Off the Air with Rhonda Weidner

With these three words, "Good Morning Mississippi!" Rhonda Weidner starts her day. But what's going on when she's not at work? We pulled her aside to find out in Off the Air with Rhonda Weidner.

So I think the question everyone wants answered is what time do you have to get up in the morning?
RW: 2:30 AM.

How do you do that?
RW: It's tough. I get up at 2:30, I'm in at 3:30 and have to take a little one to daycare in between that hour for work. It's challenging. I go to bed at 8 o'clock at night.

And how do you look so happy at five o'clock in the morning?
RW: Because I'm up for 3 hours by then. They don't see me when I first wake up.

Do you rely on a lot of coffee?
RW: I don't rely on coffee. I like coffee. I love the taste of coffee, but I don't rely on it. I don't need a caffeine buzz to get my day going.

What's the best thing about the morning, that there's not that much traffic?
RW: It's actually great. Once you're up, you just have a great jump start on the day. You're way ahead of the game.

What do you like about working the morning instead of the afternoon, more time to spend with Alexandra

RW: Yeah, there are advantages and disadvantages like with any shift. But by coming in at 3:30 in the morning, I'm out of here by noon and I spend the next 8 hours of my day with my daughter which is great. She's not in school right now so we get to spend a lot of quality time together.

What's the funniest thing your daughter says?
RW: "The cat did it."

She blames the cat for everything?
RW: Not everything, but it's a good excuse, "The cat did it."

So you have three cats?
RW: Three now, we just recently lost two. I've had cats all my life.

What's something funny that the cats do?
RW: Play fighting. I have boxing bouts at my house between the cats.

A lot of mother/daughter days?
RW: She's my best buddy. We go just about everywhere together, the movies, the Lynne Meadows Discovery Center, the beach, church fairs, you name it we like to go.

What is her favorite activity to do with you?
RW: We spend a lot of quality time reading books together and watching Disney DVD's.

What's your favorite Disney DVD?
RW: It's a toss up I'd say between 'Jungle Book' and 'Monster's Inc.'

Have you taken her to Disney World?
RW: Not yet, but we're planning a trip.

Have you been as a child?
RW: Actually, the first time I went was as an adult.

What was a ride that you enjoyed the most?
RW: My preference was more Epcot and Disney MGM. I'm more into the shows and entertainment than I am into the rides. Not big on roller coasters at all. You won't find me on those big roller coasters.

Would you stand in a long line for any particular show at Epcot or Disney MGM and what ride or show do you like to see over and over?
RW: I hate long lines, I won't stand in a long line. I'll just move on. And I rarely repeat rides. There's nothing that I think I would go back to see over and over again.

Have you ever met any celebrities? Who is your favorite celebrity?
RW: I've met a lot of celebrities over the years by working in New Orleans and here at WLOX. I'd have to say Michael J. Fox is the best. He's wonderful. He's sweet, down to earth, everything you'd imagine he would be. And I really love the Good Morning America crew-Charlie, Diane, Robin, Tony. They are the world's nicest people.

Worst celebrity you've ever met?
RW: Let's just say if I can't say anything nice about HER, I'm not going to say anything about HER.

Describe your best New York experience?
RW: First of all, I love New York. New York is so energizing and there's so much to do and so much to see. I love theater and I got to see some shows while I was there. But it was also interesting going behind the scenes on Good Morning America. And,visiting Ground Zero - that in and of itself was a humbling experience.

So you've flown with the Thunderbirds? Describe that experience. Did you throw up, black out?
RW: Actually not. Flying with the Thunderbirds was probably one of the most awesome experiences of my life, if not the MOST awesome experience. We actually pulled 9 G's, and no I did not black out or throw up. I actually managed to get my little 9 G pin from the pilot. He was amazed that I had done so well.

You never felt motion sickness?
RW: Obviously not. I did fine. I hear a lot of people get sick after those, even some of the trained pilots. But, I was too excited to get sick.

What was your first pet?
RW: Cat. First, second, third, fourth and about the fiftieth.

Not a dog fan?
RW: I love dogs, and I've had a few dogs. But I'm a big feline lover.

What TV shows did you watch growing up? Favorite?
RW: In my early years, 'Captain Kangaroo', 'Romper Room', 'Tom N Jerry'. You know those kind of shows. I guess later in my school aged years, I was watching things like 'Bewitched', 'Dark Shadows'...shows in the afternoon. And my late night shows, I loved the 'Tonight Show with Johnny Carson'. And 'Andy Griffith'. I like the old shows.. still do.

Do you still try to catch those shows every once in a while? What do you watch now?
RW: Can't do Nick At Night. I'm usually in bed by that time. Mostly right now I get to watch some news and a lot of cartoons and public television

Did you watch any of the reality shows?
RW: Don't particularly care for them. I watched the first Survivor. It was interesting, but it peaked for me at that point.

Would you ever be on one?
RW: NO. I live reality every day. I don't need everyone else seeing it.

Last movie you saw?
RW: 'Pirates of the Caribbean.' It was great. I'm a big Johnny Depp fan!

What was the first movie you took your daughter to see at the movie theater?
RW: 'E.T.' And I was amazed because it's a long movie and she sat through the whole thing. And she was only about two then, but I guess she was quite taken with it.

What is the weirdest or greatest thing you've ever found at a Garage Sale?

I don't remember ever finding anything really weird. I don't ever go seeking something in particular. I'm a bargain shopper. I look for things that I can use more so than odd things.

What kind of things?
RW: Housewares, clothes. Nothing particular. I just like to go.

Do you go every Saturday?
RW: No a few times a month. I actually have my own garage sale, once or twice a year.

Do you collect anything? What?
RW: I have small collections of a bunch of little things from my music collection. I have a lot of my old albums, new DVD's, baskets, pictures and spattering of antiques.

What is the most unusual antique or one that you treasure the most?
RW: The one I treasure the most is my grandfather's phonograph and the 78 records that go with it.

What kind of music do you listen to?
RW: Everything, from Classical to Alternative to Country.

Do you go to many concerts?
RW: Yeah.

What's the last one or best one you've been to?
RW: One of the best concerts I've been to was the Garth Brooks concert. Garth Brooks and Reba McIntire put on awesome shows! The last concert was Gary Puckett at the Grand. I'm a big oldies fan too.

What is your laundry day?
RW: Everyday.

Have you ever had a laundry catastrophe... turn anything pink or any strange color?
RW: Oh yeah. We have plenty of laundry catastrophes, for example, bleaching my towels accidentally. I don't know how bleach got in the machine. But my nice olive green towels had nice bleach stains on them. And then, you always will get something red mixed in with something you don't want.

Maybe the cat did it.
RW: (Laughs)

Where do you get your groceries?
RW: Whatever store has the best prices and the best coupon deals at the time.

So are you a big coupon clipper?
RW: Big coupon clipper. I love those double and triple coupon days.

What is your favorite recipe?
RW: Anything anybody else has cooked.

So does that mean you don't cook?
RW: Not big in the kitchen.

Have you ever had a cooking disasters?
RW: Pick one.

What was the worst one, where you just had to call the Pizza Man afterwards?
RW: Yeah, or just eat something really charbroiled. Nothing stands out. There's been too many of them. I'm really not that bad. I just don't do a lot of cooking.

What do you eat a lot? Favorite foods?
RW: My daughter's big into chicken. I like a lot of fresh vegetables, and chicken and fish... all easy to cook stuff.

Do you do any theater work?
RW: Not anymore. My hours have gotten progressively earlier over the years and since you usually rehearse until 10/10:30 at night. There's no way I could get up at 2:30 in the morning after going to rehearsal that late at night. I used to come in at five and I could sometimes swing it, but not anymore.

What's the last show you did?
RW: I think the last show I did was 'Godspell' at the Saenger. I did a lot of work at Center Stage too and a lot of theater work in college.

What's the oddest part you've ever played?
RW: A hard cigarette smoking Brit in a murder mystery. I hate cigarettes too that's why it was one of the stranger roles. I had to learn how to smoke filterless cigarettes.

What was your first car?
RW: A 1972 Chevy Nova. My mom bought it for me so I could get back and forth to college.

RW: It was pretty ugly. It was brown. They were big into the browns in the 70's.

Brown and Olive Green right?
RW: Oh yeah. I remember the Family Gremlin, that was pretty ugly. Those were ugly little cars.

What would be your ideal "Dream" job?
RW: If I were financially secure, it'd be a stay-at-home mom and do community volunteer work.

Do you do a lot of that now? Would you like to be the class mom when she starts school to bring the cupcakes for parties and stuff?
RW: Oh absolutely, the classroom mom. Sure, absolutely. I try to help out now wherever I can. I'm on the board on the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Nature Preservation Society.

Dream retirement?
RW: I don't think it matters where I am, as long as I'm healthy and financially secure. Young retirement would be nice actually.


Do you think Alexandra

will follow your footsteps?
RW: I hope not. I want her to follow her own footsteps. Just want her to be herself, strong, sensitive, secure. Just to be a good person.

Ok, that's all I have. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Off the Air.
RW: Thanks!