1. What is the relationship between crafts such as crotcheting, knitting, beading, and spinning and spiritual practices such as meditation and contemplation?
The relationship is something that each person finds for him- or herself (or doesn't).
For me, crafts that involve repetitive motion (crocheting, knitting, and to some extent beading; I haven't done any spinning so far) put me in a relaxed state, which meditation and contemplation also does, if I am doing something I've done before. If I'm learning a new stitch, then I'm in an intensely-concentrating state, which is mostly enjoyable but isn't like meditation or contemplation.
But meditation and contemplation also put me into a state of openness and, well, universal love that feels more profound to me than the state of consciousness I tend to enter when I do crafts. I can enter the meditative state by listening to repetitive sounds, such as drumming, or by dancing or doing other whole-body repetitive motion. So perhaps spinning, which looks more whole-body to me than crocheting and knitting (at least the drop-spindle variety), could be meditative for me.
2. What sport would you love to be good at if money and physical ability were unlimited?
Both mushing (and ultimately running the Iditarod) and sumo wrestling appeal a lot to me. I probably have the physical ability for mushing, but mushing would require unlimited time as well as money and physical ability (the best way in is to move to Alaska and set up as a dog breeder...). Competitive sumo wrestling would require a sex change. So if we're giving me only more money and physical ability...it would be great to be better at swimming, since that runs in the family (my father was an excellent competitive swimmer); if I became a champion figure skater then I could thumb my nose at all the yuppie girls who used to be better than me at figure skating in school; I think that what gymnasts do is beautiful, but I'd rather not deal with the necessity to be underweight; I've always enjoyed baseball and softball....I've sometimes fantasized about being really good at basketball (at 5'3" it would be difficult)...the list goes on.
3. What five books most influenced you as a young adult and why?
I have to pick only five? OK, in more or less chronological order:
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling - I read this when I was eight. I used to stalk around pretending I was Bagheera the Panther. I think reading this ended up steering me toward shamanism as a spiritual practice much later. Something about Kipling's view of life has soaked into my subconscious, although I couldn't begin to articulate what that means.
The Little Prince - I don't remember when I first read this, but I've re-read it many times over the years. It always moves me with its simplicity and sadness and in later years it has moved me deeply with its descriptions of love.
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - I read The Hobbit when I was eight, and my dad read LOTR to me when I was nine. I learned a great deal about appreciation for excellent writing from LOTR. I went through a fairly long period in my late teens and mid 20s of not liking it very much (finding the second two volumes slow and turgid) but when I came back to it recently, right before the movies came out, I found myself deeply involved in it, in love with Tolkien's thoroughness, and for the first time I got the sadness in it about the diminishing and dying of a beautiful world (which the movies didn't do justice to, although I enjoy them for their own sake).
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - I read this when I was in puberty. I had my first consciously-recognized-as-such sexual thrill from reading the scene where Rochester kisses Jane in the garden. The courtship combined sapiosexuality with something kind of D&Sy. Coming across it during puberty means I essentially developed a fetish for this sort of thing. (This may explain my attraction to arrogant, angry men. ;-)
The Earthsea Trilogy - Ever since reading this I've wanted to be Ursula K. LeGuin when I grew up. (I'm 42, so I had better get on it and start writing more fiction.) I loved her works before I encountered feminism and I loved them even more afterward.
4. What is a favorite activity for a first date, and is it the same after 10 dates?
Many of my first dates have involved an afternoon walk in Golden Gate Park. After ten dates we've generally settled into a habit of going to my house or their house, having something to eat, and lying around cuddling and talking, with occasional forays into going out and doing stuff - museums, hot tubbing, (window)shopping, crafting (of course). I'm not a big fan of night-time going-out activities like clubbing and drinking and going to the theater, but I'll do them occasionally if my date is into them.
5. What is your dream job and what would you need to do in order to qualify for it?
I don't think I have a single dream job. I seem to prefer to do a variety of things. It would be nice to be paid for some of my work with animals (which I currently do on a volunteer basis); to qualify for that, I'd have to start telling folks of my interest in doing such things, applying for such jobs, and possibly taking some training courses such as grooming or dog obedience. (I understand there are schools for both in SF.) I sometimes think about making a full-time living as an artist or fiction writer; to do that, I would have to be doing a lot more art or fiction, and practicing/learning how to brand and promote myself. My current work-for-pay, freelance technical wordsmithing (writing, editing, web design), is pretty nice because I can do most of the work from home, which I love, and because lately I don't have to make much of an effort to promote myself; I know a few people who keep throwing jobs my way. Can you tell I dislike promoting and marketing?
I think I'd like work involving library science and information management. To get there I'd need a library science degree. As far as I know, currently there aren't any such programs in the Bay Area, and I'm not willing currently to go out of the area for school.
I kind of wish that more of my work were directly related to making the world a better place in some fashion. One kind of job that suggests itself is grant-writing, but there's that promotion and marketing aspect again. For a while I had vague plans of offering pro bono writing services or web services to non-profits. But a friend of mine who tried the former found it difficult to get such work from non-profits. With non-profits, because of the culture, you usually have to start as a volunteer in other capacities and work your way into positions where you can be of the most use.
Now....if you wish....
1. Leave a comment saying you want to be interviewed.
2. I'll reply and give you five questions to answer.
3. You'll update your LJ with the five questions answered.
4. You'll include this explanation.
5. You ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed. And it just keeps going, and going, and going (hopefully!)