BB’s Personality Quiz :: Are you savvy about Valentine’s Day?

Skeptical looking woman holding a photograph of a man.
This was the last guy who tried to give me tangelos for Valentine’s Day. Don’t be that guy.
This quiz was originally published on Feb. 8, 2013.

Are you a know-nothing when it comes to Cupid’s cuddliest holiday? Take this quiz and find out!



    a) the invention of the colors pink and red by known international scientists,  who were actually trying to find a cure for the common rhinosinusitis infection.

    b) I want chocolate. Let’s celebrate that.

    c) St. … Something-or-other. And the creator of “accordion style” holiday decorations.  So pretty!

    d) the discovery that a woman’s uterus does not travel freely around her body when it’s not anchored down by marriage. So we give each other non-anatomically correct hearts and chocolate to remind ourselves that uteruses. . . don’t roam anymore? That doesn’t sound right.



    a) dress in pink and red, and walk around with a decorated basket full of loose Necco Conversation Candy Hearts that I will throw violently at my coworkers. And then I’ll get arrested like I do every year.

    b) Shhhh. I’m listening for the UPS driver who is bringing me a quarter-ton of chocolate assortments sometime today.

    c) get eighteen boxes of Kleenex and twenty extra-squishy romantic comedies and some sort of blanket-poncho. I am going to cry myself dehydrated. My skin will look like fruit leather afterwards, but I will feel sooooo much better.

    d) This year, I’m going to twirl in a bed sheet in front of the public library. Gonna Isadora Duncan up this joint! Wanna come with?



    a) When you care enough to give the very best you put in wall-to-ceiling pink shag carpeting in the master bathroom. Like Jayne Mansfield’s classy bath in her Pink Palace.

    b) That UPS driver is late. And I’m jonesing. Where’s my secret chocolate stash?!? I HATE EVERYTHING.

    c) I dunno. Nineteen boxes of Kleenex? Twenty-one romantic comedies? Crying ’til you throw up? I’m pretty set on my own plan, here.

    d) (Singing.) I gave my love/ a bucket of tangelos. / Oh, why did she go? / Oh why did she go/and smash up my Chevrolet?



    a) There is no such thing. Please help me put on my gigantic pink leghorn hat. My pink lace gloves make everything too slippy.

    b) This is a sweatpants only household on this holy day. Now, shush! I’m calling @#*%ing UPS.

    c) Just dress like Julia Roberts in any of her movies and you’ll be fine.

    d) Dude, I’m wearing a pink leotard and a blanket poncho for my impromptu library performance. You bring the sparklers! See ya!



    a) I always do a scale-replica mosaic of The Rokeby Venus using Necco Conversation Candy Hearts on my front door. And then I’ll get fined by the neighborhood association like I do every year.

    b) I want that delayed UPS driver’s head on a pike on my lawn. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    c) Only with my tears, darling.

    d) One word: Bongos. Where do you put them? Everywhere. (Singing.) I gave my love / a bushel of bongos. / She drummed my head / with her pointy young hands. / Oh, why did she go? / Oh, why did she go? / And eat all the tangelos with another young man?


Make a printout of this quiz. Ball it up. Put it in a blender with PLENTY of water and puree for one minute. Then count the pieces of paper in the blender. Read the key below to figure out your results!

    0-25 PIECES (MOSTLY A’S): You are a Valentine’s Traditionalist. In a perfect world, you’d have a battalion of concrete reproductions of Michelangelo’s David on your front lawn. Barring that, you should get all the candy hears your little heart desires this year. Go and mosaic in peace, my friend.

    26-60 PIECES (MOSTLY B’S): You are Valentine’s Oblivious. Your personality is entirely constructed out of milk chocolate, and therefore should not be left out in the sun. I know you’re not actually reading this right now, because you’re busy using your chocnoculars out the front window to spot that errant UPS driver. Hey, UPS driver—drop that package and run like hell!

    61-90 PIECES (MOSTLY C’S): You are a True Valentine. Grab your blanket poncho and your Kleenex and go out to the movies this year. You need to be surrounded by other romantic comedy enthusiasts with similar, uh, needs as your own.

    91-1000 PIECES (MOSTLY D’S): You are a Valentine Improvisationalist. (Singing.) My true love tried/to give me fruit. / For Valentine’s Day / For Valentine’s Day / My true love tried / to give me drums. / For Valentine’s Day / For Valentine’s Day / I burned up his car / and now I date Arnold / who gives me flowers / For Valentine’s Day / For Valentine’s Daaaaaaay!

Humor :: The Marriage Interpreter (No. 52)

The Husband upside-down dancing with psychedelic chickens.

THE HUSBAND walks into Bluebird’s office carrying two pairs of trousers on hangers.

The Husband: Hey! Guess what I got for school!

Bluebird: (Sets down pen.) What’d you get?

The Husband: Some trousers! On sale! See this pair? They’re Pollos!

Bluebird: (Squinting at trousers.) Uh . . .

The Husband: (Oblivious.) You know! Pollos? Like the chicken? They have a little man on a chicken holding a hammer on them. VERY classy.

(Bluebird is speechless.)

The Husband: Hey! Guess what I got for school! Some trousers! On sale! See this pair? They’re Pollos!

THE HUSBAND is reading on the living room couch.

Bluebird: (Squinting from kitchen.) What are you reading?

The Husband: This? Oh, it’s the Lolololag Largolarginaut.

Bluebird: Wha—?

The Husband: —the Hoolag Hoolighuganao!

Bluebird: I still don’t know what you’re saying.

The Husband: You know! You gave it to me! The Ololololoo Loo-loo-ooginoh!

Bluebird: Do you mean “THE GULAG”—

The Husband: Yes.

Bluebird: —”ARCHIPELAGO”?

The Husband: Yes! (Clears throat.) It’s a very good book. You should read it some time. Lots of vowels AND consonants. That’s VERY important to me, you know. Also, syllables. I like them a LOT.

The Husband: You know! You gave it to me! The Ololololoo Loo-loo-ooginoh!

THE HUSBAND is in the kitchen eating something crunchy. Bluebird walks in.

The Husband: (Mouth still full.) Man, these cookies are really good!

Bluebird: (Covers eyes with one hand.) Do you mean the dog cookies Karen gave us?

The Husband: (Swallows rest of dog cookie.) Yum. Peanut buttery. (A beat.) I won’t eat any more. (Another beat.) Ask Karen for the recipe, will you? (A third beat.) I need it for… the dogs.

Bluebird: Uh-huh.

Brightly colored photo collage of The H. dancing with psychedelic chickens.

Psst! Here’s the first volume to Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. It is an amazing story of life in the early Soviet Union and the gulag system.

Humor :: The Marriage Interpreter (No. 51)

Advil Lavigne: Just tell me which one fixes the headache.

The Husband: Dude, your neck is thick! Just like that girl on Downton Abbey.

Abelard: ???

The Husband: (Grasping for name.) You know who I’m talking about—the one with the thick neck!

Abelard: ???

The Husband: (Remembers her name; face lights up. ) Lady Instagram!

THE HUSBAND is washing dishes and ruminating. Bluebird is reading.

The Husband: Bluebird?

Bluebird: Yes?

The Husband: Did you know there can only be one Highlander?

Bluebird: (Dreamily staring at open book.). Okay.

The Husband: Are you listening?

Bluebird: Yes. (Looks up.) You’re a Dr. Pepper—

The Husband: —Highlander.

Bluebird: (Returns to reading.) Congratulations.

THE HUSBAND calls Bluebird from the ranch.

The Husband: I need to ask you a serious question.

Bluebird: Okay, shoot.

The Husband: Who is Advil Lavigne?

Bluebird: I don’t—how did you…? Huh. Would you look at that.

THE HUSBAND is standing in the hallway ready to go to the hardware store. Bluebird is reading a book on the couch.

The Husband: I have your list.

Bluebird: (Without looking up.) Mmm-hmmm?

The Husband: (Scanning page.) So you need a dust mask and air filters—

Bluebird: (Still reading.) Hmmmmm.

The Husband: (Squinting.) —and a squid widow for a wool herring…

Bluebird: (Eyes still on book; shakes head.) Uh-uh.

The Husband: No squid widow?

Bluebird: (Dreamy voice.) Squeegee.

The Husband: Wool herring?

Bluebird: (Turning page of book.) Whole house.

The Husband: Your handwriting is awfu—

Bluebird: (Interjects.) —Are you wearing my glasses?

The Husband: No. (A pause.) Maybe. (A pause.) I’m going now.

Bluebird: (Turns another page.) Mmmm-hmmmm.

BB’s Personality Quiz :: Your spring cleaning style revealed!

Black and white picture of woman using an old-fashioned  sit-down hairdryer to dry her hair.
NATURALLY, I vacuum my hair. Doesn’t everybody? (CREDIT: Nationaal Archief of the Nederland.)

At Bluebird Blvd., we take certain things seriously, but housekeeping is not one of those things! No sirree-bobcat tail! Regardless of our ignorance, we feel perfectly qualified to tell you all about cleaning your house during the three months of spring. Didja catch the part where we said we don’t know diddly jack about housekeeping? Keep that in mind as you answer these questions, will ya?

A housekeeping expert would call your home:

    a) Perfect. We don’t breathe or touch anything while we are inside the house. And we vacuum our ceilings twice a day just like my daddy taught me.

    b) Clean enough. Everything you can see is clean. But for cripes sake, don’t open that closet door! Don’t even look cross-eyed at the cabinets! Nope, don’t go in that room! Or that one! And don’t EVER look under the sofa, okay?

    c) I don’t know? Lemme ask you a question— Why do people wash bath towels? I mean, don’t they stay clean?

    d) A wonderland of unclassifiable smells.

What makes your cleaning style unique?

    a) My special origami laundry folding technique. All my t-shirts are in the shape of cranes! It’s a family specialty!


    c) Wait a sec. I can’t stop laughing! Unique? It’s unique when I clean at all!

    d) I cannot hear you through my HAZMAT suit. Sorry!

In one sentence, describe the best way to tackle Spring Cleaning.

    a) Take off a month from work and make a twenty-page checklist. Then you rent all your heavy equipment. That’s how five generations of my family have tackled Spring Cleaning. Tradition is good!

    b) On the first day of April, check underneath your sofa to see what’s collected there in the last twelve months. It’s like a piñata filled with dirty pocket change and dust bunnies! Whee!

    c) Well. . . honestly? I try to get the crying out of the way first. That takes about two days, tops.

    d) Hibernate until June.

What’s the one Spring Cleaning task you’d like to delegate to an expert?

    a) Mr. Clean is my witness: No cleaning “expert” will ever cross the threshold of my house! I’m the expert around here! Tradition!

    b) I want to delegate everything to the expert from all the “a” answers in this quiz. Damn, that person sounds efficient! I want a self-cleaning kitchen. And I want Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons to come live with me, and clean house while cracking wise, sitcom style!

    c) Here are all the keys to my place, cleaning expert. I’m going to stay in a Motel 6 in Barbados until you call me, okay? Bye-byeeeeee!

    d) (Humming to self.) I’m moving to a yurt in March! I like potato salad!

In a few words, tell me what you do when you’re not cleaning:

    a) Thinking. About cleaning. Will you excuse me? I need to vacuum my ceiling again.

    b) Two words: I work. There’s your answer. I need a 72-hour nap from my workweek.

    c) “Hello! You have reached my cell phone. I am in Barbados while a team of nationwide experts cleans my house. Did you know that you have to wash bath towels? Crazy! Leave a message after the—. . . .”

    d) I collect asphalt!


Put on a fez. Now take it off. Do a hoochie-coochie dance. Now stop. Wow, you’re really following the directions here, aren’t you? No fooling now. Count up your letters and whichever letter you chose most is your answer. The key is below.

    YOU ARE AN A-TYPE SPRING CLEANER: Martha Stewart wants to bring you on her show to talk about your sixteen methods for cleaning grout. You’re the only person we know who can wear an all-white outfit to an outdoor barbecue and come back home looking cleaner than when you left, if that’s possible. You are a natural dirt-deterrent and an excellent launderer. In fact, we’re a little embarrassed that you stopped cleaning to take this quiz.

    YOU ARE A B-TYPE SPRING CLEANER: As the Average Joe/Jolene of the cleaning world, we know that cleaning makes you moody, and not cleaning makes you feel guilty. You are a cleaning product advertiser’s dream: a picture of scrubbing bubbles will send you hurtling to the store to get the latest hyper-toxic all-surface spray that claims to cut your housekeeping in half. Listen, do us all a favor and vacuum underneath your couch every once in awhile. We know that on April 1st of last year you found over a thousand dollars in change under your sofa cushions. Clean your sofa more often. We also think you need to get trousers with better pockets!

    YOU’RE A C-TYPE SPRING CLEANER: We worry about you a little bit. How could you not know to wash your own bath towels regularly? When was the last time you cleaned your stove top? Do you know you have to dust your light fixtures periodically? Get a housecleaning book and read it cover to cover. Think of it as a detective novel and you need soap to find all of the clues. Give us a call when (or if!) you get back from Barbados!

    YOU’RE A D-TYPE SPRING CLEANER: Good luck with your teepee move. We also like potato salad, but we try not to eat it in bed. This thing over here is called a “broom.” It moves dirt from one spot to another. This is called a “dustpan.” It picks up the dirt you moved, and you throw it into a “garbage can” outside where the city can pick it up. Here you go! You’ll get the hang of it… we think!

BB’s Personality Quiz :: What’s your social style?

Old-fashioned photograph of woman in chair.
You want me to make HOW much pho?
(Credit: George Eastman House)

The last time you went to a party, you:

    a) swiveled through the door doffing a cowboy hat owned by Bela Lugosi’s cousin’s housekeeper. You were a boffo smash!

    b) strolled through the door of the party—started to feel light-headed—and kept going straight out of the back door where you flung yourself over the hedge. You’ll come back for your car tomorrow.

    c) walked through the door, threw your arms wide, and said, “DARLING!” to the hostess, but it turned out you were in the wrong house. You really frightened that lady.

    d) danced through the door and yelped at the sight of the clown blowing up balloon animals. You are terrified of balloon animals.

Your idea of a great night out is:

    a) a whirlwind evening at Ciro’s! You want to drink fizzy beverages out of an expensive shoe, by golly!

    b) two bowls of your favorite takeaway Vietnamese pho (soup). Extra fish sauce. Keep it coming! Don’t you look at me crossways, buddy!

    c) that one time when you went to that party. Not the part where you frightened the lady who lived next door, the part after that, where you ate cake. Caaaaake!

    d) Out? At night? Are you wild, man? There are balloon animals floating around out there!

Your ideal party would include:

    a) Walter Winchell! Everyone talking fast like a 1940s movie star! Boffo! Gonzo! Kid! Dame!

    b) a self-serve pho bar with a fish sauce fountain and an accordion band. Phun with pho!

    c) clearly marked directions. Maybe a sign on the front door. People need to be able to find the right house the first time without any trouble with police or whatever involving a stolen cake.

    d) a rally to ban balloon-based life forms. Trifle for dessert with extra cream. During the day. We’re not Visigoths around here.

What is the one rule you follow when planning a gathering?

    a) What Would Walter Winchell Do?

    b) One liter of pho per person is the most accurate ratio.

    c) I base all of my socializing on Google Maps, so . . . .

    d) It’s best to start with canapés and crudités. It gets people talking. About banning balloon animals.


Give yourself -3 points for each A answer, -2 points for each B answer, -1 points for each C answer, and a scrap of used tinfoil for each D answer. Add that number to eleventy-teen. Think about cocktail napkins with clever sayings on them for two minutes. Please compare your pleasant thoughts to the answer key below.

    IF YOU HAD MOSTLY A’s— You are a 1940s movie star, or you aspire to being a 1940s movie star. Or you read a lot of old Walter Winchell columns. In this century, we do not drink beverages out of shoes. We drink out of nice, clean drinking glasses. It’s a novel idea, I know.

    IF YOU HAD MOSTLY B’s— You are sitting in a pho restaurant in the corner booth. A man approaches you and says that he can help you cross the border and see your children again if you help plant an idea in a person’s head through their dreams, but actually you may be dreaming, so you make plans to go to Mumbai to eat more pho. You’ve also watched Inception one too many times.

    IF YOU HAD MOSTLY C’s— You can team up with the balloon animal person— who seems to have a grasp on simple street directions. Most people like food at parties. Try thinking about that for awhile. Use your experience with eating cake that one time as a springboard for fresh ideas. Like donuts for instance. Look, let me give you directions to the nearest bakery.

    IF YOU HAD MOSTLY D’s— The next meeting for the banning of balloon animals and all other balloon-representative life forms will be held at Frank’s house. Bring the trifle. I’m going to do a big plate of canapés— I just learned a new thing involving fish sauce and puff pastry. Everyone else is bringing either a main or a side dish. I may bring a friend who has problems with directions. That’s cool with you, right?

BB’s Personality Quiz :: What does your house say about you?

Photograph of Irish soldier in field holding the leash of a goat, apparently.
Goat ranching in the fifth dimension is where it’s at! (Credit: National Library of Ireland)

We here at Bluebird Blvd. are always looking for ways in which we can improve our lives. We improve our lives by writing personality quizzes. Like this one, for instance!

A real estate agent would call your house:

    a) A demi Tudor A-frame half-caf with a detached air conditioner

    b) That’s a house?!? I thought that was a cat tree. Never mind. Tell me the amenities, and I’ll fix it up in the listing.

    c) Imaginary. And if you try to sell it, you’d better hope the buyer is imaginary too.

    d) Big. Reallyreallyreally big. Like, it has its own time zone, y’all.

The first thing visitors notice when they enter your foyer is:

    a) that you have no foyer. This is an entryway.

    b) What the hey-ho is a foy-yay?

    c) the great big gaping pit with a pendulum swinging over it. Bwah-hah-harrrr… *Cough*

    d) This foyer is where George Washington got sick after eating some bad oysters on a bet. See the plaque? That’s where he rested his clammy forehead.

Your ideal living space has:

    a) me. Living in it. Yup. That’s it.

    b) walls that go all the way up to the ceiling. And a ceiling. A full one that goes all the way to the walls!

    c) a raft of inflatable couches filled with helium. Take a helmet! We’re gonna play airship.

    d) Living space? That gives me an idea. I would like to buy a little area in the fifth dimension. For goat ranching.

What is the finest feature of your bedroom?

    a) That charming little room? It’s called a closet. I keep my clothes in there. Tee-hee!

    b) A bed… room? Just for the bed? Explain please.

    c) I have pajamas made of magnets for sleeping on my Foosball table. Best sleep I’ve ever had!

    d) Sleep? Who has time to sleep? I’m goat ranching in the fifth dimension!

The one improvement you would make on your home is:

    a) Oh, everybody says that we really need a new carportzzzzzzzzzzz. Whar? What was the question again?

    b) Well, the outhouse is a one-seater. I’m aiming to make it a two-seater. Scorpion season is fierce ’round here.

    c) If I buy one more fiberglass pink gorilla for the front yard, the neighborhood association is threatening some sort of inquisition? No worries. I own three muskets!

    d) I want a pool on the ceiling. My team of physicists is sorting out the details. You know how it goes. Blah, blah, blah, gravity! Just fix it, I say!


Give yourself one point for each A answer, two points for each B answer, three points for each C answer, and four points for each D answer. Then divide that number by the square root of thirtyleven. Write it on a scrap of paper and pray fervently to the linoleum gods. Throw that scrap of paper into a bowler hat, pull it out, and read it upside down. Please compare your upside down number to the answer key below.

    IF YOU HAD MOSTLY A’s— You live in a house, which is fantastic. However, you have very little imagination and you cannot buy this product at Ikea. They don’t stock it anymore. How to fix this: Do something goofy and spontaneous. Not a knife fight, though. Never a knife fight. Ouchie.

    IF YOU HAD MOSTLY B’s— We are probably related. I’ll be over later to help you build the two-seater outhouse of your dreams. You’re gonna have to loan me a pair of boots. It’s almost scorpion season.

    IF YOU HAD MOSTLY C’s— Your house is mostly imaginary and you drink too much caffeine. Drink less caffeine. Should you buy another pink fiberglass gorilla, invite me over. I want to watch the neighborhood association plotz. Again, we are probably related. I have my own helmet for those inflatable couch airfights.

    IF YOU HAD MOSTLY D’s— Then you shot J.R. It’s also 1988. Nobody goat ranches in the fifth dimension anymore. It’s all about koala wrangling in the second dimension these days. That’s where the money is, m’boy!

Humor | A litany of mostly edible mistakes

Smiling man in American Army uniform during WWII standing over a pot of soup. Propaganda poster.


The year before I left for graduate school I started to really experiment with cooking.

One night, I decided that one tablespoon of cornstarch couldn’t possibly thicken an entire pot of chicken soup with dumplings, so I dumped in half of the box. And went to wash my hair.

By the time I got out of the shower, my grandmother’s beautiful chicken and dumpling recipe had turned into blooping, blopping Quick Crete.

The Husband ate two servings of the resulting primordial, blurpy chicken dumpling goo out of loyalty.

Painful, painful loyalty.


Then, there was the Green Goodness broth soup recipe that was Green but not very Good.

It was Thanksgiving. I watched as my entire family and five of our friends tried, with watery eyes, to choke down mouthful after mouthful of ground pepper in green water.

After five bites, my mother said, between peppery gasps, “You know… I think we should… save our appetite for… the dinner.  Don’t… you?”

The Husband ate two servings of the resulting primordial, blurpy chicken dumpling goo out of loyalty.


While in graduate school, I realized that I should learn to bake a layer cake.

I pulled a dubious recipe off of the Internet, and followed the horrid directions to the letter. The Husband helped me stir the frosting for an hour because we couldn’t afford an electric hand mixer.

The layers slumped and burned. The Internet frosting recipe didn’t cover the crazy tilt or the crispy edges of the cake, leaving bald spots in unfortunate places.

As an additional insult, the frosting itself ripped the enamel from our teeth.

But The Husband ate every terrible slice because he loved me and because I had used half of our food budget for the week on the cake.

For weeks afterward, the slightest breeze made his bicuspids ache.


A year after the Green Goodness made everyone cry, I decided to make cornbread dressing with portobello mushrooms for Thanksgiving.

In Texas, cornbread dressing is serious business. I’m still asking my family to this day why nobody stopped me.

“You were so enthusiastic,” my mother told me. “You’re so happy when you’re enthusiastic. Too bad it turned out exactly like the time you dyed my hair.”

Somewhere in the cooking process, the portobello mushrooms dyed the entire stuffing purple.

Linty velvet couch purple.

No one would touch it. My family wouldn’t even put an “I’ll pretend to eat it” spoonful on their dinner plates.

But it tasted really good. The Husband made sandwiches with it later.

Purple sandwiches.

In Texas, cornbread dressing is serious business. I’m still asking my family to this day why nobody stopped me.


Ten years is enough time to gained a certain level of kitchen mastery— I cook from scratch every day now and I can’t imagine life otherwise.

What I miss, if anything, from those early days of burnt cakes and soups that stung the lungs, is the throw-your-hands-in-the-air quality I brought into the kitchen.

In Zen studies, a fundamental quality is to maintain a Beginner’s Mind in all activities.

To believe it all anew each time, each bang of the pot and scrape of the match to light the stove.

I think even with something simple as a midweek supper I need to relearn how to be a beginner, and have a beginner’s freshness.

However, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in my family who thinks this is a good idea.


I stopped writing for a moment to ask my husband if he remembered any of my truly spectacular mistakes.

“Do you remember the time you got it into your head to cook blue soft-shell crab sandwiches?”


“We were at the coast. You couldn’t get the shells off, so you boiled the whole thing. They turned out slimy and crunchy—”

“Anything else?”

“Well, there was that other time when you made stew, and somehow dropped the screw-top from a soy sauce bottle into the stew. And I almost broke a tooth—”

“—okay. That’s enough examples—”

“Oh! Do you remember the time you dropped a Big Pink Rubber eraser into the gumbo you were making? And about those blue soft-shell crab sandwiches. You got so mad, you threw them down to a bunch of cats underneath the pier.”

“I really don’t remember that. Any final remarks?”

“Yes. The next morning the sandwiches were still there. Even the cats wouldn’t eat them.”

Maybe Beginner’s Mind isn’t such a good idea.

Especially since The Husband has a really good memory for Beginner’s Disasters.

He just poked his head into my office. “Hey! I remembered one more thing. It wasn’t soy sauce. It was Worcester.”