Wednesday, June 29, 2005

How Does This Work Again?

As I understand this tagging thing, since I got tagged by Paul, I have to answer some very personal questions about myself. In public. Since this is the very thing I've struggled with since starting this blog, and since I try to operate my life from my mantra -- "You have to do the things you're most afraid to do" [that's a paraphrase of a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, one that I can't be bothered to look up at the moment.]

Oh, ok, here's the actual quote:

'You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'

And that combined with this one:

'You must do the things you think you cannot do. '

equals my habit in life.

But enough about that, on to the questions!

1. What are three of the stupidest things you have done in your life?

A. Marrying my first husband, who turned out -- in spite of being the golden boy of his church -- to be a womanizer and a firm believer in the superiority of males and of my place as subservient to him. I doubt he would admit to either of those, but from my perspective, it is the truth.
B. Allowing the heat, lack of water, loneliness, and my anxiety over my research to sidestep me from the Appalachian Trail (although temporarily) in 2001. I still regret the fact that I decided not to hike those miles in New England, while I was there. Now I have to make a series of special trips to get those miles done, and I'm always questioning my status as a thru-hiker.
C. OK, now this one is complicated. I chose to do my dissertation research (in the field of reading education) on the literacy practices of the Appalachian Trail, using qualitative methods, at a time when the field of reading was becoming narrower and more focused on print text, when government funding was only available for quantitative analyses, and when my job choices depended on the respect garnered by my dissertation and subsequent work. As a result, I got only a few job interviews, but I did get a position at the University of Wyoming, where I'm very happy with both my academic work and my opportunities to be an outdoorsy girl. So -- maybe it was a stupid mistake, but it all turned out ok in the end.

2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?

No question. My ever-loving, patient, and rational spouse, Footslogger. He is my sanity and my grounding when things get crazy in academia-world. Plus, he always comes up with fun things to do, like this.

3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up five people to dine with, who would you pick?

[Can I just make a comment about the atrocious wording of this question?]

Hmm. Eleanor Roosevelt. John F. Kennedy. Mahatma Gandhi. Buddha. And George W. Bush. Maybe they can teach him something.

4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

A. That people in this country would start valuing and understanding the work that teachers do, in all its complexity.
B. That teachers who do not care about their students would quit teaching and giving the rest of us a bad name.
C. That my hair was curly.

5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.
'll go with Laramie, since my hometown is in Texas, and I'd rather not talk about that.

Two things I regret the city not having -- a variety of fantastic ethnic restaurants and affordable housing. Two things people should avoid -- mosquito bites (can you believe how thick they are right now?) and trying to have a quiet dinner at Altitude's on a Friday night (wow, they should get some acoustic material in there right away!).

6. Name one event that has changed your life.

No question about this. Hiking the AT in '01 and becoming a member of the thru-hiking community. In addition to giving me another persona (in addition to that of an educator, something I've been for my entire adult life), it has given me countless true friends all over the country, a new vocabulary, my dissertation research, and -- most importantly -- a sense of confidence that I can 'do the things I think I cannot do.' I'm proudest of that accomplishment.

7. Tag 5 people.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Are these people that I know read my blog? If so, I'm not sure there are any .. . .

Any of you dear readers who want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged. Donna, if you start a blog, you should start with this one!

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