Here’s all about me, in an interesting little FAQ nutshell manner.
What’s your name?
Cynthia Dollins – online, I normally stick my maiden name (Ballew) in there because there’s another Cynthia Dollins out there who is not me and who is a published author. I’m sure she’s totally smart and awesome and appreciates the fact that I go by Cyndi Ballew Dollins online.
I spell it Cyndi because it’s more logical than shortening Cynthia to Cindy. Seriously. Check out the spelling. Other people have spelled it Cindee, Cyndy, Cindi, and Cyn. I normally don’t care unless I’m having a severe OCD day. Most of my friends don’t call me Cyndi anyways – I’m also Red, Mama, Hot Stuff, Sweetness, Honey, Baby Girl, and Lady.
What do you do?
Right now I’m a professional mom and part-time web presence. I’ve done a little of everything due to the ability to get incredibly bored. Monetarily speaking, I’ve made a career in operational analytics for dotcoms. I’ve flown ads, coordinated teams, done beta testing, designed reporting systems and all that fun crap that business people get to do.
Not so profitably, I’ve run and moderated other websites, done free beta testing for sites I love, and generally been a pain in the ass. I’m an award winning artist and I’ve published some non-fiction articles (that I got paid about $5 each for.) I read. A lot. I chase monsters around the house.
How many books do you read?
I estimate that I read about 300 books a year. Normally I read a novel in a day, but I don’t read on all the days of the year – just most of them. My reading list is a good mix of stuff I’ve never read before and favorite stories I’m visiting again.
I’ve tried again and again to keep a book list or a list of reviews. I’ve used websites, journals and tools, and I just can’t stick with something. I like the afterglow of the story and somehow analyzing it lessens that. There are plenty of people reviewing and promoting books out there, so I’m reading for the pleasure of it!
Who lives in your house?
I was about to write that question as “who do you call family?” but that question is too inclusive. Currently living in my house are me and Shaun, our 3 kids, 2 cats, 3 dogs, and a matched pair of diamond doves.
In order of age:
Shaun: 31 years old, human
Cyndi: 29 years old, human
Spooks: 11 years old, feline
LJ: 10 years old, human
Ernesto, el pussy gato of DOOM!: 9 years old, feline
Abigail: 7 years old, canine
Alyssa: 6 years old, human
Ethan: 5 years old, human (A&E are 10 months apart, both born in the same year.)
Calista: 5 years old, canine
Nola: 3 years old, canine
Pietro (Pete) and Camille (Cami): 1 year old, avian
Did you plan life this way?
Kinda. I knew I wanted to marry Shaun, and I did that in 1999 after graduating high school. I knew I wanted to be a mom. I knew that I wanted to live in Northeast GA in the back of a subdivision in a house with no stairs. I had tentatively planned on going to GA Tech after school, but that just didn’t work out. Shaun was finishing his degree after we got married and as soon as he did, he got a temp job at the parent company of the company I somehow ended up working for. By that time, we owned the house and then I had a career at 19 years old.
Babies weren’t so easy. All our kiddos are adopted through foster care and most of our furbabies are rescues. We tried for biological kids for a long time and during fertility treatments I developed cysts on my ovaries and one in my brain. After a 65 day migraine, and having to get back on my feet, we decided adopting was probably the easier plan. During the time between A&E coming to stay with us and the time we found LJ, I left my job to stay home with the kids. That effectively cut our income in half but we’re making it work!
Do you get any of the products you mention in your blog for free or discounted?
Nope. I pay good money for the stuff I talk about online.
What do your tattoos mean?
On the left boob is a rubber duck. It’s the closest Shaun is ever coming to getting his name on my body – he’s always been called Schwaun by his asshole friends and that went from “dude, you’re a swan” to “I bet you’re a penguin” to “there’s this duck that has a 7 ft penis…” So, he’s Sir Duck.
On the right is a scuba diving turtle. I got it after the 65 day migraine to remind myself what good pain felt like.
On my back is a (slightly modified) lyric from Falling Up’s Arafax Deep. It says “show me your meaning of love, show me the secret to life, and I’ll crash in the reign, your love is all I need.” The song actually says rain and not reign but I’m superstitious, so I’m not saying anything about crashing in the rain.
On my arm is a Pentecost dove with the word Arson behind it. It was originally inspired by Anberlin’s Glass to the Arson, but later other bands took on the whole “light stuff on fire spiritually” idea.
So I take it you’re a Christian?
I had this friend a few years ago who was a missionary. She told me that if she said she was a Christian that she’d likely be killed, so she normally said she believed in the teachings of Jesus. Apparently, that’s a big difference.
I like to say I believe in the teachings of Jesus. I’m pretty sure that Jesus would be my friend. I’m also pretty sure that most people who wear the name Christian proudly would be utterly offended by me. That, my friends, is my foolproof plan! If you aren’t offended by me then you probably will put up with most of my bullshit.
And yes, you people about to call me a heathen or a harlot or some other nasty h-word, I have read the Bible. In several different translations, editions, and commentaries. My favorite is The Word on The Street.
What’s your online privacy view?
Personally, I’ve been online for most of my life. Any half-crazed monkey with Google can find out nearly everything about me. That means my job is to write so much good stuff about myself that I can monopolize the first 3 pages! Studies show that people stop clicking after 3 pages, so if I can fill up the interwebs with flattery, then we’re all good. Right?
Really, my advice to you is this: Don’t write down anything that you wouldn’t tell your mom, your pastor, and a random stranger. Don’t even password it or put it online because many a sites have flubbed up and made pages that you meant to be private not so private.
My solution to this is to just live transparently and in a manner so that 10 years from now, I can read this and still say “fuck yeah! That’s the truth!”