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11.XII.2002

1. right now i am listening to “never meant” by american football. it is 3.50 in the afternoon.

2. i am making a list because i like to make lists. i like lists because i like to number things. i like to count.

3. my liking to count has been a point of disproportionate interest for several doctors and therapists.

4. i am six feet tall in my stocking feet.

5. i will be twenty-six years old at 5.11 pm this saturday, the feast of saint john of the cross.

6. my desk, where i am writing this, is littered with empty plastic bottles which each at one time held 20 oz of coca-cola.

7. i am vowing not to put any quotations from songs i like or books or poems i like, or any quotations at all, into this list.

8. this makes me a little worried that the list will not get very long.

9. my cats are named after the first two r.e.m. records.

10. i am named after my great-grandmother, who was from iceland and whom everyone called ricka.

11. at least three people, including addie, have started calling me ricka spontaneously without knowing about my great-grandmother.

12. here is what else i got from my great-grandmother: an old yellowishing bible & a hymnbook (sálambok), in icelandic, & a passed-down recipe for sugar cookies.

13. my mother has forbidden me to disseminate the recipe for sugar cookies, as there is a secret ingredient.

14. i prefer to think of secret ingredients as special ingredients.

15. across the house, i have some chickpeas cooking. there are no special ingredients about them.

16. ever since i moved to columbus, i have lived within a four-block radius.

17. i very nearly did not graduate from college. my name is not in the graduation program.

18. i am the first person in my family, on either side, to move north of the ohio river and to stay.

19. i was born in lexington, kentucky, the birthplace of more kentucky-derby-winning horses than any other city on the damn planet.

20. i am not a horse but when i was small i wanted to be one.

21. i learned to read before i was three years old.

22. i will turn 26 before i learn to drive a car.

23. my favorite numbers are eleven, twenty-three, and eighty-six.

24. i have a great dislike for numbers that end in 0 or 5, and will go out of my way to avoid using them.

25. i have studied french, japanese, spanish, italian, german, & (halfheartedly) greek.

26. i have forgotten nearly everything useful i once knew in japanese, except for “let’s go!” and “i used to study japanese but now i can’t speak it at all.”

27. i would rather eavesdrop than ask blunt questions.

28. i have four tattoos.

29. they are all stylized, and they are all all-black.

30. my favorite things to cook with are lime, sweet potato, coconut, oranges, peanuts, and pink lentils.

31. i subscribe to the nation & the other side.

32. i tithe.

33. i hate being made to guess things.

34. i like to be awake during the hours when it is dark, especially the very early morning.

35. my parents hold fast to a hope that i will be a published writer one day.

36. not an academic writer, but the kind whose books you can buy at your neighborhood branch of some conglomerate mega-bookstore.

37. i avoid such stores on principle.

38. my handwriting varies depending on what type of pen i am using.

39. i read once that women with psychiatric disorders tend to have handwriting like mine: never the same on two different days.

40. i keep a paper journal, very erratically, in red ink in a spiral-bound sketchbook.

41. to calm down, i like to do a crossword puzzle in one sitting.

42. i think i like to see each little letter centered in its little square.

43. i majored in art history not because i wanted to be an art historian but because it was the only discipline offered at my school in which you were encouraged to take more than two foreign languages.

44. i don’t like museums very much at all.

45. my favorite word in italian is pipistrelli, the word for bats.

46. i like bats in general as long as they are do not surprise me by flying up at me out of nowhere.

47. when the revolution comes, i will join a catholic worker community. i will build things and i will cook.

48. when i was eighteen, i asked my father to use his broadcast-journalist training to help me lose my kentucky accent.

49. i didn’t want people to presume i was stupid or slow or backwoods just because i pronounced i as ahh.

50. i hate beer.

51. i like chardonnay.

52. i like gin.

53. i like girly cocktails involving vodka & fruit & double-entendre names.

54. i like listening to the BBC at night, if i am up that late.

55. i find it very difficult to be vegan.

56. i always step over cracks in the sidewalk or in the pavement.

57. but whenever possible i will step on painted lines, as in a parking lot, so that the arch of my foot fits the width of the paint exactly.

58. i am sort of annoying to walk beside, i think.

59. i like my tea with soymilk & with honey.

60. i was expelled from preschool for what my teachers called insubordination but what my family calls already knowing how to read.

61. i hate when people misuse the word irony, & the word tragedy.

62. i fall in & out of love with little things & with people passing by me on a more or less constant basis.

63. i have been mired deeply in love with two people in my life. which is more than enough for me, thank you.

64. i taught myself to read music & to play the piano when i was ten.

65. i’m not any great shakes at the piano.

66. i tend to get obsessive crushes on brilliant men who are dead and/or queer.

67. i have a great fear of being published posthumously.

68. when i was twenty my school sent me to a psychiatric hospital in columbus for a weekend. tec went on the drive with me so i could get checked in okay. while i was there i ate only haagen-daazs strawberry ice cream because they had nothing else vegetarian for me to eat, & they wouldn’t let me bring any books into my room. because of the ice cream & the books, my mom drove up to ohio & sprang me after only a day or so. we checked into a hotel in town & ordered in food & watched tv. it was easter weekend so they were showing ben-hur.

69. my first boyfriend was the great-great-something-grandson of the man who wrote the novel, ben-hur.

70. when i was at kenyon i wrote a lot of poems with tea in them, & little art-historical references, & a lot of porcelain. lots of people took baths in my poems & got themselves killed (not necessarily in the same poem).

71. i like to write in iambic pentameter, much more than is probably chic.

72. when i am bored, i like to challenge myself to speak only in iambic pentameter, usually only if i don’t have something handy i can read instead.

73. my life changed the first time i heard nevermind.

74. one of my earliest clear memories is the day john lennon was killed, just before i turned four. my parents were stricken, heartsick. i remember my father telling me what a brilliant, beautiful person john lennon had been. he (my father) told me that some day he would play me some of his music. i remember thinking that my father must really, really love this man’s music, if he was willing to learn to play an instrument just to share some songs with me.

75. my first job was teaching “disadvantaged” fourth-graders how to write well. i was sixteen.

76. my parents don’t remember what my first sentence was. my brother’s was “turn fan on.”

77. i have never seen a dead body, even at a funeral.

78. i rarely order drinks when i am out, mostly because i don’t want to look like an idiot while doing so.

79. i was such an uptight child that my mother bought me a thich nat hanh book on meditation when i was eleven.

80. of all the characters in all the things i have ever read, i would most like to be rosalind in as you like it.

81. but i think i am actually most like the fillyjonk in the moominbooks.

82. i don’t like things to be loud.

83. i think the only legitimate excuses anyone has for being loud are playing music & having sex.

84. unless you are my neighbors, who don’t sound as if they are very talented at either effort.

85. in high school i had this recurring nightmare that this boy i had had a crush on was a serial killer. in the dreams his weapon was a pair of scissors. how lurid! how embarrassing, when he found out about it!

86. i have never read macbeth.

87. i think of myself as an activist, although i dislike the aspects of activism that involve being around other activists, not just because i generally don’t like being in groups of people, but because i think people talking about their activism make poor conversationalists.

88. the first record i ever had was she’s so unusual by cyndi lauper.

89. the last records i bought were accumulation: none (smog), time travel is lonely (john vanderslice) & tallahassee (the mountain goats).

90. jobs i wanted as a child: writer. jockey. teacher at a school for the deaf. veterinarian. stargazer. resident of nepal. painter.

91. other jobs i have wanted: governess. breadbaker. calligrapher. translator (not to be confused with interpreter, like at the UN, which i find utterly overwhelming). midwife. punk-rock vegan-bed-&-breakfast operator.

92. i suppose the last two are entirely possible, if you’re sort of liberal with your application of the term “punk-rock.”

93. when i was very tiny, probably pre-verbal, we lived on a farm in fayette county, kentucky, & i still don’t know why we did. it wasn’t our farm.

94. the farthest i have ever travelled was from kentucky to fukushima prefecture, japan.

95. i have never crossed the atlantic ocean.

96. when i am cooking, i like to listen to music very loudly & sing along also loudly, usually with plenty of rockstar posturing.

97. for this i especially like “total eclipse of the heart” by bonnie tyler.

98. i had planned to save this list for my 500th entry (imminent) or my birthday (also imminent), as a sort of celebration, but i decided to make it entry #491 because four hundred ninety-one is prime.

99. i have a very bad habit, when i am talking to my friends in my own home, of running over to the shelves with all my art history books on them so that i can have visual aids for whatever i am going on about.

100. i say “fuck” rather more than is called-for.

101. when i play chess i can’t hold any strategy in my head, so i just lean over the board so that i am looking straight down at it, & make whatever legal move will result in what i think is the prettiest composition on the board. this probably has a lot to do with reading what marcel duchamp had to say about any chess game being a four-dimensional work of art.

102. i have never won a game of chess in my life.

103. i pray.

104. i consider myself an existentalist radical catholic.

105. probably plenty of catholics would consider me hellbound & depraved.

106. i am the only person i know who has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

107. i know plenty of people, though, who extend the OCD-label to themselves, sometimes justly, sometimes in ways that betray they don’t really know what it’s like to have all these rules in your brain.

108. i have never broken a bone.

109. when i am bored at work i like to do ultrasound exams on myself.

110. i have been known to cry in museums, just standing in front of a cézanne.

111. i am now listening to cat power, “the colors and the kids.” it is 5.35 pm.

112. during the course of this list i have listened to twenty-five songs without stopping.

113. next i will continue to make dinner. we are having harira, which sounds like a future-tense spanish verb, but is in fact a moroccan stew with chickpeas & my friends the pink lentils.

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