Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Women's Month Interviews: Catherine L. Dumas

How do we know each other?
I had the pleasure to be a student in two of your classes during my undergrad at St. Rose: Writers In Motion & Medieval Lit on Film. We have continued our friendship enjoying intelligent conversations over libations and great food at our local pubs. Oh yeah, and we are neighbors, woo hoo.

How would you describe yourself?

I project a happy, free spirited, optimistic, easy-going persona. Some may see interpret this as me being carefree. That is not entirely the case. I suppose my persona is a defense mechanism that allows me to navigate easier through life. On the inside I am in a perpetual state of wanting to know everything. I read people and the world incessantly trying to find what is really going on--I do care about too much. I am a realist. I am unconventional when it comes to normative societal dictates: sex, religion, class, and gender. I asked a good friend of mine to describe me and he said I am disarming.

In what part of the world are you located?

I am currently living in Albany, New York. I was born and raised here in various parts of the area. I left Albany after my first year of college to live in NYC. I landed a lucrative sales job in New Jersey and lived there about 12 years. I moved back home shortly after 911 to go back to school. It was the best decision I ever made. I am currently pursuing a dual graduate degree at SUNY Albany. Yes, I am thrilled to be right where I am right now. I will probably leave again after I graduate--but Albany works for me now.

Where can we find you on the web?
Facebook and cathy2cool

What don't people know about you that they ought to know?
I am an avid people reader. It's a knack I picked up when I was in sales. No, it probably was a survival skill I have been honing since I was a child. You can tell a lot about someone by looking into their eyes -- and actively listening to them.

What's the most common mistake people make about you?
That I am just a sex symbol. I have a brain too, duh. LOL.

What are you most proud of having accomplished so far?
Leaving a high paid sales job, going back to school and being in grad school. Oh yeah, and not needing to be in a relationship to validate my existence.

What ambitions do you have ahead of you?
I know it sounds cheesy, but I would like to make a difference. Part of me wants to teach, part of me thinks that I should do it through writing. I feel I have something I need to say -- just don't know what it is just yet. I have just entered the realm of Information Science. I am being conservative by doing this. My heart would be to study English, Cultural Studies, critical pedagogy perhaps. I am learning more about the inequities of the current educational system here in the US. It is making my blood flow. I just need something I can sink my teeth into. The rest will come.

What's the best compliment you've ever received?
People don't compliment me. Or if they do maybe I don't hear them. [You don't hear them!]

If something great happens to you, how do you celebrate?
I call my mom, my brother & my Dad...Then I party like a rock star...no, seriously. I like to celebrate with friends and family. A nice dinner, great food & wine...

What's your best method for coping with stress?
I work out to prevent stress. I also ski in the winter and sail in the summer...takes it all away. Oh yeah, ice cream works too. Sometimes I write.

What makes you laugh?

Almost everything. If you know me you know I love to laugh. I even laugh at things I probably shouldn't. Oh yeah, and politicians.

What makes you cry?
Sad movies. That is about the only time I cry. Crying wasn't part of my upbringing. I guess I blame it on my English mum. I do feel immense sadness when I see hurt in people's eyes. I am very sensitive to that -- the downside of my people reading skills

What do you love?
I love to: ski, read, my independence, Led Zeppelin, Ice cream, write at times, find people I can talk to, sail, cool professors, museums, films, plays, the seasons, comfortable silence, my time alone, learn, cook, travel, fly -- my fave parts are taking off and landing.

What do you loathe?
Tomatoes…when I was a little girl I had an aunt who forced me to eat one when she was babysitting us -- mom was in Hawaii. I rebelled -- mom never forced us to eat things. I loathe people who are cruel, superficial, and/or condescending. I loathe country music, bad professors, television, politics, predators, and coconut anything, to name a few.

What's sexy?
Johnny Depp, Richard Gere in American Gigilo, brilliant minds, people who are comfortable with their bodies.
What's the best advice you were ever given?
I guess you can’t really classify this as direct advice but I will never forget my 11th grade Trig teacher whom I overheard tell a female classmate who asked her this question (about me) “what does she have that I don’t?” The teachers reply was “A college education”. Maybe it was an offhanded way of getting advice -- but I have never forgotten it.

How should people be spending their money?

Which woman/women have inspired you?
My mother, my Yaya (Greek for grandmother--we aren't Greek, long story), Dr Helen Staley...my first college English Professor at Sage...Dr. Richardson, my English teacher at Albany High. Some of my English professors at St. Rose—they know who they are.

If I gave you a million dollars, what would you do?

I would travel to every country in the world...I know that is selfish. Maybe I am not so wonderful.

Thank you so much for being part of this celebration: you are indeed fabulous!

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