February 12, 2009
1. When I was a child, I was afraid of food, except for a short list of “safe” foods (including milk, bread, and sweets). I was such a bad eater that I was anemic for years. My mother was afraid I was going to die of malnutrition. Interestingly, my son was the same way. We both grew out of it.
2. I love classical music – Bach may be my favorite, but I also love Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Vivaldi, etc. When my friends in college were listening to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones back in the late sixties, I was listening to Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli in my dorm room.
3. I am an Excel spreadsheet nerd. I love figuring things out by setting up a hypothetical example in a spreadsheet. I’ve found it incredibly useful. I especially like coloring the cells. : )
4. The two best things I’ve ever done in my life were marrying the man who has been my husband for almost thirty years (Barry, you know who you are) and having two incredibly wonderful children, all grown up now (Julia and Jesse, you know who you are). Yes, I know it sounds corny, but there it is.
5. I’m a very punctual person. You could set your clock by me. My father is the same way. I suspect I inherited this from him.
6. I spent almost my entire life hating my very curly hair; now my hair is turning straighter (it’s curly only on the top now), and now I miss the curls; go figure.
7. I spent the eight years of the George W. Bush administration in a constant state of outrage. The depths of incompetence and lack of integrity that characterized that administration politicized me in a way that nothing before ever had.
8. I once had a dream in which some religious group was looking for me in the hopes of converting me. I hid from them and was terrified they might find me. That sums up my feelings about organized religion, including the one I was born into (Judaism).
9. The two traits that I dread encountering in other people in combination are “talkative” and “boring.”
10. I consider myself a supremely rational person, and yet (like everyone else, I suppose) I have a tendency to anthropomorphize. When I water my house plants, and especially when I put plant food in the water, I have to remind myself that, no, the plants aren’t “happy because they feel taken care of.”
11. When I was in grad school, if I read an article in a scholarly journal that I didn’t understand I assumed it was because I was insufficiently smart to understand it, and I felt inadequate; now I think it’s probably because it wasn’t well written, and I feel annoyed.
12. I love math and statistics. (Yes, I know this doesn’t make most people think, “Wow, she’s my kind of person!”)
13. One quote that I should glue to my bathroom mirror so I see it each morning is, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” I am at times virtually paralyzed by my quest for the “best choice” (e.g., the best place to go for a vacation) so that I end up making no choice at all. This has saved me money (all those never-taken vacations; all that money never spent!) but cost me enjoyment. I don’t think I used to be this way.
14. I smoked cigarettes from age 20 to age 29; I consider this perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve ever done (and it has some competition).
15. When I was 42, and my kids were 4 and 7, I quit my job and went back to school to get a Ph.D. in environmental economics. My kids were my “cheerleaders,” even choreographing and performing a song and dance routine to cheer me on before my qualifying exams.
16. Every New Years, I used to make the same New Year’s resolution: to not be so negative – until I decided, “Nah, that won’t work.” : )
17. I adore writing; I’ve tried essays, short stories, even a novel once (it took me over 4 years). I even like writing technical reports. There’s something so satisfying about crafting a piece of writing so that it’s clear, it’s crisp, it flows easily. I wrote and revised this entry several times so it would be perfect. : )
18. When my sister and I were all grown up, my mother told us that we had an uncle – her brother – we never knew existed; he was schizophrenic and lived in a state mental institution in New York. We visited him with my mother a few times after that, a sobering experience, to say the least.
19. I love snow; I’ve always loved snow. I think there’s something magical about a snowfall – all that motion and not a sound.
20. I don’t have a very “take-the-bull-by-the-horns” approach to life; my approach has always been more of a “mull over the bull and its horns” kind of approach.
21. I don’t like being in the water; I don’t float; when I was a kid taking swimming lessons, I was the one they had to throw off the diving board because I wouldn’t jump off.
22. I used to have the metabolism of a hummingbird; now I have the metabolism of a normal middle-aged woman (sigh).
23. For someone who was skinny and anemic and afraid of food as a kid (see #1), I’m now something of a foodie.
24. I love to read, but I’m a slow reader, the kind who reads every single word. Sometimes, if a sentence is very long, I’ll have forgotten the beginning by the time I get to the end, and I have to start over.
25. One of my mottos in life has been: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know or understand something, chances are others don’t either. This has served me well.