Thursday, 20 March 2008


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


Brave Sir Robin said...

Ohhh tough one!!!

(Because after my FAVORITE film, how do i pick 2, 3 and 4?

I'll try to post by tomorrow morning.

Now - about yours,

Waitress - I've never been a waiter, but I would have made a damn good one. I always wanted to live in Austin and be a waiter a Katz Deli.????

Teacher - ahhhh, my dream job. If I ever tell you the tragic 5 part drama that is my life story, you will hear about my dream to teach.

Cousins - I saw that in the Theatre and loved it. I saw it with my friend Fred, his fiancee and my (then) wife. Fred and I loved it, the girls hated it. btw - Fred and his wife (not the same girl) have excellent taste in films.

Napa- ohhhh.:(

I actually really like Gilmore Girls, but it seems unfashionable to say so.

Northern Exposure was awesome!!!! Men in Trees wishes it was Northern Exposure.

4 placed I'd rather be - only 4?

maurinsky said...

Writer's Almanac: I can't tell you how many mornings I've wept in my kitchen as I'm getting ready for work, listening to a beautiful poem.

Bee said...


My dream job would be to have free rein over my own bookstore/cafe. This would combine all of my favorites: books, people, food, coffee, random chatting and new discoveries. All of the things that I loved about waitressing!

It is ridiculous, in a way, to pick just 4 movies. Now I wish that I had picked a Minghella film -- because I love them all.

How could anyone hate Cousins?

Is liking Gilmore Girls unfashionable? I thought there were some really "true" aspects to this show: how difficult family and romantic relationships can be. Plus, I loved the clever banter. It is the "Buffy" show that I have with my children.

Yes, tell me about your teaching fantasy and what it is that you want to teach; and who.

Thanks for visiting me! I've seen you at Brave Sir Robin's. If you see my post from Feb 29 you will find a May Sarton poem that I discovered on The Writer's Almanac. I was transported when I heard it. You know that feeling you get when poetry manages to express something so true? Something you've noticed, a bit unconsciously perhaps, but never really fixed your mind to think about?

Brave Sir Robin said...

Is liking Gilmore Girls unfashionable?
In a house with three males and no females it is considered "odd" to watch a show like that. I remember once making a comment about Gilmore Girls and someone shot back - Who in your house watches that? I suppose it is akin to me noticing a woman's shoes. It just isn't understood in some quarters.

And yes, I love Writer's Almanac. I am a big NPR listener, although I still hold a grudge over the whole Bob Edwards affair.


Lucy said...

Lots of juicy information here, very enjoyable!

Anne said...

Harold and Maude!!! I aspire to be some combination of Ruth Gordon, my grandmother, and her sister. I think I'd have a grand time.

And I adore Terry Gross. She always seems to have such fun doing her interviews.

The Writer's Almanac is a wonderful way to start the day. I used to be able to catch it on my way to work the first few years of grad school.

Do come back to Napa Valley! Gloriously good food and wine await!

k said...

lyle lovett?! you're so cool.

when i was little my dream was to be a waitress. my mom didn't cook so we had dinner out every night and waitresses were so fascinating to me. at 19 the dream finally came true... and ended 3 months later. it was hard work! but because i'm an ex-waitress i'm a great tipper.

i loved 2 says in paris also. did you know those were julie's real parents who played her parents?!

i haven't thought of cousins in ages, but i loved it when i caught it on cable years ago. must rent it soon.

ruth gordon is the greatest, i love how the same woman played maude and that kook in rosemary's baby. what a talent.

i just don't get raising arizona. and i hated fargo. i didn't see no country... because my husband told me i'd hate it. not that i listen to everything he tells me, but when it comes to violent movies i do usually defer to him. i think frances mcdormand is terrifc. i just don't get her husband & his brother! have you seen friends with money? she's so amazing in it. it's a nicole holofcener movie. love her. see lovely & amazing, too, if you haven't.

my friend daphe tabbytite went to trinity! she's a few years younger than you, but maybe your lives intertwined. you wouldn't forget her name!

london is number one on my must go to list. my friend jen is traveling thew world & is expecting to be in london in 09. i'm totally going. and you need to come meet up with me. i want to experience all the touristy london things, but i also want to go to tesco, and go to a bookstore and get all the india knight, etc, books i can't get here. i want to experience the life of a london mom and see how it differs from an american mom, or if it does at all.

my mother adores gilmore girls but i've never watched it. time to start. i love the new show "the return of jezebel james" (are they showing it there yet?) it's written by the gilmore girls lady. if GG is half as good as jezebel, i will love it.

Bee said...


I so hope that I can grow older -- without losing my zest for life. Let's definitely meet up in Napa. I just thought of "Sideways" -- great movies keep occuring to me!


I wrote you such a long comment -- and then our Internet cut out! So (2nd choice) I had to go do some ironing and watch a rather strange film called P.S. with Laura Linney. have you seen it?

So on the topic of movied: please see "No Country for Old Men." I just finished the book, too, and it was wonderful as well. I can't even put my finger on why I love this movie so much -- because "violence" is definitely a genre I avoid. Yes, I've seen and liked "Friends with Money" and "Lovely and Amazing." I also like Frances in "Laurel Canyon." She has something very tough and no-nonsense about her that I really admire.

Please do come to London; it's great. I will make myself available to ANYONE here for tours. (Just for K: I have an India Knight guide to shopping in London! HOW funny is that?)

Is Daphe Tabbytite a real name? I've definitely never met her. Where is she now? I graduated in 89.

Just buy a season of the GG and see if you like it; never mind that, I promise you will like it. I hope JJ comes over here! We just got Mad Men . . . we are always about a season behind.

Anne said...


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