In Which I Answer Your Questions About Miscellaneous Things

A couple of Sundays ago, I had you ask me questions for me to answer. So far, I've answered your questions about place, the Palinode and I, music, and myself and blogging. For the final entry in this series, I am answering the questions that didn't fit into one particular category. Defining moments, cats, and candy! Oh, my!

Mrs. Wilson asked:
You wanna have beer and ribs with me sometime?

Yes, Mrs. Wilson. Yes, I do. We will get tipsy and make fun of the fact that our city's name rhymes with vagina, and that when you say our university's name, University of Regina, quickly, it sounds like a teenage boy's wet dream.

I am really 12. Is that okay?

Flutter asked:
What has been the one moment in your life that you feel has defined you, as a person?

I would love to be able to answer this question with a meaningful tale of love and loss or some such thing, but I cannot. Truth be told, the feeling of being defined as a person has yet to strike me, and I hope it never does.

One day about ten years ago, a series of incidents with my family came together to give me the impression that I had been defined, and I found it nearly shattering. Really? I thought. This is it? This is who I am? The idea that this series of moments had defined me depressed the hell out of me. It made me feel a hopeless dread that too much of my life story was now already written for me.

I prefer to think that we are more like plasticine than fired clay. I do not believe that we are capable of truly knowing ourselves in this life. I see us as being in a state of becoming from one end of our lives to the other, and any definition would, at best, be fleeting.

daysgoby asked:
Are you all catted out, or would you add one more to the mix?

We have three cats, which means that we, our furniture, and a good number of our meals are constantly dusted with a coating of fur. They poke me in the face when I sleep, bite my feet when I cook, and fall on me in the bathtub. I have to scoop their shit twice a day to fend off the acrid smell of a hundred hamsters.

Yes, I would love one more.

To be clear, though, I have promised the Palinode that I will not bring home any more starved, beaten, or otherwise abused animals. Three cats is all she wrote.

Stanzi, a slightly confused atheist menno, asked:
Do you identify as Mennonite, and if so, what does that mean to you?

In grade four, my teacher asked each of us what our nationality was. I didn't know, because although I knew that my grandparents and great grandparents had come from Russia, I also knew that I had never heard us call ourselves Russian, so I asked my father about it.

He confirmed my suspicion. We weren't Russian. Both sides of my family had lived in Russia for a time as a safe haven from those who would persecute us for being Mennonite, but we lacked a proper national affiliation, so we were best described as Mennonite not only as a religious group but also as a cultural group.

So, although I do not identify religiously as Mennonite, that is still the only cultural heritage I can claim. It is my family's history, one from which I am proud to have come, so a cultural Mennonite I remain, despite my having left the religion.

Anonymous asked:
Where is the ketchup?

I just found it wedged behind a long expired jar of polish pickles yesterday. You're welcome.

Susanlee asked:
Do you ever worry that since the cats outnumber the people in your home now, they'll attempt to take over? This keeps me up at night, since our feline population has officially reached 3.

After having watched our own three cats in action for the last year-and-a-half that they've all been together, no, I do not worry that they'll try to take over. They are the most self-interested pack of layabouts I have ever had the opportunity to live with. Although I am pretty sure that they'll feast on my eyes as soon as I keel over, they need me to operate the can opener and scratch their butts for them until then, so I feel fairly safe.

I did have a cat once, though, who used to drop down onto my head from doorways and throw her paws at my eyes. That one ruled my apartment with an iron claw and ate my shoes. That one also ended up on a farm.

I guess my best advice is to not worry too much, because most of them are lazy opportunists who just like the free room and board. Most of them.

Blackbird asked:
I... want to know what your favorite candy is.

I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but if I have to pick a favourite candy, then it is those soft marshmallow bananas, which are disgusting but feel divine when being mashed into the roof of my mouth.

Val asked:
When did your get your nose pierced, and how much did it hurt, on a scale of 1 to 10? I'm thinking of having my done.

I had my nose pierced while on a trip to British Columbia in 1996, and I did it all wrong. First, I didn't push the issue with the piercer when I wanted them to move the position of the ring a little further back on my nostril, and so I have had my nose ring slightly off from where I really wanted it for over 13 years. Second, I went to a hairdressing shop that had a gun for piercing ears rather than a proper set-up for piercing anything aside from earlobes.

That point is key. Anything aside from your earlobe should be pierced using a hollow needle that also removes a small plug of flesh. This creates a space for the jewelry to sit so that your body is less likely to swell up and become infected around it in a bid to reject the piercing. As it went, I ended up with a regular stud with a butterfly back inside my nose, which promptly became infected and spouted alarming amounts of pus for weeks. Done properly, nose piercings are usually one of the quickest healing.

Having my nose pierced with a piercing gun hurt like a bitch, but then I was being stupid and probably deserved it. I have watched it being done properly with a needle, and it looks like it's not so bad. Even though, under my personal circumstances, it felt like I had received a quick jackhammer to the face, it was over in a second, and, afterward, there was no continuing ache to speak of.

If you'd like to see it actually being done properly, watch Karen Sugarpants get her nose pierced. See? It's not so bad.

If you do decide to get it done, send pictures!

And this concludes my answering the latest round of readers' questions. Thanks for playing!