This week's portion: plagued
This week's portion: Ready or not

5 things about me

I've been tagged for the "five things no one knows about me" meme. Thanks, Michael!

I can't promise that these are five things no one knows about me; such things may exist, but I'd be disinclined to post them for all to see. Instead, this is more like a list of five things regular readers may not know about me, since they don't fall into the purview of what I usually post about here.

Five things you may not know about me

  • Once upon a time I was a temporary New Yorker. Although I was born and reared in San Antonio, Texas, the year that I was ten we lived in New York city, in an apartment on the upper east side. I knew that after a year we would return to our familiar stone house with the red clay shingles, to the banana trees and bougainvillea, so I felt no distress at being uprooted to live in an apartment building and attend a girls' school that had 15 floors. It was an amazing adventure. I spent much of the year making maps of Manhattan, trying to wrap my mind around even that one piece of the City, and for some years thereafter I assumed I would live in New York at some point as an adult.

  • In fourth grade I was given the assignment of writing a one-page essay about my hero or heroine. I wrote about my sister, because she had introduced me to Bob Marley, grapenuts, and frozen yogurt. (Seriously, those are the things I cited in the essay as proof of her coolness.) Although our three brothers still live in San Antonio, my sister moved to Boston about 20 years ago; I chose a New England college in part because she was already in this neck of the woods. I'm not much of a Marley fan these days, but I still really like both grapenuts and fro-yo.

  • In the last six months, I've become a Tony Bourdain fangirl. Our Tivo had found us a few episodes of "A Cook's Tour" on the Food Network, which we had watched and enjoyed. Then last August, a friend of ours -- a former professional baker and chef -- lent us Kitchen Confidential to read on our Maine vacation. We both devoured it, and picked up A Cook's Tour at a bookstore on the trip, which we devoured too. (The book kicks the television show's ass -- read excerpts here.) Tony's everything I look for in a travel writer: crazy, wry, and obviously in love with the complex reality of the wide world. Since then we've grown addicted to Tony's new television show on the Travel Network, "No Reservations" (read Ethan's review of the Ghana episode, which was awesome) and we inadvertantly gave each other matching copies of his new book The Nasty Bits last month.

  • I have a longstanding love for early music. I was one of the founding members of the Williams College Elizabethans, "purveyors of madrigals and sundry chansons" (which is to say, madrigals, and old sacred music, and folk songs, and anything else we thought was interesting or cool.) To my great pleasure, the group is still going strong. We put on a concert to celebrate our tenth anniversary (we called ourselves the pan-Bethan Tabernacle Choir), and next year will be our fifteenth anniversary, which means more wacky hijinks are in order. Just a few days ago I spent a happy Saturday afternoon in the chapel at the college with a group of students and alums, singing all of the old favorites we could muster sheet music for.

  • Ethan and I went to Iceland on our honeymoon. Well, mostly we went to Scotland, where we spent a week camping and enjoying the rain-misted vistas and whiskey distilleries, but we found that the cheapest way to get there was on Icelandair, with a layover in Iceland. We had a vague fascination with Iceland after having seen glimpses of it on an old episode of World's Strongest Man, so we got ourselves the Lonely Planet Guide to Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroes, and began our trip with a few days in Reykjav√≠k and a few days on the island of Heimaey. I fell in love with the long light (we were there just after the summer solstice) and with the strange, glorious, lunar beauty of the Icelandic landscape. We ate one of the oddest meals of our lives on Heimaey, in a little pizzeria where the menu was only printed in Icelandic. We can still crack each other up by referencing that bizarre seafood pizza.

I don't usually tap people for these things, but I've been so enjoying the fruits of this meme that I can't resist. I hereby tag Jenn of Breed 'Em And Weep, Lorianne of Hoarded Ordinaries, Talmida of The Lesser of Two Weevils, Stasi of Feminary, and Natalie of Blaugustine! (Naturally, if any of you doesn't want to participate, feel free not to; if anyone else wants to participate and hasn't been tagged, consider yourself tagged; and if you've already done this meme and want to share your answers, drop a link in the comments section...)

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