Friday, October 5, 2012

20 Questions with JBB

Recently I was asked to answer 20 questions for the local monthly magazine Palmetto Parent.

I worked previously with the nice journalist lady on an article about my work with Adluh, and I was pleased to have an opportunity  to work with her again.

Then I was asked to participate in a brief photo shoot and I was horrified at the idea, since... well, I address that below. I couldn't get out of it, though, and the magazine sent a photographer over to GraySail to point her clickything at me. She was super friendly, very understanding about my nervousness, and did a great job in spite of her subject matter. You can see one of the two shots she submitted to the editor along with the interview on page 30 in the October 2012 issue of Palmetto Parent. It's on newsstands now and will be the only thing available to read in the offices of pediatricians throughout the midlands.

The literal fives of readers who previewed this article mentioned to me that the answers don't sound entirely like... me. That's due to editing; space is very tight in the publication and because I could talk and talk and TALK, the nice journalist lady was faced with the daunting task of editing my answers down to fit. My original answers are printed below, because I know how you are about Schadenfreude, gentle readers. Yes, I know.

20 Questions with... Jennifer Bailey Bergen (Palmetto Parent, October 2012)

Name: Jennifer Bailey Bergen
Age: 38
Hometown: Lake Oswego, Oregon
Current city of residence: West Columbia, South Carolina
Married? So very: 2nd marriage; 6th anniversary is coming up.
Children: (Names, ages) CJ is 15; Meredith is 12.

Social Media People Person and Client Relations for GraySail LLC.

Summer or winter? (Why?)
Winter. Winter, winter, winter. If you're cold, add another layer. If you're still cold, maybe a nice hot toddy. Mittens, cheery holidays, a big pot of soup, friendly folks, kitchens wafting mulling spices through the house... Yes, definitely winter. Also, Pumpkin Pie Spice. Everywhere. In anything (especially in my tummy). I have a pumpkin blog, even, updated during the season:

What quality do you most admire in others? (Why?)
Serenity. No matter what kinds of crisis is afoot, the ability to stay calm, patient, and positive – not just wishing, but really being able to generate a certainty – that everything will be just fine. I admire that a lot. I would love to be like that, I try to be like that.

What’s your favorite childhood memory?
When I was a really young child – kindergarten, maybe – our teacher submitted a drawing from each child in my class to a contest held by a local bank. The prize in my age category was a $10 savings bond, and as luck would have it, I won! My picture was in the local newspaper, posing proudly with the banker people and proudly holding my creation. The article mentions my wonderful sketch of a lamb, how advanced it was for such a young artist, wasn't it just so wonderful? Everybody loves a little lamb! I believe my mother framed it along with its accompanying blue ribbon.

I didn't bother telling them it was actually a drawing of my great-grandmother's poodle, Muffy. Sorry about that, contest people of 1979.

What’s your favorite food?
Bi Bim Bob at the Blue Cactus Cafe on Greene Street. Meaning “mixed rice”, it's a bowl of – you guessed it – rice, 5 vegetables, a protein (I like spicy pork) and topped with a sunny-side up egg. Really, anything at the Cactus is my favorite. No, I take that back: The things with tentacles are not my favorite.

What’s your dream vacation destination?
The Northwestern United States. No, it's true. Keep your Bahamas, your Monte Carlos. Give me the Oregon mountains any day.

What’s the best place to take the kids?
Orangeburg YMCA Waterpark. Free admission to all branches is one of the best perks of a family-level membership to the Downtown Columbia YMCA, because that includes the Orangeburg Waterpark. A great place to spend the day lounging with a book under a shade umbrella while the kids play themselves silly on waterslides, wading pools, the lazy river.

What’s your super power?
I am Mommy, Finder of All Lost Things. People in my household lose things and they are gone! Forever! Never ever to be found again! Unless I walk into to the room, at which point the items(s) in question mysteriously, miraculously, appear. But I won't wear a cape. No capes!

What is your favorite TV show?
Community. It is the best show on TV. That's right, I said it!

When you were younger, what did you want to be?
I was pretty sure I would get to be (Sigourney Weaver's character) Ripley, from Alien. The future was supposed to come with tourist space travel and flying cars.

What’s your favorite restaurant?
Oh! I unwittingly covered that above, with my favorite food at the Blue Cactus Cafe. You'll find me there with friends and co-irkers (I crack me up! But I owe that term to my friend Jay) on the regular; typically we meet for lunch weekly. The Blue Cactus Cafe prides itself on 'arrogantly slow' food, and the Reese Family makes every dish to order. It's intimate, it's delicious, it's vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. Try the green tea ice cream, before you leave.

What are your hobbies?
I cook, I knit, I drink coffee, I sing loudly (and badly) in my car while seat-dancing at stoplights, and it embarrasses my children almost as much as when I tell them how much I love them in public. CJ and Meredith Bailey: MOMMY LOVES YOU!

What is something important life has taught you?
Be kind. You don't have to agree, you don't have to like what's going on, and you don't have to get your way, but always, always be kind.

What is your favorite family ritual?
We talk to each other every day – what was the best part of your day, today? What was the worst? What's going to be the best tomorrow?

What do you wish you could do?
I would like to garden; to grow food. Turning seeds and dirt into succulent deliciousness seems like super-difficult wizardry that I will never be able to do. I'm sure I could get past the things that I don't know; things about soil types and sun direction and seasons, but those are all kind of hampered by this thing I have where I hate outside. I love our beautiful state but I hate heat, humidity, dirt, bugs, sweat, and kneeling. I also really love my manicure.

What would surprise people about you?
I am so very much NOT an extrovert.

What has surprised you most about being a mom?
“It's a boy!”, they said. That wasn't the surprise. The surprise was what came next: “It's an ELEVEN POUND boy!” That was pretty surprising, indeed.

I find it hilarious, now, with a combined 25 years of parenting under my belt, the way that young parents are just so excited for little wibble-wobbles snuggie-pie to meet all sorts of developmental milestones, and meet 'em as soon as possible, please and thank you. No! NO! I almost want to grab people on the streets and tell them these really important bits of knowledge so maybe they can save themselves. The only example I'll give: Walking. We spent so much time holding CJ's hands, helping find his balance, guiding him, being his touchstone. And then he took off and started climbing things, falling from things, falling on TO things (he has a Harry Potter scar due to a terrible incident with a teddy bear picnic table), running away from things, running to things... it was exhausting. Meredith stood up one day, about three weeks older than CJ had been, and she walked. Those three weeks were three more weeks I didn't have to spend every waking moment chasing the newly mobile child as he or she discovers pointy flatware or tasty electrical outlets. No, new parents, please. These are DEVELOPMENTAL milestones your child will hit when ready. If you try to train it into 'em early, you have only yourselves to blame. :)

What are three things that brighten your day?
1) I love waking my children to greet their day. For just a couple of moments, they are still warm snuggly reminders of the babies they used to be, somewhere in the sleepy almost-adult-sized grownup tween/teenagers.
2) Work. I love doing my job. My current and former co-workers are like family, and even many of my clients have become good friends. It brightens my day to work hard and “do awesome” for the folks who depend on me.
3) My husband. I like him. Which, to me, is a big deal and different than “I love him”. Because sure, I do, and he loves me too. But I like him. He gets me, my sense of humor, who I am as an actual person. I like his company and want to be around him. And, oh, he is SO funny. He makes me laugh so hard that my stomach hurts, and he can give me the giggles with just a look. It's so fun.

What is your favorite indulgence?
True crime TV. Dateline, Forensic Files, The First 48.

What was your first job?
Scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I had this really amazingly muscular right arm, and this really sad floppy baby-sized left arm. Let me be a warning to future scoopers of the world: Scoop ambidextrously.

Whom do you most admire?
I admire everyone, in some way or another.

Early bird or night owl? (Why?)
I'm an early bird. It started as insomnia issues where I would wake up for the day around 3am – I apparently do my best knitting between 3 and 6 am – and now I feel like half of the day is wasted if I sleep past 7am on a weekend day.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would you choose?
Is this one of those 'ANYONE-anyone, living or dead?' questions? Because if so, I would seat a dinner panel of both not-alive and alive: Freddy Mercury, Jon Benet Ramsey, Barack Obama, Stephen King, Wil Wheaton, and Elvis. Always Elvis.

One person, alive today? My favorite astrophysicist. Everybody should have a favorite astrophysicist: Neil deGrasse Tyson.

What’s on your iPod (or in your CD player)?
Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Queen, Mumford & Sons, Adele, every #1 song from the year 1974 (a birthday gift thanks to my friends the Cranfordixons), and every one hit wonder I could possibly think of from the 80s and 90s.

Do you have a nickname? (If so, how did you get it?)
My friends call me Jbeebs, the casual form of their more formal JBB. Which, of course, are my initials. As a child? Bug. I liked pillbugs. A lot. I am 38 years old and I have aunts and uncles who will still call me Bug, and that makes me happy.

What book do you most recommend to others? (Why?)
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. It is genuinely the most interesting and hilarious book about dead bodies that one will ever read. You don't have to believe me; read it. I'm right.

Are you more often the photographer or the subject? (Why?)
Photographer. I see so much interestingness around me, so many unique and lovely people and things. I hate being photographed because I am allergic to cameras and break out in a really terrible case of tuberfury disease whenever one is pointed at me. Rare condition. Very rare. Point a camera at me and suddenly I look like a very confused old potato. A potato wearing hipster glasses.