This year I decided to take part in Citizen of the Month's Great Interview Experiment. This is the third year that Neil (or @neilochka, as I think of him) has hosted this project and my first time joining in.
I was interviewed by Elly at BugginWord, and you can read that interview here.
I had the honor of interviewing Lynn at Human Being Blog. Both Lynn and her blog are fascinating and I highly recommend checking them out!
Here is Lynn's interview. Enjoy!
1. I see that you got married recently. How did you meet your husband, and how did he propose?
We met online on chemistry.com. It was a brand-new dating site, and when I searched for "men 38-45 within 200 miles of Denver," he was one of two people and the only one with a picture. We talked by email for several weeks because I was juggling multiple guys who, one by one, stood me up at Starbucks. (Seriously. Every one. At Starbucks.) I was pissed, and officially "done" with dating, so Steve was going to be my last date. We had lunch on 12/29/2005, and he took me to a very nice restaurant. I ordered wine, appetizers, the most expensive entree thinking, so-long sucker. But then, he was really cute. And the conversation was great. And three hours (!) in, he asked for a second date. And he kissed me at my car, and my knees actually buckled. So, he WAS my last date. We've been together ever since.
He asked me to marry him on 06/07/08, when I finally was ready. (I did a lot of hemming and hawing for two years before that.) We'd had an incredibly romantic date in month 4 of our relationship that involved moongazing on Denver's Millennium Bridge, and it became an iconic location for us. On that June day, he took me on a date in downtown Denver and we wound up on the bridge. I suspected what he was up to, but I tried to play down my suspicions. We play a silly game on occasion in which I flash him in semi-public places. (My mom doesn't read your blog, so I'll tell the real story here.) I had my back to him, and when I turned around to flash him, I found him on one knee flashing ME ... with my ring. I don't really remember the whole proposal. First, I had to cover my boobs and fast, and second, the whole thing was otherworldly. I did say yes!
We tried to get married on the bridge, but there was just too much red tape. Instead we got married just beyond it on top of a hill in Denver's Commons Park that has a gigantic granite sundial/compass set into it. Perfect.
2. How did Days of Grace begin?
I started doing a gratitude list on Facebook, and a friend there pointed me to Schmutzie's blog. She started the Grace in Small Things project, and I joined in. I don't remember why I changed it to Days of Grace. The project has been a real life-changer for me, especially on those really shitty days when everything sucks. Some days I can only be grateful that I'm breathing, the Earth hasn't slipped into the sun, that I have a roof over my head and Internet access. Or for chocolate. I can be grateful for chocolate every day of my life. Here at the end (tonight I posted #255) it's gotten harder to post consistently, but I'm going to plug through to 365/365. After that, I'll re-evaluate starting again. The cool thing is I have about a half-dozen friends who are now doing Days of Grace too.
3. Tell me about your light box.
Ah, you mean my drug of choice! (Besides sugar. And crack. But cheaper and easier to get.)
I have slow-cycling bipolar disorder that plunges me into depression in the winter and into mania in the summer. It's fun! Many studies have shown that seasonal depression--the "winter blues" if you will--can be helped with specific wavelengths and intensities of light early in the morning. I've been using a lightbox every morning from September through March for the past 10 years. Some years it helps. Some years it doesn't help so much. Right now, I'm using it for an hour each morning right now, and by February I'll be using it 2-3 hours a day. When my daughter Lauren is 18, I'm moving to some equatorial country so I don't have to deal with this anymore, I've decided. Maybe Guatemala.
4. "Perfect Pizza - One I don't eat." WHAT?? If you don't like pizza, what is your favorite food?
It's not that I don't like pizza, it's that pizza doesn't like me. Or people don't like being in the same room with me after I've eaten pizza, especially my husband. I've been experimenting with lactase pills and have successfully consumed pizza without contaminating the house. But my favorite food is sushi. I can eat sushi every day, twice a day, and still want more. And sushi? Loves me back.
5. I see that you recently read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I could NOT get interested in that book. Should I try again? Can you give us a review?
Edgar Sawtelle is a love-it or hate-it book, in my opinion. First, I have to say that the author is a member of my very large writing community here in Denver, so my desire to read the work of a bestselling author who I can actually meet without standing in a long line made the more difficult parts of the book worth working through. Here's what I loved: The language. The imagery. The descriptions of how dogs are trained. The allusions to Hamlet. (I was an English minor--creative writing, and Hamlet's one of my favorite plays.) I love how we readers were able to get into the dog's head. I love that Edgar goes on an epic journey. I also love that the book was a challenging read. As a writer who aspires to also write literary novels--like Sawtelle--I actually read it twice: once for pleasure and a second time to look at craft. I do admit that I skimmed some of the letters included in the book (and if I were his editor, I would have cut a lot of that). In the end of both readings, I came away from the story thinking about the Sawtelle dogs and wondering how they are. That, to me, is the sign of a great book. (I still wonder about Jane Eyre, and if she ever got sick of Mr. Rochester, too.)
6. How is step-parenting/blended family life going? Are you one big Brady Bunch happy family, or has the road been bumpy?
Oh, step-parenting is the most difficult thing in the world. It's bumpy, and I don't write about it a lot because a) my stepson is 12 and is entitled to his privacy b) Steve and I don't see eye-to-eye on how I parent his son and c) I totally suck at it. Steve does a good job with Lauren. I just don't do a great job with his son. If it ever gets to the point of being funny I may write about it, but it remains in the realm of pain-I-am-ashamed of. That's a realm I don't reveal in public.
7. How did you get interested in salsa dancing?
I've always been a dancer. I started ballet when I was 3 and danced until I was 25, including leading my high school pom squad for four years. I met my first husband while country-western dancing, then when CW fell out of vogue, I quit for about 8 years. Right after my divorce, I was dating a latin jazz drummer who often played at salsa clubs, and he wanted to take classes. He invited me to join him for a 4-week class, and I fell in love on that first night. With salsa, not him. That was in 2005. I love the music. I love moving my body. I love to flirt (and yes, Steve knows and couldn't care less because I always come home to him). I love the workout. I've tried other types of partner dancing recently, and I keep coming back to salsa. Now I'm in a performance group.
8. I couldn't help but laugh at the pink hair fiasco. My 8 year old daughter would LOVE it! Was it the color you wanted by your wedding day?
We were going for this multilayered red/auburn/gold gloriousness of hair. The mistake was the lowlight color, which was on the pink side of red, vs the orange side of red. There was a lot of it and in the sun, I looked like a freak show. I love my stylist, and she made it all better. But I was panicked for a few days. (And laughing too.)
9. I'm fascinated by your adoption story. Have you seen the new ABC show, Find My Family? If so, do you like it, or does it seem a little too much like TV endings and not real life?
I haven't seen that show, but it does intrigue me. Not everyone who is adopted is willing to search. Searching is scary, because as an adoptee, you usually are completely fucked up with abandonment. And even if you know that your birthmother was a crackhead whore who would have left you starving in the gutter while she gave $5 blowjobs, and your adopted family was Bill Gates, you still wonder what was so wrong with YOU that your birthmother gave you away. And, if you find said crackwhore and she doesn't want anything to do with you, then all that money you've spent on therapy was wasted because likely you'll have to spend it again.
That said, I'm really glad I searched and found. Because I have a relationship with my birthmother, who is SO LIKE ME it's scary, and my brother Eric came to my wedding and Thanksgiving. I love them in a cautious way. And, I have all of my family medical history, which came in handy when I had melanoma (I learned it's hereditary on both sides of my family, so I am now especially careful to watch my skin and Lauren's) and also in understanding my mental illness (I have two uncles who are schizophrenic, and first and second-degree relatives with bipolar disorder, major depression and panic disorder). And, I've been able to let go of the fantasies most adoptees have--admitting them is another story--about the life they missed out on.
10. What made you decide to start blogging?
I've been blogging on different platforms for about four years now. My blog before this one was on a membership site for adults, where I joke that I was as popular as Dooce. Ha! Mostly it's because I write erotica under a pen name, and I published a lot of it there in my blog. But I found that I wanted to write about the rest of my life, not just my sex life, and those posts were too far off-topic for that audience. I fumbled around on Facebook for a while, then a friend turned me onto Dooce, who led me to hundreds of other female bloggers who not only wrote about their lives, but some actually made money from it (which I've decided not to do--for now). I've read a lot of books like ProBlogger that talk about finding a blogging niche, but I've decided that my niche is me, and working my shit out in public, and telling stories I want to tell. I get emails frequently from people who tell me I'm brave for putting myself out there, and I get equal numbers of comments and emails telling me that what I write about helps them feel not so alone. I know that other people struggle with the same things I do, and I also know one reason I'm here this time around is to share my story. When I started human, being, I intended to take a more spiritual tack--how we're all spiritual beings having a human experience, and writing about trying to be less of a human "doing" and more of a human "being"--but it hasn't gone that way, necessarily. The bottom line is that I write because I have to--it's truly a compulsion, has been all of my life--and for some odd reason, I'm more honest when I know I have an audience who can call bullshit on me. human, being will be one year old in a couple of weeks, and I feel like it's still evolving. But then, aren't we all.
We certainly are, Lynn. Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions so openly and honestly. I really enjoyed exploring your blog!