You've lived in several different countries - what are the high and low points of each? Your best memories and your worst?
Iíve lived in three countries, but on the border of several others so got some two for the price of one deals. Iíve lived in every major population center of the States, though, including Hawaii.
France, I think the quality of life is just plain wonderful in terms of the sights and sounds and smells. And tastes! I particularly love the smaller villages out of the tourist scene I loved the fact that we had health insurance and retirement no matter what job we did. I always spoke French so I didnít have the language barrier but some cultural barriers were harder than others. I just wrote about those! I donít enjoy the bureaucracy in France. The work world was very interesting but, well, it's harder to find a job, harder to lose one, but when you do, it's just about impossible to do much.
Scotland, ah, I love Scotland and the minute I get out of the train or the car, Iím out there running around in the bracing wind looking at things I used to see when I was in school there. Where else could I hear my name pronounced the right way? In the area I lived, Fife, I could walk on the edge of the sea and see the lighthouse. I soaked up a lot during my stay and when I go back, I feel like Iím going home. It might be hard to go back to that weather all year round. I've got fog here as well though so I could probably take the fog. I love it in Scotland when you get three clear days of sunlight and the farmers look at each other and say, 'we'll pay for this later.'
The States, well, home is California for me. Iím living back where I grew up and enjoying the diversity that was there before but now, each city block holds a parallel world like an enormous Filipino grocery store that opened up recently with its own fast food and supplies, and products from there. Within this postal code you have about 50 ethnic groups and theyíre full of life. I could get any spice or ingredient without driving far. We have the most trees per capita here supposedly, but the only time Iíve seen them was when I went in a high rise building downtown as a kid! Itís flat. Weíre halfway between the Sierras and the ocean. I donít like traffic as they havenít fixed many roads since I learned to drive many years ago! Public transport is improving but not fast enough.
If money and time were no object, where would you like to go back someday? Where would you like to go that's new to you?
Iíd like to go back to ItalyÖI only had to think two seconds about that. Probably Tuscany where I have relatives. I havenít seen Rome though. Iíd like to visit Scandinavian countries without budget constraints. I did visit Reykjavik for two or three days, but without a coat and at that point it was about twenty dollars for a pizza. I would like to meet some of you folks as for me people are more important than places. I've been to Australia and New Zealand but wouldn't mind seeing those two again especially now that I know more people from there.
What do you miss most about living in France?
I miss stone buildings except for cold churches. I miss Provence but not necessarily Paris.
Are you settled in the US now for good, or do you think you would ever live abroad again?
Good question. Iím committed to staying here in a multi generational family at the moment and enjoying my life with my extended family not far after a lot of travel. The only country Iíd consider is Canada with enough income to afford good heat so that I could use my language skills. Watch out Agony, I might be your neighbor! I used a lot of personal energy moving that needs to be used elsewhere at the moment.
If you could be anywhere, with as much time as you needed, what would you have for breakfast on a beautiful Saturday morning, and where would you be?
I have just fixed up my room, and we also cleared out some bushes and trees that were blocking out the light like the hedge on Sleeping Beauty! One of the only architectural features is that it has a deep window sill. I watch the light playing on the window and the cat sometimes jumps up there, and the birds play out there, and life is good. Now, if you could teleport in some coffee and toast without me getting up, that would also be good. If you could also get the cats fed without me getting up, heaven.
What's one of your favorite memories of past times with your family? How do you like to spend time together in the present?
Iím the oldest of four children all very close in age. I think my favorite memories are of living up in the mountains each year for one to two months. We were taught mountain skills like fire, water, keeping things clean and safe, and then, allowed to learn on our own. You learned to climb rocks and that you might fall if you didnít calculate things. You learned the properties of the elements first hand. There were visits from bears and coyotes, and you learned about those! Right now, when we have a rare moment with us four siblings at the same table, like in November, we reminisce about the things we did. We sometimes lament that children donít learn from experiences like that anymore. We also swap eyeglasses to see whose work best! I carry a pair for my sister if she forgets hers or my brothers. My siblings are all very good people with a lot of heart. We all have funny voices we can imitate like one brother does the Three Stooges or cartoon voices, another does accents, and my sister does a deadpan imitation of a fried egg that no one could withstand. The next generation is all good at accents too.
Describe your computer area for us, please.
OK, well, Iíve got several at the moment. Iím nursing along two computersÖtrying to get them to live until I can afford to upgrade. I literally made the part of one of my laptop keyboards from foam tape. Now I found a keyboard from a thrift store and attached it to type. We have one main computer set up in the family room as I am teaching my father how to use one. Heís getting hooked on Google but breaking down the tasks for someone isnít easy. I just told him thereís nothing at all he could do to it that I couldnít fix so not to worry. Turn it off if it bugged him. This computer is on the main table so that I can be present instead of isolated.
Fill in the blank "If I weren't on the computer right now, I'd like to be ........"
I think Iíd like to be working outside the home a bit more. Be careful what I wish for! Iíve had some interviews so fingers crossed. Iíd also love to be flying kites.
I love your French quizzes - where does your interest in these come from?
Iíve been speaking French at home for about thirty odd years because I hadnít studied any languages until the late age of twenty one and met a native speakerÖwho became the father of my children and traveling companion. I lived there about half of my adult life and absorbed things. Few people really believe that I hadnít more than a year of formal French study, if you could call it that as it was what we call French 101. My quizzes use this system of numbers in random order. As to the absurdity of my Absurd series, current thought is that you mustnít ever ever use translation at the risk of troubling studentsí poor overburdened minds, yet, if you use it as a tool, itís quite effective. Iíve worked for about twenty five odd years as a translator and teacher of French so, I use my humor to make those quizzes. Most of them were composed on napkins at a cafť while waiting for my kids to come out of a lesson. Iíd assemble the napkins at the end of the month when I had about fifteen good sentences and type them in.
Are you as good a cook as your quizzes suggest?
Well, by French standards undoubtedly not. I am a student of food, a lover of good food and a curious person about how food is prepared. Iím a rather intuitive cook in that I almost never measure unless itís bakingÖor something Iíve never done before. I use a pressure cooker daily as I learned how most French women cooked at home from French women at home. I can make most standard American dishes and regional cooking amazes me. Iíve studied Indian cooking for about twenty five years and love that. Hereís something timelyÖmy son saw Iíd bought a container of chicken broth and asked what on earth it was! Iíd never bought it in a store, but this was organic and a good deal. Oh, Iím really good at assembling meals from not much left in the pantry and hate to waste. When your income dips and bends, you get very good at that. I am a good fruit and vegetable fanatic.
What's your favorite part of FunTrivia?
As a participant for over ten years now, I love the fact that I know people from here from all over the world. Iíve met a few of you, LadyMacbeth29 and MotherGoose and Leau, and spoken to others. I knew that when I had an operation, youíd all give me a send off if it was my time and if not, laugh with me about being a drama queen. I regard all of you as just as close as people in my everyday life. I also have loved the fact that a walking encyclopedia like me with so many eclectic interests from Gilliganís Island episodes to license plates could find a home!
Quiz_Beagle and ertrum
What's the best part of being an editor?
I love being able to encourage a quiz author to do something they hadnít thought of doing. I have developed a technique and learned a lot about how to explain things without offending anyone. Itís a fine art and Iím not sure I always get it right. I enjoyed training a few editors because it kept my skills intact that I wasnít using in English. In fact, I wasnít using English when I began here. Or only as a teacher to non native speakers so it was nice to use it!
I know music has always been a big part of your life. What's your favorite instrument to play? And to listen to?
I grew up in an art and music household with six foot sculptures on the patio and other sundry items around as well as about twenty instruments. I played woodwinds and piano mainly. I played clarinet and flute then learned saxophone and was in a jazz band that went on pretty far. I got to play for money for about a year, and earned enough to pay for a year or two of college. I was in a Latino band and the only woman in the ten member band. I play flute and piano now though and sing in the choir. What did I listen to? What DIDNíT I listen to? Iím eclectic and my kids have pushed the envelope with death metal or something, but I think I could even listen to Avril Lavigne without flinching. I have five Pandora channels with bluegrass, folk, country, rock, Celtic music, Hawaiian music and others on it. I love big bands and honky tonk. Honestly, I am eclectic. I also know a lot of French artists.
If you could take a piece of art home with you, from any museum or private collection in the world, what would it be? (We'll assume that "home" is as big as it needs to be to accommodate your choice.)
Wow, hadnít thought about that. Iíd probably take a Gauguin though, his personal life always repelled me as he abandoned his family. Some of my own artwork from college used his Breton villages in the background and I had no idea Iíd get to visit there and speak French some day. I had no French connection prior to that. My field is nineteenth century so, thatís what Iíd probably enjoy. My daughter had a Klimt banner of the kiss in one of her apts that I loved though.
If you could be any character from history, who would you be?
Iím not a curmudgeon by nature but, I keep thinking Iíd have made a good working woman artist like Mary Cassatt. No, sheís not my style. Berthe Morisot was a working mom artist. Maria Montessori seems like a woman who did an enormous amount of good for children in particular.
What question didn't we ask that you would like to have been asked?
Why do you think youíve stayed with FunTrivia for ten years? Iíd say, because this is a family for me and Iím proud to have helped create a safe, educational place for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Thanks to all who participated.
FT Editor and Moderator