Saturday, February 28, 2009
My heart pounded a little bit and I had to laugh at myself that I cared a little too much what she thought. She and I had been joking about having a girl crush, and this was an obvious manifestation.
But after two minutes on the phone, I forgot all about that. I stopped wondering if I was sounding dumb and just enjoyed our conversation. She was easy to talk to, funny, self-deprecating, and candid, and I didn't want to get off the phone. It went on for over an hour--some of it off the record-- but as I've looked over my notes, there is not much that I can cut out, or that I am willing to, so smitten am I with Tamara Duricka.
So, I've decided to break up our interview into two or three posts. That way, I'll actually get it posted, plus you'll make it to the end. So keep coming back to check in over the next few days. And you can get a little crush on her yourself!
(And please be patient with the lame formatting. I've been fussing with it for ages and just want to post the darn thing--so the fonts and sizes may be inconsistent. You'll just have to get over it. It's not cooperating for me.)
Where did you grow up, go to school, and where have you lived since then?
I grew up in Alexandria, VA outside of DC, and went to Roanoke College in Southern Virginia. I got my first TV job in Roanoke, producing the local news. I joined the church when I graduated from Roanoke, (my brother, Darren, was already a member). Darren and his family were living in Spanish Fork and I went to visit him there. While I was there, I toured KSL (NBC affiliate), anxious to check out how the bigger city news happened. They found out that I was a producer and they offered me a job on the local evening news, so I moved to Salt Lake City.
I swore I would never leave the East Coast, but I was thrilled to be near my brother's family, who promptly moved to Portland. The move to SLC was big for me career-wise, as the market is much bigger there than in Southern VA. I hadn't gone expecting to get a job there--I was still so young, maybe 21-ish. I had finished undergrad in 3 years, and started working at the TV station during school, so I had some experience, but it was a surprise that KSL was interested in me.
I was in Salt Lake for a year and a half, then I followed my brother to Portland. I worked at the ABC station there as the newscast producer of the 6:00 evening local news. I did that for 4 years.
Then, I went to Columbia for a Masters. It was the first year of their program, so we [the students] were the guinea pigs. The good news about it was that we all had fellowships. But it was crazy. They squeezed the whole thing into a 9 month intensive program, including classes, thesis, etc. I cried a lot. I felt really dumb all the time.
ABC called Columbia the day after graduation, looking for someone with TV experience, and that was me! ABC called me that day and I told them that I was headed out on a trip to Europe the next day and then home to Portland to sit on my couch and stare at the walls for a while. They interviewed me that afternoon and offered me a job on the spot to write on Good Morning America. I told them I needed some time to relax after being so dumb at school, so I took a month and a half to travel, pack up my stuff in Portland, and get over how much my brain hurt from grad school. Then I started at GMA.
When I applied to Columbia, it had all been so clear “follow the yellow brick road” kind of thing with angels singing—I knew that was what I was supposed to do . . . but I didn’t get that kind of answer with GMA; instead, it was like Heavenly Father just wanted me to choose, so I did. It was a big deal to move back to the East Coast (my whole family lived on the west coast by then.)
What is your favorite place that you’ve lived?
I really love wherever I am. I miss Portland terribly, but I love NYC. But Darren and his family are in Portland, and it hurts to be so far away from them.
[Tamara obviously adores her neices and nephews--Darren and his wife have 6 kids-- and thinks of them as her own. At one point, she referred to one of them as "our 10-year-old" and then corrected herself, "I mean my brother's 10-year-old." It reminded me so much of the way Alli always felt about my kids before she had any of her own. Motherly and somewhat possessive. And adoring.]
Tell us a little about your family.
I grew up in VA with my mom and my brother mostly—my parents divorced when I was young. My mom remarried when I was 12. My step dad was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years later; he died when I was 16. Shortly after that, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He died when I was 18. That was really hard. Really hard. By the time I finished college, my mom and brother had both moved to the west coast.
How long have you been at Good Morning Amercia? What is a typical workday like for you?
I've been there for 2 1/2 years now.
A typical day? Lots of g-chat, lots of facebook time. You think I’m kidding! I have a few different assignments. The first job is to interview the people that will be interviewed the next day over the phone. I’ll pull together the video and the graphics, then write the Cliffs Notes for Diane Sawyer and the gang. I also write the introductions to pieces, that the anchors say, "Don't change the channel because the worst news EVER is coming up!" I get to scare you into watching more. The third part is the weekends. I work at 3:00 am on Sat and Sunday, which sounds horrible—and it is. I’m not going to lie. But the great part is that I get to be in the control room then, and I’m the head writer on the weekend show. I watch the news wire for most recent news so that we can report breaking news and make sure that all the stories are written in the same voice, that kind of thing. It’s very high energy and I love it.
What is your schedule like?
Um, I don’t really have one of those. Right now, I have Mondays and Tuesdays off. Wednesdays thru Fridays I work normal office hours. I have a pottery class on Wednesday mornings before work. Don't ask me why I'm taking a pottery class, because I don't know why. But I am. Saturday and Sunday I work from 3 am- 9 am.
I like sleeping in. I try to sleep in on my days off, but it doesn't always happen. Sometimes on Sundays I’ll get a nap in before church, but not always. I won’t say that sleep is overrated, because that is so not true, but you get used to going without it. Kind of.
What’s your favorite thing to order in a restaurant?
I love sushi and I never get tired of sushi. I used to get these huge stomach aches from eating meat, so I gave up meat except for sushi, which is so worth it. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings with sushi. I do eat a lot of fish, but I rarely do the meat thing. And I like Thai food.
What is your favorite food to make at home?
Yeah-- I don’t cook. My mother was not a cook. My father was a brilliant. I learned my cooking from my mother, who says that her stove would explode if turned on (from the dust.) I do a lot of soups, casseroles, and I basically make food like a depression era person—food that stretches. Thanks for pointing that out.
So you basically make things that you can get the most mileage out of so that you don’t have to cook very often?
I am insecure in my cooking. I need someone to teach me how to cook. I’m a great sous chef, with the head chef telling me what to do. I guess I need to get over my fear and just jump in. And as much as I don't like cooking, I love baking. Baking seems simple. You can't really mess up baking. I like to bake all sorts of stuff: Banana bread, pies, breads, cakes... anything unhealthy.
So, there you have a little background information on our favorite minor celebrity, the girl who conceived of, planned out, and pulled off the 31 Dates in 31 Days project! Coming tomorrow (I hope), Tamara tells us all about the project: what led up to it, how many times she wanted to quit, and about a guy who didn't know how to behave himself on a first date. You will not want to miss it.
Friday, February 27, 2009
The theme this year was America the Beautiful. They toyed with doing another Star Wars themed cake anyway, then talked about crazy ideas including Mt. Rushmore, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. Finally, they went a different direction: an Indain wigwam.
Kimball helped bake the cakes (at the neighbors, as our oven is still dead,) color the fondant, roll out the fondant, and all by himself he painted the designs on the wigwam, made a Native American out of fondant, and made a woodpile and a fire pit out of fondant, chocolate sticks, and a Thin Mint cookie. I was proud of him--he's such a little artist.
Here's some footage of the construction.
Now, if I can just stop myself from eating the remaining half!
Coming later today: my interview with Tamara. We had a great time gabbing away, and I think you'll be pleased to learn more about her. So check back in.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
When they got back from Southern Cal, it took us a few days to get the habitat from them. Then we waited until Jared's day off when he could take Henry over to pick up his new pet. But when we called Friday morning, the pet store had sold our bearded dragon to another family! Like any good parents would do, we put off telling Henry until he asked about it, then broke the news for him that the pet shop was looking for another lizard for him.
Well, another week went by and the pet shop owner didn't come up with anything. We checked the local PetSmart, but they had nothing. We started checking craigslist, but everyone wanted more than we wanted to pay because they wanted to sell their bearded dragons WITH a habitat.
Finally, today, one showed up on craigslist that was in our price range. We called and asked all the important questions, then drove about 45 minutes away to pick it up. The owner was very sweet and spent about 15 minutes with Henry, helping him to get comfortable with the little guy and teaching us about feeding him and caring for him.
We brought the poor, dazed guy home. He is mostly hanging out in the corner of his habitat, wondering about the change of scenery and all the noise in this new house! Henry named him Drazil, Lizard of all Dragons, but will call him Drazil for short. (The previous owners named him Stuie, but as we have an uncle with that name, it wouldn't do.) The above photo is taken from the internet--I didn't want to traumatize Drazil anymore today.
Oh, and the other addition to our family? We did have an ultrasound this afternoon after picking up Drazil. The baby cooperated this time and . . . .
it's a girl! We are so happy for Bronwen to get a sister. And I'm thrilled to use my girl clothes again! Now to work on the name . . .
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sooooooo, what do you want to know about her? Now's your chance to find out. I have to say that she and I have been emailing and chatting online and I am completely smitten with her. She's positively darling.
Leave a comment with your questions for our favorite bachelorette who hasn't given up on love. I'll wait a couple of days until you've had a chance to put your two cents in, and then I'll try out my amateur reporting skills again.
And by the way, if you haven't yet, check out the new videobar in my lefthand sidebar. The new message this week (picture of a woman and girl) is about creativity and how it makes us more like God. Very inspiring. And you can watch without leaving my blog!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Fifty percent of this fun will come to an end on Tuesday when we have our 2nd ultrasound (at which this child WILL cooperate) and find out whether we need to focus on the Obi Wan or the Buttercup list from here on out.
If we were the type of parents (whom I've never understood, being a control freak,) who let their children choose the baby's name, these are the names that would be under serious consideration at this point:
For a boy
- Obi Wan Kenobi
- Westley (as in the Dread Pirate Roberts)
- George Lucas
- Inigo Montoya
- Darth Vader
- Julius (as in Caesar)
- Ruby (especially if she has a twin brother named Max)
Ian is hoping for a baby brother, Henry wants another sister. Kimball says that he's torn because he'd love having another sister but he likes the boy names better. Bronwen doesn't get it and just loves shoving her baby doll under my shirt or her shirt, depending on the moment. But regardless of who wants what, this baby is coming in four more months and changing everything again for us!
(And by the way, it looks like most of you voted for me to stick with the photo of me kissing Bronwen for my header. I'm not ready to commit yet--maybe there's another photo somewhere in my files that's better. You'll know when I decide because the new layout will appear.)
If you were naming a baby this summer, what would its name be? Don't share if you don't want us to steal it, though.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Option 1: (Henry kissing Baby Bronwen)
Option 2: (The kids--a year and a half ago. Yes, we need to get family pictures taken again.)
Option 3: (Me carrying Ian. I like that you can't really tell who it is--it could be any of my boys.)
Option 4: (Me holding a younger brother, just home from the hospital)
Option 5: (the one we used before. Me with Bronwen, about 10 days old.)
So which is your favorite, and which do you think says, "Relishing Motherhood" the best?
EDITED: If you have a photo of me in your photo files that says Relishing Motherhood, email me at sleepymumATgmailDOTcom. I'd love to see it.
Friday, February 20, 2009
In other news, based on my children's behavior this morning, they had better hope that no gypsies stop by our house today--I might just be tempted to sell them all. I wonder if gypsies have a good strategy for dealing with children far older than 2 who are still having 2-year-old tantrums?
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The following is a transcript of my interview with Evan. I didn't record our conversation like a real reporter, as I knew this would freak him out (I am his sister after all.) I just did my best to type in his words with a 2 year old straddling my lap while singing Annie songs. So here and there it might not be quite verbatim, but I have tried to preserve the integrity of the interview. My words will be italics, Evan's won't be. (What do you call the opposite of italics?)
So, Evan, now that you’re a big time celebrity, I wanted to thank you for taking some time out of your busy press schedule to talk to me. My readers and I have some questions for you about your 31 dates in 31 days experience. Are you ready for me to fire them?
Really? Your readers? Okay, I'm ready.
My first question is, had you heard about Tamara and the experiment before you got the phone call from their mutual friend?
No, not at all. I had heard nothing.
No, not at all. I had heard nothing.
When you did find out about the premise of the experiment, what did you think?
I thought, eh, good idea. Could be fun.
Did you go on your first date with any preconceived notions?
I don’t think I knew anything about her except that she worked for GMA, that she had gone to Columbia, and that she was recommended by a friend as someone I would have fun with.
Well, I didn’t really care about the one of 30. What I was more concerned about is, is this date going to be like she’s at work? I’m going in order to get to know her and have fun, not for an interview for a reporter. I just hoped that she was really interested in getting to know me and not just on writing a story, because I've got other stuff to do than give interviews.
Were you jealous of any of the other guys after she wrote about them?
She was very complimentary about all the guys, so it was hard to know. I think the one that worried me the most was date number 5 (the night before me) because I know him and I know he’s a great guy.I could see how he would be competition.
What did you think of her post about your first date?
I thought she was rather flattering.
What was your first impression of Tamara?
I thought she was cute, funny, and energetic.
What do you like about her most now that you’ve gotten to know her a little better?
I like her willingness to go on any adventure—her zest for life. I like that she doesn't just talk about her dreams--she's out there chasing them.
What things do you and she have in common?
Let's see. We’re both right-handed, we both like music, we both like to sing, we both went to Columbia. We both love NYC and the gospel.
What were you most nervous about on your first date?
I was nervous that I might be boring. I felt like she was going on all these dates, and I hadn’t planned or thought of anything because I was the last-minute guy. If we want to do something at the end of the night, I needed to think of something that’s fun to do. She’s probably already been on cool dates and I want to compete with that, rather than be "the boring date".
What about your second date?
I don’t think I was that nervous. I did buy new clothes. The cameras were going to be there. I wasn’t nervous about the cameras, but I knew that it was going to be a little weird. Okay, I will admit that before I left, I told my roommates, “I can’t believe how nervous I am?!” I guess because I liked Tamara and didn’t want to mess it up.
I talked to our brother, Tyler, the day of the 2nd date, and he said, “We’re going to have to use Michal’s blog after this to get you dates with LDS girls.”
“Dude, she’s LDS!” I said.
“What?! Then don’t blow it, jerk!” Tyler's words haunted me all night. "Don't blow it, jerk!"
(Laughing.) Did you think that you had a chance at the second date?
Oh man, I hoped I did. I tried not to get my hopes up because there was so much good competition. I kind of figured that whether I won or not, I would ask her out again.
How many times did you vote for yourself?
Ho-ho. Good one, Michal! I vote for myself twice. Just to see if I could.
What was it like having all the buildup for the second date? That’s a lot of pressure to have the date be good.
With the second date, the guy couldn’t plan for it at all, since he wouldn't know until that morning. The pressure was less in a way, because I didn’t have to set up the plans. But on the other hand, since there were 30 guys vying for the date, I didn’t want to have it be lame. There was pressure for it to be fun for her--I didn't want her wishing that she'd picked someone else halfway through the night.
Yeah, I feel like they were kind in editing—my answers weren’t always so quick and snappy. They edited out the "ums" and the pauses to make me sound like I had great timing. And I got to have two shots at the interview, because the first time their mics didn’t work.
Did you feel awkward when you bumped into another of the guys while you were on your 2nd date?
It was a little awkward, yeah, especially because I know him, too! We had hung out a week before his date with her with a bunch of mutual friends. He was very cool, but it wasn’t as natural as it had been before we both took out the same girl. Now I was the one on the 2nd date, so yeah, it was a bit awkward.
Now a few questions about your television premiere: Did you get to pick out your own clothes, or did they choose for you?
I just showed up in my clothes.
How early did you have to get there?
I had a car waiting outside my apartment at 6:15.
Had you slept at all? They did announce on the air that the date went until 2am.
I had slept a few hours but I was afraid that I would sleep through my alarm.
What was it like being behind the scenes? Did they give you a lot of prep?
Well, there wasn’t really prep, and the interview wasn’t scripted. We talked about it a bit before the cameras were on, and then they ran the cameras live and asked questions to prompt our previous comments.
Since Tamara works at GMA, did they grill you there off-camera?
Oh, no. They were cool. Everyone was really nice and just said things like, "So this is the 2nd date!"
Are you nervous about dating a journalist—that she’ll expose your secrets to the world?
(Laughter.) What secrets? Nothing that you haven’t already done. I’ll just have to always say “off the record.”
Will you take out Tamara on a third date? Have you set it up yet? Why not? What’s wrong with you? (I had already written this, knowing my brother too well.)
Yes. Definitely. No, I haven't asked her yet. I actually need to call her. I’m trying to give her some space. (Me: Girls don’t want space!) No, I’m giving her some down time after a month of dating. Don’t worry your little heart out, I’m bugging her with incessant chats. I'll call her. I'll call her.
How are you going to top your 2nd date? Do you have a helicopter reserved?
(Laughter.) There’s an ice climbing expo outside of town this weekend that I want to take her to.
This weekend? Do you realize that it's Wednesday night?
I know, I know, I’m going to call her. I'll call her right now.
And there you have it, folks! I hope it answered all your questions. I must say that Tamara's post about the date made my heart swoon. She has done a great job on this project and I can't wait to see it in book or movie form. But I know that wasn't her main objective in doing this--and we can keep our fingers crossed that that main objective is met, too. (See, Evan! I didn't say "love" or "marry"! I am such a good sister!)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I got tagged weeks ago by Rebecca at Becoming for this meme. You know I love a good meme, but this one is really going to make me think. After all, I am a full-disclosure kind of girl in most situations and there's not much about me that you don't already know if you read my blog. So, I'm going to give this my best shot. Sorry if some of you already know a few of these.
- I played the alto saxophone in the marching band my first 3 years of high school. My family had a rule that you had to be in the band for at least one year. We were an award winning band and we traveled throughout California performing and winning competitions. Our band director was very short--no taller than 5 feet--and he had a temper. He'd always throw a fit like a spoiled child if we didn't perform to his standards. I haven't played the sax since my last day of band.
- I bounced back and forth between two elementary schools in our district throughout my grammar school experience. In sixth grade, I had a little friend named Leilani who had buck teeth and chopped-straight-across-her-forehead bangs. She and I did almost everything together. When I got into junior high, all my friends from the other school were the "cool kids". Leilani was not. I dumped her fast. I have always felt terrible about this. Maybe I could track her down now and apologize.
- My parents got me a bike for my 7th or 8th birthday. My dad took me to the neighbor's flat driveway to learn (we lived on a steep hill and our driveway was steep as well.) I fell off several times and skinned my knees. I decided that I'd had enough and went back inside to read my book. My younger sister and brother both hopped on and learned to ride that afternoon. I didn't get back on a bike until I was 12 and I discovered that our youth program at church had planned a progressive dinner on bikes. I decided that I had better learn to ride, since not riding a bike was my deep dark secret. I did, although I'm sure that I was an obvious novice at the activity. I can probably count the number of times I have been on a bike outside of the gym.
- The last two have been kind of downers. I guess I need to think of a happy one now. (The problem is, the only stuff I haven't already blabbed about are my deep, dark secrets!) At my missionary farewell, my family sang, "We'll Bring the World His Truth." As we were singing, it suddenly struck me that my parents had been preparing me for a mission for my entire life without ever telling me that they expected me to go. I was so grateful to them and all those years of early morning scripture study and memorizing verses. Throughout my mission, I would often sing that song to myself in the shower and cry, but it was never a sad cry. It was rejoicing that my parents had taught us well and trained us to be missionaries. All six of the kids in my family served full time missions.
- One of the ways that I know I get the baby blues in the first six weeks post-partum is that I don't want to leave my house or talk to any of my friends. I go from being uber-social to a recluse, and I have to force myself to answer the phone or tell anyone, "Sure, you can come by for a visit." It always catches my husband off-guard because it is such a 180 degree turn from the normal Michal. I also cry. A LOT. (He doesn't forget that part!)
- I don't like Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho-hos, and those little donuts that have plastic chocolate on them, but I LOVE Zingers. Especially frozen. Vanilla, Chocolate, or the red ones with the coconut? I'll eat them all.
- When Jared and I were dating seriously, I once made a chocolate cake to bring to his family's Sunday dinner. It was from a mix with a bottled frosting (I've come a long way since then! I might still use the mixes, but never the fake frosting.) His family raved and raved about it and always talked about my amazing chocolate cake. I felt sheepish that it was from a mix, but didn't want to admit it for fear that they would find it less impressive. They asked me to make it again and again. Now that I know them better, I recognize that they were just trying to build me up and help me feel comfortable. They have always been good at that. I was insecure for years anyway.
Coming tomorrow: an interview with Evan! If you have any questions you are dying to know about his date with Tamara, you'd better leave me a comment.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Here is all of the food I ate yesterday (to the best of my memory):
- 3 pieces of french bread with butter
- 3/4 of a Sees Bourdeaux Heart (roughly the size of 3 normal pieces)
- A handful of grapes
- 2 handfuls of Valentine Peanut MnMs
- 1 triangle of the quesadillas I made for my kids' lunch
- 1/3 bag of Pop Secret Homestyle Microwaved Popcorn
- 1 baked potato with butter and cheese (I fully intended to put sour cream on it and forgot because I was eating in front of the computer.)
- about 6 Sees Candy Red Hot Hearts (they are smallish)
- 10 blackberries
- 2 1/2 frosted heart sugar cookies (large)
- 1 bowl of chicken and dumplings
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Hopefully, once Tamara gets caught up on her sleep, she will post about date number 31. And I won't stop hounding Evan until I get a good interview out of him. Do you have any questions for either of them? Leave me a comment and I'll be sure to ask.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I got mentioned on Fox and Friends! Not by name or anything, but Tamara did give me a shout out as Evan's campaign manager. They talked a lot more about him than they did about me--and I thought this was all about me! :)
We can't wait to read all about it on Tamara's blog tomorrow. Also, they'll give a debriefing of their date tomorrow on Good Morning Amercia Weekend. I've also secured an bloggy interview with him, which I'll publish next week!
If you didn't get to see the reveal this morning, live on Good Morning America, go here. I can't find a code to embed it, but if you are savvy enough to figure that out, let me know and I'll just post the clip here.
Have a great time tonight, Tamara and Evan! We'll be thinking of you!
Friday, February 13, 2009
And he can dance, too!
And by the way, my fortune cookie tonight read, "Your efforts in a critical area will soon be rewarded." I'm not sure how critical this date is, but I can't claim to have put much effort into anything else in the last few days, so let's call it an omen!
Feel free to send an email note to all of your friends and neighbors, encouraging them to vote for Evan as well.
The results will be announced on ABC's Good Morning Amercia Weekend tomorrow, Valentine's Day. Set your TiVo or stay by the TV to see who wins!
And thanks for all your support.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
And just watching the waves crash on the sand.
He stands ready to protect your honor.
He looks cool, no matter what he's wearing.
He's helpful around the house.
He's good with motorized vehicles.
He'll never make you feel guilty about your sweet tooth!
Several summers ago, when I was expecting our 3rd (Ian), Evan lived with us and worked in the area. I worried a bit about having a college student living with us, but it was all delightful. He would get home from work about the time I was making dinner and he would either wrestle with my two boys, play the guitar for me, or ask if he could help me make dinner or run to the store for anything. He even painted the new nursery before he left town. We missed him and have tried to convince him to come back again, but he's always got some other adventure planned.
Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not positive that Evan loves animals. But I do have this picture of him to prove it (if I wanted to manipulate Tamara, who loves animals). Evan at least isn't allergic to any animals that I know of, even llamas. See how they flock to him like a shepherd?