Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You May Be Surprised to Know . . .

o . . . that I worked in a bakery for six months after grad school . . . but I’m actually not a very good baker. Most of my "from scratch" baked goods come out a little dry, a little hard. I tell myself I need more practice, but in truth I just don’t have the touch. It’s ok. I do not suffer from Duncan Hines boxed brownie shame.
o . . . that the reason I went to grad school was because of a boyfriend. A bad boyfriend. He was from England, and after our third disastrous year of dating (in America) he was readying to return to England. He demanded that I make arrangements to join him there, to prove I was serious about him. I was serious about ESCAPING him, and counting the hours until he flew off home and left me so I could break up with him through the safety of the telephone – but I needed him off my back about what was happening next. So I applied to a graduate school that I’d attended for a month-long program as an undergraduate, simply to show him – hey look, I applied, I’ll go here and you can move down to be with me, now leave me be. I had no intention of going. And then – I got in. And I got a scholarship. And it looked really cool. So he flew home to England, I broke up with him over the phone immediately and never spoke to him again. Four months later I flew over to England to start my program, and I lived there for a year, and although I spent the first several weeks looking over my shoulder, well, as it turns out a country with 50 million people was large enough that we never ran into one another.
o . . . that I save all of our National Geographic magazines. I can’t bear to throw away those beautiful pictures. I keep them in a stack on the lower shelf of a couch end table. So my husband sneaks them out little by little into the recycle bin, in small enough batches that I don’t usually notice. Except, the odd time when I DO notice and sneak them back in. It’s the little compromises that make a marriage work.
o . . . that I had a totally secret blog that I kept during the first 10 weeks of my pregnancy, when we weren’t telling anyone about it yet, and I just re-read it the other day and boy is it all – Puke this, and Vomit that, and ya’ll should be glad that it remains secret. Which it will. Because it was just for me.
o . . . that I used to collect frogs when I was in middle school. We had this teacher, a Life Science teacher, a really dynamic guy who we all really enjoyed a lot. He had a sort of froggy face, and a tendency to hop up onto desks around the room and sit, eyeballing us like a frog would a pack of flies. His name was Mr. Oxley, and one day an artist friend of mine drew a picture of a frog in a tie and gave it the Latin name Oxlius amphibius Les (her last name was Lestyan, and whoever discovers the species gets to put part of their name in the Latin name, and anyway boy were we geeks, huh?) That began an avalanche of froggy note-passing, which turned into buying one another little stuffed frogs and frog junk as a joke during holidays, which turned into everyone in my life purchasing frogs for my collection until I was absolutely overrun with the things. This frog fiasco lasted through three cross-country moves to totally new groups of friends who found out about it and kept it up. In college, I put the kibosh on the frog-buying, and over time I have given away, broken, and otherwise disposed of a large number of my collection. But if you come to my house, you will notice that each potted plant has at least one little frog figurine in it. I have frog salt and pepper shakers on the top of the oven. A frog windchime tinkles on our back porch, and I have no less than THREE frog waterfall garden accessories that my husband has currently banished to the shed, until I can convince him that a frog waterfall is no less tacky and thereby kitschy and cool than, say, the garden gnome we have reclining in our backyard, or the brown faux-wooden angel tooting a trumpet on our front porch (both gifts, both ridiculous, both set out to serve the purpose of keeping us from taking our decorating scheme too seriously.) Please, people who know me IRL – do not use this as an opportunity to revive the frog-buying. I’m all good with frogs. Me and frogs – we’re set.
o . . . that as I type this, my elbow is resting on a tiny Gund stuffed animal to keep it from aching. And that animal. Is. A frog.
o . . . and wow, just looking around I see that I have about seven frog items in my office, too. Whoa dude. I didn’t realize how pervasive they still were.
o . . . that I have TWO Lord of the Rings calendars in my office as well. And also a pyramid shaped snow globe thing from the Luxor hotel, with a sphinx in it and gold flakes for the snow. And the two postcards from the two professional acting jobs I had where I was the picture on the postcard. And I’m very disappointed that nobody ever asks me about them anymore.
o . . . that this I Wonder is about long enough, don’t you think?

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