Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday: Pop Quiz

Even Proust liked quizzes! Who knew?
Click to learn more and see Proust's questions & answers!

I like the observation by editor Henry-Jean Servat that even when the questions were simply of the yes / no variety, Proust's answers were not: "The stupid answers in the album would have required conclusive answers, too uncouth to be exact. But a master with words like Proust knew how to get out of a trap like this. And he escapes either by remaining silent and not answering, or by doing the opposite and producing long lists or general ideas."

I tried to do the same, though I never realized when I was doing these a few years back with a few friends and relatives, that we were following in the footsteps of Proust!

Thanks to my friend Leonard Orr for bringing my attention to
The Proust Questionnaire!

Not the Proust questions, but same idea:

A PERFECT DAY IS: Swimming, reading, writing, drinking tea, the kitchen clean, maybe baking, the windows open. Ger home on vacation.

MY LOVE LIFE IN A WORD OR TWO: I am the luckiest.

WORST EVER BLOW TO MY PRIDE: Some scholarships I failed to receive in grad school.

YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO KNOW: That I like Sudoku better than Crossword Puzzles.

NO ONE KNOWS (well, now they will): That I have given up sorting the laundry. I just toss it all in together & hope for the best

MY SIMPLEST PLEASURE: Playing with stickers.

MY GUILTIEST PLEASURE: Spending a lot of money to have my nails done.

MY STATED HOBBY: Writing cards & letters.

MY SECRET HOBBY: Rewriting history.

MY HIDDEN TALENT: I'm surprisingly good at parallel parking, considering my general dislike of driving & my lack of spatial skills.

IN MY FRIDGE YOU'LL ALWAYS FIND: Milk for my kids' cereal. Oops! Except when we run out!


WHAT I'D SAY TO MY TWENTY-SOMETHING SELF: No need to get married just yet.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER I WOULD: Major in Accounting instead of English. Go figure!



I'D LOVE TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL OF: Shakespeare & Jesus, so that we could have comprehensive biographies of these two guys.

IF I COULD WIGGLE MY NOSE LIKE IN BEWITCHED, I WOULD: Pop in to visit all my faraway friends & relatives.

ALWAYS MAKES ME LAUGH: Reading Dave Barry, Bill Bryson, Roz Chast, Jack Handey, Anne Lamott, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell; listening to Stephen Colbert; watching Christmas Vacation.

MY MOTHER / FATHER WAS RIGHT ABOUT: Learn to drive a standard before an automatic!

ECO-FRIENDLY CHANGES IN MY LIFE: No more Plastic "Glad" Wrap, instead I save the wax paper cereal bags to reuse for food storage; always running the dishwasher on "Light" and doing most of the laundry on "Delicate" -- so far, everything still comes out clean (see sorting tip, above).

MY LIFE WOULD BE SIMPLER IF: I would stop being so fretful.

I WOULD STOP BEING SO FRETFUL IF: Only I knew how to stop being so fretful. (See righthand column!)


SOME MOVIES THAT I LIKE IN SPITE OF MYSELF: Talladega Nights, The Terminator (#1 only, the others -- no), Zoolander

ON MY "NOT TO DO" LIST: Coloring my hair & polishing the ceiling (our phrase for excessive housecleaning)


If you'd like to read what a few others have said . . .

Here's another one I did with my family:
Family Fun, Peg's Quiz

1.What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Hot tea

2.Where was your profile picture taken?
Little Rock

3.Can you play Guitar Hero?
Never tried

4.Name someone who made you laugh today?
My friend Cate

5.How late did you stay up last night and why?
3:00 am, because I like to be the last one up

6.If you could move somewhere else, would you?
Maybe back to Philly

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
Metaphorically speaking!

8. Which of your friends lives closest to you?

9. Do you believe ex's can be friends?
Maybe the good ones -- after 20 years or so;
the bad ones --see you around in a million years.

10. How do you feel about Dr Pepper?
My fav!

11. When was the last time you cried really hard?
A couple days ago, but that's normal for me.

12. Who took your profile picture?
An ex

13. Who was the last person you took a picture of?
Gerry in Colorado

14. Was yesterday better than today?
I think it's a tie -- both good

15. Can you live a day without TV?
I think I could go for the rest of my life & never miss it!

16. Are you upset about anything?
Well, worried, but that's normal for me.

17. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it?
Connect, only connect!

18. Are you a bad influence?
On whom?

19. Night out or night in?
Usually in

20. What items could you not go without during the day?
I guess most things are optional, but . . . books, cats, tea.

21. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
Must have been when Daddy died.

22. What does the last text message in your inbox say?
I think it says take this quiz!

23. How do you feel about your life right now?
Every day, a new surprise!

24. Do you hate anyone?
"Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

25. If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find?
I think about 92 unanswered requests -- if one of them is from you,
please forgive!

26. Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?
Well, there IS some Excedrin in my system.

27. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
An ex

28. What song is stuck in your head?
"Call me, call me, call me any any anytime. Call me!"

29. Someone knocks on your window at 2:00 a.m. who do you want it to be?
An ex. No, just kidding! Santa Claus with presents!

30.Wanna have grandkids before you’re 50?
Uh, too late for that. Maybe 60?

31. Name something you have to do tomorrow?
Take Sam to get his driver's license (see #16 above).

32. Do you think too much or too little?
If only I could turn my brain off . . .

33. Do you smile a lot?
Yes, also smirk a lot

And yet another, from 2002, like a nice long conversation with a friend! The thoughtful questions reminded me of this recent poetic discovery:

There are certain ladies in our land
Still living and still unafraid
Whose hearts have known a lot of pain,
Whose eyes have shed so many tears,
Who welcomed pity with disdain
And view the fast encroaching years
Humorously and undismayed.

There are certain ladies in our land,
Whose courage is too deeply bred
To merit unreflecting praise.
For them no easy, glib escape;
No mystic hopes confuse their days;
They can identify the shape
Of what's to come, devoid of dread.

There are certain ladies in our land
Who bring to Life the gift of gay
Uncompromising sanity.
The past, for them, is safe and sure.
Perhaps their only vanity
Is that they know they can endure
The rigours of another day.

by Noel Coward (1899 - 1973)

Not sure about the identity of "L. R - M" but loved the poem on first sight and would be proud if I could ever be known for my "uncompromising sanity." The poem seems to go along with some of these survey answers:

1. FULL GIVEN NAME: Kitti Beth Lindsey Carriker McCartney.

& LATEST NICKNAME: "Kit - Bag." No, I didn't mind it when my sister - in - law gave me a new book bag inscribed "Your Old Kit Bag." In fact, "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag" has long been one of my favorite tunes, especially the way that Roy Scheider sings it in All That Jazz!

2. CURRENT LIVING ARRANGEMENT? Big old (1805) renovated (2001) colonial house in Philadelphia's historic district, or as we like to call it
-- our nation's oldest neighborhood!

3. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee & THE RADIANT WAY by Margaret Drabble (both re-reads). I'm also just getting ready to read THE ENGLISH PATIENT (Michael Ondaatje) for the first time. I loved MY YEAR OF MEATS and have passed that recommendation on to many people; it ties in perfectly with Sei Shonagon & THE PILLOW BOOK and all the wonderful lists, e.g., "Hateful

4. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Hello Kitty! And my screen saver is a photograph taken by my son Ben.

5. FAVORITE BOARD GAME? Yahtzee (does that count?) Close seconds -- CLUE and SCRABBLE.

6. FAVORITE MAGAZINE? Not a big magazine reader . . . just like to thumb through & look at the pretty pictures in Victoria, Victorian Homes, Mary Engelbreit

7. FAVORITE SMELLS? Windsong perfume (but not to wear; I've had the same bottle for at least 25 years. I just open it up every now & then and enjoy a few seconds of aroma-therapy! Also, baking bread or other treats from the oven, lilacs, dry red wine (breath in deep -- even better than tasting!), and a nice hot load of laundry with Clorox bleach. I also like to be walking along the sidewalk and suddenly catch a whiff of someone else's dryer vent, perfumed with one of those little fabric softening sheets.

8. FAVORITE SOUND? those old-fashioned and highly breakable glass wind chimes from kindergarten, and -- this may sound like a strange one -- but I love the sound, when I'm watching a movie or a TV show, of someone opening up a letter. That crackling sound of the paper always takes me by surprise and doesn't sound to me anything at all like the unremarkable sound of opening up a letter in real life. Also, listening to music by the great composers (Bach, Mozart, etc.) and hearing my children or my husband play the piano. And how about hearing that talented Andreas Scholl sing a sad, sad song? Heartbreaking, but in the very best way!

9. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP? An optimistic (& unrealistic) mental run-through of all the chores & projects I hope to accomplish that day. I'm usually off by at least 50% of what it is humanly possible for me to actually do. Oh, well, hope springs eternal!


11. HOW TALL ARE YOU? 5'5"

12. HOW MANY RINGS BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE? I never answer the phone anymore, but my machine picks up at the 3rd ring; after that, if I can hear that it's a call I want to take, then I pick up as soon as I can race down to the kitchen (yes, there are other phones around the house; but the only answering machine is in the kitchen, and I HAVE to screen in order to avoid crazies). Where is the oddest place that you've ever found your phone? One of mine was missing for three days one time before I was able to locate it in the laundry basket!


14. MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE? My relationships & keeping in touch.


16. FAVORITE ICE CREAM, CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? Peanut Butter Chocolate by Haagen Daz or Baskin Robbins; or Espresso Chip by Edy's. This week, I bought some Rocky Road and some Coffee ice cream both by Turkey Hill. The Rocky Road is yummy. But for my favorite flavors, I always go by brand. For example, Turkey Hill's Peanut Butter chocolate is nowhere near as good as the above-mentioned brands, and their coffee flavor is nice enough but doesn't hold a candle to Edy's.

17. DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST? Too scary for me! But I am a gifted parallel parker, and have been known to parallel park six times before breakfast!

18. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? I've developed the habit of sleeping with one of Sam's hand knitted baby blankets (a gift when he was born) wrapped around my shoulders. Occasionally I am honored by Josef's decision to sleep next to me. This doesn't happen often, but lately he's been snuggling up every night, I think because he wanted to be sure he got more than one mention in this survey!

19. STORMS--COOL OR SCARY? Worrying. I'm always so glad when they come to an end and the sun breaks through in an Emily Dickinson kind of way.

20. WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? A green 1979 Dodge Dart (this was in 1976) with a manual transmission on the steering column -- if you can believe it! That was really way back when!

21. WHAT DO YOU DRIVE NOW? A red 1994 Oldsmobile station wagon with a backward facing way-back -- yes, this IS your father's Oldsmobile!

22. IF YOU COULD MEET OR SEE ONE PERSON? One of my once & future Messiahs -- Jesus or King Arthur or Princess Diana.


24. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? Yes, and asparagus stems also!

25. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED, WHAT WOULD IT BE? My long ago dream was to design and edit beautiful literary artistic greeting cards, but it turns out that so many others had that dream as well, so I have become content with purchasing their products instead. I also have a happy memory of teaching a couple of wonderful literature classes that involved a lot of talking and not a lot of grading. I wouldn't mind doing that again, but I'm afraid that's thinking inside the box because it's something I've already done before. My DREAM job, hmmmmm? I'll have to think some more on that one.

26. EVER BEEN IN LOVE? Remember that lovely Rita Coolidge song, "All Time High": "In my time I've said these words before, but now I realize my heart was telling me lies. . . . " Well, over the years, my heart has told me many lies; however, it was right a time or two! Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies!

27. IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL? Well, I can be such a misery and a closet pessimist that I fear I have to say half empty. But the Dalai Lama and various other spiritual advisors continually show me that this is not wholesome path to take, so I try to count my blessings and believe in what I can -- Christmas, the miracle of oxygen, the precession of the equinoxes.

28. FAVORITE T.V. SHOWS? I can only answer ALL MY CHILDREN. Anything else would seem disloyal. The only other show that I can remember watching as faithfully as AMC was SISTERS, but it's off the air now.

29. DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? Yes, of course, having been raised back in the days when they used to say about Einstein, "But can he type?"

30. WHAT IS UNDER YOUR BED? One of those big cardboard art portfolios, containing some old scrap books. And also, a good sized roaming herd of dust buffalo . . . you know, as in, "Give me a home where the buffalo roam"? Well, in my case, that's "where the DUST buffalo roam." Haha.

31. FAVORITE NUMBER? I never thought about this one. I guess I have a fondness for a nice even dozen.

32. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? Diving and figure skating.

33. CURRENT MOVIES: Gerry & I have just recently seen two very good, thought-provoking, understated British films at the cinema: Lawless Heart & Spider

34. HELPFUL ADVICE: Going through Dr. Christine's list of "What Women Should Have" step by step will take you out of your cynical mood [not sure anymore what I was referring to here]. Listening to in the car: Dr. Julie White's Self - Esteem for Women.

Additional quizzes . . .Possible ~ Plausible ~ Improbable

Quarantine Quiz Shows

Class of '75

Challenges: Special K & Ten Favs

"Christmas Quiz"

"You're Out Walking"

"Take This Quiz!"

["Monday: Pop Quiz"]

"Talk to Me"


  1. By all means, feedback! I love your list. How did you come up the prompts? And I am most curious about why you hated swimming and now love it. What changed? I have been advised to take up swimming because running has become too hard on my joints. But I HATE swimming.

  2. Ha,ha. I hate swimming too and remembered yesterday a time that you and I and the boys and probably Beth and Drew and Graham were at the pool in West Philly and you told me about swimming under the sky. Your laps are pretty darn impressive. The next time someone related to you says, "Ah mom, nobody reads your blog" say to him, "yeah and you don't swim laps."
    About your list on the right: "I'd rather be happy then right" has been mine but you know me, sometimes just a good "You are an asshole" helps too!

  3. I found your blog randomly (hitting "next blog" which usually does not hit a gold mine) and love it. The quotes were the first thing that caught my eye. Then your story about "it's not on my radar." That did it for me...I love anything that keeps me out of judgment mode. Your list is great...I have a spiral pad of heavy card stock (about 4 x 7?) and on each one I write a quote or saying or whatever. Lyrics. Etc. So the one I have up these days is "Save the drama for your mama." I love it. I've bookmarked your blog and hope you add to it every day.

  4. Is there really a world without books and cats? How sad. Love "its not on my radar" I have a grandaughter and grandson to impress with sage life lessons. Your blog is great. Will check back.

  5. Jane, Thanks for your kind words and for signing up to follow my blog. You'll notice that today's entry (26 August) features "Grandmotherly Advice." I hope you like it and that it will come in handy with your grandchildren! All the best, Kitti

  6. Lani, Thanks so much for finding my blog and for your enthusiasm in sticking with it. Please sign up as a Follower! I thought you might like the Ruskin for your spiral pad, and also the advice from Pam & Peggy's grandmother. I think yours -- "Save the drama for you mama" -- goes right along with "My childhood is over!" Thanks for bookmarking, Kitti

  7. "I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo t-shirt.
    'Cause it says, like, 'I'm here to party, but I wanna be formal too.'
    'Cause I like to party, so I like my Jesus to party."