15 November, 2010


I’ve been tapped and presented with this,
my own little green square of recognition, by the endearingly funny fellow expat blogger Aidan at Conjugating Irregular Verbs. Thanks, Aidan!

The idea behind the award is to use it as a chance to divulge seven lesser-known facts about yourself, and to continue the anecdote-spinning by nominating fellow bloggers whom you’d love to get to know just a little bit better. Here are my seven choices, all of whom write evocatively and engagingly—and keep me coming back for more:

The lyrical Molly
at Remedial Eating
The anonymous, long-time Vietnamese American blogger
at Wandering Chopsticks
The crafty, sewing goddess that is Rose
at The Laughing Monkey
The haiku-writing design curator Cerré
at 2 or 3 Things I Know
The flammable Allie
at Hyperbole and a Half
The winsome, Finnish Tiina who cooks like a dream
at Sparkling Ink
The witty, south-of-France dweller
at The Duchess of Earl

1. I spent my early years in some places where air conditioning seemed fairly necessary to basic functioning, such as the west coast of Africa in Sierra Leone, and the equator, in what is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

2. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

3. I’ve visited a cave behind a waterfall, where Kenyan elephants still ritually gather; cradled a South African lion cub in my arms (Softest. Thing. Ever.); explored Elmina castle in Ghana, from which thousands of slaves were shipped to the United States; (disastrously) attempted to lead sled dogs in Sweden (don’t want to say much more on that brief but remarkably humiliating moment…); learned how to make fresh pasta in the campagna just outside Rome; took in Cambodia’s Angkor (mixed feelings there); went kayaking off the coast of Puerto Rico, and helped release baby sea turtles in Brazil. But I still haven’t been to the Grand Canyon—or Graceland.

4. I really like to paint, and haven’t been doing nearly enough of it. Here are portraits I made (in oil) of my parents, from photos taken of them back when they were about the age I am now.

5. I’ve had a whopping case of malaria and (unrelated) blood transfusions, which exclude me from donating blood to agencies with stringent donor requirements. If this isn’t enough to rule me out, our upcoming, month-long trip to Vietnam will make donating anywhere impossible for a good while. (Some regions in Vietnam have malaria and dengue fever transmitting mosquitoes.)

6. I used to go to a lot of live concerts and club shows BK (Before the Kids). Once, having gone alone to a Shirley Horn concert, long one of my very favoritest of jazz vocalists, I suddenly found myself alone in her dressing room, which was filled with red roses—and her. Overwhelmed by the magnificent charity concert she’d just given and her presence (and maybe all the cigarette smoke hanging in the air)--trembly as all get out--I blurted out my passion for her music and, rambling incoherently, found myself idiotically weepy with emotion. Again, the horror. She hugged me to calm my nerves, sat me down, made me laugh, and I was soon on my way. My nerves were still jangly, however: backing out of my spot in the underground parking lot, I reversed directly into a column. The column won.

7. My memory or lack thereof can be truly appalling. This is why, in certain photos that involve my children’s hands, you might be startled to find unsettlingly long fingernails. I can never remember to clip them (I know: out of the running for Mom of the Year). This is why I once completely forgot a planned airplane trip to attend a good friend’s wedding. I was having dinner when it dawned on me that I was supposed to have left--two hours earlier. Oh, the horror. This is also part of why I keep a blog: it doubles as a sort of diary. Only it’s the kind of diary I can’t misplace...

This is now my 183rd post, and very soon, on November 21, this little diary of tastes and places will celebrate its second birthday. Thank you so much for reading this far!


  1. Oh, Tammy, you are such a dear!

    Thank you, first off, for your gracious words. You are too kind.

    Secondly, I am so with you on No. 2.

    Third, my kids' fingernails suffer the same fate. Toe nails are worse. Ouch.

    Finally? If you find yourself stateside (better yet, if I find myself back in France, biensur!), we must get ourselves to a coffee shop, straightaway.

    Cheers to you,

  2. Great blog - I've recently become a follower, and have had a wonderful time looking through the old posts. I'd love to get in touch, but can't seem to see any contact details anywhere...?

  3. Thanks Tammy! I've been out of the loop for so long now I hardly deserve anyone who still reads my blog! But thanks for the kind words, I'll see if I can manage to get back in the saddle.
    You have done some serious travelling and living! What amazing experiences, I hope at least you will be able to remember those still for years to come!lol
    Have a great trip to Vietnam, I'm sure it'll be much warmer there.....

  4. Great list Tammy. I love the portraits - so beautifully executed.

    I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up until I hit my early 40s. I'm still waiting to fully grow up (and stop splitting infinitives).

    With you on the memory thing, though I've never missed a plane because of it. Could be cos I never go anywhere... :)

  5. Molly,
    Coffee, yes. Anywhere! Especially since you've also copped to sometimes forgetting those teeny nails...

    Hi Rosy,
    Thanks so much for reading--and for posting a comment! I do love hearing from readers. My email is tps.ams@gmail.com. I'll add it to the blog, though.

    Hi Duchess,
    Oh, do get back in the saddle! We miss you...We're pretty excited about Vietnam: kids hauled out of school, etc., etc.

    Hello Sarah,
    Thanks, I painted those so long ago. Maybe if nice people like you keep commenting so favorably, I'll get back "in the saddle" again, as Duchess said. No more getting side-tracked! I think I'll always split infinitives, though. C'est la vie. Now if I could just be sure to never miss a plane again...

  6. Thank you thank you!! My first blog award. I'm blushing. Thank you for your kind words.

    And whew! What a life you have led so far! Makes me feel like I've hardly left my house. (Which frankly, seems okay to me at this point in my life.)

    Your paintings are gorgeous! I was thinking of them all day today. I seem to recall you mentioned to me that you have one that is unfinished. Get on it woman! You've got talent!

    And don't feel bad, I don't know what I want to be either. Perhaps my answer would be what I used to say when I was a child and some adult would ask me that question: "taller." That still applies. I *would* like to be taller when I grow up.

    And I think all of us should get together for coffee sometime. Wouldn't that be marvellous?

  7. ...and growing:
    Thank you for visiting, thank you for the compliment! Compliments are always welcome here...

  8. Hi Rose, or should I call you blushing Rose?

    So pleased to please you! I know you paint too. These take time: they're done first with extremely diluted acrylics, then very thin oils. No color blending at all. Makes them very smooth and if you seem in real life, they radiate light nicely. The technique's been around since the Renaissance. Perhaps you should give it a whirl...while I clamber back into the saddle!

  9. You've had some amazing experiences. How did you end up in Africa? Parents in the foreign service? And I second, or is it third, everyone's praise. Those paintings of your parents are amazing.


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