Can you still your beating heart? (You have to read the hedline with this sentence, otherwise you'll think I should add "obnoxious" to the Top 10.)
To my surprise and awe I have been given two awards recently from the kind, generous, wonderful, world of virtual friends in the blogosphere.
The one above is from Els at Mon Avis Mes Amis , the brilliant and when I say brilliant I am not exaggerating creator of beautiful prose. Do take the time to see what real writing is all about. She writes like a dream, her storytelling is like magic and she has a wicked sense of humor. I'm warning you, once you start, there's no turning back.
You can imagine, once you too are hooked on Els, why I'm so immensely flattered.
The rules, 10 things you definitely don't know about me:
1.) On my wedding day I received a long distance telephone marriage proposal.
2.) When we -- daughter, three huge dogs and I -- moved to France, since I didn't speak one word of French I never did all the legal stuff one is supposed to do when one moves to another country. It was all in French after all and how could anyone expect me to deal with that plus a job and all the rest? Even grocery shopping was a challenge.
Furthermore we were living in the countryside, which is normally a good cover for an illegal alien.
Mais non, one afternoon I drove into the driveway of our rented, thatched-roof cottage and waiting for me in a huge van were three gendarmes. I couldn't understand -- obviously -- what they were trying to tell me. My 8-year-old explained they wanted to deport us.
They kept repeating: "Je suis désolé madame, je suis désolé madame." I immediately called my then not, but almost Reason-for-Living-in-France to come save us.
We went to the gendarmerie where he explained, translated, did whatever he did so we weren't sent back to the States on the spot. In the middle of the transaction the gendarme stopped his typing, looked up at him and said: "Wait a minute, you're trilingual? You speak French, English and American?" At which point I looked over at my future Reason-for-Living-in-France and said, "And they're allowed to carry guns?"
He pointed out it was not the moment to be glib -- or words to that effect.
3. I adored my father.
4. When we lived in Chicago every Saturday I volunteered at the Lincoln Park baby zoo where all the foundlings rejected by their mothers lived. I would bottle feed, lions, leopards, gorillas, chimps -- it was wonderful.
5. I've never made a tarte, a mousse au chocolat or crème brûlée. And I'm not proud to admit it, nor is it too late to remedy.
6. When we lived in the above mentioned cottage in the back garden, fenced off from our garden were two ponies and a horse named Déesse (Goddess), also owned by our landlord. Déesse and I fell in love immediately and I would let her come into our part of the garden. Eventually she came into the kitchen to pick-up her apples and carrots. (Actually half-way in, she was too big for the small space.)
7. I am a magnet for crazy women and sometimes crazy, nasty women. Friends have pointed this out to me and it seems to be true. I always thought everyone had a few nutters in their repertoire of "friends." Guess not.
8. I hate driving anywhere, any time. Always have, always will. If I try driving on a highway for two hours I fall asleep; the white line hypnotizes me.
9. About 10 years ago I lived and worked in Dubai for several months. I was the editor of a magazine aimed at the wealthy Emirates market of international travelers. One day in the office I asked to see an atlas for a story I was editing. To my shock and horror I saw that Israel was thickly black-markered off of the map by the "censors." I was told that was the case in all reference material in the country.
10. I was once offered a two-bedroom condominium -- as in cadeau -- in a chi-chi area near San Francisco. I refused. It's a long story.
Ed. Note: Part of the responsibility of taking on this honor is the challenge of passing it along to others. I promise I will do this the minute I get back from the big city. It will also give me time to think.
(And Kristi, La Bella Figura, who nominated me for the other award in her lovely generosity, thank heavens you only asked for seven "secrets" -- I'm working on it and I do thank you again.)