Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

January 17, 2009

An Interview Meme

My friend and fellow blogger, Fancy Schmancy, received an interview meme via email. Here's what you do and Fancy's questions:

A. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

B. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

C. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

D. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

E. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. Here are your questions:

1. How were you introduced to the Grateful Dead?

Well I knew the "hits" from when I was in high school & college (Truckin, Casey Jones, Sugar Mag, Eyes of the World, Shakedown Street). At the time, I was mostly into punk rock and 80's music. On a trip to Maine in the fall of 1987, I wanted something different to listen to. I stopped at a record store in Kittery and found the cassette of "Skeletons from the Closet". I knew some of the songs so I bought it. And was hooked. From that point on I was obsessed with the Dead. I subscribed to "Relix" magazine and put an ad in the back, looking for Deadhead friends in Massachusetts. I got lots of replies and slowly built my live tape collection. I'd listen to the "Dead Ahead" show on WZLX radio at midnight on Saturdays and get to know the music. One of my male Deadhead penpals, who was helping me collect tapes, had an extra ticket to the 4/7/88 show in Worcester and wanted to take me to my first show. They played almost all the songs I was hoping to hear. It was an amazing show and my life revolved around the Grateful Dead from that point forward, till Jerry died in 1995.

2. How did you end up on the extreme opposite coast from where you started?

For as long as I can remember, I had wanted to get off Cape Cod. When I was a little kid, I used to bum hard on Sundays when, during early evening football games, the announcer would say, "Stay tuned for 60 Minutes, except on the west coast." I would wish so much to be there. I'd watch the sunset out of our west-facing livingroom window and be so miserable, wanting to be in the west. I went thru a phase in 6th grade where I would draw the California state flag all the time, trying to perfect the bear. I thought I wanted to live in LA b/c that city seemed so exciting. Eventually I turned my interest towards moving to London, England. Then my parents gave me a trip to California for my college graduation and my friend Charlene wanted to start in San Francisco and drive down the coast to LA. Sounded good. I could hang in Ess Eff for a few days before going to the city I'd always wanted to see, LA. That first morning in San Francisco, I fell head over heels in love with it. Heard the bell on the cable car, saw the beautiful filigree gates and fences, hiked those crazy, dizzy hills, heard the foghorn on the Golden Gate Bridge and finally understood the song, "I left my heart in San Francisco." LA turned out to be a huge, smoggy, crowded, icky disappointment. I was so homesick for San Francisco and took 2 more vacations there, subscribed to the Sunday SF Examiner newspaper and researched the hell out of it. Moved in July, 1989. I love the west coast. I hate being on the east coast. I'm so homesick for the west when I'm back east. Like I'm missing out on something. I love Washington and Oregon too. And British Columbia.

3. When did you know that Hubby was the one?

I was dating his next door neighbor, Jef at the time. Holly, me, Brian & Jef were hanging around all the time that winter of 1988-1989. Jef and I had dated during the summer of '88, broke up but were still really good friends. I'd met Brian at the Maine Dead shows in July, '88 b/c he'd gone up w/ Jef and I sold Brian my extra ticket. Then in Jan. of '89 Jef wanted to get back together. But the closer friends I became w/ Brian, the more I wanted to be around him. We'd spend HOURS on the phone at night. Jef wasn't exactly the world's best boyfriend. He was drinking heavily at the time (now clean/sober since 1996), and had a problem with fidelity in that he couldn't be faithful, and also couldn't tell me the truth. He decided to move to an apartment in Pawtucket, RI that didn't have a phone. His car finally died. It finally hit me that I'm talking to Brian all the time, thinking about Brian all the time, and dating a guy who was clearly indifferent as to whether or not we saw each other. I broke up w/ Jef the day I was supposed to go down to help him move from his mom's house in Attleboro, to RI. Brian invited me to dinner one night shortly thereafter and we had a fantastic time. A few days later he sent me a very sweet card that ended with "...and that's why I love you so much". I didn't know if he meant "love love" or "best friend love". So I sent him a card and fessed up that I was in love with him. By the time we started actually dating, we'd already covered sooooooooo much ground. Our first "date" was more like an already established relationship date b/c we already knew so much about each other. We started going out on April 25 and eloped 2 mos. later, on June 27.

4. Did you plan a career in law? If not, what was the deciding factor that led you to take the job you currently hold?

No, I never saw myself in law at all, my degree is in Television Production and that's all I did & knew. From 9th grade thru college, I worked in radio and TV. But I crashed and burned from the stress extremely quickly. When we moved to SF, I had to reinvent myself somehow. I could type, so I got a job working as the secretary to a contractor who lived in my neighborhood. Answering phones, payroll, clerical stuff, billing, etc. A year later, he told me he had to lay me off. I applied for tons of jobs and interviewed for a receptionist position at a law firm downtown. I hit it off with the office manager right away. I got called back for a 2nd interview with the partners. They could see I was educated and well spoken, but I had zero experience. I basically just said, "If you hire me, if you give me a chance to prove myself, I won't let you down. I can do this job, but I need a foot in the door. Please give me this opportunity." By the time I got home, the message was already on my answering machine that I was hired. I worked my ass off, learning everything I could, taking on every responsibility that came my way, all the shit work, all the copying jobs no one wanted to do, all the law library updates. Through the years, I worked my way up to fill-in legal secretary, to legal secretary, then paralegal. I love, love, love what I do and I'm good at it. I hate the clients, but I'm good at the job itself. I thought about going to paralegal school but my boss in SF told me not to waste my money b/c I was getting on the job training. He told me that by the time I took the first year of classes, I'd already be way too far ahead of everyone else.

5. How did you obtain your wonderful dogs?

I didn't have a pet when I was a kid. My mom had a cat, to which I was indifferent. When he died in 1978, I waited a suitable period of time, then asked for a dog. My mother issued the edict, "no more animals b/c it hurts too much when they die." I was told that I would not keep up the responsibility and they wouldn't do it for me. I wasn't even given a chance to try. I loved my cousins' dog, Disha, who loved me too. I was devastated when she died. By this time I was an adult and Brian was begging for a dog. I kept saying no, the expense would be too much, the mess, etc. etc. We actually worked our way up the evolutionary chain. First we had fish, then a hamster, then guinea pigs, a rabbit and, briefly, a hedgehog. In 2002 Brian stepped up the lobbying for a dog. I could not find one person on my side. Not one. So finally, in Feb. 2003, I relented and he dove into the search for a new dog on the Humane Society's website. I happened to be upstairs and I pointed to a particularly cute dog and said, "Look! Pepper! She's cute!" Brian went there the next day and someone else's name was on the cage. Brian waited and waited long after they were supposed to get there, and they never showed up, so the employees agreed to put our name on the cage. He picked her up the next day and she's been our little baby girl since then.

In 2005 we started talking about getting another dog, a German shepherd. We looked at a couple of dogs that year that weren't quite right for us. In December, Brian was again looking on line, at the Washington State German Shepherd Rescue website. I pointed and said, "Oh look! A 9 month old!" Then we read Sagan's heartbreaking story of starvation and neglect and that pretty much settled it. Brian went to see him first, then brought me and Pepper over to the foster home to meet him. Sagan chose us immediately. Brian and I were talking to Teresa, the foster mom, and little Sagan who was all skin and bones wedged himself between Brian and me and leaned on us. I reached down instinctively to pet him and when I looked down, he was looking up at me with those big, brown almond shaped eyes and that was that. I could almost read his mind, "Will you be my mommy and love me? I'll be good!" Pepper, unfortunately, was not at all on board with having a second dog in the house. She took to her bed, "with a sick headache" for about 3 weeks. We kept calling her "Sarah Bernhardt". She still loves to beat him up and chase him, but Sagan adores her. And when she thinks we aren't looking, we catch her nuzzling him. They make us laugh every day with their goofy antics and to me, they are like living stuffed animals.

OK then. So the first 2 people who comment that they'd like to be interviewed, and I have your email address, will receive a set of 5 questions that I get to make up.


  1. I'll do it Jojo.Honest I will send it back ASAP.If reading my blog hasn't made my life transparent enough;).You have my email.

    Your five question quiz is in my inbox,I will do it tomorrow (I prefer to do emails in privacy with music,which at earliest is tomorrow).

  2. OK Bryde, I have to think up 5 questions for you. As you said, your blog has disclosed a lot! ;p

  3. OK, sock it to me. I won't be able to do it tomorrow though.

  4. OK Val. I am thinking up questions for both of you and will email ya both tomorrow. :)

  5. Happy Inauguration day, Jojo!

    Wooohooo! :)

  6. Very cool! I'm so glad you offered to do it, I learned so much about you!

    1988, Oxford, Maine, right? I was THERE! It was right after Saratoga Springs, NY, boy do I have stories to tell from those shows. We may have met each other already and don't even know it!

  7. Anonymous11:41 AM

    I still don't understand what a 'meme' is. I know, it's so sad ;0)

  8. great post, great responses to great questions... maybe I'm up for it too, although in my usual slow time, but it could be the impetus for me to post something again... hmmmmmm!!!!!!