Friday, March 13, 2009

My Interview with Mary...

Mary over at The Woo Woo Teacup Journal had the great idea of holding impromptu interviews with blog friends, and when she asked for interested parties, I said… bring it on. Because there’s nothing I like more than talking about myself.

In this case, Mary will be playing the part of Babwa Wahwahs, and I’ll be her next celebrity guest… after the jump…

What is your current job? What tasks are part of it? What do you enjoy about your work?

Currently, I’m the Admin for a group of student support departments (four departments, to be exact) at a University. I serve as the office manager, budget officer and bookkeeper, and executive assistant to the boss. None of that’s in my title, but you know… duties as assigned and all that. My daily duties can seem kind of mundane (receptionist, student intern supervisor, secretary, etc…), but I also function as the hub of most of our large projects, so I get to participate in just about everything that goes on (whether I like it or not). There is event-planning, lots of student outreach, and 80 hours a week’s worth of organizing, communicating, and knocking heads together. This isn’t where I pictured myself when I graduated from college, but I love being busy, I love being counted on for important things, and I LOVE working with students. I should also mention that I was thrust into this position by a crazy set of circumstances that had me in fits for about four months. After all the sturm und drang, I can now say that I love the people I work with, I like what I’m doing, and there’s some potential growth. Things are looking good.

What were you like as a little kid? How would have described yourself then? How would others have described you? How have you changed since then?

To be honest, I don’t remember much of that time. I’m a middle child, and I know lots of parents kind of lose interest in documenting childhood once they’ve had their first child, but my parents took it to an extreme. And since my memory is crappy anyway, I only have vague, murky ideas of myself back then. I do know that I was incredibly cute – a heartbreaker, really; yellow hair, huge blue eyes, pale skin, and a grin that made old ladies faint. WHAT HAPPENED!!? If I’m doing the describing, I’d probably say I was shy and quiet, but when I felt safe and comfortable, I was a terror – I spent most of my early years attached to my mother by a leash. My parents, meanwhile, tell me that I was one of those kids that Cosby put on his show, saying and doing the darndest things. There are lots of stories of this cute little blonde boy acting like a complete whacko in public – knocking over mannequins, hitting complete strangers, throwing up in restaurants – but all in such a cute way. Since then, I’ve gotten a whole lot less cute, but most of my personality is still intact: I’m shy and quiet, but when I feel safe and comfortable, I’m a complete whacko.

What is your earliest memory?

Well, remember: vague and murky… but I sort of remember my first airplane ride to visit my grandmother in Wisconsin. I even remember the coloring book I had and the music I had with me (Raffi – dear lord, I still love me some Raffi, esp. Baby Beluga and Apples and Bananas [Aaypples and Banaynays]).

What is your history with music? Where did it start? Other than listening to music, how do you connect with it as an adult?

I go all the way back with music. My parents tell me that I used to clap out drum parts to classical music as young as two or three, and I loved to sing along with my records. My parents used to park me in front of relatives and tell me to sing, and everyone would just DIE because I was so good. I don’t remember any of that, but I’ve been told my Home on the Range was particularly moving. Anyway, my aunt was visiting at Christmas when I was about eight years old, and one night she taught me how to read music. She made some flashcards of notes on the staff after dinner, and by bedtime I could pick the notes out on the keyboard by sight. She convinced my parents to put me in piano lessons STAT and that’s when this whole business started. So… piano lessons from third grade to college graduation, marching band in high school, lots of concert band, a little bit of chorus, and more chamber music than I care to recall. Even though I’m not performing music anymore, it’s still very much in my soul – probably always will be. I loved performing (the attention, the praise, the excitement), but it was never really about all that. For me, it was always about the sounds. I found out – quite late, actually – that I take more joy from listening and applauding than from performing. So now, I love that I can be a fan, an enthusiast, a supporter. Let those crazy people stress themselves out and practice for eight hours a day and put up with the politics of subjective critique; I’ll just sit here and enjoy it. Besides, there are lots of other things I’m good at, and most of those things pay a lot more anyway.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I would like to achieve… something. Really I have no idea. I know I have to go back to school to get another degree, but in what?? I’ve thought about law school, accounting, teaching… maybe even music history, but I’m still kind of flaking out about it. My boss wants me to go for Higher Education Administration, which makes a lot of sense, but again… I’m not sure that’s what I want to do for the long haul. I definitely want to move to a big city (preferably New York), but I feel pressure to make a few more important decisions before taking that on. So yeah… something.

Thanks, Mary!! And here’s five for you:

1. I know you like to be crafty: what’s your favorite crafty/artistic pursuit and why?
2. You’re a writer and a reader, so I’m curious: how do you feel about comic books and graphic novels? Are you into them?
3. Childhood fave time: book, toy, subject in school, food. GO!
4. Describe how you felt when you finished writing your book (some writers talk about a feeling of loss, others say it’s like having a load taken off).
5. This one is complicated, but we tossed it around on a staff retreat a few weeks ago, and I’m interested in your thoughts. Part A: You win a vacation on a gameshow to anywhere in the world! Where would you go? But wait, there’s a Part B: the show will only pay for your lodging and one meal a day, and you are otherwise completely broke. Where to now?


Erin G said...

so fun to read about you as a kid! you STILL have a baby face, so I know the stories about your charming nature must be true! :)

Mary said...

It doesn't surprise me that you were a charming kid, even if you prefer the term "whacko". The charm seeps through your blog posts.

Your job sounds like fun & a much better fit for you than your old job. Woot!

Where in Wisconsin is your grandmother from? My dad's people are from Wisconsin.

I love Raffi, too, only I heard him when my children were toddlers. Robin in the Rain is the bomb.

Thanks bunches for playing along with the interview! Time to get to my own set of questions.