And This Is How It’s Done.

I confess that I often get intimidated by these Ask Away Friday posts.

It’s not the answering of questions that I mind. I think most people know that I don’t really have a problem with going deep in my writing or finding topics to be too personal. Inappropriate and irrelevant, sometimes? Sure. That would be the only reason I wouldn’t write about something. That’s often the reason I don’t write about something. Or if it’s politics or religion – yikes.

I get intimidated to ask the questions for these wonderful, wise and witty bloggers I’m happy to be friends with.

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This week I’m paired with Dana from Kiss My List and I had a moment of panic when I knew it was her, mainly, because I had an extra week or so to come up with my questions, and I figured they had better be REALLY good with all of that extra time. Be sure to check out her answers to my questions on her blog. I do know that her questions for me are wonderful, and I do know that I want to do them justice, and I do like/respect her a LOT. So here I sit, writing away my Thanksgiving food coma.

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(This is what awesome looks like)

1. In that way you have, you’ve woven thoughts about some of your anxieties and fears into your writing. But you are brave too. What makes you feel brave, or why do you think you are brave?

Sometimes I do things that I think are brave, like when I broke up with a nice boyfriend and left everything I knew and loved to move 3,000 miles to be with a man who had previously broken my heart. These days, I don’t think that was brave at all. I think bravery is when it really and truly changes you and makes you work, and work hard. So I suffered out there from homesickness and anxiety, and I never really changed (then) and I never really overcame anything at all. We moved back east and then I did a few brave things. Like give birth twice, and open my heart wider to marriage and children. That’s brave. I feel brave when I am doing something that really scares me. So maybe making a sales call/email is scarier to me than bungee jumping. So making that call? Brave. Bungee jumping? Fun. (bad example because I would never do that, but it’s somewhere along those lines)

Here’s Des being brave. I got to the camera way late, so he had been walking for minutes before this:

2. I know you are a super taster. What exactly is that? Could you turn that into a career?

Well the short story is that I have more taste buds than the average person. You can see them at home using blue dye and a magnifying glass and you can also be tested for it. I think when you are a supertaster, you don’t even need to be tested. You know you are one. It’s not just about tasting an aftertaste in diet soda. It’s about one tiny onion particle in a mound of salad. A needle in a haystack, if you will. Could I make that into a career? Oh I’m certain I could! I could have a picky eater/supertaster’s guide to life. Or cooking. A blog. A book. A blog and book tour! Will you be my agent for this as well as my screenwriting?

3. What is one thing that Cassidy does that drives you nuts? What do you do that drives him nuts?

Well he turns on the news at a really high volume so he can still hear it from the kitchen. Meanwhile, there are blaring newscasters talking about horrific, global events and the rest of us are just hearing/watching it and thinking, “WTH?” And I can’t really differentiate between his moods. To me, him being normal and him being mad/upset look and sound the same sometimes. As for me, I bottle up emotions until I’m ready to scream. I can be a stubborn, insensitive ass.

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(I still like us, though)

4. I think you have a bit of an exotic look to you. What is your cultural/nationality background?

I actually had to text my mom for this one! On my father’s side, there are big, dark eyes and thick, dark hair. Des certainly got the thick, dark hair! I am putting this out here on the blog because it’s a common misconception in this world (not really) but I don’t have brown eyes. They’re more green. Now that I’ve gone off topic, (because I’m secretly waiting for my mom to text me back), this is the first photo of myself that I sent to Cassidy when we started getting personal over email. It was the most recent picture I had, and I had to qualify by telling him that the photo I was about to send him might look more exotic than I really am:

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(He liked it)

My mom wrote me back! So did my Aunt on my dad’s side. I’m German, Polish, Russian, Austrian and Hungarian.

Probably even more than that.

And look! Greenish eyes:

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5. We both had a girl first and about three years later a boy. I’m just 11 years ahead of you. Imagine Scarlet and Des in 11 years. What will they be like at 15 and 12?

I shudder to think! I’d like to believe that Scarlet will sail through life like a goddess, but she’ll be about due for an awkward period in her preteen and/or teen years. I think she’ll be very social and diplomatic. Calm. In love with Tim Curry. Oh wait. That last one was me. As for Des, total stud with his teen idol hair and his wide grin. I see him being well-rested, kind and funny.

Like he is now.

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6. How would you describe your sense of humor?

Sick, sadistic, perverted, dry, wry, sarcastic and with a twist of immaturity! No, but really, I find fart humor to be irresistible. I can’t…get through a fart joke or a fart incident without pretty much laughing until I cry. It’s bad. I remember being on a date with an older guy once, watching a Mel Brooks movie and there was a fart scene that made me laugh until I cried. On a first date! Although he had to know this about me, to date me. You all have to know this about me. See for yourself:

7. You pour your heart out on your blog, and your writing draws people in and connects them to you and your family. What is something about you that you think doesn’t translate through your writing?

That I’m much taller, cooler and awesome in real life!! (Oh, I kid) That I’m sometimes doing this in flannel candy cane pants? That when I say I suffer from bouts of bad self-esteem and anxiety, no matter how effectively I think I can write about it, I can’t make it translate. And I don’t always write about annoyances and things that anger me, but of course there are plenty. I like to be positive and I don’t EVER like to call people out on my blog. Not even vaguely. Not saying it’s never happened, though..

8. Completely self serving question: how and where do you back up your gazillion photos? Do you have boxes of prints from the days before digital?

Oh yes. I have a box in the garage that weighs at least 200 pounds. It contains all of my film photos. These days, I back them up in at least three electronic places – a hard drive, Lightroom and smugmug. I’m not exactly good at storage, though. That’s Michelle’s department.

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(Film photo scanned into computer. Like magic!)

9. If you had the afternoon to yourself with no camera, what would you do?

Is it cheating to say I’d catch up on editing photos? Sometimes I’m a month or two behind! That’s why I’ll sometimes post never-before-seen photos and they’ll have Des with shorter hair, or less teeth. I usually have to point that out, for fear someone will notice it on their own. I’d also read some chapters in a captivating book, pop myself a big bowl of buttered popcorn, and go out driving with the music turned up really loud.

10. Do your family members or friends have any nicknames for you? Share if you dare.

I was Tammy from birth until my 20’s. To everyone! Now everyone who meets me has to call me Tamara or I’d scream. The people from childhood got grandfathered in, though, so if they say “Tammy”, I don’t bat an eye.

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(Now that’s Tammy)

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  1. I'm waiting for half my family to get home from the football game, so I had to jump on at midnight and read your answers. They are as good as I knew they would be. My son is just like you think Des will be, right down to the hair. My daughter, not so diplomatic. Fart humor – yes! And is that a terry cloth number you're sporting in the pic with your dad? I think I had the same one in pink.

    I loved pairing up with you this week, Tamara, and learning more about you. Now I'm going to sleep until noon.

    1. I think I read yours at midnight too! Yay! I hope you did sleep until noon too. I slept until 7:30 which was a bit silly because the rest of the family slept late and I missed out on that! I got a case of the giggles in bed. It wasn’t even fart humor but I had to leave before waking them up!
      LOVED pairing with you.

  2. Oh it was so much fun reading your post and Dana's!! Everyone in this house seems to be into fart humor. The boys love whoopie cushions. I just shake my head. It's hard not to laugh when you see them cracking up so hard. I've got some Russian too. At some point you should tell us more about being a super taster! I find that fascinating…the fact that you can pick a tiny onion particle out in a mound of salad is interesting. I know you can't eat cilantro because of it, but does it affect all of your meal choices?

    1. Well I can taste a lot, but I don't necessarily dislike a lot. I only dislike a few things, and sadly, they are in nearly everything. That would be onions, cilantro and strong cheeses. I love cheese, but feta, blue (bleu?), goat cheese, even brie, etc. really repulse me. It's bad. My friend tried to trick me once by putting just a dab of gorgonzola into a tart and I instantly noticed it and got upset.

      I also don't eat meats of animals I love. Deer, rabbits, lamb, etc. I seem to have no trouble with pork, beef, chicken, turkey and fish!

  3. Lawd! That clip was hella funny! I'm a body function joke addict. I have a friend who thinks it's inappropriate, which makes me laugh even more! Girl, thanks for the laughs. And Des has your eyes!

    1. I am so glad you said that! I could have gone even worse…specifically…a body part shaped cake I once made someone. I didn’t want to offend! I was even afraid the farts thing would offend.
      Scarlet and Des both have very big eyes, but his are very round and hers are oval. It’s so interesting! I’ll have to post a photo.

    1. Thank you! Dana is a true gem. And it gave me the chance to have you visit me, and to have me visit you, and I have certainly been meaning to do that.

  4. I love that your a supertaster because I am too, I guess that's why I have a food blog! I'm also nicknamed "the nose" by my husband because I can smell everything like fire burning 20 miles away…maybe I was a search dog in a previous life lol



  5. Out of my 3 kids. I am pretty sure that my Scarlett will be the one to sail though life as a goddess – so you never know. Maybe they will ride that train together.

    I think you and I would have fought over Tim Curry a lot!

  6. I already said this on Dana's site, but there's nothing better than two of my favorite bloggers together! LOVE you and Dana! I went by 'Nicki' until third grade when I decided 'Nicole' was much more sophisticated. Of course, my family still calls me Nicki to this day. Only family and very near and dear friends can get away with this!

  7. Look at how cute you were as a kid. Seriously, I am so with you on driving with the music loud when I am by myself and just can't get enough of that (although it doesn't happen very often!). Have a great weekend and always love learning more about you on Fridays with these Q & A's!! 🙂

    1. You are already in a category all on your own!

      'Mara. Not sure about that one. It works better for people who pronounce their name in that way that doesn't rhyme with camera.

      Terrycloth hasn't made a comeback yet??

  8. I am intrigued by your supertaster-ness. I think I have a good palate for picking out tastes in things – I was super-picky as a child. But I don't know that I am a supertaster. What is the blue food colouring test?

    1. You put a dab of blue food coloring on your tongue and then use a hole punched piece of paper. You’ll need just that size hole to count how many taste buds you can see with a magnifying glass. (yes, really). If they are in crazy clusters, you’re a supertaster. If you can count 15-20 or so, you’re a normal taster. If you count 5-10, you’re an undertaster.
      You may need to fact check that on Google, though.

  9. Good questions from Dana. I had wondered/thought the same thing about your look when I saw that photo of you when you first met Cassidy.

    Love the Des walk.

    As are you one of those people that can taste the red on an M&M?

    Love the "grandfathered" in. 😉 So my question do you quickly correct people who say Tamara wrong? Confession: I get it and still say Ta-MARE-rah when I write your name.

    1. Yes! I can totally taste the red on an M&M! Not that it stops me…

      I usually answer to any variation on my name. I often don't even bother to correct them, unless it's someone I know well.

  10. I also agree Lisa! Your questions for Dana were really great! That first self portrait is one of my favorites of all time. I think Scarlet and Malone will probably tie each other for the awkward preteen award while Des and Lola will sail right through. It is so fun to see him walking. Can't wait to see it in person soon! ox

    1. Yes, he’s such a walker now! And a chatterbox. A toddler. Who knew?!
      I do think Des will get an awkward period, though. Cassidy had a MAJOR one. What a blessing! (not)

  11. Another beautiful AAF post. I'm laughing at the fart video as well. It wasn't only disgusting but totally funny too. As for Des I can surely see him being a total stud, he's already blowing kisses, it can only get worse. Scarlett, the total goddess/princess. I hope your next video is going to show Des running. I can so see him taking off really soon. Hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving. We love you here in CO.

    1. haha, I knew you’d laugh. And we love you here in MA! Big time!
      I’d really love a Des running video. He hasn’t gotten there yet. He’s only just mastered walking across a room! He still crawls a lot too!

  12. I know what you mean by when you say you'd scream if someone called you "Tammy" now. All of my mother's side of the family called me by my middle name for the longest. I never even liked my middle, like for as long as I can remember I never liked it. I guess a lot of them thought it was cute though, and proceeded to call me that throughout my childhood. I can't stand if someone calls me by my middle name today, even if its family.

    1. I love that you didn't mention what it is, but I'd never call you that! My middle name is Eden which sounded horrible with Tammy, but not bad with Tamara!

  13. Your questions for Dana were AWESOME. I just finished reading them! Mission accomplished!!
    So Cassidy liked that picture you sent to him…um…YOU THINK?! Hahaha. You are the most photogenic person I have ever seen, but that photo is particularly beautiful. If I had a photo like that of me, I’d “accidentally” send it to everyone I know.
    OMG… I had NO IDEA you were once a “Tammy”! I just cannot imagine it! It does not compute!! –Lisa

    1. Thank you! I think lately I don't come out well in photos. I think naturally I am better than overthinking it. I always try to do what I tell my subjects to do, and yikes, it turns out better for them.

  14. I love these questions, and you did an awesome job of answering them! My wedding bouquet looked exactly like yours…all red roses! And my husband is German, Polish, and Hungarian with a little French added to the mix. He, however, doesn’t look exotic at all. 😉

    1. haha! I don't think I look that exotic aside from that photo! Although the thick dark hair often trips people up and they think I'm Middle Eastern or Italian.

  15. Sweet T- these are awesome answers!!! I <3 to see pics of you, EEEEE!!! 😉 I have to say this though, Tammy??? I cannot see it, just can't, I seriously mean no disrespect to you or your fam b/c I simply adore you all but I'm like, whaaat? ok- I'm over it, my b… sorry, must be all that lack of sleep or turkey I ate…LOL. XO, Sweet T!

      1. And you didn’t offend at all! I just smiled at your “Sweet T” comment, and that is SO MUCH better of a nickname. I don’t know if you ever noticed on Facebook that old friends and my family members will call me “Tammy.”

        1. Sweet T works SO much better (in my opinion- of course…LOL) Apparently I am in the zone on FB because it’s not like we aren’t friends, we are, I have not noticed… my head is in the clouds (as usual) I probably noticed it before, made my comment, look at the Hubs and said “who the hell is Tammy?” and his response would be something like “as usual, I have no clue what the heck you are talking about, but, we don’t know a Tammy…” lmao… XO!

  16. This is one of my favorite AskAwayFridays of yours, I don’t know why. It just is.
    Also, Des totally looks like you when you were a baby.
    And? You are gorgeous.
    Tammy. 🙂

    1. It was one of my favorites to write, Alison! Although I was in a food coma when I did so. Apparently I should try that again because it worked.
      You’re gorgeous too! I always thought so!!

  17. Here is some fart humor for you. When Colton (my 22 yo) was about the same age as Scarlet he was shopping with my mom at a Ben Franklin (craft store). They were walking through the aisles and it was pretty crowded. Colton farted really loud and it smelled really bad. Immediately he says (as loud as he could) “Grandma, was that you?” My mom was mortified and quickly took him out of the store and left, then called me as soon as she got to the nearest phone to tell me what a horrible thing he’d done. I think it is hysterical to this day!

    I’m also part German. But no exotic look for me. 🙂

  18. I love how I can see scarlet in you and you in scarlet. I think Scarlet will be totally Goddess-like in her high school years, she will remain gorgeous and everyone will totally want to be her bestie because she will be so gorgeous and amazing and not even know it. Des on the other hand…he will totally know his handsomeness and he will rock it. I must resist the urge to call you Tammy. I must.

    1. haha, yes – resist that tough urge! I don’t mind Tam, or T, or Sweet T (as Amber calls me) or a slew of other nicknames. Tammy is just so…Tammy.

  19. I have to admit, this post actually took me into a different place of getting to know you. I thought I knew a lot (from what you’ve shared), but then this one made me feel like I have so much to learn that you are able to share. So cute that Des video! I love that we can watch them grow up. That Caesar video was so weird, but it does show pretty much what I’ve learned about that era in those 50 minutes. I laughed at the fart part too haha!

    1. Oh yes, Brittnei – we all still have much to learn about each other. I'm glad you laughed at my weird video. It's a very old (and rude) movie but its humor holds up in time.

  20. I thought I was the only one who up and moved as a single mom over 1200 miles. I lived in NC and one day I decided to move back home to TX so that I would be closer to my family. I took this leap of faith and hoped that everything would work out. I didn’t have anything lined up, no job, no place to live or anything. Thankfully, my parents allowed me to stay in a bedroom in their house with two kids. Talk about cramped quarters. :0

    1. Thank you! And the super taster thing is nuts. My mom has it too. People probably despise us at restaurants, or when she joined me for the food tasting at my wedding. Oh that was a blast. (kinda)

  21. Wow! What great questions & answers! Seriously very in depth and insightful on both sides!

    PS- I almost thought that last picture of you, was scarlet! I loved your description of future Scarlet & Des- thinking of my lo's at those ages scares me! Kinda kidding, but not really…. I hope Hayden will eat a sandwich for me by then!

    1. Oh I bet he will!! I was totally in love with my kids tonight (and proud) at a family Hanukkah party. Then we stayed about an hour too late past their bedtime, and both turned into monsters. It was..hilarious.
      I’m hoping in 11 years or so?? Not so much monsters.

  22. So fun.

    I've always wondered how you back your photos up, too. I don't have as many printed photos as you – not nearly as many – but I've considered having them all scanned in by one of the scanning services. Like Scan Cafe. I've never taken the plunge, because it's relatively expensive and – most of all! – I just can't imagine boxing my photos up and shipping them off to strangers.

    1. Scan Cafe! I can understand why that might be scary. I have a negative scanner. I wonder if they still sell those. It would get cranky and dusty and that would be a problem, but its concept was wonderful.

  23. Every time I read your blog posts, afterwards I mouth the words "best blogger ever".

    I read tons of blog posts, but I actually read yours (from beginning to end…..along with a few others (= ). I love your writing/blogging style! Your spin on this whole writing thing is so unique, and it inspires the writer in me!

    LOVE all of your answers to the great questions that you were given!

    1. Mariann, this totally made my day. And my day was pretty fantastic with my son learning to walk more and dance and turn around while walking.

      Still, thank you so much. I really do put a lot of heart into my posts and I'm so happy it's appreciated by you.

  24. Love this! As I commented on Dana's blog – two of my favorites together! My oldest daughter has an eye color similar to yours – almost brown, but actually green. People can never figure out what color hers are either! And, you look so much like scarlet in that pic! (or she looks like you). Love it all!

    1. I think it's possible that both my kids have that eye color! I guess we'll see. I had blue eyes at birth, then pure green, and then they turned hazel when I was five, and I didn't know that was even possible! I had three new step-siblings with dark brown eyes and I remember wishing for brown eyes too. I sorta got my wish and I seriously thought it was from my prayers when I was little!

  25. Catching up on the reading I missed while visiting family for the holiday. I love that you laugh at fart jokes. You'd never stand a chance with my boys. They get me giggling as I'm trying to tell them not to tell potty jokes! Also interested in the supertaster thing. The only reason I even know this exists is because of a They Might Be Giants song. Heard it?

  26. I can so picture Des as a teenager. They will both, in fact, be heartbreakers, I'm sure of it. But you know, in the nicest of ways because they will be kind.

    When you edit your photos, what does that mean? Color correction? Zit removal?

    xo love learning more about you!!

    1. I just hope Des doesn't have acne, like his parents both did, at various times in life. (I was an adult!) However, there is always Photoshop, right?!

      Ah, I kid. Editing photos. I use RAW files. They're digital negatives. They're not contrasted, compacted and sharpened the way jpegs naturally are in the camera. So I have to do that myself! Occasionally I'll get rid of black eyes and pimples. I keep on wrinkles and birthmarks because they're natural. And occasionally, I'll fix a color cast or dull color, etc.

  27. I loved reading your answers to Dana's questions (and her answers to your's)!!!

    I did not know you were a super taster -very interesting!!! I wonder if there are also super smellers? My husband thinks my sense of smell is a bit much!!

    Funny video clip – I don't think I've ever seen that movie.

  28. I am not big on nicknames. I see that most people want veer away from them when they are older. I didn’t know you were in a relationship when you went back to the hubs. I am SO glad it worked out for you. That is one of the best stories floating around the blogosphere. I also just want to mention that my God daughter got her cycle this year at 9…..just be on the look out for earlier that life maturations!!!

    I love Dana, great questions!

  29. I always noticed that I talked about taste more than the average person and my mom is a supertaster so I figured I"d better see if I am!

    Grimace! That cracked me up. My husband acts mad at the world sometimes. I just stay out of his way.

    As for the nickname, I'm just so used to it that I accept it!

  30. I'm like your husband, if I'm in the kitchen I turn up the volume really high on the TV in the living room. I only do it when I'm watching the ABC's World News.

  31. OMG it’s so cool that you are a supertaster! How did you find out you were? If that question even makes sense lol. And your children are so adorable.

    I can never really tell how my husband is feeling by his facial expressions, either. He always looks mad to me. Not that he has a grimace, just that he’s so serious and nonsensical, I suppose.

    And how do you handle folks that still tend to call you the nickname you’ve grown out of? I have one that just won’t go away and I cringe every time I hear it lol

  32. so interesting! dana asked such great questions. i actually went by cathy from childhood through college. then i thought it wasn't professional enough for a resume, so i started using catherine from then on, plus i prefer it. but you can tell how long someone has known me based on what they call me.

    1. Cathy! Wow. I agree that I thought Tammy wasn't very professional once I graduated college. I still used it there, though. I met a guy and had him call me Tamara for a week or so and then I couldn't keep it up so he stopped too!

  33. Always love hearing deep dark secrets lol. I’m a super smeller, so I need to breath through my mouth alot to avoid the bad smells I pick up fast. lol

  34. Amazing questions and answers! I absolutely loved #5! Oh and Tim Curry…hmm, how can you not! LOL! I would love to exchange with you sometime this month, if you are interested! Great getting to know you better! Have a great week!

  35. Love the video of Des walking – awesome age 🙂

    Same in my family – they still call me Susie – but I do not want anyone else to call me that!

  36. I have no doubt that Scarlet will transition through life just perfectly. I think she and Reagan will have that in common. There you go again with Tim Curry. I have to admit, every time I think about him or see him on the screen you automatically come to mind.
    How is that for awesomeness?

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  37. Oh my gosh, look at your cute little chubby cheeks in your baby pictures! I want to pinch them. I love that you and Dana swapped. I vaguely remember seeing something on the food network about professional tasters, so I think there is actually a job for that. You could do that. But don't, because I want you to keep blogging and sharing pretty pictures. And I love Tim Curry. Is it weird that I kind of really dig him in Rocky Horror Picture Show?

  38. OH THIS IS SOOOO FUN!!!!!! Those were AWESOME questions from Dana and I just ADORE learning more about you honey!!!

    I bet Cassidy drooled over that gorgeous picture of you!! Way to play it with the “hottie card” girl!!! LOL!

    Too much to say- so much that I am gonna just say I love you. Cause my head is one big giant overwhelmed jumbled mess. Been there? OY.

  39. Oh my gosh, look at your cute little chubby cheeks in your baby pictures! I want to pinch them. I love that you and Dana swapped. I vaguely remember seeing something on the food network about professional tasters, so I think there is actually a job for that. You could do that. But don’t, because I want you to keep blogging and sharing pretty pictures. And I love Tim Curry. Is it weird that I kind of really dig him in Rocky Horror Picture Show?

  40. Oh I am so glad that I'm not the only one with a man who is the same temperature regardless of mood and is so hard to decipher sometimes while I'm a tea kettle waiting to blow.

    Love your ethnic make-up…it suits you! Well, it is you 🙂 (And that picture – love love love it!!)

    And Des totally looks like you when you were little.

  41. It’s good that you love fart humor because one day very soon Des will be a pre-teen boy, and fart humor will be your life. You won’t be able to get through breakfast without it! LOL Awesome Q&A ladies! Heading to read Dana’s now!

    1. I kinda am thinking, “Bring it on, Des” He’s not very gassy right now..but the other day I found him dropping his knees onto a whoopee cushion. He didn’t quite have the motor skills and strength to make it happen, but he gets the concept of them. Too hilarious.

  42. Yeah..but sometimes I can't tell if he's just grumpy or if he's mad at me! Or if it's a random Tuesday and he's positively gleeful..but you can't tell.

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