The Proust Questionnaire: A Quiz About You

Facebook and Instagram have been my go-to social media platforms since 2014. Where else can you view a positive spin on the lives of others? We all have our beautiful days, but we also have those ugly moments. The kind seen behind closed doors far from the prying eyes of FB “friends” and followers. The disconnection that social media promotes with the option of filters makes it all the more difficult in getting to know people at their core. We all see the fluff, but what about the other important things that make us who we are?

These thoughts have led me share the Proust Questionnaire. I first heard about it in a creative writing class. Its primary purpose was to learn more about my fictional character, but since my final project for the class was a nonfiction piece about myself, I answered the questions.

If you’re curious to know more about your friends or loved ones, this questionnaire is only 35 questions and makes for a good in-depth conversation piece. Since we do have five daughters, this might be a good questionnaire to give to all future son-in-laws.

Are you looking at this from an internal point of view? I find myself going back to this questionnaire once a year. Life has a way of making me see it in different angles so my answers will continue to evolve.

Let me know what you think. If you dare feel free to share your answers in the comments. 

Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
  2. What is your greatest fear?
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
  4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
  5. Which living person do you most admire?
  6. What is your greatest extravagance?
  7. What is your current state of mind?
  8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
  9. On what occasion do you lie?
  10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
  11. Which living person do you most despise?
  12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
  13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
  14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
  16. When and where were you happiest?
  17. Which talent would you most like to have?
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
  20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
  21. Where would you most like to live?
  22. What is your most treasured possession?
  23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
  24. What is your favorite occupation?
  25. What is your most marked characteristic?
  26. What do you most value in friends?
  27. Who are your favorite writers?
  28. Who is your hero of fiction?
  29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
  30. Who are your heroes in real life?
  31. What are your favorite names?
  32. What is it that you most dislike?
  33. What is your greatest regret?
  34. How would you like to die?
  35. What is your motto?

Labor, Delivery and Birth in the Time of COVID-19

…this isn’t a false alarm, my water did break.

June 26, 2020

12:15 AM– I woke up and felt a warm gush of fluid on my backside. I poked my husband and said, “It’s time. My water broke.” He snapped into action without a single word. These sort of things happen in the most unexpected times. My friend, Zury, had her water break while picking up crickets at a pet store.

When I got up out of bed and stood up, a stream of fluid came rushing out of me. “Yeah, this isn’t a false alarm my water really did break.” Immune to other comments I made throughout the previous day due to a false alarm the previous Monday, we agreed we would not make another trip to the hospital unless my water broke. Mucous plug gone, close contractions and this being my fifth baby, meant nothing, except for the simple fact that anything could happen at anytime.

I have heard stories of women having their second baby so quickly that they had no time to get to the hospital. Well, I was on my fifth one and this one seemed just as stubborn as the last.

Brooklyn was born nearly 11 months prior. Labor and delivery took a total of 12 hours. With that said, I was prepared for a long night. In our overnight bag, we had two four packs of Redbull. The second pack was courtesy of our seven year old daughter. A gift for Father’s Day.

We were both pretty groggy as we replenished our overnight bag with extra clothes, cell phone chargers, and RedBulls for my husband . 15 minutes later we headed to the hospital.

12:30 AM– We listened to “Nonstop” by Drake on the way to the hospital, passing through the empty streets of Citrus County into downtown Inverness. We are are from the epicenter of COVID-19. There are currently 264 confirmed cases and 12 deaths, compared to Miami-Dade with 31,562 and 947 deaths. Earlier in the day I had my introduction to COVID-19 testing. I had curbside testing done with a dry swab up my right nostril in preparation to being induced Sunday June 28th at 6pm. Dr. Gonzales wanted to make sure I was having the baby before Week 40.

12:50-7:45AM– I was all checked in and hooked up to a monitor for any changes. The nurses were waiting for Dr. Antony to make a decision to either give me Pitocin or wait the contractions out. Thankfully, Pitocin was the answer.

10:00 AM– I had the epidural. I have experienced one birth without one and I really did not want to experience that again, so yes I opted for a less painful labor and delivery. My attending nurse, Crystal told me to tell her that when I felt like, “Taking the biggest dump of your lifetime.” The heads up would give her just enough time to let Dr. Antony know that it was time for me to push that baby out.

11:20 AM– I let her know.

11:30-11:35 AM– Four pushes later, Kylie Augusta Haros came into the world. Anthony cut the cord while she rested on my chest. 7 lbs 12 oz. 21” long. Her lungs were strong unlike the birth of her older sister who had a cord wrapped around her neck. It was a completely different scene that occurred in the same room in the not so distant past.

The nurses and doctors at Citrus Memorial Hospital were absolutely wonderful to us. We joke about looking forward to our “vacation” next year, but we both know I need a break from the preggo scene. For now we are going to enjoy our time with our family and revisit the topic of trying for a boy for another season.

Thanks for taking the time to read our post. Labor, delivery and birth in the time of COVID-19 was a success and we are ever so grateful for all the blessings our family has received during these scary times.

What Happens When You “Win” a Storage Unit…or Two

I can safely say we didn’t know what we were really getting into when we received our email notifications letting us know we won not one, but two storage units.

I can safely say we didn’t know what we were really getting into when we received our email notifications letting us know we won not one, but two storage units. A couple of questions that ran through my head was, “Where are we going to put all that stuff and how good are our returns going to be?

At the beginning of May we purchased a couple of storage units through an online auction. Both facilities required the units to be cleaned out within 72 hours.  During this time span we made two trips to Leesburg, and immediately after the second trip, we made our way down to South Beach.

The unit in Leesburg was filled with furniture, electronics, clothing, antiques, personal effects and miscellaneous items (i.e. chess pieces from Pirates of the Carribbean in an old Tide pod detergent bottle). One can gain an interesting perspective into a family’s life. A couple of lifetimes were stored in the storage bins, from old high school football jerseys to family photos and even a signed copy of Jo Frost from Supernanny.

Here are the top 6 things we learned from purchasing storage units.

#1. Google Lens is a powerful tool. You can find out exactly what you have and how much it is currently selling for, if it’s selling at all. For example, if you are selling anything on letgo, Offerup, or Craigslist, you can expect to make from a half to a quarter of what you actually paid for. If someone is interested in purchasing your item, sell it to them, don’t wait because nine times out of ten they will give you the highest offer.

#2. Michael Jordan sports cards from Fleet in 1992 are not worth what you think. This is worth more like $3-$4 dollars. If you want to increase the value, get it signed. My advice is to keep it for your future generations or gift it to someone who is a die hard fan.

#3. An antique Handyman Milwaukee Picnic Table that weighs 25 lbs will cost a lot to ship to a buyer in New Mexico. UPS ground quoted us at $120 and packaging at $25. We sold this item for $180. We settled with USPS for $61 and no packaging. Make sure you include the shipping charge in the cost of your item. I had only charged $5 to get this monstrosity shipped, but in the end it was still worth the returns. Unfortunately people do not care for antique things. People these days are into new things looking like vintage. You can find deals all day long on OfferUp, if you want an antique. As the wife of a husband who fixes and reupholsters furniture pieces for a living, I respect the craftmanship of furniture before particle board and pressed board came into play, not that this picnic table was made out of solid wood.

If you think you have solid wood furniture or leather upholstery, double and triple check before purchasing. Too many people have come to Anthony thinking they have solid wood furniture only to find out that their overpriced dining table was stamp painted to look like cherry wood or the thousands they paid to get that perfect home office desk was veneer. Also, not all leather pieces have leather throughout, some furniture companies, put in cheap fabric or pleather. Ask an expert, if you aren’t sure.

Calvin Burnett Original

#4. A Calvin Burnett Original (pictured above) is best sold on EBay. I sent out inquiries to Auction Houses as far as LA that have quoted the piece from as low as $100 and as high as $400, which does not include their 25% commission fee. We have decided to take our chances as private sellers, so if you know of an art collector interested in this piece, please drop us a line.

#5. Donald Trump ties are worth very little in resale. Speaking of which here is my shameless plug to go to my Poshmark Closet and make me a deal on all the ties I have posted @aloharise. At this point I just want to get rid of them in bulk. Then again, I do realize during this time of COVID-19 no one is getting dressed in a suit these days, especially in Citrus County, Florida.

#6. How to know if you bought an authentic Louis Vuitton bag?

The hardware used on the bag is an indicator. Fake bags will often have painted gold plastic whereas an authentic will have gold or brass metal hardware imprinted with the trademark LV logo.

Wondering if you have a fake Prada? Check under the zipper for the following: Lampo, Opti, Riri, Ipi and YKK. If it is blank on the back, you have a fake on your hands.

When all was said and done, we did turn a profit, not as high as we hoped, but not bad for first time “winners.” We have sold, donated and have some refinishing work to do on a select few furniture pieces, so the overwhelming part of where everything was going has been taken care of. We will be bidding on others, but will definitely be more selective in the future.

Please join us again soon as we Aloha, Rise & Grind another day.

Peach Cobbler and More…

If I can’t laugh at a situation, I would be crying.

As this pregnancy begins to wind down, I have gone into full on nesting mode. I am 33 weeks along. There are days when I felt like I lived in the kitchen, but I’m sure you are realizing now that this post isn’t just about peach cobbler.

We have lived in our current rental for over a year and a half, but it hasn’t really felt like home until now.

There have been so many changes since 2018. My kids and mother have had to adjust to having Anthony in their lives. The adjustment to Step dad and then being called Dad has been at times an intense process, but a loving one. He loves my children as his own and shows it daily. He goes above and beyond looking after their needs and their well-being. They will always go to him before me when they need to talk or need some advice. I am forever grateful for all that he does.

I have come to realizations time and time again that a marriage cannot simply be based on a religious preference or a hobby (for me it was running) it must come straight from the heart. I didn’t understand the true meaning of loving someone until he came into my life. He continues to teach me things every day.

During my first marriage, I was ridiculously and meticulously religious. Judgemental much? Yes, all the time! I was concerned about what others thought me, my husband and my children. Individually and together. I wanted my children to dress in clothes that matched (not to their liking) and with perfectly coiffed hair. Being a mother of 2 daughters, they weren’t having it. It resulted in them getting a bob haircut. Easy to clip back and to brush out. My dreams of having children with hair nicely braided or ponied was a thing of the past. They would dress how I wanted them to dress, but how they acted at times and how their hair would look when not freshly brushed was beyond my control. I thought people were judging everything on the surface, like the house I lived in and what we drove around in. It’s a funny wake up call when you realize that people weren’t all that concerned about you, but about themselves.

I used to laugh and a giggle at EVERYTHING (even things that aren’t meant to be funny), which psychologically speaking, says an individual who does that is really unhappy. I have always said if I couldn’t laugh at a situation I would be crying. That alone could not be further from the truth.

Anthony made me see how I really was. I was selfish, self-centered, short-tempered, and controlling. I’m sure that I still am all these things, but just less intense. Let’s just say I am more aware of my shortcomings. Not running and my addiction to it made me finally turn around and face my issues head on. Our road together has NOT been easy, but there’s no other person I would go through this life than with him.

Peach Cobbler Recipe

There are many variations to this family favorite. I have used, peaches, pears, and a frozen bag of triple berries (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries). When using canned fruit/frozen fruits with no additional sugar added. You can use a 1/2 Cup of sugar for every cup of canned/frozen fruit used. If using frozen fruit, place fruit and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until fruit is thawed and sugar is dissolved before pouring it over the batter.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 350 degrees for 45-55 min.

Ingredients:

8 tablespoons butter

1 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 Cup Flour

2 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 C. Milk

1- 29 ounce can sliced peaches in syrup

Cinnamon (to sprinkle on top)

Preheat oven to 350 F .

  1. In a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish place 8 tbsp in dish and put it in the oven while it’s preheating.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder and sugar and slowly whisk in milk.

2. Take out baking dish from oven and pour in batter.

3. Gently place peaches and syrup over the batter.

4. Sprinkle cinnamon and bake until top is golden brown. It took mine 55 minutes. Put on a dollop of whip cream or a scoop of ice cream and enjoy.

Hello from The Haros Family

First of all, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this.

Here is an ever so brief introduction and then some. My name is Desiree. Anthony and I have 5.5 children. I have 3 daughters from my first marriage, Anthony has a son from a previous relationship and we have 1 daughter together and another on the way. We have been together for nearly two years and married for over one year.

I won’t go and dredge up my past life, because it’s completely unnecessary and I realize now that some people from my past FB account are more interested in the drama. So here’s to a clean slate and a more selective friendship list.

I find myself writing at 5am and unable to sleep being pregnant and all. Our baby’s estimated due date is July 5th and Anthony and I have decided on the name Kehlani Haros (still deciding on a middle name). She looks so much like her not so much older sister Brooklyn who is 9mths old.

We feel incredibly blessed to have such a big family, so I just had to share these early morning thoughts with all of you.

I took a much needed break from social media and reexamined a lot of decisions I have made in my life. Ultra running made it easy to run away from my problems. I ran to exhaustion making it so I was too tired to deal with the growing issues of my own insecurities and life situations. As a disclaimer as to not offend any of my running friends who may find themselves reading this:  This is about me and my relationship with running. I have said this time and time again, but what it really comes down to is balance.

In just a few months I will take up the sport that took up all my time and energy, but with a new perspective. I will not be training for any 100 milers in the near future, but if time allows I will be there to cheer you on and maybe run some with you. My end of the year goal is to run a half marathon with Anthony and Lexy (our 2nd daughter). The old me would have had at least a 50 mile goal in mind, but then again I can’t say that is out of the picture. Anyways, Lexy’s been on a few running adventures with me in the past and turns 17 next week! Seriously, where has the time gone?! If you feel so inclined to read about my past running experiences check out my old blog @ http://www.ultramarathonmama.wordpress.com

Upcoming posts will be about our family life, recipes, projects and our new business ventures. We are excited to share our journey with you so please feel free to take a moment and follow us.