February 8, 2007

Big M, Little M, What Begins With M?

The lovely Bellezza tagged me for this meme almost a month ago! I didn't actually forget about it (no, really!), but wanted to use it for a Thursday Thirteen (even though the official meme only requires ten items). Today is the first opportunity I've had to put together my list. Sorry for the delay, Bellezza!

The idea is pretty simple. I'm supposed to list ten things I like that start with my assigned letter (M). I've been jotting down ideas over the past few weeks, hoping to keep the list book-related. No such luck. So, this will be a "getting to know me" meme.

1. Music: I love music! I usually listen to cds in my car, as I really dislike the radio with all its DJ chit-chat and silly morning shows. I listen to my iPod when I go for walks on the bike trail (weather permitting!) and when I'm puttering around in my kitchen, fixing a meal or cleaning up. The only time I don't care to listen to music is while I'm reading (unless it's Classical music; anything with lyrics is too distracting). I enjoy pretty much any type of music, with the exception of rap and heavy metal. I currently have 3,528 songs on my iPod. I guess that tells you something! Some favorite artists are John Hiatt, Van Morrison, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lyle Lovett, Neil Young, Carole King, Kris Kristofferson, Michelle Shocked, Pablo Casals, Trisha Yearwood, Frank Sinatra, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, James Taylor... and on and on I could go!

2. Mahjong: No, not the computer version, but the real deal. My grandparents used to play and I think I learned (along with my cousins) one summer while visiting their beach house in Leucadia, California. I'm not sure how old I was, maybe seven or eight. I remember sitting in the living room at one of two card tables, learning all the terminology (pung, chow, kong, going to the wall, etc.). I loved the feel of the smooth tiles in my hand and the clacking sound they made as we built a new wall.

My grandfather was a pilot for Pan American Airlines, but he spent a lot of his free time working in his wood shop, carving or building beautiful pieces of furniture. In addition to my parents' Mahjong set, I also own the four beautiful wood racks my grandfather made to hold each player's set of tiles. Unfortunately, I don't get to play this lively game very often. I get together to play with a few friends a couple of times a year, but since it's not one of my husband's most favorite games, we don't play with our regular dinner guests (although, sometimes the promise of one of his favorite desserts will tempt him enough to play two or three hands).

3. Massage: I absolutely love getting a massage. I've only had maybe two dozen or so, but could easily go for one once a month, if not once a week! Too bad they're so expensive. I just can't bring myself to splurge on $60 (plus tip) for one hour of relaxation.

4. Mexican food: I never get tired of enchiladas, taquitos, carne asada burritos, nachos, rice & beans, guacamole and, of course, Margaritas. Yum!

5. Manners: Call me old-fashioned, but good manners are very important to me. I don't understand why it's so difficult for people to remember to say "please" and "thank you." I also don't know why "you're welcome" has vanished from common usage. It seems like whenever I say "thanks," all I hear is "mm-hmm." I suppose that little acknowledgment is better than nothing. Don't even get me started on thank you notes (or the lack thereof!).

6. Mail: Speaking of thank you notes, there is nothing more uplifting than peeking in our mailbox to discover a hand-addressed envelope from a friend or relative. You've got mail! As addicted as I am to email and blog comments, I love getting a real letter. One of my best friends and I used to write long, long chatty letters every 3-6 months and it was so wonderful to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot tea (in a pretty china cup, of course) and catch up on her life. My mom and I also used to write to each other this way (as did my grandmother and I), but now we either send emails or talk on the phone. I have to admit, I do like the immediacy of that form of communication, but I still like the surprise of a note with magazine and newspaper clippings that she has so thoughtfully sent off to me. I also enjoy receiving pretty note cards from friends thanking me for a dinner party, book, birthday gift or simply to say hello.

7. Maker's Mark: My husband introduced me to bourbon several years ago and my favorite cocktail is a Whiskey Sour.

8. MINICooper: I bought my red Mini three years ago this month. I love it as much now as the day I drove it home. It gets great gas mileage (30 in town, 40+ on the Interstate), is easy to wash, gets around just fine in the snow and has more interior space than you'd think. I wanted to get the Canadian Flag emblem on the roof, but I would've had to give up the sunroof and I wasn't about to do that!

9. Maple Trees: I love autumn. Crisp, cool nights. Flannel shirts. Hot chocolate. Soups and stew. Blankets piled high on the bed. But most of all, I love to see the leaves turn, especially those of the Sugar Maple. To me, that's what fall is all about, the falling leaves.

10. Movies: We never watch regular television, but we do rent a lot of movies (and TV series) from Netflix. Some favorites are: Band of Brothers, Lord of the Rings, You've Got Mail, Fargo, Almost Famous, Amelie, Minority Report, The Sixth Sense, Silence of the Lambs, Howard's End, Cold Mountain, Spanglish, Frida, and Heat. As with music and books, this list could go on forever!

11. Mixer: I love my KitchenAid mixer. Next to reading, I love to cook. I can't imagine using a hand mixer (or even a different brand stand mixer). I've had my almond-cream colored Classic model since 1981 and it still works just as well as it did 25 years ago! Every year I think it'd be nice to get a new one, maybe for my birthday or Christmas, but it seems kind of silly to ask for something that expensive simply because I want a pretty new one in a different color (probably Hunter Green).

12. Motherhood: I gave birth to my beautiful daughter when I was fairly young. She was born three days before my 22nd birthday. A few months after her birth, I became a single parent (after two-and-a-half years of marriage to her father). It was a rough time for me, but I had a life to live and a daughter to raise. I couldn't wallow in self-pity for too long. I have so many wonderful memories of the past 23 years as a mother, but I think those are private and not something I want to share in this blog. Suffice it to say I love my daughter and couldn't be more proud of the lovely young woman she's become.

13. Mawidge: My husband and I have been married for 18 years. I feel very fortunate to not only be married to my best friend, but to be married to such a good man. He is truly my better half. He's one of the most intelligent people I know (although I have beat him at Trivial Pursuit and chess a couple of times!). He's got a great (dry) sense of humor, loves animals, is patient and forgiving, is a true and reliable friend, and is well-liked by all who know him. Like me, he's a voracious reader and doesn't mind living in a house surrounded by stack and stacks of books. He's a quiet, gentle soul and the love of my life.

So there you have it. Now back to books!


  1. I love this blog entry. Every word is wonderful, Les.

  2. M turned out to be a really great letter for you. Of course, I think that if you did the whole alphabet (there's a thought!) the other 25 letters would be equally good entries. I'm with you on Mexican food...I miss it like mad...ate all I could when I was home last summer. Massage: I've only had one professional one. Relaxing.

  3. This was so fun to read. I love Mexican food - mucho! And, I'm also a big fan of handwritten letters and notes.

  4. No wonder we share so many of the same book tastes...I loved reading this entry; you and I enjoy a lot of the same interests (love your music choices...I would add Nora Jones to the list :)); I also RUN down to pick up my mail every day...it is like opening a present ("what came today??"); and my Kitchenaid mixer is my favorite appliance (mine is cobalt blue). Thanks for sharing!

  5. We share a lot of favorites. And I think MiniCoopers are the cutest things ever! Maybe I'll get one once the kids are big enough. Either that or a VW Convertible Bug! I'm goofy that way. :)

  6. Anonymous2:28 PM

    So how many people understand the "mawidge" comment? I need to watch "The Princess Bride" again! Love all your "m"'s.

  7. Les! What a great meme...most of your M's are my favorites too, especially music, mail (oh, yeah), Mexican food, movies, motherhood and massages (especially masssages, but I'll admit I don't get too many of them!)

    I'd love to learn how to play mahjong - looks so interesting!

    Loved reading your responses, Les!

  8. Well, my friend, it was so worth the wait!!! I gave you "m" for a very selfish reason, because it's the first initial of my real name. I absolutely loved what you came up with, particularly Music, Mahjong, Mini-cooper, and Marriage. I love the music you do, and would add to your list Nora Jones. James Taylor brings back lots of memories of my son's father when we were in college...I've always wanted to play Mahjong. What a great picture of the real set! I'm envious you know how. Your car has always thrilled me, especially the size and color. I wanted a red VW Beetle and no one in my family will "allow" it because it's small and therefore, to them, impractical. Oh, you also said Mail. Truly, that is one of God's gifts. While technology is nice, real letters are better. My mother and I would send real mail to each other too, and I'm sad to see it replaced, mostly, by emails. Finally, marriage. You speak of your marriage to Rod in such glowing terms I am truly happy for you. Not many people can say, and mean, the sentiments you express in your beautiful marriage. Thanks for posting a fabulous response to my tag; I loved reading every line.

  9. RE: #6....I hope you will visit my blog since I am trying to start a revolution which I call "Snail Mail Sunday"...I think I'm on my 4th week. Some people have jumped on board...but I have really been having fun with it. If you want, go to my blog and scroll down on the left to categories and click on Snail Mail Sunday and you'll see the posts so far.

  10. p.s. I notice you are currently reading Middlesex, which I finished last year as I make my way through the Pulitzer Prize winners. I'd love to talk about it when you finish.

  11. Nan - Thanks! I had a feeling you'd enjoy it. :)

    Bybee - It did turn out to be a good letter. And now you've got me thinking... I may pick a letter every month and try to come up with 10-13 items to write about. Obviously some will be more challenging than others, but it is a nice way to add some variety to my book blog.

    Iliana - Glad you enjoyed the post. And after thinking about all my favorite Mexican foods, I just remembered another! I have a wonderful recipe for Pork Carnitas that I plan to make this week. Delicious.

    Wendy - Oh! I forgot Nora Jones while making up my list. I listened to a podcast the other day that focused on her new album. Sounds like it might be one I need to download. Oooh, I love that cobalt blue mixer! But most of my kitchen stuff is green (Chantal pots, pans and tea kettle), so I'd better stick with that.

    Heather - I seem to recall a conversation about Minis and VW Bugs. I've always thought of them as "kissin' cousins" and would love to have one of each. :) BTW, I've had two carseats in the back of my Mini and there's plenty of room for those little ones' legs (although once they get a little older, it might be a tight fit).

    Kay - I wondered how many people caught it! Glad you did! :) I was thumbing through the book to see how to spell "mawidge" and wound up reading several passages, cracking up the entire time. Such a funny book & movie. Glad you enjoyed the meme.

    Lotus - You would love Mahjong and I bet your girls would, too. It's so much fun and not difficult to learn. I like the fact that you can play and chit-chat at the same time. I need to call my girlfriends and set up another game night!

    Glad you enjoyed my meme. I may do another next month. :)

    Bellezza - I'm glad it was worth the wait. ;) I loved reading all your comments back to me, especially the one about marriage. And I do hope, someday, you'll be "allowed" to own a red Slug-Bug! ;)

    I would love to discuss Middlesex with you when I'm finished. I'm absolutely captivated by the story! Not at all what I expected (not that I have any idea what I thought it'd be about!).

    Di - I've actually been reading about your Snail-Mail Sunday on your blog and have written a few notes to various friends. Just haven't added my name to your list. It's a great idea.

  12. So interesting, Les - I'm with you on many of these Ms.

  13. Les, I picked up Nora Jones' new CD the other day. Another keeper...although I liked her last one just a bit more :)

  14. Karen - It'll be interesting to see if this holds true for my next list.

    Wendy - Thanks for the recommendation. I'll have to add it to my iTunes wishlist.

  15. Oh my goodness! A blast from the past which I didn't even remember, oh you of steel trap mind! I enjoyed reading your answers as much today as I did in 2007, and now I'm off to random.org to give you a letter for the 2014 version. Thanks, as always, for being willing to play. And if you draw a letter X I'll give you a redo. :)

    1. Yes, it is definitely a blast from the past! I had fun re-reading all my answers. :)


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