Pat was our very first friend at the University of Houston-Downtown. We had gone to check out our offices and met Pat who remembered us from our interviews and immediately said, “Let’s go to lunch!” We had a fabulous lunch and have been friends ever since with both her and her husband Peter, AKA Batman. I made a lot of friends in Houston, but Pat, I miss you the most every day!
How do we know each other?
From our terms in the UHD Valley of the Shadow.
How would you describe yourself?
I am tall (too tall according to a Chinese man who saw me walking in Taiwan), not skinny any more but less fat, blonde (even my gray hair is blonde), bloodshot blue eyes, wrinkles everywhere.
In what part of the world are you located?
In Houston. It’s better than Lubbock. I’m happy to be here as this is where my attorney husband gets paid.
Where can we find you on the web?
No place. I like it like that.
What don’t people know about you that they ought to know?
I don’t know, either.
What’s the most common mistake people make about you?
I also don’t know that. If by people you mean students, it’s that I am not mean.
What are you most proud of having accomplished so far?
Finding the meaning and secret of life.
What ambitions do you have ahead of you?
To guide my grandson into a life with fewer mistakes than mine; to teach a semester in several different foreign countries; to go to Antarctica before it melts; to see Kate over Easter in New Orleans; to get my teeth white; to go straight to where Jesus and Buddha hang out and not reincarnate any more; to clean off the top of my desk and maintain it as clean; to have time to work the NY Times crossword every day with a cup of tea before I have to get anything else done; to take my children and grandchildren and Peter on another vacation trip; to visit India and Israel without getting killed; and several thousand other things but I’m sure you’re tired of reading by now.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
That I did something difficult with grace.
If something great happens to you, how do you celebrate?
With dear friends and bubbly.
What’s your best method for coping with stress?
Forgiving the situation and the people in it and seeing that it isn’t really all that important.
What makes you laugh?
Everything, particularly British humor and the daily comics “Get Fuzzy” and some others.
What makes you cry?
Everything, including silly movies, hurt feelings, sad books, sad things happening to others, spilled milk. I even cry when I’m extremely happy.
What do you love?
My husband Peter and almost everyone else (I’m working on everyone), raspberries, trips abroad, staying home, eating bacon and eggs and pancakes on the same plate, my children and grandchildren, lunch at Brennan’s, dinner in Sicily, cooking, eating, drinking, laughing, funny jokes. Everything that I don’t dislike.
What do you loathe?
Ambivalence, changes for no reason, bad luck, the Sunday Times puzzle when I can’t get it all, dirty fingernails, student papers which show they have not a clue as to what is going on, bad food, bad jokes.
What’s the best advice you were ever given?
To love everyone, especially the unlovable ones, as they likely have a back story no one knows to explain their unlovableness. And to eschew judging.
How should people be spending their money?
Women should spend money on children, especially hungry ones, and good bath salts, massages, good therapists, good jewelry (but not excessive in quantity or price)(unless you are rich), clothes that look good on you and are not boring, sensible shoes, ridiculous but sexy shoes. If you are wondering why I have not said spend money on saving the world it’s because that is not possible and if everyone practices forgiving and loving it will be saved. And the money can be used for children and fun. (You might say one can have more fun without children, and you wouldn’t get an argument from me.)
Which woman/women have inspired you?
Kate Laity, Gina Castellano, Teresa McCanlies, my grandmother Patti Lee Hall Blake, my fourth grade teacher Ms. Logan, Mother Teresa, Mary Ann Evans, my daughters Anna and Allison, Joan Didion, thousands of others.
If I gave you a million dollars, what would you do?
My father used to answer that question “Pay it down on my debts and ask the others to wait.” It’s a good answer.
Thank you so much for being part of this celebration: love you and miss you so much!