1. I lived on a boat in the Hudson for about five years. We named it Moveable Feast (after Hemmingway’s book, not Easter). I prided myself in having the western-most bedroom in NYC and a year-round tan. Now I live on land and have surrendered my western-most bedroom status in favor of a bedroom in the middle of the Hell’s Kitchen. And I worry about skin cancer.
2. I have a college degree and two Masters and still think I will be someday going back to school again.
3. I have lived in New York City for almost two decades and consider myself an official New Yorker. That means I walk really fast; I get annoyed at throngs of tourists standing in front of subway stairs; and I complain continuously about city living. We have no plans to leave any time soon.
4. Last year we bought my mother’s house in Locust Valley, the not-so-happy home I grew up in. We are, in effect, my mother’s landlord, which can be a very awkward position to be in.
5. My childhood and adolescence were not happy ones. My friendships from those times are the only bright spots.
6. My 30s are amazing.
7. I have had two or three miscarriages, depending on your definition: One was a regular run-of-the-mill miscarriage in my uterus. But the second/third was twins: One baby died in my uterus and, a month later, the other was found in my fallopian tube. The ectopic was the worst physical pain I have ever experienced, and I have a lengendary tolerance for pain. That emotional grief will always be woven into the fabric of me.
8. I remember the first three times Nicole told me she loved me. The ones after that start to blur.
9. My family moved to Connecticut when I was in third grade and I began a life as a shoplifter. Paging Dr. Freud. Nobody suspected the chubby, innocent-looking, big-cheeked girl with glasses of stuffing toys, books, Smurfs and stuffed animals into the picnic basket purse she carried as a purse. Suckers. I can assure you that phase ended and I no longer steal.
10. Well, that is not entirely true. I was bulk shopping at BJs and bought one of those huge flats of formula and the cashier mistakenly charged me for only one can, instead of eight. I didn’t say a word and when I got outside of the store I called Nicole, all excited about this bounty of unexpected free riches. She told me that it was wrong and I should go back inside and pay for the rest. I thought about for a minute, but the third grader in me won that moral dilemma.
11. Brevity, as you can see, is not one of my strong points.
12. I love dizzy spells, which I have almost every day (low blood pressure). Little dots swirl in front of my eyes and my vision tunnels and the world goes black for a nanosecond or two. But then I feel this amazing peace and clarity and everything just feels so right. It is this encompassing feeling during which I feel like I just figured out the secrets of the universe. And then I come to.
13. I am feriousoulsy loyal to my friends; that is a good thing. I am also very, very sensitive; that can be a bad thing.
14. I usually express myself better in writing. So I will write manifestos for Nicole, give them to her, watch her read them and then we discuss their content.
15. Almost every day I think how great it is to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. I am sad for people who settle in their relationships. I am at peace with my past, because I truly believe that everything that happened brought me to this place. And it is a great place to be.
16. My body responds alarmingly fast to exercise. It also responds alarmingly fast to lack of exercise. With this in mind, I run four miles a day, six days a week. At least, I try.
17. I never ran before, and believed others who told me I didn’t have the right body-type to be a runner. But I used to love how my friend Molly talked about it. It seemed like something she really enjoyed, something that provided emotional benefits along with the physical ones. Under her tutelage, I started running and now officially consider myself a runner. One day, I want to run a marathon with Molly.
18. I only wear shades of red rail polish. Every time I am getting manicure I try to pick a new color and I really can’t. I might need a color intervention.
19. I love pretzels, but they have to be Herr’s sourdough nuggets, and I love Gummi bears, but they have to be Haribo. I am and always have been an extremely picky eater.
20. I never thought that I would have children and I never wanted them. And then Nicole and I got together and all these things that I never wanted (children, marriage, forever, jewelry) became things I wanted very, very much.
21. My nephew was the first thing (for lack of a better word) that I loved instantly. It was the most powerful thing I have ever felt in my life. I felt it again when my niece was born and when Madeline and Avery were born. It is so different growing love, but in the end, it is all love, regardless of its genesis.
22. My nephew’s birth changed my life. One the day he was born, I quit the job at the magazine I where I was working and decided to go back to school.
23. We named Madeline after a cookie. Before Nicole and I started officially dating, we had a discussion about Proust’s book (we are not as pretentious as that sounds), which prominently features Madeline cookies. Nicole said she never tasted a Madeline cookie. The next day I bought some from my favorite French bakery in Chelsea and messengered them to Nicole’s office. She said that when she got that package of cookies, she thought for the first time that maybe just maybe I had feelings for her too. It marked a turning point in our relationship. On an interesting note, last year that bakery opened a second shop coincidentally down the street from us, of all the places in the city. I think that is confirmation from the universe that everything is as it should be.
24. We are not sure, but Avery’s name might have been inspired in part by Avery paper products, of which I had many, since I was in grad school while I was pregnant. We need to come up with a more romantic story so Avery doesn’t feel slighted. “Yes, honey, you were named after a binder” just seems so mean.
25. I am a power sight-seer. I can tour a city’s sights in under two hours, museums included. I prefer to spend my time in foreign places exploring bookstores, supermarkets and the rail system. This, I feel, gives one the best flavor of a new place.
26. I have amazing will power, when I want to tap into it. I quit smoking about eight years ago and haven’t had a drop of alcohol in six years. I miss both sometimes but know my life is so much better this way.
27. I am confused by people who insist I wasn’t an alcoholic. Because drinking liters of scotch in a couple days; staying out drinking till four am; blacking out all the time and waking up and wondering happened the night before and where that feather boa came from; almost drowning because you are too drunk to pull yourself out of the water… these are things that happen to people without drinking problems all the time. But since I never drank in the morning or could go a week without drinking every once in a while, some people think I am overreacting.
28. I think one of the benefits of same-sex relationships is that if we ever end up in a nursing home, we can room together.
29. I am scared of cancer. Every once in a while, I think about all those scary cancer statistics about how many cancer cases there are on Long Island and I think, thank God I don’t live there. And then I remember I lived there for 18 years.
30. You can tell I am a Long Islander because I say “on Long Island” and not “in Long Island.” But I don’t have a trace of a Long Island accent.
31. I worry about this economy and about Nicole’s career. She does, after all, work at a bank. But I am convinced that nothing bad can happen to us, even if she were layed off. I feel safe, secure, content, happy, lucky and invincible, even in the valleys of unhappy times. As long as we have each other, we are all fine. This, I believe, is what being in a family is supposed to feel like.
32. The only way I could write this list was by plopping Madeline and Avery in front of Sesame Street. I am mother of the year.
33. I warned you that brevity wasn’t my strong suit.