August 22, 2007

Okay! You guys asked, I’m going to answer. For anyone who asked multiple questions, I pretty much picked one at random–if there’s anything you’d really like to know that I didn’t address, you’re always welcome to email me.

Have you got any particular preference on whether Smalltopus is a (healthy & beautiful) boy or a girl? — Jo

Well, sort of. Not really. Yes. No.

Honestly, I feel like we’ve got a win-win situation set up, because if it’s a girl: awesome! Oh, those wonderful little girl clothes, the pigtails, the experiencing of parenting both a girl AND a boy, hooray! On the other hand, if it’s a boy: awesome! Hey, I already know how to do the scrotal-poop wipe! And two brothers growing up together, and aw, another little boy, the idea just kills me.

I am maybe wishing just the tiniest bit for a girl. But I’m also super-excited about having another boy.

Did you ever think you would be where you are today when you were younger? — Ashley

Oh hell no. I was too busy listening to Bauhaus and praying that by some mystical transformation, I would shed my tiresome human attributes and my true self—based entirely on the descriptions of the more attractive vampires in Anne Rice’s novels—would emerge.

Honestly, it’s hard to remember what sorts of future-focused thoughts I might have had back then, but I know I never pictured being married or being a parent. I think I was so busy rebelling against, well, everything, that I never could have imagined my life as it is now. I’m sure I would have thought it sounded boring as hell. You know, since it didn’t involve being burned by daylight and all.

Are there any blog topics/trends that annoy you? — hello insomnia 

Twitter annoys me, but I need to get the hell over that because hey, if I don’t like Twitter? I don’t have to look at Twitter. My only true blogging pet peeve is when someone says they have Really Huge Enormous Earth-Shattering News to Share, but O sorrow, O lament, they cannot quite yet, for mysterious reasons that we cannot know. I love hearing someone’s good news–their book deal, their knocked-upedness, their fancy new hooter implants, whatever–but the whole blogging-cocktease routine drives me up a wall.

How did you and JB meet? — KT

We were both working for a company in Corvallis, Oregon, where I was the receptionist and he was a purchasing rep. I thought he was the biggest asshole on the planet, mostly because he would always barge aggressively through the receptionist office and never bother giving me the time of day, so of course I developed an enormous crush on him.

We eventually got marginally flirtatious with each other, and when I quit the job and moved to Portland we started up an email relationship that eventually resulted in a full-on makeoutfest at some drunken party back in Corvallis. We’ve been together ever since that fateful night when JB leaned against a doorway at 11:30 PM on New Year’s Eve, looked me in the eye, and said, “We might as well do the kiss now, instead of waiting for midnight.” HOT, people. HOT.

Are you a “picker” of all things pick’able? People are pickers or they aren’t. Which are you? — honeybecke

Oh boy, I feel like I should know what this means, but I don’t think I do. If it means do I like to make decisions, the answer is no. I’m one of those annoying wishy-washy “Whatever sounds good to you” people, for the most part.

My nosy question is if you’re going to attempt a VBAC, or go with a planned c-section. — Chaya

There are some risk issues specific to my medical situation that are reduced with a second C-section. Without going into the details, a VBAC isn’t a good option for me, and while that does make me sad, it is what it is. We’ll have a planned C-section around the end of January.

Do you secretly hope for a little girl this time round? — Anna

Yes. No. Sort of.

I am, a bit. Raising a girl seems a lot more frightening than having another boy, because . . . I don’t know, princess Barbies and Bratz and self-esteem and oh my god have you seen what middle school girls are wearing these days, etc. But still. A little girl. That would be something.

(But so would a boy!)

You’ve been very generous and honest with us. I’m curious as to whether that has had a price. Do you ever regret sharing so much of yourself? — sooboo

Not really. Only when I think about some future plans with freelance writing and being more open about who I am and who I’ve worked for. There are some things I’ve shared that just don’t seem appropriate for prospective employers to stumble across, but that doesn’t mean I’m ashamed of sharing them.

My husband wants to know if you consider blogging (and writing) a hobby or a calling? — sooboo’s husband

Writing in general is what I’ve based my career around as well as most of my hobbies. I can’t imagine a life where I don’t write, and specifically, where I don’t write in this kind of forum. Hearing back from the people reading my writing has become as important to me as the act of writing itself.

I want to know if you have names picked out for your new baby and if you plan to share those names with the world before the baby is born. — JMH

Yes, and yes. I’ll tell you when we find out the baby’s sex, in case we make any last-minute changes between now and then. If it’s a boy, the middle name will be Emmett, and if it’s a girl, Lee. Both are family names, so don’t go making fun.

I am 25 weeks pregnant and have thus far escaped without stretchmarks (touches wood). I noticed in your mean-looking abs picture, that you don’t seem to have any at all? Is this true, and if so, what, if anything did you do to prevent them? — Kym

Oh man, you just made me shed a little tear for the incipient abs that were there for about five minutes before all this pregnancy business happened. Anyway, I got really lucky the first time around, because I never had any stretch marks (although I have faint, older ones all over my hips and boobs from, presumably, my flourishing pre-teen years). I’ve heard this is hereditary and no amount of goo or cream can prevent them if you’re genetically meant to have them, but that won’t stop me from slathering Body Shop Body Butter on my belly when it starts getting ginormous, because what the hell, I did that last time.

What is your biggest worry/fear? — Eric’s Mommy

That I will die from a slow, debilitating illness, and that I will be a burden on my family in the process, and that I won’t get to see my children grow up.

Well! That’s depressing, isn’t it? Sorry. I’m also scared shitless of reaching over in the middle of the night to take a drink of water, only to discover (too late!) that a spider has fallen into my cup.

Do you think you’ll stop at two kids? — Jess

Yes. Yes I do.

Are you from the Seattle area originally (born & raised)? — Christina

No, I was born in Manassas, Virginia. My mother and I moved out to Corvallis, Oregon, when I was about 11, and other than a yearlong stint in Nevada, I’ve been in the Pacific Northwest ever since.

What do you consider your biggest success as parent. I mean, what do you totally rock at doing for/with Riley? — Erica

Oh boy. That’s a hard question. My biggest success. I don’t think I can point to such a thing, but all my memories of every good moment with Riley–every smile, laugh, squeal–add up to a feeling of success. If that makes sense.

Sundry Dad. I want to know. Did you know him? — Kendra

This entry explains that situation, pretty much in its entirety.

How did you learn to take such great pictures? — Megan

Well, that’s a damn nice thing to say. And honestly, the camera I use can let any fool take a great photo, because I don’t know a single thing about photography. F-what? White balance huh? I point and shoot, that’s it; and I rely quite heavily on Photoshop for post-processing. But thank you, all the same.

How the hell do I get more people to go to my own blog? — JennB

There are some great articles out there that specifically address this question, but I think in a nutshell the common blah-blah is: write because you love to do so, not because you’re hoping for an audience; comment on other people’s blogs, including your link when you do; update often; link to other people in the hopes they’ll return the favor. I think the first piece of advice is the best.

Trendy names vs main-stream names. Your thoughts, please. — Warcrygirl

I like both, really. I mean, there are some cute trendy names out there. For instance, Riley. Oh wait, that’s only trendy for girls? Please don’t tell JB.

Do you plan to write a book at some point in your life? — Stephanie

I don’t know. It used to be a dream of mine, but when I start asking myself what I hoped to get out of doing so, it had nothing to do with personal fulfillment and more to do with validation. I’m not sure that’s a good reason to put forth the kind of effort a book requires. If someday I start thinking of a book I really want to write, I hope like hell I’ll have the balls to make it happen.

What is your most embarrassing childhood moment? — One Smart Cookie

Once, I barfed outside of a Toys R Us. I have never, ever forgotten it.

What parts of your teenage past would you undo, if you could? — Kim

All the parts that hurt my family, namely my mother and my grandparents. It crushes my heart to remember how I treated them, how utterly selfish I was and how immature. How I wish my grandparents could see me now, just for a moment, to know I turned out okay after all, and to see their beautiful great-grandson.

Who do you think would win if both were equally equipped with nunchucks and viking helmets? Cat, or a house spider? — Karamarie

Oh, Cat. Definitely. I mean, the giant house spider is a fucking horrorshow, but a cat would throw down and win, even without the weaponry. Because cats are pure evil. Well, 90% evil and 10% lard:


All right, that’s all for now because oy, my carpal tunnel. I’ll answer the rest in the next day or so. Thanks for asking these questions, because I’m enjoying answering them.


44 Responses to “Q&A: Part One”

  1. Lesley on August 22nd, 2007 9:23 pm

    looks like comments isn’t working right now…?

  2. Kym P. on August 22nd, 2007 9:24 pm

    Oh holy crap! I grew up in Corvallis!!! How in the heck did we not know each other?!

  3. Lesley on August 22nd, 2007 9:24 pm

    Oops, i tried to post some links about Tofino, but it wouldn’t take, so will email you.

  4. honeybecke on August 22nd, 2007 9:41 pm

    oops! by uh, picker I meant do you pick zits-n-stuff…on yourself AND others like JB or close, close friends and family.

  5. Daily Tragedies on August 22nd, 2007 10:07 pm

    In case you run out of Qs …

    If you could designate one food to be fat- and calorie-free for the rest of your life, what would it be?

  6. Marivic on August 22nd, 2007 11:21 pm

    I heard this today from a co-worker, cracked my shit up…her mom canNOT say “carpal tunnel” – instead it always comes out “carnal tuppel”.


  7. Jennifer on August 22nd, 2007 11:39 pm

    Hmmm… maybe a bit more than 10% lard on that cat photo… but all of it is sleek and glossy!

  8. JMH on August 23rd, 2007 2:44 am

    Thanks so much for answering us! I loved the Ann Rice vampire novels too. Have you read the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer? If you have, then you’ll know why I LOVE the name Emmett :)

  9. Eric's Mommy on August 23rd, 2007 4:13 am

    I actually had a nightmare about a GHS last night!
    Thanks for answering my question, sounds like we both have the same fears.

    I too was born in VA, my parents were in the airforce, I was born in Nassawadox (if that is even how you spell it) I only lived there a year though.

    The pic of cat made me smile, I’m having a bad day since my Mother informed me yesterday (on my birthday) that she is having one of her/my cats put to sleep today :(

  10. Frank on August 23rd, 2007 4:52 am

    I didn’t know you were born in Manassas. That’s right down the street from me. Very cool.

  11. Christina on August 23rd, 2007 5:29 am

    WOW! The entry about your father… I mean wow. I do not think I started reading your blog until August of last year and as I suggested I do not have time to go back and read old entries so wow. 1st, I cannot agree with you more about leaving – it would kill me… We were watching that Will Smith movie Pursuit of Happyness(???) and I was like HOW on earth could a mother leave her baby, EVER? Okay I know it is a movie but still… 2nd, your mom rocks. I mean holy crap to move a child cross country and RAISE her on her own. I cannot imagine being a single mom. SO she rocks.

    Thanks for answering all of the questions with such honesty!

    Oh and I so want your camera. We need a new one and I want to buy a better one then the usual $100-200 camera because they break so quickly. I mentioned the cost of the type of camera you have to my husband and I think he had a small heart attack right there while driving. I also think you take beautiful amazing photos!

  12. claire on August 23rd, 2007 5:38 am

    I was actually voting for Emmett as a first name for our son but my husband hates the football player, Emmett Smith, and well, this did not go over well. I then voted for it as a middle name but then our kid’s initials would be EES and husband didn’t like that either. So basically, I support Emmett. :)

  13. Tessie on August 23rd, 2007 5:42 am

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE hearing these answers. Keep them coming!

  14. Cavu on August 23rd, 2007 5:44 am

    Any tips on how to get the freelance writing ball rolling? Are you doing article type things, or more the creative nonfiction essay type things?

  15. karamarie on August 23rd, 2007 5:56 am

    My sister’s middle name is Lee because it is my father’s middle name.

    Man. Look at that vicious, vicious cat. Ready to attack!

  16. Eric's Mommy on August 23rd, 2007 6:04 am

    karamarie….my sister’s middle name is Lee too, her first name is Jessica, we used to call her Jessie when she was little…….she was named after the neighbor’s German Shepard! Can you believe that!

  17. Erica on August 23rd, 2007 6:36 am

    Thanks so much for answering, Linda. Very cool.

    Also, Marivic, my friend’s mom can’t say “text message.” It always comes out as “tex mex.”

  18. SJ on August 23rd, 2007 6:49 am

    Manassas, Virginia eh? Did you leave before the ‘bobbit’ incident or after? I was born in Virginia, Quantico to be exact, however was raised in Woodbridge. I left VA in 1997 when I was 20 years old and headed West for Colorado. I haven’t lived anywhere else since although the west coast has my attention.

    Anyway, I loved hearing your answers to your questions. You are one of a kind Linda, and I too love your photos!

  19. ang on August 23rd, 2007 6:50 am

    I followed the link about your father and re-read the entry. Honestly, I read it at the time it was written, but I don’t guess it stuck. I had forgotten how much we have in common. You with your absent father, me with an absent mother. I felt as strongly as you did when my daughter was first born. HOW can a MOTHER leave their child? But now my daughter is almost 10, and honestly, I’ve come to a point where I at least try and understand-if not forgive-so I can let go of that black feeling I get when I talk to her. I hope you’ve reached that point as well. It’s very liberating.

    Now, mushy, crap-filled stuff aside. You haven’t answered MY question yet. It’s the most important, I believe, because the type of panties a woman wears says MUCH about her. :-)

  20. Jess on August 23rd, 2007 7:03 am

    I am curious about the name you have picked out for a girl. If I recall correctly, last time you had picked out a name for a girl that started with M. Are you sticking with that name or have you changed your minds? If you are no longer planning to use that M name, will you tell us what it was?

    I am curious because I babysit two-year-old twins where the boy is named Riley and the girl’s name starts with M. I’m wondering if maybe you have similar taste in names with the parents of those twins or if your M is totally different from their M.

  21. Claudia on August 23rd, 2007 7:19 am

    My dad’s middle name is Emmett, so thumbs up! As a mom of two girls, I have to say I’m rooting a bit for a girl. They are fun even with the barbies and princess gear. It’s all good. No matter what.

  22. Joan on August 23rd, 2007 7:53 am

    As always, a great post. I was unaware of your history with your father. I don’t understand how some people can just up and abandon their children without even batting an eyelash. It blows my mind. At least something good came from him…

  23. lizshaw on August 23rd, 2007 8:15 am

    I’d like to just remind you that a birth is a birth is a birth, no matter how you slice it. Pun intended. As my friend once said about her emergency C-section, “they could’ve taken him out through my nose for all I cared!”

    It’s the rest of your days with Smalltopus that really matter…

  24. rosalicious on August 23rd, 2007 8:22 am

    Dear god, that cat looks just like my Biggie Purrs! He’s a 20 lb black beast – with diabetes! (Does the cat in the pic have 2 tails or is that just a shadow?)

    I am from VA too :) Charlottesville.

  25. kendra! on August 23rd, 2007 8:23 am

    Thanks, girl. Although I’ve been a faithful reader since I linked to you from the diarist awards, I clearly missed the entry about your dad. It was bravely written, and it’s interesting to find an entry about parents and self-examination full of courage, at the same time. But it makes sense – it takes courage to take a long look at one’s parents and then one’s self and then one’s self as a parent.

    I often find that entries about my parents are full of self-examination, and also full of notes about how parents reach a certain age and somehow regress, and how my dad left me, too, twice, in fact, and yet when I read others’ stories, I feel stupid for being so stuck. I’m an expectant parent, now, and there’s no time to stay stuck. Gotta keep moving just as fast as the belly keeps expanding.

    On a side note – I recall that my first entry read was the one where Dog was in a remarkable double-humping position whilst you all were away on holiday at someone’s cabin. Indelibly imprinted.

  26. McCashew on August 23rd, 2007 8:49 am

    Would it be terrible to admit that I checked this at least 10 times yesterday in hopes that you had posted some answers? =) I applaud your bravery to answer so many questions and might I add I am enjoying reading them… THANKS!

  27. Alyson on August 23rd, 2007 8:54 am

    Honestly, I barely know you, but it is clear from your blog – especially when you talk about the not so sunny parts of your past – that you have done a hell of a lot of growing up since your teenaged years. I am sure you do your mother proud (I would be proud of you for sure!). That is what makes you an amazing parent. You’re not one of those “sunshine and lollipops” moms (Thank God!), you’re a realist, and honest, and funny as hell. As Riley and Smalltopus grow up, I doubt there will be a situation that you can’t handle with love, realism and humor.

    BTW, what did you think of Corvallis? Son #2’s dream is to attend OSU and play on their baseball team (while studying history and political science). Is it a good place to live?

  28. Kari on August 23rd, 2007 8:58 am

    You are a truly gifted writer. It is quite a talent to be able to write both well and honestly.

    I really enjoyed the post about your dad. I have long believed that the act of becoming an adult usually involves the moment you really see the fallibility of your parents.

    This may be too personal to answer (or perhaps you already have discussed it), but does JB drink?

  29. mandy on August 23rd, 2007 9:03 am

    Manassas, I think I knew that. You may have mentioned it before. I grew up close, in Stafford. Now in NC.

    What you write about your youth, reminds me of my 16 year old. I pray one day she will be writing the same words…and be happily married with a family of her own. You really give me hope that she may turn out alright after all. Thank you for that.

  30. Christina on August 23rd, 2007 9:28 am

    One more thing – I probably not half the writer you are but I also have thought about writing a book of some sort but about what and the reasons why seem murky.

    I used to want to write a book when I was all gloom and doom and deep in depression (usually alcohol and drug soaked…) Now I am just happy and gleeful and full of life so writing a book does not seem to be as important as once did.

  31. Niki P. on August 23rd, 2007 9:31 am

    The trendy thing- My 10 yr old son is Bailey and he is the ONLY MALE Bailey we know- but we know like 15 girl Bailee’s. Everytime he hears the name addressed to someone else and it turns out to be a GIRL he rolls his eyes at me. SO SORRY! Gawd- I got it from Party of 5!! (Seriously- that Bailey Sallinger was a hottie!) (was that really 10 yrs ago??) Getting old really sucks.

  32. Junni on August 23rd, 2007 9:34 am

    Oh cat, I love you and your evil little ways.

    And go, Corvallis! I was born at Good Sam back in ’81.

  33. jonniker on August 23rd, 2007 9:55 am

    Is it wrong that I read picker as a person who picks zits and scabs? Because that totally can’t be what the question asker meant, but there I am all, I AM A PICKER. I can’t let a zit lie there, I just can’t.

    Also, what I think is highly disturbing is that I’ve been reading you and been friendly with you long enough that I totally felt like I already knew (and did know!) the answer to more than half the questions, AND I had the audacity to suggest photographic accompaniments.


  34. stephanie brown on August 23rd, 2007 10:34 am

    I think only a real picker would understand what she meant by the term to begin with! I’m assuming Sundry is not a picker since she didn’t get it….I totally got it though. My dad and I are both pickers….my mom and brother not really. I think it’s very interesting to see how many people are like that :P

  35. honeybecke on August 23rd, 2007 11:38 am

    jonniker: not wrong at all- you are right on.

    stephanie brown: you too!

    i also find in interesting on how many people are pickers. it’s gross yes, but oh so satisfying.

  36. stephanie brown on August 23rd, 2007 12:24 pm

    honeybecke- it truly is soothing. it gets your mind concentrated on something and is like a “focus drug” lol!
    I have at least 2 friends that are like that with q-tips and cleaning their ears. For them, running a q-tip through their ears in a slow round motion (…this is totally going south…) is the most soothing thing for them.
    Who knows….everyone has weird quircks about SOMETHING….mine just happens to be of the dermatological sort.

  37. stephanie brown on August 23rd, 2007 12:27 pm

    OH! and a side note. I used to be very good friends with this girl and her husband….instead of popping the really small ones with their fingers? They would bite them. BITE THEM. You may be asking if you read that correctly…and yes, you did. As a picker, there is a line…and it’s back about 10 feet (or more).

  38. honeybecke on August 23rd, 2007 12:49 pm

    re: biting of the zits

    oh my god. yes, that is way crossing the line.

  39. Flibberty on August 23rd, 2007 12:50 pm

    This string of commentary re: pcker is absolutely hilarious!

    And, the name Emmet is a great name (and not very common according to the SSA’s list of popular names). I like names that aren’t trendy myself!

  40. Muddy on August 23rd, 2007 1:07 pm

    So – I started reading your blog because I clicked over here on a day that you were talking about your DUI, and I’ve been stuck ever since. My husband just got the ole’ Dewey earlier this summer – and though he quit drinking for a while, he’s drinking again. I…well…I don’t know what I think.

    To be honest, I like drinking, and I like drinking with him. I’m not sure eliminating the healthy drinking is a good step to take, if you’re trying to view alcohol in a more way healthy, overall. I see the argument for learning how to moderate, but I’m also not sure if I’m fooling myself.

    Anyway, I’m delurking to ask you this question: How did you know you had to quit drinking all together? Do you look back? Do you think it has to be an all-or-nothing arrangement? Why?

  41. Erin on August 23rd, 2007 1:31 pm

    So, the “picker” thing… I totally read that as picking like fruit and vegetables… like strawberries. Wow, was I way off or what??? Linda, I am guessing you, like myself, are not a picker since you didn’t get it either lol.

  42. Josh on August 23rd, 2007 2:48 pm

    No way! My moms middle name is Lee. Good choice.

    Thanks for the crippling night spider fear you planted in my brain like an emotional time bomb, that’s gonna help my insomnia.

    Childhood embarassment, go! Wearing my dads hand me down wranglers because we couldn’t afford new clothes, and earning the nickname “Faded Glory”. (I was wearing a faded glory shirt by coincidence. Damn poverty!)

    I think it was a nice gesture to only give cats 90% evil. I would have guessed about fifteen percent more. At least for mine. Maybe your cat tries to kill you fifteen percent less than mine does.

    Now that I know you are from Va. I will imagine you with a southern accent. Please do not correct me if this is wrong since southern accents are by far the coolest. I’m pretty sure God has one. Well, brittish accents are pretty hot too. And since you haven’t answered my question, I will continue imagining that you were into metal in the eighties and only wore denim. And probably danced about on muscle cars for most of the day. Unless you were playing air guitar whilst making your own mixed tapes.

  43. manda on August 23rd, 2007 7:08 pm

    people blog cock teasing is THE worst thing ever.

  44. kali on August 23rd, 2007 7:13 pm

    i know you closed the questions, but if you’ll take pity on my tardiness-
    when did you and jb meet?

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