Today I’m exchanging questions with Jen of Laugh Often, Live Much for the Ask Away Friday link-up. Jen is a first grade teacher and she blogs about her family, teaching, and a little bit of everything else in her life. She wrote some great questions for me!
1. Since 2014 is just getting off the ground, what is one of your hopes for the year that lies ahead?
I hope that 2014 brings happiness and peace to my family. Bringing a new baby into the house, even an easy-going one like Sam, can shake things up a bit. And I’m hopeful that 2014 may be the year when my husband finishes seminary (or gets really close?) and can finally *just* be a husband, father, and pastor. For me personally, I am always hopeful that I can become a more patient, loving person.
2. What is the best book you read in 2013 and why did it earn a spot on your “Best of…” list?
That’s a tough one! I read a lot of good books in 2013. This really was the Year of the Mystery for me, so I think I’m going to have to give the honor to Maisie Dobbs, since it reignited my love of reading mystery novels, it’s the first book in a nice long series that I’ve really enjoyed, and I find myself recommending it a lot!
3. If you could go on an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the US, where and why?
I would go to Phoenix to visit my friend Kelli and escape our horribly cold winter weather, me and her used to have lots of fun golfing when we were teenagers, so taking my golfing accessories with https://www.luggageforward.com/shipping-golf-clubs/ has to be a must when I visit her! I hear Arizona is lovely this time of year. And I want to see some cacti, of course! (They are nothing short of magical and otherworldly to this midwestern girl!)
4. How about anywhere in the world and why?
I would like to take my husband on a tour of my favorite places in Spain. I spent a year studying in Pamplona, Spain when I was a junior in college, and I would love to revisit some of the favorite places I visited, especially if I could manage to take in some of the festivals that I missed. We’d fly into Barcelona and spend a few days enjoying the Mediterreanean weather, walking on Las Ramblas, and taking in the Gaudi architecture. Then we’d head south to Valencia to eat some of the most amazing oranges in the world and the Las Fallas festival (which conveniently takes place the night before my birthday!) Of course I’d have to eat some paella while I was there. Then I’d head south again to Sevilla for the Feria de Abril and watch lots of flamenco dancing.
5. Tell us about one of your mentors.
Hmm… this question is making me think perhaps I need to seek out more mentors in my life. Someone who I learned a lot from was my former boss from when I worked at the Airport. He was unlike anyone I’d ever met — in the course of his life, he had worked as a cowboy, a bartender, an Army Ranger in Vietnam, and then worked his way up through the ranks from an airport firefighter to an airport director. He was about 6-foot-5 and around 60 years old when I worked for him. On the surface, he was a pretty gruff dude. He easily could have thrown his weight around and gotten his way through intimidation, but he was actually a really thoughtful person who took time to consider all the different facets of an issue and tried to do the right thing that would benefit everyone, whenever possible. I always really admired that about him, and tried to follow that philosophy in my work (and life!) as well.
6. What is your hobby of choice, why, and how did you get into it?
I’ve dabbled in a lot of crafty hobbies, but my true love is knitting. I took it up along with half the female population of America in the early 2000s (anyone remember Stitch-n-Bitch?), but I stuck with it long enough to get pretty good at it, then I just kept trying to knit new things and try new techniques. I love knitting because it can be really relaxing or really challenging, and it produces something that is really practical (especially in polar vortex years!) I’m so very happy that I was crazy about knitting wool socks a few years ago… my sock drawer is very well stocked. Here are some things that I’ve made… these were all gifts for a single Christmas if you can believe it! (Clearly — before I had children. My knitting time is much more limited these days.)
7. How do you feel about hot dogs?
Normally I never eat them (blech blech blech), EXCEPT when they’re cooked outside over a campfire. Somehow that makes them okay. With lots of mustard. Never ketchup.
8. So far, what as been your favorite age, and why?
I’m feeling pretty good about the age I’m at right now, but I really loved my late 20s. I was an awkward teenager but I feel like I finally came into my own around 25 or so. I got back into running, my husband and I had moved to a town we really enjoyed, we had enough disposable income to have fun and travel a little bit, and no kids yet, so we could do stuff like go to happy hours after work, concerts, etc. without having to deal with all the babysitter logistics.
9. What music station/style is usually playing in your car, and how loud is it?
Oh man, you’re really making me reveal my true nerdiness here… most of the time my car radio is set to the NPR station so I can listen to Morning Edition or All Things Considered during my drive to work and back. When I get too depressed by the news, I flip over to the Top 40 station for a dose of cheesy pop/dance music. Crank it up!
10 What are five staples on your grocery list every week (or month)?
Milk, fruit, eggs, bell peppers, and cheese. (When in doubt, I can always make an omelette for dinner, I guess?)
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Thanks to Jen for these great questions — I hope you enjoyed learning all these random facts about me. Head over to her place if you want to read her answers to my questions! And now I have a question for you — which would you rather attend, a festival of flamenco dancing, or a festival where they light huge paper-mache statues on fire? (Yes, this is a real thing. Check it out!)