More than you ever wanted to know

Thanks to blogger Lauren for the inspiration…

ϟ What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
That I’m the “real deal”. To be known as genuine and authentic in my interactions, personally and professionally, is a tremendous compliment.

ϟ What’s one thing you’re deeply proud of — but would never put on your résumé?
My ability to set boundaries in relationships – it has taken a long time but I’m so glad I can call things for what they are and for the most part, not use up my precious time with people who don’t value me.

ϟ What’s the most out-of-character choice you’ve ever made?
I’m not an easily categorized woman to begin with, so I guess I’ll answer with the biggest risk I took, and for me that would be quitting the corporate world with no plan, no job, and eventually starting my own consulting business. It’s been incredibly successful and, for a gal like me who digs security, going out on my own was a huge change.

ϟ If a mysterious benefactor wrote you a check for $5,000 and said, “Help me solve a problem — any problem!” … what would you do with him or her?
Not sure how big of a problem $5K would solve, so because of that, I’d donate it to

ϟ What’s going to be carved on your (hypothetical) tombstone?
No tombstone – cremate me and spread me along the path through the forest and along the creek and in the tides of Short Sands, my favorite beach and where my Rottie’s ashes are (not to mention where my sweetheart and I tied the knot).
ϟ What are you FREAKISHLY good at?
Making lists. And truffles.
ϟ What’s one dream that you’ve tucked away, for the moment? How come?

Extensive international travel. Our dog is in her final year or so and after coming back from Paris, we’d heard she’d had a really tough time, so we’re waiting to do another trip until after she’s passed on. She’s part of our family.

ϟ What are you STARVING for?
Not starving, but definitely craving hot apple pie. I’m so excited that autumn has begun!!

ϟ If you could have tea with one fictional character, who would it be?

Hmm, I honestly can’t think of one…I’ve always preferred non-fiction. So because of that I’m going to choose Maya Angelou. I saw her speak years ago before she passed and it was one of the most amazing experiences.
ϟ Do you have a morning ritual?

Dog gets up about 7:10am (I think she has her own alarm, as it’s always within about a 5 minute time period) and comes into our room and pants and snorts at the end of the bed til one of us gets up and lets her out to pee and feeds her breakfast. Take pile o’ pills for the IVF cycle then go back to bed for “second sleep”- about an hour of lazy sleep. Check my phone, then get up, open up all the curtains, and make breakfast – usually diced sweet potatoes and a fried egg, or oatmeal with a swirl of homemade jam.

ϟ Do you believe in magic? When have you felt it?

When I see the word “magic,” I think of those godawful Renaissance Fairs and people who have fairy gardens. But I do like a good card trick. Feeling ‘magic’? Nah. I think it’s the term that I don’t identify with.
ϟ Is there something that people consistently ask for your advice on? What is it?
I’m a recruiter and a career coach by trade so I get a lot of questions about resumes and job searches – kind of like the lawyer at dinner constantly getting asked to provide free legal advice. Fortunately I have pretty decent boundaries 🙂
ϟ Have you ever fantasized about changing your first name? To what?
When I was a kid I wanted to be Crystal Gayle (can you tell what decade I started out in?), but my mother was not about to have her kid called “Crystal”. Thank goodness as I dig my name now. Probably wouldn’t as much if it was spelled the traditional way. “Aimee” means beloved (“Amy” means friend. I’ll take beloved.).
ϟ When was the last time you astonished yourself?
During my brief time being pregnant, I lost 8 lbs within 2 weeks, and I was constantly eating. It was rad.
ϟ What’s your personal anthem or theme song?

Bitch I’m Madonna – even have the tank top from last fall’s Madonna show that says it, and I have even worn it for a couple of my IVF transfers. Sometimes I’ll just be up in the morning and its “nah nah nah nah nah…” just happens in my head…

ϟ Do you ever yearn for your life, before Facebook?
Not my life itself, but living Facebook free? I do it now. Only had it for a couple years and it was all about people showing off and not about friendship at all. I noticed that too many people had started to rely on FB to communicate rather than foster personal relationships. Life was just fine before Zuckerberg, and continues on just fine without his posse.
ϟ What’s your definition of an ideal houseguest?
Someone who is clean, low-maintenance (doesn’t ask me to cater to their every whim) and independent (meaning they don’t need to be with me every second of the time they are visiting).
ϟ If you had an extra $100 to spend on yourself every week, what would you do?
Put it towards an extra mortgage payment. The only thing on my mind is paying off the house, period.
ϟ If you could sit down with your 15-year old self, what would you tell him or her?
You are HOT! You are SMART! You are AWESOME! And get more time with that gorgeous guy you’ll meet before your age difference gets in the way :)))))


ϟ What are you BORED of?
Rude hipster service.

ϟ What’s the best birthday cake you ever ate?
Not that it tasted the best but it was Baskin-Robbins chocolate chip ice cream cake my coworkers got me maybe 10 years ago – they knew that it was something I’d always wanted to have as a kid and remembered that on my birthday. Totally awesome – I love when people remember some detail like that and put it into a gift later.
ϟ How do you engage with panhandlers on the street?
I just smile and say no if they ask for money. If they are outside the grocery store I’ll offer to get them something to eat, but 99% of the time I’ve found that’s rejected.
ϟ Do you think LOVE is chemical, intellectual, spiritual — or completely undefinable?
All three of the above – plus real love is about action. Lots of people claim to love each other but don’t do anything to show it. It needs to be nurtured to truly be defined as love. Love is a verb, not a noun. When you love someone, you walk the talk, you show up, you listen, you show yourself, you learn, you make the time, and so much more.  This goes not just for romantic relationships, but for friends and family as well.
ϟ Have you ever dreamed about starting a business? (Or if you’ve already got one — a new business?)
I run my own business already as a consultant, but husband and I have always dreamed about opening a little foodie store, with beautiful cured meats that he cures, in partnership with local butchers along with cheeses and, well, everything else you’d find on a charcuterie board, along with my bittersweet truffles, which since closing my chocolatier business five years ago has been relegated to the back burner (i.e., once a year on the holidays).
ϟ Are you afraid of flying in airplanes? (How come?)
Only when there’s turbulence crossing the Pacific on the crazy long 17 hour LAX to Melbourne flight.
ϟ What’s your most urgent priority for the rest of the year?
Get knocked up by my fertility doctor and one of these embryos on ice.
ϟ If you could master any instrument on earth, what would it be?

The chef’s knife. No interest in musical instrument knowledge, but I’d sure love to be a whiz bang boom speedy knife in the kitchen.

ϟ Have you ever been genuinely afraid for your physical safety?
Yes, on multiple occasions. From my house being broken into a few years back, to the guy who threatened me at Safeway last year, to back in college being followed too closely walking home from work late at night, life as a woman has brought the challenges that come with it – especially living in the city.
ϟ What are you an expert on? Is it because of training, lived experience, or both?
I’ve been working in the HR/recruiting field for just under two decades, so I can claim expertise on that.
ϟ Has a teacher ever changed your life? How so?
I find teachers in all kinds of people who have come in and out of my life…most were not in school. From friends to coworkers to people in the community, lessons come.
ϟ Are there any household chores you secretly enjoy? Which ones — and why?
Hanging clothes on the line. It’s so zen that I won’t let my husband do it. Ever.
ϟ How do you reign in self-critical voices?
All too often, I numb it with food. But whenever I get out on my bike, the endorphins return and I feel better. That and confiding in my husband 🙂
ϟ If you could custom blend a perfume or cologne, what would it include?
I don’t wear perfume anymore – most are chemical-laden and ever since I stopped,  my sense of smell heightened like crazy! My favorite scent after that was a coconut vanilla body butter made by Yancy Lael, a fellow blogger who has since stopped creating those delicious smelling goodies. Must. Learn. How. To. Re-create!
ϟ What does FEAR feel like, in your body?
Upset stomach and stinky pits.
ϟ Do you think you’re currently operating at 100% capacity?
As I write answers to a blog questionnaire? Hah!
ϟ What do you value most: free time, recognition, or money?
Free time with money to afford it!
ϟ If you could save one endangered species from extinction, which would you choose?
Polar bears. Save the ice, save the bears, save the planet.
ϟ Are there any laws or social rules that completely baffle you?
Women are not constitutionally protected by the US Constitution – the Equal Rights Amendment was never fully ratified in the 1970s and until this happens, women will continue to be second class citizens of this country.
ϟ Would you like to write a book? (About what?)
I have – just never published it. Weird huh?! It’s a career coaching book. I’d love to publish a book of my own creative words.
ϟ If you could choose your own life obstacles, would you keep the ones you have?
Fuck no. I wouldn’t choose to have my father die at 62 with so many things unresolved between us. I wouldn’t choose to be infertile and seen 4 DEIVFs fail and miscarry our baby. I wouldn’t choose to have these issues with food that have added this layer of pain around my midsection. I wouldn’t choose to have an alcoholic drug addict sister who stayed married to her husband who molested me when I was 10, then years after their eventual divorce, got back together with him and had the nerve to say in our last conversation that she doesn’t understand why I couldn’t forgive her. I wouldn’t choose to have entered the sixth grade at age 10 because my mother pushed me to skip the grade and get tortured by the older kids when I was perfectly happy one year before. I wouldn’t choose to have a narcissistic mother who is completely focused on whatever man she’s with and who told me my stepfather of 30 years “never really liked me”.

No longer do I believe in the ‘everything happens for a reason’ crap. Yes, I’ve learned. Yes, I’ve become stronger because of some of them. But to choose to keep these things that have contributed to my most anxious and depressing moments of life? Sorry, I’ll pass.

ϟ Have you ever SCREAMED at someone? (What did they do?)
Yup. Just before I filed for divorce from him in 2004.
ϟ Do you think there’s going to be an anti-technology whiplash, in our lifetime?
Nope. It’s part of life. The decision to make is, how much of your life will be about technology? For me, I rely on the internet, email and LinkedIn to do my job – so as long as I have client work, I’m dependent on a certain amount of technology. But when we vacation? Offline all the way. (Even in Paris we used good old fashioned paper MAPS to get around – woo hoo!).
ϟ Where + when do you get your BEST IDEAS?
In the garden or on my bike. Anywhere it’s quiet yet I’m not focusing on any one thing.
ϟ Have you ever met one of your HEROES?
At The Women’s Conference in 2009, I met my photography heroine, Annie Leibovitz. Back during my Seattle days a decade earlier, she’d spoken at a small bookstore near my house, and while I’d bought her book Women done with her partner, Susan Sontag, I didn’t have the guts to approach her back then for an autograph. So this time, I brought that same book, stood in line, and told her my silly story – and she was so sweet to me! I was so excited I actually was teary eyed, and fortunately I’d asked the girl in line behind me to take our picture when I met her (as you can see, it wasn’t great…but it’s proof!).
ϟ What’s in your fridge, right this moment?
Tons! As we are foodies and cook most of the time, it usually looks pretty good. Right now there’s a salmon fillet defrosting for an orecchiette recipe, leftover homegrown marinated roasted peppers and Finnochiona salami,
ϟ Can you tell when someone is LYING?
Rarely. But I do have a pretty great bullshit detector, so that’s close, right?
ϟ Can you tell when someone is telling the TRUTH?
See above.
ϟ Have you ever pushed your body further than you dreamed possible?
Change “dream” to “nightmare” and you’ve got my miscarriage at home.
ϟ Are you living your LIFE PURPOSE — or still searching?
Huh? I’m doing what I can to be happy. That’s what matters.
ϟ Have you ever had to make a public apology? (How come?)

ϟ Do you think we’re designed for monogamy? (Why or why not?)
Boring question.

ϟ How do you CELEBRATE your victories?
Dance it out, y’all.
ϟ Would you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
INFJ is my Myers-Briggs but I’m borderline extrovert/introvert. As I like to say, I’m an extrovert for work, and an introvert at home.Never heard the term “ambivert”.

ϟ Do you ever hunt for answers or omens in dreams?
I try not to. Last night I dreamt my belly was spurting streams of blood. I don’t need that to be an omen.
ϟ Do you think everyone has the capacity to be a LEADER?
Leadership is not the same as management and can be displayed by anyone in any role at any level in a company, group, or individual life.
ϟ Is WAR a necessary EVIL?
Hell no! Planned murder is a choice.
ϟ Are YOU a starter, a finisher, or an implementer?
Depends on the project.
ϟ Have you ever unplugged from the Internet for more than a week?
Yes, when we were on holiday in France last fall we were completely internet-free.
ϟ Do you think we should live like we’re dying?
No because it takes away any sense of big picture / long term thinking. If we lived as if we were dying, we’d all have credit cards charged up the ying yang, for one… But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy every moment, and make the most of our lives.
ϟ Do you have any habits or quirks you wish you could ERASE?
Emotional eating, of course!
ϟ What was the most AGONIZING hour of your life?
Finding out our baby had died.
ϟ Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?
Neither. Never been a fan of either/or type questions.
ϟ How would YOU fix the economy?
Eliminate corporate tax breaks so that small business owners are no longer paying more taxes than General Electric and CBS, legalize and tax drugs and prostitution, eliminate nonprofit status for churches and hospitals, get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified so women would finally be constitutionally protected, get Congress 50% women and with people of color representative of our country’s diverse tapestry, require cradle-to-cradle manufacturing processes, provide universal healthcare to all, and provide free college tuition to anyone who devotes two years to public service projects.
ϟ What was your very first JOB?
Orange Julius at the mall. Brown polyester. Thank goodness my second job was at the record store 🙂
ϟ What brings you SHEER DELIGHT?
Horses and dogs and little ones.
ϟ Are you highly useful in a CRISIS?
Yep – I don’t lose my shit until after everything and everyone are taken care of.
ϟ Do you like to be SAVED — or do the saving?
ϟ What’s one mistake you keep repeating (and repeating)?
Emotional eating.
ϟ If you were heading out on a ROAD TRIP right this minute, what would you pack?
Blue jeans, black boots, black tank, black sweater, my husband, my dog and my iPod.
ϟ Do you have any irrational fears?
My recurring nightmare is that parts of my house are falling apart – I’ll “wake up “and be convinced a section of the ceiling has come apart, the walls are crumbling, etc.
ϟ If you were to die three hours from now, what would you regret most?
Not having a kiddo.
ϟ What’s something you’ve tried, that you’ll never, ever try again?
I can’t write it on this blog…ahem.
ϟ If you could enroll in a PhD program, with your tuition paid in full by a mysterious benefactor, what would you study — and why?
I’d like to take classes in ecopsychology and psychobiology, and cheesemaking and patisserie….but not an actual program with deadlines and tests.
ϟ Have you ever had a complete + total nervous breakdown? (How did you recuperate?)
I’d say my miscarriage qualifies. Still recuperating.
ϟ Have you ever set two friends up on a date? (How did it go?)
Not a formal date but I did invite two friends out to join me for drinks, knowing they’d be a good match, and by the end of the night, they left together 🙂
ϟ Have you ever questioned your FAITH — or lack thereof?
Nope. I don’t believe in religion and never questioned it. I’m agnostic.
ϟ What’s your recipe for recuperating from extreme heartbreak?
Massage. Quiet. Beach time.
ϟ Have you ever had a psychic reading? Did you believe it? Was it accurate?
No but I have had tarot which is pretty fun…and it’s always accurate because the advice is usually applicable to everyone in some way or another.
ϟ Have you ever (actually) kept a New Year’s Resolution?
Yes, usually the financial goals not the weight ones…
ϟ Have you ever met someone who was genuinely EVIL?
My husband’s biological mother. Crazy narcissistic mean bitch.
ϟ Do you believe that everyone deserves redemption + forgiveness?
It usually depends on what they did and how one defines the two. Molesters and Rapists and Serial Killers?  Hell fucking no.
ϟ What was the BEST KISS of your entire life?
When I told him “yes” in the snow at Tahoe to my sweetheart.
ϟ Do you secretly miss Polaroid cameras?
Yes! LOVED them!!!
ϟ Do you have any physical features that you try to cloak or hide? How come?
Lumps and bumps, of course. But I don’t believe in Spanx.
ϟ What makes YOU so special, anyway? (No, really.)
I am me 🙂
ϟ What’s in your pocket (or purse, or man-purse) right now?
Wallet, smartphone, lip balm, MAC Paramount lipstick, keys, iPod.
ϟ Ever fantasize about being in a rock band? What would your group be called?
Nope. Spent enough time with musicians to know that is about the last thing I’d want to be a part of (but I did love my time photographing them back in the day!).
ϟ What’s your guiltiest of guilty pleasures?
Safeway sesame chicken from the hot deli and a pint of Tillamook strawberry chocolate chip ice cream. And I fucking hate myself afterwards. 

ϟ Who’s on your panel of imaginary mentors?
Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Elizabeth Gilbert. 

ϟ Have you ever stolen anything? (Money, candy, hearts, time?)
Once when I was in high school and I felt so guilty I gave it away.

ϟ When was the last time you saw an animal in the wild?
Beyond our neighborhood squirrels, crows and the like? I guess the lizard along the trail we were hiking on last month in Central Oregon.
ϟ How long can you (comfortably) go without checking your emails or texts? How do you feel about that?
Because of the kind of work I do, I check everything every couple of hours during the work day when I have client work keeping me busy.
ϟ What are you ready to set into motion, today?
Well it’s 9:30pm so…sleep???  One day at a time is the best I can do right now.



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