Where are you from?I grew up in the tiny rural farming community of Taylor, Wisconsin. On the day I left for college, the population was 419. My parents were farmers, and my mother also worked as a bank teller in town. I have two big brothers (and I mean “big” literally—one is 6’4” and the other is 6’7”).
I live in the university city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin (about two hours from Minneapolis/St. Paul).
Where do you work?I work at my alma mater’s library—in the Acquisitions Department.
What word best describes you?
What word do you wish best described you?
What brings you joy?Besides reading? I’ve never said this out loud before, but I’m finding more and more that I really enjoy good design. Pattern. Color.
(I also really love to do laundry.)
What is a question you cannot answer?“What do I want?”
What foods will you not eat?
Squash, milk, dark meat, piecrust, ripe bananas, crunchy cookies, canned vegetables, gummy candies, sweet potatoes, and Jell-O.
What’s your best story?How my husband and I met. I wrote an article for MSN, and it appeared on their homepage. My husband happened to read it and contacted me. We exchanged hundreds of emails and fell in love by week’s end. We met in person for the first time outside the public library a couple weeks later. He’d drive 1,000 miles roundtrip every other weekend to visit me. He proposed on bended knee outside that same library seven months later. We’ve been married since 2002.
What would you do if you had no fear?
I’d learn Latin, how to paint watercolors, and how to use my fancy-pants camera. And I'd cut my hair short.
People touching my computer screen, water where it shouldn’t be, when people don’t walk on the right-hand side, backwards Ns on business signs, typos in books, pizza cut into squares, when people make ice cream cones and leave the cone empty.
Guilty pleasures?Potato chips. And cheap hot dogs.
What inventions could you not live without?Post-its. And a sound machine has likely saved my marriage (light sleeper married to a musician).
What is your superpower?Is “organization” a superpower?
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?Two things:
Married a twice-divorced man twice my age and became Mom to his kids (my age) and Grandma to his grandkids.
Rode a 200-foot roller coaster called The Wild Thing. Twice.
I’ve survived both nicely.
What are your favorite TV shows and movies? What’s on your iPod?TV shows: King of Queens, Monk, 19 Kids and Counting. But I enjoy any sit com with a laugh track.
Movies: Sense and Sensibility, Julie and Julia, Secretariat, The Queen, Driving Miss Daisy, The King’s Speech, Cheaper by the Dozen (the remake, where no one dies), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
iPod: (Well, it’s actually an MP3 player from Shopko, but same dif.) Lots of 80s and 90s pop, lots of soundtrack songs, a lot of classics, some current pop, some classical, and a little bit of country. Basically, I like the song, not the artist. Some favorite artists: Madonna, Celine Dion, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Colbie Caillat, Hans Zimmer, Cyndi Lauper, Lyle Lovett, Susan Boyle, James Taylor.
Any hobbies besides reading?I’ve always been interested in interior decorating and antiques/collectables. I collect antique photo portraits, glass Christmas ornaments, and anything dog related (portraits, paintings, show ribbons, figurines). I also make most of my own jewelry. And I love to cook (soups, casseroles, stir-fries).
What are you favorite books?Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Seabiscuit and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Coop and Visiting Tom by Michael Perry
Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith
The Happiness Project and Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
The Spark by Kristine Barnett
When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
Madame Curie by Eve Curie
As well as most anything by Anne Lamott, A.J. Jacobs, Ree Drummond, and Billy Collins.
What do you read? What don’t you read?
I read mostly nonfiction. I love memoirs, contemporary poetry, cookbooks, children’s picture books, and the (very) occasional literary novel. But in the last year or so, I’ve been reading a lot more general nonfiction. Favorite topics include: world cultures (esp. Europe, the Middle East, and Asia), American history, politics and presidents, faith and religions, cooking and food, and parenting.
I don’t have much interest in reading science fiction, fantasy, and YA, or books about addiction, abuse, murder, atheism, disease and death (esp. pets), homosexuality and transgender issues, the 1970s, Africa, or the business world.
Tell us about your blog’s title.When trying to come up with a title for a women’s month poetry reading a friend and I were setting up for the university, I came up with two titles: “From the Mouths of Babes” and “Other Women’s Stories.” We went with the former, so I used the latter ten years later for my blog. I think it’s a great title for someone who reads mostly nonfiction written by women.
Why don’t you engage in social media?
I know, I should explain this. I try to be very intentional about how I spend my time. I guard it closely. I know from experience what a huge time-suck social media can be. And frankly, if I have to think about more than getting a few blog posts together each week on top of work and home and church and reading, my head will explode.