We’ve been tagged by our new Twitter friend Heidi Thiemann! We simply COULDN’T resist joining in the fun here, but we weren’t really sure how to go about it. We ultimately decided to be safe and cover all of our bases by first doing individual lists and then one ‘joint’ list for both of us together because….why not? Here goes:
- I am a nerd. Given the fact that I co-run a Sherlock Holmes blog, this would seem to be obvious. But, despite my love for the great detective and all Victoriana, my love for the Lord of the Rings saga supersedes it (and, to be honest, nearly every interest and hobby I have). I came about this honestly, I feel, when my dad read me The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings between ages 5 and 9. I have distinct memories about trying to get fellow kindergarteners to play Bilbo vs. The Goblins with me. I was Bilbo, because Bilbo is my favorite Hobbit. So, essentially, all Martin Freeman has to do be Hamish’s Dream Guy is be in a reboot of Brother Cadfael.
- Some people’s guilty pleasure drink is good wine, or maybe a wondrous brandy. While I do love those in their turn, my odd guilty pleasure drink is straight up lemon juice. I am really not sure what this says about me. That I love bright and sunny foods? Or maybe my sour taste buds are dead.
- I have several “favorite places” in the world, but one of them is surely the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. My favorite thing to do there is hunt for the red banded agate, stained by the iron in the land. There’s nothing quite like the hunt for a rust-colored, translucent stone, while the dark, cold water laps at your feet.
- From our bio page, you may recall that I make sock monkeys. Soon enough, you all shall meet Sherlock and Watson Monkeys, our intrepid mascots. What you may not know is that I hoard socks for this purpose. At last count, I had about 80 pairs stashed away in my craft drawers….waiting to be monkified. Some were gifts, some were dollar store purchases, some were for people who requested monkeys who never followed up, some were because I had a specific theme planned. And most are because I am weak. SUSHI SOCKS, guys. Basically, I should be locked in a room with a needle and a cubic ton of fiberfill until I get it down to a reasonable number. But Target has those really cute Valentine’s day socks in the dollar section….. And then there are those dozen or so monkeys that are all done except the eyes. They kind of stare into your soul in a creepy, eyeless way.
- I could sing the libretto to the following musicals: Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, Avenue Q, Spamalot, Fellowship! The Musical, Jekyll and Hyde, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, White Christmas, Grease, and Newsies. I could be maybe tempted to do most of Rent, Legally Blonde, and Footloose.
- Authors and their book that changed my life- either by their stories and themes, the people I met, or what I learned about myself: J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings), J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Tamora Pierce (Wild Magic), Bruce Coville (Into the Land of the Unicorns), Mercedes Lackey (Magic’s Pawn), Ursula K. Le Guin (Left Hand of Darkness), Arthur Conan Doyle (The Speckled Band), Tim O’Brian (The Things They Carried) and Ellis Peters (The Pilgrim of Hate). I hope to be changed by more authors in the future.
- I was half a farm kid, and so have seen my share of loved animals come and go. Except one. This weekend I am sitting for the family dog, Tippy. Tippy is a rat-terrier, who belonged to my grandpa before he passed 5 years ago. Tippy is also 18 years old. Yup, Tippy could go to an NC-17 film unsupervised. He is graying and totally deaf, and has more senior moments than he doesn’t. However, this little dog has had a life worthy of cinema. He was born “Amish”- having been fathered by a dog owned by some Amish friends of my Grandpa and I. He was an inside/outside farm dog for 12 years, wherein he slept on the bed, got his fill of salami and lunchmeat, and hunted rodents with his BFF, the German Shepherd named Rex (who once saved little 7 year old Hamish from a wild rooster bent on destruction and clawing, but that’s another story). In the past 6 years, Tip has been through a fatal car accident, several hip surgeries, one “derrière” surgery, and tussle with a coyote. At age 16, he killed his final (I hope) rat. His current problems are flights of stairs and indigestion. He may be in his twilight, but damn, this dog has lived.
1.) I’ve got a bit of a fear of heights. Though mine isn’t quite what I would classify as “morbid”. At least not right off the bat. Because, you see, depending on the situation I’m either totally cool with heights, or hopelessly paralyzed. But I am also full of contradictions. I really love pushing boundaries and dodging expectations and therefore also really love doing terrifying things like climbing church steeples and climbing up onto things I know I’ll never get back off of. Sometimes this gets me into trouble – Like the time I got myself stuck on the very tippy top of a mountain high up in the German Alps. I decided that climbing up the last 100 craggy feet of unsecured, ropeless, pathless, jagged, wind-blown rock to the unprotected peak over my head was a great idea. Yeah – that didn’t go so well. I made it up no problem, but then promptly turned into a pathetic, sniveling mess when it came time to climb back down. Something about the sheer drop into the valley below didn’t sit well with me. That, and I was stupid and didn’t listen when they told me to stay facing TOWARDS the mountain, rather than putting my back to it. The friend I was with had to work hard with a stranger for a good 45 minutes to scrape me inch-by-inch off the rocks and get me down again. It was stupid and mortifying (there’s the morbid terror), but totally worth it. See what I mean?
As a point of interest, the two highest church steeples I’ve achieved are the Ulmer Münster (in Germany) and – for you, Heidi – the cathedral in Salisbury – which I also really, really adore. I’ve got a large black and white photo of town as seen near the cathedral hanging on my wall right now.
2.) I’ve been trying hard to think of some decisive moment that has ‘shaped’ me as a person. That’s a hard thing for me to nail down, but I’ll stick with the biggest and cite my having moved to Germany for a year right after high school. That was the first time I’d ever lived away from home. I was there on a governmental scholarship, but from my end I pretty much packed a bag, got on a plane, and ultimately wound up standing on a train platform in Munich, scared shitless, waiting for people I didn’t know from Adam to come scoop me up and take me home. I did it for a lot of really complicated reasons. I yearned to travel and explore the world, yes, but I was also trying to separate myself from a deeply vile situation in order to find myself a bit and make sense of some even viler emotions. I needed to make a clean cut and leaving the country was the answer. I returned so intensely changed both inside and out that many people (my father included) said they didn’t recognize me anymore. Over ten years later I have two degrees in German studies (as well as Anthropology), still travel to Germany fairly regularly, and have a closer bond with that particular family/community than I have with most of my blood relatives. I count the city I lived in (which – as it happens – is Dachau) as my ‘second home town’.
3.) Relatives! Let’s talk about relatives, shall we? I’m an only child. No. Wait. I’m NOT! Or am I? I AM an only child, but I’m also half-adopted on my mother’s side, which means I have a half-brother (through my biological mother). I know nothing at all about him apart from the fact that he’s at least a year older than I am and was removed from my mother’s custody under similar circumstances as I was. Sometimes I wonder if we’ve crossed paths and not known it. Or ever will.
4.) If I’m not interested in something, I’m likely to totally ignore it. But once something grabs my attention and engages me (an admittedly fickle process) I’ll swallow it whole with a passion like the burning of the sun. There is often very little in between. It either grabs me, or it doesn’t. I will chase it down with all my energy, night and day, for years on end and can rapidly commit ridiculous amounts of information to memory right down to the most absurd of details. Take my former passion for vertebrate paleontology, for example. For over ten years I insatiably absorbed anything and everything even partially relevant and could rattle it all off again at any time like an encyclopedia. This included memorizing the ENTIRE script to the film Jurassic Park. Every line, for every character (even the ones that were in Spanish – a language I don’t speak), for the whole film from start to finish, without any error. I was pretty damn proud of it, too.
5.) While we’re on the topic of me as a child, I was kind of an odd one. (What? You hadn’t got that?) I did things like collect huge bagfuls of sticks and feathers in an attempt to build wings a la Icarus, and run very systematic experiments with just about every household substance I could get my hands on (which I later used to extort my parents into buying me a Chemistry set). I was also usually pretty reclusive, but was kind of strange about it, which meant that if I wasn’t hiding from other kids/people I was probably hiding from other kids/people AND watching them. I had three favorites: A.) Up a tree in the local park. B.) Hiding in the bushes along trails in a nearby bird sanctuary, and C.) lurking silently around the apartment building I grew up in with a friend from then next floor down and spying from around corners (which we ultimately got into massive trouble for). I did interact enough of the time and was fine with it. I just very often intentionally chose not to.
6.) I did a variety of comparatively normal things, too. Like figure skating (which I was terrible at), piano lessons (was good at that – I played for my grade school graduation ceremony), karate, gymnastics (was really good at this until we learned that I am very painfully flatfooted), and for a great many years – choir.
7.) I have no canines (teeth) on top and am missing a set of premolars on the bottom. The premolars are naturally missing (I had the appropriate ‘baby teeth’, only there was nothing underneath), but the canines had to be surgically removed from my face when they grew in way up above my gum line. I could feel the roots all the way up to the base of my nose and refused to smile without covering my mouth for years and years. When I wasn’t busy being crushingly self-conscious about it, I made a game of tucking my lower lip underneath the displaced canines in order to make myself look like a rather silly vampire. I’m really hoping some Physical Anthropologist will find my remains hundreds of years from now and freak out.
Both of us together:
1.) How Hamish met Sigerson.
As some of you may know, Sigerson and I met at the same university. We were both in the same World Achaeology course, and happened to share a friend. By sitting next to each other, we ended up bonding over sharing illicit fruit snacks. You see, the class was right before lunch, and while our professor had a strict rule about no food in the classroom, someone next door always had lunch at that time. The delicious smells of soups and pastas would waft to us through the old wrought iron vents. And so we caved to the sweet taste of Welch’s gummy strawberries. I was also intrigued by Sigerson’s badass earrings and her penchant for sewing cloaks on the weekends. The next semester I was in the market for a new social group, and saw that she was a member of the local Medieval Recreationist group, so I decided to join. From there, I became friends with the local archery group, and met my eventual fiancé. So….blame the fruit snacks. Or the badass earrings.
2.) Deer Killer Carrie
Sigerson and I have been through many of life’s best and strangest moments together. One of our more memorable adventures together occurred the summer after I had graduated, when we were enjoying a last, amazing but bittersweet time with our friends. Weekly, a group of us would drive to archery practice in a nearby town. On a particular Thursday, we had more in our group than usual, and Sigerson and I took my car separately. On the way back, Sigerson was driving, when out of the dark, a buck jumped onto the rural highway. I maintain to this day that that deer hit US, not the other way around. Sigerson kept it cool, while I have memories of the tawny flank in the windshield, the car shuddering, and the airbags deploying. We were both unharmed, and Sigerson was able to get us off the road calmly and safely, but sadly, my car was no more. While being shaken up and in need of a stiff drink, we phoned our loved ones and the highway patrol, respectively. The kind patrolman gave us a lift into town, and did look a little quizzically at our bows and quivers- wondering if we’d gotten fed up and just decided to take the fauna out in a more direct manner. My parents to this day still call Sigerson “Deer Killer Carrie” with fondness.
3.) Puerto Rican Hookers
We love doing them. Together. In lots of different places and at all times of the day. Woah, woah, WOAH. Hang on now. We’re talking about the DRINK here people. You know – The one where you take a shot of tequila and chase it with a shot of pickle juice. Sheesh. What did you think we meant?
We didn’t discover until after about a year of being good friends (see above) that we were both originally not only from the same state, but also the same city (well, the same ‘metro area’). In other words – we both moved away from home, happened to attend the same university (in another state), happened to take the same courses, happened to share the same interests, and then eventually learned that we both happened to come (more or less) from the same state and city. To make it more interesting, Hamish has moved home again and is currently working (by sheer coincidence) in the same place I worked over ten years ago before moving away.
5.) Things in the night
Hamish is terrified of Velociraptors. I (‘Sigerson’) used to enjoy pretending I was one.
Hamish and I have a habit of spontaneously bursting into ad-libbed (canonical) Holmes/Watson conversations. That probably isn’t in and of itself either very interesting or surprising. What makes it entertaining is the fact that it usually precipitates out of entirely unrelated topics. It grabs hold of us without warning, forces us to compose five- line pastiches, and then closes with something really anti-climactic like “…so anyway, I should go do the dishes”. We like to entertain the thought that we’re ‘channeling’ things.
7.) All the world is a stage
Hamish and I both have long-standing habits of creating ‘soundtracks’ for things. She usually does it with stories (i.e. that she writes), whereas I usually do it with major life events. We’ve both done this since we were kids and still do it today.
TAG! You’re it!
Let’s see, who shall we drag in now? How about…
The Baker Street Babes (Take it however you choose to – Not sure if you’ve been tagged yet as a group.)
*rubs hands in glee*
No one is obligated, of course. ‘Tis all in good fun.