Diana Gonzalez is the kind of woman who gets her magnificent hair done, laughs and plays in the studio with me for an hour, and then goes home and lays flooring in her house with power tools. She is loving and soft-spoken, strong and opinionated, generous and kind. She loves ice-skating and hiking, she’s a professional gardener, and she’s the mother of two grown sons, Nico and Gabe.
When we met back in November to view her finished portraits, she answered the Proust Questionnaire.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being able to talk to each other about everything and still loving each other.
What is your greatest fear? Being rejected or not liked.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? That I pretend to be really strong but I’m weaker inside. I portray a strong, powerful woman but I can come crashing down in private.
Which living person do you most admire? My boys.
What is your greatest extravagance? Traveling.
What is your current state of mind? Excited about turning 60.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Always having to be nice. There are some days I wish I could just say what I think.
On what occasion do you lie? When it’ll protect somebody’s feelings.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? That I have spots on my face. But so does everybody else when I really look at it. We’re all flawed, we’re just always looking for perfection.
Which living person do you most despise? I don’t despise people, I just despise how people prioritize their life. I look at a person like my ex-husband and I despise the fact that he decided to choose something else over family but that’s his choice. I still have my choice and it still goes forward.
What is the quality you most like in a man? The gentleman.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? I like it when women can compliment each other, versus making it a competition.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Shit!
What or who is the greatest love of your life? Oscar [Mireles].
You get married when you’re young and you think you know what you’re doing and you hope for the best. But after you’ve had a lesson then you know what’s important and what you like. There are many things I’ve changed about myself. I’ve learned to be more vocal. I’m OK with who I am now; I’ve got my wings now. I can go forward one way or the other. I was never gonna look for another love. Then you run into somebody — and we’ve had our hang-ups, too. But some more time goes by, and you realize: this is it. This is good.
When and where were you happiest? Okinawa, Japan for a year and a half, when I was in the Air Force. Every day was happy – I was young, the beach, people, the beach, work, the beach. I didn’t want to leave.
Which talent would you most like to have? Playing the guitar.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be more assertive at a younger age. I would have been so much more vocal.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising my boys and still being connected with them. They still like to hang out with me.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A bird.
Where would you most like to live? Near mountains and lakes.
What is your most treasured possession? Knick knacks from my boys, pottery things that they made in school.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? I don’t know that I’ve ever had misery. I’ve had sadness, a lot of sadness, from a brother who passed away. But misery – I don’t know that I’ve had misery. Even though my marriage ended badly, I was still able to function and find happiness and strength, so I don’t know that I’ve had misery.
What is your favorite occupation? Construction or building things. I love to work power tools. I just finished laying two floors in my house.
What is your most marked characteristic? I’m patient with people.
What do you most value in your friends? That we can be open and tell it as it is.
When you read, do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Non-fiction.
Who are your heroes in real life? My mom, for nurturing all us kids [5 boys, 2 girls] on the farm.
What are your favorite names? My sons’ names, Antonio and Gabriel.
What is it that you most dislike? When people aren’t kind to each other.
What is your greatest regret? When I joined the military I thought that I should go into the administrative field versus engineering, which was the field that I tested higher in.
How would you like to die? With my boys around me in some natural place, maybe near the water.
What is your motto? One life, live it up!