Monday, February 28, 2011

Dear God, Please let the third time be the charm...

Day 20. A picture of somewhere I'd love to travel.

The irony of wanting to travel to Italy (Rome and Florence for the most part) isn't lost on me. Because of my father's job, my sister and I were fortunate enough to live overseas and travel to countries in Asia and Europe. One of the countries my parents wanted to take us to when we were living in Germany was Italy.

I wanted to go. But I was fifteen. I had a lead role in a theatre company production that was opening when I would be in Rome. And did I mention one of the guys in the theatre company was smoking hot? [Drool] I chose to stay in Germany with Kelly, go to school, and keep my role in the play instead of traveling with my parents. In my defense, I was fifteen. And teenagers are, well, stupid.

Fast forward 15 years. I'm getting married to John, and we're trying to figure out where to go on our honeymoon. Once again I have a chance to go to Italy for a week, but John and I think about the awful heat in Italy during the late summer and decide instead on 2 weeks in Hawaii. Not that I think we made the wrong choice: Kauai and the Big Island were amazing. But I wonder if I shouldn't have tempted fate. How many people are fortunate enough to have not one, but two opportunities to travel to a place you'd love to see? Who knows if I will ever have a chance to get to Italy again?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A picture and a letter

Dear Bladder,

I know we've never been best friends. In fact, ever since I've been potty-trained you have made me a laughing-stock among my acquaintances with "normal" bladders ("normal" meaning not having to use the toilet every 2 hours). I have visited numerous doctors because of you. I was around 5 or 6 years old when you convinced my poor parents that I had diabetes because I was in the can so often. The doctors continually told me I didn't have a problem. But I do. The problem is you.

I could write a successful book (or blog for that matter) about the nuances of every women's room for amusement parks this side of the Mississippi. You have forced me to navigate the rest areas and fast foods joints at every exit of interstates 64, 95, and 81. My friends chuckle as I politely excuse myself multiple times through dinner. Aisle seats are a must-have on airplanes and in any seating arrangement, while sitting through Harry Potter movies has become a form of medieval torture.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I had kids...

Now instead of being able to sleep for 8 hours straight, I am now forced to take 3 hour naps every night in order to appease your insatiable appetite. Even trips to the grocery store or mall must be planned out in case you sadistically decide to toy with me. So today I take a stand in writing this letter of formal protest. I would trade you in for a better model, but there are no refunds or exchanges. Even those stupid pills designed for women twice my age aren't an option. I know you are eagerly awaiting the day when I have to head through the "Incontinence" aisle at my local pharmacy and purchase numerous items for your amusement. And you are not allowed to lecture me about kegel exercises, which are simply just another one of your pathetic excuses to make me do ALL the work in this relationship.

You suck, bladder.

Resigned to suffer in silence like so many of my comrades,

Bad Mommy

Today's challenge is my biggest insecurity. This wasn't tough at all. I am terrified that I'm a bad mother.

When the kids scream for ten minutes straight, when I yell at them, when I swat their butts in anger, when my friends tell me how fast their kids are progressing, when I read books by multi-millionaire mothers with 2.4 "gifted" kids who can play 5 instruments and are choosing which Ivy League college to attend... all these things make me wonder if I'm doing it right. I know there's technically no "right" way to parent, but that's not what all the best-selling parenting books tell me.

It's not hard to bring out a mother's insecurities.

Friday, February 25, 2011

He doesn't spend his ENTIRE day playing with baby toys...

Today's challenge is a picture of something that made a huge impact on your life recently.

I really want to say it is the freedom fighters being executed in Libya, or my fellow civil servants protesting in Wisconsin. The problem is that those events haven't truly impacted my personal life, even if they have impacted my emotions. After much soul-searching, I finally realized the one thing that has had a huge impact on my life, even if the impact began last September...

I honestly believe that a parent simply knows when their child may not be like other children. With Eric it came early. I started to sense something was wrong when he wasn't babbling at 6 months. By a year, he could make some sounds, even say "yum yum" or "dada," but as soon as he would begin saying a certain sound, he would stop. It was almost as if he forgot and would lose language connections as quickly as they would begin. Eric walked at around one, but always on his toes. On play-dates, kids that were younger than him would use spoons with ease while Eric would use only his fingers. I didn't hear Eric say "mama" until he was 22 months old. Only a mother can understand what it feels like to wait so long to hear your name spoken. There were a lot of happy tears that day, let me tell you...

We finally had him tested when he was just over two years old. Eric was diagnosed with language delays, gross motor and fine motor delays. I beat myself up for this, as Rachel was a baby during critical windows of opportunity in Eric's development. Eric had therapists coming and going from our house, but it wasn't until he started a preschool for other children with delays that real progress was made.

In the first few weeks of starting school, Eric's speech became intelligible to John and I. Within a few months he was talking in 4 word phrases. And now he can speak in complete sentences. He gets verbs confused a lot, but it's so amazing to actually have a conversation with my child. Eric's school is paid for with my tax dollars, and another huge bonus is that Eric's preschool potty-trains, and Eric is now completely potty-trained except at night.

Eric catching up to his peers developmental... it's not as sensational as protests or remarkable as a revolution, but it means a heck of a lot to us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pass the bottle...

Someone who inspires me...

My children inspire me to be a better mother every day. Their dirty diapers inspire me to ramp-up the potty-training.
The Holy Spirit inspires me to continue my spiritual growth and draw closer to God.
Reading novels and eloquent words on a page inspires me to become a better writer.

Today's post should be about all of them...
... but it's not.

It's about a bald 4 year-old named Caillou.

Caillou, as much as I love the 23 minutes you give me to do a load of laundry and unload the dishwasher on a daily basis, my children have become obsessed with your non-stop chatter. The soundtrack of some people's lives are the rock anthems of Pink Floyd or The Who. Mine is the incessant whines of a cartoon character. As such, you inspire me Caillou. To drink. Heavily.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Because 14 hours in coach is the 7th ring of hell...

Today's challenge is something I want to do before I die. I could cover a lot of ground with this one. I would love to go ski-diving, parasailing, become a published author, eat lunch with a couple of choice celebrities, buy a condo and live on the beach...

But the one thing I would desperately love to do if I ever become independently wealthy: Fly first-class on United Arab Emirates to Tokyo. Why Tokyo? It's my favorite place on planet Earth. Why Emirates? It's the most amazing airline on the planet. I have pictures to prove it...
Now this is first-class, people. I grew up on Yokota Air Base, then moved back to Hamamatsu when I was 27. I have flown round-trip from Japan to Washington, D.C. so many times I have lost count. Flying was a novelty at first. Eventually it just sucked. I envy people who can pass out on airplanes, peacefully sleeping upright while layered in scratchy blankets, oblivious to the coughing, crying babies, roaring engines, and endless chatter...

So this is the plan: get John and my closest friends together, rob a bank, and buy tickets to Tokyo where we can live off the kindness of my contacts overseas (because we'll only have about 37 cents left over after buying the Emirates tickets). It's hard to case the joint with 2 cranky toddlers though, so I could use some help...

Monday, February 21, 2011

It just wouldn't be the same...

Someone you can't imagine your life without... that's today's challenge. Well, I have a lot of "someones" who fit. But there are two who stick out. They turned my life upside down, and while I sometimes need a day (or 2... or 3...) away from the craziness just to mentally regroup, I have no idea what I would do without them. Seriously, What did I do before devoting 12 hours a day to raising two human beings? Someone remind me...
Aren't they cute? Eric and Rachel, Mommy loves you and never wants to live without you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

They Might Be Giants

The title will leave some smiling and others perplexed. Today's challenge is a picture of your favorite band, and They Might Be Giants (or TMBG) is geek rock at its finest. Picture Bare Naked Ladies only less Canadian with a trumpet and accordion. I'm not exactly sure TMBG is my favorite band because my taste in musical genres and groups is so eclectic. This picture was taken from the TMBG fan site.

This band has stalked me throughout my teens and twenties, but in a pleasant, non-threatening way. I first heard their albums once I moved back to Virginia in 1992 (no MP3s back then, people). I discovered their music thanks to my group of friends in high school. Our welcoming cliche were quite a strange ensemble and by that I mean we sat around on weekends talking about Clinton's presidency instead of getting trashed like the majority of our classmates.

While I was in the Virginia pep band, "Road Movie To Berlin" became our anthem of sorts as one line says "Seek out this glass of bourbon..." University of Virginia students drink bourbon, except for people who make the mistake of dating certain drunks that decide to down their "4th-Year Fifth" of Jim Beam on an empty stomach. Those people drink tequila. :-) (Ugh. To this day I can't stomach the fumes without also smelling the accompanying bile, blood, and vomit that went with that particular sleepless night of hell).

In my twenties, I went to TMBG concerts with my boyfriend. Picture hundreds of mostly-sober white geeks who can't dance. Now picture them crowded together in dingy clubs, jumping up and down simultaneously all while singing off-key. Those were the days...

TMBG now does children's music in addition to the alternative rock that I love. They even won a Grammy award for their album "Here Come the 123s." I've never heard it, but it's kind-of comforting to think that my favorite band has gone through the same stages of life- marriage, kids- at the same time as me.

So thanks TMBG for all the great music and for all the memories.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gone but not forgotten

Today's challenge is your favorite memory. I have a lot of those, and most are from 20 years ago spanning the course of a full year. My favorite memories consist of the carefree life I had while living in Frankfurt, Germany. There was no particular day that stands out as being the best day of my life. I was in the ninth grade, usually a year filled with trauma for most teenagers. But I lived through all of my teenage trauma the year before, which is why I think my year in Germany stands out as being so wonderful. Maybe I should explain...

When I turned 13 I had two friends, whom I'll call Jackie and Sara. Friendships in threes almost never work out well, and this story is no exception. Jackie and I became close. I knew she had a lot of problems, but we also had a lot in common and genuinely enjoyed each other's company. Long story short, Sara became jealous. She would whisper little fables of Jackie's supposed betrayal in my ear. This went on for awhile until I had enough and finally stopped speaking to Sara. I never believed Sara's lies. However, it turned out that Jackie did.

I found out the hard way about what happens when a deeply insecure, disturbed, and angry girl becomes convinced her best friend is hurting her. Trying to physically fight me, calling the police, spreading vicious rumors... she made "Mean Girls" look like "Pollyanna." After ten months in the hell of middle school bullying, even captivity in a Siberian prison would have been heaven. But fortunately I found a safe haven in Frankfurt.

It was hard for me to find my place in high school. I'm a geek who looks like a cheerleader. I don't care about clothes, hate gossip, and aside from my Johnny Depp obsession, didn't really enjoy talking about boys for hours on end (I mean what 14 year-old boy can compare with Johnny Depp??) But for some reason I managed to gain a lot of friends while in Frankfurt. I finally started dating, fell in love, had the freedom to travel on public transportation anywhere I wanted. I joined the Frankfurt Galaxy band which introduced me to the wonders of American football.
The height of irony was that I made two best friends named Kelly and... Kelly (who thankfully wanted to be called Kaye) while in Frankfurt. No jealousy, no drama... and our friendship of 3 has lasted for over 20 years now. Our best times were spent at Rebstockbad, a swim park in Frankfurt. That picture is at the bottom.

So... thanks for the memories Frankfurt. Almost all the military bases are now closed. Our old hang-outs have been razed to the ground to make room for parking lots. Frankfurt American High School is now a German school. But I will never forget the freedom and love I found there. I've run into complete strangers who were wearing letter jackets from Germany, and we became instant friends. There was something about living there that just made you happy.

I'll never forget you, Germany. And we all miss you!

Note: I don't own any of these pictures (thank you, google). Some are courtesy of Others are owned by travel sites in English and German.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You'd think this one would be easy...

Today I have to find a picture of something I hate. You can see why I held off from doing this for Valentine's Day yesterday (By the way, I got the most awesome Valentine's Day gift ever- a professional knife sharpening station, which is almost as cool as ninja stars and a DIY sodium thiopental chemistry set).

Back to today: I had a hard time narrowing this one down. My list is extensive. Things I hate include (but are not limited to):
bad drivers
willful ignorance
any animal with more than four legs
spiders (they deserve their own category of evil)
the Fox television network for canceling Firefly (among other things)
people not doing their fair share of work
peoples who cant rite english 2 good
people who complain about all the things they hate... ;-)

I thought that natto deserved the picture of the day. I hate natto. Natto (pronounced naht-toe) is Japanese fermented soy beans with the consistency of sick snot and the smell of rotting garbage. It comes in convenient easy-open snack packs with hot mustard and soy sauce. I suppose putting spicy mustard and shoyu sauce on the foul stuff is meant to help your poor olfactory cavity drown out the assault on your taste buds, but the slick goo going down your throat will guarantee that successful consumption won't last long.

Japanese assume that foreigners can't do anything "Japanese" well. Just go to Japan and use chopsticks correctly, perhaps say "thank you" halfway decently, and you will almost certainly get a standing ovation. Try natto? You're an instant celebrity.

This happened to me in the church dorm I lived in. One of the women was eating natto and asked if I wanted to try some. Not one to back down from a challenge, I told her I was willing. I took a bite. It wasn't bad. Of course, I had no idea it was choked in mustard and shoyu. I even went to the grocery store and bought a 3-pack (mostly to eat it in the communal kitchen and show everyone that, yes, an American CAN eat and even enjoy Japanese food, even disgusting ones). There were serious flaws in my logic.

So I opened the first pack of natto one morning. I added the condiments and took a bite. Ugh. I smiled bravely, choked down most of it, and discretely threw the rest away when no one was looking.

Two mornings later I was ready to have another go. This time even the smell of the stuff made me retch. Into the trash it went. I gave the last pack to the woman who first introduced me to it.

The Japanese claim that natto keeps you looking young, kind of like Botox for your intestines. You want to skip the natto and stick to regular exercise and chemical injections. Trust me on this.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How do you take a picture of your brain?

Today is a picture of my most treasured item. And my most treasured items are my memories. If a fire were to race through the house I wouldn't grab my passport or purse, I'd head straight for my scrapbooks and photo albums. I only wish I could take all of the pictures stored in my brain and transfer them into an album at will (any inventors out there up for the challenge?).
So this was the best picture I could come up with. This scrapbook was done for my mom for Mother's Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Person Who's Gotten Me Through the Most

I had trouble with today's challenge with the whole quality versus quantity debate again... Who has truly gotten me through the most?

There's Kelly Boettcher who got me through my entire high school career and a horrible break-up.
There's Karen who got me through my latter half of college and was by my side while I had cellulitis.
And then there's Mariko who got me through a year of loneliness and culture shock while we were living in Japan.

Today I decided that the quality of the moments should outweigh the quantity. And natural childbirth just tops everything. So here's a tribute to John, who still complains how I bit him repeatedly while I was in labor, and all he has had to put up with...

Thanks, John AKA Daddy. You're the best.

Let's Pretend to Be Polygamists and See How Open-Minded This Restaurant Really Is

A picture of my night...
Last night was the Friday before Valentine's Day. With my folks in town to watch the kids, John and I decided to go out. Our talk about what to do for Valentine's Day went something like this:
Me: So... what should we do for Valentine's Day?
John: [on his computer] I don't know...
Me: We could go out...
John: OK...
Me: Or... we could go hang out with friends.
John: [looks up] We don't get to see our friends very often...

So it was decided. We made reservations for a romantic restaurant and then invited our good friend Laurie, who is usually babysitting our kids while we go out to romantic restaurants without her. Laurie is like a member of the family. She has lived with us two summers in a row and has watched the kids grow up.

As we walk through the door of The Melting Pot, I whisper to John "Put your arm around both of us." We sit down, and this other traditional couple ("traditional" meaning a man and a woman... how mundane...) looks a little nervous, which means I have to ask them to take our picture with the honest apology of "We don't get out much..."

And here we are:
Don't we sister wives look happy? I particularly like the s***-eating grin on John's face. Truthfully, I totally get where the fundamentalist Morons are coming from on this one. More wives means more help with cooking, more camaraderie, and less frustration. Of course I can say that because I don't have to share my husband...

Did I mention we were able to order the "couples' dinner" even though there were 3 of us? Maybe they were afraid of a religious discrimination law suit. I think we should get our own reality show, which would be spectacular because then we wouldn't have to worry about things like retirement, working, funding 529 college plans... We're like the Kardashians with less silicone...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't let the Masters degree from Georgetown fool you...

I had a hard time with today's challenge "The person who've done the most messed up things with." First, I have the Kellys, whom I've been friends with for over 20 years now, and we've done some crazy things together in Germany... co-ed slumber parties, dodging drunks during our Frankfurt Galaxy months...

Then there's my college room-mate Karen who was with me through the evening of the special brownies and the infamous "9 shots of tequila" night when we ran into a cop and went into the steam tunnels under UVA... And Lisa... man. You don't even want to know the crazy things I've done with her (good thing I have no pictures).

And then there's Mariko... The picture is of me posing with her on the night she graduated with a Masters of Science in Foreign Service (Translation: she is a glorified humanitarian, and I mean that in a "I'm so jealous she gets to travel and help people" way).

Aside from walking into S & M clubs in our spare time, we have hunted for imported red wine at local 7-11s in Japan late at night. We've gone to the Tokyo fish market and eaten raw fish for breakfast. We've ridden the Ferris Wheel at Odaiba, which apparently is mostly ridden by overly affectionate couples (we were the only couple NOT making out). We decided to start singing "That's Amore!" at the top of our lungs, mostly to annoy the other riders, but also to distract ourselves from having to watch couples, um.... making out. We've played drunken Scrabble at our local ramen shop while oogling the Japanese Keanu Reeves look-alike who wore those tall, white rubber boots. Ah... the boots.

We also walked around the city of Kyoto in the dreadfully humid month of August for not one, not two, but three straight hours looking for what amounts to a bar. A bloody bar in a city, for goodness sake (OK, it was an izakaiya, which is a very COOL bar where you scream for the waiter to come for more drinks and food but I digress). And of course Mariko has to bring along these crazy pictures of her trip to Thailand, which were rocks in the form of intimate body parts and splash them all over the table like cheap perfume in front of my new boyfriend.... Our idea for the DIY Pap Smear never panned out (but if you ever see that in a drugstore, it was totally our idea... OK, mostly Mariko's idea, but I think I should get some percentage of royalties for having to put up with hearing about it). And the boyfriend didn't pan out either, but after the dirty rock pictures combined with the DIY idea, you would run for the hills too...

And then there were the Kit Kat innuendos that I saved Mariko from in Hamamatsu...

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: while the quality of messed up things might be higher with others, Mariko tops the list for quantity. I mean, if the craziness of the Tokyo and Kyoto trips alone weren't enough, I don't know what is...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

John always gets to take a nap...

Today's challenge is a picture that makes you laugh. I have several with Rachel and Eric that I love, but this one actually made me laugh when I was looking through my photos. It really requires no explanation, but I remember taking the shot because Rachel and John look so similar: the dark hair, the beautiful round face that looks so peaceful in sleep... and neither one has any trouble napping.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Something that I Love

I can't believe I'm on day 5 and am still keeping this craziness up. I guess I just needed a list to complete. That's me- the adult, non-Muppet version of detail-oriented Prairie Dawn (who also likes pet snakes).
Today's picture is of something I love. I mentioned my addiction to roller coasters in a previous post. This picture was taken at Kings Dominion which has several amazing thrill rides. My sister took this picture and sent it to me during one of the summers when I was pregnant and separated from my beloved roller coasters. I have loved riding thrill rides since I was 7 or 8, pushing myself on my toes to make myself as tall as possible in order to reach the coveted "Tall enough to ride" marker at the entrance ramps. Thinking about why I love roller coasters (I know I'm not your typical adrenaline junkie), but I believe the reason is that my mind is always in motion- worrying about tomorrow, nostalgic for yesterday, fretting over the perfection of completing a huge number of daily tasks. The only time I am ever living completely in the moment, worry-free and happy, is on a roller coaster.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Something I'd Like to Do Again... Day 4

Today's theme is something I would like to do again. Mariko (my crazy friend from Japan) and I are posing in front of the National Cathedral. This was two years ago in July. Our friend Ky, whom we also met while in Japan, was visiting. My folks came up for the weekend to help John with Eric, and I went to M's apartment near Georgetown to stay with Mariko, Ky, and friends for the whole weekend! Without kids! Just hanging out for the entire weekend. It was wonderful. I think I stayed up until 4am talking to everyone. It was like being back in college, only without the hangovers and term papers. Unbeknownst to me I was about 3 weeks pregnant with Rachel.

This was one of the few pictures I took that weekend, but every time I see it I am reminded of how free I felt. I would love to do something like that again. It's hard enough to get some time to yourself with one child; it's darn near impossible with two. But I hope one day when the kids get older to visit friends and maybe even travel again.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Favorite T.V. Show- Day 3

Today's challenge is a picture of the cast of your favorite show. The picture is from the first season of Human Target, which used to be like watching an hour long James Bond movie on network television. Key words here are "used to be." [sigh] The second season has just gone so far from the initial vision that it's lost a ton of fans. Though the ratings have done well in the last two weeks, it's still almost certain to be canceled. Here's hoping it gets renewed and hopefully gets back to the original storylines though...

Jen, the eternal optimist.

(Photo courtesy of

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Person I've Been Closest to the Longest- Day 2

Today is supposed to be a picture of the person who you've been closest with the longest. But since my mutant power is to destroy computer hardware (2 hard drives, one motherboard, and 3 separate machines in less than 3 years... what can I say, it's a gift), I have no pictures from 3 years ago on my computer. So this picture will have to do...
The baby is Eric, not me. But since my parents have been in my life the longest (and this is the only shot I have of them on my computer), I figured it would work. I was close to my mother before birth, so I figured it had to count for something. :-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

The 100 Day Challenge- Day 1: "15 Facts"

My friend Laurie put me up to this. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Actually, my life is quite boring and don't have a lot to write about. Eric is still potty-trained during the day, and I'm not even ready to consider tackling the night-time battle yet. At any given time at least someone in this family is ill and has been since Thanksgiving. So unless anyone wants to read about poop or snot, I think I need to change tactics. :-)

The 100 day challenge is like this- every day has a theme and each theme is accompanied by a picture. [sigh] I know... I won't be able to keep this up. Can't hurt to try though.

Today's theme is a picture of myself with 15 facts. How mundane. Let me see if I can make this interesting...

1- I am the type of person people either love or hate because I'm brutally honest and tend to offend people easily. Just ask my ex-boyfriends' mothers. :-) Or my ex-boyfriends for that matter. OK, honestly? Anyone who knows me can vouch. See that picture up there? I pushed kids out of my way so I could ride the cool dragon instead of the lame horses (OK, maybe not pushed per se, but definitely wouldn't let the little buggers cut in front of me while waiting in line).

2- I am a roller coaster junkie. The higher and faster the better.

3- I have a mild form of OCD. My newest obsession? A show called Human Target that airs on Fox. Actually, the show sucks this season, but I love the character called Guerrero mostly because he's unapologetic, pragmatic, wonderfully sarcastic, and does things like casually electrocuting someone to make a point. Since the show probably won't get renewed for a third season, I wonder what new obsession I will find once it's done.

4- I have loved American football since I joined the pep band for the Frankfurt Galaxy in 1991- the first year of the "World Football League" later called the "NFL-Europe" which has now defunct.

5- I don't believe in soul mates. I think everyone can control who they fall in love with, it's simply a question of following your head over your heart and of will-power. If I had to be completely honest though, I think I've felt this way since finding and losing my "soul-mate" at a tender age (don't feel bad for me guys; he was a total dick).

6- My spiritual history is quite... unique. I was raised in a Baptist church, but studied Islam in college. In 1998 I went through RCIA and became a Roman Catholic. Two years later I joined an African-American evangelical church and became a "born-again" Christian.

7-I think I am the only born-again Christian in America who is also a strong democrat.

8- In the autumn of 2003 I moved to Japan to be a missionary. I sucked at it. I feel strongly about sharing God's love with people, but could never find it in myself to actively persuade them to adopt my beliefs. I came back to the States a year later, but met the best friend of my life while I was living in Hamamatsu. I even proposed to her. She didn't accept though. Thankfully, I follow #5 so it didn't hurt our friendship. Much. ;->

9- I met my husband while I was dating his best friend in college. Even though I thought John was hot, I also came to the conclusion that he was too immature to date... that is, until we reconnected after my return from Japan in 2004.

10-The happiest time of my life was when I was living in Frankfurt, Germany in 1991. If you think reading that was depressing, try writing it! :-)

11-My favorite pet is a pet snake. I've had 2 pet snakes since college and think they are low maintenance and cute.

12- My favorite place in the world is Tokyo, Japan with the exception of Roppongi after dark. My best friend from factoid #8 and I ended up accidentally walking into an S & M club while looking for food because my crazy, vegetarian best friend didn't want to eat Japanese food during the entire trip (??!!). Seeing a salary man collared and being led on a chain is permanently etched into my memory. Makes for a good story though.

13-I almost lost my left foot through amputation when I had cellulitis as a 22 year-old in college. I still have the purple scar tissue in my ankle. I've had similar infections three more times since then, though none quite as serious.

14-I have suffered from trichotillomania since I was about fourteen.

15-I sometimes have fantasies of getting in my car and just driving away from my crazy life for a few weeks, having no responsibilities and feeling free. I am such an Aquarius. :-)
Unfortunately, John would know exactly where to find me. :-)

Now you know more about me. And I feel like I've just emotionally flashed a multitude of strangers. Putting so much personal information on such a public forum? Guerrero would be displeased... ;-)