That which is imitated

Published on Wednesday June 4th, 2008

Meg tagged me nearly two weeks ago, and since she asked (and what wouldn’t I do for somebody with a Corgi puppy and a camera?), and since there’s nothing interesting to see in the fourteen inches of blue stockinet plus a couple of lace rows that currently comprise my Indigo Ripples skirt, I give you a meme. But first, a digression: haven’t you always wanted to know exactly where this weird word ‘meme’ comes from and how to pronounce it? I have. And having been schooled to compulsive dictionary use as soon as I could read, I looked it up. You say ‘meem,’ and it’s a noun used in biology to refer to an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. It was coined in the 1970s from the Greek mimema, ‘that which is imitated, on the pattern of gene.

1) What was I doing ten years ago?

Ten years ago I had finished my first year of college, and I was on my way to visit my friend Elisenda, who’d been an exchange student at my high school, in her hometown of Barcelona. I was shortly to become lost overnight because Elisenda and I had miscommunicated about the dates, leaving me stranded at the airport without her address or phone number or any skills in Spanish or Catalan. Fortunately a nice man called his English-speaking wife and had her explain to me how to catch a bus into the area of town where there are youth hostels, and how to buy a phone card in a tobacco shop so I could call home and panic my poor mother, who did have Elisenda’s phone number. I spent a sniffly night feeling very alone in my tiny hostel room, but all was well the next day. Barcelona and the surrounding countryside are beautiful and I intend to return one day.

2) What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:

* go to the park to frisbee the dog into all-too-temporary exhaustion

* concoct some sort of interesting Indian-inflected dinner involving cauliflower, chick peas, tomato paste, garlic, and ginger

* rip out a few rows of my secret project for Pop Knits

* hand-quilt a few more flower shapes on my Bend-the-Rules Lap Quilt

* read another chapter of Elizabeth Enright’s wonderful children’s novel The Sea Is All Around, which I’m discovering far too late, and which really ought to be in print, if anyone at FSG is reading this

3) Snacks I enjoy:

Goldfish crackers, apple slices (the crisper and tarter the better), Trader Joe’s lime leaf and chili pepper peanuts, mochi wrapped in seaweed and dipped in tamari, hummus with vegetables, ants-on-a-log, chocolate digestive biscuits, toasted hazelnuts, peppercorn or herbes de provence Oregon Sublimity from Brian the Cheese Guy at the farmers’ market. Can you tell it’s getting to be tea time?

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Pay off the mortgage, build a mudroom (and a new deck before someone falls through), help out friends and family members whose dreams are out of reach, travel with my husband and family, endow scholarships everywhere I’ve studied or taught, fund projects to help make life in my communities more sustainable – environmentally and socially, and generally try to rise to the responsibilities that come with great privilege. If I happened to acquire a few more pairs of cute shoes along the way, would that make me shallow?

5) Places I have lived:

San Juan Island, WA; Portland, OR; Brunswick, ME; Balkot, Nepal; Deep Creek, Eleuthera, The Bahamas; New York, NY… and back to Portland

6) Jobs I have had:

veterinary assistant, construction crew member, admissions interviewer and overnight hosting coordinator, middle school teacher, assistant editor of children’s books, school office assistant, publications editor

Memes are like fast food for your blog. Drive on through if you feel the urge. Decide later whether you feel guilty about taking the quick and cheap route for content. Me? Nah. Once in a while won’t hurt. But I’ll have something more exciting and homemade for you next time.

9 Comments to “That which is imitated”

  1. Lisa Comment Says:

    I love finding out some of these little details about you: like, I didn’t know you liked goldfish crackers! Me too!! 🙂

  2. Renna Comment Says:

    I’ve been seeing this meme on allot of blogs this week, and it’s one of the better ones, I think. 🙂

    My hubby and I discovered Trader Joe’s lime leaf and chili pepper peanuts last fall when we had our first Trader Joe’s shopping experience (they don’t have them in Texas). We LOVED the peanuts. We tried to make the bag last longer by adding bits of it to regular peanuts. 😉

  3. Nonnahs Comment Says:

    This is a fun meme- I might have to tag myself. In the meantime, I’ll pretend I get to hang out and snack with you…and buy shoes when I’m a billionaire!

  4. Seanna Lea Comment Says:

    I have always called it meem, though not through any great virtue of knowledge. Most of me friends pronounce it like Me! Me! which I hope isn’t an indication on their take of the world.

    And a few pairs of cute shoes wouldn’t make you shallow as long as you don’t need an entire room just to house your shoes.

  5. rebecca Comment Says:

    Thanks for that little tidbit! I’d been saying “meh – me”: short E, long E. What the heck do I know? 😉

  6. heather Comment Says:

    oooh, chili lime peanuts from trader joe’s. i absolutely love those things.

  7. shamaree Comment Says:

    I always thought it was me me, as in the whole thing is about me. As for trader joe’s, we miss them terribly here in Colorado. I always thought Colorado would be the perfect state for them. We still have my in-laws do shopping there when they are making a trip up to visit. Yay Trader Joe’s!

  8. Erin Comment Says:

    My very first job was as a veterinary assistant. I was actually a “boarding technician” — I had to clean up after, exercise, feed, and medicate the dogs and cats at this animal hospital that had a boarding facility (a really nice one, too, as such things go) attached.

    My billionaire acts would also be very similar. 🙂

  9. meg Comment Says:

    YAY! Thanks for humoring me!

    Funny – eleven years ago I was hiking through Northern Spain by myself, muddling through with mediocre high school spanish and trying not to freak myself out! Easily one of the best AND most intimidating time in my life.

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