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2001-07-31 | 11:25 a.m.

In honor of my 200th entry.

1. I subscribe to the following magazines: The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Elle Décor, and Talk. The Economist comes to the house in my name, but it is really for Duff.

2. I plan to let the Talk subscription lapse. Then I will re-subscribe to Harper's and House & Garden.

3. I receive hundreds of mail-order catalogs each year, but rarely have enough money to buy anything out of them.

4. I am profoundly materialistic yet I despise my materialistic impulses. I crave belongings (like food) to comfort me.

5. I find it hard to part with my belongings and I violently resent the attempts of others to force me to do it.

6. When I was eight years old and spending the night at my babysitter's house, she took my Raggedy Andy doll away from me while I was sleeping and threw it in the garbage because she thought I was too old to sleep with dolls. By the time I discovered what had happened, it was too late to retrieve the doll. The strangest part is that even as an eight-year-old, I had arrived at the decision that I would keep this favorite doll for my entire life, and I felt certain that as an adult, I would cherish it.

7. My sister is 14 years older than I am.

8. When I was a girl my sister would come to the house and clean my room, throwing away anything that was on the floor. Sometimes she would tell me in advance that she was going to do this. Sometimes not.

9. I have written one fan letter in my life. When I was about 12, I wrote a fan letter to Parker Stevenson, an actor on The Hardy Boys. I was too embarrassed to actually mail the letter, so I hid it in one of my little treasure boxes for safekeeping. My sister found it and read it aloud at the dinner table. She laughed and laughed.

10. When I imagine sex, I sneeze. I can make myself sneeze over and over again this way.

11. When I was young, I would play Monopoly by myself. I'd make up a different persona (or several) to be the other player(s).

12. My favorite Monopoly piece is probably the, um, shoe. Or the iron. Come to think of it, I probably haven't played Monopoly in twenty years.

13. When I was young, my dream house included a fire pole.

14. When it comes to drinking, I am a teetotaling social drinker. Haven't really been drunk since I turned 21.

15. If you were to put a dozen donuts in front of me and leave, I could probably eat them all.

16. Theoretically I accept Freud's premise that we are all bisexual, so it surprises me a little that I have never really lusted after another woman. I've had a couple of crushes here and there, but nothing I ever wanted to, er, consummate. (Then again, I tended to think heterosexual sex was pretty oogly until I had it.) I have had sex dreams about other women, but I have had all the sex dreams, so I don't put much stock in that.

17. I am half sexual libertine, half prude. Or put another way, I'm very private about my libertinism.

18. During sex, I am extremely sensitive to noise of any kind and too easily distracted by it. It's definitely a problem. On the rarer-than-rare occasions when there are no kids in the house, I'm fine.

19. I sleep easily and well. I've had insomnia fewer than ten times in my life.

20. I snore, but my sister snores louder. We argue over who is the loudest. Duff never complains about my snoring.

21. People tell me I write like a nun, which stems from the fact that I copied my mother's hand and she went to Catholic schools.

22. I am a reasonably proficient calligrapher, but I never practice it, so I cannot achieve the level of competency I would consider acceptable.

23. I have a newfound interest in natural history after having edited so much of my friend Frank's writing. I still resist math and science generally, though I do try to hide those feelings from my children. Like the other day, Criminy read an item off my to-do list: "Sign up for math class," and when she asked me about it I told her I WANTED to take a math class at the college (instead of saying I have to take the class because I never got it done the first time around).

24. I enjoy seeing Shakespeare plays in performance. When I'm older, I could see myself traveling around the country from one performance to the next, like a Deadhead. Only I'd be a---what?---Bardhead.

25. I would like to live in Europe someday. Preferably with the kids.

26. I value trustworthiness and loyalty, generosity, and wit, pretty much in that order. I like people who are reasonably predictable; that is, they tend to be the same person from one day to the next.

27. I have what you might call a paper fetish. I love pretty writing papers, art papers, stationery with my name on it.

28. I collect letterhead stationery and envelopes from offices I've never worked in. Also collect postcards.

29. My favorite fruit is peaches.

30. I'm not wild about ice cream with nuts in it, except for Tin Roof Sundae, which I love.

31. I will see a movie alone. I will eat in a restaurant alone. But I can't remember the last time I've done either.

32. Unrestrained by obligations, my average bookstore visit would last approximately two hours.

33. I believe that if we want our children to value human life, we must start by teaching children that abortion is unethical, and not merely a quality of life issue. I don't favor outlawing abortion, nor do I despise anyone for having an abortion. I just would have us better use the considerable and unprecedented means at our disposal to prevent unwanted pregnancies. I realize that this strikes some as a utopian stance but I can't comfortably wrap my mind around any other.

34. If I ever get my act together, and when the kids are older, I would like to be a foster parent. At least to one kid.

35. I support single-payer health care.

36. I strongly disapprove of violence, but neither am I a complete pacifist. I will fight if I believe it is necessary and just. Still, within the past year I got into a shouting match with another woman at a gas station and the only reason it didn't escalate into a fistfight was because I walked away while she called me horrible names. But it was about the hardest thing I ever did. She got right up in my face and dared me to hit her. But how could I hit her with her little daughter standing right beside her? (My kids were in the car, too, with Duff, who was completely oblivious to everything happening to me, as usual.) I told her I wouldn't fight her in front of her kid, and insinuated that I was a better person than she was because of it. She called me "uppity." The worst part was that since we were driving Stephen back to San Francisco, I had to climb awkwardly into the back seat of the car, budging up with all three kids. I think I did the right thing but in the car afterward I couldn't stop wishing I had just flattened her. I kept wishing it for hours afterward. My fingers tingled and curled into claws.

Well, I'm pretty far away from 200 but I'm ready to stop for a while. I'll continue the list sometime soon. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer in this list, post them in the guestbook.

If you've read this far, you must be a true fan and for you I have another surprise in store---my face!


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