15 September 2012

Interview with Gwen {author of the blog Alberta Girl}

This past August I took part in a blog button swap hosted by Bree at Tea & Bree.  My buddy Gwen and I have been taking our own sweet time about completing our posts to exchange, but hey, why not?  I was interviewed over on Gwen's lovely blog Alberta Girl a few days ago, and here I'm pleased to present my interview with Gwen (who also goes by the dashing pseudonym Ivania Navarro).  I've truly enjoyed getting to know her.


Salutations!  Let's begin with the basics:  What is the first thing you share with a person you're just meeting?

Hello there! Hm. I don't actually meet new people too often, but usually I tell them the usual. Age, name, favorite book or movie or song, something along those lines.

The title of your blog intrigued me immediately.  What is a life like in southern Alberta?

The biggest thing that makes Alberta stand out is the weather. It's completely unpredictable. In the morning it could be sunny and bright, and in the evening we could be drowning in rain. It's not uncommon to get one or two snowstorms in July either! The other thing about the weather is the seasons. The lucky places have spring, summer, fall and winter. Here, we get winter for about half the year, muck and wetness for a few weeks, summer for about three months, two weeks of fall and then BOOM it's winter again.

What I love about Alberta though, is the friendliness of it. There aren't too many big cities here, and almost everyone is really, really nice. We've got a thriving economy, beautiful scenery (we're an hour's drive from the Rocky Mountains) and lovely communities. I just realized I sound like a commercial, but oh well!

Happy residents are a region's best adervertising, one might say!  Now tell us something about your identity as a Canadian.  Unfortunately, I think many Americans know Canadians mostly through stereotypes...

As a start, I solemnly swear that I almost never say "eh!" Interestingly, the only person I've met who said eh on a regular basis was American.

For me, being Canadian means living in a lovely (if somewhat thinly populated) country under the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (I had to include that, since a lot of people don't know the Queen is our Queen too!).

As for the other myths...we don't ride sleds to school being pulled by huskies, we don't ride beavers, our government is not composed of moose, and the entire country is not covered in snow. ;)

Far from it!  From what I've heard, Canada is beautiful in the summer.  Do you like to travel, or are you more of a homebody?

I like traveling, unfortunately, I don't get to do it very often. I've only been out of the country once, and that was when I was a baby. I'm hoping to become a flight attendant in a few years, because I really want to travel.

Turning to your blogging career now:  How long have you been blogging?

Roughly around three years. I've deleted my first few blog posts, so I can't tell you the exact date I joined.

Why did you start?

I originally started because I'd read an article on this website called Feelin' Feminine, where it challenged young ladies to try out wearing skirts for a week, and blogging about it. I didn't have a blog when I first read it, but I decided to get one. The first few weeks were pretty embarrassing, as I had no idea what I had been doing!

I'll send back a great question you gave me:  If you could choose three words to sum up your blog, what would they be, and why?

Oh...hm. Harum-scarum (is that a word? I saw it in a book once), opinionated, lazy. I think that sounds just like my blog.  x)

Haha, well, I would never have guessed.  : )  I enjoy the diversity of topics you blog about.  Do you have a favorite subject for posts?

I'm not sure. I'd wanted to try to stick to a particular topic (femininity is a big one for me) but I have no imagination, and was unable to come up with enough to write about in just one topic. So I write whatever's on my mind. Big issues, little issues, thoughts, ponderings. I like to write whatever comes into my head, especially questions. Or ask myself questions and then answer them in a post. Like, why don't I believe in soul-mates? The other thing I do is write little...almost sermons for myself. Why I should stop complaining. Or worrying about how I look.  Things like that.

Your blog has a great aesthetic.  Did you do your own design?

Yes! I run a little blog design called Prim and Proper Designs, but I'm considering shutting it down. My partner has abandoned me (although my new one has been such a help) and with school starting, I just don't have time.

We have a shared passion for old typewriters.  How did you come to love them so much?

I'm not sure. I like writing a lot. Short stories especially. But when I'm on the computer, I get distracted so easily. Some people suggest turning off the internet, but that doesn't work if I need to look up names or places or dates or definitions. And when I do that, I usually get distracted by something else. A typewriter seemed a logical solution, but I didn't want one of those ugly plastic ones. I wanted a real, vintage typewriter. It was something of a daydream, I'd been picturing myself in a floral 50's dress with my hair all teased with orange light coming through my bedroom window, possibly smoking a cigarette because that's what everyone did back then.

I think typewriters are loveable as much for the image they project as for their usefulness.  What do you use your lovely old typewriter for now?

Right now, nothing. It needs some work, and I have to look into costs. But once it's fixed, I'll definitely be using it to write my stories, and probably letters too!

Okay, the impossible question - allow me to apologize ahead of time:  Favorite book.

How evil of you. At first I had an answer, but then I started thinking about it, and now I've got about ten books listed in my head. Can I put two? The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. They are both what I call my "comfort books." I read them to cheer myself up.

I can never answer that question with one book either.  What kind of music do you like?

I like a wide variety of music, but I'm not a huge fan of rap or rock. Anything else, sure. I've recently re-discovered my love of Owl City, since I just bought his new CD, The Midsummer Station. And I love it.

What's the most satisfying way to spend a rainy afternoon?

I'm going to be super unoriginal here and say curled up in a blanket with some tea and a book.

Thank you for hosting me!

Thanks for chatting with me, Gwen!  And you, lovely readers, make sure to come back for Gwen's guest post later on.  Cheers!


Postscript.  There's a little story relating to the button swap that I thought might amuse you...

Those of us who participated in it were randomly paired up with the blogger we were to swap with.  When I had just found out I was going to be paired up with Gwen, I was browsing her blog and reading back a few posts when I came on one about her recent acquisition of an antique typewriter.  At this, a spot in my heart felt sore, because I have longed for a typewriter ever since my mother's electric one finally joined the ranks of the mastodons and brachiosaurs.  I admired Gwen's photographs of her new old teal-enamelled Royal, sighed a little sigh to myself, and went about my day.

Several weeks later I happened to be thrifting.  (Not an infrequent occurence.)  I was poking through some office items when an oddly-shaped brown case on the bottom shelf attracted my attention.  "That looks like a..." I said to myself, hardly daring to finish the sentence.  Gingerly, I lifted the lid.  It was!  A beautiful old manual typewriter!  In good condition!  As soon as I had hit some keys and made sure it was operational I formed a resolution to take it home with me.  As it happened, a very kind relative I was with offered to buy it for me as a gift.

So there you have it.  I am the contented owner of a Smith-Corona Galaxie XII.  Next Great American Novel, here I come.