Jess, who recently returned from a two year endeavor in Ukraine, was kind enough to accept interview questions regarding her experiences! Thanks so much for your participate Jess!
Click below for the interview!
For the next installment in our interview series I decided to ask my mom a few questions. Enjoy!
MikeDiDonato.com: Hi Mom D. Thank you very much for being willing to be the next Interview. You’ve been my mom for nearly 27 years now, for four of those years I have been blogging here on MikeDiDonato.com. How would you describe being a mother of an active blogger?
Mom D: Well, Mike D., in the beginning, being the mother of an active blogger was a bit stressful. Though I felt that I had a pretty good handle on what the general feeling of the site would be, I was also aware that perhaps I was off the mark and that the blog would hold unknown horrors that I would cringe upon reading and that I would perhaps be praying that no one would stumble upon mikedidonato.com. I am thrilled to say that you and the people who participate in the blog have held a very high and entertaining standard – it no longer sends chills down my spine when someone says, “hey, I just read Mike’s website” and I no longer feel I have to hope that people I know don’t read it – in fact, I’ve actually proudly sent many people to the website!
MikeDiDonato.com: Few people here know much about you other than little Mom tidbits that may have popped up here or there. Can you tell us a little bit about your life, not as a mom, but as an art teacher and an assistant librarian?
Mom D: My art teacher days were a lot of fun and very interesting. Art teachers have a somewhat different relationship with students than a regular classroom teacher in that art tends to be fun, kids like it and enjoy coming to class – also, some of the academically challenged kids have lots of talent, which is a joy to see and it’s great to be a positive part of their day. In that way, working in a library is very similar. We are there to help and make life easier for the kids, so students choose to come to the library. The high school kids are excellent and can be a lot of fun (and they’re really funny at times, whether they know it or not!).
MikeDiDonato.com: How long have you been quilting? and can you tell us about your first quilting experience?
Mom D: When we moved to Stoneham in 1974, the town offered Adult Ed classes. One of the women I worked with at Wakefield High was teaching quilting, and there was heightened interest in traditional, “folk” arts and crafts because of the upcoming Bicentennial. Since I already had an interest in sewing, quilting seemed like something that would be fun and useful at the same time (got to keep the family warm!). Thus began the Quilting Experience – and it’s very easy to pick out the older quilts because the fabric is Oh-So-Seventies. I still enjoy quilting and have a couple of things going on at all times. MikeDiDonato.com: I have a couple quilts of yours and I love ‘em. I know you’re always reading something, what’s on your bedstand these days?
Mom D: Right now I’m reading all of Vince Flynn’s books. He writes novels that deal with political intrigue, terrorist attacks that are thwarted at the last second by the fabulous Mitch Rapp (also known as Ironman), a former Marine, who is now working for the CIA, and other such gripping situations. Political novels normally are not of great interest to me, but one of the kids at the high school couldn’t read Flynn’s books fast enough, so I figured they were worth investigating – and they are real page-turners! There are commandos, rangers, SEALS, torture specialists, upstanding citizens/politicians, slimy citizens/politicians – all kinds of conspiracies. Very good reads. I do recommend The Time Traveler’s Wife for a very interesting and wonderful read. Also, Michael Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. His short stories are excellent, too, and I’m not a big short story fan. I like Michael Connelly’s books, Harlan Coben’s, Kellerman (Jonathan and Fay), Patricia Cornwell – and The Other Boleyn Sister (or Girl, I forget which) was really good, too. Oh, and A Prayer for Owen Meany is a MUST read. I could go on and on….
MikeDiDonato.com I can provide a second vote for The Time Traveler’s wife. It’s a winner. Do you have any fun memories from your childhood growing up with three little brothers?
Mom D: Christmas was always interesting, as the brothers could not wait until morning to find out what Santa had brought. One year, there were little corncob pipes (like Popeye pipes) that were in the Christmas stockings. When a tiny button was pushed under the the little “tobacco” part, a soft red glow was emitted. One of the boys used that to light his way as he sneaked downstairs, inspected all the gifts, and reported back what everyone received. The only surprise that year was on our parents’ faces as we came flying down at the appointed hour saying, “where’s my____” and “Can’t wait to play with your_____”. No more light sources were given in years to come. One of the boys sold all of his Indian head penny collection and buffalo nickel collection to buy candy. Bet the candy man was happy with that sale! And I believe at times matches were lit (glad the house didn’t burn down) and there were various and sundry war games going on at all times. Guns were very popular back then, be they squirt guns, cap guns, air rifles, you name it. Civil War games were popular. Ah, the old days….
MikeDiDonato.com: Do you think it’s harder or easier for parents now versus when you were raising us and when your parents were raising you?
Mom D: This is just my personal opinion: In the 50’s – 60’s, when I was growing up, I think that parents had an easier time in that their word was law, no discussion. At the same time, any deviation from the norm was hard for many parents to adjust to, and in the 60’s and 70’s, this became an issue for a lot of people. Plus, I don’t think that many parents really knew their children very well because in many families there was not an open exchange of ideas.
Perhaps on the rebound, many in our group of parents went the other way, with a very relaxed child rearing technique, so much so that some children had no boundaries and many parents were very afraid of damaging the child’s self-esteem to the point that everything was okay and all children were winners at everything (wasn’t this about the time that every child always got a prize for everything? Even the little kids didn’t really value a trophy when everyone received one). You’d know better than I how that plays out in the real world with your age group. Right now, I would think that it would be very difficult to parent because of all of the technology (cell phones, IMing, facebook, myspace, texting, chat rooms, videos, cable TV, etc.) which separates people from those who are actually near them and which can have pre-teen and high school students always feeling like they are missing something if they aren’t connected. Kind of like there may be a party going on somewhere and you might not be invited – a lot of angst going on. Not to mention the danger of forming relationships with people the young person knows only from online conversations. It’s got to be hard to keep materialism under control, and very difficult to have to leave kids with sitters in order to afford a mortgage on a reasonably good home. Ah, for the good ol’ days! I really think it’s harder today.
MikeDiDonato.com: What do you think was the biggest challenge in raising us?
Mom D: Trying not to impose my fears onto you all. Obviously, I was successful in that regard, as there is no way I would attempt many of the things you all do regularly. You’ll notice that once you all broke free of my shackles (which apparently just barely kept you under control…) you all went wild and continue to horrify and impress me.
MikeDiDonato.com: haha! I’m sorry that we horrify you, but it’s for the best. To end, do you have a favorite MikeDiDonato.com post?
Mom D: They have all been a lot of fun, but there was one long involved one with people adding to a story and it went on and on….what was that one? Seems to me that one was especially fun. MikeDiDonato.com: hmm. I don’t know! Do any of the readers remember which one she’s referring to?
Thanks so much for taking my interview questions mom! You’re the best.
Our next interview is with long time reader and commenter Jes Saint!
MikeDiDonato.com: Thanks for being our next interview at MikeDiDonato.com. You’re a bit of a unique reader because unlike the worcester folks, I’ve never met you in real life. According to this you initially discovered me through Patrick.
So what part of the world do you live in?
JesSaint: I live in the Great Lakes region of the United States, but oddly enough, I’ve never seen the Great Lakes.
MD: I know you have a couple little kids, can you tell us a bit about them? How old are they and what are they like?
JS: They’re 10, 9, 6, and 2. All girls. My husband is terribly outnumbered. They’re pretty much typical kids. The 6-year-old has cerebral palsy, but it doesn’t slow her down much. She gets therapy through the school, and she’s doing really well.
MD: All girls? Yikes. that’s gotta be extremely fun.
If you had a full week where a friend took care of your kids, where would you plan a vacation with your husband? Is there anywhere you’ve ever wanted to go, but never had the opportunity?
JS: If we had a full week without the kids, we’d probably stay home and enjoy the silence. If we did decide to go somewhere, we’d probably go out west again. With the exception of Wyoming, that last trip was fun. We would love to go to Ireland someday, but not while the kids are small. MD: You must go to Ireland! it’s awesome. I presume you’re Irish then? Oh, you’ve intrigued me. What happened in Wyoming that made the last trip so bad. Was it Scandelous?!?
If you could have one selfish superpower, what would it be and why?
JS: Some of my ancestors were Irish, and I was lucky enough to marry a man with an Irish name. I’m more Irish than he is, though.
Wyoming was part of the longest day ever, and was nearly two days of our vacation out west a few years ago. Nothing scandalous. Just misery and bad decisions. It’s a long story, but if you’re really curious, you can read it here.
Selfish superpower? I think I’d pick stopping time, so I could sleep in without the kids missing the bus.
MD: Excellent super power choice, and that Wyoming trip sounds really miserable.
What’s your favorite beverage (hot and cold)?
JS: My favorite cold beverage is Pepsi. Or maybe it’s chocolate milk. No, definitely Pepsi. Hot would have to be coffee.
MD: How do you take your coffee? And what brand is your favorite?
JS: Black. Folgers Classic Roast.
MD: And for a bit of a change of gears… I’m pretty sure that you dig books. If you could be any character from fiction who would you be?
JS: Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. She’s my all-time favorite fictional character. Why? Because she’s level headed, confident, has principals, and she’s not afraid to speak her mind. And she has three sisters, so I can make comparisons to mine. lol
MD: Ooh, tell us about your sisters. You have no brothers? I guess your daughters have something in common with you!!
JS: I do have brothers, three of them. I have four sisters, but the oldest is fourteen years older than I am, so we didn’t grow up together. We’re pretty well scattered over the country, but we younger four girls get together once a year or so when the non-Wisconsinite one comes up to visit. We all have kids except Jeff, who’s brain injured. Most of us sing, and play at least one instrument. I could probably go on for awhile, so I’ll stop here to spare you our life stories. All of my sisters are beautiful, talented people, and I’m proud of all of them.
MD: Awesome! Wrapping up, which is your favorite post here on MikeDiDonato.com?
JS: The one where you assigned super powers to all of your readers.
And you can find it here!
Thanks for Participating Jes Saint!! If any of the other readers are curious about the feature image associated with this post, it’s a farm. I asked Jes Saint what she’d like as the image for her featured interview and she commented that she likes horses, books, and farms. So there it is!
After reading the fun Schenk interview, I thought it might be fun to interview our MikeDiDonato.com readers so that we can improve the community here. We’ll all learn a bit more about each other. I asked Kurt if he’d be willing to be the first subject. So here we go!
MD.com: Kurt! Thanks for your willingness to be our first interview victim here at MikeDiDonato.com. Tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
Kurt: How bout we switch this around and start with my family. They may be the coolest people on the face of the planet. Starting with my wife Shauna, who has put up with me for going on decade now, I think she can be classified as Insane in 37 states for dealing with me. My Parents, Mom and Dad, once drove up to Worcester from Rochester, NY to come to a Halloween party we were throwing in April without telling me. So you might say thats where I get my “unique” personality. My brother, Andy, and my sister, Katie, are only lightly less cool than I am just because I’ve been around longer. My whole family is pretty important to me, it really took alot to move out to Boston away from all of them, but with the invention of the Internet (Thanks Al!) and the Telephone the hundreds of miles seems alot shorter.
Now as for that little bit about myself. I’m a biologist by schooling and a Nerd by choice. I like the planet earth and while I may not be a hippy, i try to do my part to keep this place clean. I’m currently a lab rat, pouring over tubes of science and microscopes of data. Tons of little bugs live and die under my tyrannical thumb. In my off time I enjoy reading, books, magazines, rule books to games, and whichever catalog is sitting in my “office”. I’ve dabbled a bit in pretty much every facet of nerdom that there is (MMORPG, Table Top wargaming, Miniature painting, P&P D&D, CCG, Boardgames, etc etc.) and I must say anime is the wierdest. Some people might call me extroverted and sometimes they are right. IT takes a little while for me to warm up to new people, but once the gates are open they can’t be closed.
oh yeah I like Mayonnaise. MD.com: What was the last book you read?
KO: Well I’m currently reading A Storm of Swords, but prior to that I read A Clash of Kings. Both by George R.R. Martin they are part of an ongoing saga that he is writing. If you like intrigue, Kinghts, or a Medieval themed story with a dash of magic being thrown in, this series of books is for you.
MD.com: What first attracted you to the fantasy sci-fi sort of genres?
KO: Well, in ninth grade we needed to read a book over the summer before classes started to write about when we started up, and I was looking over all the books and they all sounded so boring. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks stood out as sounding exciting, so I got that. I had never read anything so large before, I think the largest book I read was maybe 200 pages up to that point, but this was 700+. I moved on to the rest of his books and just never stopped.
MD.com: how’d you meet Shauna?
KO: We met at Work. We both had the same workstudy job in the Bio Prep lab. So we knew eachother about a year before we eventually started dating. She wouldn’t let me copy her Chemistry lab and i was upset about that, so I would continually threaten to put her in the autoclave. Not very nice, but apparently it worked. So guys…if you like a lady threaten to cook her at 121 degrees celsius at 4 atmospheres of pressure. It Works!
MD.com: If you were a superhero, what would you want your superpower to be?
KO: Flight. Most definately. Most people may not know this but I’m not a good flier. Some people may call it Terrified. If I had the power to fly myself I think that would help me overcome one of my few fears.
MD.com: Scared of Flight? Interesting. When was the last time you were on a plane?
KO: Last March when we flew back from a Cruise we went on with Friends.
MD.com: What are your biggest goals and aspirations?
KO: Thats such a tough question. Like for right now? For the next five years? Ten years? Lifetime? I mean there are things I’d like to do like see the Grand Canyon, visit all 50 States, stuff like that. But nothing really earth shattering. I find it difficult to try and quantify your life in a set of goals, because so many things could happen when you least expect them that it makes your goals impossible to achieve. I just try to keep my wife and myself happy, in that order, and everything else seems to have a way of working itself out.
MD.com: How soon can we expect to see Kurt Jr. and Shauna Jr. running around the new house?
KO: You try this every time we have a conversation and I tell you the same thing every time.
MD.com: ha ha. Lets end with this one: What’s your favorite MikeDiDonato.com post? KO: Well I have a ton, so how bout I give you my top 3.
3. This would have to be When you shaved your head. That was really brave of you. http://www.mikedidonato.com/2006/04/01/a-life-changing-experience/
2. Skylines. I really liked the Skyline challenge and was saddened when they fell by the wayside.
1. Wish Corruption. I thought that was a ton of fun!
MD.com: Thanks for being the first interview Kurt! Rock on!