CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
In the Green Room

City of Hope’s Shirley Otis-Green

Not Highfalutin—And That’s Not A Bad Thing

Shirley Otis-Green is a senior research specialist at City of Hope and a social worker with experience in palliative care. Before participating in a panel on end-of-life choices, she talked up War Horse, strawberry shortcake, and roses—thorns and all—in the Zócalo green room.

Q:
What’s the ugliest piece of furniture you own?

A:
We had a really ugly mattress, but we took it back. We had it for three months and it started to burst on the side. A defective mattress! What are the odds? You can visibly see that—that’s ugly! You make your bed, and you’ve got a sag and a lump.

Q:
How are you different from who you were 10 years ago?

A:
I’ve had the opportunity to have more time with my family, which has made me more compassionate and hopefully more patient.

Q:
Where do you go to be alone?

A:
I bike ride—on occasion with family, and on occasion that’s an opportunity for some alone time.

Q:
What’s your favorite plant or flower?

A:
Roses. That’s an easy one. Because of their incredible beauty and their unique characteristics, and also in terms of actually liking that they have thorns. They become a beautiful metaphor for life.

Q:
What word or phrase do you use most often?

A:
Tonight it looks like hmm … I’ve got catchphrases I guess: various ways of expressing “oy vey” in different languages.

Q:
What salad dressing best describes your personality?

A:
There’s something to be said for raspberry vinaigrette, just because it sounds like something to aspire to. But probably Thousand Island—more common, not particularly highfalutin, but actually quite tasty.

Q:
What’s the last live performance you saw?

A:
We recently saw War Horse, and it was really quite grand.

Q:
Where would you like to travel to next?

A:
I will be traveling to Lancaster—I’m a student there for a Ph.D. in palliative care. It offers wonderful opportunities to explore the lakes district and the beauty and history of Great Britain.

Q:
What dessert can’t you resist?

A:
Strawberry shortcake. Ice cream in general. Fruit: a fresh bowl of strawberries—this is pretty heady stuff.

Q:
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

A:
My son.