Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eleven Random Facts

My blog friend Joe Spado of  Round Circle, bestowed upon The Pagan Sphinx this blog award:

I haven't participated in one of these in a couple of years but not only did come from someone I have known and liked in the blogosphere, but I also thought it would be a good way to connect with other people I like, with whom I have had little contact recently.

Yes, I have been largely absent from the blogging universe. I'm not quite ready (perhaps I will never be) to give it up entirely but because of the massive amount of work and energy that I feel I need to put into every post, I'm simply finding it too strenuous right now.

All is well. I returned at the end of July from Portugal, where I spend three weeks with my mother. I'm afraid that other than family photos, I didn't do any sightseeing of new places. My mother and I spent three days in Lisbon with my cousins who live there. My mother has a lot of energy left in her but to drag her on a walking tour of Lisbon would have been exhausting; especially in the hot Lisbon sun. Instead, we took a tourist bus around the city, making it very difficult to take great photos.

I will share one photo with you, of Consolação Beach where, as a very young child, my family spent several weeks in the summer. The tradition of going there continued through the many summer visits my daughters and I made from the United States to my parents' summer rental at  Consolação.  Since my father died in 2005 and my mother has aged, we've only visited for the great views and a cup of espresso at the cafe.  

A bit of an update about my daughters. Ursula continues to like her job at Boston University and has become a Bostonian at heart. Western Massachusetts has its own very distinct character from Boston and having grown up in "the sticks" as we say, isn't everyone's cup of tea. Personally I wouldn't trade the groovy Happy Valley for any other place in the U.S. but I have to admit that even though I live in a five-college community, Boston is much more of a happenin' place; especially for the young. 

Meredith has returned to Massachusetts from living for three years in Santa Barbara, California. She and her wife Shannon are not the Santa Barbara (often referred to as the American Riviera) types but lived just outside of that city so that Shannon could attend graduate school. She is working on the dissertation portion of her phd now, which allows Meredith now to return to university for a graduate degree.  She'll be attending Boston University in September and living a ten minute walk from her sister.  Shannon will be writing her dissertation and doing a stint as a visiting scholar at Northeastern University in Boston. How my children are managing their academic and work lives so well, on such limited budgets,is beyond me but I am very proud of them.

Shannon is actually not due to arrive in Boston until mid-September and meanwhile Meredith is here, with me for the month of August. It gives me so much pleasure to spend time with her and her sweet little dog every day for such a long stretch. I feel lucky. I really do. 

(apologies for the horrid white background of the text. I know there is a way to fix, as it's a known issue on blogger, but it's more complicated than I can take the time for right.)

Meredith will be 25 later this month! Wow!

(Taken on July 1, my birthday. It was really hot so we took the boat out on the Connecticut River, went swimming and had a picnic:  a perfect summer birthday.)

And now for the award:

Taken right from the blog announcement verbatim:

here are the rules to receiving this blog recognition award.   

1. Post 11 random facts about yourself

2. Choose 11 deserving other bloggers

3. Let them know they have been chosen

4. Answer the 11 questions the nominator has asked

5. Now give 11 questions to the ones you have chosen. 


I will, as usual, break the rules and not tag anyone in particular for this activity. If you'd like to participate, please do! Since I won't be providing you with questions to answer...well...I'm not sure about that part! 

Thanks, Joe. I enjoyed this opportunity to keep in touch and I appreciate that you thought of me and The Pagan Sphinx blog!

Peace and love,

Eleven Random Facts About Me

1.  Portuguese was my first language and I also spoke French as a child for two years, before immigrating to the United States in 1967.

2.  My great-grandmother, Virginia Duarte, was the mother of twelve children.I have slightly over fifty second cousins, most of whom live in Portugal. A couple of them have immigrated to other countries in Europe.

3. I am an introvert.

4.  I named one of my daughters Ursula because when I was carrying her, I was reading one of Ursula K. LeGuin's novels and I liked the way the name looked in print.

5. I won a third grade spelling bee by spelling the word "vacuum".

6. I have freckles.

7.  A couple of years ago, a photograph of mine was chosen as the cover of an engineering trade publication. My fifteen minutes of fame!

8.  The first book I ever read entirely by myself was Puss in Boots, in French.

9. In my more recent blogging life, I have eschewed these types of memes but I really like and respect Joe Spadoman, and I enjoyed his list, which is infinitely more interesting than mine!

10.  My most treasured possessions as a child of about nine were a portable record player and a case full of 45's. A passion for rock and roll and popular music has accompanied me in life since. The first 45 rpm record I purchased for myself (I played a lot of my older brother's records, much to his consternation) was Let it Be. When was that...1969?

11. The first concert I attended with my friends and without adult supervision was The Eagles and Dan Fogelberg, when the former toured for their album One of These Nights, in 1976 I think it was.

1.) What would you say or ask if you had the opportunity to have a conversation with Jesus Christ?

It would depend entirely upon what direction the conversation took. From all accounts, Jesus was an intense dude, so I would try very hard not to offend him by suggesting in any way that his idea that he was the son of God was a lot of delusion.

2.) What is your all time favorite song? (one only!)

Penny Lane - The Beatles

3.) Drive, Fly, Bus or Train?

The most relaxing and romantic is rail travel; especially in Europe.

4.) What is your favorite breakfast cereal? (If you don’t ever eat cereal, what is your favorite breakfast?)

Pastry and black coffee

5.) Coffee, tea, or something else in the morning?

Strong black coffee.

6.) When waking up, do you get out of bed from the left or right side of the bed?

Why, does my answer reflect something in particular about me?  ;-) Okay, left.

7.) If you could have any vehicle in the world, what would it be? (one only!)

I don't think about things like that.

8.) What is the last song you sang in the shower?

I don't sing in the shower, I sing when I'm alone in my car. The last song I sang  along with on the car radio was Box of Rain by The Grateful Dead.

9.) Do you color your hair?
Obviously not.

10.) Do you consider yourself a good cook?

Yes, when I'm not rushed, I love to cook.

11.) Describe in one word, and one word only, your greatest virtue.



  1. Great post ... and congratulations! Loved reading it in its entirety. It was a bit like a rummage through your life and pulling out little pieces ... FUN!

    Glad that you are back, Gina, and it seems that I have missed you (in reality) again as I shall be in Lisbon for a day in September.

    One day our trips will coincide ... and I do hope that you keep on blogging even if only every once in a while.

  2. Nice to see you!

    Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral
    > < } } ( ° >

  3. Ahh! I think I know you quite well...but reading these random facts was still fun. There were several that I definitely did not recall having known.

    :-) U

  4. Fascinating reading, Gina and very nice to have you back.

  5. Aguja - oh, too bad we missed each other in Lisbon. Perhaps one day our time there will intersect and we can have a drink at an outdoor cafe and chat up a storm!

    Claudia - you visit so many blogs as part of your mission to spread the Hawaiian sunshine around! I'm always happy to see your comments here.

    Ursula - you'll have to tell which things about me you didn't know!

    Singing Bear (Jerry) - I will have to get over to your blog again to listen to your posting of the Linda and Richard Thompson video. Looking much forward to it. I hope all is well with you and yours.

  6. One day ... we will, Gina! I have left a comment on my Storyboard post.

  7. I can well understand why you'd be drawn back to the peaceful and beautiful beach at Consolação. Unfortunately, your link didn't work for me but that was no hindrance to me looking up the area myself. There are some wonderful pictures and even a video or two of people surfing the waves there. I love watching people ride the waves - there's something amazing about seeing people so healthy, supple, connected, and yes, a little stupid :-) Of course, I doubt you surfed any more than I'd have been likely to but a beach that allows such dreams of flight and freedom is a wonderful place to be.

    Your daughters are very beautiful young women and I'm very happy for you all three of them will soon be staying closer to home. 3000 miles really does make a difference.

    Congratulations on receiving the award from our good mutual friend, Joe Spadoman. Your answers really do provide a deeper context for the remarkable mind behind the Pagan Sphinx gallery of artistic delights.

  8. I saw the comment, Aguja. Thanks for explaining your current project. It is unique and fascinating.

    Susan - Yes, the northern part of the beach with its high waves attracts a lot of surfers. My younger cousins (in their twenties now) were avid surfers as teenagers. You made me laugh with your assumption that I'm not and never was, a surfer girl! Even as a young women, I cannot imagine it! I actually have a phobia of deep water and high waves. Probably instilled in me by a well-meaning but over-anxious mother, for whom the very idea of swimming in sea water equaled immediate drowning. :-) A remarkable mind? Moi? You are too kind!

  9. I thought of Portugal the second I looked at the beach photo! Then I confirmed it by reading your commentary. :-)

  10. I accidentally deleted your comment, Joe. Sorry 'bout that, my friend!

    Spadoman has left a new comment on your post "Eleven Random Facts":

    I feel redeemed. I did visit, but didn't comment. I think I'll e-mail you has I have a few questions and would love some conversation about a couple of the "11 little known facts" you posted. (I'm intrigued about what side of the bed people use to get in and out, for example).
    Thanks for doing this. I enjoyed reading these things about yourself and your answers to my random thought questions. Of course, I can just imagine the dialogue if each of us were to elaborate and expound on any subject we would bring up. They'd have to kick us out of the coffee shop because they are closing before we finished talking!
    Gina, the blog world is huge, and it is amazing to me that we have endured so many years together on yours or my pages. I have been the better for knowing you.

    Much Peace

    1. Amazing indeed. You are one of those people that I hope to never lose contact with entirely, even as we are not always able to keep in touch the way we would like. You are a keeper, Mr. Spadoman!


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