My Story: A Micro-History in 15 Questions

Since today is my birthday I decided that I would do something fun and different.  I am always encouraging you and my clients to be open and introspective, so I thought I would share some silly Q&As that will tell you a little more about who I am.  

1. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like? All the time.  I find myself doodling probably every time I get a pen or pencil in my hand.  Usually they are tessalations, but sometimes they are faces.  

2. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?  I will admit I am one to get up and do something productive.  Of course, I have read that this is the worst thing to do! But, I feel a little better knowing if I have to be awake I'm using my time for something useful.

3. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it? Honestly, I think I would do alright in solitary.  I would probably spend my time scratching to-do lists into the wall about everything I was planning to accomplish when I got out.  I could probably go on for a couple weeks like that, at least. 

4. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away? I am a saver.  I love letters and stationary. I like to keep them together and go back through them regularly.  I'm sentimental like that. 

5. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child? When I was really little I was totally convinced that the animated M&Ms and the 7up spot were real.  I thought I could break the television screen and get to their world.  Good thing I never tested my theory.  

6. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up? CAFFEINE!!!!!  I can't do anything in the morning without coffee.  Although, I will take caffeine in any form from chocolate to Chai. 

7. What’s something that amazes you? Call me a romantic, but in all my research what I am most amazed by is the lengths people will go in the name of love.  It could be love of country or love of a neighbor or friend or romantic love, but some of the stories I've had the honor of learning could melt anyone's heart.

8. Do you prefer that people shoot straight with you or temper their words? Why? Oh, gosh, straight! I would so much prefer to just be told exactly what someone is thinking than have to try to guess. I think there is a kind of trust that develops when you know someone is comfortable being honest and straightforward with you. It knocks down all that pretense that inhibits really connecting with someone. 

9. How and where do you prefer to research? It depends what I am researching.  No, I take that back.  I have a first preference and a second preference: 1. At a library, with the scent of old books and rustling paper.  With dim light rushing through a high window and heavy wooden tables.  (2) In my pajamas at my computer with a cup of hot coffee and some French jazz music coming from my record player. 

10. What position do you sleep in? I'm a hard-core stomach sleeper.  Can't sleep any other way!

11. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be?  I would get rid of my shyness.  Truthfully, I've done a pretty good job of working through it, but I am naturally extremely shy, and I would love it if I were a social butterfly and all of that human interaction stuff came naturally to me!

12. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? I would choose something very old fashioned.  I think I would like to be named for someone from my family history.  Perhaps Alice, for one or the other (or both), of my great grandmothers who had that name.  

13. Do you believe ignorance is bliss? Why or why not? No.  I would always choose to have insight and knowledge over willingly being ignorant.  I believe that knowledge is power, and that through that power we can change our circumstances, our lives and our world.  

14. How difficult is it for you to be honest, even when your words may be hurtful or unpopular?  I was raised to put honesty first. Period.  I definitely try my hardest to be tactful, and I don't think I'm usually hurtful, or at least I am not ever intentionally hurtful.  

15. When do you find yourself singing? I sing an inordinate amount when I am stressed.  I'm not talking your typical belting in the car either.  I sing making food in the kitchen, walking to the mailbox, etc.

I'd love to hear from you.  Do you have an answer to one of the questions above? Let me know in the comments!

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here

Google's Birthday: Remember when...

My morning ritual is pretty standard. Start the coffee and sit down to check my e-mails before getting on with my work for the day. My home page (like so many others) is set to Google.


It's Google's 14th birthday. Gosh, it couldn't have been 14 years could it? Google has become such an integral part of our daily lives that it has actually become a commonly used verb. Have a silly question? A random factoid to check? Just GOOGLE it!

Do you remember the first time you ever used Google?

I do. I was in one of my first "Technology classes" (mostly an excuse to play SimCity for an hour), and we had a project... I can't remember what the project was, but I do remember using Google to search for information. I also remember using but in retrospect I suppose that doesn't seem nearly as monumental as the first time I "googled" something!

Where were you when you first used Google?