Nine more things, since the ante keeps being upped

So originally these lists just had ten things, then sixteen, then seventeen – and now 25. I’ve already written a sixteen-item list so I’m only adding nine more items here. So there.

1. I’m nocturnal. I’ve always been nocturnal. The first time I ever stayed up all night I was 9 years old (it was the last day of third grade and my brother and I drank a lot of Pepsi). My body clock is 3-4 hours offset from that of almost everyone I know; left to my own devices (and I generally am, since I work from home and most of my co-workers are on the west coast), I sleep from 2 – 11 AM, or later.

2. Speaking of sleep, I need a lot of it – at least 9 hours per night. ‘Tis a difficult admission in an age in which the amount of sleep one requires is inversely proportional to the admiration one receives, but I’m no Napoleon. (The amount of sleep I need combined with my nocturnal schedule makes me think with fear and trembling of someday having diurnal children.)

3. I loathe television with an abiding and soul-consuming passion. I haven’t owned a TV set for about 12 years, and have been truly fortunate to live with like-minded people for almost all of that time.

4. I’ll try any food once, no matter what it is. I usually end up liking it.

5. I almost never cook or have a formal breakfast, lunch, or dinner. When I get hungry I snack on hors d’oeuvres until I’m (temporarily) full – my favorites are Triscuits with avocado, grapes, carrots/pita bread/celery/etc. with hummus, rice crackers with seaweed, string cheese, and oval crackers with a tiny bit of ham, cheese, and spinach.

6. I skipped the fifth grade – which means that I went straight from fourth grade to junior high in a small Arkansas town where we had just moved a few months before (from southern California, no less). That and my insufferable 10-year-old “I’M smarter than YOU are” attitude made me – well – rather less popular than average at Redfield Junior High School.

7. I lived in Arkansas 18 years and never developed a Southern accent (thanks to my accent Nazi dad), but now I find myself falling into one when I visit. I also develop a Boston accent when I talk to native Bostonians. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually – it makes me feel like I’m patronizing people.

8. I LOVE to travel and hence have some really, really good travel stories (horror and otherwise). One of my worst experiences was getting sick and eventually throwing up into a revoltingly clogged toilet on a crowded, smoky, stinking overnight train in Zimbabwe. One of the best was climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and watching the Eiffel Tower twinkle while the cars madly careened around the roundabout below.

9. I have always loved writing and am generally much, much, MUCH more verbose than is technically necessary. For cases in point, see items 1-8 above (except #4, in which I am uncharacteristically succinct).

(Some of) the odd little quirks that make me me

(Posting here for the anti-Facebookers out there.) (Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.)

1. I love knee socks. LOVE them. I have at least 18 pairs.

2. A few years ago I was the singer for a little impromptu jazz band – our name was “You Get What You Pay For” and we performed for free.

3. I have an inordinate fear of having too much stuff. I never buy in bulk and I’m terrified of Costco. I may have one backup bottle of shampoo or other essential item, but I generally refuse to buy extras of anything – especially stuff I’ll probably never use. I do not share these characteristics with any of my relatives and actually had to make a conscious effort a few years ago to stop being a packrat. (I like being portable.)

4. Speaking of being portable, I’ve moved over 30 times in my life – and all but six of the moves have transpired since I graduated from high school in 1993. Six of those moves were to brand-new cities where I knew not a single soul (Provo, Seattle, Manhattan, Boston, London, and Augsburg).

5. I’ve sung in 19 or 20 different languages, including Swahili, Welsh, Japanese, Icelandic, and Hebrew.

6. I love learning useful phrases in other languages. The following are a few (I’m not sure about the spelling of some of these, but I can say them):

Shona: Ndikwanise kutakurra nemisoro – I can’t carry that on my head
Icelandic: Han segir, þeta er min kind, en þeta er ekki min kind – He says that’s my sheep, but that is not my sheep
Korean: <Korean characters, which I can’t read> – It’s not about the onions
Finnish: Olenko pidatetty? – Am I under arrest?

7. I’m the shortest child in my family by 6 inches. My little baby sister is 5-foot-eleven-and-a-half.

8. I name my cars. To date I’ve owned Nicholas Algernon, Susanna, Alastair, and (currently) Simon Bennett.

9. In first grade I wrote poems all the time. I remember a group of very official-looking adults coming to meet me once and asking me to read for them. I also got to read one of my poems on TV.

10. I use keyboard shortcuts whenever I can, and watching people who don’t use them drives me nuts. (Here’s a hint: In Gmail, after you’re done typing your message, all you have to do is hit TAB and then ENTER. You don’t have to use the mouse. And the TAB+ENTER shortcut works for almost every form on the entire Internet.)

11. I write in a journal almost every day, and I have to use a different color each day. Only under extreme duress do I use the same color two days in a row.

12. I’ve been an editor since the age of 7, when a friend of mine used an apostrophe incorrectly as she was writing on her little chalkboard. I remember feeling completely shocked that that could happen. Ah, naïveté…

13. I love salmiakki, salty black licorice that’s pretty much a staple food in Finland but is abhorred everywhere else (probably because, before you get used to it, it tastes like one would imagine road tar would taste). I especially love chocolate candy bars filled with liquid salmiakki and salmiakki-flavored ice cream.

14. I’m very long-waisted, which makes buying shirts and swimsuits extremely difficult sometimes (tankini tops and board shorts have saved my life). If my legs were proportionally long, I’d be tall.

15. I LOVE the winter. The colder and snowier the better. I love walking around outside in my Stay Puft Marshmallow Coat when it’s 5 degrees, toasty warm but feeling the chill on my face. (I am a party of one here in Boston.)

16. And finally: I have nearly 530 Facebook friends, and I do know who all of them are, but I am, deep down and on the surface, henceforth and forever amen and amen, an introvert.


Oh, how I love scientific articles that justify my existence and idiosyncrasies:

3 Smart Things About Sleeping Late

In other news, I did indeed dash and dunk into the (really really cold) Atlantic Ocean this morning. It was way colder this year than last year (last year it was about 35° F; this year it was 10° F) and due to yesterday’s snowstorm there was snow there on the beach – I was glad I’d worn Tevas. Even with them, the pain in my toes was pretty much all I could think about between the ocean and the warmth of the clubhouse. But it was still a freaking awesome experience and one that I plan to repeat next year.