Thursday, January 05, 2006

Four for Colleen

I am not normally very good at this sort of thing. Others lead more exciting lives than I have but here goes. This is for Colleen at Loose Leaf Notes.
  1. Four jobs I've had in my life: I worked as a nurses aid for two summers before medical school. This job is physically and emotionally difficult and I have great respect for those who do this well. The summer after my first year in medical school I did an externship in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Parkland Hospital. This specialty deals with a wide variety of patients including stroke victims, spinal cord injuries, amputees, and burn patients. Like most areas of medicine it can be sad and rewarding sometimes simultaneously. As a resident in Pathology I did moonlighting at a local Dallas hospital. We would go in in the evening and finish cutting and dictating the gross examination of surgical specimens and then start their processing machine. We also took call on weekends occasionally for autopsies. But this is part of my job of 27 years now. I guess the last (done along with the above) but most important job I've had was mother. This includes chauffeur, party planner, seamstress, cook (not very good at that), hair dresser, tear wiper, driving teacher, boy inspector and "shotgun-by-the-door" keeper. The best bit of information I ever gleaned from Nyssa about this was the fact that "all the boys I know and want to date are afraid of you." Perhaps they didn't want to end up as one of my autopsies! Hey! This is a good thing!
  2. Four movies I could watch over and over: Field of Dreams, don't ask me why, I have absolutely no idea. It just seems to suck me in every time. I don't particularly like baseball, it really is a stupid plot and I'm not a Kevin Costner fan, it just does it. Dead Again, with Kenneth Branagh. Most movies are very predictable; usually by the second half hour I have it all figured out. I thought I had this one figured out, but I was completely wrong. And that is all I will say. Shawshank Redemption, because it is so not Stephen King's style and I love Morgan Freeman. Schindler's List, a hard movie to see but important. It is the only movie I've ever been to where the audience stayed until the very last credit ended, then rose and left the theater; all in complete silence. It is the only movie that compelled me to sit in the dark at home afterwards and think of the history and the horror. It is the only time I've had to discard the popcorn and drink during a movie because it felt inappropriate and disrespectful to be eating and drinking. It is a movie I feel everyone should watch.
  3. Four places I've lived: Only FOUR? I'm a preacher's kid, not quite as much moving as a military brat but close! Let's see. I can divide it up. Childhood (before 3): Born in Bedford, Indiana. My dad was an evangelist for a while so we lived in our trailer and moved all over the southeast and south Texas every two weeks. Also a stretch in Kansas City, Missouri. Childhood (after 3): Roanoke, Virginia; Gary, Indiana; New Brighton, Pennsylvania; and Newark, Delaware. College and after marriage: Dallas, Texas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After Divorce: Columbus, Mississippi (longest - 15 years) and now Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  4. Four TV shows I love to watch: Most of the ones I enjoyed are gone now. I loved the X-files. Maybe because Scully was a Pathologist, maybe because I really wanted her to end up with Muldar. Thank goodness she did. I liked the old westerns like The Virginian and Maverick; not the new version but the old show. I used to watch Dr. Who on PBS (that's where Nyssa got her name) and I love Judi Dench in As Time Goes By. Oops, that was more than four.
  5. Four places I've been on vacation: I'll limit this to my adult life. Camping in Colorado near Silver Creek. It was remote, the type of place you needed four wheel drive to get to and you might see only one car pass by the camp all week. I took a picture of a small brook as it flowed down the mountain. The next year we went back and I took another one. Comparing the two pictures, I'm not sure a rock had moved at all that year. New York, one week in Manhattan. My brother was traveling in Phantom of the Opera and they were playing in Philadelphia. He took vacation and so did Nyssa and I. We sent him the money and had him make all the arrangements for us in New York. We stayed at the Peachtree in Times Square. Sunday we went to see Les Miserables. He was friends with Don Cook, the lead who played Jean Valjean and we went backstage to see all the props. Then Don ate dinner with us. Monday we saw Cats and Tuesday we saw Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard, the first show after it won the Tony award. Stephen knew someone in Sunset as well so we did a tour backstage afterwards. The props and staging were amazing. Wednesday we saw Beauty and the Beast, Thursday we went to the New York City Ballet and Friday we saw Showboat. Our last night there we saw Ralph Fiennes in Hamlet. Of course we did the tourist spots during the day and ate at the Carnegie Deli and the Russian Tea Room. (The latter was really over-rated) In 2000, we visited Stephen in Linz, Austria and spent two weeks seeing Salzburg, Vienna and walking all over Linz. We saw Stephen in two operas and saw Mozart's Magic Flute in Vienna. That trip is a post unto itself. I wish my pictures weren't in storage. Finally, in 2003 we went to Florence, Italy for two weeks where he was doing Othello and saw the most magnificent art and architecture. With side trips to Pisa where Nyssa climbed to the top of the tower and Rome, where we sat for about thirty minutes in the Sistine Chapel, it was fabulous. Hot but unforgettable.
  6. Four websites I visit daily: Again, just four? I visit at least twelve daily, maybe more. Let's see there is Outside In as Vicki and I are mothers of college daughters who seem more scattered in some things than we ever were (wink, wink)and who keep us as nervous as cats on a hot tin roof much of the time. Just Ask Judy, because she has such a great collection of antiques, she is an artist with flowers and she used to be a cytotechnologist so I just feel a kindred spirit there. Then there is Poop Happens. Janie is a single mom looking for Mr. Right. She deserves the best and only someone completely wonderful will do. She is a hard working medical technologist. As a pathologist I always have felt the med techs got a lot of "crap" (the only nice way I know how to put it) from some physicians that they didn't deserve. Most internists and surgeons I've known couldn't find their hospital lab if their lives depended on it, but they can call and yell at techs on the phone. That is UNACCEPTABLE in my lab. OK, I see myself getting up on a soap box and it is too late, er rather too early for that. Let's just say I respect Janie for her dedication to her life saving work and that she doesn't get enough thanks for it. Finally, I visit Nystagamus. This is my daughter's site. (She can spell the real word, it was just taken) If you visit her, please excuse the lack of full sentences and punctuation and the strange words at times, even though she is an English major; ok double major in English and Geology. I think it is a college/teenage thing and am hoping it will go away in another few months. I also wish she could carry on a conversation without saying the word "like" twenty times but that's not going to happen either. I read her site every day because sometimes her post is the only way to know for sure she is still alive. These cell phones you get the child don't work; at least not if you want to talk to them. If they need something the phone works fine. Did you know they can program them to ring differently, depending on who is calling? That way if it is someone they don't want to talk to, they just ignore it. And how can they remember which tune of 45 tunes is for which caller, when they can't remember where they left their keys? Anyone who can answer this deserves the Nobel Prize for something.
  7. Four of my favorite foods:Front Door Chef's Salad with Grilled Chicken Strips and Cheesy Parmesan Dressing; Shrimp and Calamari at that little restaurant in Florence; my Dad's Skinless Fried Chicken and Gravy; and Angel Food Cake with Fluffy White Frosting. I tend to capitalize anything that is food.
  8. Four places I'd rather be: This is hard. In Vienna being my brother's manager; at a lodge in Colorado with no phone, a pile of books to read and a digital camera with unlimited memory; in my grandmother's old smokehouse curled up in the window seat lost in her Reader's Digest condensed books; or in a large room with all the scrapbooking supplies, sewing material, smocking thread and room to spread out and work and all the time that I wanted.
  9. Four albums I can't live without:I don't listen to the radio very much anymore as it annoys me when I drive. In fact on my last long trip I listened to audio books instead and it was great. I generally prefer classical music, Broadway musical albums, and what would now be known as "golden oldies" from the '70's. I think I'll go with the songs like Colleen. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, REO Speedwagon's I Just Can't Fight the Feeling, Carpenter's version of Desperado and Barry Manilow's Read 'em and Weep. This last one was my divorce anger management song. That's a bizarre group if I ever saw one. So there you have it. More than you ever wanted to know and it only took two and a half hours to write. You really don't have to read the whole thing if you don't want to. I'll be nice and not tag anyone specific, but if you want to try this, feel free, I promise I'll come read yours.

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