1. Hi Christie – what an interesting set of questions! I’ll choose “have you ever counted your teeth?” And my answer is – of course I have! I was a dental therapist/hygenist for 12 years and in that time I counted not only my own teeth, but the teeth of hundreds of patients. I can tell you straight off the top of my head that the average adult has 32 teeth – but these days we often have less because a lot of people are missing wisdom teeth or occasionally other teeth – our mouths are getting smaller and teeth are gradually disappearing – an interesting progression due to our more refined diets apparently. So there you go – you were right about interesting questions starting interesting conversations xx

    • Wow Leanne, I had no idea human’s teeth were gradually disappearing. I guess it makes sense. I personally only have 26 teeth (I counted them just now). Two of my top molars were removed to correct an overbite when I was a preteen, and later my wisdom teeth were removed, so they wouldn’t mess up all that straightening that was done. That’s probably more about me than you ever wanted to know! Are Australians as obsessed with straight teeth as we Americans are? It seems almost everyone gets braces here at one point or another.

      • Aussies love their straight teeth too Christie (not so much the English though – they seem to have a less functional dental system in the UK). We don’t seem to go quite as white and bright with the teeth bleaching as the Americans do – but we’ll probably get there eventually because we seem to adopt a lot of US stuff!

        • I have two crowns in the front, due to a fall down the stairs when I was about 10 or 11. That’s another story…I was mad at my mom and stomping down the stairs aggressively when I tripped and fell. It was certainly effective at getting her attention! There was blood everywhere, and we made an emergency trip to the dentist late in the evening. Eventually I lost both teeth–and thus the crowns. Anyway, all that was leading up to the fact that decades later when my natural teeth began to discolor, I did get them bleached to match the still-white color of my crowns. They did quite a nice job getting the match right. They’re not movie-star while, but I’m okay with that.

  2. Great questions, Christie – Here are my immediate, unedited answers.

    1. Have you ever touched a monkey? Yes, most notably in Singapore. The little fellow did not like me one little bit. He hissed and made faces at me the entire time. Hurtful because he acted so adorably to everyone else. My husband and son still mock me about this! 😀

    2. Have you ever run for office? I was Student Council Class President in Grade 9. I also ran and was elected to the Board of Directors for The National Middle School Association (now AMLE).

    3. If you catch spiders, do you put them outside where the air is fresher? Catch a spider? Are you kidding me? But I do ask my husband to do this for me, and he usually obliges.

    4. Are you afraid of large animals like horses and cows? No. But if one was in my living room right now, that would totally freak me out! 😀

    5. Do you have any friends named Daniel? Out of my 556 Facebook friends, not one of them is a Daniel. But one of them is a Daniela.

    6. Have you ever been to Athens, Greece? No, but I would love to visit there one day. Tomatokeftedes, here I come!

    7. Do you feed stray cats? I did when I lived in Beijing. I have not seen stray cats near where I live now.

    8. Do you know much about the moon? Sadly, I do not.

    9. Do you like puppets? I once watched a Water Puppet Theatre in Vietnam. Awesome!

    10. Have you been to Norway? I haven’t been to Norway, but I am currently fostering a Norweigan Elkhound puppy. Does this count?

    11. Do you ever eat with chopsticks? Most definitely. See the answer to #6 to find out why.

    12. Have you ever counted your teeth? No. Do people do this?

    13. Do you ever eat octopus? Yes. Chewwwwwyy!

    14. Do you love life? So much so that I could not possibly do justice to this question in comment form.

    Thank you for asking!

    • Thank you for responding Donna. You’ve definitely had a fascinating life so far. I was drawn in by the very first answer. That is so funny that the monkey chose you as the object of his scorn. You’re one of the nicest people I know! But at least he’s given your family years of laughter. I definitely want to visit Greece as well. My son-in-law came from Greece on a finance visa. They are married now and waiting for his green card. Thank goodness he arrived in the United States before the virus! I hope to meet his family some day in the not too distant future. When you arrived in Beijing, did you speak Chinese? If not, how did you manage daily life? What was your first impression? I love that feeling of amazement and possibility when you see someplace for the very first time. Thanks again for playing along!

      • Hi, Christe – In 2001 (quite unexpectedly…at least to me), I was offered a Middle School Principalship at an International School in Beijing. Even more surprisingly, I took the job, and my husband, youngest son, and I moved to Beijing. We didn’t speak Mandarin, but a huge ex-pat bubble surrounded us. My work was all in English, and our friends all spoke English. My son was 12 and learned Mandarin quickly. I chipped away at it and acquired basic Mandarin, which I used for shopping, restaurants, taxis, etc.
        My husband took a completely different approach to learning Mandarin. He went with the ‘one word per year approach.’ He totally met his goal. By the time we left Beijing in 2015, he could successfully speak 14 Mandarin words. It all depends where you set the bar! 😀

        • What a wonderful experience, Donna. Isn’t it amazing how quickly children can learn language. I am fascinated at the way a baby learns to speak–from no words to quite proficient in a couple of years. I especially like your husband’s approach. My husband has been saying he wants to learn Spanish since we began visiting Mazatlan about five years ago. He’s learned about five words, so he’s right on track!

    • Donna…your As to the Qs made me laugh. The Norway/pup response especially.

      Friend name Daniel? In the loosest of terms…ex-husband. But he gave me my absolutely PRECIOUS daughters.

      Catch a spider? We put all insects in we find inside back outside. I used to do it with the cockroaches at school…disgusting and the kids were appalled that I didn’t kill them but I wanted to try to teach them to value all life.

      Chopsticks? Not well and most reluctantly. Bought some to use as a brain exercise. Could also be a great diet trick for me!!

      • I got a good laugh too, Leslie. I also got my delightful daughters from my ex-husband (who is not named Daniel BTW, but I did have a high-school crush named Daniel). I love that you take the insects outside. The Buddhists (and my oldest daughter) would be very proud of you. Actually, I am too. Chopsticks would be a great tool for reminding me to slow down when I eat…and only about half the food would make it to my mouth!

  3. I will answer a couple. I have eaten octopus on holiday in Spain. I went on a boat trip and the sailors caught a large specimen which they let crawl over the deck of the boat frightening the passengers before barbecuing it. It tasted like rubber and was very chewy.
    I have been to Norway as a child with my parents. It was beautiful but we had sleet in August. We went to a museum and because I had long blonde hair and blue eyes I was chosen to model a Norweigen wedding dress.

    • Oh man, Anne! You’ve painted such a vivid picture of that octopus, I can see the scene in my head. Certainly not the answer I was expecting. That’s what’s so fun about this line of questioning. I recently watched a television special on octopus (what is the plural…hmm…). They are fascinating creatures, but they don’t sound too appetizing to eat. I think they’re safe around me.

      How fun that you were chosen to model a Norwegian wedding dress. What did it look like? You said you were a child, was the dress quite small?

  4. Hi Christie, I’ll take a shot at #4.

    When I was ten years old, I had a horse named Rocky. He was the sweetest boy. I loved feeding, grooming and riding him along the trail we had cut in the woods behind our house. Every day after school, I would saddle him and off we’d go.

    One day, my older brother beat me to the corral and took Rocky out before me. When he returned, he loosened the saddle and left the horse to graze in the grass. Anxious to have my turn before my brother returned, I mounted the saddle and took off at a gallop, thinking I would make a quick escape. Within one minute, my world turned upside down, literally. To this day, I feel the sting of the ground, my mouth filling with dirt and grass, as the saddle rounded underneath Rocky – me still holding on.

    As fate would have it, I wasn’t trampled to death, but I did learn some valuable lessons; (1) access a situation before jumping in, (2) let go when the battle is fruitless, (3) get back in the saddle as soon as possible.

    • Wow Suzanne. I was not expecting a life lesson in the form of an incredible story when I asked these questions, but you managed it nicely. I’m impressed. I’m definitely glad you were trampled. That must have been terrifying…for you and Rocky. How soon did you get back up on the horse? Do you still ride today? Horses are such majestic animals. There was a field where horses lived behind my childhood home, and I remember sitting at the kitchen window watching them run.

      • Thanks Christie, it was a fun prompt and I enjoyed exploring that memory. I did get back in the saddle right away (I made sure it was tight though), and I do still love horses. Our daughter rode for years, so being around horses was a regular occurrence in my adult life as well. I haven’t ridden in years, but given the opportunity, I’m sure I would. I’ve enjoyed reading all your reader’s responses – great idea!

        • You’re welcome Suzanne. I’ve enjoyed the responses even more than I had hoped. I’m happy to hear you got back on the horse, and your scary experience didn’t take away from the pleasure you’ve received from horses all these years.

  5. Cindy

    Very interesting questions, however my answers are not very interesting!😂 I ran for the pep club in Junior High. I usually kill spiders in my house (don’t tell Jess!) but for some reason I always set a moth free. I do like puppets and they’re fun to use. I occasionally use chopsticks. I have counted my teeth, with my tongue. I do love life but sometimes have to remind myself to appreciate and enjoy it!! I love you!

    • Well, I learned something new even about my sister. I didn’t know about your unequal treatment of spiders and moths. 😁 Jessi would come to your house to save the spiders. Just call her. I actually would never dare catch a spider either, but Larry has at my request. Not too long ago, he captured and released a cricket. That thing was loud! So how many teeth do you have?

  6. I’m going with a chopstick story. 🙂 We were invited to dine with a Venezuelan colleague who was married to a Vietnamese gentleman. (Yes, their son is absolutely gorgeous.) Her mom lived with them (multigenerational) but did not speak much English – I think she understood most, but was hesitant to speak it. Anyway, dinner was Vietnamese. When we sat down to eat, her mom went into a rant in Spanish… apparently she was yelling at her daughter that there were only chopsticks on the table and how could she be so insensitive to us – obvious Americans who would have no idea how to use a chopstick and too polite to ask for a fork! Everyone actually laughed when both my hubby and I started eating with the chopsticks, quite proficiently. Not bad for an “uncultured American”.

    Some other random answers… never touched a monkey, never been to Athens nor Norway, but yeah I’ve eaten octopus. My question (since I am a foodie) – what is the most unusual thing you have ever eaten?

    • What a delightful story Pat! And what a wonderful mix of cultures at that dinner party. I’m afraid I’m not very proficient with chopsticks, but I keep trying whenever they are presented. Probably the most unusual things I’ve eaten are a chocolate covered cricket and escargot. I wasn’t a huge fan of either, but I wasn’t sorry I tried them. One thing I refused to eat–tartare (raw beef with a raw egg cracked on top). While we were in France, our guide ordered that for lunch, and I was horrified, but hopefully was successful at keeping the emotion off my face.

      • Have to share my steak tartare story — at a lovely little cafe in Paris. I was there with 3 colleagues… all men. (work-related trip… sounds better than it was … all day exhausting meetings and a really late dinner… flight out next morning). Anyway, the menu is in French; the waiter speaks hardly any English. I can read some of a French menu (my foodie-ness!). It’s so late, I order an omelet. All 3 guys order what they think is a steak… and I’m trying to tell them that’s not what they are ordering. But of course, they know better. Yup, 3 orders of steak tartar… and my lovely COOKED egg omelet. They, all three, had to eat it to “save face”… I really thought one guy was going to throw up. He kept saying…. I shoulda listened to you – you sure you don’t want to trade? [I’ve tried steak tartare since and while it’s not my favorite, it was edible in the small portion I had – a shared appetizer. :-)]

        • I love this story! My husband was very cautious about eating in France. He likes basic food–nothing he’s not sure what it is. I was a little more adventurous, but not tartare adventurous. When I saw our guide eat it, I admit I had to look the other way. I hope your colleagues learned to listen to you after that!

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