Sunday, January 13, 2013

Just 10

I was recently asked by a couple different bloggers to answer a set of 11 specific questions. But since each blogger asked me different questions, I've decided to just answer my own.

1. Are you as goofy and enthusiastic in person as you are in your blog?

Yes, although I can also be very quiet and contemplative at times. My need to think things through is balanced by a tendency towards absolute spontaneity. I even surprise myself, sometimes. I tend to be fairly open and transparent emotionally. People always know where they stand with me. I'm a big believer in second chances. Last I checked, no one was perfect. 




2. If you weren't a teacher, what career would you choose?

I love teaching so much I can't really imagine being anything else, but I like to dream about being a dancer. I dance in the hallways at work sometimes and recently called an emergency team meeting on a difficult day so we could all shake our booties to Weird Al Yankovic's White and Nerdy. It was a wonderful stress buster. But the idea of being a travel writer is also appealing as is working with landscape designers to help create gardens geared towards children. There would be a lot of funky plants that are fun to touch, smell good, or have unusual flowers.




3.  If you could make one major change to your garden, what would it be?

I'd make the garden several acres larger (impossible!) and add a large pond and more shrubs. I'd also have a large vegetable patch. I like to day dream about having my smarty pants gardening friends over to help me design the new space. I'd repay their kindness with dinner, wine, and the knowledge that if they ever needed my help in their garden, they could guarantee I'd be there. I'd probably hug them when they left. I can be a bit lovey. 



This picture is from Google images. I wish my garden looked like this!

4.  Why did it take you 10 years to graduate from college?

Because life kept intervening. My first college major was Partying and I was a model student, maintaining  straight A's for two years. My second major was I Don't Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up So I'll Just Take Random Courses. My third major was education and I finally graduated with high grades from the University of North Dakota. By the time I received my diploma, 10 years after starting college, I was married, had two kids, and had attended one community college and three universities. My husband had deployed to war and we'd moved five times. I just refused to give up on earning my degree.

5. Is it true you don't like the popular book 50 Shades of Grey?

Absolutely! I found 50 Shades of Grey so poorly written and ridiculous I told my book club I was going to compost it. I thought all the creative sex in the book might actually motivate my worms to make more baby worms. The plot was contrived and the characters unbelievable. I thought the male character, Christian, was really creepy. I have no plans to see the movie.




6. What do I do in my spare time besides garden?

I love to bake, read, travel, and spend time with my friends. My family is quite small and very scattered so my friends, even those in the blogosphere, are tremendously important to me. I've had some of the same friends for 15 years. 
I bake cookies on a weekly basis but also love to make home made pies, cakes, etc. My neighbors and coworkers are frequent recipients of baked goods. I've even given cookies to very surprised but happy delivery drivers at the holidays. 
I am currently reading Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. As for travel, I have trips to England and, if I'm really lucky, Austria and Spain, in the future. I'm hoping to attend the Italian garden tour trip with Beth from Plant Postings next summer.  

7. Tell us something about you that might be surprising.

Hmm... I love fashion and have a lot of shoes! But I also love spending the weekend in my pajamas.



I don't normally wear boots with my pajamas, but I thought I would just for you!

8. Why do you have so many dogs?

Because they're awesome! I am fascinated by the emphathic nature of dogs. They absorb our emotions and reflect them back to us. I love working with timid or fearful dogs. In order to change the way they respond to me, I had to change the way I responded to them. I was forced to set my own perceptions aside to see the situation as they saw it, even if it meant seeing myself in a negative light. The same approach can be applied to working with children, especially young children.



Lucy is a beagle/basset/Labrador mix who spent her first year living as a stray. She was scheduled to be euthanized at a high-kill rural shelter before being rescued by the no-kill shelter Friends of Homeless Animals, where I volunteered as a dog walker.  She's still a bit shy at first but is tremendously happy and confident. She's one of the silliest, most affectionate dogs I've ever had.


9. What frustrates you about gardening?

I am always frustrated at how quickly people give up and declare themselves inept at gardening. Gardening teaches patience and perseverance but the payoff is enormous. I also wish plants, pots, etc weren't so expensive. I'm frustrated at how few people in my area garden as seriously as I do. I also can't stand it when plant tags give misleading or vague information.



I don't know who created this Google Images garden. But if they can do it, I can do it.

10. Ok - last one: What impossible thing do you wish you could do?

I wish I could figure out a way to convince God and gravity that after a mammogram, a woman's breasts should bounce back perkier than they were before being smashed flat by a giant machine. We'd all be lined up for our daily mammograms and no cancer would go undetected.


My grandmother and mom both died of breast cancer. My mom was only 58.

62 comments:

  1. My gosh after reading your post, I know we would be the best of friends. I am so much like you and there are so many freaky unusual parallels in our lives. I too look at a brighter side of fun and life in way which keeps me smiling. And dogs... God created no better friend! In the city, we are only allowed two...

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    1. That's awesome! You're right about there being no better friend than a dog. My dogs think I'm a genius. I hope they never find out the truth! :o)

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  2. I'm glad you chose to put up your own questions and answer them! And how revealing your answers are --- well, not as revealing as the last post which still has me struggling with a mental image of you in your garden that these answers haven't dispelled. (PS, I share your dream in no. 3!!)

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    1. Don't waste any time imaging me hiding in the shrubs in my birthday suit! It will never happen. :o) The story was fiction!! I'm not very good at evasive small talk. I guess that means I'm too open. I once wrote the words 'Shut Up' on a Post it note and put it in on my desk. When a friend asked what it was for, I replied that it was the best advice I'd ever given myself. I'd make a horrible spy! I'd probably give myself away in a minute. ;o)

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  3. You have interesting questions and smart answers, Tammy! Your garden tour in Italy sounds great!

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  4. Enjoyed reading your questions and the answers even more. A good way to learn to know people.
    You are also working with dogs, the creatures which also are my best friends. But my border collie does not see me as a genius, far from that, he often thinks I am stupid, yes he is very clever...for a dog. For instance,I am not his boss, we live together in a symbiotic way, you do something for me, I do something for you.
    By nr. 3 we have about the same answer, give me a few more acres to grow more vegetables and fruit and I want a large pond, and a special rose garden and a Victorian style garden, haha.
    The Google images garden is the garden of Monet in Giverny, France. Another beautiful place to visit, I was there 3 times, in different seasons.

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    1. You're right about how smart border collies are! If I put all of my dogs together, they'd have the intelligence of a potato. I had a feeling the picture was of Giverny. I'm not sure I can achieve such bliss, but I will definitely try!

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  5. Cute post. I like your answers. I do have to say thankfully there are people like you. That is one of the sweetest faces on that sweet dog. I refuse to even think about what the alternative would have been because he is so loved now.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Lucy is an angel. I'm so grateful that FOHA was contacted before she was put down. She's such a loving dog.

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  6. I loved your answers! It's so interesting to get to know garden bloggers on another level. Enjoy what's left of the weekend.

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    1. You, too! I'm glad you liked my take on the 11 questions. :o)

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  7. You are an amazing person! Thank you for all the answers! They make me think about myself.

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    1. Aww, thanks! I'm just a stubborn optimist. :o)

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  8. Your energy bounces off the page. Have you thought of selling it to poor souls like me with the metabolism of a sloth? On another matter, I have only just recovered from your story. I was so anxious for you the whole time, thinking, "Oh dear, she must have smoked something".

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    1. That is absolutely hysterical!! I assure you it was fiction! I am pretty energetic. :o) But I have my sloth days, too. As a matter of fact, I'm still in my pajamas.

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  9. I enjoyed reading these fascinating facts about you Tammy, and now I love you even more.
    A kind dog rescuer who bakes cookies every week is a gem in my book.
    Don't ever change....you are perfect just the way you are.

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    1. Aww, thanks! I feel loved and that's a good thing! :o)

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  10. You are fun and funny, in a GOOD way. The shy dog you adopted sounds like she blossomed with your tender care.

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    1. Thanks! Love goes a very long way with animals. They give so much love to us, it's easy to give it right back to them.

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  11. Oh, blimey, where do I begin! I am still smiling!! I tell you what, the more I read about you the more I see how many things we have in common. I also wrote a note to myself once and put it on the side of my monitor (this was back when we still had monitors, I have a laptop now!), to remind me not to reveal just as much about myself, although I just wrote NO! on my note – short and concise for a change!
    Number 1, 3, 7 and 9 could have been written by me, word for word! Spooky!!

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    1. It's interesting how much bloggers have in common. I'm glad we share so many traits. It explains why I like you so much! :o)

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  12. Those boots look painful. lol But very fashionable. I hope you get to make that trip to Italy next summer!

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    1. They're not actually as painful as they look but I'd never wear them on a long walk. :o) I hope I make it to Italy, too. It's definitely not set in stone.

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  13. Hello - I have just loaded your blog in place for my Grow Your Blog party. I look forward to meeting you and to reading your special post on the 19. See you at the party! - I hope you make lots of new friends!
    Vicki

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    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to meeting you, too. :o)

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  14. Tammy, nice to get to know you a little bit better! You really have a funny way of writing, that I admire. I believe the second Google garden image is showing a part Giverny, the garden the Monet has created. The stakes are certainly high, if you want or expect people to garden on that level ;-)! Cool boots, with PJ's or without! Happy Gardening!
    Christina

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    1. The stakes might be a bit too high on the Giverny picture, but I like the challenge of aiming for it. I'm pretty sure I'd have to stop working and win the lottery so I could garden full time to ever achieve anything close to that. But it's fun to dream about!

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  15. Every time you answer one of these questionnaires I appreciate you even more, Tammy. We have so much in common--although I think you're quite a bit more brave than I am (the perfect kind of friend to have)! Thanks for the mention about the Italy trip--it's looking like we'll shoot for late spring or early summer of 2014. More details to be posted soon! Cheers!

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    1. That's good! I was afraid I'd bore every one to tears. Our hallways have cameras in them that provide a live feed into the school office. I just discovered the office staff gets a kick out of my silly dancing. I provide free entertainment. :o)

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  16. I laughed at the part about the mammogram machine, but was saddened to see you lost your mom and grandmother to breast cancer.

    On a more pleasant note, I was struck by your blog name. I know it means "butterfly", but it is also the name of a fictional town by the late Canadian writer, Stephen Leacock. He wrote humourous stories about the fictional town of Mariposa in a book entitled, "Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town".

    I do go off on the occasional tangent!

    -Karen

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    1. Mammograms are torture. There's no way that machine was invented by a woman. Because my cancer risk is so high, I get "the big squish" as I call it much more frequently than most women. So I'm all for a bit of anti-gravity if I could just figure out how to make it happen. Stephen Leacock sounds interesting. I'll have to check him out! :o)

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  17. Tammy, I admire the postive approach you have to life. It's an inspiration to read your blog. And what a kind heart you have to take in so many homeless dogs! You can tell by looking at them that they are grateful for their happy home.

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    1. Thanks for such kind words! I'd have more dogs if I could. :o) I just wish I could find poopless dogs. Dog poop grosses me out.

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  18. I'm like My little home and garden, I laughed, and then I was saddened....I'm sorry...my Mom is fighting Breast Cancer, she has just finished everything...it's a debilitating disease. And even now we still are on edge waiting for those 6 month checkups.

    Sorry I digress, the rest of your post is hilarious you sound like a woman who knows herself through and through....kind, content, and adventurous.

    Jen

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    1. I truly hope your mom pulls through. Many women do! I think you summed me up pretty well. I like myself and most people I meet. I hope it shows. :o)

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  19. Your living la vida loca! I feel the same as you do about teaching and life. There is definitely a passion for all those things on my part. Although right now, I'm hoping all my prized plants endure our crazy freeze happening this week. Love your interview. Hope you're having a wonderful new year and look forward to your artistic creations in the garden:) I love plants but you have a knack for organizing the right combos of flowers and art together.

    When we lose loved ones early in our lives, I think we learn to live life passionately everyday. Wishing you the best!

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    1. Teaching is definitely a calling. I have a pile of research papers calling for me right now! :o/ Thanks so much for the compliment. :o) I agree about the affect of losing loved ones. I learned the hard way not to take life or the people we love for granted. I'm happy for each day I have.

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  20. It was fun getting to know more about you by reading the answers to your questions. We have a beagle mix named Lucy that was also rescued from a high-kill rural shelter. Dogs just give unconditional love, don't they?

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    1. A dog's capacity for love and forgiveness is humbling. Plus, they're great to snuggle with. :o)

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  21. I enjoyed your question and answer session - I am very introverted so hold back what I am really like when I write blog posts but I love your ability to say it as it is - the one thing we have in common is a love of dogs - in fact I love all creatures great and small.

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    1. I'm a total animal person, too. I grew up with cats and dogs. I think when you work with kids all day you learn to be more open. I'm not very introverted at all but have friends/family who are. They open up in very small groups and that's just fine, too. :o)

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  22. What a wonderful post, and thanks for letting us know a little more about you! I have to agree about the mammograms. I am a breast cancer survivor and have had more than my share! I also love the video, which had me laughing throughout. I confess that my whole family leans to the 'white and nerdy' side.

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    1. I'm so glad you liked White and Nerdy! That song always makes me laugh. When I called the meeting the other teachers thought something disastrous had happened. We'd already had a rough day and they couldn't take any more insanity. When I played White and Nerdy on my giant computer wall screen, they were thrilled.

      Hooray for being a cancer survivor! I work with an incredible woman who is a survivor, too. Her resilience is amazing and inspirational. :o)

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  23. I really liked your choice of picking your own questions - we got to know so much more about you this way. I'm seriously impressed with your ability to hold down a job, care for your family and pets, volunteer, garden, bake and blog, all while maintaining such a great amount of energy and positive attitude. You're an inspiration.

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  24. Thanks! That is a major compliment! :o) I actually don't dog walk anymore. I stopped about 2 yrs ago after having been a shelter volunteer for several years. Instead, I'm a foster owner which means I bring the dogs home to live with me instead of at the shelter. I don't watch much TV and have a lot of energy. Baking is theraputic to me, although not as much as gardening. Most of the cookies I make are super easy recipes like chocolate chip, etc. I only bake something more complex on the occasional weekend. The other night I watched a zombie movie and had to go bake something just to get the zombies out of my system so I could sleep!

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  25. Tammy, I opened this page last night... the last one I would read before bed, but after glancing over it, I knew I wanted to read it more closely. What a great list of questions and answers. Before we moved to SC I took ballet with two other ladies. Our teacher is 91 now, figured if she could still do it, so should we! While working with kids for Odyssey of the Mind in the middle school I needed them to 'relax'. We all did tour jetes down the hallway. When we got to the office to sign out, the secretaries were all laughing....they had watched us the whole way down the hall.
    I applaud your determination to graduate-- moving and having a husband deployed makes it hard. Congrats!

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    1. I love that you took ballet! I took ballet as a kid but quit when the lesson were too expensive. Plus, I was tall and clumsy and drove the teacher crazy. Not graduating from college wasn't an option. I even had to do my student teaching in another state because we moved before I finished my ed program.

      I really want to take belly dancing lessons! :o) I'm also hoping to see Alvin Ailey at the Kennedy Center someday.

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  26. You're possibly going to Italy next summer? I am deeply jealous!
    Great questions and answers. I thought I knew a fair bit about you, but now I know more. Like Janet, I admire your determination to finish your degree.
    Don't you find that when people ask you about having so many dogs,there is often underlying disapproval. They really think you are a bit crazy for having so many dogs.
    I am sorry about your Mom and Grandmother. As someone in her mid 50's, 58 seems pretty young. So try about mammograms! It is even worse when you are well endowed like I am.
    That last garden is Monet's garden at Giverny, by the way. It is on my list of dream trips. God, how I wish my nasturtiums looked that amazing!

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    1. When we had five dogs and people would hear that, they looked at me like I was nuts, especially if they had a 3 lb dog in a Louis Vuitton bag hanging off their shoulder. Four still seems like a small number! I would probably step on or accidentally vacuum up a dog that small.
      My mom fought her cancer for 10 years, including a prolonged remission, before passing. I've had mammograms so painful I thought my boobs were going to pop like balloons. As for nasturtiums, mine looked so bad last year I pulled them up out of pity. I don't think they like our heat/humidity.

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  27. Nice to know you a bit better! I hope to get to know you even more as I am planning on being part of that trip to Italy next year too!

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    1. Woo-hoo! So excited to meet you! I can only go if the trip is scheduled for mid-June since that's when our school year is over. I'm really hoping it all comes together. :o)

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  28. And I thought I was the only one to draw a four year degree out for 10 years! I also hate Shades of Gray, and love fashion and have lots of shoes! I'm so glad you revealed all these little tidbits of information about you. It's amazing how much we have in common - including having Giverny as an inspiration! ;) Sorry to hear about your Mom and Grandmother. Keep having those nasty mammograms. (You're right - I'm certain it wasn't a woman that came up with that!) Maybe someone will invent an easier way for detection soon.

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    1. Dang, we do have a lot in common! I've actually had very intelligent female friends argue with me about what an amazing book Shades of Grey is. We finally just had to agree to talk about something else. I think someone should invent a cancer detection method that involves lots of chocolate and a massage. :o)

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  29. Sorry about your mum and grandmother. I really like this post its so funny.
    Have a great day.
    k.

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  30. Lucy is beautiful I sometimes wish to have another dog, but I don't know how Ben would react and maybe our backyard isn't quite big enough for two. You are a kind and generous person to look after so many dogs and doing volunteer work too.

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    1. Taking care of 4 dogs seems easy to me. They all tend to do everything at the same time so if I let out one, the others usually follow. Plus, they keep each other entertained. I had to stop walking dogs as a volunteer because of time constraints so now I volunteer as a foster owner and bring the dogs home with me. It works with my schedule better. Great to meet you, Karen! :o)

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  31. Comments! Lucky you!!! I suppose you have to write stuff in order for that to happen? (Man. That google image!!!).

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    1. Yeah, that Google image garden is a killer! I'd need several acres and a boat load of money to ever pull it off. Knowing my luck, I'd roll down the hill while gardening and end up in the pond.

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  32. I wish you lived next door. We would have so much fun ... and our dogs could play together too!

    Sue
    xo

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