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What do I know about me?

Have you heard the PSAs Planned Parenthood runs on the radio?

You hear a lot of different women's voices asking, "What do I know about me?"

"I know I'm ready." "I know I'm not ready." "I know I have choices." "I know my body." "I know I probably shouldn't be hittin' it doggie-style with that chancre-sporting Merchant Marine."

Okay, I made that one up.

The only thing I write about here is infertility. That's not because it's all I think about. I do have other interests — I simply discuss them elsewhere. I've tried to keep this journal focused, since it's my only real outlet for the powerful feelings (and lame-ass creative impulses) my infertility has inspired.

Yet it's precisely this focus that gives a skewed picture of who I truly am. I'm infertile, yes, but the whole of Julie is greater than the sum of her crappy malfunctioning parts. So for just one entry, I want to tell you a little bit more about the rest of me, if only to prove that I can go five minutes without the barest mention of my vagina.

100 Things About Julie

  1. My name is Julie.
  2. You knew that already, but you probably didn't know this: it's pronounced in the French manner.
  3. I am well aware that that sounds pretentious. What can I say? I blame my parents.
  4. Try it: /zhoo-LEE/
  5. In my full name, there are two Xs.
  6. One of them is silent.
  7. I really hit the jackpot in the X department.
  8. Not so much in the "names strangers can pronounce" department.
  9. I only correct people when they matter.
  10. I kept my last name when I got married.
  11. I didn't want to lose a precious X.
  12. Plus, I'd spent many long years making my signature attractive and illegible.
  13. I didn't want to relearn it.
  14. I've only been married for fourteen months.
  15. I only got married, in fact, to shut people up.
  16. ...Okay, and because we're lazy and didn't feel like drawing up complicated legal papers when it looked like pregnancy was looming.
  17. There are worse reasons.
  18. We got married by a drunk Justice of the Peace in our living room.
  19. No one was invited.
  20. I have some lingering regret about not cashing in on the chance to be given expensive linens.
  21. ...But none about keeping it private and low-key.
  22. I wore jeans and Polarfleece.
  23. We shared cheeseburgers and shakes as our nuptial feast.
  24. I adore a good cheeseburger.
  25. I am an enthusiastic carnivore.
  26. However, I do not eat weird meat (organs, tongue, head cheese, and the like).
  27. I lost ten pounds on the Atkins diet but it bored the piss out of me.
  28. I felt faintly stupid eating big slabs of pork but limiting my consumption of salad greens.
  29. So I stopped.
  30. ...And accepted pasta once again as my personal savior.
  31. Carbohydrates and dairy fats are the twin pillars of the only religion I currently follow.
  32. I was raised Episcopalian.
  33. It's not a bad religion if you like to drink and get divorced.
  34. Mormonism is.
  35. My brother is a Mormon.
  36. I don't have the nerve to ask him if he's serious about it.
  37. Once when I was walking along minding my own business, I suddenly found myself surrounded by five Mormon missionaries riding bicycles.
  38. That's some fucked-up shit right there.
  39. I am not very respectful sometimes.
  40. In fact, I have a well-documented problem with authority.
  41. I've never been fired for being so damned mouthy, but I've probably come close.
  42. Although I can be exquisitely diplomatic, it's hard for me to act like I think bad ideas are good ones.
  43. Impossible for me to work well with people I think are stupid.
  44. It's really best that I work mostly on my own.
  45. I do have a job, believe it or not.
  46. I enjoy it, largely because I can do it without pants.
  47. I work at home.
  48. In college I worked at home, too, as a phone sex operator.
  49. I usually wore pants, but I'd lie when the callers asked what I was wearing.
  50. Nobody gets off on baggy gray sweatpants.
  51. Let's just say my love for swearing came in handy.
  52. I was, ah, a little immoderate in college.
  53. I had a lot of sex, took a lot of drugs, and nearly flunked out.
  54. Best goddamn years of my life.
  55. Um, that was a lie.
  56. I finally changed my major to English — the path of least resistance — and graduated, surprising everyone, including me.
  57. This was in 1993, when the Internet as we know it was just a baby.
  58. Straight out of college I got a job tending that baby.
  59. Since then I've never worked in any other field.
  60. (I did not get rich in the dot-com boom, but I was also never laid off, so I pretty much broke even.)
  61. I'm not qualified for anything else.
  62. ...Unless advanced housewifery is now a paying gig.
  63. I bake. A lot.
  64. I garden.
  65. I throw a damn fine dinner party. I have even mastered the delicate art of not getting any drunker than my guests.
  66. I make things, mostly quilts, mostly for other people.
  67. Very often for other people's children.
  68. Like my nephews.
  69. Domestic goddamn goddess.
  70. Paul, who could happily live in a single room furnished with milk crates and concrete-block-and-plank bookcases, appreciates me for other reasons.
  71. I met him online.
  72. Hated him at first, but quickly changed my mind.
  73. He is much smarter than I am, but never makes me feel stupid.
  74. Frivolous, yes. Stupid, no.
  75. We moved in together in Manhattan in 1996.
  76. He was mostly concerned that he wouldn't like the cats.
  77. There were three of them then.
  78. We still had all three when we moved away from the city.
  79. But then there were two.
  80. Now there is one.
  81. Too bad he's not the good one.
  82. I'm a little embarrassed by how much I loved that cat.
  83. Sometimes I had a funny way of showing it.
  84. I don't always have good judgment.
  85. But I will do almost anything for a laugh.
  86. ...Including abasing myself before strangers.
  87. I was on a game show twice.
  88. First time was as part of their teen tournament; second was the tenth reunion tournament.
  89. I lost both times.
  90. But both times the guy who beat me went on to win the whole thing. I could have been a contender, if I hadn't, you know, sucked.
  91. I doubt they'll ask me back again; I embarrass myself on camera.
  92. The first time I talked about roller disco.
  93. The second time I said I'd met a few guys as the result of my earlier appearance, but implied that one of them was gay.
  94. When the guy in question sent me e-mail after seeing this, I deleted it without reading it.
  95. My hairdo has improved, but I'm still the same old jackass.
  96. The woman who cuts my hair now is a middle-aged Italian who refers to my hair in the plural. "Oh, they long today!"
  97. Yes, they is, relatively speaking.
  98. But short overall, as they has been for most of my life.
  99. I've needed glasses since I was 18 months old.
  100. And been cranky since a very early age.