Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Ashley tagged me for the Quirks game.

Link the person who tagged you.
Mention rules on your blog.
Tell about 6 quirks of yours.
Tag 6 fellow bloggers to do the same.
Leave a comment to let them know.

Now, a caveat. I have been known among my family and friends for the majority of my life as "The Quirkiest Person on Earth" ™. But as I sat here pondering my list of six, I couldn’t come up with a single quirk. Had I finally done it? Had I become one of... them? One of "The Normal Ones"? Didn't seem likely. So I called my mom and shared my little sitch with her. Then I waited until her giggles had subsided.

She rattled off about 10-15 quirks immediately, though I had a very good explanation for most of them.

Yes, I use two different dish cloths and have specific rules for which one is used where and how much water each one can handle... but that's because they've got different absorbencies! You can't water-log the one or it won't dry properly, then it'll breed bacteria and smell!

Given, I do have an opinion on every subject I've ever encountered, but that's not a quirk! That's just, you know, personality.

Agreed, I'm pretty neurotic about my closet organization system (by type, length, style, color, shade, then preference), but a lot of people are like that. It's what we like to call "detail oriented." Or "neat freak." Your choice. And plenty of people have a specific color order in place. (Mine's pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, white, grey, black.) And I'm positive I'm not the only person who likes to make sure her hangers are equidistant and straight.

And true, I do have an incredibly strange sleep schedule, but , well, ok... she did have me there.

So, the following are what my mom, sister, grandma, and husband have deemed my quirks. (But I do have a really good reason for most of them...)

1) I pace obsessively when I'm on the phone, and I have a specific route that I tend to take around the house. If it's a short phone call, I'll usually walk around the kitchen. We have tiles that randomly run two different directions, and I have a path that lets me walk only on ones facing a certain way. I have two longer paths: one for nighttime that takes me through the kitchen/family room/entry, and one for daytime that takes me through the kitchen/entry/hall/playroom (I don’t go into the playroom at night). I don’t consciously walk these tracks, but I can't seem to stop myself. There have even been times when I've been so exhausted that I make an effort to sit through a call, but before I notice it happening, I'm up and walking again.

Once, when we were still living in the apartment, the baby was playing with an old cell phone and took it into the kitchen to pace around the table and babble into it. The older kids used to think it was hilarious to follow me around and around the house while I was on the phone.

2) I like most every food to be served at room-temperature, or straight from the fridge. I can't really think of any food I prefer hot. I'll usually wait 15-20 minutes for any meal to cool before partaking. For dinner (which I usually eat alone), I like to take it out of the oven/microwave/stove, then go take a shower and eat it once I get out.

I also have a really underdeveloped sense of taste. I can't stomach foods that are even slightly bland, because they taste like absolutely nothing to me. I add condiments to everything. We've got a good stock: Tabasco, soy sauce, Worcestershire, A1, teriyaki, Balsamic vinaigrette, barbecue (in many different flavours), mustards, dressings, marinades, spices, and herbs out the yin yang.

I eat curry and peppers and Wasabi without blinking. Made for a lot of fun middle-school dares.

3) I get kind of skittish when Fritz isn't home at night. I sing Primary and Disney songs in the shower, so I don’t get spooked. I close all of the blinds at dusk, because it creeps me out to think someone can see in my house while I can't see out. I've been known to say a prayer for courage when I have to go out to the kitchen past 3 am. Probably about once a month, I call my mom to sit on the phone with me while I investigate a mystery noise. I sometimes sleep with my bedside light on.

The stupid thing is, I'm not so much afraid of anything in particular, as I am afraid of becoming afraid.

You'd never know I happily lived alone for years, would you?

4) I'm petrified of having dirty feet. I don’t go outside, even to step two feet out the door to check the clothes on the line, without shoes. I wash the insides of my shoes frequently so that any dirt that might have found its way in them doesn’t make it back to my feet. Basically the only reason I mop or vacuum is to prevent dust from settling and being picked up when I walk. I wash my feet a lot throughout the day. This used to be difficult when I worked outside the home, as I'd have to frequently escape to the bathroom so I could attack them with baby wipes.

You'd think I would just wear socks to prevent contaminants from ever reach my blessed peds, yeah? However, my feet are also super claustrophobic. I can't stand to have anything touching the tops of them for extended periods of time. When I have to go someplace where flip flops aren't acceptable, I have to keep slipping my shoes on and off to calm myself down. I don’t know what I'd do if I ever broke a bone and required a cast on my foot.

5) I have a bit of an affinity for anything old. No, I don’t mean I hang out at the senior center trying to pick up hot dates; I just like things that remind me of times past. I see such a beauty in historical relics and stories.

It blows my mind to hold books or teacups or fountain pens or empty spice containers that have managed to survive decades of humans' "disposable" attitudes.

I bought an old sewing pattern a while back that had been in a trunk since at least the mid-sixties. When I opened the pattern, the pieces were still held together with some straight pins. I was ecstatic! I own these silly little straight pins that most likely have been sitting around since my mother was a small child. That's just so many colors of awesome.

I watch old movies and documentaries with an eye keen to pick out and understand every detail of those lives. Clothing, technology, phrasing, conventions, fads, ideals...

It sort of bugs me that we as a people tend to cast off any older conventions as outdated and obsolete. We live in a pretty great time thanks to innumerable ideological, medical, technological, and intellectual advancements. We've risen above some pretty horrible things. However, there are a lot of great elements from past times that have gotten thrown out with the bath water, I think.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could accept that, yes, every era has had its own unique set of issues, and that, as Thomas Carlyle said, "No age seemed the age of romance to itself," but that it just might be possible that we've forgotten some things that are worth reviving?

6) I have an unnatural fixation with things that are just a little offbeat and strange and unusual. I relish purple daisies and three-toed sloths and names like Elspeth and Caspian. I love unconventional beauty and Surrealist painters and the aurora borealis. Unintentional irony and macabre humour. I adore the idea that someone would dedicate their life's work to the largest ball of twine or collecting toothpaste bottles from different countries. Music or writings that make you go, "My gosh, how is it even possible that someone came up with that?" Real undiscovered genius. Sasquatch and tadpoles and 70 degree angles. Curiosities and Coppélia and kitsch. I want to live in a treehouse and visit Iceland.

I truly and honestly don’t understand the beige-walled, French-tipped, bourgeois mentality. I lived with it and worked in it and saw it up close for five years, and I still just don’t get it.

I tag Fritz and Jaymz. (Yes, I'm breaking the rules. Another quirk: I'm incapable of following rules.)

I finished the nursery monkeys, and we hung them up today. I'm so incredibly happy with them. I did have a few issues when making them, though. Tips for those ever attempting something similar:

1) Cut the fabric much larger than you think you'll need. I cut about 2" larger than the base on the first monkey, but it was still a bit too small, and I had horribly cramped fingers by the end of that one from trying to hold and stretch and attach such a little strip of fabric.

2) Cut the batting the same size as your base. I initially cut it larger, but it was too hard to wrap it around and attach it to the back. Just use Elmer's glue to attach it to the front.

3) I used regular staples, and they seem to be holding fine. Just make sure they're good quality. The first ones I tried were from the dollar store and kept bending when I tried to get them in. I switched to some I had from Target, and they slid in easy as pie and held tight.

4) If you want your monkeys to interlock, make them all facing the same direction. I stupidly did half facing the opposite direction, thinking they'd need to be that way to attach. No, dummy. They're made with one arm facing up and one facing down so that you don't have to do that. Luckily, I caught my mistake before I hit the fabric stage. I just had to cut the batting off the front.