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While I was away, a large quantity of e-mails stacked up, adding to the quantity that was there before I left (and I promised that I would get to - remember that?) and I only made a minor dent in them this weekend because, after all, the TV wasn't going to watch itself!

During my absence, I got tagged and although this is soooo "last week", I'm going to answer anyway since Becky is counting on me. Actually, Becky is in Vegas and I'm sure my answers to this tag are the furthest thing from her mind, but let's just pretend otherwise, shall we?

First time you got kissed. How was it?
Well I'm not sure this was the first time I got kissed, because I seem to remember a couple of times in middle school where I would check "yes" on the "Will you go with me? Yes, No, Maybe" notes, and it seems logical that those deep relationships spawned from notebook paper would produce a peck or two. However, my first real kiss, with butterflies and everything, was the summer after 8th grade, with Corey, who was a year older than me and already in high school. It was the different schools that made me unaware of his "questionable" status, sexuality-wise. Sure, he had a squeaky voice, but didn't all guys at 14-15? Sure, he was the manager of the girl's tennis team, but that's just because we lived in a small town that didn't have a boy's tennis team. He was really quite gifted at tennis, darn it! OK, yes, he did walk with a slight swish in his step, but those Levi's 501's looked FABULOUS on his tush, sashaying or otherwise! If he did turn out to be gay, then all I can say is, judging by his kissing abilities - some guy out there is a VERY lucky man!

First time you drove a car. What kind of car?
My parents bought two new Nissan Sentra's right before I got my driver's license. I liked the silver one best, and that's the one they let me zip around town in on the day I passed my test. About a year later my dad gave me my first car - a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass in baby-poop brown. It was not a cool car and I wasn't quite mature enough to understand the importance of transportation versus status. I would park it as far out in the school parking lot as I could, and I would wait till everyone else left before claiming it. More than a few times I flopped myself down across the voluminous bench seat and waited for someone to walk by, hoping they didn't see me. Eventually I gave the car back to Dad, claiming that I couldn't afford the gas and insurance, but the truth was that I just wasn't secure enough, socially. My best friend Kay had a sports car. I decided to ride everywhere with her.

First time you scrapbooked. When you look at your page do you love it?
I went to a CM party at my neighbor's house in 1999 when my kids were about 8 months old. Prior to that, I was a stamping-snob. Serious rubber stampers snubbed this gitchy new hobby of scrapbooking. We found it oh-so-quaint but, ahem, not for us, the enlightened ones, the stamping "arteests". However, I now had children and felt a little obligated, as a paper crafter, to do something with the photos. The page was awful but I didn't know it. In fact, it would take several years before I realized that I was not particularly good at scrapbooking. I loved my pages, so naturally I submitted some horrendous creations to a magazine. I failed. When I was strong enough, I dedicate my life to the study of scrapbooking so the next time I submit, I will not fail. I will say "Hello. My name is Karen Burniston. You have my pages. Prepare to publish." Hee

First time you went on a date. Where did you go and with who?
Hmmm, that's a toughie. In our very small town we didn't do "dates" as much as just going to a high school dance or football game. However, I remember one time being asked out on a real date to the movies by Sean, who was two years older than me. He used to wear Army fatigues to school and was definitely not in the cool crowd, but he was smart and funny and those are the two traits that I find irresistable in a guy. I can't remember the movie, and it wasn't a love connection, but only because I was too worried about his "uncool" status. (Think Randy, from Valley Girl) I was home from college several summers later, much the wiser, and found out that he was married. When I saw him my stomach flipped and I regretted that, once again, I had let fear rob me of something that could have been.

First time you fell in love. How did you know?
Well as sappy as this is going to sound, I'm not sure I was ever in love before John. Oh sure, I had boyfriends and I threw the word around a lot, but when the real thing came around - it stuck!

First time you cooked for someone. Was it yummy? What did you make?
I am not particularly known for my culinary abilities. I make passable meals of reasonable tastiness. I'm sure I did cook for someone a first time, but it wouldn't stick in my memory, since the meal was, at best, just average.

First time you got on a plane. Where did you go? Were you scared?
Disneyland. I was 12, I think. My parents' marriage reached the breaking point on that trip and they separated soon afterwards, but I don't remember any of that. They told me about it later. The trip and the plane ride were absolutely thrilling to me and my siblings, who, up until then, had never been on a "real" vacation. Mostly we went camping or visited relatives.

First time you shaved your legs. Did you cut yourself?
Don't remember the age - probably 5th or 6th grade, but I certainly remember taking a chunk out of my shin. Yikes!

First time you put on make up. Looking back how did you do? Did you look good or like a clown?
I was not allowed to wear makeup until 7th grade. The day after 6th grade ended (so the first day of summer vacation) Kay and I went to Safeway and she helped me pick out some makeup. My mother was shocked to see me in it, but I pointed out that since I was no longer a 6th grader, I must be a 7th grader and therefore makeup was fair game. (Logic, so good at the logic!) Mom didn't argue with me and I had the whole summer to work on not looking like a clown. I failed. But I blame Kay. She had pretty blue eyes and the blue eyeshadow was less clown-like on her. I had brown-hazel eyes and looked, in a word, ridiculous!

First time you moved out of your home. Was it an apartment, house, etc?
I moved into Butler Hall, a freshman dormitory at Tulane University, in New Orleans. I was barely 18, naive, a long way from the small Oregon town where I'd lived my whole life, poor as a church mouse, and scared to death. My roommate was a wealthy princess-type from old Oklahoma oil money, with an extensive wardrobe and an overbearing mother intent on reliving her sorority days. We made an unlikely pair - she was the goddess from 16 Candles and I was the nerd from Square Pegs. Eventually, though, we became friends, and helped each other navigate the rough waters of out-of-state college. She ended up going home for the second semester and came back the following year with a new appreciation for academics, but by then we moved in different circles and the friendship drifted away.

In funny footnotes, I ran into my freshman-year roommate a few years back at a Tulane alumni crawfish boil here in Colorado. We were surprised at the coincidence of us both ending up here, and we promised to stay in touch. We didn't, of course. The crossing of our paths almost twenty years ago is a fond memory. You would think that helping each other survive the terror of instant adulthood would bond us forever, but the truth was that it was a friendship based on proximity and vulnerability. We never had much in common. Sad, when you think of it.

OK, that's enough waxing poetic for one post. I am not tagging anyone with this one since I think it's run its course.

Happy Tuesday!

TPBQOTD (I do not accept excuses! I'm just going to have to find myself a new giant, that's all.)