1.  In June of 2004, I had brain surgery to resect an AVM (arteriovenous malformation).  It was a defining moment in my life.  When I came out of anesthesia, my left arm was paralyzed, my left leg was weakened, and my voice sounded like Mickey Mouse on Ecstasy.   I do not wear this “life experience” on my sleeve.  Rather, I reveal it selectively to people, an event which I refer to as “throwing up” because their subsequent reactions are usually similar to if I had actually vomited.  On them.  To this day, I am left with a scar stretching from near my right ear, over top of my head, head-band style, to a few inches short of my left ear.  It hides my past very well.

2.  I am not “from” anywhere.  People love to ask this question at parties, first-time meetings, and other awkward (for me) social events.  I have spent 9 months living outside Chicago, a total of 5 years in Pittsburgh, 9 years in Upstate New York (6 hours North of Westchester), 4 years in Southeastern Minnesota, and 3 years in a suburb of Boston.  I currently live outside Philadelphia, and I’ve been in this area since 2003. 

3.  I hate talking on the phone.  I would much rather write, e-mail, text, or ignore return phonecalls than use the phone.  I put off making appointments, cancelling them, renewing library books, ordering take-out, and talking to old friends.  I dislike not being able to see the person as I talk to him/her.  I dislike that my voice, and the way it carries the message, is the only extralinguistic cue (wait; did I major in linguistics?) the listener has.  I dislike that there is no backspace key.  I like backspace. 

4.  I make sock monkeys frequently.  Once I made  sock frog.  I followed the directions to the letter.  His eyes resemble nothing so much as a pair of boobs, earning him the name, “Boob Frog”.  I once made an anatomically correct well-endowed male sock monkey for my friend’s bachelorette party.  We call him “Cock Monkey”.

5.  I have not given my bassoon or my clarinet any serious attention since my surgery, and it gives me nagging, gnawing guilt.  The frustration I faced too soon into my recovery, when my fingers still couldn’t support the instrument’s weight or cover the holes, when my weakened embrochure couldn’t get a clean squeak out, has driven me from my instruments.  I am reconsidering when I call myself a musician.  I feel I am lying to myself.  And $6,000 worth of musical instruments lie dormant, eating away yet further.  I feel I have disappointed my family, each of whom values music and plays an instrument proficiently.  Especially my father, who was my first bassoon teacher. 

6.  I was a preschool assistant teacher for 3 years after college.  I developed a strong philosophy of preschool education which has driven me to seek out that same population in my current line of work.  I partly like preschoolers because they are not taller than I am.  I am only 5’0″ tall. 

7.  I wear a size 7 shoe, except in ‘Roos and Saucony’s (7.5).  I still have my first pair of Doc Marten’s, purchased in 1996.  I still wear them. 

8.  I have 2 dogs.  Our older, original dog used to belong to Mr. Apron’s sister’s ex-boyfriend (you follow?).  He moved in with his girlfriend after they’d been dating 2 weeks.  You know where this is going.  He left, dog stayed.  Later, we got dog.  He’s the Original Shaggy Dog.  When I first met him, “homely” was the only kind word I could think of to describe him.  He has a very distinctive face, which drives random strangers to ask, alternatively, “Is he old?” and “Ooooh, what [designer] breed is he?”  Mutt, my friends.  M.U.T.T.  Our other dog was adopted in March 2010 and resists all attempts at consistent house-breaking.  She’s also a mixed-breed.  We think she’s a yellow lab mixed with a petite griffon basset vendeen.  Very fancy, yes?

9.  I drive a Honda Fit, in Blaze Orange.  This is the first car I’ve wanted that I got to have!  My other cars were passed down under the “price is right” or “free” categories, and I drove them gratefully.  But this one is mine, and I love it soooo, sooo much. 

10.  I’m feeling peer pressure from the young moms in the neighborhood who carry around their babies in slings.  Is that wrong?  Is my biological clock talking to them?  Cuz I’m not.  I’m very shy, and living in a not-so-great neighborhood in Philly for nearly 4 years has taught me to ignore people walking past.  It’s hard to break that habit.  I’m afraid of our neighbors. 

11.  My morning internet ritual consists of checking e-mail, checking craftster.org for replies/comments on my crafting posts, reading Foxtrot Classics and For Better or For Worse on gocomics.com, and reading Dear Abby.  I must do these things each morning, or I will die.