Monday, February 23, 2009

Good Word, Indignant: An Interview of Barb Chamberlain

Note to the reader: I am in bold, my mother is in regular font. The following exchange took place at Rocket Bakery on 14th. Great place. Also, the seemingly random numbers I say are the then-current word count (which will come up in conversation later) and are no longer accurate, but I have left them as they are to respect journalistic truth and all that (jazz). Enjoy.

How do you see yourself?

“How do I see myself? Professional. Um, [a] trifle compulsive about volunteering. Reasonably healthy. Happy. Ehm.. having leadership qualities…”, she said, giving me a look as I stared blankly at her. “Smart. 'Ts'bout it. I could say incredibly flawed, if that’s what you want. I see the flaws also. I see the flaws – too,” said Mom, playing with her words, probably thinking I had found the first version of that sentence unacceptable. I kept up my serene facial facade with some effort. “Always interested in new things.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

“Mmmm, depends on whether this coffee shop has closed by then. Write that down!” she yelled jokingly at me when I didn't let myself crack a smile. “56 years old, still alive, possibly mayor. Possiblyyyy author-slash-speaker. Married and happy. You would be 24, Kate would be 28, so I might've had the first wedding in the family. I kinda hope not… did you want more?”

Just tell me when you’re done.
“That’s it.”

Favorite weather happening some find annoying (wind, rain, super-hot sun, snow, hail, etc.)?
“Wind. I love windy days,” she said quickly.

Best word ever:

She thought more intently about this than the previous life-changing questions (well, besides the last one; but, hey, that could be important for a.. weather.. forecaster...) before answering, “I’m torn. Mellifluous, for the sound. Abstemious, because it’s one of the, I think, two words in the English language that has all of the vowels in the English language in order. Not counting 'Y'. I can’t think of the other one,” she said, trying to remember a word. This was fine by me. Moving on:

Crazy dream of yours you wish would happen but don’t expect to:

“Being able to fly,” she answered almost at once. “The downside of that is that my flying dreams always involve being chased by bad guys, and I don’t want that part.” She paused to hold open the door for a rained-on worker girl carrying dishes (which must have been slippery by then. The dishes, I mean). 
“[I] Just did an Eric.” She said this expecting a response. She was sorely disappointed. “You know it absolutely fascinates me that I MADE you?” She does this sometimes.
“And now here you are, a whole separate person… it’s pretty amazing.” Her timing was impeccably unfortunate; the question I was about to ask pertained to that very subject. Well, it would pertain to her children if she picked up on my hint. Read on. 

Best two moments of your life [hint-hint-cough-cough]?

She snorts loudly before answering, “Well, I’m not going to say childbirth… it hurts. A LOT. [The best two moments were] After that. Right after that. And I held my baby in my arms.. even though you’re the one I had without any drugs,” she said. This comes as absolutely no surprise, mind you. I have been told this. I have been told this many, many times.

Damn right.

“And, you weighed 2 pounds more than your sister at birth.”

Damn right.

We plug in her laptop when it shuts down before she continued. “It really was amazing to have you,” she said fondly as I start to apply lipgloss. She stares at the tube hungrily. “Now you’re making my lips dry.” She reaches into her bag.

Your computer just decided to tell me that it has low battery (NOTE: this is not misplaced, I was making fun of it because it had already shut down).

“Oh, yes. You can tell it, 'I know'. It’s right on top of the situation as usual.”

Favorite trash can design?

“Ornamental? I kindof like black wrought iron. Downtown has some neat designs. And I like them to have recycling as part of it.”

Type in a man? Or a boy, if that’s your thing.

“Oh, oh, no,” she said to my joke about pedophilia. Ha, ha, rape. “Like you, I enjoy the attractiveness,” she said in reference to something I had said in my interview with her (to be found on her blog,
“Reliable. Funny… smart… fit… sweet… able to say, 'I love you.' Daily. Multiple times.”

Does Eric do that (NOTE: there wasn't skepticism in my voice, but I was certainly feeling critical; I hear “you know that I love you?” probably 5 times a day from her to him. Usually he pretty much nods or grunts.)?

“Yes. [He says that] Lots. Bonus points for being able to make hashbrowns. Haha, I love those eyebrows. I love that look,” she said to me as I look up at her through my eyebrows. “Seriously, a good cook! That’s sexy! Someone who gives lots of hugs.” Pause. 
“Did you include the line, 'I shot her a glare from under my lowered brows…. And then gave her a blank stare?,'” she asked in a deep, narrator-like voice, finally causing my face to crack as I laughed, hard. She continued, “'...but I couldn’t keep up my stoic mask, and giggled. Unlike my sister, I couldn’t keep it up.' Uh, not an alcoholic,” she continued, suddenly deciding to be back on task. “Not a substance asbuser --”

– Hold your horses! They’re galloping away from me!

-- not addictive.” She paused for me while I finished typing. “You could be a court stenographer. They have a special machine. I don’t know how it works. They don’t have as many keys as a normal computer,” she said, drifting into a lovely babble about court stenographers. I didn't want to stop her, so I wrote this commentary instead of the rest of her speech on the (cough) fascinating machines used by – you guessed it! – court stenographers.
“Anyway,” she continued, “You should do something more… interesting.” Pause. “Also on the man thing--” she said, cut off when I widened my eyes and held up one finger threateningly, for she was speaking too quickly, and I was not re-accustomed to typing what she was actually saying after breaking momentarily to replace her speech with my witty commentary. This was enough to halt her. 
“– So, also on the man thing? Someone whooo can respect that I have my life, and my interests, and that I want to share interests, but I’m not willing to give up my own life and just wrap around his.”

Anyone in particular to whom this is directed?

“My sweet husband,” she said with a defensive tone. She added, “who meets all my criteria!” for effect.

I mean the wrapping comment.

“Ooh. No, really mankind in general.” After this, I stopped her and looked all over her screen for the word count. Finally, I saw it right at the bottom toolbar and made a face.


“What are you feeling silly about just finding out?”

I found word count.

She nodded. “Do you want me to comment some more about the whole man-wrapping thing?

Up to you.

“I think… there are men who say they admire strong women, but when it comes right down to it, they’d prefer she be not quite as strong as they are. ‘Ts'bout it. Trying to be succinct.

763 words. 765. 766. 77. 78. 69-hee-hee-hee (NOTE: Yes, I somehow went from 766 to 777 and 778, then back down to the 60s to 769. Also I giggled at the number 69. So sue me!).

Oh, let’s see… number one goal in life?

“Oh, I dunno.”


“No,” she said, looking thoroughly disturbed. “change the world? For the better. Specifically. Make a difference.”

Okay, Miss America.

“Write that down. I dunno, that takes different forms...”

Are you gonna do this to me, Mom? Are you gonna make me do this (NOTE: I was talking about having to type so quickly)?

“You made fun of my answer!,” she said indignantly. I explain gently that the Miss America comment was about her on-the-spot life goal, and that my “lame” comment was a joke. I explained more about “lame”:

Oh, I just figure you should know [your life goal] because you’re so old [I didn't 
actually mean that , I meant so learned] and wizened.

“I am not wizened!,” she said, indignant again. “Which I pronounce wee-zend,” she added. I pronounce it wize-end. Oh well... tomayto, tomahto, potayto, potahto.
Here, she decided to narrate her actions for me, saying,  “‘She holds herself upright… in indignation…’” I told you she was indignant. Didn't I tell you that?
Good word, indignant.

I’m still writing what I said!

She waits for me. I catch up.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Caved: 25 (+1) Things You Never Wanted To Know About LChamberlain.

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.


1. I am currently humming "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid.

2. I drew a
kindof spiderweb on my left arm today. It's smallish and I need to make the lines in it go past the edge of the web, I just realized that.

Also maybe there should be some spiders?

3. I can not, contrary to popular belief, do everything a spider can. Seriously.

4. Molly
Rupp just showed me a dancing panda emoticon on MSN Messenger she thinks is cute.

It kinda freaked me out and will probably be in my nightmares tonight.

5. I like Alicia Keys.

6. I'm very torn about what I want to do for my career, but I want to have one career goal: one ambition, one passion I follow to make a comfortable amount of money. It will probably have to involve words and people. Words and people make me happy.

I think.

7. "Somehow,
Iiiiiiii'll make a maaaaan out of youuuu!"

That is if,
y'know, you want me to.

Mulan reference.


8. I always wonder how people think of 25 things about themselves in these things.

Soooo... there's one!

9. I don't think I'm pretty.

10. One time my ex-stepsister [then stepsister] dared me to eat a caterpillar [I wasn't a vegetarian then] for a dollar and I did. Turns out she was joking.

I never got my dollar.

11. I've studied facial and body expressions some and I watch people carefully to see what they're really thinking. Sometimes it's hilarious.

Sometimes it's not.

12. I've sung the national anthem at basketball games (
Hoopfest, college games, etc.) with my sister. I haven't for quite a while, though.

13. I talk in my sleep. One time in a
motorhome I told my sister, "NO! THE MONKEYS ARE STEALING MY COOKIE!"

Or something along those lines...

14. My cat is really cute. Her name's Pepper. I used to have a different cat named Pepper, but when my dad moved (to about an hour north of Seattle), he left my baby with a guy without asking me what I thought because she "just isn't a travel cat." 

Whatever, he would've killed her anyway.

15. A bazillion cats have run away from my dad's house (that's an approximate approximation). Every single one he owned died/ran away/was eaten by a dog - except Pepper.

16. I really, really like oriental
ramen (but specifically the Top Ramen brand; other brands have animal fat and stuff.

17. Speaking of, when I was 6
ish (not quite sure. 6 or 7..?), I asked my mom what meat was made of; it has a different name and all that; she told me, and I soon decided to become a vegetarian. Have been ever since.

18. It used to be that when I went to my Grandma Maxine/Aunt Denise's house [they live together. Don't ask...], my grandma would ask my sister [also a vegetarian after myself + then my mom] and I if we were still in that "vegetarian phase".

Uh, yeah? :)

Half-of-my-life-long phase, yes. :D

18. I'm not sure if my self-esteem is abnormally low or just teenage girl low.

19. I really, really like a certain type of
popsicle. It's red and yellowish-orangeish swirled and reallyyyy nummy. Also it comes in a pack of 12! The more popsicles the merrier.

20. I love water. I love to swim. [I love to swim in water.] I love to swim in lakes. I love how early in the morning at my lake cabin before the water has been disturbed it looks like gorgeous glass. I love jumping into the water when it's in that state. I am disappointed when it's not pretty anymore after I jump in.

21. I feel like since a couple of my best friends consider writing one of their "things", it shouldn't be one of mine.

22. I like pie.

23. I play piano in my spare time and teach myself classical songs out of a book.

24. I'm really, really, really excited for Sims 3. :D


25. When I get extremely tired/sleepy, I get....


Well, let's just say my inhibitions go for a little walk. Also, my brain goes haywire.

For example, I will randomly say things like "CHEESECAKE ELEPHANT SHOELACE" to people when I'm a certain amount of tiredness/sleepiness or more. It's a really good time to ask me the truth about something. That is, if you're ready to hear it; I sugarcoat things all. the. time. I
verrrrrry rarely say something as bluntly as I'm thinking it. If I'm thinking, "Wow. Bitch," I'm saying, "Hahaha, no problem," and smiling happily, even though a lot of the time --

+26. I'm not.