I think breaking down who I am into the following aspects will help you get to know me:
nerdbot – At heart, I am really a nerd. Here is why. When I was in 3rd grade I read through my parents’ encyclopedia set. The whole thing. Then, in 4th grade I asked for an unabridged dictionary from Santa. I got one and read every word through “N” and skimmed most of the book after that. What child does this? A super nerdbot. I used to carry two bags to school. Really heavy bags that you could barely zip closed. One was for all of my school books and the other was full of “in case I have a few minutes” books. I pursue information just because I’m fascinated with the world and everything in it. Actually, I can’t really think of any topics that I don’t find completely fascinating. So, chances are that I will find you fascinating, even if you are boring. The nerdbot in me will detect the depth of your life and encounters and related wonderments, and I will find myself in some kind of awe. Inevitably, I will have to do research after hanging out with you so I can learn more about the something-and-the-other-thing that we talked about. I ask lots of questions and frequently mutter to myself, “Interesting… interesting.” Also, I love microfiche.
geek-by-proxy – My husband is a geek. And he’s a great, obsessive, idealistic, overly-involved, snobbish kind of geek. He’s the kind that will sit up on the roof to redirect a satellite dish just so he can beam in an Apple keynote. When our Internet went down, the first thing he did was take out his iPhone so he could Twitter about it. Then he paced around, wringing his hands while muttering to himself until our ISP came out and fixed their broken wire. He’s better now. One of his profile pics is of him doing a <head> tag on himself (see right). He even dragged me across the country for about 7 years so he could work at Apple doing geeky-geek things with the geekity-geeks there. (Okay, he didn’t have to drag me. I got to teach art at a great place and go back to school and surf and play volleyball… so it wasn’t all bad.) Because I love him and spend so much time around him, his geekiness rubs off on me. This makes people think that I am also a geek, but this is simply not true. I just hang out with geeks so much that I start to smell a bit like them. It smells like CPU fan dust and sweet tarts.
homebody – I think this is the title of my current profession. I’ve been doing the homemaker thing since my first son was born (September 2007) and have been trying to be some kind of homemaking rockstar. Can that exist? So, I like to do neato activities with my kids; we read lots of books together and build mud-pies and play on the swings and collect cool looking sticks and bake bread and go to the beach and build forts and stuff like that. I try to have dinner ready for my husband, who spends his day slaying Internet dragons (I think especially the nasty one called Internet Explorer). After over a year of doing this, I finally realized that I really enjoy this kind of work and find it very satisfying. It is very different from my ride on the fast train when I lived in Cupertino, CA. Currently, my main jobs include: nurturing, loving, serving, helping, counseling, hugging, laughing, attempting to maintain an acceptable level of sanity, NOT falling asleep on the job, and a bunch of other stuff seen by most as being more practical.
maker – I like to make stuff both for practical purposes and also for expressive purposes. I have my degree in Art and taught Art for seven years (before doing this stay-at-home thing). I am very interested in how art & design have been used throughout time to express the values and events of different cultures. I have studied how both art and craft have been used by Western and non-Western cultures (very fascinating stuff). I love to paint and draw so I can express ideas or emotions I have in visual form. This, often, is better at capturing my sentiments than words. Also, I like making messes (tactile is wonderful). I am curious about how psychology intersects with visual expression, believing that visual “conversation” has added layers that words themselves often do not have. In order to keep my technique sharp, I also like to use art as a form to document life by doing representational work. I’m interested in someday venturing into illustration, but all things in their own time. In terms of practical making, I like to sew & knit clothes for my family. I also make things for the home like washable baby wipes or book bags or what have you. I love to make ceramics and hope someday to make a complete dish set for my family to use (but first to dig a giant hole & lay the brick work for a kiln). There is something significant to me about using handmade stuff instead of things birthed on an assembly line and sold for a ridiculous price at a department store. (Plus, department stores have horrible lighting. Why would anyone go in there any more than he has to?)
earthygirl – When I was a kid, I used to fill up my giant bag with books (see nerdbot) and ride my horse bareback through the neighboring tree farm and meadow. I would do this for as much of the day as I could get away with. Actually, I remember laying on my back with my bare feet up on my horse Damon’s mane, my head resting on his rump, fully immersed in my Sandra Cisneros paperback. I was so lost in the story that I didn’t realize my horse had wandered into a herd of deer. How cool is that? Luckily, I had the kind of parents who were ecstatic that their child had dreamy events in her life like this, rather than the paranoid kind who would have insisted that I wear a helmet and stay in the flatly plowed arena where I would be safe. I used to swim in the ponds by my house with my horse. Oh, and I had really, really nice chickens. I’m not joking, they were super awesome chickens that perfectly adhered to the American Poultry Standard of Perfection. Yes, there really is an American Poultry Standard of Perfection, and I have read that too. Many times. Because I am a nerdbot earthygirl. I also know how to run a sustainable hobby farm ranging from vegetable gardening (the maker in me does lots of freezing & canning) to large animal husbandry. I know this because that’s how I was raised. I don’t do much of this stuff anymore because I live with a geek who doesn’t prefer this kind of lifestyle, but I do try to mooch this feeling every time I go to my parents’ house, which is a lot. I also live it in smaller ways on my 1 acre of land. When I lived in California I spent lots of time doing volleyball outdoors and surfing when I could. Someday I will have a “leave me on the beach and in the surf” vacation in Hawaii. Maybe someday I’ll even have an Endless Summer. Wouldn’t that be the most incredible thing ever? (Am I just a tiny bit hippie? Gasp!)
cheapskate – Did I mention that I had finally worked my way up to the highest possible wage I could get as a teacher just in time to quit my job and be a homemaker? So, we are now living off of my husband’s income, which has very much changed the way I look at money. I wish I had looked at it differently a long long time ago, but it took a sweet little baby to help me see the light. I now ponder the value of thrift, and am learning how to stand further and further back from the edge of financial ruin. I also consider how much modern day marketing, trends, fashion, and the like are really out to make me feel that what I have isn’t enough. That makes me angry. Or I think about the environmental impact that buying so much crap has. And I am (slowly) learning that, truly, a penny saved is a penny earned. Although I consider myself to be a newbie in this area, I do aspire to truly being considered a cheapskate.
believer – While I grew up with a mostly Christian upbringing, I think I avoided it during most of my formative years because I thought it was nothing more than tradition mixed with community service. So it really took me by surprise (or should I say that God took me by surprise?) when I became a Christian after my senior year of high school. I was baptized shortly thereafter and also made the choice to attend a Christian university. There I got into many excellent discussions and learned a strong theological foundation. The ache of my heart is to worship God forever, to be in His presence, to be His hands and feet along with other believers. I cling to the Bible, considering what it says as the absolute truth and rock by which my life is led. I am thrilled to see God working in this world and am in awe at the gifts He gives freely to those who love Him.
teacher – I am pretty much obsessed with pedagogy and information design. I started teaching when I was in 4-H by working with younger kids, especially through teaching dog obedience and agility. I eventually majored in Art Education (K-12) in college and got my Masters of Education in Instructional Technology. As a stay-at-home mom, I research much about cognitive and physical development of children as well as educational strategies for them. I incorporate much of what I know into all of my interactions with children, be they casually or professionally. The bottom line is that I like to see light bulbs go on, and I am interested in the most meaningful, most direct path to get to that light bulb.
I live in Forest Lake, MN with my husband Josh Lewis!, my most favorite man on the planet. We have two sons and one daughter: Caleb (born September 2007), Jack (December 2009), and Louritta (January 2012). We have a miniature dachshund named Ella and a cat named 5. (Yes, her name is a number. She is named after the Category 5 or “Cat 5” ethernet cable. Shut up, my husband named her). I am currently a homemaker, but we all know that that is really a million jobs tied into one simplified title. Basically, I do what needs to be done.
- Born in St. Paul, MN, lived in White Bear Lake, MN (1978)
- Moved to Forest Lake, MN & attended public schools (Columbus Elementary, Wyoming Elementary, Central Jr. High, Forest Lake Sr. High, Century College, U of MN) (1984-1997)
- Graduated from Forest Lake Senior High, started attending Bethel University in the fall, met my future husband 2 days before school started (1997)
- Married Josh Lewis (2000)
- Graduated from Bethel University; Majored in Art Education & Studio Art; studied Theater (2001)
- Taught Visual Art at Centennial Middle School and Roseville Middle School; coached speech at Centennial High School (2001-2002)
- Lived in Cupertino, CA and Taught Visual Art & Crafts at Hyde Middle School. I taught a diverse group of kids including English Language Learners and autistic kids (our school was a magnet for both). It was the most fantastic job ever because I had lots of support from the community and my school to do huge, wonderful things for the art program. I also received my National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Early Adolescent to Young Adult Art, completed a bunch of other professionally-related courses and certificates (CLAD, K-12 Reading, etc.). I was Teacher of the Year in 2006 and won some awards for innovating with technology. I spent a lot of time at the Krause Center for Innovation where I schmoozed with other tech-savvy teachers. While in CA I also played way too much volleyball, enjoyed surfing, played WoW frequently, and ate at many really nice restaurants. I attended PBCC, a wonderful church, and I still frequently miss the teaching, fellowship, and worship that was had there. (2002-2007)
- Earned my Masters of Education in Instructional Technology at San José State University; focus on Design & Information Architecture (2007)
- Our son, Caleb Stephen, was born in September. I became a homemaker. (2007)
- Moved to Forest Lake, MN (2008)
- Our second son, Jack Edward, was born in December. (2009)
- Our first daughter, Louritta Jane, was born in January. (2012)