Ok ok, I did it. Like everyone else in Blogland, I made a List. It was really tedious, but kind of fun in a “Hey, look at me!” kind of way. I guess I was feeling sentimental after the Pixies reunion show last night, so I figured a little self-exploration was in order. The Pixies, by the way, were great. Kim Deal kicks ass in 9 different directions. The crowd was an interesting mix of 30-somethings who are just a bit worse for the wear, and a younger folks who look like we 30-somethings used to before said wear. The show was at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell and was not the best venue. It was weird enough when they made everyone throw their cigarettes and lighters into the trash, but what really got me was that they herded everyone out through one main exit. They actually blocked the other exits! It was a major accident waiting to happen. If there had been a fire, it would have been a bad scene. Wow. I sound like someone’s mother. Anyhoo, the show got me thinking about where I was when I was listening to the Pixies music for the first time and where I am now. I’ve come a long way, baby.
Alright, here’s my list. I won’t be offended if you only slog your way through the first handful. This was mostly an exercise for me, but I might as well share. I threw some pictures in here and there to keep it interesting.
1. I have far exceded my own expectations for myself. This is mainly because I don't usually set expectations. But I'm quite happy with the life I've carved out for myself.
2. I was born and bred in Manchester, NH.
3. I was a cute kid.
4. My parents are still married.
5. I have a brother who is two years older than me.
6. My brother and I had a love/hate relationship from day one. We were constantly fighting and antagonizing each other, and yet we always wanted to be together. We were partners in crime. I love him to smithereens.
7. I moved out of the house when I was 17.
8. I didn’t really want to go to college and only applied to one place.
9. I went to Mass College of Art for photography.
10. My brother also went there.
11. My husband also went there.
12. I dropped out after two years because for me, nothing sucks the joy out of
art like dissecting it.
13. The most fulfilling job I ever had was working with teens who had developmental and behavioral disorders. It was both physically and emotionally exhausting, but it felt really good. I learned way more from them than they did from me. I don’t know how to change a baby’s diaper, but I do know how to change a 17-year-old’s. It was life-altering, humbling, grounding, aggrivating, excruciating, frightening, enlightening, shocking, amazing. When I really start to get down, I remind myself that as long as I can take care of my own bathroom needs, I’m doing ok. It’s also nice to know that no one at my present job is going to bite me. At least not without provocation.
14. I am now a programmer at a software company.
15. I got my start as a programmer when I was a bored receptionist. I taught myself how to use a couple of different pieces of software and the Director of Technology asked if I was interested in learning some programming skills. I said yes and have worked for him at three different jobs. I am one of four founding members in the company he started two years ago. I am very lucky.
16. I am living proof that you can get ahead if you are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty, even without them fancy learnin' papers.
17. I own a 3-family house with my brother and my best friend. Jon and I live on the third floor, my friend is on the second, my brother and his wife are on the first.
18. I have 4 cats, Chloe, Dot, Chi-Chi, and Mike. I am allergic to cats and have to take 3 kinds of allergy and asthsma medicines daily so I can live with them.
19. I used to work at a costume shop.
20. When I was little, there was a small plaque hanging at the end of the hallway in our house. On it was a sad-looking white dog (Bijon Frise, maybe?) and an “inspirational” saying. I looked at it every day for years. It became something of a mantra and very well could have made me the person I am today. It said “Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.” Umm, thanks?
21. I have a hard time saying things simply and tend to get verbose and anecdotalize everything until suddenly I can’t just list something, it has to become a long, involved story.
22. I am an eBay junkie. I have been clean on and off for the last 7 years. Since I began knitting, I have fallen off the wagon. Hard.
23. I laugh inappropriately when I’m nervous.
24. I hate March. I think it’s nature’s way of toying with humans. It tricks you into thinking spring is right around the corner, that tomorrow could be warm, that you will soon be able to feel your finger and toes. And every year I fall for it. Then we get hit with the coldest, nastiest weather of the season. Lousy Smarch weather.
25. I love the Simpsons.
26. I hate March so much that I scheduled our wedding in March so we could have something to look forward to and use it as an excuse to get away for a week.
27. Jon and I were married in a nightclub/bowling alley.
28. I got my wedding dress from eBay. It’s a bright red Hawaiian print halter dress from the 1940’s.
29. Jon and about 95% of our guests also wore Hawaiian prints. My dad’s shirt matched my mom’s muu muu.
30. When I was in grammar school, I used to lend my brother my allowance and charge him exhorbedent amounts of interest. My father is still proud of that.
31. In high school, I used to collect bottle caps from the wine coolers he and his friends drank (it was the 80’s, Bartyles and James were kings among teens). I hid them, moving them often to thwart snoopers. When I was in need of a chore or just wanted to be amused, I would shake the caps in my cupped hands menacingly and force my brother to do my bidding.
32. I save goofy sentimental things almost to the point of mental illness. Among many things, I have the first book report I ever did (on Paddington Bear), tests and workbooks from throughout grammar school, letters from Pen Pals I don’t even remember having, the bill from the mechanic when I crashed my mom’s car in high school, pieces of a color theory project from art school that I never finished, just about every ticket to every concert I’ve ever gone to, name tags from every job where I had to wear a name tag, and a small mass of circles made out of masking tape that my brother stuck to our cat, Penelope, when he was about 14. He said he was making her a leopard. After removing them from the poor beast, I tucked them away to used as blackmail at a later date. They still have her fur on them and I think about having her cloned every once in a while.
33. My brother and I can still get each other going and my mom still yells at us to behave ourselves at holidays.
34. I used to have a 1976 Dodge dart named Flamey. She was black with flames.
35. As a child, I was terrified of dogs. I’m not any more, but if I see a large dog running nearby, I do get a little panicked.
36. I was, am, and always will be afraid of clowns.
37. I worked for a party clown for a few years. She understood my Coulrophobia and kept her distance when she was in her makeup.
38. My favorite costumes to wear to kid’s parties were the cowgirl and pirate’s wench.
39. My least favorite was Christmas Elf. It came with an implied sense of cheer. My Elf name was “Surly”. Luckily, no one ever asked. David Sedaris’ “Santaland Diaries” holds a special place in my heart.
40. I can make simple balloon animals and have my own face-painting kit. I do a really good tiger.
41. If I were stranded on a desert island with only on CD, it would be “The Heart of Saturday Night” by Tom Waits. Then I would make a raft out of coconuts and monkey pelt so I could sail somewhere to get the rest of his CDs. I’d sail right back, I promise.
42. I think “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” is one of the best albums ever. Every song is the best song on the record.
43. Prince is partially responsible for my marriage.
44. Music is really important to me and often a song can bring me right back to a specific point in time. I could make a 100 list of music way easier than I could about myself.
45. I would give almost anything to spend the day going to yard sales with John Waters.
46. One of my all-time favorite movies is “The Shawshank Redemption”.
47. I’m one of those people who is always using quotes from movies in everyday conversation.
48. Mystery Science Theater 3000 is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever encountered.
49. I love me some Johnny Depp (referred to by my brother and I as “the Deppster”). I have since the first time I saw “21 Jump Street”.
50. My friend Charlene and I drove across the country and camped along the way.
51. On this trip I learned that in some desert campgrounds, they use sprinklers to keep little trees near the sites alive. I only learned this after I had leapt onto the picnic table and was trying to think of a way to jump onto the car and get in from the roof. Sprinklers sound remarkably like rattlesnakes, especially in the middle of the night at the Homolovi Ruins State Park. I wish I had a picture of the look on Charlene’s face when she finally convinced me that the hoses weren’t going to strike.
52. Charlene and I also kayaked through mangrove tunnels in the Florida Everglades on a self guided tour (aka. Just the two of us and a map in the middle of a swamp with mosquitos, spiders, snakes and alligators). It took us four hours and by the end of it, we felt like we had been through the jungles of Viet Nam. One day I will recount this story. Perhaps when I get back from Florida next week and we’ve had a much less harrowing adventure at Disney’s Hoop Dee Doo Revue.
53. On yet another camping trip with Charlene, this time in Joshua Tree National Park,
it was very cold when we went to sleep. We layered our clothes, zipped up our sleeping bags, and hunkered down in our tent. By the time morning came and the sun was up, we were baking like burritos. It was just so hot! Charlene woke up first, realized how hot it was, and sort of assumed for a moment that I was dead. From the heat. She woke me up and we couldn’t stop laughing because it was just so hot. I’m laughing as I type this, it was just that hot. We wrestled oursleves out of our sleeping bags and started tearing off our layers. She finally had the idea to open the tent flap. All the while, we’re laughing hysterically and repeating “It’s so HOT!” over and over. This was at least 10 years ago and to this day, I can look at Charlene and say, completely out of the blue, “God, it was just so hot.” and we’ll both start giggling uncontrollably.
54. Charlene and I are just as close as if we were sisters. She will always be my best friend. It says so on the 30-year mortgage we took out together.
55. I think she and I should write a travel guide.
56. The first page of that travel guide will say “When camping in the desert, we have learned that it is wise to take more than Pringles, wine, and pot.”
57. On our first date, I showed Jon how to make a joint by emptying a cigarette and carefully packing the weed in.
58. I quit smoking shortly after we started dating. He still feels kind of ripped off. He thought he was getting a wild and crazy party girl.
59. I think marijuana should be legalized and regulated in a similar way that alcohol is.
60. I love mid-century antiques. My kitchen is decorated with mostly stuff from the 40’s, even the wallpaper (thank you eBay!).
61. I have a tattoo and I don’t really like it. I want to get it redesigned. It’s barbed wire. I was an angry 20-year-old.
62. I can’t believe anyone is still reading this.
63. Jon and I would like to have a kid or two some day.
64. We like Jake for a boy’s name, and Lela for a girl. Jake and Lela.
65. My parents’ names are Jack and Stella. I didn’t notice the similarities in our potential kids name to theirs for a while.
66. We have agreed that if we don’t have kids, we’re going to train a helper monkey. Neither of us is sure if we’re kidding or not.
67. I love monkeys. I also just love the word “monkey”.
68. I’ve always considered myself fairly mature.
69. hee hee . . . 69!
70. When I’m really upset, it’s best to ignore me and I’ll get over it.
71. I use way too much ketchup.
72. I like Oprah. She seems really nice.
73. When I was little, Mickey Dolenz was my favorite Monkee. As I matured, I switched to Mike Nesmith.
74. My bologna has a first name. It’s O-s-c-a-r.
75. I won the smile contest on the Uncle Gus show (a local kid’s show in my hometown) when I was about 7 or 8. I won a tube of toothpaste with Tweety Bird on it. The kid who named all the states got a talking View Master. Figures the one time I used my looks to get something, the guy with the brains got the good stuff.
76. I get lost or take wrong turns while driving all the time. Like 75% of the
time. Well, maybe not that much, but a lot. Seriously.
77. I am not a punctual person and I know it’s rude and I try to be on time, but my internal clock is all screwy and I can’t help it. I’m sorry.
78. My memory is awful and although I can remember things from my childhood, I barely have any recollection of last week. Often I will forget something moments after I am told.
79. If I am in a meeting for more than 15 minutes, assume that I am no longer able to pay attention. I have been in one-to-one meetings with bosses where my mind is comsumed with this inner dialogue: “I need to pay attention. Pay attention! I really should be listening. This is bad, why can’t I pay attention? I’m going to be screwed, I have no idea what this person is saying. What did he just say? Can he tell I have no idea what he’s saying? Pay attention.” One would think I could put all that energy into paying attention rather than distracting myself by telling myself to pay attention, wouldn’t you? Nope.
80. I can do fine motor stuff (knitting, sculpting, other crafty stuff) for hours on end and not lose focus (or get up to got to the bathroom).
81. I am very non-confrontational and I like it that way.
82. My favorite food is sushi. Second is Indian.
83. My least favorite food is anything made with goat’s milk.
84. The best cake I ever made used a cake mold shaped like a big dress and a Joey Lawrence doll.
85. For Christmas last year, I made a Buche de Noel, complete with meringue mushrooms. Jon made a squirrel out of almond paste to top it off.
86. As stressful as it is, I love holiday cooking.
87. I lived with my brother in Los Angeles for about a year in the early 90’s. I worked at a comedy club (I’ve handed paychecks to Drew Carey and Jimmy Walker, among others)
88. If my friends here had been out there with me, I probably would not have moved back so soon. There’s a lot of fun to be had there if you’re in the right headspace. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. I overlooked a lot of good opportunities in LA LA Land.
89. I don’t really have a any solid goals for the future and it kind of worries me. Then I remember that I never have and things worked out pretty well on their own.
90. I’m agnostic, but still feel occasional pangs of superstition and guilt that are left over from my Catholic upbringing.
91. My brother and I were eventually not allowed to sit together in church because we were too disruptive.
92. From looking at my list, my brother figures very heavily in how I define myself. I don’t consider this a bad thing as I think he’s very cool.
93. I like to read directions before I proceed.
94. Mr. Winkle
makes me squeal like a little girl. If loving Mr. Winkle is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
95. I love super dark chocolate. I prefer dry and bitter to creamy and sweet.
96. I love pop culture and the irony and ridiculouslness within.
97. Humor is vital to my existence.
98. I firmly believe that things are as they are meant to be. Sometimes. Sort of. Ok, change that “firmly believe that” to “I wonder if”.
99. I do not have any firm philosopical, theological, or supernatural theories. One day I think one thing, the next it’s something different. I kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of gal most times and that’s cool. Whatever. As long as no one is trying to impose their beliefs on me, I’m fine.
100. I can really go on and on about myself, huh?