Thursday, January 3, 2008

One hundred things

About me. I've been working on this for a while (is it cheating that I didn't do it in one sitting?). Anyway, here they are. Thanks to other bloggers for their inspiration!

1. I have great looking feet, but they're not very functional. They ache all the time regardless of what shoes I wear.

2. One of my biggest regrets is that after playing the piano for almost eight years as a child, I quit in high school (part of the rebellion thing, I guess). I was pretty good and really enjoyed playing. I hope to take it up again some day when there's something resembling free time in my life.

3. I spent my twenties and much of my thirties not at all sure I wanted children. I had my daughter at age 38 and can't imagine my life without her. It's by far the best thing that's ever happened to me.

4. One of my favorite things is the smell of clean crisp towels fresh off the line. Mildewy towels totally give me the willies.

5. I'm an introvert in disguise. People often think I'm outgoing and socially at ease, but I truly crave time by myself and worry a lot about social things.

6. I love my job, love my boss, love my coworkers but wish I could work at little less than the 75% I work now. Maybe 50% . . .

7. When my sister and I were kids, my mom enforced pixie haircuts. We hated them, I especially because people mistook me for a boy, and now we have our revenge with long hair. And there isn't anything she can do about it. But she doesn't mind it now that she doesn't have to brush it.

8. I grew up in an Orange County, CA beach town. You know the one where The O.C. takes place? That's it.

9. I really thought I would meet my husband in college; after all, my parents met in college and I just thought that was how it happened. I met my husband when I was 34, and we were married two years later.

10. I've been educated entirely at public schools. Just goes to show, you can get a good education at them if you pay attention.

11. My favorite fruit is a white nectarine.

12. If I thought I had terminal cancer and only weeks to live, I'd start eating cheese. Lots of it. Right up until the end.

13. Speaking of cancer, I did have it, but it wasn't terminal and I didn't go the cheese route. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. I found the lump myself. And no, it didn't feel like a pea. It was flat and large, sort of like Florida. My surgeon didn't think a tumor that large could possibly be entirely noninvasive, so I made the logistical preparations for beginning chemo. and the mental preparations for eventually dying (I'm a planner). But he was wrong and even though I had cancer in 85% of my breast, my mastectomy came out with clear margins, and I'm fine. And lucky.

14. I can sit on a secret like no one's business.

15. Other than a little news in the morning and cooking show on the weekend, I don't watch TV. It isn't that I don't think there's anything good to watch (although there's certainly a lot of crap and I just don't get reality TV), I just don't have time. And there's always something better to read.

16. I make a homemade dinner almost every night. It's my way of relaxing at the end of the day and I think it's important to teach my daughter to eat well and wisely. An ulterior motive is that I have a little lunch partner I can take anywhere. The other week we went to a French bistro where she had warm duck confit salad. Ok, so I spent $15 on a seven-year-old's lunch, but at least I wasn't trapped at MacDonalds (nope, she's never been there).

17. I drive a Honda CRV when I've got kids in tow, but after driving carpool, I swing by the house and pick up my Piaggio scooter to zip to the office. Excellent gas mileage and no problems parking. I do ride my daughter on the back of it in the summer; people either think that it's the coolest thing they've seen (very Euro!) or that I'm a horribly irresponsible mother. She does wear a helmet. . . .

18. Both of my parents grew up in Montana, my father on a cattle and sheep ranch in southeastern MT and my mother on a wheat farm outside of Great Falls. They met in college at Montana State, Bozeman. I had grandparents there when I was young and still have second cousins near where my dad grew up. Whereas Sophie's childhood is not very dissimilar to mine, it is amazing to me how different my growing up was from that of my parents and even how different my life would have been had they not come to California.

19. I loooooooove salad. We have a salad with dinner almost every night, served as a last course (my husband's father was Italian, and this was their custom). But I could probably eat fresh greens for breakfast and lunch too.

20. I'm the mother of a beautiful seven-year-old girl (she might be eight by the time I finish this list!) who has a personality almost completely opposite of mine. She's terrifically outgoing and thick-skinned. If another kid snubs her, she's shrugs it off while I practically fall apart. Life's going to be easier for her.

21. I love really good hand-milled European soap. It's a luxury I don't mind spending a little extra on since good soap like this lasts a really long time. I like body washes, scrubs, and the like, but I'll give up them all for a good bar of soap.

22. I'm not a huge beef eater, but I really like lamb. I make a great homemade mint jelly that is great with rack of lamb. Why do they color the stuff you buy in the store that funny green color?? Without the dye, it's a beautiful golden color.

23. The first concert I attended was Pink Floyd, the Animals tour, at Anaheim stadium.

24. I don't really have a favorite color. I like blue, green, yellow, red, and pink. But I wear a lot of black.

25. My husband proposed after I suggested he do so. We were on a trip that I thought would make a good engagement site (Deetjen's in Big Sur). He said he was going to anyway, just not then.

26. I'm an editor, but in response to the most commonly asked question I receive about this, I do not read every book I work on. I'm a production editor and take manuscripts we have accepted for publication through the editorial process. I hire and supervise freelance copy editors and manage author expectations.

27. I'd really like to go to the Greek islands. I'm amazed at how often I see a picture and think, "oooh, where's that?" and find out it's the Greek islands. Plus I could eat olives and cheese all day.

28. In our house, we have one cat, one Chinese box turtle, and three fish. That's enough for now. We'd like a dog, but we just aren't home enough to meet canine social needs.

29. I have a housecleaner who cleans my house every week. She works for my mother-in-law. Seriously. After my husband changed jobs and we decided to cut back expenses by discontinuing our every-other-week cleaner, my mil observed one day "Dear, I can't help but notice that you could use a little help cleaning." Do I have any pride? Not when it comes to an offer like this. I don't even know how much she pays the cleaner. I just know that my house is clean when I come home on Thursdays.

30. (Somewhat related to item 29) I have my mother-in-law over for Sunday dinner almost every week. And I try to send her home with enough leftovers and soups, etc. to last her for a couple of other meals. She doesn't cook much now that she's by herself, and I am concerned about her nutrition. And she's the most lovely and appreciative guest ever.

31. I drink my coffee black. Makes life so much easier so long as you're drinking good coffee.

32. When I was in college I traveled around the world on (then) University of Pittsburgh's Semester at Sea.

33. I learned to ski as an adult, advancing quickly to an intermediate level and then staying there for years. Private lessons have helped push me up slowly. It's truly just about my favorite thing in the world to do.

34. I was sort of a tomboy when I was a kid, but now I'm a bona fide girly-girl.

35. I grew up in a Lakers' household but switched teams to the Boston Celtics when I moved to the Boston area after college. I was there when they won the My parents were horrified, but even they admit that the Lakers are a hard team to like these days.

36. One of my favorite holidays (maybe my favorite one) is Thanksgiving. I love that it's all about food, lacking the pressure of Christmas, without the religious hocus pocus of Easter, and during my favorite season, fall.

37. When I was in high school I had the first documented case of the red measles that year in southern California. I was vaccinated as a kid but still contracted it after volunteering at an orphanage in Mexico.

38. One of my favorite meals is fish tacos and cold Mexican beer— preferably enjoyed in Baja.

39. One of the first trips Husband and I took together while we were dating was an ill-fated backpacking trip in the Eastern Sierras. This was before the day of radio contact, and we got separated from the group. We spent the 4th of July cowering in our pup tent form mosquitoes, which dive bombed us all night long. I start crying, thinking the relationship was over because if this was his idea of fun, then I was out of there. I was so relieved when he told me he thought it sucked too.

40. I am a horrible pool player.

41. I'm not a particularly strong swimmer, but I can swim in a pretty big surf and am not afraid of it.

42. I liked going to the beach when I lived in the east, but I always felt something was not right. Like maybe the ocean's on the wrong side. And there's grass growing in the sand. Weird.

43. I like buying clothes for my daughter more than I like buying them for myself. Let's face it, she looks better in everything, and when we're together, no one's looking at me.

44. I don't drink soft drinks. Except maybe a root beer about once a year.

45. I wear the same earrings all the time: a pair of Tiffany diamond studs that Husband got me for our fifth anniversary.

46. I'm the president of Sophie's school's P.T.A-like organization. If my high school had named the person least likely to achieve this dubious honor, it would have been me.

47. I wish I could have a horse.

48. I wish someone would finish my list for me.

49. I like to drink cold nonfat milk from the container. Standing in front of the fridge. I know—gross.

50. Setting a pretty table is one of my favorite parts of entertaining.

51. I was once the legal guardian of an elderly neighbor of mine who had serious mental problems. I nearly developed serious mental problems as well.

52. I buy fresh flowers almost every week for the house.

53. I love my blog's Site Meter. I love finding that people all over the world are reading and wonder who they are.

54. My perfume is Vetiver from Elizabeth W, a small perfumery in San Francisco.

55. I love email. Just love it. Email me!

56. I don't have a cell phone. Husband points out that I work at a desk, on which is located a phone, which I can use for free. Our house is in the hills and Sophie's school is in a canyon, and neither have dependable cell phone coverage. In the meantime, I've decided it's kind of a nice novelty, and plenty of other people have cell phones and are happy to loan them to me if I need one.

57. I wish I knew how to sew. I bought Husband a machine for his last birthday so he can make all Sophie's costumes she needs for school performances. To him, it's just another machine. Taking a class is on my to-do list.

58. My sister and I worked at Swenson's Ice Cream when we were in high school. We did it all: scooped, waitressed, compiled sandwiches, made ice cream, and decorated cakes.

59. I am the oldest of three but was the last to get married and the last to have a child. I'm not complaining, but it was starting to get a little depressing.

60. I have been a bridesmaid something like eight times. I got to be very good at it; I knew just what to do. I wish I had saved more of the dresses I wore: They ran the gamut from Laura Ashley chintz print in the 1980s to a long Morticia Adams mermaid gown in the 1990s.

61. I belong to a book group that has often been confused with a food and wine group. We all admit that though we all like to read, it's sort of a pretence for getting together without kids or spouses and having a good gab. The host provides a main course and everyone else brings something else. I'm the official dessert maven.

62. (But) I do make great mashed potatoes. The secrets are buttermilk and a food mill.

63. My mom was a preschool director, and during school breaks, all the school animals got to come and live at our house. One year we put three rats in a cage, not realizing two were females and one was a male. We ended up with two litter, just in time for the Leggos and Lincoln Logs we got for Christmas that year. One the babies were old enough we built them houses and let them squirm in and out the windows. My mom had just one rule: Count the rats you take out, and make sure you put the same number back in the cage when you are done.

64. My first pet that was entirely my own was a guinea pig. My best friend next door had one too, and we used to tie cardboard boxes onto skateboards and decorate them like Winnebagos so we could take the guinea pigs down the street to the park in style.

65. I have rosacea—that skin disorder where your face blushes unreasonably. I start out white in the morning and get redder throughout the day. I'd love to have laser treatment, but it's really expensive. Maybe some day.

66. I'm 45, but every once in a while, usually at Trader Joe's, I get carded for alcohol. It's so exciting I nearly pee myself. Of course TJ's probably had some kooky policy like carding everyone who looks under 40, but I'll take it nonetheless.

67. Completing this list is clearly one of the silliest things I've ever attempted.

68. I like cold weather better than hot and the snow better than the beach. Let's just face it: I look better in snow gear than a bathing suit these days.

69. I have a high tolerance of eccentric people. Comes in handy in my line of work.

70. I don't eat eggs (scrambled, fried, boiled, quiche, etc.) unless they're cooked into something (cookies, for example). Never have, never will. But according to Husband and Sophie, I cook them quite well.

71. I can't live without Kiehl's Lip Balm #1. I keep jars of it all over: my purse, nightstand, car, desk, kitchen, etc.

72. I can't stand incense and in particular anything scented with patchouli. Yuck!!

73. I (somewhat similarly) am not crazy about tie dye. Even though I live in Berkeley. Even though my daughter loves to make it at camp. It's very nice and all, but it's just not my thing.

74. I go to the gym almost every weekday: Mon. = spin, Tues. = body sculpt, Wed. = spin, Thurs. = spin, Fri. = total body cardio. freakout (it's a class called something like that). Sometimes I'm able to squeeze in another spin Sat. morning. I can walk to the gym from my office, which really helps.

75. We do not eat out very often, but I love it when we do. I really enjoy food and am always trying to figure out what's in something and think about whether I could make it.

76. I can't stand French manicure toenails. To me it just looks like someone needs to trim their nails. Not crazy about it on fingers either. Sort of dated, don't you think?

77. I've always thought it would be fun to be a notary on the side. I'm just in love with those stamp kits. And, really, how hard could it be??

78. Wow. This is much harder than I thought.

79. I love planning trips almost as much as I like going on them

80. One of my favorite products is Swiffer, those little towels you put on a sweeper for cleaning the floor. I just don't care that they're kind of wasteful. I love looking at how much dirt they pick up.

81. I cannot stand carnations. I want them removed from all flower arrangement brought to my memorial service.

82. I wrote my master's thesis on Aristotle's enthymeme, a form of rhetorical argument. Really useful.

83. I've lived in California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and then California again. I'm staying put.

84. My favorite tree is the redwood. We've got two enormous ones on the corner of our property.

85. We heat our house with a woodstove and a few electric heaters on timers. Our house came with central heating, but my husband thoughtfully removed it because we wanted to further excavate the basement where the asbestos-covered ducts ran. We decided we both really hate forced air heat and never replaced the ducts we had removed. We pay for it though. Until the stove gets going, it's coooold!!!!

86. Husband and I belong to a winemaking group. In the fall, we pick grapes up at a vineyard owned by an acquaintance of ours, crush them, and bring them home to ferment in barrels. We've made great cabernets and chardonnays and are moving on to the more difficult pinot. It's been a lot of fun, and we end up with some great wines.

87. Our nickname for Sophie is Lou or Louis. It's a long story that probably wouldn't make sense to anyone but us.

88. My favorite soup is tomato, homemade, please, not out of the can.

89. My favorite quick meal is pasta puttanesca. Everything I need is on my kitchen shelves: canned tomatoes, capers, anchovy paste, garlic, onion, red wine. No matter how often I make it, no one in my house ever complains.

90. We don't subscribe to any newspapers; I read mine all on-line.

91. I love reading cookbooks in bed.

92. Georgeanne Brennan's The Glass Pantry is one of my favorite cookbooks and got me first interested in canning and preserving. I took a class from her several years ago, and she was just wonderful.

93. We recently lost a beloved cat, and we're not yet ready for another. But when we are, I think I might like a little Siamese if I can find one at a shelter or rescue agency.

94. I was blonde as a child but have needed highlights to maintain the color. I've been thinking of going to my natural color, whatever that is.

95. I love going to see plays and would love to see more opera next season.

96. I think I may clobber the next teenager who sits next to me in a movie and checks their text messaging every five minutes.

97. On Husband's second phone call to me when we were dating, he started crying because his lizard had just died.

98. I hate hate hate chewing gum. I reluctantly allow my daughter to chew it once in a while with the stipulation that I don't want to see it or hear it.

99. I love cheesecloth and waxed paper. They're just the handiest things ever in the kitchen.

100. No friggin' way. I DID IT!!!


Ned said...

#72,#73 Drive me Crazy too! #81- I made hubby promise to never ever give me one again!

Anonymous said...

What a great list -- and no easy task to compile, I'm sure.

Just the mere mention of fish tacos has my stomach grumbling. Yum!

Kerry said...

Great job!!!!! I've never been able to complete mine!!

Dodi said...

I can barely do 10 things in a list, let alone 100!

And... I'm so with you on the cheese thing!

Ladybug's Picnic said...

Great list! I have been blogging for 6 years now and have never done a 100 things list!

Oh, and we always eat our salad after the main course and I buy fresh flowers for our house weekly. And I WISH my MIL paid for our weekly housecleaner!

Tres Poshe Preppy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Love your list, I can relate to #1 and #70. OMG, I forgot about Swensen's, I loved that place!

Kate said...

I loved this, and can't believe the number of things we have in common (e.g., loathing of gum and french manicures on toes) - although perhaps everyone feels that way. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog!