Friday Five

1. What was your first job?
Camp counselor for troubled youth. I was 16 and got involved because I was a member of this peer-counseling group at my high school. What they didn’t tell us in advance was that kids were coming to the day camp who were in the child protective services system — most of the kids were way cool and totally fun, but some of the behavioral problems were a bit much for a group of 16-year-olds to handle.

But I really built a rapport with my kids and a bunch of others. We played a lot of sports — and I am NOT athletically inclined — so I volunteered to sit out with the kids who were afraid to play or just not in the mood. Sometimes we did arts-and-crafts, but more often, we just talked and hung out and had a good time. Those kids had seen such sadness and violence and loneliness — and I was in charge of the 8- to 10-year-olds — and I became kind of a big sister, a confidant, a constant for them.

I always wonder where those kids ended up. And if those girls ever hated cheerleaders (who were practicing their routines in the next quadrant while we worked) as much as I did. 😉

Oh, but the irony? When I was 22, I went to work for child protective services in my county — in the P.R. department. And when I was 27, I went to work for a foster care provider. Talk about your first job setting you on a career path!

2. How much did you make?
I think it was $5 an hour. Which is substantially more than my first three retail jobs, which respectively paid $3.90, $4 and $4.10. *sigh*

3. Describe your least favorite co-worker of all time.
Town Crier. Aptly named for doing a lot of whining and gossip-mongering but not actually doing WORK. I remember her for when she must have been low on meds (she openly told us she was on them). She shoved me into a bathroom stall in a rage and she tried to accost a very pregnant friend of mine — all over ridiculous situations that involved us, oh, ASKING her to do her job. The head cheese (get the pun) loved her and therefore, we were the ones who were frowned upon for tattling on her. And people wondered why we were unhappy!

4. What is your dream job?
Something that combines editorial mastery and event planning and blogging. 🙂

5. What do you currently do and do you like it?
Something that combines editorial mastery and blogging. 🙂 LOL. Sure, I like it. I really care about it, which I know I have with all of my jobs, but this is the first place that hasn’t driven me to come home and touch up my resume every week. 🙂

On iTunes: Pussycat Dolls, “Don’t Cha (Remix)”

Comments closed.

Friday Five">Friday Five

‘Cause I’m feeling all meme-y and such this week.

1. What made you happy this week?
Knocked a lot of crap off the to-do list. Felt kind of empowered.

2. What made you sad?
Watching “ER” last night — it was Noah Wyle’s last show! *sniffle*

3. What made you angry?
The student loan company seized my tax refund. Bastiges!

4. What are you looking forward to in the next week?
My birthday! And a manicure — hooray! LONG overdue! Also, I want to figure out what to buy myself for my day — I like to do something special for myself. Maybe upgrade to Tiger if I can justify the expense.

5. What are you not looking forward to?
Memorial Day weekend travel. 🙁

On iTunes: Ivy, “Let’s Go to Bed”

Comments closed.

Friday Five">Friday Five

1. What is the one book that you re-read over and over again?
I used to buy ever V.C. Andrews book ever written, and even after she died, I bought the ghostwritten books. But I guess I finally outgrew them, although I must have read “Petals on the Wind” at least 20 times since I bought it as a pre-teen.

As a kid, I never really had playmates — what with being an only child and living in an apartment with no other kids. And I never asked for anything but books — I had the whole Sweet Valley High and Wildfire series, along with a whole bunch more (the Ramona Quimby series, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing/Superfudge/Harriet the Spy, etcetera). I read and re-read those dozens of times until I was 14, when I started writing my own. You can totally see the influence of V.C. Andrews and Sweet Valley High in those horrid early works.

I’d kept all my books in pristine condition (under the auspices of “In case I ever have a little girl”), but I pitched them when I moved to D.C. in 2002. Sad, because I had a lot of first-edition books that might have been worth money someday.

2. What is your favourite genre?
Romance, but not the Fabio-on-the-dust-jacket types of hokey romance crap. Give me Nicholas Sparks and Anais Nin any day. I love drama and I love happy endings, although admittedly, I often root for the villain and I don’t mind it when somebody dies at the end. Kind of refreshing when authors acknowledge that life does, indeed, suck sometimes.

One of my favorite Anais (pronounced Ah-Na-EES — nobody ever says it correctly!) quotes sums me up in a nutshell:

“There were always in me, two women at least — one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning, and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair — and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.”

3. Do you usually buy your books or visit the library?
After living at the University of Pittsburgh’s library when I was in college (because the library at my school sucked before it merged with the Carnegie Library, which happened the month I graduated), I never go back. I buy my books and I’m even selling a bunch — that’s how I managed to freelance for a few months, by selling my volumes. And yes, it hurt to get rid of books I cherished, but I also cherished my apartment.

4. Who is your favourite author?
I am all about the “beach reading” genre right now — anything that’s a page-turner works for me because I do NOT have time to think and savor the language the way I used to when I was a kid. (By the way, I am convinced that my reading was the reason why I didn’t grow up with a “Pittsburgh accent” — I am from a family of yinzers, but I always spoke British English because that was what I read. Oh yeah, and I used to read the dictionary. I was such a dork.) Anyway, I am into Jane Green right now.

5. What book have you read that you absolutely hated?
“Things Fall Apart” by Richard Achebe. Shitty yams. Goddamned yams. Motherfucking yams. The word “yam” appeared 10 times on every page.

I guess I can tell the story now — it’s been 13 years. I was in my beloved room 1723 with my beloved roommate Janna and our next-door neighbor and friend Jody (although I always called her Gro-di. Not sure why. Rhymes with Grow-Die — it made sense at the time, although Janna and I kind of had our own vernacular like twins and we had names for everybody and words for everything. By the way, the plural of fetus is fetii. Nipple is pronounced Nipp-ile (remember him, J? LOL. God, I was hot for him and his protruding nipp-iles).

Anyway, I was cramming for an exam, and I was reading that stupid book in one sitting. BAD IDEA. I had 30 pages to go when I started laughing deliriously. I mean it — I had my first nervous breakdown that night. Janna and Gro-di were sitting on Janna’s bed, chatting quietly and trying not to disturb me. But, so the cliche goes, I was disturbed enough for all three of us. I laughed and laughed so hard that I cried and cried. I went from funny laugh to evil laugh to witchy laugh to cries-of-the-damned laugh. I believe I fell on the floor at some point, and I could only talk in tongues. From what I heard from them, I could only say the words “God” “Damn” “Fuck” and “Yams.”

This went on for two hours. Or maybe three. I don’t remember. But I think the girls were terrified that they were going to call Western Psych and have me carted away in a pretty white jacket. And for all the commotion I caused, I don’t think anyone else in our hallway even noticed. I can safely say that all of us were sufficiently scarred for life by that one, crappy book.

Do yourself a BIG favor — do not EVER use the word yam in my presence. They are sweet potatoes, and they are one of my favorite foods. But only if they are called sweet potatoes. Call ’em yams in front of me, and you might have a situation on your hands. 😉

On iTunes: Usher f/Jadakiss, “Throwback (remix)”

2 Responses to Friday Five

  1. Tiff :

    His name is Chinua Achebe, and yams are not the same thing as sweet potatoes.

    I enjoyed that book- I read it in high school for my Modern African History class. He wrote another book about the same region in modern times. I’ve got it somewhere but can’t remember what it’s called.

  2. Erica :

    I read that book in high school. I don’t remember much about it, but I remember not enjoying it. I do, however, enjoy both yams and sweet potatoes.