Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Interview with an Intern, Part I


The above are recent portraits that Eleni and Isabela did of me and for me. I am entirely flattered by both. I turned 39 on Sunday. I did not turn 40. But still. I haven't blinked since then. I am stunned at how life goes by. I should still be about 12, in my book. I am in no state to write today about me or anything related to me, really. I am befuddled. Flabbergasted. Confused. Floored. Not only that, I'm even 39. Please someone older than 63 tell me shut up and enjoy it.


Lets concentrate on someone else. Today I am interviewing one of my humble interns, Anna Johnson. That's her above slaving away. She is cute and spunky and smart and wonderful to be around. She pronounces her name like most Annas and not like me (Aw-na) so I thought that would avoid confusion. Or I thought we could call her by her first two initials but her name is Anna Michelle so that doesn't work. Sometimes I just call her Bob. I have a real way with people. I asked her stuff. And she's here to answer. Now to our conversation.

bossy: How old are you?
bossy: Why aren't you 39?
interny: Why aren't I 39? Lets see, oh, goodness (internal squeak) I was just born in the wrong decade...?
bossy: Is it easy to be 19? (I wouldn't know I was a mother by then. And that was 20 years ago, my memory is fading. Am I still talking about myself?)
interny: Yes and No (as far as answering the real question in there).
bossy: What's the yes and what's the no?
interny: The yes is its great knowing what lies ahead and how many opportunities are yet to come. The no is when people meet you for the first time and you make a wise impression on them, they seem to want to take it back when they learn how old (young) you are.
bossy: So you're a student, where are you studying, what are you studying, and what impression do you have about how important your degree is to your life's work?
interny: Ooooooh. Are you ready for this paragraph? I am a fashion design major at O'More College of Design, in Franklin, Tn. Although I love my school, love how much I've learned, love how much I'm going to learn still, I don't think that in the present economy a degree will guarantee me anything. So in the long run, I look at it as a great opportunity to gain knowledge (those are my English AP words) and make connections. Not to mention that I love all the people that I've met there.
bossy: So then you are thinking of college as an experience as much as it is an education, right?
interny: Yes. College is what you make of it.
bossy: Smart girl, what do you hope your life's work is? Dream of all dreams? Describe it for me.
interny: That's something I struggle with on a daily basis....I'd like to be able to say at the end of my life that I have spent my days doing the things that I love, whether its photography, painting, designing or whatever, I hope I can look back on my body of work and not see it as work, but rather what I had a passion for. It might mean that I have to choose only one of those (or none of those) to make ends meet, or build a career, but as long as the bill-paying work doesn't overshadow finding enjoyment in what I do, then I will have lived the dream.
bossy: Would you like to tell the folks how we met?
interny: (Snicker.) Oh Dear. Umm. Well, like many people probably reading this post, I regularly follow your blog. Then I happened to see you in public and recognize you not by your face but by the crocheted sweater you had blogged about a few days before. I decided I had to overcome the embarrassment of recognizing your wardrobe, and introduce myself, because I knew I would regret it if I didn't.....(laughs shamefully).
bossy: What have you learned from the past two months during your sheer delight of being here once a week (please say something)?
interny: I learned that you drink coffee all day long. And that it is actually possible to achieve the balance of spending time with your family as well as being a crazy busy designer. Also its possible to be a designer and not live in LA or NYC. If you have the talent then you can work from wherever you are. As long as you have coffee.
bossy: (wipes tear from last answer) Did anything surprise you about this place/house/studio/chaos after your first few visits? Honesty time.
interny: As a regular reader of your blog I did have an idea of what to expect coming to your home studio. But I have been impressed by how relaxing it actually is around here, I didn't expect that working amongst six kids could be such a calm environment. I guess I am surprised to see how much everyone is on the same team, and helps out.
bossy: Are you in love? Loving me doesn't count.
interny: Oh, gosh, am I in love? No.
bossy: Does that matter?
interny: Oh gosh. Can of worms. I thinks its very important to love the people you've been blessed with and to make it known how much you care about them, whether its your family or friends, or anyone. So as for the significant other...if that person showed up I would welcome it, but I wouldn't say I'm on a mission.
bossy: Is there anything else you would like for these kind interwebual people to know about you or your time here?
interny: I love the amazing life and amazing opportunities I've been given and my time here with Anna Maria falls into both of those categories.
bossy: I wuvoo.
interny: I wuvoo too.

Hope you enjoyed our chat, more on Thursday with my other intern, Crista.

xo, Anna


  1. Anonymous4:27 PM

    I'm 50. "(Don't) shut up and enjoy it!"

    Happy belated!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday!!!! I just turned 39 about a month ago, so I have no words of wisdom to share =P

  3. Oh she's sweet. I wish I was 19. But I'm not; I'm 41. My daughter is almost 19, though. Lucky - so much to look forward to!

  4. Love the interview and what a smart girl in more ways then one! If you ever need a 42 year old intern I would make you feel really young!
    Honestly I thought 39 was much harder then 40 so imagine how great your next birthday will be. : )

  5. happy belated bday. this interview is great. oh, and i think you're hilarious. i find myself laughing almost every time i peruse your blog. not AT you but WITH you. :)

  6. Ahhhhh. I love this post. Happy belated birthday to you!

    Oh, and I'm with you 100% on the coffee!

    So glad you have such a sweet intern to help you keep things running smoothly.

  7. Having just become eligible for Medicare as of yesterday, I'm qualified to tell you to shut up & enjoy it! But I enjoy your blog so much, I think I'll change that to just enjoy it!
    I actually think the only time I was traumatized at a birthday was my 30th!

  8. I met Anna at her 'other' job the other day. She noticed my AMH fabric on my bag and lunch bag! I had a great conversation with her about your fabric, blog and how its a 'dream come true' to work with you! You are lucky to have her! As far as 39 goes...not so bad...I'm older...not wiser...just older! Happy belated birthday! And intern Anna...I love the picture you took or AMH and Roman!

  9. Well, if you two are just the cutest! Wise Anna, stop obsessing about your age - you've done more in your brief 39 year old stint than many of us have done with FAR more time. And Innocent Anna, you're sounding rather wise for a 19 y.o., missy! Good luck - sounds like you're heading to an exciting career doing what you love.

  10. I am not 63, but I am proud to be 60 and my philosophy is I am proud to be that age and wouldn't even trade my worst day, because everyday shaped who I am and I like me. I guess it is kind of like the butterfly effect, but I don't know how to describe it properly. The good and the bad have given me viewpoints, loves, likes, and even dislikes. I am terrified of snakes from a single confrontation but if I took that away, I would lose the comfort that I was given that day by my father. My brother died when I was 10 and the wails of my parents as they found out are etched in my mind, but the kindness of the neighbors who looked after me balance that grief out. You are 39 years old, but each day of that 39 years has helped to shape you and you don't know whether picking up that piece of paper for the lady with a cane saved her from falling, you don't know if one night as you comforted one of your children as they cried made them stronger so they will accomplish something great beyond comprehension. Love your life and know that age is just a collection of experiences that take time and we count time as age.

  11. 39? I have t-shirts older than you.

  12. Oh to be 19 again, I don't know what I would do but I do know what I WOULDN'T do. I guess that's good.
    I turned 39 this year as well and now all I can think about it turning 40 and if I can ride a horse on my birthday, maybe I am still 19...

    Happy Birthday Anna!

  13. Anonymous6:47 PM

    40s are great (I'm 44) in my experience - you know yourself even better, you no longer sweat the small stuff at all, you stop worrying about imperfections related to your body and enjoy the blessing you have.

    Your 39th year will be amazing :)

  14. I am 63 so don't worry about 39. Seems like yesterday I was 39.Linda gerig

  15. Happy late birthday!!! I turned 31 this year and then had to ask my husband how old I was a month later...I didn't believe it.

  16. Happy birthday! The 40's and 50's are even more fabulous. I am 69 and loving all the extra quilting and computer time I have. Love your blog and your fabric and fabulous ideas. Thank you,

  17. oh gosh, intern Anna Michelle, Anna Maria, and myself Anna Marie.... all in one comment. Just too much! ;) She sounds like the perfect addition to the mix. My Birthday was just a few days ago! We are both Leos...... Happy Birthday!!!! Still celebrating over here...... it was 43 for me.

  18. It's warming to see someone who was a young mom (like me) make in the crazy designer business.
    Happy Belated Birthday - and my rule is you can't say your old until you can't remember what old means.

  19. I'm 48 and the good thing about mid-life crises is that you become 19 again in spirit. Not body, for sure. Good luck Anna the Intern. The world is yours to do what you want. Enjoy figuring that out.

  20. Fun and cute! She sounds like a delight of an intern. I didn't actually realize where you lived until this post, I think that's pretty fantastic.

  21. You are very young sweetie remember there is always someone older than you are. Here's a tip, hang out with older people and you'll always be young. June 14th I turned 70 and in no way think I'm old as there are people I know in their 90's and they make me feel so young!

  22. I enjoyed reading the chat with your intern.
    Happy Birthday!
    I am about to turn 44 and have not had a freak out moment yet. Maybe that will come soon. I like getting older every year and would not go back in time for much of anything.
    Enjoy it!

  23. I absolutely love that your intern recognized you in public because she was a regular reader of your blog! Greatness!!!!
    xo Susan

  24. Loved the interview! I'm 36 and would totally be stoked to be an intern at your house/shop/studio. Thank you for yet another peak into your amazing life!

  25. It will make you feel MUCH better to know that my Dad became 70 on Sunday .... See??? All better now :)

  26. As a mother of a college student I just want to say thanks for having summer interns and giving these students an opportunity to see what its like to be in the work force. Having hands on experience and exposure to many different jobs is so important. Having internships and a successful business person take the time to mentor this generation is so important

  27. It's so good read an interview that was actually a face-to-face conversation and not just a list of questions that were sent to someone!

    And happy birthday!

  28. Oh to be 19 again. I can say that I don't ever think "Oh what do you know, you are only 19" as I am often blown away by how self assured and competent so many young people are. I worry that one day someone will find out I am just pretending to be a grown-up and I am 43!!!

  29. 39 isn't so bad, really. The age I had a hard time with was 20. For some reason that one bothered me, but nothing since then has fazed me.
    Age is only a number. It doesn't really mean anything, at least to me.

  30. Shut up and enjoy it!

  31. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Aw, she is adorable! And so are you! Also... my BFF's sister was named Onna by their mom to ensure the desired pronunciation. ;) I always thought it was very cool and unusual.

  32. Best wishes for your birthday. I was just trying to convince my little sister this morning that turning 30 (her birthday is next week) won't be bad. Life is grand! :-)

  33. Oh, Anna. I had to laugh. I qualify as "over 63" because I turned 64 in July. You know what? I can't believe it either. I still remember being 7, and 15, and the overwhelming love and terror at 21 when I beheld my first newborn son and realized that my life had changed forever and how fierce, and vulnerable, it made me to love someone so much. Speaking of, he will be 43 next month! I can tell you dearest Anna, that at 64 you will still be your childhood self, your young woman self, and all the years in between. And you may even forget how old you are, or wonder how you got there.

    My life has been a very ordinary one, but I've been blessed with four lovely sons, good friends, and the ability to hang onto my sense of humor during my life's dark moments.

    I so enjoy your blog and love reading about your family, design work, and home. From my perspective (and I know exactly how you're feeling right now) you're so very young, kiddo, and in 25 more years you will realize that and have so many more wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing your life with all of us. And a belated happy birthday to you!
    With love,

  34. Happy Birthday!!! 39 isn't old!! I'm turning 33 in 3 weeks. I know that's not a bad thing, but it REALLY disturbs me how I can say "twenty years ago" and remember it so clearly. I know exactly how you feel about how you should still be 12. I keep wondering how the heck I got from 12 to almost-33 in a blink. Wormholes, perhaps?? :-) But I know 33 is much better than 12, and 39 must be even better than 33, and 63, according to so many here, is better than 39. So life just keeps getting more and more wonderful... right?

  35. Well I am 50 but in my mind somehow, I am only 32. I constantly have to remind myself that I really am 50 and not 32, and then of course, I am totally shocked!

  36. Ah, I remember 39...
    Weird to hear you calling your intern Bob - I thought it was just me that called everyone Bob.

  37. LOL! Excellent! I LOVE that she recognised your top! & she has a SOH!

  38. Anonymous12:34 PM

    She is so much wiser at 19 than I was. Good job, Anna (both of you)!

    And Happy Birthday! I hope you had a blessed day and may God grant you many, MANY years.

    Do you need another intern? I'd definitely move to TN to intern with you and your family. :)

  39. I love this post. The portraits are so cute. I was thinking about you Sunday, I guess because as a blog stalker I remember you were doing a book signing on your last birthday. You are only 39! oh my gosh. I hope to have as much accomplished as you by the time I reach 39. I'm doing things as an artist a bit like you. I had Layla at 19 which is when I really got into sewing/quilting, and now I'm 21 and I love love love it so much more. Thanks for breaking your blog silence for this interview. I've been checking religiously, and finding this post was a nice surprise. Happy belated birthday, lady!

  40. Happy birthday!!! My birthday was July 31st and i turned 31. turning 30 had little impact but 31 caused a little part of my brain to have a meltdown. in some ways, like you, I feel as though i'm still a kid and always will be but in other ways (mainly my knees)I feel ancient and past it. It's all going by much quicker than i'd like it to.

  41. Happy birthday! I'm turning 59 in November, but definitely think that MUST be wrong because I don't feel 59 (well, except for my bones...)

    Delightful interview. I think it would be awesome working with you. I'll bring the coffee!

  42. What an amazingly articulate girl! Very impressive at any age!! I turned 39 too this year- eeek! It's so weird to me that I still hear the same voice in my head that I did when I was 16- how did all that time pass!? Happy Birthday! You are an amazing example of what one can do with their life- and still be an amazing, present mom! Thanks!

  43. I have to tell you that I'm 52 and still can't believe it. It's only in the last few years that I've stopped being surprised when someone thinks I'm a grown up. :P Not that I don't have responsibilities, I've been a parent since 22.
    I'm with you on the coffee, there are worse addictions, that's for sure.
    I decided years ago, the age that comes after twenty-nine is twenty-ten. With that system, you'll be twenty-twenty next year. Just about perfect.

  44. What a gorgeous pair of Annas you are! Both beautiful and wise. I turned 45 on Saturday. And I should still be about 12 too. That thought keeps us young, surely?! Happy birthday Anna MH. Every year we have is a blessing, and better than the last in some way :) To nineteen year old Anna, follow your dreams. You obviously have a sensible head on your shoulders, and the world is your oyster! Wonderful interview.

  45. Thank you for sharing.Keep on!!

  46. Anonymous8:30 AM


    Now. Did Anna alter her long sleeve tee or is she wearing an apron? If it's altered, you're gonna need to do a post on that shirt. Isn't that nice? One less post about you...you can continue to be flumoxed for a while longer. ;o) [I'm 42 and you'll be fine.]

  47. I'm 60, (almost) raised 8 blessings, and life is just getting started! Love every minute and BE AGELESS! It will serve you well.

  48. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Nicely done! I became a mom at 19 too, it just means we got a little headstart and can enjoy the things the kids enjoy longer. I am 52.I am still a kid on the inside, but you accumulate alot of experiences, which just might add up to a little wisdom and alot of good memories. Honestly, it gets easier over 40, for one thing we stop counting!!

  49. Happy Birthday!
    I just had a birthday in July- HOW COULD I BE 57??? It seems like only yesterday I was in my 30s with 5 little kids! Now I've got grown kids and 4 GRANDS!! (My best advice to you is Joy in the Journey...and take care of your health! Both REALLY matter!)

  50. Miss Interny is so very lucky. And, yes, so very wise. It must have taken some pluck to introduce yourself. And look what happened!

    Miss Anna Maria is beyond lucky, she's blessed.

  51. I so enjoy your blog. Yours is the only one I follow. I'm 42 and had my first baby a year ago. Yikes! One night when I was preggers and couldn't sleep, I looked at your blog. I saw your son's name Roman and wrote it down to show my hubby the next day. To my surprise and delight, he loved the name... but I wrote it down wrong. We now have a Rowan but I give you full credit for helping me find his name :)

  52. Oh my gosh, Lori, that cracks me up, and kinda makes me wanna cry too. His name was meant to be. SO so sweet, best, AM

  53. I turned 39 back in April and I'm still not over it ;)

    Good thing is most days I still feel 30. My biggest regret is waiting til 30 to start having children. I have a just turned two year old boy (today is his birthday) and I wanted to name him Roman soooooooo badly, but my husband didn't like the way our last name went with it... Roman Romeo. I love it though.

  54. I was 39 last August. It kind of sucked. Now that 40 is in two weeks, I'm ready to get there and call it a day. I made sure the family knows to order my favorite Mexican chocolate cake, and I want a new snowboard. Stick that in your eye, 40.

    When I was 19, I was rather lost and dating complete dilrods, the kind I hope my daughters don't bring home. I was 20 pounds lighter, but still...19 was wasted on me. I think I have 40 down already. Happy Birthday!!

  55. Jody I love every single thought you left here, and can relate to a lot of it!!


  56. From what I can tell, the way to customize the appearance is to add the class prefix ".mobile " to additional style statements in order to customize the appearance in mobile browsers. Not had time to try it much yet, but will do my best over the holidays so I can write up a post.

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