The Great Interview Experiment: Alisa of A Juicy Life
February 14, 2008 | A Juicy Life,Blogging,Blogland games,Citizen of the Month,France,Great Interview Experiment,Valentine's Day
Neil at Citizen of the Month started The Great Interview Experiment on Jan. 18, 2008, after deciding, “We all should be interviewed, at least once.” So I signed up and interviewed the next person to comment after I did: Alisa of A Juicy Life. She runs The Juicy Pear, a pottery studio in Los Angeles, and Art-Works Studio, where she and her husband, Bruce, teach art classes for children.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here is a story of amour and bonheur. A story of the loves of Alisa’s life: her husband, her dogs, her art, pears, wonderful food and République française. Reading through her blog, I was struck by how happy she is. Turns out one meaning of her name is “great happiness.” It fits.
Joyeuse Saint-Valentin, Alisa and Bruce!
I’m so sorry for the loss of your dog Daisy in July. How old were you when you got your first dog? What kind was it? What was his/her name?
We got our first dog “Dixie” when I was about 6. She was a white Shepherd mix. Sweet as can be. My sister and I would dress her up in skirts and shirts. She was so great. She was a mom and had seven puppies after a romp with Reddie the Irish Setter that lived down the street. The pups were like golden retrievers, we kept one “Buffy” … she would steal bread and sleep with it. They both lived a long life, Dixie passed away when she was 18 and Buffy lived until 17. I will always have a dog (or two or three). We currently have three.
Augie, one of Alisa’s three dogs
Congratulations on your recent marriage! What was the first thing you noticed about your husband?
The first thing I noticed about Bruce was his blue eyes … they are beautiful.
Getting married after 11 years together on 11/11 is pretty cool. What made you think of that?
Our first date was on Nov. 11, 1996. We were married 11 years later, on our 11th anniversary of our first date.
Alisa and Bruce on their wedding day
Your photographs of food make me hungry. What would you prepare if I brought a bunch of blogfriends over for dinner?
Duck. For sure. Most people here in the States don’t eat duck, and it’s so so so good. I would also make either my goat cheese-and-leek tart or the new tart I just tried, roquefort and onion. I have a great recipe for orzo and arugula salad, which is fresh and light. I’d also have a couple good baguettes and a plate with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping … AND a couple bottles of a good Côtes du Rhône or Bordeaux wine. For dessert … either crème brûlée or a good flourless chocolate cake.
[Becky: Délicieux! Magnifique! Who’s coming with me to L.A.?]
Where did you grow up and what brought you to California? (That’s assuming you grew up somewhere other than California … )
I grew up in Lansing, Mich. Born and raised there. Youngest of four. My father was a golf professional and my mom a stay-at-home-mom. I left Michigan when I was 23 and went to New York City. Didn’t know anyone. I tell people I grew up in New York because I sure did. I left New York three years later and moved to Los Angeles, again not knowing anyone. The sun brought me here. I’ve been in Los Angeles for 18 years, although Bruce and I moved to Las Vegas for one year to rock climb. It’s time to leave L.A., though. I’m tired of the traffic, the smog and so many people. I will miss the ocean (I live 1-1/2 miles from it and bike along it three to four times a week) and the weather. That’s about it.
What made you fall in love with France?
Everything. My first trip there was 15 years ago, went to Paris and Nice. I have never been to a place where I felt so comfortable. When I arrived in Paris, I actually felt like I had been there before. I love — the language, the people (they are not rude … at least not to me; I have met some very lovely people there), the food, the wine, the lifestyle, the countryside, the architecture, the history and the Tour de France. My favorite village is Saint-Antonin Noble Val, located one hour northeast of Toulouse in the Tarn-et-Garonne. I also love Lourmarin which is in Provence, and Najac in the Aveyron and I love the Dordogne. I love it all.
Alisa in France
Are you or is your family French? (Gigi and Mathieu [Alisa’s niece and nephew] sound sort of … French.)
No. I sure wish … it would make it easier for us to move there. I do speak French, though. Bruce and I have been taking private lessons for three years. My sister is married to a man whose mother is from Nice. That’s where Mathieu (spelling) comes from. Gigi — Georgia — was named after the Republic of Georgia (once part of Russia). My sister adopted this lovely little girl when she was 3 months old. Went to Georgia and picked her up. She’s a pistol.
What will you miss the most when you move to France?
Peanut butter. A good clothes dryer. The ocean. Southern California weather and a few very close friends.
Why “juicy pear”?
I love pears. Not eating them but the way they look. So not perfect! They are all different and unique. I want my pottery to be not perfect … nothing is from molds, no two pieces are the same. “Juicy” because a hard pear is horrible! Some people say that Bruce and I are the “Juicy Pair” …
What inspires you?
People who are risk-takers, free-thinkers and go-getters. Life is too short to moan and groan about things. Take a risk, take a chance, do something different, try something new. When I hear about people who have followed their dream or taken a chance, it makes me smile and realize that our goal to sell the house and sell the business and live in France isn’t crazy.
Were you always an artist? Or was there one thing (person, class, event) that made you want to be an artist?
No. I never thought of myself as an artist. Bruce is a painter, started drawing and painting as a young child. He can draw anything. I was a gymnast growing up. Very athletic, not artsy. I took a pottery class when I was 38, and it was so easy for me. I loved it. Bruce is the one who got me to take the class. He said that all of us are artistic; you just have to find out what it is. I found it in clay.
If you could talk to your 20-year-old self, what would you say?
Don’t get married before you are 35. Stop and smell the roses. THINGS don’t make you happy.
What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?
That I’m pretty anti-social and a homebody. I’d be happy living in the country with just Bruce and the dogs.