(~You ask, I tell!)
Whew! Luisa has given me some food for thought! Here are her questions, and my answers, to the interview meme.
1. What is your favorite song for karaoke purposes, and why?
Well, if I had to get up in a karaoke bar right now, I would probably sing Michelle Branch's "Are you Happy Now?" This was the song that I karaoked with Richard Paul Evans at his house a few years ago. It is a good one for me because it is up-tempo, which listeners always like, it's a relatively current song, (which makes me seem hip) and it's in my range. Oh, and also because I can completely identify with the lyrics, so I love to dedicate it to my ex-husband whenever I sing it.
That being said, I really prefer to sing ballads. I'm not a very "cool" person, so ballads suit my sentimental, romantic, overly-emotional personality, and they let me pretend that I have this really amazing singing voice (which I don't). At home on our karaoke video games, I usually pick Whitney Houston songs like "The Greatest Love of All", or "I Will Always Love You". (A girl can dream, right?) I also love to sing karaoke duets with Adam, like "I've Had the Time of my Life" (from Dirty Dancing), or "Endless Love". If every song was available, I could sing just about any Amy Grant song because we have the same vocal range, whereas I'm pretty much faking it when I try to do Whitney, and I know I'm not fooling anyone. But my all-time favorite song to sing? "Popular", from Wicked. I even sang it at my wedding. That's right, baby. I get requests for that one all the time. I can do a pretty decent Kristin Chenoweth.
2. How did you decide to have your children at home, and what, if anything, would you change about your experiences if you could?
Well, many years ago, after having one baby, I attended a Preparedness Fair at our church. There was, among many other booths, a homebirth booth. Boy, did I make some snide remarks! But, that's what ignorant people do, and that's what I was: ignorant. The idea must have sat, marinating in the deep reaches of my subconscious. I had my second child, in a hospital, and then I began to become obsessed with homeschooling shortly after that because of some incredible homeschooling families I had met. In homeschooling circles, it isn't uncommon to find other unconventional practices, and the subject of homebirthing kept surfacing. I was intrigued, and maybe some part of me likes to be unconventional (thanks, Mom and Dad), and I began to research. The more I read about birthing options and birth experiences, the more I realized I had been really robbed of something that could be extraordinary. The needless induction, the premature episiotomies, the vacuum, the epidurals, the Pitocin, the whisking the baby away, (and on and on and on) seemed unnecessary to me, and not ideal. I first had to convince my husband that it was not dangerous, which in most cases it is absolutely not, and then I had to convince him that it was even desirable...and then I had to get pregnant. Check, check, (bless his heart, that ex-husband of mine--he was always willing to go along with my crazy schemes), and check. Baby #3 on the way.
That entire experience, my first homebirth, was so incredible, and I felt so elated. It's very hard to describe the difference between a hospital birth and a homebirth. You just have to be there to understand. Everything from the process to the atmosphere is different. It is serene, it is primal, it is reverent, it is sacred. The only thing I regretted about the first one was that it happened so quickly that we didn't have time to wake up the other kids, who we planned to have in attendance, and we didn't get to eat the "labor food" I'd bought in preparation. Thank goodness that when it came time to find husband #2, that he was on board with my wishes to have another homebirth (yes, this was actually a question I posed prior to marriage), and so baby #4 was also born here at home. I enjoyed my midwives even more this time, and my two oldest children were in attendance, with the other 3 right outside the door listening. It was really something to be laboring around my home all night, and throughout the morning, with the children carrying on with their activities. I can remember boys playing GameBoys, and children pouring cereal at the table while I made laps around the downstairs, stopping to breathe through contractions. It was really something to have my twelve-year-old daughter as one of my labor coaches, and it was really something to have my eleven year old son cheering me on through the pushing. Daddy delivered the baby, and Dylan cut the cord. Everyone held the baby before even the midwives did. I loved how they wrapped up the baby and left him attached to his cord till the placenta had been delivered, and then once he was on his own, they left our family in the room for an hour of private time before weighing/measuring/cleaning, etc. It was beautiful for all of us. Luisa, you'll appreciate that I had Ralph Vaughn Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis playing on repeat for 8 straight hours during the birth. The sweeping movement of that piece was so soothing to me as the waves of my contractions rose and fell, and then there's a part that sounds like the heavens open and light pours down upon the earth, which is exactly what happened when Conor was born. I cannot hear that music now and not be filled with emotion.
3. If you could take only one book other than the Scriptures with you on a spaceship leaving Earth forever, what would it be?
This was the hardest question for me. I'm going to assume that I am not the only Earthling leaving, (thus I would still have relationships) and then I will say that it would have to be The Peacegiver. I can read that book over and over again and still feel inspired....and still not master its message. It will probably take a lifetime, so I'd better take it with me. But I might have a different answer to this question next week or next year.
4. You're an East Coast girl living on the West Coast. What do you see as the crucial differences between the two?
Yikes. Well, I can only speak for myself here. I know that I feel different when I'm living in the West, than in the East. I feel a bit more authentic in the East. I am blunt and sometimes brutally honest, without trying to be offensive, and it's easier to get away with this more on the East Coast. On the West Coast, I feel a bit guarded, and more cynical. Cynical especially with church matters, because Mormons out here seem to think they have the corner market on the gospel. That irritates me. When I moved to Utah and attended church that first week, I actually said (I know, I can't believe it either) that I wasn't a "Utah Mormon, and never would be". I got a pretty good reaction. That being said, I have grown more spiritually since living in the West, and have met some of the finest people I've ever known here. I like very much that I feel at home in both places, and that my former Jersey accent has subsided so as not to give me away as soon as I open my mouth.
These are purely stereotypes, I'm sure, but people in the west seem to be more trusting and more open. But people in the east seem more sincere to me. If they let you in, they like you.
5. You've had remarkably good luck developing relationships through the internet. Any advice for those seeking love and/or friendship?
As they say in Mary Kay, "It's a numbers game!" Sooner or later you're bound to find a best friend and a husband!
You know, I guess I really just try to be genuine. I have never tried to impress people online with stretched-truth profiles, or high school glamour shots. I only want genuine people in my life, so I have really tried to put that out there and see what I attract. I take secret pleasure in stirring the pot just a bit to see who will still float to the top. That could be some of my own psychological dysfunction, but that's another topic. I try to find people that I have something in common with or possess something that I admire. That sounds so bland, but I don't NEED more friends. I WANT friends that will add something to my life, or will help me become who I want to be. Take you, for example, Luisa. You have stretched my literary mind, my musical tastes, and my ecological consciousness. These were interests I already had seedbedded, and you helped them to germinate and grow past cotyledon.
As for dating, same thing. If you're looking for a mate, he's probably going to realize that you're in your 30's (or 40's, or whatever) as soon as you go on your first date, so the skinny pre-baby photos are a bad choice. And you'd better be honest about what you really like and dislike, because it's hard to deal with those fabrications once you're married. For example, I am not athletic, and I didn't want to be married to someone who would expect me to play on the community softball league with him, or to someone who was glued to Monday Night Football every week. I gave very specific warning about that on my profile. I'd rather have nobody answer my profile, than a bunch of guys that are a waste of my time. So, be genuine, and face the fear that no one will like you. Somebody will.
Okay, there it is! That was fun! Thanks, my dear!