K, my new fun friend from Kansas City tagged me today.
My assignment? To share things about myself in groups of 4's.
4 jobs I've had:
Waitress -- all through the higher education years I waitressed. I've worked in some memorable restaurants, too. 410 Diner in San Antonio. Kerbey Lane Cafe in Austin. Star Pizza in Houston. I loved being a waitress -- because I really like to have lots of cash in hand! (I went to a wacky astrological therapist once and she said that all Capricorns are like this!) Seriously, I love talking to people and I especially liked working the all-night Saturday shift at Kerbey Lane. All of the musicians used to come in between 2 and 4 am. Once, a hippie stoner left me a $140 tip for a cup of coffee! My coolest customer ever was Lyle Lovett at the 410 Diner.
Editorial Assistant -- I actually can't remember my exact "title" for this job, but it was the most boring job on the planet. It was my first 40 hour a week job out of college, and by the end of the year I had decided to apply to graduate school. Basically, I wrote and proofread sentences for those ghastly standardized tests that young school children are tortured with every year. (At least when I was a kid it was every other year -- which left more time to make bluebonnets out of tissue paper.) We used to spend hours making sure that no names were repeated; that we varied animals, colors, sports, etc. The only good thing about it was the people. We worked in a huge basement at long tables -- just like drones. We had to be quiet, so we acted just like children -- making jokes and trying to get each other to laugh out loud. I was always getting told off for talking, and I quit before I could get fired. The first thing I did was road-trip down to New Orleans with my boyfriend to see the Heritage Jazz and Blues Festival. I still remember the sweetness of the freedom.
Graduate Advisor -- this was a really fun job. When I was getting my second Master's degree I worked in the Education office. As my "title" suggests, I got to "advise" people -- which was right up my alley. I didn't skimp on the advice, either -- I gave really good value. I loved the secretaries in the office; they were a hoot! That job was all about coffee, doughnuts, and gossip -- three of my favorite things in the world.
Teacher -- I worked at the International School in Port of Spain for a year -- and then I got pregnant, and that was the end of that for awhile. Anyway, I made a lifelong friend at this school, and I loved my students, too. They were a really diverse bunch and some of them had been through a lot in their short lives. I'm pretty sure that I learned more that year than they did.
4 favorite movies:
2 Days in Paris -- this is my most recent rental, and I really liked everything about it. The beautiful French actress Julie Delpy wrote, starred, and directed -- and did a fine job in all areas. It is very "talky," full of hilarious characters, and has an interesting ending. And it takes place in Paris. What more do you want?
Cousins -- I really pulled this one out of my hat. I haven't thought about it in ages, but I've seen it three or four times. It is based on a French movie, and probably influenced "Four Weddings and a Funeral" in its turn. Set in Vancouver -- spectacular scenery and that gorgeous transporting kind of cinematography. There is a large, interesting cast -- but the leads are played by Isabella Rossellini and Ted Danson. It takes everything that is funny about families and weddings and then wraps a sweet little love story around it.
Harold and Maude -- I love quirky romances, and what could be quirkier than this pairing? Everything about this movie is unexpected and original. And I adore Ruth Gordon; I want to be Ruth Gordon when I grow up.
Raising Arizona -- with apologies to Monique, this is an extremely funny movie. Nic Cage and Holly Hunter were perfect in their roles. My first taste of the Coen brother sensibility. I definitely want them on my dream dinner party guest list -- Frances McDormand, too. (Perhaps they would explain the ending of No Country for Old Men?) I need to see this again; it's been too long.
4 places I've been:
Napa Valley, California -- Sigmund and I went here the first year we were dating. How could I resist him? I want to go back now that I know little more about wine. For some reason, what I really remember were all of the delicious artichokes that I ate.
New York City -- the most exciting place in the world for me. Food; theater; movies; shopping; Central Park; people watching. All my favorite things.
Prague -- beautiful city that I visited, unfortunately, in January. I want to see it again in the spring or fall. I am fascinated by Milan Kundera.
Barbados -- we were fortunate enough to live in the Caribbean, and I've been here a couple of times. Bliss on earth is eating at The Cliff, overlooking the ocean.
4 places I've lived:
Landstuhl, Germany -- I was born here. A not-well-known fact about me.
San Antonio, Texas -- I picked my university, Trinity, largely because it was in this great city. My family has a lot of associations with San Antonio: my parents actually met there. I love San Antonio for its weather (excepting the summer months, when the asphalt has been known to melt), its food, and its wonderful fiesta spirit. There are so many great places to sit outside and have a good burger and a margarita -- and something about that exemplifies the city for me. I've been going to Mi Tierra -- open 24 hours a day; year-round -- all my life.
Port of Spain, Trinidad -- I was hugely lucky to live here. It is a really unique, stunningly diverse and multicultural place. Also fun, fun, fun. Some of the best, most memorable years so far; and every good friend I had from this era is still an important part of my life.
London, England -- when I first came to London, at age 15, I remember thinking: This is the place for me! I spent the most exciting year of my life here; I haven't been able to top it yet. I try to go up to "Town" at least once a month -- and it always gives me a charge. I would live here if property prices weren't prohibitive.
4 favorite TV shows:
Gilmore Girls -- I discovered this one in its fifth season -- we were in Cape Cod for the summer and I randomly turned on the TV while I was making lunch. I was hooked in the first five minutes. Funnily enough, I never contributed to their ratings: I have never seen it "live" -- only on DVD. It is my mother/daughter show that I see with the girls. We labor under the delusion that Rory and Lorelai are our close personal friends, and we have never totally accepted that they are fictional characters and that Star's Hollow is just a cardboard set on a lot in California. I love every character on this show -- even Taylor Doose.
Northern Exposure -- I am already detecting a pattern here. Large cast of quirky characters living in a quirky town. If Cicely, Alaska had been a real town I probably would have moved there -- even though I hate the cold. Again, I love the characters; with a special mention for Chris, Ed and Marilyn. I thought the writing for this show was genius: it had so much wit and whimsy, and I loved the literary influences. This show was the highlight of my week the first year I was in grad school.
The Royle Family -- this is a UK show about a family of four that sit around watching TV and drinking "brews." Despite the fact that it depicts a Northern, working-class family -- of which I know nothing -- it is somehow universal, which has to be the mark of great writing. The characters do very little, but it is dead funny. This show plays to my inner slacker, I guess.
BBC Historical Costume Dramas -- any and all.
4 favorite radio programs:
Fresh Air with Terry Gross (NPR) -- I love Terry Gross's voice and calm, interviewing style. I have been introduced to all sorts of good things from exposure to this show.
The Writer's Almanac (NPR) every day, at 8:35, the five or so minute program comes on NPR. First, Garrison Keillor reads a poem -- and then he talks about interesting writers/other historical personage who were born on that day.
Desert Island Discs (BBC) -- famous (and/or interesting) person tells their life story through the structure of 7 favorite pieces of music. It's been running for decades, and I've been listening to it for at least one of those decades. It is fascinating stuff if you are fascinated by people.
Women's Hour (BBC) -- another long-running program; reminds me of the days of early motherhood. Always something interesting -- books; health; politics; human interest stories -- anything that affects women, really. The presenter is intelligent and calm, and you feel like the world is a better, safer place when you listen to her soothing voice.
4 favorite foods:
Popcorn -- made in a seasoned pot at home; has to be Orville's; lightly salted. My ultimate comfort food.
Baked potatoes -- my second ultimate comfort food. I ate one, with cheese and mushrooms, every single day when I was a sophomore in college.
Steak -- medium rare; from my dad's grill or any good restaurant.
Chips and Guacamole and Queso and Salsa -- the quickest way to go from starving to way too full. I cannot resist these.
4 places I'd rather be:
New York City
4 people I want to tag:
Brave Sir Robin
The Accidental Housewife