Happy Valentine’s Day, guys. I hope you have a better day than I will — I had grand plans to wear my new dress out to a nice restaurant with Michael, followed possibly by a trip to The Naughty Store, a movie, and some marital time. Marital time is still on the schedule, the rest has been scrapped due to the IRS being assholes.
On the other hand, I still get to spend the day with my wonderful husband, who loves me every day with grace, strength, and romance. When I stop lamenting the loss of a lobster dinner, I know that there is no better V-Day than one spent with him; the fact that he shows me his love every single day with nary a hint of taking us for granted makes today more special than all the chocolates in the world. Excuse me for being a sap, but I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be with today.
1. What was your motivation for starting and keeping a blog?
This is a great question, and I was up all night trying to remember. I’ve been writing online for something like 12 years — I started back in the days of online journals, before blogs were even a twinkle in anyone’s binary code — and it took me a while to come up with anything like a reason for doing so. I think, really, that after spending a year or so reading some very well-written journals with awesome communities of readers, I just wanted a piece of the action. I’ve always written, from short stories as a kid to detailed paper journal entries as a teen, so it just seemed a logical expansion to start posting what I wrote. My reasons for keeping a blog have varied through the years; sometimes I kept my LiveJournal solely as a way to stay in touch with scattered friends, sometimes I kept it as a way to get attention (hey, I can admit it), and I moved to WordPress with my eye on an eventual move to bitterdiatribe because I felt I’d outgrown LiveJournal and wanted to scale the online-blogger heights. Now, I use this site both as an outlet and a calling card, which we’ll address in another question.
2. Which blogs do you regularly read and why?
The sites in my blogroll are the ones I read religiously. I also still check my LJ friends’ page regularly, and there are a few other sites (for instance, Jonniker and SundryMourning) that I check about three times a week. I read Alexa and Julie with great fervor, but for some reason have not added them to the blogroll. I like the Advice Smackdown a lot, too. All the blogs that I read regularly have one thing in common: really, really good writing. There are some other themes — motherhood, middle-classism, stuff like that — but the one way to keep me coming back is to keep your writing game on point.
3. Have you ever met a blogger in real life? If so, how was the experience? If not, who would you like to meet and why?
I’m not sure how to answer this. I’ve met lots of LJers, but have yet to meet an actual blogger — someone who maintains an independent blog. (I am saying the word “blog” a lot here, and have I mentioned how much I hate that word? Because: HATE.) There are about ten bloggers I’d really like to meet, but as none of them actually know me that could be very awkward. I’d like to meet Amalah, because I just love her — she’s pretty, she’s smart, her kid is amazingly cute, she’s funny, and she’s the kind of mother and person I aspire to be. I’d like to meet Mimi Smartypants because she is so quirky and funny, I don’t think I’d ever be bored. I’d like to meet Dooce, partly just because and partly because I want to just watch her in action — she comes across as extremely dynamic. There are more, but oy, this is embarrassing enough.
4. What was the first word that came to mind when you learned you were pregnant with your son?
There wasn’t a word. When the second line showed up on the stick, there was a moment of jolt: extreme whiteout in my brain coupled with a huge wallop of adrenaline. I could all but feel my pupils dilate. It was pretty intense. The first word I thought after that was probably something banal and coarse, like, “Shit.” I don’t remember, though, because of the whole OH MY GOD factor.
5. What is the best (and conversely, worst) thing about being a mother?
The best thing about being a mother is being able to see, every day, that my efforts have produced a happy, healthy, polite, exuberant, intelligent, and funny little boy. He amazes me every single day, literally, and — in a life filled with failures — it is wonderful to be able to sit back and feel proud. He is who he is in large part because of me, because I managed to love him the right way and teach him the right things; I give him the right food and discipline him in a healthy manner. He is the best thing about being a parent, but part of that best thing is how he makes me feel about myself. Because I’m self-centered.
The worst thing, honestly, is the unceasing energy required of me. A lot of parenting (at least with a small child) is very high-energy but very low-interest. I love that Connor speaks so clearly and has such an awesome grasp of language, but when we are in our third hour of “Hey Mommy, remember that one time I saw the racecars and they were racing and someone waved the checkered flag and they went really fast and the red car won the race and then I saw a frog and hey look I can drum on the couch…” I get very tired. Also, there are a lot of nagging physical things — laundry, cooking, wiping, picking up — that just never stop. You can never sleep in. You can never ignore the noise in the night. You can never skip taking the trash out, because small children do not take well to germs and bad smells. You can never really just relax; you must be aware and on guard, prepared to say “PUT THAT DOWN” at any moment. It’s tiring.
6. Why did you name your son Connor?
Because Michael and I wanted a good, solid name that wouldn’t get him teased and also wouldn’t leave him as the sixth Joshua in his class. Because I wanted an Irish name, but not one like Seosamh or Beircheart. Because it flowed pleasingly with Michael’s last name. And because we were tired of arguing over Michael’s wish to name him Lorcan.
7. What are the names of your nine cats? If you could only keep one, who would you choose and why?
Let me clarify something here: Not all of the nine cats are truly ours. Several are just strays that we are too softhearted to turn away. Our cats are named Sphinx, Ruthie, Paws, and White Kitty. We’re debating whether we’ll keep three others, whose names are Zell, Ceiba, and Tabby. We’re definitely taking three others to the shelter when we move; their names are Blue (he came to us with a blue collar), Red (red collar), and Spook. (That is ten cats. I know. We’re insane.)
As an aside, I feel I must clarify that I did not name the Ceiba-kitty after Amalah’s Ceiba-doggy. I found her journal by searching “Ceiba” on Google when I was trying to decide if it was a real name. My cat makes me feel like a stalker.
8. You mention your affinity for Michael Jackson’s music a few times. Besides the King of Pop, who are your top five favorite musical artists/acts and why?
These change a lot. Bon Jovi is on my all-time top five (shut up), as is Edith Piaf. Aside from that… right now, the other three would be William Tell, The Postal Service, and Candlebox. This could be totally different in a week.
9. You often write about money woes—if you came into some serious cash, what’s the first thing you’d buy for yourself? Connor? Michael?
I would buy a nice house, a car myself and one for Michael, and an investment that would allow us to live comfortably on dividends. I’m not saying there wouldn’t be some toy- and computer-buying in there somewhere, but those first three things would be my priority. It may seem that Connor is getting the short end of the stick here, but let me assure you that with housing woes out of the picture, Connor would receive the gift of parents who are much less anxious and much more able to buy him toys and spend days at the park with him. I consider it a fair trade.
10. You’re a freelancer of some sort—what line of work are you in? It is fulfilling?
Hah. I am trying to get into freelance writing and editing. I think, once I make a go of it, it will be fulfilling — I’ve done it before and quite enjoyed it. Also, this would allow me to continue to stay at home with Connor. It’s looking like I’ll have to go back to work outside the home, though, because the few jobs I’ve gotten just don’t pay enough for me to keep at it much longer. I’m hoping to keep those jobs while working a “real job,” so that I can keep trying to make something of the freelancing and eventually quit the real job. This is where “blog as calling card” comes into play; I’d love to write for something like AlphaMom, and the first step is a successful, well-written site. (Dear Potential Employers: Call me!)
11. Where did you grow up?
In New Mexico, first in Roswell and then here in Portales.
12. How did you end up in New Mexico? Where would you like to live next?
I ended up in NM because my mom did, and that’s really her story to tell. I’d like to live in Salt Lake City for a while, because it has great schools and a couple of my friends. My ultimate goal is to live in Austin, TX — it combines a rampaging arts scene with blissfully hot weather, good food, and good schools. Mmm, Austin.
13. Favorite words? Words that make you cringe?
My favorite words are stentorian, uxorious, prescient, verklempt, and quixotic. I like words that look funny. My least favorite words are numerous and fall into two categories: words that are not words (irregardless), and words that are gross (pustulent, suppurating).
14. What’s your guilty pleasure magazine? TV show? Movie?
In this order: Cosmopolitan, Smallville, and Center Stage. It is a running joke among people who know me that I have horrible taste in media; I will read any trashy magazine, watch any bad show, see any awful movie, and decide I love any terrible song. I have an unflinching ability to seek the worst in the media and revel in it. I think, perhaps, I was intended to be a gay man and something went amiss.
Did you ever find a suitable recipe for gazpacho?
Yes, I did! I had to make it up, though — it is essentially diced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, diced red onion, red wine vinegar, Splenda, and freshly ground pepper mixed together and chilled until numbingly cold. It’s delicious, even though it isn’t my great-grandmother’s recipe. I’m impressed that you went so far back (through the thickets of ;apos;, no less) for a question!