Maria was actually my inspiration for blogging. When she first started blogging I couldn't imagine why she would want her diary on the internet. After I started reading it, though, I loved it! Her blog, Little Things are Big, is always uplifting. She never, ever rants. She tries to highlight the actions of others in a kind way and she focuses on the sweet blessings of this life. I love reading it and I think you will as well!
Before I begin with the interview, it is important to me that you understand about her name. Maria is pronounced like Mariah. It may seem to you that we should have just spelled it with an h on the end but she was named after Mike's grandma and so we stuck with that Norwegian spelling and pronunciation. Also, we lived in Turner, MT at the time and most everyone there had known Mike's grandma so it was not unusual there. Her middle name, Rose, is after my grandma (the same Grandma for whom our Wyoming Rose Boutique was named). Having explained all the effort we put into her name, I will also tell you that when she was a baby there were people who called her Georgette. She looked a lot like Mike's Dad, George.
Besides being my daughter, Maria and I work together as shop owners. We have a lot of fun shopping for vintage treasures as well as designing and handcrafting our original designs. It is a joy for me! She also is a beautiful model for our products!
Maria is married to Eric, a supreme son-in-law. She is mother to the delightful Cordelia Rose and she is expecting our 2nd grandchild in July. If you check out her blog be sure to weigh in on the baby-guessing game on the left side of her post! They hope to find out March 1 whether it is a girl or a boy!
My interview with Maria...
What is your earliest memory and how old were you?
My earliest memory is just before I turned 2, or so you once told me that's how old I was. I remember a red windbreaker, my friend Jennifer and running. Mostly my memory is just the feel of the windbreaker.
Tell me something about which you feel passionate.
I feel extremely passionate about veganism. I feel that there is enough suffering in this world and if I can lessen my part in that cycle of suffering I will. Ultimately food is purely fuel, you poop it out---is that worth the suffering and death of a sentient being? I am heartsick when people say, “I can’t give up (meat, cheese, eggs, etc.).” I just grit my teeth and think, “No…you won’t give up (meat, cheese, eggs, etc.)” When I learned about the facts of the animal industry there was no turning back I felt morally obligated to become vegan. With that said I no longer try to actively convert people, they have to come to it on their own. My efforts to that end have only broken my heart.
Tell me something about your childhood.
I had a wonderful childhood. My parents made me feel loved, supported, protected and encouraged. My siblings were and still are so very important to me. I had a happy childhood and I truly believe that has been the foundation for my whole life.
Tell me of an experience from your past that was incredible or amazing to you.
Well, I suppose the most transformative experience was becoming a parent-which happened in stages. Everything had greater weight. The world was more…just more.
Tell me your first memory of knowing you were loved.
I don’t have a first memory of love. I always felt love from before I knew anything else.
Tell me something that frightens you.
Losing my family.
Tell me something you have accomplished that pleased you.
I try to be pleased with all of my accomplishments, from the way I stacked the dishes this morning (it was a sight to behold) to completing my MA.
When you were most recently with a group of people did you feel as though you fit in or not? Why or why not?
I don’t ever feel like I fit in, not really. I have always felt like I am just a bit off, a little quirky. I used to be troubled by this, but now it is part of who I am. I am happy to be a little on the outside. I feel like I have a unique perspective.
What was your first job for money?
Baby-sitting. I even started my own babysitters club though truthfully I just wanted to buy office supplies and boss my friends around.
Tell me about your first experience leaving home.
Oh, that was so difficult. I left for college. I was so excited to be out in the adult world. Of course it was hard to leave my parents and brother Ben, but leaving Sam, who was 6 about broke my heart. Thankfully I had my then boyfriend, now husband, going to the same college. We really supported each other through the change into adulthood.
Do you think of yourself as an organized person? Why or why not?
Most people think I am organized, but it comes with great effort and determination. I am not a naturally organized person. My inclination is to toss clothes on the floor, stack dishes in the sink and leave piles all over. However, after years of effort I have really managed to control my messy tendencies and I keep a neat house…my closet is even organized. My end goal is to be clean, have only things I use or love and to avoid piling things up.
Tell me of a time you used your creativity.
I always use my creativity…why wouldn’t I? Everything is more interesting if you use creativity.
Is your adult life different than you expected? If yes, how so?
Oddly I spent much of my childhood and teen years dreaming of adulthood abstractly. I never really had a clear vision of who or what I wanted to be. Thankfully adulthood has given me many gifts so I suppose it is much better than I could have dreamed.
Is there a particular person who had great influence on you and if so who and how?
My parents…they made me who I am. The Copelands…they helped me to find who I am.
Tell me something about your views on spirituality.
I believe in God.
Did you go to camp as a child? If so, do you have any fun stories to share from that time?
I did go to camp. My camp nickname was Bob, because I introduced myself as Bob…apparently I was hilarious as a 12 year old. I also remember my counselors wearing very modest sports bras on a hike deep in the forest surrounded only by girls and I was scandalized by it.
If you are married, tell about first meeting your spouse. Was it love at first sight or did it cook up more slowly?
When I first met Eric he came by the junior high (he was a high schooler)and he was wearing black fishnet stockings on his arms and legs, tall boots and all black. Black crimped hair, black lipstick, black nail polish. I had just moved to the area from small town Montana and I had NEVER seen anything so strange in all of my life. He was super nice, but he was “dating” my friend. I did keep tabs on him for years as we were in the same circle of friends, but always on opposite ends. When we finally started dating a few years, and style changes, later everyone was kind of like, “why didn’t we think of putting those two together sooner?” It just made sense.
Tell me about your children.
Cordelia is two. She is one of the best gifts I have ever been given. She has made me a better person, brought me closer to my spouse and family. I am thankful for every moment with her.
I am pregnant with our second, and last, child. I expect to find my life transformed once again. I can’t wait to meet this child and complete our family. We’ve been waiting for this!
I also have had two miscarriages, they are the children I have yet to meet.
Tell me something about your time as an adolescent.
I was awful, but I am so thankful that I was. I wouldn’t change a moment of it for fear that it would change my present.
Tell me of a time you experienced loss.
I have lost family and friends to accidental death, murder, age, illness—but the time I felt loss most deeply (thus far)was with a dog I never had.
I had spent some time volunteering at an animal shelter when I first started college. Cocoa was a dog that had been in this no-kill shelter for quite some time. She was totally unapproachable and constantly in terror. I began to work with her every day and over the course of time she began to trust again. Eventually we felt that she might even be adoptable. I wanted to adopt her so badly, but I couldn’t I was about to move to Montana and had no home.
When we found a woman to adopt her I was overjoyed. I interviewed her and had her sign a contract stating that she would return Cocoa to the shelter if it didn’t work out. I got her into her new home and left for my honeymoon. When I returned I found that the woman had put her to sleep---for no reason. I was heartbroken. I still am and I always will be.
What do you do for a living?
I kind of get the best of both worlds. I am a stay at home mom, but I also teach a couple of classes at the local college. I have a master’s degree in art history, but I wouldn’t say my part time work is really making me a living.
What do you currently most enjoy to do with your free time?
I like to spend time outside exploring and creating with my daughter, dog and husband.
Tell me something new you've recently learned.
I have learned metal stamping, it’s pretty cool and easy once you have the right tools.
Is there something new you plan to learn? If so, what?
I have a looooong list! Currently I am reading up on canning.
Thanks, Maria, for agreeing to this interview. If you are interested, you may see questions here. I am enjoying these interviews. You don't have to be someone I know for me to interview you! You may e-mail your answers to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be delighted to do a post featuring you! I will be featuring more interviews as they come in.