Friday, May 31, 2013

Interview with a (dead) Writer

In light of the fact that I have been busy, and the folks I've sent questions to are busy, I don't have a Women Who Blog post today.  At least not with a real, live writer.  However, I do have an interview with a real, dead one.  Hence, my interview with Edgar Allan Poe.


Kirby:  So, have a rather sketchy reputation.  Is it warranted?

EAP: Look.  My father abandoned us and then my mother died.  That's a pretty sketchy pedigree, don't you think?  All I ever really wanted was attention and affection.  So maybe falling in love with my friend's mother was odd, but it can be written off as boyhood infatuation.  And of course falling in love with my much younger cousin could be considered sketch, but it wasn't as if we were planning on having kids or anything.  If loving them was wrong, I don't want to be right.

K: With the publication of your Murders in the Rue Morgue,  did you anticipate it was the birth of a whole new genre--the detective novel?

EAP:  Not in a million years.  It was just another story that I had to get written because the bill collectors were knocking at the door.  I had a story; I needed money--the usual gig.  If I'd had a laptop instead of having to write longhand, I wouldn't have had to quit the University of Virginia.  Hell, I might have been a lawyer-turned-novelist...the first John Grisham, so to speak.

K: Speaking of Grisham, he wrote his first novel longhand.  So that's not technically an excuse.

EAP: Yeah, but I'll bet he bought a laptop right after.  I mean, da#n...he's got more money than God.  If I'd only been born a hundred and forty years later...

K:  And then, there's your death.  I mean, what was up with that?  You were forty, which was not young in 1849...but it wasn't old, either.  So, what happened?

EAP: I have no idea.  And I was there!

K: Have you heard about the "Poe Toaster?"

EAP: Yeah--that is so cool!  I mean, who would have thought that a hundred years after my death someone would come and toast me with cognac and leave three roses without saying a word to anyone.  It appeals to my mysterious side.

K:  You have a mysterious side? *laughing* I mean...why three roses?

EAP:  I believe they are for the three loves of my life: Stacey's mom, Elmira Royster, and Virginia Clemm.  And the cognac is for drinking.  Which I did.  A lot.  Sort of like I've heard you do.

K:  Well, I have been known to quaff a beer or two in my day.

EAP: A beer or two or six, is my understanding.

K (clearing throat): Well, thanks so much for coming back from the dead to speak with us today.  It really helped get me out of this 'heck, I don't have anyone who's sent in her answers' panic.  Rest in Peace, Ed.

Next week, a LIVE writer--Margaret Maron, who writes bestselling mysteries.  She has been awesome and gracious and I will be forever in her debt!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Feature Friday with Elena

Today's interview is with Elena of a casarella. She does some great crafty stuff (like this awesome picnic basket) and is a funny blogger, to boot!

1. Fast food or pizza?
Definitely pizza.  I have vivid, early memories of crying when my parents tried to take me to McDonald's.   My children have inherited my aversion to fast food which is good (though not always convenient).

2. I notice that you live in California.  I have always wondered: is it 'special-er' there?

With apologies to all the other places, the answer is yes.  Yes it is.   And this is not an uninformed opinion.  I have lived in six other states (read more about that here: and as much as I've loved them all, California is indeed special-er.   Case in point: I spent this past weekend at my sister-in-law's house in LA.  While there, my daughters (ages 8 and 12) befriended the loveliest drag queen while walking down Larchmont Street.  She gave us her card and invited them to high tea at Biltmore.  She promised to wear, "the dress with the bustle"' for the occasion.  This stuff just never happened when we lived in Milwaukee. 

3. Tell us how you really feel about grosgrain.

I feel like it needs a new name.  Beyond that, I am pretty neutral towards this particular embellishment.

4. If you could visit anyplace for a week, where would you go?
Italy.  I am half Italian and have never been to the motherland. 
pic courtesy of Paradise in the World

5. Do you have a secret talent that doesn't involve craft materials?
I can recite the first fourteen lines of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English.  Anything after line fourteen and you're on your own.   (Have I mentioned that I used to teach English?

6.  What was the last band you saw in concert?
The Doobie Brothers.  I saw them with my husband at one of his work functions.  
I know, I know, you thought they were dead.   
They're not.

7.  Sky blue or navy?
           Sky Blue. 
No, navy.
No, definitely sky blue.

8.  Have you started pinning things in preparation for your daughter's wedding?
Surprisingly, no.  But my husband does have regular nightmares about paying for two weddings so at least one of us is freaking out prematurely.

9.  Fruity drinks or hard liquor?
Actually, I don't drink.  And for the record I am neither an alcoholic nor a Mormon (<--a distinct possibility amongst craft bloggers ;)  I just don't like it.  If, however, someone were to put a gun to my head I would definitely choose a glass of sangria over a martini.

10.  Do you have a "go-to" blogger whose posts you hate to miss? 
Amy at While Wearing Heels
John & Sherry at Young House Love
Karianne at Thistlewood Farm
Linda at It all Started With Paint
Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects
Mary Beth at Cupcakes & Crinoline
Kelly at Eclectically Vintage
Heather & Vanessa at At The Picket Fence

I'm going to stop now or we could be here all day....

Kirby here:  Thanks to Elena for playing with us here at Women Who Blog!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

You can call her Epic

For those of you who don't know her (and many of you don't which is shameful), I'd like to introduce Marianne at We Band of Mothers.  She is a hilarious (mommy) blogger from my fave city, Chicago, where they talk like me. 

In my best Chicago voice (via e-mail), I asked her a few "burning" questions:

You’re married to a fireman. On a scale of 1-10, how hot is that?
It truly never gets old. Although I do believe Joe gets a bit sick of hearing “Can you please put on your suspenders and boots one more time tonight, honey?” Dirty, dirty Marianne.

Do you ever slip and call your boys Robbie, Chip & Ernie?
Nah. I forgot my kids’ names years ago. I call them all “Jesus Christ.”

Beer or wine?

Judging from all your bridesmaid pics, you are pretty tall. How’s that working for you?
I love being tall in that I never need to ask for help to get things down from the top shelf. Also, an extra 30 pounds on me simply looks like PMS bloat. The bad part? People always remember the 6 foot tall giant. Sadly, I recognize NOBODY. My go-to line? “Oh, hello, you.” It’s embarrassing.

My friend Kerry from HouseTalkN is really tall, too. Is it an Illinois thing?
Absolutely. We pump our cows full of growth hormones here in the Great Midwest. If you actually manage to not hit 6 feet, people assume a milk allergy.

What is the gang activity like on the Southside, and do you have a secret handshake?
There is GANG ACTIVITY on the southside of Chicago?? Crap. We’re moving.

Perogies or Pizza?
Hello? I’m from Chicago. We have a name for people who eat perogies. We call them “People Not From Chicago.” Whether it’s deep dish or thin crust (cut in squares), Chicago pizza is the best.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to do The Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg. I visited my friend years ago when she was getting her international business degree in Switzerland. Being a huge theater geek, I was dying to re-live a day in the life of Maria von Trapp. My friend mocked me, called me a loser, and insisted we train it to Paris instead. Yet two months later? She went on The Sound of Music tour without me! She phoned to say it was the most fabulous thing EVER. There were trolleys full of drunkards who would spin around atop mountains and belt out The Hills are Alive at the top of their lungs. I deserved to be one of those drunkards. As God as my witness, I will be one of those drunkards someday.

And now a question for the DIY/Home Décor Bloggers, because it’s killing them that we haven’t mentioned anything house-related even ONCE! Here goes: how would you describe your decorating style?
Decorating? Um. I take all the cast-off furniture and stuff that people give me and strew it awkwardly about my house. Then I wait for my older brother to visit and mock me for having no spatial eye whatsoever. I also visit home décor bloggers to make friends. I’m secretly hoping one of them comes over eventually to fix things out of sheer pity.

Would you like to give a shout-out to another fellow blogger so that I might be able to harass her into doing an interview?
This is hard. I read and love a LOT of blogs. This is like picking a favorite child. I’m going to have to go with Lillian from It’s a Dome Life because she’s the only person I know who writes hilarious stories of social awkwardness, paints portraits of guinea pigs, and manages to be the biggest cheerleader out there for women of the blogosphere. I kinda love her.

As an aside, I would like to thank Kirby for inviting me to participate in this tremendously fun Q&A. Nobody ever invites me anywhere because I usually break things and swear. I feel very fortunate that someone with such obvious taste and style allows me to be a part of their elegant and beautiful world. And should we ever meet face-to-face, I promise to stay far away from the crystal. I love you, Kirby!!  

Kirby here: I love you too, Mar!  And next time I visit Chicago, I will buy you beer and pizza.  But I won't decorate your house.

Friday, May 10, 2013

karianne at Thistlewood Farms

Several bloggers mentioned that karianne (the lower case 'k' is intentional) from Thistlewood Farms is one of the blogs on their 'must read' list.  She lives in the beautiful countryside of Kentucky, where she cares for her brood and makes her house into a home. Here's what she has to say on a variety of important topics:

1.       Would you rather spend money on earrings or chalk paint?

Umm… this a trick question?  Have you seen my earrings?  I would walk up a hill backwards in the snow for a pair of really amazing earrings.  Chalk paint….not so much. J

2.       If you could spend a week in any city in the world, where would it be?

I would stay a week in Dover, England.  I read a book once where the main character walked the white cliffs of Dover. I want to spend a week with the sea winds blowing my hair pretending I am in a Jane Austen novel.

3.       Geraniums or Hydrangeas?

Hydrangea.  They were my father’s favorite flower.  Plus they look amazing when they are dried.

4.       Who was your favorite Backstreet Boy?

I’m a country fan.   I like Billy Ray Cyrus.  He had me at mullet and achey brakey heart.

5.       Would you try your hand at plumbing, if you had the opportunity?

Another trick question?  Are you serious?

6.       Eggplant or lavender?

Lavender.  The better to make homemade soap and scrubs and it smells way better.  Plus….eggplant involves cooking.

7.       Do you like avocados?

Only in guacamole. 

8.       What type of movies do you enjoy?

I love happy movies with a wonderful ending.  Preferably involving Mr. Darcy (see number 2) or a duke or an earl or Downton Abbey.

     9 .       Home cooking or fancy restaurant?

Fancy restaurant…..every time.
   10.    One blogger you love to read is--
           Can I pick two (besides yours...of course)?
           At the Picket Fence and Finding Home.

(Kirby here)--Thanks to karianne for sharing her thoughts with us on this week's Feature Friday at Women Who Blog!  Anglophiles unite!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Everybody's welcome at the ranch! (Another feature Friday.)

Blogland is strange.
In fact, I think it's probably a lot like on-line dating--some folks are just not your cup of tea, while you find others interesting.  Some catch your eye while some turn you off. 
And there are those with whom you have an instant connection.

I would read other blogs and I would see this crazy woman commenting, so I decided to check out her space,and I knew the very first time I read Bliss' blog that we were sisters from another mother.  I mean, fercryin' outloud, she made AN EAGLES dresser!! Here's how our intense Q & A went:

1.  Front porch or back deck? 
Probably back deck, but of course it depends on what I'm doing on it.
2.  What was your favorite television show of ALL TIME? 
All time.... hmmm.... hard to pick just one since I've gone through so many eras.  Hmmm.... Oh helll Kirby, I can't pick just one!  I watched a lot of tv.  So I'll just say anything that was on in the 60's and 70's, although I have probably seen every episode of I Love Lucy 20 times.
3.  If you had to limit your garden to one type of flower, what would it be? 
 I think my garden is already limited to one type of flower.  Something that is no fuss, probably why I like hostas, and they do flower eventually.
4.  How do you REALLY feel about beadboard? 
I like white beadboard and I cannot lie,  but really what I like is board and batten.
5.  Gray or Taupe? 
Grape.  But not green or purple, and preferably before it turns into a raisin.
6.  If you could visit anyplace in the world, where would you go? 
 I enjoy the Caribbean and have never wanted to wander farther.  I have no desire to travel to other foreign countries I guess.   But I also no longer have a desire to don a bikini, so my answer might be Alaska where I can wear a parka and blubber is a food not a description.
7.  Diner food or fast food? 
I have had some pretty darn good diner food.  Is Taco Bell a diner?
8.  If you could create a sign that said anything, to hang anywhere, what would it say? 
This is a trick question because I have signs everywhere and will continue to make and put them anywhere, however I just saw one that warned solicitors to go away that I thought was funny, so I'd probably make my own version of it.  Either that or tape one on the back of some azzhole that says "Kick Me".
9.  Who was the best rock band of all time? 
This one is harder than the tv show question....  hmmmm.... I guess I have to say the Beatles, but I've been known to shake a leg to ACDC.
10. How are the ducks...and can I have them
Klous DIED!!!  We figure Clyde is lonely now so my daughter is going to get two baby ducks.  You can have Klous.

(Kirby here) Thanks, Bliss (if that is indeed your real name) for taking a few minutes to answer some of the world's toughest questions. I'm really, really glad I found you! You can get back to your ranch stuff now.