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2003-02-24 | 12:28 a.m.

1. I donít like acrylic sweaters. Canít stand the way they feel against my skin, or the way they pill under the arms. Yuck.

2. My Iím-broke-and-have-nothing-good-to-eat-in-this-house comfort food is French toast with peanut butter and jelly.

3. I like to take pictures, and if you came to my house, I might try to bore you with my albums. Or else take your picture.

4. Actually, if you came to my house, I might not even answer the door. Iím really bad about that. I have what FlyLady calls CHAOS: Canít Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Because my house is so messy. Iím not much for talking on the phone, either.

5. I cannot seem to read a human-interest story without tearing up. I cry for commercials. I cry at the memory of human-interest stories I read months before. When Iím really, really angry, I cry. All my life, I have cried easily.

6. Music is not a particularly important or meaningful part of my life. Usually, I only listen to the radio in the car. I enjoy it, but I almost never think, Wow, Iíve got to have this CD.

7. I love magazines, especially home and lifestyle mags, which can send me into a kind of catatonic bliss. I am all about words and pictures.

8. The idea of becoming a foster parent appeals to me. I told myself I could look into it after I get my house decluttered.

9. Iím mildly terrified of being stared at by people I donít know or donít know well. I get panicky at the thought of being judged. I generally dislike being introduced to new people. Though I can seem raucous and high-spirited, at parties I feel like an actor. It is always a relief to go home.

10. Any compliment directed my way is likely to go in one ear and out the other. But criticism I find disabling. Sometimes I hear criticism where others do not. One time, I noticed that my gynecologist had described me as an ďobese femaleĒ on my chart (I was reading it upside-down) and it was all I could do not to burst into tears. I actually caught myself thinking, mock-ironically, But I thought we were friends!

11. Sometimes when I am really upset, I think, ďI want my Mom,Ē but what I mean isnít that I want to talk to my Mom (who, after all, is very accessible to me), but that I want back my childhood sense of my mother as my own personal superhero.

12. I used to walk around Berkeley in the middle of the night, both with friends and by myself. I have a very clear memory of walking down Shattuck Avenue at three oíclock in the morning with my hands stuffed in my jacket pockets, feeling completely awake and alive.

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