Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lisa Gets The Scoop On Lisa

I came across this "game" at Lisa’s place (Wearin’ My Heart On My Sleeve.) I thought it looked like fun, so I asked Lisa to "Interview Me." I forgot that she is stuck at home recovering from ankle surgery, and has nothing better to do than think up really hard questions. But they’re good ones; I had a lot of fun trying to answer them without writing a tome (brevity has never been my forte…) If anybody else wants to play, we’ll start with the rules. And then my answers to Lisa’s great questions.

So here goes, starting with the rules because every game has got to have them, you know. Leave me a comment saying "interview me." The first five to leave a comment requesting to be participants will be interviewed. I will respond by asking you five questions. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some) Fun and easy right?

Q. You’ve mentioned to me that you would love to have your own restaurant. Tell us the details of your dream eatery….the location, decor, and of course, what you’d be serving (sample menu) and what daily role you would take in the business itself.

A. The location would be right here in dear old Scappoose; this is an area that is about to become heavily developed as a bedroom community for people who work in Portland. We are going to need decent places to eat.

I have a couple different concepts in mind, but the most developed one is this: One of Scappoose’s biggest industries used to be Steinfeld’s Pickles, until they were bought out by a huge food conglomerate and closed down. So we have an abandoned pickle packing plant in the middle of town…a great location for something like an antique mall and a quirky family restaurant. I was envisioning the décor to be very old fashioned "general store-ish," with antique tables and chairs and the like. The menu would be gourmet comfort food, like pot roast, garlic mashed potatoes, and home-made apple cobbler. A selection of decent wines and microbrews…probably not a full liquor license (too much hassle!) And an in-house bakery will figure prominently in whatever concept I decide upon, since I’m really more of a baker than a gourmet chef… What role would I take? It would be mine, mine, all mine! I’d wear every hat in the place at one time or another, and it might take an act of God to pry me out of there to go on a vacation.

Q. It’s no secret that you’ve had some issues with your family that sometimes seem insurmountable. What would need to happen with each of you, to put the issues to rest? Could that happen?

I don’t like to look at the conflicts I have with my sisters as something that could be resolved if they changed. The only one I can change, or hope to change, is myself. That said, I think what needs to happen with me is that I just need to get over it and move on. I love my sisters, and we’ll always be close…but I need to bring other experiences and people into my life so I can put the problems we’ve had into perspective. Right now, though it’s been six years since all the conflicts that arose after my dad’s death, there has been so little else in my life since, that the problems still look larger than life. Once I put something of substance, and not just time (which obviously hasn’t worked) between myself and those conflicts, they will scale down to a more manageable size. I can see this happening. I’ve been making a concerted effort to move on since the beginning of this year, and I think I’ve made some progress.

Q. Describe your mother’s personality and what you admire about her the most.

Wow. This is a tough one. My mom’s personality is, in many ways, exactly opposite of mine. She is dependent where I’ve always been fiercely self-reliant. She is a social animal, and I am a loner. She deferred to my dad in every major decision they ever faced in their married life. Boy, is that not me! There are so many things she does that just drive me crazy… If she has a problem with someone, she will make it known to everyone except the person with whom she has the bone to pick. We always laugh among ourselves that Mom’s least favorite daughter is whichever one of us is not in her immediate presence at the time.

But Mom hangs in there. She has experienced so much loss in her life. Everyone in her immediate family died young. My grandmother made the oldest bones of any of Mom’s family, and she was only 63 when she died of cancer. By the time Mom was just a few years older than I am now, she was the last living member of her family. I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have been. And she has since lost a daughter, a granddaughter, and her husband of 54 years. She has the great gift of knowing you have to just continue to put one foot in front of the other, no matter how much pain you have to walk through. That is what I admire about her.

Q. You’ve been given an unlimited budget to create the perfect backyard and garden. Describe it, down to the perfect flowers and plants!

Geez, I could write a bloody book about this! First, I’d empty the entire yard, scrape off the top twelve inches of what passes for "soil" on this property, and throw it far, far away. Then I’d get as many truckloads of wonderful, rich topsoil as it would take to make a three-foot layer of decent growth medium from property line to property line, except for where we would have a nice deck off the family room, and a beautiful flagstone patio outside husband’s dining room door. THEN, I would buy some really big trees (mature trees can be had; they are expensive as hell, but, hey, I have an unlimited budget!) to place along the back fence line to replace the defunct poplar screen that my charming neighbor cut down last fall. I would have a proper brick fence erected between me and my dead neighbors (in the cemetery.) And I would have a real front entry built onto the house, with a covered porch, where right now there is a decaying deck with utterly scary steps leading down to the yard from either side.

The gardens would be planted with an eye toward attracting birds and beasts. With as little lawn as I could possibly get away with. I can’t even begin to list the plants I would use…for the last four years, I’ve had to limit my scope to what the cursed soil of this property could not kill. I love hydrangeas, camellias, flowering dogwoods, rhododendrons and azaleas, Japanese maples, a jillion different varieties of shrubs and trees; baskets and containers filled with begonias, pelargoniums (especially scented ones), fuchsias, sages, and trailing accents like lobelia, bacopa, and ivy. An herb garden, and a small salad garden (if I could figure out how to keep the bugs out of my produce!) Perhaps a fountain or two, but NO crappy artificial ponds.

In short, I would fix the yard so that the things I planted might actually grow, and then just have at it.

Q. Undeniably, you are a very creative person, whether it be in your writing, photography, home decorating or crafts. Tell us how you use your creative talents to make your home decor special.

When I was in high school, I took about as many art classes as I could pack into my schedule and leave enough time slots for the requirements like math, science, and English. I found that I basically sucked at drawing and painting. Luckily, I discovered that drawing ability was not all there was to being an artist. I discovered that I have an innate sense of color, design, and composition that translates into that creativity you alluded to.

I can’t say that, until recently, I’ve really made much use of it in my home décor, however. Creativity costs money, and we haven’t had a great deal of disposable income to spend on transforming the very vanilla personality of this house into something more my style. I did, however, redo my living room, which included re-covering an old sofa, creating "art projects" for the walls (with old photographs, my scanner, and my greeting card program) and refinishing a bunch of old furniture. Managed to make it happen for probably less than $1000 (sounds like a good idea for a television show!) and it turned out quite nice, if I do say so myself. However, I do have kind of a problem picking a theme for my home décor… Living room is a kind of British Raj/modern fusion, dining room is country French goes to the vineyard, family room is rustic/lodgey with Native American accents, and my bedroom is…well, mostly an eclectic mix (read "mish-mosh") of all the furniture that wouldn’t fit anywhere else in the house. If "What Not To Wear" merged with "Trading Spaces" into a show called "How Not to Decorate," they’d probably have a field day with my house!


  1. OK, see, I came by and so sure, I'd love to be interviewed.

    PS: Could you enlarge the font?  I don't think you're as old as you claim to be!

  2. WOW. Good question and answers. Gives a real good insight into you.

  3. I didnlt comment on your answers (duh).  I loved reading about your restaurant.  And your garden.  And your mother.  All beautifully written, as always.

  4. As if I didn't already want to come visit, this would have been the capper.  Of course, with our "unlimited budget," your backyard sounds like the perfect place for me to sit and work on the details for my foundations while you cook for me (Umm, ok, I'll do the dishes.)  Then we can sit and talk, talk, talk.

  5. Did "we" do good or what?  See, I've been paying attention!  I knew that you'd come through with some interesting answers.....and you didn't need the time you thought you'd need!  I would love to play in the dirt with you to create that dream backyard...but you'd have to feed me for sure!  We'll just pretend that you're on vacation from the restaurant, and you can serve me some of that comfort food, since I worked so hard in your yard!  Mmmmmmm!  But, hold off on the carbs, since I am trying to watch my weight!  Hugs, Lisa

    PS...I don't see anything in the rules about being interviewed by more than one person....Can you interview me and I will just refer back to the rules in my first entry?

  6. I told you in email, so I'll make it public, I'll be interviewed.  Don't break anything thinking up hard questions, please.

  7. OK, it only took me a little over an hour!

  8. Lisa,

    What a wonderful entry. I've seen this a few times now in journal land. Cynthia did it. And another blogger I read has done it. If you're not all booked up, I'd love to try my hand at this, too.

    The restaurant sounds fabulous. I don't think you'd need to be pried out of there to go on vacation. Having a place like that would be a vacation for you in a way.  


  9. Mish-Mosh, that's my styles too... in every room of the house!  I enjoyed reading this interview and getting to know you a bit more.  It's a fun idea.

  10. wow, very insightful questions and answers!  

  11. Ok Lisa-
    Interview me, I am ready! LOL


  12. Lisa,

    Thank you so much for interviewing me.  Great questions.  And I saw the questions for Cynthia and you are a Barbera Walters!  I've posted my answers again!


  13. This is a great idea.  It looks like it takes up a lot of time...very interesting and infomative.