November 29, 2009

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The smell of freshly cut grass brings me right back to Saturday morning soccer games, a fall chill in the air, shin guards and long socks, orange slices, early morning dew. When we would slide in the grass we'd come up with clippings stuck to our arms.

I am my parents' second child, the second girl. Due to complications, my mother couldn't have more children after me, so my dad decided that if he was going to have two girls, one of them had to like sports. Luckily, I loved sports, and my dad coached all of my teams. Soccer, basketball, and baseball were my favorites, but I also skied and swam and ran track and played tennis. I adore moving my body and working as a team and being outside, but I care very little about competition, so eventually theatre won out, and sports faded away. I played varsity softball through high school, and then in a rec league in college, but I am seldom on a sports field anymore. I love a good game of kickball or whiffleball or frisbee, but my lack of interest in competition insures that these games, or at least my involvement in them, will be quite silly. I openly cheat, for instance, or swap teams mid-game, or physically pin my opponents (which is, you know, not allowed in tennis).

My mother was a nun (that's a story I'll have to tell you in person), and my dad was a Marine, and so I grew up a very Catholic kid. We went to church every Sunday and celebrated all of the holidays. I was a big believer, and had no conception of other religions. The rule in our family was that we had to take all of the Confirmation classes, but then we could decide whether or not we wanted to be Confirmed (as an adult member of the church). My sister decided that she didn't want to be confirmed, which was kind of a big deal. But by the time I was a teenager, my family was going to church far less, and the Pope's doctrines really started becoming inflammatory, and the youngest kid always has it easier in situations like this... so it was OK when I decided to abstain. College, for me, was a huge process of unlearning and relearning, and it was within that time that I questioned God, separate from my beliefs in Catholicism. I have beliefs now, but an all-knowing God is not part of them. And now my dad is a yoga instructor and studies the Bhadavad Gita and my mom has left the church completely, so there's no parental pressure there.

Because of the aforementioned upbringing, I never even entertained the notion of stealing anything, not even a grape at the supermarket. And then, last year, I had a bunch of keys copied at Fred Meyer and then went shopping for a new pair of Carhartts and wound up paying for the Carhartts but accidentally walking right out without paying for the keys. I got as far as the parking lot before I realized my error. Ordinarily I would have gone back into the store and paid for them... but I paused... and thought... "what if I didn't go back?" ... and so I didn't... and felt very, very guilty (a common Catholic emotion).

Black licorice should not be allowed on the planet.

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My favorite meal to make from scratch is chocolate chip cookies. I like it because it is tasty at (almost) every step. And, oh my goodness, when you add the chocolate chips? I mostly make chocolate chip cookies just so I can eat the dough.

When I was very little, I wanted to be a tiger when I grew up. (Funny story: my friend's younger brother Timmy used to want to be a museum when he grew up.) After my tiger phase, I planned on being a Broadway actress in the fall and winter, and a professional baseball player in the spring and summer. I wanted to play for the Red Sox, but I was open to playing for any pro team. I used to collect show programs and baseball cards. (Another little story: my mom had a Mickey Mantle card, but she gave it away to her boyfriend when she was angry with her father.) My aspirations to play baseball faded as I grew older, but I continued to dream of Broadway until the beginning of high school, when I discovered fringe theatre.

I love my sheets. They are some stupid-high thread count cotton pearly so soft sheets. I cannot stop moving sometimes when I get into bed, because I so love the feeling of my sheets on my skin. On top of the sheet is a fleece blanket, and on top of that is a down comforter with a flannel slip-cover. The colors are pale yellow and green and dark blue. Pillow-top mattress. Divine. I am of the opinion that, since I spend so much time sleeping, there is no financial limit on my bedding. And shoes. I feel that way about shoes too.

My hands, sadly, are typically cold. Especially when I type. If I know I'm going to be working on the computer for awhile, I usually wear fingerless gloves.

I rip open presents! I love presents! I love to give presents and I love to receive them! I am such a good secret keeper, but when I have a present to give to someone, and it is actually in my possession, I have to either give it to them or tell them what it is. And if I find a present that is for me, I will totally open it. I get this from my mother. She once found one of her Christmas presents from my dad, opened it, saw that it was a green sweater, decided that she liked blue more, exchanged the sweater, rewrapped it, and put it back under the tree. On Christmas morning, my mother opened the present and acted all surprised and my dad was like... huh.

If I do something I'm not supposed to do, I will fess up sooner rather than later, usually with absolutely no provocation. Sam and I got married on the east coast, and so many of our wedding gifts were shipped directly to Portland. We made a point of opening the packages together, but Sam always let me do the actual opening. I got home one time and there was this big box, and I called Sam to see if he wouldn't mind if I opened it while I was on the phone with him, but the gift was from his cousins, and he wanted to actually be there, so I said OK and hung up the phone and sat and stared at the box for awhile and tried to do other things and kept coming back into the room and tried to hide the box from myself and I finally Just Couldn't Stand it Anymore and I opened the box, unwrapped the gift, rewrapped the gift, and sealed back the box back up. When Sam came home, we opened the gift together and I was like, "Oh! What a lovely rice cooker!" and Sam looked at me kind of funny and then I told him everything, laughing very hard but trying to feel remorseful. He just rolled his eyes.

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My favorite thing to stretch is my back. I love just hanging from monkey bars, feeling all of my vertebrae line up, my ribs expanding, breathing, widening. Oh, so good.

You will find that my wardrobe is a bit uninspired. I want to want to like clothes more, and I appreciate style when I see it, but I am most comfortable in jeans and a hoodie in the winter, and cargo shorts or capris and a simple tank top in the summer. I like cotton. It's the magic of our lives.

You know, I think umbrellas are really very smart. What a good, solid concept. The person who invented the modern umbrella must be very rich. Despite my very positive opinion, however, I seldom use them. I like my hands free when I'm out and about. And I've never really found a satisfactory way to deal with a folded-up wet umbrella. So, I usually just do without and wear my rain gear. I have a blue gortex shell and black gortex pants.

Embarrassingly, so does Obie. Well, kind of. Obie has such a thick undercoat that it takes forever for him to dry off, so I got him a rain coat. It's not a cutesy-looks-just-like-a-small-person raincoat think more like one of those horse covers. (It velcros in front of his chest and under his belly.) When I went shopping for one, I wound up getting a coat that is blue on top and black on bottom, as I particularly like that color combination. It wasn't till we got to the park one rainy day that I realized I am totally one of those dweebs who matches their dog's clothing to their own. Only, I didn't do it on purpose. I swear.

I touched the ocean several weeks ago. Sam and I came to the realization that we *both* had the same two consecutive days off, so we went on an adventure with the pup. There was much farmland driving, gummy worm eating, kite flying, ocean frolicking, night walking, bakery going, picnic having, etc. We found a great inn, where every room was dedicated to an author ours was the Tennessee Williams room, and there was a big bed with white mosquito netting over it, and iguanas peeking out from the pipes and a pedestal sink and a glass menagerie on the wall. There was a whole library of his work, and pictures of him on the walls. It was fantastic.

When I fly on a plane, I always have to pat outside of the plane three times (with my right hand) before I board. Usually the skin of the plane is cool and misty, and I always think that I'm touching clouds that the plane brought down to the ground. I last flew about two weeks ago, so that was the last time I touched sky, at least in cloud form.

Chocolate chip cookies make a great breakfast.

I bet there's a lot of people who have a drink that they pretty much only drink on planes. (Mine is ginger ale.)

I am sad about having cold hands because I worry people won't want to hold them.


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