Interview with Heather Armstrong / Dooce
Heather lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, is married to Jon, has at least one pet dog and a daughter. But most importantly, she has a troubled intestinal tract along with a hearty sense of humor, which you most certainly need when you have the former. Her daily posts are peppered with bits of what it’s like to be in her world of kids, husbands and people of the faith when you have a slightly off-kilter body and mind. On her FAQ page, you’ll find how to pronounce her name and that in Utah even the Post Office has a changing table to encourage more breeding. Her photo of the day sometimes makes me want to cry for no apparent reason other than that I like the feeling in them. Please, enjoy with me, the life and wit of Heather Armstrong.
When is your Blog Birthday?
February 27, 2001
Why do you blog?
Feels good to write. I approach it as therapy.
What do you usually talk about?
I talk a lot about my family, my dog, my experiences as a first-time mother, my life as a former-Mormon living among Mormons. My website is very much about me and I suppose it’s very selfish that way. But it’s also very personal and real and honest. I really try to be up front about everything.
What don’t you talk about? Why?
I don’t talk a lot about politics, although some of my political views poke through what I write. There are many more people out there who can talk about politics better than I could, so I don’t even attempt it.
What is the worst experience regarding something you wrote in your blog?
Um, yeah. There was that one time I got fired for my website. I don’t know if I have ever told the Internet this, but I cried in my exit interview. My boss who served as the subject of some of my more vicious posts sat across the table from me unable to look me in the face she was so hurt. I had never felt like such a horrible human being, even though in my mind I thought that I was just being creative and funny. But I hurt someone else and I could barely breathe in that moment.
Is the story of getting fired on your site?
Yes it is. It’s all explained under the “Dooced” category.
What is the best thing about living where you live?
I love living so close to the mountains. Utah is so much more beautiful than people know, and I’m constantly stunned at the beauty of the scenery outside of my house. However, the liquor laws here are medieval, and local politics are insanely, fanatically conservative. Sometimes I’m afraid that raising my daughter here will make her think that the entire world is white. There is simply no diversity here.
What would you do if you were president of the US?
I would never want that job. Plus, there is so much about my bottom system published on the Internet that I could never win an election.
What actor would play you in the movie of your life?
When my hair is short people say that I look like Sharon Stone. When my hair is longer people say that I resemble Cameron Diaz. My mother looks exactly like Meryl Streep. But in real life I could be Carrie-Anne Moss’s twin sister, with blonde hair. When I see her on screen it freaks me out sometimes, we have the same jawline and mouth.
What is your favorite color?
Hazel, or the color of my husband’s eyes when he wears a green shirt. It’s spectacular.
What is your favorite food?
Nacho Cheese, of course!
What do you wish you could change?
All those years I wasted wanting bigger boobs. I finally got the bigger boobs when I was breastfeeding, and they were awful! Smaller boobs are just so much more manageable.
Are you still a mormon and do you wear funny underwear and go to the huge church that no one else is allowed to go in and how many wives does your husband have?
I have never had my name officially removed from the records of the church, but I no longer practice Mormonism. I never went and did the special ceremonies at the temple after which I would be required to wear the Special Heavenly Underwear. Both my brother and sister were married in the temple and I wasn’t allowed to attend either ceremony because I wasn’t yet old enough to do those certain ceremonies. Jon has seven wives, the other six live in the basement and are hand-cuffed to the radiator. I occasionally go down there and kick them.
What gets on your nerves?
Women who spend more time styling the back side of their hair than the front side. That just doesn’t seem right.
When you were 10, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher. I always wanted to be a teacher, but then I grew up and realized that I had to pay bills, and that dream was dashed.
What are your hobbies?
I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies, not with a cranky baby. I spend a lot of time on the Internet reading other blogs. I have a really short attention span and blogs are perfect for that and for time between naps and bottle feedings. I like to hike and bike when I get the chance, but that seems so long ago! When the world didn’t involve changing diapers and waking up super early to care for the every need of another human being. Honestly, when I read this question, I thought to myself, hobbies? Oh, that’s right, people have hobbies! Someday I’d like to learn how to sew.
What is it like being a mom?
Being a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done. And it is hard every day, and gets harder every day. Of course it is wonderful and that kid smiles and looks up at me and my heart melts, but raising kids is manual labor. I have never been so exhausted in my life. It’s the biggest challenge of my life, and it’s wanting to conquer that
challenge and her giggles that keep me going every day.
I’d like to write a book. HA! I know, get in line.
What would your book be about?
Probably pregnancy and postpartum depression. Eventually I’d love to write a memoir, but I don’t know if my family is ready for that.
What do you want to tell other bloggers?
Don’t write about work on your website.
What is more cowbell, anyway?
It’s a skit on SNL with Christopher Walken making fun of the Blue Oyster Cult. He keeps asking for more cowbell, and Will Ferrell keeps giving him more cowbell.
Fascinating facts about you?
I collected all of my dog’s baby teeth and have them stashed away in a ziploc bag so that when he’s older I can show them to him and say, “Remember these? Those were fun times.”
I drink a gallon of water every day.
Will you save your baby’s baby teeth as well as your dogs? How will you know who’s is who’s? And what about yours when you turn eighty?
I’ll Let Leta decide if she wants to keep her teeth. That’s the difference between raising kids and animals: sometimes you have to give kids choices. The dog has no say in how and where I will humiliate him next. I will of course keep my teeth when I get old and lose them, and I will have them covered in platinum and strung around my neck.
How many times do you have to pee when you drink that much water?
Not nearly as much as you would think! not nearly as much as when I was pregnant, that’s for sure.
Thank you, Heather!
p.s. The reader might notice that in this interview I have taken a huge amount of leeway in goading the writer about her history and religion. This is because we have very similar backgrounds and should not be interpreted as ill humor towards Heather Armstrong. So, just back off or I’ll kick you in the cowbell.