05 May 2006

It's catching

OK, here I go again.

From Answers.com comes the definition of the word:

A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

Sort of like I’ve been trying to do with the fledgling since she was about three feet tall: “You will pick up your stuff and put it away!” Right? Well, I’m still waiting for it to work with her, but she’s an artist. What can I say?

Now, don’t tell me all of you out here in Greater Blogostan already know what “meme” means. I don’t believe you. Because as a relative newbie to the medium, I’m having to learn and remember a whole slew of words or new definitions for words that had never been part of my daily conversations, or seen as I read books (and I’ve been a life-long, ravenous reader) or in the news stories I’ve read, edited or even written.

So just bear with me. As an editor, I have this hard-to-kick habit of reading as if I’m (and I am, of course) a member of my reading audience. That means I don’t naturally assume that you already know the backstory of the subject at hand, along with all the arcane terms that go with it. And so, “meme.” I’ve run across it a number of times as I visit my favorite blogs (web logs – heheheh), and here and there, I find the word. Sometimes, the context tells me kinda-sorta what it means. Other times, I’ve been left a bit, shall we say, foggy.

So a little while ago – it’s an extremely lazy day around the nest today -- I decided to visit Blue Girl, whose blog I really enjoy. I read today’s post, a delicious description of Possible-Serial-Killer-In-The-House Syndrome, and then, since I hadn’t visited her in a few days, continued reading her previous posts to catch up. And there it was. Meme.

She’d picked up a meme (I think it must be contagious, like a cold) from Shakespeare's Sister, another fabulous blogger and decided to, in a roundabout sort of way, participate and spread the meme to her readers. It found its way into my brain and caught. See, I had to understand the term, first, so I could, well, participate myself and spread it to you. Here goes:

Accent: Born and raised in California, I was sure I didn’t have any accent at all until I joined the Air Force, at which time I was assured I most certainly did. I still don’t hear it when I speak, but when I was doing a little 5-minute spot each day on Armed Forces Network radio in Northern Germany, I was told, patiently, that the word is “just, not ‘jest’.” I’ve also noticed that when I get snarky, I tend to do it with a pronounced southern accent. I drop “ing” and say “in,” instead. I’m just sayin’. I have NO idea where that comes from, but my younger sister (see Siblings, below) does it too.

Booze: I hardly ever drink, because I really, really hate to lose control of my mouth, which has gotten me into trouble more than once over the years. And I really, really, REALLY hate hangovers. But if I do, it’s usually a glass of dry white wine, or merlot if it’s red. Yum. In the hard booze category, my only drink is scotch, straight up, a single shot that I sip if I’m feeling contemplative and toss back when I want to feel every muscle in my body relax, all at once, after I find my breath again. And not just ANY scotch. I buy 15-year-old Laphroaig. I absolutely love the rich, smoky-sweet flavor. It’s dear, but a single bottle lasts me for years.

Chore I hate: Any chore which involves cleaning up messes other people in the family have left, even after being asked repeatedly to clean them up. All other chores I merely despise.

Dog or cat: Love ‘em both equally, though after 10 years of dirty pawprints on the floors and finding ways to clean up after the psycho-dog when he sheds tufts of his fine, fluffy undercoat (which lasts from roughly May through December), I think someday I’ll be a cat-person. Exclusively.

Essential electronics: My laptop and an Internet connection. If I didn’t have those, I’d feel like I was back in the Dark Ages.

Favorite cologne: Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap, used in the shower. The scent it leaves is very light – almost not there – and it’s the only scent I dare to use, since all others, in combination with my personal scent, draw honeybees. And meat-bees. And wasps. And I’m allergic to them. Also, perfumes make me sneeze.

Gold or silver: Silver, because it reminds me of the moon and besides, I can’t afford gold.

Hometown: I was born in San Francisco, but I only lived there until I was three and I don’t remember. So Sacramento, which is where I did most of my growing up. I don’t have that sentimental, nostalgic feeling for the place, though. When I’m there, I’m usually ready to leave pretty fast.

Insomnia: Very, very rarely. I usually fall asleep within minutes of laying my head down at night. I’m deeply grateful for this.

Job title: Managing Editor.

Kids: I have a daughter and a step-daughter, both adults now and both extraordinary people, in my humble and mostly unbiased opinion.

Living arrangements: I live in a shoebox in a quaint mountain town, surrounded by evergreen forests, orchards and vineyards. It’s just right.

Most admirable traits: I’m so patient, Job himself would be envious. I’m also very, very calm in stressful situations, which is handy when the paper’s in production every Tuesday. It also made me a damned good intercept technician way back when I was in the Air Force. Imagine: Twenty-six fighters flying at multiple altitudes in multiple directions at close to the speed of sound. My job: Keeping them from crashing into one another. No prob.

Number of sexual partners: Nunnayerbizness. That’s Northern Californian for “none of your business,” to you New Yawkas out there.

Overnight hospital stays: Several. Tonsils removed at the tender age of seven. I was highly pissed when I found out they’d lied about how I could have all the ice cream I wanted after the surgery. But they gave me Jell-O instead! Jeez, I hated Jell-O! I still do! When my daughter was born, I had to spend the night in the hospital, too, but that was just resting up. Looking back, several more nights would have been nice. Then there was that unpleasant partial hysterectomy when I was 29 to remove the frightening and imminent threat of uterine cancer, to which I had no intention of succumbing. Took care of THAT, I’m here to say. And finally, I once spent three days in the hospital floating on IV morphine because of a particularly terrible flare of rheumatoid arthritis in my hip. I was 31. While the arthritis remains, a flare that bad hasn’t happened since and, I hope, never will again.

Phobias: Heights, since I was a tiny little girl. On this one, I have to agree completely with Blue Girl, who is also afraid of heights but conjectured that maybe her real fear is of falling, which is, in turn, a fear of loss of control. Yes, I think she nailed it. Thus, I hate to fly, in spite of the fact that I have flown many times in many different sizes of aircraft. I have yet to be able to enjoy it, though I am pleased when I reach my destination. Alive. In one piece, without falling out of the sky.

Quote: “You knock at the door of Reality. You shake your thought-wings, loosen your shoulders, and open.” Awww... forgive me, but I don’t know who said that. Maybe someone out there does and will enlighten me. What I do know is that I absolutely love the image. It inspires me every time I settle down to write.

Religion: None, though I love the Tao. It’s just so ... human. Sensible. Gentle.

Siblings: I have a younger sister who’s as different from me as a sibling can possibly be. I’m blonde, pale and tubby unless I diet continuously; she has dark hair, dark skin and stays infuriatingly svelte without, it seems, much effort at all. She talks a blue streak, I tend to be very quiet. She’s gregarious, I’m shy. She’s high-energy, all the time; she can hardly sit still. I’m sedentary by nature, which is likely why she’s slim and I’m ... not. When we were kids, she loved horses so much she neighed in her sleep. Parents had to get her a horse when that happened and didn’t stop. Because of my nickering sis, I got to experience the true and incredible joy of riding, caring for and communicating with horses right along with her. She still has a horse and she’s an accomplished rider. When she lived in England for three years, she even exercised racehorses, riding out with the string from a local stable in Newmarket every morning. She’s a fascinating person.

Time I wake up: Usually around 6 a.m., unless it’s a workday. On workdays, if the alarm doesn’t go off, I will snooze like an innocent babe until the hour I’m supposed to already BE at work. Go figure.

Unusual talent or skill: I was born artistic and I still am, though I’ve let the skills needed to translate the images from my mind onto paper or canvas in paint atrophy over the years. I’m also a talented writer, and I’d like to think I’m getting better at it every day – I work hard at it and enjoy ever second. There is nothing like it.

Vegetable I love: It’s gotta be garlic. Just stay upwind.

X-rays: Not an issue for me.

Yummy foods I make: Soups and stews of every possible kind, not necessarily fancy but always, always savory, delicious and filling. And, I’m a whiz with a grill.

Zodiac sign: Scorpio. And yes, everything they say is true.

Your turn! And do feel free to share in comments.


roxtar said...

What fun! I posted up at my place. I'm semi-embarassed to admit that I made it to X-rays before I realized we were traversing the alphabet.....

blue girl said...

Ha-ha Roxstar!

Yes, you are a very good writer, Blue Wren~

I'm also quite pale and my sister is naturally dark skinned. Unfair, I say. She tans so well and I just turn bright red!