1. My mom's family is 100% Italian and we are all happily a little obsessed with that; the other day my mom sent me the translation of my great great grandmother's notorized dowry from 1894.
2. My dad's family has been here for 16 generations - we fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War, I am somehow related to Daniel Boone, and my great grandfather was an egg inspector.
3. I spent my first birthday in the hospital because I was diagnosed with leukemia while we were on vacation. When we got back, my regular doctor said I was 100% ok. The second diagnosis happened on my patron saint's day, so my mother is convinced it was a miracle.
4. Most people know me as Liz, but if you are my parents, a younger relative, or if you met me at karaoke, or if you live in the vicinity of Philadelphia, you know me as Eby. That's because when I was all speaking in the third person back in '81, Elizabeth was too hard, so I named myself Eby and it stuck.
5. Apparently, also in 1981, I threw a complete temper tantrum one day and my mother, being my mother, said, "Elizabeth, why are you crying?" And I sat up and said, "Well, when you say no, it makes me sad. So I cry, to make you feel sad, too."
6. Despite all of that remarkable self-knowledge, I was a real brat as a kid. There are home videos that I would love to suppress. Also, my baby sister drove me crazy, and I used to swing her around by the diaper and call her "You bad bad baby!" And then once I was chasing her around the house with a ladle and she ran into a table and had to get stitches. I was a jerk. To be fair, my grandfather accidentally threw an axe into his brother's head when they were trying to knock something out of a tree, but a ladle is to the 1980's what an axe is to the 1930's, given the evolution of child protection laws.
7. I stealthily sucked my thumb until I was eight years old when I forced myself to go cold turkey. In the early years, I had a very involved system of thumb sucking involving numbers, hand positions, and my blanky. So I have been OCD since before I was literate.
8. I learned to read when I was 3 because my mom is a Montessori teacher and labeled everything in the house. I remember spelling "Wappingers Falls" (my hometown) correctly for my parents when I was about 3, and there was much rejoicing.
9. In kindergarten since I was the only kid who knew how to read, I had to be the narrator of our Thanksgiving play and the ringmistress of our graduation circus. I desperately wanted to be an Indian and a Unicorn, respectively, and it gave me a terrible case of preschool angst.
10. Despite the fact that I'm, y'know, BRILLIANT, I actually have a surprisingly low IQ. I don't know the actual number, but my third grade teacher didn't like me and told my mom that the kid in the class who was doing the worst actually had a higher IQ than mine, and the other kids were going to outstrip me any day. I graduated valedictorian of 8th grade as a big Fuck You to her.
11. I tend to tense and loosen my muscles in patterns. This is imperceptable to people around me, and sometimes I forget that I'm doing it, but I do it. Weird, huh? I may be a freak, but I am also very strong. The first time I can remember doing it was when I was three during a thunder storm to calm myself down. The first time I could remember being 100% tic free while I was wide awake was when I was on percaset. I don't tic when I'm lying in bed, but I also fall asleep within 15 seconds of laying down, so I kind of wonder if this is my body's way of staying awake.
12. I have a serious aversion to terrycloth. I am also terrified of mice - this is a *rational* fear, as my first winter in Boston they ate every single pair of my underwear. I hope I don't have to draw you a picture, here. My worst fear would be being chased by an army of mice through a tunnel lined in terrycloth. Someone call the makers of Saw.
13. I started reading poetry in 1992 to impress a boy. Little did I know that would eventually lead to a five year stint in the Dodge Poetry Program where I was eventually promoted to Poetry-in-the-Schools Coordinator. In all my time working there, there were only two poets who I felt like a blithering fangirl idiot around: Sharon Olds and Tony Hoagland.
14. I developed my current handwriting to intimidate a boy. I was ghostwriting a break-up letter to my friend's boyfriend, and I thought my stupid baby handwriting sucked, so I sharpened it up, and since then it's hardly changed at all. Years later I read a graphoanalysis book which posits that you can actually modify your personality this way, and in retrospect I actually believe that was true for me.
15. For awhile I was writing a ghostwriting blog - and I actually have resolved to write my first new entry in 10 months by the end of this week! Ok, now that I've said it I really have to do it. www.livejournal.com/users/
16. I have biked across Iowa four times. I don't plan to do the whole ride again because I value the ability to sit too much.
17. I have been to five proms in my life. I am close friends with nearly all of my significant exes. And in one year in my early twenties I dated a guy who was twice the age of another guy I dated.
18. At times in my life I have aspired to be a ballerina, a whale trainer, the owner of a daycare center, a river rafting guide, a magazine publisher, a poet and a yoga instructor. At the moment I hope to one day open a dance studio and finish my memoir.
19. I've done some art modeling, mainly for art students and recently for the Footlight Club brochure. All very tasteful, although my best friend from high school has some illegal pictures lying around of 16 year old me.
20. The things that I'm best known for right now are things I've only been doing for the past few years. Karaoke 2004, Nia 2006, Acting 2007. Outside of a high school walk-on role, the first play I was ever in was Sleeping Beauty or Coma in June 2007. Since then I've done eight plays in a row.
21. I don't read the paper. I used to get my news from Comedy Central, but we don't have cable anymore so I don't even do that. I get my news from blogs and from splashy Newsweek cover stories.
22. The first time I sang with a live band was in Mexico when I got pulled onstage by the lead singer. That was six years ago, and I'm still penpals with the guy. The last time I was in Mexico he gave us the grand tour.
23. I have lived in London, and traveled quite a few times to Europe. My family keeps an apartment in Northern Italy that my great-grandfather was born in. I have been as far north as Nova Scotia with my parents; as far south as the Yucatan, once with my sister and once with Phil; as far east as Prague to visit Matty; and as far west as CA/OR/WA, where I've been a bunch of times, most recently this winter to San Francisco to see my cousins and friends.
24. I have thrown a party once a month for almost my entire adult life. Also, since I graduated college, I have kept a list of people I'm friends with that I update frequently. It's invaluable in building my empire! At last count, there are 89 people in Jamaica Plain alone who I would consider my friends (as in, we may not be besties, but I know who you are and I'm at least happy to see you). I also take polaroids at every party, and my polaroids have become one of my most prized collections.
25. I am about to go home for supper club, which is a weekly potluck dinner institution that I absolutely love. There will be 10 people sitting around the table a couple of hours from now, and thinking of the menu is making me so hungry I can hardly see straight: chicken scallopini, baked ziti, kahlua mousse, parsnip and celery root puree, shrimp scampi, baked sweet potatoes and beets with goat cheese, a peanutty Thai dish, and copious amounts of wine. Afterwards, we will be moving the party to the Milky Way, where I've been a regular every karaoke Tuesday since Feb. 2006.