In Which Our Heroine Is Mistress of All She Surveys

13 December 2003

Mom and I went out for our girly lunch yesterday, so naturally we had ribs. I don't get ribs and baked beans at home, usually, so it was a treat. We also had ice cream and found potential pants for me and many other happy things. Then I took her up to the hotel where Daddy's company was having its Christmas party, which was in the north suburbs, and went to Best Buy and bought more Christmas presents, and drove home in very, very light flurries. Not even enough to shovel, not even enough to worry about shoveling, not even with our steep driveway.

I was exhausted when I got home yesterday, which seemed weird, since we had taken both a rib break and an ice cream break. I crashed hard after our late dinner. I woke up really hungry (as though I hadn't had ribs, ice cream, and dinner, apparently) after nearly eight hours of sleep, and I'm still really, really tired. If it weren't for Stella's musings about pain, I probably would not have made the connection with my sleepy brain this morning: oh yeah, it's my back. Ick. I'm very glad I have a chiropractor appointment for Monday morning.

It's Scott's birthday this morning, and I feel confident that I could have been the first one to wish him a happy birthday. I have so far refrained. That's friendship, is what. It's also Lucia Day, so the singing early early in the morning would have been justified by tradition. And I didn't do it. Restraint, you see. Nobody thinks I'm restrained because they don't realize the stuff I contemplate doing.

Today's plans involve more baking, more short story writing, more Not The Moose, more reading The War With Mr. Wizzle; also decoration of the tree, and dinner with the folks, and an open house at Beth and Josh's. I'm hoping to get interesting mail, since so far this week, I've mostly gotten bills. A few Christmas cards, but I am lacking in the rejection department. And the acceptance department. And in the sparkly glorious present department, but I'm not allowed to open that box until Michelle and Scott get here, if it precedes them, as it should. It is driving me a bit nuts: I haven't gotten last month's credit card bill. We paid it online, so it's not like we're just letting the charges pile up, tra la la, but still. I know that they sent it out around nowish last month, because I have this month's on my desk as of yesterday's mail. And yet I've gotten some forwarded mail from last month, so I can't go to the post office in high dudgeon. Or even really low dudgeon. Sigh.

I got this from Stella, but I'm not entirely able to follow instructions. Sometimes I have to babble even when I agree. Or I have to semi-agree. Or stuff like that. Anyway, I thought it was a nifty journal meme, and I haven't done a survey before. There's a list of statements that one is to copy and bold the ones with which one agrees or change the ones with which one disagrees so that they're accurate. Of course, with me, it's slightly more complicated than that; this is why Scott calls me The Great Complicator. You can add it to my list of titles/superhero names. I'm sorry if this adds to your confusion, but all the best titled people have a million or so titles. Empress of India not being one that Queen Victoria passed on to me, I make do with The Great Complicator. Onwards.

01. I discovered e-mail in college, and I've never played in a MUD or a MUSH.
02. I never watched TV much, but these days I watch The Daily Show, plus occasionally some Simpsons and Monk when the season is on.
03. My favorite shows had better not get canceled for a few more seasons yet.
04. I enjoy drawing and took a painting class in college. I sometimes paint stuff for fun now, mostly useful stuff like journal covers. I don't have a lot of confidence in my drawing abilities, though, so my painting is usually pretty abstract. I did a self-portrait all in blues, with a field of stars for the backdrop and my shirt starting looking spangled and fading into the stars. That demonstrated to me that while I am not a talented artist, I can draw moderately credibly when it's very, very important to do so.
05. I like music, and I can readily identify both other people's genres and my own. (That is, "That song is alternative; that song is Mrissa Happy Music.")
06. I'm actually pretty sure somebody understands. If you'd hit me many years ago, maybe not, but I'm feeling pretty thoroughly understood these days. Not universally. But thoroughly.
07. I hate when people type in all caps online. Ooh, ooh, I agree with Stella!
08. I also hate people who TypE LyKe D1s. Yep...although sometimes I am amused at mocking it.
09. I don't mind people who cannot speak/write in proper English: it's the people for whom there is no excuse that I mind. Hmmmmm. I'm not entirely sure of this one. My question is what the standard is for cannot. If someone has developmental disabilities, a different native language, or a thoroughly soul-crushing environment, I'll cut that person some slack on the grammar and spelling. I sort of cut other people slack, too. One of my oldest and dearest friends cannot spell for sour owl crap. Occasionally I tease him about this, but mostly I just let be.
10. I live hundreds or thousands of miles from where I was born.
11. I have some grad school in nuclear physics under my belt, and I'll belt anybody who tries to make me take more. But like Stella, I'm still in training. I am so very, very, very, very glad not to be in grad school now. That applies at least as much to writing grad school as it does to physics grad school At the very very least.
12. I wish my job paid better. Dude. Isn't this the human condition? More reward for the same amount of labor?
13. I tend not to lose contact with people on my own, even if I just know them from their journal or mine. Sometimes they disappear for awhile, but if they'll e-mail me, I'll generally e-mail back. Which means that if I haven't answered your e-mail, I likely haven't gotten it, or else it's still waiting from earlier this week.
14. For some things in my life, forgetfulness is a blessing. I think this is the human condition, too. I don't get that blessing very much -- my memories start when I was about 15 months old -- but occasionally it's nice not to have all the details with razor precision.
15. I'm more interested in trying new activities like cross-country skiing and curling, and in getting better at things like yoga and ice skating, and in exploring my neighborhood with walks, than in a particular fitness goal.
16. My butt gets too cold if I am indecently dressed in the winter, even inside. This is Minnesota! Boy howdy. Preach it, sister. That said: sometimes I wear cleavagey tops or short skirts or the like anyway. I gotta live a little sometimes, even if I freeze my butt off.
17. Like Stella, I complain about never having enough time to get things done, but mostly this is a problem of me expecting too much of myself.
18. I have a lot to learn. Wasn't I saying something about the human condition earlier...?
19. Another partial agreement: I like to talk to people, but I always worry; in my case, it's that I will exhaust them, and they'll be relieved to be out of the laser gaze or the babbling mouth, depending. I exhaust myself; why shouldn't other people find me a bit much?
20. I check my email every day. Compulsively. My e-mail client is pretty much always in an open window on my computer. So it lets me know if there's anything there; I don't really have to check.
21. I am a writer, and at this point in my career, I have the confidence to write and even to send stories out. This does not, however, translate to confidence that those stories will sell. It's too bad, too, because that would be a nice leap.
22. I hate when people yell. Um, yes. I really hate it. Really, really, really. Nobody in my immediate family or close group of friends yells at me, and I don't yell at them, because I just do not deal with yelling.
23. I want to travel the globe and hang out in other countries someday. Although I'm a bit specific about which other countries.
24. I don't really have the urge to collect things, but sometimes I get them anyway, because friends or family see them and think of me. Except books, if those count: I have the urge to collect books. And I like getting stuff related to the books I'm writing. I really, really want this to be the last Not The Moose Christmas, though. It would be great if next Christmas could be Icelandic, or Other Place, or neuropsychological. Mmmmm, neuropsychological Christmas.
25. I have very little trouble finishing things I start. I am a pretty compulsive finisher. This is not always a virtue.
26. I drink coffee in decaf mocha form only, unless I'm at a church, in which case I load it with cream and sugar and hope for the best. I am, in this regard, not a very good ScanAm.
27. I love going new places and seeing new things and trying out new stuff to eat. Also, I love taking friends to places that are new to them, showing them new things, and feeding them new stuff to eat.
28. I'm a weird person. I think. But I try not to crow about it too much, since bragging is not appealing.
29. Like Stella, I believe that human beings can understand each other, with time, effort, patience and love, no matter what their backgrounds are; however, I sometimes believe that the effort is more than some of them are going to want to put into the situation.
30. I love the sound of cats purring, but I shouldn't hear it too close up, since they make me snozzly.
31. I played the flute for five years, and the piano for eight with lessons. I currently have both but have not yet started playing the flute again.
32. I think that animals are part of the cycle of propagation and predation, and that excesses to one side or the other in the animal rights issue are dangerous.
33. I procrastinate. Human condition, right? But not too much; not enough that I feel it's a major flaw of mine.
34. Bratty kids make me sad, because that's a direct function of how their parents treat them in most cases; some kids emerge from the womb ready to be mean at the slightest provocation.
35. I enjoy movies quite discriminately: I like to pick them apart when we're done watching them. Or sometimes while we're watching them, depending on the setting.
36. I don't mind some flavors of cleaning. I get frustrated when I feel like I'm solely responsible for it (which doesn't mean I'm the only one who does it, just the only one who notices when it needs doing), but it could be a lot worse. I hate scrubbing floors, though. I would gladly do everything else and sing while I did it if I didn't have to mop or scrub floors.
37. I'm not really interested in pornography/erotica; a good love scene in the context of a work of fiction that isn't focused entirely on that can be all right.
38. Crowds unnerve me. I like to be able to walk normally, which involves taking bigger steps than crowds allow.
39. Like Stella, I am married and grinning about it.
40. I don't have a friends list, really, but I'd be interested in seeing how people answer these, so e-mail me or post in your journal and e-mail me the link if you want to do these.
There appear to be numbers missing here. Hmmm.
43. I have a little brown splotch birthmark on my right wrist. It's the same kind as my mom has, only hers is on her ankle. It's proof that my body can produce melanin, if it really feels like it.
44. I live in a twenty-year-old two-story house that I'm still getting together. We own it. Like Stella, I love my house. I'm still adjusting to actually owning it, though; that's a bit weird.
41. I really enjoy thoughtful gifts, even if they cost nothing.
42. I like people who are a bit out of the ordinary, and I like people who are a lot out of the ordinary even more.
More missing numbers....
45. I love interesting clothes/costumes, but I would never say that I love fashion. I'm way too ambivalent about it (which attitude, I feel, is matched in its attitude towards me). I think I have a sense of what looks good on me, but I often have difficulty actually finding it to fit. I'm pretty happy living in jeans and sweaters and boots for most of the winter; it's climatologically appropriate as well as comfortable and easy to buy (as long as I don't mind paying for Land's End Custom Jeans). I wear skirts more often than most women, I know, though, partly because of my general scowly ambivalence towards pants.
46. I could not be normal if I TRIED. And I don't. But there is a subset of people in the world to whom my reactions seem pretty normal, and I try to remember that as well.
47. I have no children yet, but we're planning on them at some point in the not-too-distant, not-too-near future.
48. I can't ride a horse.
49. I role-played a fair amount in college -- I wasn't allowed in high school, and after that, opportunities have not presented themselves, nor have I really sought them out.
50. I am always pleasantly surprised when I hear from someone new in my e-mail (since I don't have a comment section, I feel that this should count as agreement).
51. I like silence at times.
52. I lived in Lawrence, Kansas for a year. It iced a lot more than it does here or in Omaha.
53. I got glasses when I was 9, never needed braces, and hope for LASIK some day, some glorious day.
54. I hate to boss other people around, and yet I'm very good at it and sometimes find myself nominated for the job anyway.
55. I like being alone sometimes. I know I shouldn't see this as the human condition, since not everybody is an introvert. It's just that most of my friends are some flavor of introvert or quiet extrovert, so it's hard to see the other side of things in my particular slice of world.
56. I would rather cook than do dishes any day. I don't mind doing most of the cooking at all.
57. I organize my stuff to fit the surroundings I have. Right now, I'm still figuring out the surroundings I have.
58. I need to exercise. Now, this one I'm absolutely sure is a human condition one. Maybe some of you posthumans have been engineered otherwise.
59. I like when my friends write me letters and emails, it makes me feel special. Sometimes annoyed, depending on the contents. But still special.
60. I'm cynical sometimes, but I am very nearly a congenital optimist. It's too ingrained to break myself of the habit. It's just what I do.
61. I keep in touch with Scott, Michael, Jim, and Matt from my high school days, plus occasional notes to/from Kate and Amanda. Then there's Kev, whom I met the week before graduation. He's from my hometown, went to my high school, etc., but I'm never sure whether it's fair to consider him a high school friend or not. (Then again, Scott was a junior high friend initially, and I met Jim on the first day of kindergarten, so.) Oh yes, and then also Jan and Ron, a couple of my high school teachers. And I started being pen-pals with Liz about that time, but I'm not sure if that counts. I would gladly hear from other high school folks if they find this website. Especially if they told me what they were up to, unlike Julie, who wrote a few weeks back, said hi, and then disappeared without telling me anything except that she has a job and no kids. Which would have been my default guess at this point in our lives....
62. I don't recall ever seeing Chex commercials, but if you want to talk about crying at commercials, I just about lost it the first time I heard the Larry Reed White Bear Dodge commercial on the radio again. Home home home.
63. I overreact about things sometimes. I would call anybody who didn't agree with this one a liar. Although people, including myself and probably Stella, have areas of underreaction, too.
64. I cry at music sometimes. And how. I cannot make it through "I Will Not Take These Things For Granted" without flat-out bawling, not even now that I live at home and am practically surrounded by loved ones, friends, and relations.
65. I have odd dreams.
66. I wish I could travel more often.
67. I like living, growing things. I just don't like taking care of them if they're plants. I would like to take care of a living growing dog or human.
68. Heights are fine by me. I like that losing-your-stomach feeling on the top of a roller coaster hill, when you first go over.
69. I believe in God. I don't believe that GW Bush is His Chosen One.
70. I am a pacifist...sort of. I believe that there are things worth dying for, which is a perfectly fine pacifist position; I also believe there are things worth killing for, which is a bit more problematic from a pacifist point of view. My list of things worth killing for is fairly short and doesn't involve most of the things politicians have been attempting to put on it. (Then again, that's true of my list of things worth dying for, too: very low intersection rate with that of politicians.) I believe in seeking peaceful solutions to problems between and among individuals and nations. But if you start physically attacking my friends and family, I make no guarantees of how many times I will offer a peaceful solution.
71. I like my weather cool and rainy; my weather apprehension about moving home here is not the winters but the summers.
72. I would love to seek the nearest corner in a crowded room and find a book, but I often feel that it's my duty to entertain and care for people instead.
73. I have broken a couple of ribs, only cracked. I don't recommend it. It was no fun.
74. I don't like artificial scents, but I like BO less. Although some people's sweat is less noxious to me than others'.
75. I don't follow any celebrities' gossip or love lives in particular. Because SF writers don't really count as celebrities; they don't get mobbed in the supermarket, etc.
76. I don't wish I had more friends. I'm often glad to make specific friends I didn't know I needed, but in the general case, I feel there are enough people in my life.
77. I love to read, period and full stop.
78. I re-read a lot, in part because I can't afford to buy books as fast as I can read them. I also use the library for this reason.
79. I don't try to be open about the health issues I have. Sometimes I'm open and sometimes I'm not, but openness is not a goal in this journal. If I feel like I want to talk about having menstrual cramps, for example, I will, but I don't feel like I owe it to anyone to know that I have really nasty periods. This statement originally specified "mental health" explicitly, but I think we need to start wrapping mental health issues more thoroughly in with general health: they're a subset or an overlapping set, not an entirely separate category. I'm not saying Stella was saying they were separable. I'm just having to add my two cents worth. I know that depression enjoys more stigma (Wooo! Gotta enjoy that stigma!) than a broken leg. I just don't think it should.
80. I am told I write very well.
81. I can be hard to deal with sometimes. Another of those human condition things....
82. I don't understand the appeal of horror movies.
83. I don't really have a hard time living inside my current income. I can come up with stuff I'd love to get outside the budget, but I generally have a fair idea of what the budget is and what I need to do/can't do within it.
84. I love my family. They just drive me up the wall on a semi-regular basis. Emphasis on the semi. That includes family by blood, law, and choice, and I feel very sure that I drive them up the wall at least as often, if not more often. That's one of the ways you can tell you're family. You don't know strangers well enough or let them in close enough to drive you up a wall. And sometimes people talk as though family by choice will drive you less crazy. Hah. Sure, you can pick your friends, but once they get to the point of being family, you're stuck with them, and they're generally at least as insane as the ones you inherited.
85. On some issues, I'm very firm in my beliefs.
86. I am female.
87. Like Stella, I support gay civil marriage. Unlike Stella, I guess I do understand why anyone in their right mind would oppose gay civil marriage. I don't think those people are crazy. Wrong, yes. Crazy, no. Which in some ways is better -- you can argue with someone who's wrong.
88. I am astonished that anyone gets out of childhood alive, given the range and variety of self-inflicted injuries I see on kids every day. Hmm. I don't see 'em, but yeah, kids get injured a lot, and it's amazing how resilient they can be.
89. I voted for Browne in the last presidential election. Believe you me, it wasn't out of adoration for his Browneness. I will scream, absolutely scream if he is the candidate from the LP this coming election year. He has proven that not only is he unelectable (uh, duh), but more importantly for a "third" party candidate, he is not good at getting the message of his party out to a broader audience. In my kinder moods, I call the last Browne campaign lackluster; mostly I mean dead or nonexistent. So...yeah. This year my vote will depend on who the Democratic candidate is. My reactions to them range from "NonononopleaseGodno" to "Enough better than Bush that I'd actually attempt to get this guy elected."
90. I am more comfortable with the idea of dying than I think I ought to be. That doesn't mean I want to; please don't get all worried about me being suicidal, because I'm not at all. But I pretty firmly believe that there are worse fates, and while I'd be disappointed not to get to do more stuff, mostly I'd worry about how people would be without me, whether they'd be all right. And when I came the closest I've ever come to dying, when I was swimming unwisely, my reaction was essentially disappointment, not panic.
91. I do not smoke, and I've never had enough to drink to become drunk. This is what we call "a control freak." While we've had our share of Two-Buck Chuck in the house, and still do, for the most part we drink moderately priced, weird wines.
92. I come from a very economically mixed family, which is what happens when you have families of up to 13 at the grandparental level and keep track of all of the second cousins. Some of my cousins are really scraping to get by at all; others have prestigious positions and/or lots of money. Orthogonal to that, some of my cousins barely made it through high school and others have advanced degrees; orthogonal to that, some of my cousins are rabid anti-intellectuals and others cannot be removed from their books without surgical intervention. Sometimes people who know me are surprised at the variety in my family.
93. I HATE when computers freeze.
94. I like talking on the phone. I can go for hours.
95. I don't particularly mind going to the doctors' office unless there are bits of metal shoved inside my body. At this point, any medical appointment with no such bits of metal is all bonus.
96. I don't think I would use the term social anxiety to describe how I feel in social situations. But I'm often a lot less comfortable than I look, partly because I babble.
97. I have no pager and am pleased to have a profession that doesn't require one. They go into the category of heels and business suits for me.
98. I can't understand for the life of me why people would get some of the piercings they have, but hey, it's their handbasket. AND their hepatitis risk. Further, if I had to get my ears pierced for the first time tomorrow, I wouldn't do it. I don't hate having them pierced, it's just that there are now always holes or dents in my ears. I'd prefer not to have to fuss with earrings. Since I already have the holes in my ears, though, and they would only heal to dents, I try to get earrings I like.
99. I've never had a tattoo. I do not plan on getting one. Two words: skin sags. Even if it doesn't, ink bleeds. My grandpa has tattoos from being in the service. They're kind of blackish blobs at this point in his life, even though his arms aren't particularly saggy. The other thing is, I don't think there are any patterns I like well enough to keep them forever. It seems to me a bit on a par with wearing the same color and pattern of shirt for the rest of your life. No shirt is that good.
100. I am done with this survey now. I was thinking of putting on a few others from Tempest's and Jenn's responses, but I am officially tired of this survey now. So I'm done.

(I am interested, though, in the ones that reached Jenn and Stella intact: "I'm a weird person," for example, doesn't surprise me, but "I live hundreds or thousands of miles from where I was born" seems like it's telling about our society, somehow. Because everybody knows that a sample size of two is statistically sound.)

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