March 12, 2006
4 times 10: yet another meme!

Four Jobs I've Had:

1. Arby's in St. Charles IL - my first job. For some reason the policy at Arby's at the time was that none of the cashiers could ring up an order until it was assembled. Nor could they write them down. No, you had to remember every friggin' item. For two or three groups of customers. Simultaneously. What a great marketing idea. Because customers (especially harassed parents) LOVE going through the whole 52 items all over again. The factory rush hour was the worst part of the job. Next to the nights when my friends would show up and make fun of my uniform.

2. Tea and Coffee server in a cafeteria line - Luby's in Arlington Texas. My proud accomplishment here was to be the only person in the history of the place to actually keep up with the customers during rush hour at the drinks counter. The standard question was "What would you like with your iced tea?" Because everyone had iced tea. It actually did take a lot of concentration and organisation to keep up with the steady flow, which was just as well as it was one of the most boring jobs in the world. This is where I first learned of the existance of a substance known as "fried okra". (The other standard line at Luby's was "What would you like with your fried okra?" as everyone had that too...)

3. Salesperson in the Christmas Department of the Little Traveller department store, Geneva IL. To all the little old ladies who visit the Little Traveller in July: YOU ARE NOT BEING ORIGINAL WHEN YOU ASK IF IT IS ANNOYING TO LISTEN TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC ALL DAY IN JULY. EVERYONE ASKS US THAT. And we had to lie through our little teeth and say brightly, "Why no, Christmas is my favorite time of the year! Did you see the stunning new ornaments we have over here?" One year (it was my summer job at university) the manager insisted on the flashing Christmas tree lights that play music on every tree in the department. All flashing unsynchronised and playing different tinny tunes.

4. Encyclopaedia Britannica in two incarnations: permissions coordinator for art reproduction in Chicago and telemarketer in Munich, Germany. Yes, I am going to hell. I used to call up gullible Germans and tell them that "a friend" who wished to remain "anonymous" had told us that they spoke very good English and might therefore be interested in a set of the world's best encyclopaedias. "Really?" they would answer. "Me? I wonder who it could be! They said I speak English well? I am so flattered. Why yes, I would love to meet with your salesperson..." My boss was the master sneak, adept at faking trips to the bathroom to swipe a phone directory from the European Patent Office, glib with lies about friends who recommended customers, frighteningly manipulative when selling children's encyclopaedias...and I'm afraid I helped him. He won best representative in Europe for Encyclopaedia Britannica for several years running. And God help me, I helped him.

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:

1. It's a Wonderful Life (Sorry, but it's true. And I still cry at the end when Jimmy Stewart's brother says "To my brother George, the richest guy in town!")
2. Auntie Mame (Me too, David!)
3. Cabaret (I can also sing along to the soundtrack pretty much every day for months on end...)
4. Duck Soup (Hail, hail Freedonia...)

Four Places I've Lived:

1. Chicago IL
2. Arlington TX
3. Munich, Germany
4. Paris

I still have nightmares about Texas.

Four TV Shows I Love:

1. Dr. Who (The series with Christopher Eccleston which is, by contrast with the original series a) truly scary and b) endowed with a truly sexy Dr. Who.)
2. Cracker (a 1990s UK police drama with Robbie Coltrane)
3. The Muppet Show
4. The Good Life (American title: Good Neighbors. Did I mention I have a wormery?)

Four Highly-Regarded and Recommended TV Shows That I've Never Watched:

1. West Wing
2. 24
3. Desperate Housewives
4. Six feet under (Actually we have seen one episode, thanks to Barrett's generously giving us the series for Christmas.)

Four Places I've Vacationed:

1. Australia
2. The Canary Islands
3. Spain
4. France

Four of My Favorite Dishes:

1. Giordano's stuffed pizza with garlic and spinach
2. A rare juicy thick grilled steak with garlic butter, a baked potato and a Caesar's salad
3. Salade Périgourdine (a salad with preserved gizzards, sounds awful but it's wonderful)
4. Home made macaroni & cheese with really sharp cheddar, lots of salt and a crusty bread-crumb topping

Four Sites I Visit Daily:

1. BBC News site
2. The Food Whore
3. Motherhood is not for wimps
4. Various food blogs (not one of which is visited every day but there are about a dozen in all that get visited at least twice a week)

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:

This one is difficult. I'm sitting in a warm apartment looking at a sunny sky and behind me my boy is playing and the Critic is watching his beloved football. So at the risk of sounding smug, this is a pretty good place to be. Providing the boys were with me, I guess I could say:

1. Venice (never been, always wanted to see)
2. Florence (ditto)
3. Somewhere nice in Mexico
4. With friends in Chicago

Four Bloggers I am Tagging:

How about Barbara of Tigers & Strawberries, Johanna of The Passionate Cook, Michèle of Oswego Tea and, just to round it out with an all female cast, Sam of Becks & Posh.

Posted by Meg in Sussex at March 12, 2006 5:51 AM Print-friendly version

Long ago I worked in a supermarket and they would start playing Christmas carols they day after Thanksgiving. That was twenty five years ago. I've only just recently been able to stand listening to them again.

Posted by Dave on March 12, 2006 at 12:07 PM

Dave it's so much worse in the UK - they start playing the music in OCTOBER! At least the existance of Thanksgiving and Halloween keep the marketers from starting it sooner. : )

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 12, 2006 at 1:30 PM

Meg, it may have held them at bay here at one time, but I seriously saw Xmas decorations go up October 30th this year at Walgreen's.

It's creeping backwards.

Posted by barrett on March 12, 2006 at 4:31 PM

Interesting.. when I got the 4 Things meme back in January the 4 highly recommended TV shows was not in there. I wonder when/how that got added.

In case you didn't know...Chris Eccleston is no longer Dr. Who which is bad news. The good news is...Cracker is back later this year! Not to mention Sharpe!

signed, TV addict.

Posted by maki on March 13, 2006 at 4:21 AM

Hi Meg, very sneaky encyclopedia selling trick! I didnt know that you had lived in Munich. Thanks for the tag, but David beat you to it on tagging me for this one ;)

Posted by michele on March 13, 2006 at 5:42 AM

The new Dr. Who is the bomb, Meg. And yeah, Chris E. is totally hot. ;-) My daughter has such a crush on him--it is adorable.

I can't wait until they are actually aired here in the US (yes, we have been pirating from the 'net--but as soon as the DVD's are available here in the US, we are buying two copies, so there--nyah). It would be nice to see them in good picture and sound quality.

I will do the meme sometime this week--I promise!

Posted by Barbara on March 13, 2006 at 11:21 AM

Barbara, when looking for a link to the series I saw two different stories saying it would hit the US on the 16th or 17th March, so he should be there soon! Tell your daughter she might want to check out the (also mentioned) series Cracker. He was great in that too - and so is Robbie Coltrane. (Though the latter is admittedly a lot les hot!)

Michèle, sorry - should have checked the others on David. Small world, eh??

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 13, 2006 at 11:49 AM

Maki, we saw the first episode with the new Dr. Who. He seems okay, but I think we would have liked him a lot better if he hadn't been preceded by Eccleston!

That's exciting news about Cracker - we will definitely be looking out for it!

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 13, 2006 at 11:51 AM

David Tenet will do okay, I think, he just has big shoes to fill on Dr. Who. I am very glad that Rose stayed and Captain Jack will return, though.

Posted by Barbara on March 13, 2006 at 12:40 PM

Meg, in the last week I have made your Leek and Stilton soup, Chicken Makani, and English Onion Soup. All 3 were fantastic! Thanks for the great recipes.

Posted by David in AZ on March 13, 2006 at 1:42 PM

David, thanks a million for the comment! There is nothing as exciting as knowing someone tried one of my recipes (let alone three!) and liked it!

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 13, 2006 at 1:50 PM

...must admit that I hadn't seen the news about Cracker, but am very excited by the prospect. Having seen the comments, I found the following link, where I also see that Coltrane comments on rumours about Harry Potter...which I also hadn't sseen!:

Posted by The Critic on March 14, 2006 at 2:53 PM

Just a minute. Quiet, everybody. Quiet ?? quiet. Now, this is
from London.
Mr. Gower cables you need cash. Stop. My office instructed to
advance you up to twenty-five thousand dollars. Stop. Hee-haw and Merry Christmas.
Sam Wainwright.

Gets me every time.

Posted by Kuz on March 17, 2006 at 7:48 AM
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