A month ago yesterday, Chris O’Rourke launched The Great Portland Interview Experiment, and I wrote about it the very next day. Since then @Verso spent two weeks in the land of Disney, and has returned to an unimaginable backlog of stuff, and @melissalion prepared for and hosted BackFencePDX and taught a writing workshop, both of which she writes about here. Given that we are now dealing with the 2008 Snowpocalypse and we are in the midst of holiday chaos, I think it is fair to excuse both @verso for not having finished responding to my questions and @melissalion for not having posted my answers.
But, as I have made a commitment to blog more often and I have nothing new to say, I am going to give you a bit of a preview. First I will share the questions I have given @verso to answer, followed by my answers to @melissalion’s questions. How ’bout them apples?
First, here are the questions I asked @Verso:
1. What is the origin of your two monikers; Banana Lee Fishbones and Verso?
2. What is one of your happiest memories from your childhood?
3. What defines comfort for you?
4. What is your favorite season, and what makes it your favorite?
5. Can you tell me something that got under your skin or grated on you when you were a child? Has it changed now that you are an adult?
6. What was your favorite game (and by that I mean a game of pretend, a board game, a computer game or anything else you called play) as a child? How about now?
7. You and I share an affinity (an understatement, I know) for Star Wars. What is it about Star Wars that you find so compelling?
8. What is the story behind you and PDXScott?
9. If you could be anything you wanted to be when you grew up, regardless of talent, education, resources or any other barrier, what would you be?
10. People often identify which a specific category of natural feature, whether it be forest, ocean, deserts, mountain, plains, etc. What type of natural feature do you find most attractive?
11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live?
And (drum roll please), here are my answers to @melissalion’s questions:
@EvaCatHerder’s responses to The Great Portland Interview Experiment
You tweeted once that you used a 25 pound bag of flour per month (week?) what type of bread were you making and were you eating all of that yourself?
It was 25# per month. I was miserable while living in Philadelphia (while David was in rabbinical school) and I was also wheat intolerant (but not gluten intolerant), so I made myself feel better by baking loaves and loaves (and loaves) of spelt bread. I made challah every week (to the great joy of @grigs), bagels (my bagels had a serious fan club), ciabatta, artisan loaves, pizza dough, baguettes, and anything else that caught my fancy. I even started teaching bread-baking classes.
What’s the one thing you learned about baking that much bread that you carry with you in daily life? Can I give you two things? The first is that everything is better when allowed to sit and ferment for a day or so. The second is that educated guestimation produces better results than strict precision.
You’re married to a rabbi — how’s the sex? I am going to play presidential/vice presidential candidate here and not really answer your question. I have known David since he was a pain-in-the-ass college freshman. Watching David’s transformation into a rabbi was magical, and he really did go through some amazing fundamental changes. But he is still my David who always reminds me of a muppet (I mean that in a non-sexual way, so get those Furry thoughts out of your mind).
All of the other rabbinical partners I know also got together with their partners in the pre-rabbinic stage, so they had similar experiences to mine (yes, we do talk about these things!) I suspect that the experience might be different for someone who starts having sex with a member of the clergy after he/she has been ordained. I base my suspicion on the fact that many of the single clergy members I know have an incredibly hard time getting a date with someone who is not also a member of the clergy.
You own CubeSpace, which is a shared workspace for rent. That space is gigantic! What is it like in there when you’re alone there, it’s quiet. What’s you favorite thing to do? (I’d like to add that I think it’s great that you have flavored syrup. I made myself a vanilla soda there and I enjoyed it. When I did this one of the people who rents space there said, “Oh, I never thought of doing that!” And I said, “Well, Mr.-I-program-computers-that-solve-cancer-and-cure-pi, who’s the Nobel winner NOW?” And then he asked me out on a date. I’m kidding. I’ve never been picked up.) Even though CubeSpace is large, I have spent surprisingly little time alone there, because we usually have at least one other person around before, during and after closing. My favorite time to be at CubeSpace is before we open. There was one night when I couldn’t sleep, so I went to CubeSpace at about 5am to get some work done (we didn’t have a computer at home at the time—a situation that we have since rectified).
I spent that morning sitting on the couch in our reception area working. The community-oriented feeling was still there even though there were no other people around and I just felt focused and happy. I have to open early on Wednesdays for a very perky group of people, and I always try to get in just a little extra early so I get some quiet time to ground myself before the hordes arrive. Now that we have the massage chair, I tend to sit there and drink my coffee and just chill until it is time to start running around in a frenzy.
On your blog, Wonks R Us, you wrote a post about a changing CubeSpace into a public policy something something. Explain that to me like I’m simple. I find it infuriating that we (were, are, might be?) a world superpower with a huge amount of wealth, and yet we do not provide any kind of universal health coverage. It makes no sense from a health management, financial or ethical perspective to deny people access to basic health services. What ends up happening is that people fail to get medical care when a problem is easily and cheaply treatable, and instead are forced to wait until they need emergency medical services that are horribly expensive and that they cannot afford to pay for. Hospitals and insurance companies increase their rates for those who do have health coverage to cover their losses from services given to those who cannot afford to pay.
The “American Dream” is built around the myth that anyone can start a business and if they work hard, they will earn the wealth they “deserve.” However, health insurance is something that is available only at the workplace (there is individual insurance, but it is difficult to get because it requires a physical history and the coverage is often substandard). Self-employed people used to be able to get health insurance through professional associations, but that is something insurance companies put the kibosh on in the early 2000’s. Given the choice between foregoing health insurance or starting a business, many people opt to stay in jobs they don’t want just to retain their health insurance.
Since it seems unlikely that either our state or federal government will take on the insurance industry any time soon, it is up to us (which I mean in the broadest, collective sense) to create solutions to serve the public good. So, as a business whose clientele includes the self-employed and who has group health insurance for its employees, CubeSpace is stepping up to the plate.
In (hopefully) simple terms, this means that we will contract with businesses, governments and nonprofits for the services that they are seeking from local consultants. We will then hire local consultants to do the work. As they will be CubeSpace employees, we will be able to give them and their families access to our group health care policy.
Favorite pattern? A picture here would be excellent. Favorite yarn? Yarn store of choice? My favorite pattern, without question, is Baby’s first DNA by Kimberly Chapman. It has become my standard baby present, and you can tell a lot about a person by how they react when you hand them stuffed DNA.
I am not much of a yarn snob, and I generally just knit using David’s leftovers. I do have a great love of rough wools that still smell of lanolin and are hand dyed. But, nobody wants to wear projects made of these wools, so they tend to gather dust in my house. I have decided that they would make great felted bags, but I am intimidated by the fulling process. My favorite yarn store is Yarnia. I just love the ability to mix color and fiber, choose the number of strands in one’s yarn, and I totally groove on Lindsay’s yarn rolling machine.
Your husband knits, and so do you. Do you ever make the same pattern at once and who was knitting first? Technically I think I was knitting first. My friend Lynn (who works at Northwest Wools in Multnomah Village) taught me how to knit while I was tutoring her daughters in the mid to late nineties. I started a scarf for David, using the previously mentioned scratchy wool, that I still have not finished.
David only learned to knit a few years ago, but he took to it right away and has been knitting like a demon ever since. So I blame him for actually turning knitting into a habit/fidget toy/addiction for me.
We have certainly knit socks at the same time (although the patterning and yarn were always different). We have recently finished knitting up a series of strips that will ultimately be turned into a baby blanket for the son of some dear friends. The strips are currently laid out on our living room floor, just waiting for David to crochet a border and for him to sew the strips together, but so it goes.
Dream day in Portland: Sleeping in (sleeping is a very big deal for me these days), then going out for a long breakfast at Gravy’s. Then a nap would be in order (even if I had consumed enough coffee to make me high, that full a belly always makes me sleepy). Ideally the day would involve some real Portland drizzle (the misty kind where you never really get wet) and a trip to the Chinese Garden. I would round it out with a trip to the Wednesday farmers market downtown and an evening spent making an amazing dinner and eating it with David, and maybe even a friend or two.
Most underrated tourist attraction: Portland’s neighborhoods. Tourists have no idea who we are based on a visit to downtown, OMSI, Washington Park, etc. Seeing where and how we live is the essence of Portland and what I always do with friends coming to visit.
Finally, sum your life’s philosophy up using a single Britney Spears song title. I actually had no clue of any of Britney’s song titles, but once again, Wikipedia saved the day. I would have the sum up my life’s philosophy with “The Beat Goes On.” Full disclosure, it is a cover of one of my favorite Sonny and Cher songs.
*For those of you wondering why I keep putting an “@” before some names, I assure you it is not a typo. These are people’s Twitter handles (for example, mine is @EvaCatHerder), and you too can learn more about these folks by signing up for a free Twitter account and following them. If it still sounds like I and speaking gibberish, leave a comment and I will do my best to further clarify.