Sunday, February 21, 2010

Woot! I'm a sugar doll!

Or a sugar baby? Not quite sure, actually--it was written both ways. In any case, I have been given a VERY prestigious award from Jerry Mann over at Gently Said.

Now, before I go any further with the explanation of this honor, I'd like to say a little bit about my presenter. Jerry found my blog one day, I assume by reading one of my comments on
The Sassy Curmudgeon. He took me by surprise when he commented on one of my posts, saying that he'd like to try my chicken and dumplings recipe. At first I was a little taken aback--I did not expect that anyone was reading my little blog, much less a 65 year-old male who was a perfect stranger! However, after taking a gander at Gently Said, I began to realize that he was perfectly normal, very entertaining, and not a pervert at all (the deciding factor of whether or not I'd block him). I've been thoroughly enjoying reading his blog and his comments on mine ever since.

So, back to the business at hand: the Sugar Doll Award. Here are the rules, copied directly from Jerry:

A. Just because I give you the Sugar Baby Award, it doesn’t mean that I think you are hot. It means that I really like your blog and that I think others will really enjoy it. Okay – you may be hot too.

B. You are supposed to in turn present the award to four other worthy bloggers. Whether you do this or not is your business. I’m just reciting the rules here. I’m pretty sure you won’t go to jail for not following them.

C. You are supposed to display the Sugar Baby icon on you blog. If you don’t know how to do this, I don’t either. So we are in the same boat.

D. And finally, you are supposed to write in your blog ten things about yourself. I can’t make you do this – although experience has been that lightning has struck the houses of those that don’t.

While I am incredibly honored to have received this award and I will certainly write ten things about myself, I'm afraid I do not read enough blogs to pass it on to four people. To be honest, I really only follow Jerry and Una, so I'm just not there yet.
So, with no further delay, I present you with ten (hopefully) interesting things about myself:

1. I really, REALLY love tea.

Like, a lot. I drink it all day long, hot in the winter and iced in the summer. All my teas are kept on the top shelf of one of my kitchen cabinets, and there is a 50/50 chance that one of them will fall out and hit you on the head when you open the door. One time I counted, and I had 34 different teas being stored in there.

Every time I go to TJ Maxx or Marshall's, I like to hunt through the gourmet food isle to see if there are any jewels to be discovered for my collection. I know what you're thinking: TJ Maxx for tea? But they really do have some seriously good buys.
I do not discriminate in my tea tastes, either: green tea, white tea, black tea, loose-leaf, bags, fruit, flowers--I'll drink 'em all. Pretty much every blog post has been made with a cup of tea next to the computer. Am I drinking a cup right now? Heck yes, I am! Good ol' English Breakfast.

2. I pride myself on having an eclectic resume.

While many people will pick a vocation right out of high school or college and stick with it for life, that was not for me. I find that I get very bored with conventional jobs and so I have made it my life's mission to seek and and do interesting kinds of work. Here is a partial list of my work history, in no particular order:

Shoe shine girl


Truck dispatcher

Newborn photographer

Restaurant hostess at an LA sushi restaurant

Marketing Assistant at a health club

Field interviewer for a US Government Study on prison re-entry programs (more on that below)

Area representative for placing/supervising foreign exchange students

I feel like I'm leaving out a big one...but you get the idea. Whenever I see an cool job opening on Craigslist, I really try to go for it (I'm really praying for "Storm Chaser" to show up one day). I think that doing strange jobs makes me more interesting, and even if that's not true, I have ended up with some very interesting stories to tell. Which leads me to...

3. I used to go to prisons and interview serious and violent offenders for a living.

This needs to be explained in more depth. When we moved to Kansas from California, I was looking for an interesting job that paid well and kept me busy. At the time, we didn't have any kids and the hubby worked long hours, so I had a completely open schedule to do pretty much anything. I replied to a listing for "field interviewer" under the miscellaneous column on craigslist.

The interviews were being held at a Kinko's over web conferencing since the company was located in North Carolina, though the work would be local. The job, my interviewer described, was to conduct computer-led interviews with people in prison right before they were released. Since the study was being led to evaluate the effectiveness of re-entry programs, I also had to interview them when they got out of prison.
I was told that I would never be placed in harm's way and that I could remain anonymous, so that was good enough for me and I was actually excited about doing something so interesting. Of course I aced the interview (I'm a fabulous interviewee--I can't think of a time I didn't get the job) and soon I was off to North Carolina for a week of job training.

It wasn't until I was sitting in the hotel conference room on our first day of training that the full-extent of the danger I would be in was clear to me. The trainer had us each pose for photos to put on our (first and last) name badges, which she explained that we would have to wear at all times during our job. I meekly raised my hand.

"So the prisoners will be able to see our full names?"


"I was told that we wouldn't have to tell them our names. I don't want them googling me and finding me when they get out."

"I don't know who told you that, but it is policy that you have to have your badge showing when you are working."

Hm. Thanks a lot lady. At this point, what was I going to do? I flew halfway across the United States to a hotel they put me up in with a per diem--I wasn't about to tell them I wanted to go home without at least giving it a try.

The rest of the week was equally disappointing. The trainer explained that the prisoners would all be "serious and violent offenders" and that the interviews had to be held out of ear-shot of anyone else (including guards), since they were supposed to be confidential. Then she mentioned, as she looked directly at me, that the women may want to try to look as plain as possible--no makeup, hair back--when they go to interview these guys, just so as not to encourage them. Ye-ah, I was going to be in trouble.

I actually made it through training and ended up working this job for about six months or so. It was pretty interesting, meeting and talking to all these prisoners, but it was heartbreaking as well. I started to realize that anyone could go to prison if they made the wrong decision once in their life, and that some of these people had no chance from the beginning, being raised by parents who gave them drugs before they were out of elementary school. It was incredibly depressing.

The last straw came when the second set of interviews came up and I had to start going to these guys' houses to meet with them alone. I pulled up to one house (that looked like a crack den) and asked the person sitting on the porch if the guy I was to interview was there.

"Who's that?"

"He lives here."

"He does? I don't know him."

"Do you live here?"


I left. I wasn't about to go into that house! I quit after that failed interview, and my outlook on life immediately improved.

Fast forward to four years later. Perusing the local headlines online around Thanksgiving of last year, I came across an
interesting article about a man who had just been given two life sentences PLUS 498 years in prison for murdering two people during a botched break-in attempt. The killer's name sounded really familiar to me, so I got out my old day planner and, sure enough, I had interviewed him in prison. Luckily, I quit before having to interview him on the outside and thank God for that! He is really scary-looking, no?

4. I am cursed.

This isn't in regards to the Superbowl curse. It's a bit more trivial than that, but a curse nonetheless. About 60% of the time that I order or want to buy something, I am informed that they are out. For example:

One time we went out to sushi and I had to be told they were out of THREE different drinks on the menu before I just settled on water.

Last time I went to Sephora to buy a replacement for my lipstick, I was told that it had been discontinued. The worst part? I started buying that particular lipstick because it was the closest match to my old favorite lipstick, which had also been discontinued.

If I go out to a certain restaurant to order a specific dish, there is a very high likelihood that the restaurant has either (a) run out for the night, or (b) taken the dish off the menu entirely.

You'd think that this sort of curse would be very frustrating after a while--and it is--but I've learned to live with it. It's actually pretty amusing to those around me, who still can't believe how often it happens. What are you gonna do, right? It's so crazy, you've just gotta laugh!

5. I am arachnophobic.

It's so bad that I can't watch the kid play the video game where he shoots giant spiders without jumping out of my skin every time one sneaks up on him. Yeah, I know that they're animated, but I can't help it.

6. I am a super-star!

Well, maybe that's not entirely accurate. I did, however, write and record a song that hit number one on a dance chart in New Zealand. That's me on the CD sleeve up there ^. I even had a radio station contact me and ask for autographed photos to give out as on-air prizes. Talk about a confidence-booster!

7. I was nerdy in high school.

People say that all the time, but in my case it is true. I had very large eyebrows and scored a 31 on my ACT. Boys didn't really pay attention to me at all--I went to both my proms with "friend" dates. I did have a boyfriend at one point, but he pretended like he barely knew me as soon as I moved and started going to his school.

8. I was a virgin before I met my husband.

This makes sense, since I met him directly after I finished high school. I would tell the story of how we met, but I'll save that for another day since I've probably already lost some of my audience due to the ridiculous length of this post.

9. I have a heart condition.

It's just mitral valve prolapse, which isn't that big a deal, but it's worth mentioning anyway.

10. An Olympic Gold Medalist had the hots for me once.

When we lived in Los Angeles, one of the first cool things the hubby and I did was become seat-fillers for an awards show. We got all dressed up and went to the American Comedy Awards and prepared to sit in the empty seats when celebrities in the audience got up to go to the bathroom. Yes, this is a real job.

Immediately before the show began, when the lights went out, the woman in charge of us shouted, "I need one female--you, come here!" and began pulling me towards the stage. She sat me in an empty seat at the very front table, next to Al Joyner, the Olympic gold medalist. Turns out, he didn't have a date for the evening, so that honor went to me.

I have no idea what Al Joyner was doing at the American Comedy Awards, but I was glad he was there. He was very gracious, talking with me the entire evening and offering his predictions on which person would win each award. When the show was over, he invited me to go to the after-party with him, but of course I had to decline as I was there with the hubby. I didn't realize at the time that he had lost his wife (Flo-Jo)
only two years prior, and I'm glad that I never asked if he was married. I kept the place card that was printed, "Guest of Al Joyner" and I will always think of that evening and of him fondly.

So, that's that! Ten things about me. I didn't realize this would take so much time and effort, but I'm glad I shared. Thanks, Jerry, for the sweet award. I'll be sure to pass one along to you someday.

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