Answer as though you are not afraid

So Thomas Bryner of Living Next Door to Alice apparently 'borrowed' this meme from Thailand Gal and now, I'm borrowing it from him.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A book in hand, piping hot dim sum for a meal. My kid reading by my side and my husband kissing my neck. All at the same time.

2. What is your greatest fear? To die today and not have my son know or remember me.

3. Which living person do you admire the most? Moi. Nah... just kidding... Don't really have one besides my papi... sheer nepotism, I know.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Self-vanity.

5. What traits do you most deplore in others? Unkindness, impoliteness and dedicated promise-breakers.

6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? I would have said chastity but for the fact that ThomasLb already beat me to it and, as I can't figure on another, I'll just change the question. What do you consider the most underrated virtue? Here's my ready answer - Temperance. Which by the way, is not only a bea-u-ti-ful word but a quality that I lack entirely. In temperance lies the heart of a quiet spirit. I believe this firmly. I'm constantly trying to achieve a quiet spirit. It eludes me.

7. On what occasion do you lie? When Dora the Explorer is actually on and I tell my kid the show has been canceled because Dora got lost. Forever. In the jungles of Malaysia.


Yes, and a lion ate her.

Lion? Roar?

Yes, he roared and proceeded to devour her.

Hungry? Comer?

Yes, a horrible, horrible kind of hungry. Dora gone.

Lion ate?


No Dora on tele?


I do believe the lion also suffered from indigestion because that head of hers was too big. But I draw the line at telling R a fib like that.

8. What do you dislike most about your appearance? For starters, my pointy chin. It makes me look witch-y. Then everything else.

9. What is your greatest regret? I don't like Maraschino cherries.

10. What or who is the greatest love of your life? My son.

11. Which talent would you most like to have? I have but two I'd kill for: to play the cello. To write really well.

12. What is your current state of mind? Anticipatory - for the trip to Iran. Apprehensive - for the long-haul flights ahead of us with our toddler in tow and not enough toys on hand (9 hours to Frankfurt, 12 hour layover and then another 7 hours to Tehran).

13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wish I had tougher emotional skin. I hurt easily. Sometimes it's no fun having a bleeding heart.

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Giving birth after 36 hours of labor. 33 of which agonizingly passed me by without even an aspirin for the pain. Actually, let me amend this answer - Parenting on a daily basis. That's it.

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be? Hopefully as a thing and I fervently hope I'm sinfully delicious.

16. What is your most treasured possession? I'll tackle this one literally as people are not possessions. Besides my engagement and wedding rings for obvious reasons, my priceless Manton de Manila. Someday I'll tell you how it came into my hands.

17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Extreme hunger. Ill health. Being alone.

18. Where would you like to live?

Country-wise - Spain.

City wise - Sevilla.

Heart-wise - there are two places. Stockholm for one. But it is a totally impractical dream due to the fact that I cannot stand cold weather and the dark winter days. Ireland is the other and I really can't explain why I would want to live there since I've never even set foot in the place except for the airport at Shannon. I overflew the countryside though and that was apparently enough. Some desires make absolutely no sense. That's just the way it is.

One final one - and it's just for the sheer heck of saying that I own a palazzo there - Venice.

19. What is your most marked characteristic? If we are talking about behaviors, my husband says I'm kind and it is what people love most about me. I really can't confirm that assertion as I know that I'm capable of being utterly horrid when I sort of lose it or, scathingly polite when I'm truly angry. Neither is a manifestation of my fabled kindness.

20. Who are your favorite writers? For the record, I hate these kinds of questions because it's impossible to pin something like this down but I'll play along for the sake of not being a total poop. Off the top of my head: Maupassant, Proust, C.S. Lewis, Enid Blyton, Isabel Allende, Winston Churchill, Gerald Durrell, E. Nesbit, Eva Ibbotson.

21. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Reepicheep. Who would have thought that a rallying cry to go further out and further in would be the silent credo by which I try to live. You'd have to have read The Last Battle to know what I refer to.

22. Who are your heroes in real life? They're as real to me as Hobbes is to Calvin. Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, and Mafalda. Cartoons have no need for lies.

23. What is it that you most dislike? Someone questioning my honesty or my honor. Inversely, lying to myself (something I try never to do) and letting myself down.

24. What is your motto? I do believe I've already stated it. Look at #21.

25. Favorite Journey? I could say motherhood but I'll opt for something more concrete and specific - a winding road along the coast on the island of Ibiza that ended in a little open air restaurant where my husband and I sat down to a meal of roasted kid. I've never had a belly so full that felt so good. It was the perfect ending to a day of burned nipples (after going topless at the beach) and an extreme case of hunger.

26. What do you value most in your friends? The patience to stay with me as I ebb and flow.

27. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Do you have a dictionary on hand?

28. Which historical figure do you most identify with? I don't know about identifying, but I sure wanted to BE her. Nadia Comaneci. It was that little smile she always sported, the beautifully pointed feet and the perfect little backward flip of her graceful hands. She was the skinny dream of my chubby little self.

29. What is your greatest extravagance? As always and forever: shoes.

30. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? Our singular talent for talking over each other.

31. What is your favorite occupation? Reading.

32. What is the quality you most like in a woman? genuineness.

33. What is the quality you most like in a man? A challenge.

34. How would you like to die? Well-loved.

35. If you could chose what to come back as, what would it be? Addictive Turkish Delight.


  1. I liked your answer to 21/24. The first thing I thought of was the Merry Pranksters (or at least their bus).

  2. Thomas: Furthur out, furthur in? hmmm... maybe if I gave it the proper accent. Don't know...

  3. Oooh, I love your blog! I don't dare look (on the right) 'cause I know I'm going to get hooked!

  4. Thanks for the deep look into your soul. I do feel that I know you better now. And me too on #14, I've always thought that if I could feel things a little less intensely then life would be so much easier.

  5. Allison: Hi! Welcome to The Leaping Thought. So happy you like it. I can't tell you how much it pleases me. Don't! I gave fair warning. Especially Book of Joe and Fingerjig or the Onion and Etsy (don't get me started on Etsy) Oh! and Arts and Letters (DO NOT GO IN THERE). You know what? Just leave now while you still can. ;-)

    Cce: Somewhat in a serious depth gauge level this was. I'm an open book for you. As to number 14, what's your birthday? If I might ask?

  6. Milena, I love this meme so much I may have to steal it for a future post on my blog, it's just a lot of fun!

    I want to tell you that your blog and the essays you write just keep getting better and better, so your wish to be a better writer has already come true!

    And finally, I always love to check out the books you feature on your amazon book-roll, they're terrific and varied and as interesting as your mind.

    All the best for your trip to Iran and come back with lots of pictures and stories to share with us!


  7. i have the same greatest fear.

    have a great trip. can't wait to hear about your travels.

  8. Tehran, wow. Have a great time. And I think you have the great writter thing down. You are fantastic!

  9. hi milena,
    of course a manton de manila would be your most treasured possession.
    you and my husband steve share that in common, possessing something priceless from manila (*wink*)
    and i love enid blyton.
    i grew up with so many of her stories.
    in fact a favorite phrase of mine from blyton is:
    "let's send her to coventry!"
    about nadia c,
    i remember when she was on the cover of TIME, the caption was:
    She's perfect, but the Olympics is in trouble.

  10. Enid Blyton yes, E. Nesbitt, definitely. Reading, yes. Dying today, yes. The palazzo in Venice, no, sadly. Fascinating post...Looking forward to your return from Iran.

  11. Suzanne: Steal away. Like Thomas said, so happy it continues. Didn't have time to see you while you were in Houston. So sorry for that.

    Mamabird: I think it is one that all mothers share. Thanks. We got here in one piece. Very tired but OK.

    Erin: This from the woman who tells us that the grass was redolent with the smells of mint. I loved that line so much. Thank you. And so far so good. Can't wait to tell you all about it.

    Chesca: Only you would know. My manton is a beauty. Very old, very large, impeccable for all that. Not an empty space in that enormous expanse of embroidered silk. Weighs a ton. Can barely carry it on me. Took it to Sevilla once. I was envied left and right. It seems like Louise, you and I know Enid. That is good.

    Louise: Mallory towers, remember? The Psamead (so wished I had one). Dying, I know. The Palazzo, you may come to mine. Glad you liked it. You should be here. Something tells me that you would be a native in no time. Hate the hejab though. Thing is as hot as the fires of hell (bit of melodrama but that is what it feels like). Tell you all about it. I promise.

  12. Milena,
    so many layers of complexity - so many references I've only heard about (and so many I have not). As so often is the case, I read your blog and feel like mine has been such a small and untextured life. Thanks for opening up like that.

  13. Ron: Any one else but you I would cry "false modesty - false modesty" but, I'm sure you believe what you say about your small and untextured life so I'll leave it at that. My pleasure. Glad you enjoyed it.


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