a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Jun, 2008

a couple questions, a couple answers

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Thanks for all of your pro-introvert comments yesterday. Phew. I’m normal! Bwa ha ha!

And I didn’t actually read your questions until after the interview was over. It went well.  It helps that I really like the writer fellow. We talked about a lot of different things, and the interview itself wasn’t nearly as intense as the first one.

Part of my concern is that I want to be portrayed Like The Type of Person I Really Am. And how can I possibly convey all of ME in two measly interviews, each about 90 minutes long?

I had the same issue when our living room was being redone a couple years ago. I remember taking the design team on a tour of my house, anxiously pointing out my stuff and explaining it all, hoping they wouldn’t misinterpret anything they saw. For example I didn’t want them to look at my horrible dining room chandelier and think that I actually LIKE IT and that it’s my style. (We just haven’t found a good replacement, really!)

When it comes down to it, we are all very much reflected in the things we choose to have around us. That’s why photos of inspiration boards, the insides of our purses and even peeks at craft rooms can be so interesting… they are very revealing, aren’t they?

So now I have to supply the writer with a photo of myself. *sigh* Have I mentioned I hate having my picture taken?

A couple of you posted questions, but I didn’t have a chance to read them and think about it before the interview. I wasn’t really going to answer them, but why the heck not?

Lex had a good one (drawn for a recent experience!):

You are sitting at a cafe. You chat briefly with a woman at a nearby table who’s there with her 2 kids. How do you handle realizing you referred to her child as “your daughter” when you realized the kid dressed in the pink tutu and carrying a gold clutch purse is a little boy? The child heard you. What do you do? Apologize? Let it slide?

Ha ha. If I knew the boy heard me I would turn to him and ask him his name (to make sure he was a boy, you know) and then I would say something like “I love your tutu, it’s great, but you know what, I didn’t take a close look at you and didn’t realize you were a little boy. Do you have matching ballet slippers as well?”

Dani asked:

If I were interviewing you, I’d want to know if you ever regretted anything that you said on your blog, or if upon reflection there is something you would have done or said differently.

A timely question. I have been thinking about this very thing. First, a bit of backstory. Last week I had an interview for a potential writing gig. I can’t reveal the who/what/where, but I will say that I was really excited going into it BUT didn’t end up taking the job.

At one point during the interview the topic of my blog came up. I wasn’t going to mention it, but it came up. Interviewer Guy/Big Boss looked down at my resume, to see if I had mentioned it.

“You didn’t, list it here,” he said.
“No, I didn’t.”
“Why not?”
“Because it’s not relevant to this job.”
“Of course it is, it’s your writing.”
“Yeeeah, but the kind of writing I’m doing on my blog consists of unedited posts and photography that are personal in nature.”
“Ok. So what do you write about? Do you write on a theme?”

That that’s where I drew a blank. I stammered something about my projects and my kids and my photos. I really need a clever 30-second descriptor. (Care to help me craft one?) I spoke to Mark about it later. He said that I should have told him it was about “the minutia of my life,” but I have to say, the word minutia sounds like I’m writing about what kind of toilet bowl cleaner I use and what I had for breakfast (HEY!).

ANYWAY, it got me thinking whether or not I should be putting more effort into crafting more posts and ramping up the intelligence quotient around here. After all, it could be read by potential clients and employers, right? But it would mean less posting, because each post would require more thinking/writing time. Gah.

The stuff that you read here is skimmed right off the top of my brain. But I do err on the side of caution when it comes to the topics I write about, or the people I write about. I don’t think there has been anything I regretted writing about. My internal “right v. wrong” gauge is pretty good. Too good, sometimes. My blogging policy is to only write about the kinds of things I’d be able to say to someone in person. And thankfully (knock on wood) I don’t get very many nasty comments or anything like that.

I feel very fortunate that all of you folks (*insert sweeping arm motion*) are so cool. I see this blogging thing like a giant water cooler, where we gather and chat, and I get to share my thoughts and projects with an audience … an audience that keeps growing. (I had 500+ unique visitors yesterday!)

I like you. And I like that you come back time and time again, AND I like your comments too. I’m not a comment snob. I’ve read about some bloggers who don’t like readers who post two word comments like “great post!” Frankly, I am pretty thrilled when someone takes the time to put two words together. As parent I know how difficult that can be sometimes!

The interactivity is probably the best part of blogging, don’t you think?

Okay, back to work.

14 Responses to "a couple questions, a couple answers"

1 | Jennifer

June 11th, 2008 at 9:58 am


I am going to respond to this post with a bit of back groud on ‘me’. I have never been much into the whole ‘internet’ thing, I do banking and email online but that’s about it. I work in telecom so I spend enough time staring at a computer screen at work to come home and do it….That was until someone mentioned your ‘blog’ to me. I’m hooked, please don’t change your writing style simply to ‘ramp up the intelligence quotient around here’. Your blog is witty, insightful and very refreshing. You must be doing something right (blog-wise that is!) if me a sworn Luddite when it comes to the internet, is reading your blog on a daily basis!!!

PS Also wanted to know where you got your bike tuned up? I can’t seem to find a place in Westboro to do it.

2 | BeachMama

June 11th, 2008 at 10:38 am


Sorry I don’t live around the corner, I would come over and snap a photo for you!

And I like your answer to Dani’s question. I hope you don’t decide to change your style of writing here. I truly enjoy it and think that depending on the circumstances it could be used for potential clients. They might want to see your different styles of writing and this would be one of them.

3 | The Veg Next Door

June 11th, 2008 at 10:44 am


Great post! :-)

Seriously, I like your blog simply b/c it’s honest. I remember a couple of years back you wrote about the girls getting on your last nerve during bath time and your writing was so honest. I often think about that post when I’m having one of those days with my girls.

4 | andrea

June 11th, 2008 at 10:46 am


Thanks guys!
And Jennifer – we go to Bushtukah for our cycling needs. :) Mark bought his bike there a couple months ago and was very happy with the service, and they did a great job on tuning up my bike too. It rides like new!

5 | andrea

June 11th, 2008 at 10:49 am


Veg: Was it the one, when I cracked during bathtime ? I had to look it up again. I can laugh about it now, but then … ? *sigh*

6 | Lex

June 11th, 2008 at 11:53 am


If your blog got MORE intelligent I would have to stop reading.

7 | Lynn

June 11th, 2008 at 1:46 pm


As with the others — I love your blog, I like the conversational tone, don’t change a thing!

Speaking of changes though, I like your new design and colour scheme. I’m not sure where you got the bird image from but it is almost exactly the same as a necklace I bought on Etsy about three weeks ago:


I thought you should get one too! It comes in several different colours for the bird, so flip through and pick the one you like best :).

8 | The Veg Next Door

June 11th, 2008 at 1:59 pm


Yes, that’s the one.

Keep it up!

9 | porter

June 11th, 2008 at 2:01 pm


eeeks don’t go getting intelligent on us….kidding. i love your blog and my knee jerk reaction was ‘nooo don’t change it’ but the reality is, i think you would still be ‘you’ no matter what. i think you are true to who you are…but i’d miss reading about what kind of toilet bowl cleaner you use and what you ate for breakfast.

10 | andrea

June 11th, 2008 at 3:31 pm


Lynn – isn’t that funny. I wonder if the bird image is owned by the same person? I do love the pendants though. The green is particularly becoming!

But then again I am loving everything green nowadays!

Porter – sorry to disappoint, but I think I’m done blogging about toilet bowl cleaner. :)

11 | a grrl with a blog

June 12th, 2008 at 12:33 am


Great post!

Hehe! Had to say that! I can’t wait to find out where the article/interview will run. Oh, and I’d be happy to snap a few shots of you!

I completely know what you’re saying about blogging and reflecting the person you really are. That’s the thing that I struggled so much with, especially since I had to blog under a pseudonym (Kim) for almost a year. Everything was honest, but I would be completely guarded about my posts for fear that one person would mis-interpret them and harass me. It always made me feel as though I was ripping the reader off a bit, and I felt horrible about it.

I love your blog, and it is the first feed I read every morning (and not just because it starts with A!)

I was having this conversation with J. from Please Pick Up Your Socks tonight – I love that we can all be in different places and feel so close to each other even though in most cases we only know each other through our blogs.

12 | Chantal

June 12th, 2008 at 8:19 am


I also really enjoy reading your blog as is. That is what I like about blogs, they are real, “right off the top of peoples brains” stuff and that is what makes them interesting. I enjoyed reading your post today cause it gave me some insight into what it is like to be a writer and a blogger. How the two lives can intersect.

13 | Jane D

June 12th, 2008 at 9:06 am


Please don’t change it. Your writing about your experiences makes the rest of us feel like we’re NORMAL ’cause we’ve all been there.

I loose it at bath time too! :)

Keep up the great giggles.

14 | danigirl

June 18th, 2008 at 4:12 pm


Oh, what a great answer, I’m so glad I asked! Yanno, I was just thinking about how much I like your blog. No joke, I was driving down Hunt Club, stuck in traffic and my mind was wandering, and I was actually thinking about how nicely your blog is evolving and what a nice place it is to come and visit. So don’t change a thing!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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