One of my new friends in the blogging community is Tamera Bowman, a photographer, blogger and writer from western Massachusetts. I discovered Tamera on the #Blogging411 show, which is co-hosted by my friend Allison Carter. On the show, Allison told Tamera how much she loved her blog, especially her photos. I checked out her blog, Tamera Like Camera, and became a fan. After exchanging comments and emails, we discovered that we have a lot in common. Just check out this picture:
Those of you who know me know – this is someone I have to be friends with!
Seriously though – you need to check out her site. Her pictures are stunning – especially the ones of her children. Also, her husband made a kick-ass costume for Halloween that’ll blow you away.
Each week, Tamera costs #AskAwayFriday and I always enjoy those posts. She asked me to let her know if I ever wanted to participate – and here we are.
So I sent a list of questions to Tamera, for her to answer. You can check those out here. My answers to her questions are below.
She asked, and I answered away….
- What’s something that amazes you?
I cannot come up with only one thing that amazes me – especially for my first question of my first #AskAwayFriday. How about this – the journey of life amazes me. All of it. I’m amazed I survived the teen years. I’m amazed that I carried four babies and that I’m a mother. My children astonish me every day. I’m amazed by love and how it just happens and you have no control over it. The strength of our bodies and the human spirt. The power of emotions, even the tough ones like grief. Time amazes me and all the clichés about it that are painfully true. Mother Nature often takes my breath away, especially when she gives me a surprise gift like yesterday’s sunrise:
- What blog post were you most afraid to publish, but did anyway? And how did that turn out?
I contribute to a site called the Family Legacy Center(FLC). The first post I wrote for them was on the topic of legacy – specifically the legacies of my mother, father and brother. I’d only written about my mom once. It was a Mother’s Day tribute and it was well received. I’d never written about my dad, whom I had a bit of a rocky relationship with – although fortunately it mellowed when I became a mom. So I was nervous about that. Writing about my brother is what really sent me over the edge. At the time, he hadn’t been gone a year. I was still grieving and I was afraid to be seen as taking advantage of him – by using his death as a topic. I was really, really scared. I don’t think I was ready to write about him (I’m still not) and I really struggled. But I wrote. Then I was scared to share it, but I’d made a commitment. I did not want to “market it,” so I was grateful that it wasn’t on my site. When it went live, the FLC tagged me on FB, which I understand. Some friends saw it and before I knew it, I had tons of comments on Facebook. It was very gratifying. And the FLC said it was one of their highest traffic days ever. In hindsight, it was also cathartic.
3. I know you’ve been writing lately about blog conferences you’ve attended. Will you be going to any blog conferences in 2015? What are your next goals/plans for your blog?
Yes, I hope to attend at least one conference next year. It all depends on schedule and location. I enjoyed the SITS Girls Bloggy Bootcamp, and would love to do their two day conference, Women Get Social. I had fun at Type A Parent and met some great people, but I let myself get overwhelmed by the content. I know you went to Blog U, as did a number of my other blogger friends – I hope they have another conference so I can meet up with everybody. I almost attended, because I was in the area on our summer road trip, but I didn’t know what to do with the kids! I just heard BlogHer will be in NYC next summer, but it’s a really big conference and if I was in New York, I think I’d be too tempted to play hooky.
What are my goals? To just keep writing. And get published. I want paper!!!! I have the magazine column, but I really want to be in an anthology (or two), so I can add “author” to my bio. I also have my eye on a couple internet sites that I’d love to add to the resume. I’ve over-committed myself lately with non-writing blog tasks and personal obligations and it sucks. And now, the holidays are here. To be fair, it’s all stuff I want to do, but there’s just not enough time. In the New Year (can you believe we’re talking about the New Year already?) I want to get back to basics. No classes or conferences for the first half of the year. I plan to write and keep building my tribe. I also want to finish one of my damn manuscripts.
- What’s something hilarious that one or all of your kids have said recently? (I get these on a daily basis here).
My youngest, he’s seven, is on a roll lately. He cracks us up every day. He still has a little mini-mouse voice and mispronounces his “sh’s” as “ch’s” (yes, he’s in speech). He recently said the following:
Cammy: “You know what I wich mom?”
Me: “No. What do you wish?”
Cammy: “I wich I controlled all the nature in the world and all the technology in the world. “
Me: “Really? Why’s that?”
Cammy: “Well…” His hands dramatically went out, like he was conducting an orchestra. “Half the things in the house are made from nature, and the other half are made from technology.”
There you have it, from my power hungry little cutie pah-tootie.
- What is your most viewed blog post ever, and why do you think it was so popular?
I’m glad you asked me this, because when I researched, I discovered that I need to update my “Most Popular Posts” section on the blog. My number one blog post is Happy Birthday Kelly. However, I must clarify, because this has been number one for a while and I couldn’t figure out why. I wrote the post as a birthday love letter to my sister-in-law. It was her first birthday without my brother, who died the summer before. It was an emotional post, and it received a lot of comments, but mostly from family and friends. I didn’t understand the staying power. It’s visited a lot. My friend Allison helped me dig down into Google Analytics to solve the mystery. Apparently, people Google “What to buy my sister for her birthday” and land at my site. Now, if I was smart, based on conference intel I would change the post to a gift guide with affiliated links. But I can’t do that, because it is one of my faves.
Spam and Google aside, Awesome News From CPK, is the most popular. And the stats are valid – it’s about the donation CPK made to my son’s school, following my Huffington Post article, To the Manager at California Pizza Kitchen.
- I believe in happy endings and optimism too. Can you share a recurring daydream you have about your life? And if not that, just a dream you have for yourself and/or your family?
Yes, in my daydream my son Barrett wakes up one morning and tells me he has pulled off the biggest practical joke of all time. “Guess what mom? I just wanted to see how much you could take. Man, you’re pretty tough. I decided to let you in on the joke – I can talk!” I don’t even think I would be mad at him. But realistically, I hope I live a very long and healthy life and that my husband and I still hold hands on the front porch, watching the sunset, when we’re in our 80’s. I hope that Barrett has a job and that he lives in an apartment above our garage, able to mostly care for himself. I hope that Hunter, Audrey and Camden are happy, healthy and successful doing something they love. And I hope they give me lots of grandbabies.
- How did you find yourself as a blogger? Was it surprising, or was it a goal of yours?
It was surprising! I was a CPA and then I became a mom. I had premature twins and I couldn’t really work. Then I didn’t want to go to work, but rather do something from home – but not accounting. I wanted to be a romance writer and actually wrote a 400 page manuscript. Then life and autism sidetracked me. A funny series of events led me here. A love of writing and reading and some lucky breaks helped me get the gig at My Forsyth Magazine and that triggered my desire to have my own blog. It just happened, really. Sometimes I still scratch my head – especially when I encounter someone who comments on something I wrote.
- I see you like a lot of New England sports teams. Are you from here? What was your hometown like?
I was born on Cape Cod – Hyannis. I spent my first decade in Harwich, on the south shore of the Cape. I’m never quite sure whether it’s proper to say I grew up on the Cape or in Naples, FL – where we moved. My parents spent the majority of their lives in Massachusetts and they were die-hard New England fans. I read somewhere recently that fandom is influenced more by family than where you live. I think that’s true. Even during the bad years, I never gave up on my teams. It kills me that my parents died before the Red Sox finally won the World Series. My dad did get to see the Patriots win their first Super Bowl, though.
My hometown, I’ll go with Harwich, is very charming and quaint. In the last few years I’ve been back quite a bit and it still feels like home – even after all this time. When I drive around town, memories and ghosts fill my heart. In the summer, when the weather is nice, it’s glorious. The greens are greener and the cerulean blue skies radiate happiness and the vibrant flowers just pop. I love the smell of the beach and the feel of the seaweed between my toes. The architecture takes me back in time. I swear, I know the Cape is more crowded then when we lived there, but for me it hasn’t changed. Almost everything is exactly as I remember it. Some places have changed names, and a few buildings are run down, but they’re the same structures. In my adult life, everywhere I’ve lived (except Puerto Rico), the old is demolished for the new. I’m so grateful that the Cape hasn’t succumbed to the “newer, bigger, better” mentality. I also love what the ‘ole Cape magic does for my family. We slow down. I feel that magic when we cross the bridge and I feel the absence of it when we depart.
- What qualities of yourself do you see in your four kids?
Oh man…not the good ones, that’s for sure! Barrett has a tendency to get really excited about things that make him happy. So excited that sometimes we think he’s going to fly away. I do that. Hunter is very emotional, and his feelings get easily hurt. Guilty as charged. Camden, hmmm…not much of me in that one. He’s light, carefree and lazy. Oh, I know, he can entertain himself. He’s totally okay with playing on his own – and he’s a daydreamer. Audrey is a unique creature. She resembles me at that age and she loves to dance and sing into play microphones. I did that. I don’t know how to express this, but Audrey is the one everyone says is “so like me.” This flusters me, because she’s the one I probably clash with the most. And yes, it’s tough to swallow, but I realize that means everyone might be right. And I’m not sure how to take it. She has such confidence and a spark that I really don’t have. She’s feisty, but I swear I don’t argue that much – and I certainly never did at her age. She’s tenacious, to a degree that is exhausting, and my brother swore I was like that. Maybe I’ve blocked it all out. Maybe maturity helped me realize that some things aren’t worth fighting over. I don’t know. But she loves to read, I’ll own that one!
10. What was one of the best trips you’ve ever taken in your life?
Can I have a tie? I think the best romantic getaway was the one we took for our tenth anniversary – San Francisco, Sonoma and Half Moon Bay (and the Ritz to boot!). We just had so much fun. It was the perfect trip. As for family, I have to go with – oh the pressure, so tough, but I think our first road trip. We went to Raleigh, NC; Washington DC; Ellicott City, MD; Adamstown, PA; Boston; Cap Code; Rhode Island; Pittsburgh; Columbus, OH; Detroit, MI; Elizabethtown, KY; Rose Hill, VA & Chattanooga, TN. I was very scared and excited and it was so liberating. I felt free and independent, yet still responsible for my crew. Everyone said I was crazy and a few didn’t think we’d make it for the full thirty days, but we did. I remember I cried as I pulled out of the last hotel we stayed in, on our way home. I wasn’t sad to go home, I was just overwhelmed by the accomplishment! We saw so many people and places. I even got to visit the house where my mom grew up. The new owners let me in to look around – which was surreal. That trip sparked a sense of adventure I didn’t know I had.
In the spirit of #AskAwayFriday, now it’s your turn. And I’m serious! Pick a question from above and answer in the comments. Or you can ask me a question and I promise I’ll answer.