Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Citizen of the Month's Great Interview Experiment

Neil Kramer, a writer from Los Angeles, came up with a nifty little idea that blossomed into a 359 (and counting) person interview experience. Take a looksie, sign up, or just read all of the interviews that have taken place so far.

This is a two part process in which you are interviewed by the person above you and then in turn you interview the person listed below you. I started out by interviewing Jeni Allen from TN. And while it was determined that I'll never be the next Barbara Walters, it was fun and fortunately my questions were sent during the height of the tornado invasion down south so I inadverdently helped take Jeni's mind off of the crazy weather around her. Here is our end result:

Q - I noticed that your blog looks relatively new, having started in September 2007. Is this your first and only blog? What got you started with blogging and inspires you to this day?

A - My current blog (Allen Family Circus) is my first and only blog. I started blogging as soon as I got my own laptop and my resident engineer set up a wireless network for our house. I've always loved to write, and to read, and I love to share what's going on in my life and in my head. My inspiration is primarily born of a desire for connection; SAHMs can feel pretty isolated, but I've found there are lots of us out there!

Q - James is quite obviously one of the loves of your life. Tell me what your first impression was of James when you first met.

A - Well, I thought he was nice enough, but kind of goofy. I don't remember our actual first meeting, but he does - he tells me his first thought was, "Jeff has a sister?" I think I didn't pay too much attention to him when we first met, because my best friend was interested in him. Then he asked me out and I started paying more attention. :-) And now, eleven years after that first date, I still think he's goofy, and I love it.

Q - Wendy would be love number 2 (not in order of preference but rather chronological!) - How did you break the news to James when you found out that you were expecting.

A - I'm pretty sure I just got his attention and showed him the test. He said, "Hmph." (I call that his "James noise." It's his initial response to almost everything.) We were both a little shocked - it was an intentional pregnancy, but we didn't think it would happen that quickly. James did not get as excited as I hoped, but in hindsight I see that it was the responsibility of having a baby that was tempering his enthusiasm. And now, to see him roll on the floor with a giggling Wendy, you'd think he had jumped up and down and yelled when he found out she was on the way.

Q - You've put in the time and effort to become a doctor/vet and in your own words have said that it was probably not the best choice for you. If you could do it all over again, what career path would you have pursued and do you still think that you would be a SAHM if you had followed that ambition?

A - If I had it to do over again, I would have stuck with either biology research or teaching. It would have saved about $100,000 in student loans, 6 years of intense stress, and quite a bit of strain on our marriage. I'm pretty sure I would be a SAHM in any case, but if I had chosen the other career path, we'd probably have at least 2 children now, instead of just Wendy. This decision is one that haunts me with what-ifs. Then I remember that if things HAD gone differently, Wendy would not be Wendy - so maybe things worked out for the best after all.

Q - Now that you're a SAHM, what is the most difficult thing for you to deal with that you never would have anticipated?

A - I've been surprised how lonely I feel sometimes. Because we moved right before Wendy was born, there wasn't time to form friendships before the busy-ness of having a newborn isolated us. My family lives in town, and that's great, but my heart aches for friends my age, especially those left behind in Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri.

Q - From what I can read, you live in the Nashville area (I lived there too for a while, and that's where I met my hubby!). What's your favorite thing to do with the family around town.

A - Well, I'm embarrased to say that we've never done anything in Nashville. We've been here for a year and a half and haven't done a single, solitary thing, other than having Wendy at Vanderbilt. We live just far enough out of town for it to be kind of an excursion, and we just haven't taken the time. I would like to tour the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, go to the Zoo, and see what free stuff we can experience this summer. Really, even though we enjoy art, and music, and theater, we're homebodies.

Q - If there were no barriers and the sky was the limit (in terms of time, money, etc), what changes, if any, would you make in your life?

A - Wow...well, I would definitely pay off our debt, sell this house, and buy one that fits our lives better - you know, a house with closets. I would want to take James and Wendy my two favorite places I've lived, Anchorage, Alaska, and London, England. I would want to arrange things so that James had more leisure time. I'd go visit all of my friends several times a year, and have them visit me, too. And I might set some money aside for a mommy makeover after our family is complete. :-)

Q - And maybe this is too personal, so if you'd rather skip this one, feel free. Are you planning on expanding your family? What is your "ideal" family size?

A - I have always visualized our family with four children. Even as I type that it sounds crazy, since I have so much trouble keeping up with one. But four seems right. They may not all be our biological children; we talked about adoption years before we knew there might be a medical limit to my childbearing. To be surrounded by children, and later, hopefully, grandchildren, is one of my dreams - and to be old and alone, with no family, is one of my nightmares. We'll just have to see what the years bring.

Tune in tomorrow to read my interview given by Mary Pat!!


MP said...

Your interview is up! Feel free to either copy and paste or link away!!

Jeni said...

Thanks for doing the interview!