make a few notes to myself about the route I want to follow.

11. Is there something you cook really well?
Last night, my husband told me I make really good pizza – so I’ll go with that. (That time it was white pizza with broccoli and garlic.)

* * *

And then there’s the enormous challenge of coming up with 11 new questions. Let’s see:

1. If you could do exactly what you want for the next six months, what would you choose? (You have all the money and good health you need, and no responsibilities at all.)

2. I’ve never met anyone who likes both cooking and cleaning. Which do you hate?

3. Are you a cat person, dog person, all kinds of pet person, or someone who prefers animals at a distance?

4. How far do you live now from the place where you grew up?

5. How old were you when you learned to swim?

6. What’s your favorite sport?

7. Do you prefer hot weather or cold weather?

8. What’s your favorite city? Or would you rather be in a rural area?

9. Do you enjoy gardening?

10. Are you the oldest child in your family, middle, youngest, or only?

11. What period of history interests you the most?

(If you do answer these questions, I’d appreciate a pingback or a message so I can see your answers!)

Could I live on food stamps?

Just across the river, in Philadelphia and the adjoining Pennsylvania counties, the Coalition Against Hunger is making plans for people – people who don’t have to, that is – to live on a food stamp budget for a week. The estimate is that this comes out to $35 a week for one person. (Food stamps, or SNAP as the program is now officially called, are provided in varying amounts depending on family size and a lot of other complex variables.)

I’ll admit to having mixed feelings about this experiment. In some ways, it smells – no, reeks – of an upper-middle-class game of pretending to be poor, and thinking that this shows some sort of symbolic solidarity with people who really are poor. Folks, how about using the money you save to give your cleaning lady a raise? (And maybe some of the participants will.)

But I think I’m going to try it in spite of my doubts. With modifications. The Official Rules say that you’re supposed to use all newly purchased food for the week of April 23 – 29. I’m not going to do that; I have a lot of fresh produce that I bought during the past week, and it won’t keep till May. It seems completely against the idea of thrift (let alone imitation poverty) to just throw it all away unused.

Besides, I’ve been carefully tracking what I spend on food for several months, so it should be pretty easy to calculate how much it costs to feed me for a week, even if I am using food that’s already in the house. (The other semi-modification is that I’m not going to try to force my husband, let alone my adult son, to participate. I will be interested to see whether they feel as if I’ve been shorting them on quality or amounts of food for dinner; I’ll ask them at the end of the week. Meanwhile, I’m just going to calculate how much my food costs.)

But again, it isn’t right to do something like this purely as an experiment. Not when there are thousands of people for whom living on food stamps is no experiment; it’s just daily life. So how can I put the experience to use?

Well, one of the committees at church is looking into ways we can do more to help people who are short of food. (My church sprouts committees the way trees sprout leaves.) Maybe what I find out can be used toward that end. And, if I find out that I can manage on a food stamp budget, that means that I have some knowledge I should offer to anyone else who can use it (warning: more blog posts!). Also, if I can live on this restricted budget, I’m sure there are lots of charities that can use the cash I save.

Tomorrow, I can go on eating like a middle class person with a stable income. Monday, the test begins.