Friday, March 11, 2011

Isn't it Neurotic?

by Christine Wells

It occurred to me today that I'm really rather odd. No, really! Hmm, I don't seem to be hearing much argument from you folks in the lair. At least you Bandita Buddies could stick up for me! What's that, Sven? Huh. It's so hard to understand him when he mutters in Swedish.

It's true. I do have a few, shall we say... *quirky* habits. Here are just a few of the more sane ones so I don't scare you too much:

1. I always have to say 'white rabbit' on the first day of a month before I speak to anyone or I'll have bad luck. And when I see the first star of the night (which my killjoy husband informs me is actually a planet, but anyhoo) I have to say that little wishing rhyme in my head.

Starlight, Star Bright
First Star I see tonight
Wish I may, Wish I might
Have this wish I wish tonight

2. I don't use bookmarks. I used to splay novels (ones I hadn't borrowed from other people) face-down to keep the page I was up to but said husband threatened to divorce me for this. I acknowledged he had a point--not about the divorce but that kind of treatment does damage the spine of the book. So I now close the book and memorize the page number. :) Yeah, I know. Since I'm a writer with a lot of writer friends I have bookmarks coming out of my ears. You'd think I'd learn to use one.

3. I always cut my elder son's 2 slices of toast into 8 triangles and arrange them in a particular pattern on his plate for his breakfast. He won't eat the toast unless it's in the same pattern every day. I don't know who is responsible for this particular quirk but I think it probably started the day I first did it that way. Lesson to self: be careful of setting precedents like this because your mother-in-law will look at you strangely when you try to explain.

4. I get depressed if the sun stops shining for too long. When I finished my articled clerkship and was admitted as a solicitor, I wanted to go with my friends to London to work but I knew I couldn't live without Australian sunshine for that long. Nor could I live without said husband. *G* So I content myself with visits. Interestingly, we spent a month there a few years ago and it did not rain once.

5. I can't have clutter on my desk when I write. Nothing is more distracting. I can write with music blaring, in crowded places, with my husband interrupting to ask where he put something, with my kids riding their scooters and yelling outside. Heck I used to type with one hand and push the stroller back and forth with the other when they were babies. But write with lots of 'stuff' on my desk I cannot. And it's not that I'm a neat freak. I could have piles of washing behind me as I'm an expert in denial (in fact, I often do. Oops!) But what's in my line of vision has to be clutter free. (That's not my desk in the picture, by the way!) If it was my desk it would not even have that much clutter. It would have the laptop and a coffee mug and that's all. Maybe a refernce book, but only while in use. I alone in my insanity? Or are there other brave souls in the lair who might possibly own up to some little quirks of their own? And if you don't have quirks or don't want to share them, what are the most endearing or annoying hero or heroine quirks you've read in romance novels?

Oh, and be aware that there are plenty of writers watching, so be prepared to have your little quirk show up in a book sometime!


flchen1 said...

Quirks? No! We're completely quirk-free here ;) NOT!

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha! I can't stand overhead lights. The dishwasher has to be loaded the right, er, my way. And most things have to be symmetrical (chalk that up to my math genes).

But after a few margaritas with the Banditas and Cabana boys, I find my less concerned about my quirks!

Danielle Ferries said...

When I'm writing at night I can only write by lamplight. I don't like overhead lights and I especially don't like fluorescent lights.

I also don't like editing with pens - I much prefer lead pencils.

Oh, and I'm the opposite - I love clutter around me when I write - old jars full of pencils, notebooks, books...

Tawny said...

Quirky? Oh, that's such a sweet term for it :-) Generally, in my house they call me crazy. Or, well, there's another term my husband uses regularly, but I really don't think I'm THAT much of a pain in his anything, so I ignore that one.

Lessee, quirks...

I color code. Everything. I used to color code submissions so the paper clips and rubber bands and labels all matched. You should see my scrapbook paper hoard *g* Totally color coded.

Clutter makes me neurotic. Like you, I can't write with a cluttered desk. I do, however, have decorative stuff on mine, but it serves an inspirational purpose (including the fairy barbie who is my Muse *g*)

If I'm going to be traveling, I have to clean the house from top to bottom before I go. Because you just never know. And speaking of traveling, whenever we cross Donner Pass, I have to do it with my eyes closed (obviously I don't do the driving). There are ghosts there!!!

Hmm, I think that's about as much as I'm gonna share just now *g* I'm teetering that dangerous line between quirky and something else :-D

Tawny said...

Woot, Fedora. Talk about quirky -that bird has some wild habits :-D Have a fun day with him!!

Tawny said...

Oh yeah, Kim. Dishwasher has a very specific way to be loaded. The right way, right? *g*

Danielle, I can only write with fat pens. I hate skinny pens LOL. And if it's a pencil, it's a fat mechanical pencil.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Fedora, he's back with his old squeeze! Not that I cast aspersions upon your age, m'dear! You're a spring chicken which is why the chicken springs in your direction!

Christine, what a fun post! Um, I hadn't noticed anything odd about you. Looks at the ceiling and whistles...

Actually looking at the ceiling and whistling could be considered a quirk.

I'm sure I don't have any quirks. Really! Everything I do is totally logical and purposeful. ;-)

June M. said...

I think everyone has their own little quirks or special ways to do things. I have to have my laundry folded certain ways, and I put number labels on the spines of books in a series (color coded of course).

Danielle Gorman said...

I love that you don't use bookmarks. I don't think I've ever known anyone who didn't like bookmarks.
I have plenty of work my workspace has to be clean. I will not work unitl I've put everything in the order that I want it in. Bugs me if it's not the way I like.
Whenever I eat oatmeal, I smooth it out in the bowl so it's all even. Then when I eat a spoonful I dig out a perfect triangle(like a cake or pie slice). Once I eat a few triangles I smooth it all out again. I also do this whenever I eat Italian ices. I don't know why I do this or how it came about it but if I don't do it it just doesn't feel right.

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

I have to have the cans of food in my cupboard be right-side up and facing forward. My husband just puts them in any old way and it drives me crazy. (Which is nuts on my part because my clothes closet looks like a disaster; go figure.) The silverware in the drawer all needs to go in the same direction and please don't put the spoons in with the forks. ;)

PJ said...

I'm relatively quirk-free though, like you, Christine I do wish on the first star I see. I can't think of other quirks at the moment.

The chook is back with Fedora!

barb said...

Keep him occupied Fedora.....

good blog, Christine, I have a messy sewing room as they say that is the sign of a creative person.... but to me it isn't messy LOL
I have to hang the washing out a certain way on the line.....

PJ said...

Keeping Pacific buddies in my prayers. 8.9 earthquake and aftershocks in 6 and 7 range hitting Japan. Heard from my niece, Jenn. Her apartment's a mess but she's safe though shaken in Tokyo.

CNN says Hawaii under tsunami warning. Kim, please be safe! Prayers coming your way.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha! I have an addendum to my first post - I am neurotic about being prepared for a disaster - a quirk that is paying off tonight. We are currently under a tsunami warning but we do not live in an evacuation zone. Keep your thoughts and prayers on the Japanese who did not have time to prepare for the earthquake and tsunami.

Pat Cochran said...

I'm up(2:30 am/Houston)watching
CNN's coverage of the earthquake.
Trying to reach our niece & her
family who are stationed on
Okinawa. I just happened to be
watching AC 360 when the news
broke through. They are saying
the entire Pacific Rim is now on
alert for tsunamis. God bless all
those in the quake-affected areas!

Since I am awake, decided to say
hello to anyone up & about!
Congratulations, Fedora! Enjoy
the day with the Golden One!

Pat Cochran

PJ said...

Kim, glad you're not in an evacuation area. I was awakened by my phone ringing at 3am. Middle of the night phone calls are never good! It was one of my brothers calling to tell me about the earthquake and that my niece and her husband in Tokyo are okay. Scared and shaken but, thank God, safe. Jenn is keeping us updated via facebook and keeping in touch with her husband through fb too as he slowly makes his way home on foot.

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Fedora, you're pretty quirky about winning that bird!

Sorry I'm late to the party everyone. Had a long trip back and forth across town in peak hour. Murder!

Christine Wells said...

Kim, I hope all is well where you are. Terrible to hear about the quake and tsunami warning. I'm thinking of you all!

Christine Wells said...

Kim, I'm exactly the same with the dishwasher. The method I use is so logical to me! Yet does anyone else get it? Nooo.

My family laughs because I don't believe in stacking dirty plates. This dates back to when I used to wash up after dinner at home. Why make yourself wash both sides if you don't have to? I'd rather a couple of extra trips back and forth from the table.

Haha, yes, just talk to Sven. He'll make all your neuroses float away...

Anonymous said...

Hi Christine!

Gee, I always say "rabbit" on the first day of the month. :)

Drawers and cabinets in the kitchen must be closed at all times. When I can see the box of shotgun shells in the bathroom closet, I know it's time to buy more t.p. Towels must be folded lengthwise in thirds first.

While watching quake coverage in Japan and ordered a portable toilet and wag bags for my earthquake kit. We have tsunami warning for the west coast. Stay safe everyone!
Congrats on the GR, Fedora!


Christine Wells said...

Hi Danielle! Great to see you. Oh, I hate fluorescent lights. I also hate the new eco-friendly lights although I know it's sacrilege to say so. LOL on the clutter. Jeanne will tell you you are a visual learner and I'm an auditory learner. Creativity is a fascinating thing!

Christine Wells said...

Tawny, I'm laughing about the colour coding. But that just shows how efficient you are.

See, I've tried with the inspirational (non) clutter and it doesn't work for me. I need to know my Tigger (from Denise Rossetti) my Eeyore (from Fo) my rooster (from Becke) and my 'dream' sign are all there but I don't want them looking at me. I do have my stately home coaster and my Nora Roberts mug there, though. (both from Fo) Can't write without coffee!

Fat pens? Actually the pen I write with is very important to me. I like gel pens (fave is purple at the moment) not biros and never pencil.

Call me crazy but all that stuff seems normal to me.

Isn't this interesting? I'm sure some of these quirks are going to come back in books somewhere:)

Christine Wells said...

Anna, you walked right into that one, didn't you? LOL But I'll keep your secrets, don't worry:)

Christine Wells said...

June, that is SUCH a good idea to number a book series. So often these days they try their darnedest not to tell you what number in a series something is. I always end up buying two of something! My mother taught me a certain way of folding laundry but I've forgotten now.

Has anyone noticed that a lot of these so-called quirks actually make things more efficient?

Christine Wells said...

Danielle, a clean workspace is just efficient, isn't it?

Not so sure about the oatmeal/Italian ice thing. I just love the idea of you doing that, though. Clearly, you derive great enjoyment from it!

Christine Wells said...

Deb, isn't it funny how we care so much about some things and not others? Like someone else's mess is always messier than mine:)

Christine Wells said...

PJ, hasn't facebook been a valuable tool with all of these disasters everywhere. Glad your niece and husband are safe. I hope he gets home OK.

Christine Wells said...

Pat, I hope your niece and family are OK, too. Such terrible news. It just seems like disaster after disaster at the moment, doesn't it? Poor New Zealand, too, preparing for more.

Helen said...

Well done Fedora have fun with him


Love the post I don't think I have any quirks although i am fussy about how the washing gets hung on the line LOL and at work I must have everything organized and neat and tidy but at home I am more relaxed i think.

Stay safe everyone I am thinking about you all with all these warnings about earthquakes and tsumanis

Have Fun

Christine Wells said...

Helen, I didn't realize there was a particular way washing needs to be hung on the line! Most of mine goes in the dryer these days or on a clothes horse on the verandah. It got to be a habit with all the rain and I haven't grown out of it yet.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Christine - you don't sound quirky to me. Pretty normal - except for the clutter-free desk thing. Can't work without clutter!

I've noticed lately that I like to hang things on the washing line with each item having matching clothes pegs. No idea why.

Eating sweets like Smarties or Dolly Mixtures, I have a method which involves grouping and splitting into numbers of each colour.

Umm - Tawny's colour coding has obviously rubbed off on me!

I've noticed I don't like odd numbers in things. If I'm chopping veg for dinner, I like even numbers of mushrooms or whatever.

Oh dear, better stop now!

Our thoughts to all in the Pacific and Japan - hope you and yours are safe. Thanks for letting us know you're okay, Kim.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

When I hung my clothes on the line they had to be in order. Made it so much easier to fold and put away. Now I wash and dry in order so I am not making a gazillion trips through the house putting away. Towels are always folded the way my mother taught me, yes, I have been known to refold when someone helps me.

TerriOsburn said...

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm feeling better about my quirks after reading this. :)

I'm in the "dishwasher must be loaded correctly" club. But until they get in there, they must be stacked. Can't stand them to be spread out everywhere.

I drink nothing but water and it must be in a glass, no plastic cups. My office/desk at work is totally organized, but at home I have papers and mail everywhere.

If I'm eating at home, I have to eat while watching television. I blame my parents. We NEVER ate at the table, always in front of the boob tube!

Prayers and thoughts going out to all those hit by the disasters this morning. The images look like something out of a Hollywood movie. Crazy and scary. Good to hear all loved ones are safe!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Quirks, huh?

Christine, I do have to say you have some weird ones! LOL

Tangle wires or chords. I HATE them. Nothing drives me crazier at work than having all the fetal monitor lines, the epidural line and the IV lines all wadded up in one spider's web of chords. (Ain't real safe either.) So after I introduce myself to my patient, I will spend the next five minutes making sure nothing is tangled up and untangling them if they are.

The bed. This is an issue of contention between me and my spouse of 30 years. I like the bed neatly made when I crawl beneath the sheets. He will get in no matter the mess. Sigh. Since he's often in bed when I get home in the early morning, I've been known to pull all the covers off, make them straight and orderly, THEN crawl in. Can't sleep otherwise!

Okay, 2's enough!

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Christine!

I'm so glad to hear you admit to your neuroses. I have them, too, & it's wonderful to be in good company. :-)

I can't claim neatness of any sort, but I am getting rather protective of my quiet time and space, like an old cranky dog. After a day or two of houseguests, I've been known to make up a headache just so I can retreat to my bedroom at some insanely early hour. I tell them I'm going to sleep but I'm actually just reading. Sometimes I sneak in cookies, too, so I have read and munch in blissful solitude.

Weird, I know. I'm from a family of die-hard extroverts, too. No figuring it.

Gannon Carr said...

I think our quirks add to our charm, Christine. ;-)

I'm like Suz, my bed has to be neatly made, sheets tucked in just so before I go to sleep. My husband could care less if the bed was ever made.

When I get ready for bed at night, I do everything in the same order: take off my eye make-up, floss my teeth, wash my face, moisturize, then brush my teeth. My husband always teases me about taking so much time to "de-beautify". We've been married almost 23 years, you think he'd be used to it by now. *g*

Christine, I love bookmarks! I have tons of them and still love to get new ones. :-)

jo robertson said...

Too funny, Christine! Isn't it strange what little quirks we develop over the years?

You must have a clutter-free area to write, but I OTOH must have a smattering of disarray. It's sort of like a blanky a child uses to go to sleep; it comforts me.

I'm sure I have tons of quirks, but one is especially annoying. The last thing I have to do before I turn off the light to sleep is go to the bathroom. I don't know why. It never mades any difference in whether I get up or not during the night, but I just feel I have to do that. Weird.

Pat Cochran said...

Thanks, Christine,

Our niece's husband is stationed
on the base on Okinawa & though
they felt the earthquake, the
tsunami was headed away from them.
She was more worried about her
husband, who is in Hawaii for
meetings. We were all happy to
hear that they were safe. God
bless all who were involved in
the earthquake & tsunamis!

Now today's subject: quirks?
Quirks? Moi? You know, just can't
think of any at the moment! LOL!
Oh, wait, light, need lots of
light, especially in the winter.
Books, need books in hand at all
times. Whenever & wherever I go,
I have to have at least one (or
two) with me. Never know when I
will have a few minutes of down
time to read a few pages!

Pat Cochran

Louisa Cornell said...

You now have your own personal walking, Talking (well clucking and crowing) quirk, Fedora! Enjoy!

Christine! My sister from another mother! I HATE stacked plates coming off the dinner table. Why mess up the entire plate when you only eat on one side! This drives my family nuts at holiday dinners.

Since I joined LibraryThing every book that comes into this house is entered into my LibraryThing library immediately and receives a colored star on the spine (different color for each genre or category) and once I read a book for the first time I use a Sharpie to put a black R on the spine to indicate I've read the book. Trust me, with as many books as I have it helps. If I finish a book at work the first thing I do when I come home is put that R on it.

Each pair of shoes I own, and yes, there are MANY of them, is in its own plastic shoebox with a label describing the color and any specific outfits it matches. Same thing goes for handbags.

And when I write or plot by hand I use only Precise Extra Fine Rolling Ball pens.

My dogs each have a collar and matching lead hanging by the door. I never use Frodo's collar and lead on Vito though I know it would fit. Adelaide and Sassy have collars and leads in matching patterns but different colors.

See, even my dogs have quirks!

Donna MacMeans said...

Kim - Can't tell you how thrilled I am to see your post here in the lair. I've been thinking about you with the tsunami alert. Hope everyone stays safe.

I'm an accountant to the core and refuse to admit that I have any quirks. You'll need to ask my husband who will list many, I'm sure (grin).

I do tend to accumulate things that relate to my books and surround myself with them. Hence I have lots of stuff relating to pink corsets - mugs, plaques, and jewerly with moons - mugs, products with bees - Irish stuff (for the August release) and now...octupuses and Japanese prints (that's for the WIP).

I do pretty much refuse to write unless I have a copy of Rodale's Synonym Finder nearby. But I'm not a clean desk person - no how, no way.

Christine Wells said...

VA, interesting about your preoccupation with colour and number of veges. I wonder if you're a visual learner? Jeanne would know! Clearly, you and I should never share a desk!

Christine Wells said...

Dianna, that's an amazing efficiency with the washing. I don't think that's quirky at all.

I tend to try to put the groceries in the order I want them packed.

Christine Wells said...

Terri, see? You're really normal after all! I prefer drinking water from a glass, too. Something about cool and clear, I think.

Christine Wells said...

Suz, I have to laugh! VA just assured me I'm normal. Just shows Brits have a higher tolerance for eccentricity:)

I think the tangled cord thing is actually pretty sensible (especially with the work you do)

BUT the made bed thing? That is quirky!LOL

Christine Wells said...

Susan, what you described is just a necessary survival skill for an introvert! I'm with you all the way.

Christine Wells said...

Hey Gannon! Lovely to see you. Honestly, I think routine is great because then you don't forget anything. And beauty regimes do tend to be rigid so I'm not paying that one but the bed thing... I have to laugh! I'm often guilty of not making beds in the morning. Oops!

I like *looking* at bookmarks. But I move around so much when I'm reading a book, they always fall out or get bent when I shove the book into my purse to take with me somewhere, or I leave them next to where I was reading last and forget about them. I can never seem to keep one around.

Christine Wells said...

Jo, I think you sleep better with an empty bladder so it makes sense to go to the toilet before lights out! You're going to have to try harder, methinks:)

Christine Wells said...

Pat, so glad to hear they're safe. Thank goodness!

Books everywhere you go? You're in good company here:)

I love lots of light too. Drives husband crazy!:)

Christine Wells said...

Louisa, I love your quirks! *Especially* the no stacking the plates rule. LOL I try to switch it off when I have people over but my husband always teases me about it and now it's this joke that everyone seems to be in on. Anal, moi?

And of course dogs need their own identity. Our dogs always had the same colour lead and collar and we never swapped them. Love the shoe thing! You sound like a celebrity stylist. But that's efficiency, as is labeling books you've read and cataloguing them so I'm not giving you points for that!

Christine Wells said...

Donna, sounds like we'll have to go and ask your husband! I think surrounding yourself with writing stuff is a great quirk to have.

Yep, I always have Roget's 3 Volume Thesaurus and my OED. I am totally in love with them!

Nancy said...

Fedora, congrats on the bird!

Christine, I don't use bookmarks either, and woe unto anyone who cracks the spine on any of my books!

As for other quirks, once I start readng a ms. in hard copy, I have to make all the notations with the same pen. Otherwise it doesn't look right.

My day starts with coffee and the NYT crossword, which I work in ink because I have trouble seeing it in pencil. If I start the day without either of those, it feels "off."

When I write, I want quiet. Clutter is no problem. Noise aggravates me hugely. I can't focus with people talking near me. It's like their words interfere with the ones moving between my head and the page.

And I deeply resent having to hear the stereo systems of my neighbors, who should, I think, have the basic good manners to keep their music inside their own premises. If they want to play it loud, that's what headphones are for!

And toilet paper, paper towels, anything on a roll like that, should be hung so the paper comes off the back of the roll.

Jeanne M said...

My quirks are the opposite or yours! The most pressing is I always fold the corner page I'm stopping at so I don't have to search for my place. It's hard enough to put down one of your books and that makes it so much easier to pick it up and pick up reading your stories right away!

Christine Wells said...

Nancy, I think you must be a visual learner! I agree, though, that people should keep their music to themselves.

I need coffee to start the day too and I'm sure you're keeping your mind limber with the crossword. Not so sure about the single coloured pen for the ms! That is quirky:)

Actually, I thought of you when I wrote about the face-down books. I swear, only with my own books and not any more!

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, how sweet are you? Thank you! Ah, so you're a page turner downer. I've never done that and I'm not sure why. I've always valued books for what's inside and never cared how they looked (isn't that sensitive of me?LOL) I do take very good care of friends' books though because I realize not everyone is like me!

Alexis said...

Hi Christine!

I'm so late, I know. *hides face* I don't have a lot of quirks like that, but I do need a clutter-free space to work. And that's hard to get in my house.

I also need to be by a window. I'm not sure why that is, but I need a view of the outdoors in order to work. It's very strange.

And I get SO depressed in the gray winter months. I've had to take antidepressants for it in the past--in particularly gray years. The first hints of spring are like a lighthouse in the dark for me.

So I can relate to those.

And recently, I've gotten to where I can't drink wine out of plastic glasses. If that's all that's available, I'll drink water. THAT is just weird, and I don't know why I've developed that particular quirk.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Alexis! Better late than never!

Actually, I share your thing about wine in glasses. I'd have to be pretty desperate to accept a plastic cup. Although my husband did buy plastic champagne glasses that flashed blue lights for Christmas. That was for traveling though, so we didn't want anything breakable:)