Shoulda Hit "Delete"

Woke up at 7:00 a.m.  It's been 56 hours with smoking,  I've been entertaining myself with listening to new CD's brought home from Lita's; not like I'd grade the hundreds of papers sitting in the living room with grades due Tuesday.  So far, Robert Cray's Shoulda Been Home is a winner, while I'll be passing Teddy Geiger and Nick Lachey to the first interested party.  Since Lita's CD organization requires advanced-level Concentration playing every few months, I was able to enjoy her Mott the Hoople CD quite by surprise when it turned up in a WEA sampler CD case from 2004.  I'm starting to get antsy, though.  David is a late sleeper, and I can't wake him with laundry stuff, plus the local laundromat is already packed by this time on a Sunday.  It'll have to wait until later, but at least I get to enjoy the soccer recaps in Spanish.  I imagine the ad for KMEX soccer announcers reads something like this in Spanish: "Seeking announcer for Sunday futbol.  Salary DOE, excellent benefits.  Will train.  Must be able to say 'Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal!!!!!' for minimum of thirty seconds."

Last night, I received an email from a family member for "5-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake."  (No, I am not reposting it.  I'm starting to think that having sent it to anyone last night qualifies as a hate crime).  In the world of forwarded emails, Diana tends to be a bit selective; I generally read what she sends.  I can't say the same for others (some whom I've never met and ended up on their spam lists anyway).  I've always wondered who starts these phantom emails, these heterogeneous collections of syrupy angel-butterfly-flower-puppy photos, because I'd like to sit down and pick their brains for a while.  They are made of some special sunshine that I am not and damn glad not to be, but I still think I'd like to hear their take on Anne Geddes' real contribution to the zeitgeist of global happiness.

Anyway, the email caught me in a weak place.  After 56 hours, here was single-serving, instant chocolately gratification showing up in my inbox, and smoking is ALL about instant gratification and pain avoidance.  In fact, researchers in Portugal have uncovered evidence that there are nicotine receptors on the tongue, information I can't even begin to explore in a single blog, although I will attest that there are foods I love when I smoke that revolt or overwhelm me when I don't.

You can't go around the Weight Watchers block as many times as I have without knowing where the cracks are in the sidewalks.  Still...after 2 1/2 days of not smoking...the sweet endorphin rush of cocoa, sugar, and fat...and ready in 3 minutes?  In the MICROWAVE?  IN ONE CUP?  (Do I need to make any further comment on the psychosis of addiction?  You see where this is going).   This became breakfast, along with whole milk I went out and bought on impulse last night.  It was good - no lie - as good as any cake mix.  It would have been even better if I hadn't omitted third TBSP of oil and the chocolate chips, which I covered by drizzling it with chocolate and caramel syrups. 

The fear of "Points" didn't stop me from making it, but I thought I'd plug in the standard recipe just to see.  23 Weight Watcher points.  23.  That equals 5.83 hours of walking at 3.5 mph.  Considering I get 26 points a day, I needed to stop all food consumption for today as of 9:30 a.m.  Having recently read Susan Shapiro's Lighting Up in which she discusses how her first attempt to quit smoking involved eating 20-25 Blow Pops a day (1000 calories),  you think I'd have known better.  It took Shapiro's psychiatrist pointing the calories out to her to make her stop blaming post-smoking weight gain on the nicotine.  

In retrospect, it was just cake...not the best I've ever had, but maybe after my next 5.83 hour walk, I might just come home and make another one WITH the chocolate chips.  In the meantime, I'm not seeing how eating stuff like this is going to improve my life in any way, so the recipe goes on the shelf.  For now, I'm following Dolly Cowen's advice to "Count it as a vegetable and move on."   I deleted the email, and perhaps the time it will take to Google it next time will give me pause.  For the next three months, if you see me heading for anything with sugar, kick me.  Hard.

(no subject)

I simply must mention how much I admire those of you who: 1. Can get Twitter to work, and 2. Make time for it.  I've noticed that I average one post a month since taking over Yearbook, my latest baptism of fire now that I can do a Domesday report like a big girl.  I couldn't let it all just get EASY for a while, right?  And now that I'm getting YB figured out, we have a fertility doc appt. Monday, because we have so much free time to raise a child.  For those of you who dread the spawn of others, I will do my best, should said child ever be born, to ensure that it is delightfully, amusingly precocious and not ask you to tolerate its foibles.  I would be just as happy with a pack of dogs at this point in my life, who will never mouth off to me, wreck my car, smoke pot, flunk Math, etc., but I will give this the college try for the sake of my husband, who would be a good and just father. 

Since I mentioned Domesday (the annual group financial report for you non-SCA'ers), I have to say that, between Darach, YB, and the pursuit of a house, 2008 was very much a year of crunching numbers.  Choosing English as a career, I believed, would shield me from dealing with numbers beyond doling them out to appropriate parties to keep body and soul together.   Upon first looking at the Regnum on the shire website, I distinctly recall seeing "Exchequer" and thinking, "There's a job I'll never do." (Snorts.  Guffaws to self.  Rolls eyes).  Actually, I don't mind it at all, now that I've been taught what goes where.  YB...had I but known it's a $100K budget, I would have fled in abject panic.  Nonetheless, we're about $24K down from breaking even with six months of selling time to go, and our rep shows no signs of panic. 

House hunting, budget balancing, crazy economy and so on have all had one common effect; that is, to engage my East Coast Dago Cheapness Gene.  We are saving for a house, or at least trying to save enough for  3% down on modest digs should they arise.  It took five months to talk me into buying UV coating on the senior pictures.  Our rep, Michelle,  noted her concern over my economical ways.  I protested, "Come on - your dad is Italian.  He's got to have at least one pair of pants with shiny knees."  Apparently, not only does he own slick-kneed trousers, but a shirt he refuses to jettison has eleven dime-sized holes and counting.   I love luxury too much to give up things like tonight's stay at a $200 B&B, or dinner at Novo, but I do have some really old clothes (my mom has promised she will burn my Green Express sweatshirt if I ever bring it to Pittsburgh again) and I bargain hunt like a tourist at an outlet mall.

Last night, this tendency manifested with spectral malevolence in my oven.   I've recently begun cooking for a number of reasons; namely, to create palatable dishes whose content I trust (peanut butter is off the menu) while managing to save money. Having been put on to Alton Brown by Lorenz, one episode I watched last week involved making a good chuck roast.  Imagine my joy in discovering that Ralph's had boneless chuck roast on ridiculous sale last week.   I've made decent pot roast before, knowing now that I was led into a fool's paradise of thinking it's a dish impossible to destroy.  Had I paid attention, I would have noticed that AB was using a bone-in blade roast, a much more rightly expensive cut than the disgusting little rawhide I bought.   I get that these things make a difference, just from learning to cook chicken with skin on and take it off later after years of eating boneless, skinless chicken breasts that tasted like garlicky shoe tongues.  But the gene kicked in, and the sale roast came home with me.

Conventional wisdom holds that good preparation and cooking can eventually render any roast into a fine meal, but this one probably needed a long, saucy bath in a crockpot.  I cooked it, and cooked it, and cooked it some more; four-and-a-half hours on low heat in a lovely tomato/red wine reduction with baby carrots and apple slices.   (The reality of a roast, I've learned, is minimal preparation and hours of long, hungry waiting).  What emerged was a golden brown, spicy-crusted football with delicious carrots, apples and sauce.  My husband knows from cuts of beef - his grandfather owned Stanley's Steakhouse on the Rincon - and his critcism of anything tends towards gentleness.  Still, his honest evaluation was, "It would have been delicious, but it's an awful piece of beef."   Sure, If I had left it in for, say, another three hours, it might have given up its collagen and tenderized, but we generally don't eat dinner at midnight.  I was confused enough watching Battlestar Galactica with him to pass out in confusion before 11:00 p.m., so we likely would have had 3:00 a.m. charcoal and a visit from VCFD.

Another lesson learned both in cooking and economy.  I've just had the last of the carrots and apples for breakfast.  This roast (what's left of it - we were starving and willing to chew and chew) will go into the trash on our way out to SLO.  The next roast I do like this will come from Whole Foods and will probably cost us our down payment, and the next cheapo roast will take a prolonged swim in the slow cooker.  Tonight's dinner at Novo will cost more than last week's groceries, be worth every penny, and I can't wait!

(no subject)

When I took over the Yearbook,  I harbored some delusion about spending six or seven months putting together a book, sending it in, and getting it back all bound and ready to go in a few weeks.  If I'd have known how big the numbers were that I'd be juggling, or that I'd have to take untrained staff from zero to production in under ten weeks, I'd have quietly accepted a class of afternoon frosh and called it good.  Sadly, this blog suffers for it, and all I ever have time for is the occasional meme.  I dig a good meme as much as the next meme lover, but I'm really hoping to get back to real writing soon.

(Non-sequitur: a special shot-out to Jon Stewart for reviving "jagoff" this week, the quintessential Pittsburgh cuss word.)

 1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? ------ Wrapping paper from family.  Unwrapping presents and extracting presents are not the same thing.

 2. Real tree or artificial? ----- Artificial and small.  We'll get real ones when we have a house, as it makes David very happy.

 3. When do you put up the tree?---- If and when we get around to it.  This year, we have not retrieved our baby tree from storage.  I may go out and get a tiny fresh tree, if I can find one.

 4. When do you take the tree down? --- Sometime in January.

 5. Do you like eggnog?----- I passionately hate it.  It's basically uncooked custard.  Ick.

 6. Favorite gift received as a child? --- I got this kit by which one could make eye pencils and lip pencils at home.  I made a couple of lumpy pencils and gave up, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, and it may have spawned my deep love of cosmetics.

 7. Hardest person to buy for? ----- My parents

 8. Easiest person to buy for? ------  David. If you can't find something for him at Think Geek or Fry's, he's truly lost his joie de vivre and should be medicated immediately.

 9. Do you have a nativity scene? ----- Two: one from Lenox, although incomplete, and a white from...Branson, MO!

 10. Mail or email Christmas cards? ------ I'm leaning towards a combo, but will probably mail this year.

 11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? ----- A black sweatshirt with a zebra done entirely in glitter, along with a white one with an embroidered plaid Christmas cat.  WTF?

 12. Favorite Christmas Movies? ------The Family Man and The Shop Around the Corner...not traditional, but nice Christmasy messages

 13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? ----- Varies by year.  I've been done by Halloween some years, and just getting stated Dec 23rd during others.

 14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? ------ Yes. I've also tossed them out.   I have finally convinced my mom to stop spending her fixed income on shipping me clothing that I will never wear.  Those pieces I tended to keep around for a couple of years, thinking I could work out the guilt with closet time.

 15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? ------ Mom's stuffed squid when I'm in PA.  My grandmother used to make these massive ravioli at Christmas time.  Four to six ravioli constituted an entire meal for most adults.  Grandma's ravioli spurred competitions among the cousins, and my brother's record was twenty-four.  I thought we were going to have to hospitalize him.

 16. Favorite Lights on the tree? ------- Retro-looking ones with the flowery plastic rings

 17. Favorite Christmas song? ------ I tend to like religious ones, particularly "O, Come, O Come Emmanuel" in Latin, and traditional late 19th/early 20th century music.  

***Of late, I have noticed a tendency for renditions of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" to state "Please have snow and mistletoe, and presents on the tree for me."  On the tree?   Can somebody please inform me if you put presents ON the tree? 

 18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? ------- Travel to Pittsburgh when I can.  If you've never been in NYC at Christmas, I demand you get on a plane and go right NOW.

 19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?-----If I sing the song

 20. Angel on the tree top or a star? --- I like both.   I've been looking for a truly breathtaking treetop angel for  a long time.  

 21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? --- Right now it's morning.  Once I have a house, it will be Christmas Eve, which was Grandma's ravioli night.  Still, I must watch Midnight Mass from the Vatican.  It's the one thing that keeps me from attending Midnight Mass. 

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? --- The secularization of the holiday, the crowds, and really bad Christmas music.  Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra are clearly on the Muzak in Hell all year long.

 23. Favorite ornament theme or color?-- Don't currently have one.  I'm still nostalgic about my mom's tree.  I do like the red wooden apples I have. 

 24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? --- Italian: Feast of the Seven Fishes 

 25. What do you want for Christmas this year? --- Fragrances!  L'Instant de Guerlain, Prada, Chanel Chance, and the list goes on. 

100 Things

Bold the things you have done;
italics what you'd like to do;
strike out what you will never do:

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland / Disneyworld
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables (tried)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked (hope not)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (ahem)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (kinda)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible - probably
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (fingers crossed)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (Well, dipped toes. It smells like eggs)
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant


(no subject)

Borrowed from Cavalaxis a meme I shall post later. I am grateful to be home, having passed a rough Saturday night in GWW Headquarters, in front of the flame-thrower-of-life. You'll have to ask for details if you like gore. In brief, I think it involves my gallbladder and my attempts to abuse it, and how my uggs will never be the same.

So, to the meme.

Post 10 things that are going right in your life right now, it doesn't matter how small. You're happy with your cup of coffee. You saw a flock of geese flying over. ANYTHING. Things that make you happy. Things that make you smile. No pressure. It's small and it's simplistic, but maybe for the time you are compiling your list, you'll forget about the bad going on and focus on something good.

1. I got to spend another war, albeit short, with my loving and lovable Darach family, each their own majesties.

2. We encountered the most beautiful rose-peach sunset sweeping across the hills of Simi all the way down the 118, trees and Italian cypresses silhouetted in black. Then we turned the bend to the 23 and saw tonight's first star against a smoky violet sky with a brilliant full moon.

3. Tonight I get to be grateful for the changed relationship between my father and myself as a married woman. I was able to pop over to his place for a few minutes to help him get his free credit reports and be home in less than an hour. Even if I go to Oxnard, he's coming with us, or we'll stay here with him.

4. I am, in a strange way, grateful for this unification effort...even if it passes. It's tested my faith and I feel stronger for it. I'm willing to accept new chapters in my life now, including moving to Oxnard in the heart of Darach, and maybe going back for a new degree.

5. I love autumn, and relish winter. I await November rain, Christmas lights, and coooooooooooooooold. I love going walking outside when I can see my breath.

6. I am learning that my husband knows how to handle me, and I love than he can.

7. My epiphany #1 over the weekend: I am forbidden to say to myself, "I would like to do..." I either plan it then, or push it behind another action item.

8. My husband's giggle during South Park, and his desire to narrate it from the other room.

9. I bought new knitting needles and yarn, and it's going to cool down in the next two weeks.

10. All of my plates (figurative) are spinning nicely on their poles.

Got a nudge...

Yeah, yeah, I know. I've actually been writing in my secret journal.

I have about 10 minutes of energy left, and I'm kinda buzzed, to tell the truth. Here's a meme so everyone will know I'm still alive:

Ten Things I Wish I Could Say to Ten Different People Right Now:
1) Why are you f-ing people doing this to your community?
2) Why is my responsibility to pay for other people's mistakes? (700 BILLION)
3) Thanks for the wine! (drinking a 2001 Syrah given by a friend)
4) Why won't you people stand up and do something!
5) Get me out of here.
6) We're moving to Vermont.
7) Come down off your high horse and join the little people.
8) Your child is going to be a serial killer. (Right on, sista)
9) OPEN YOUR F*****G EYES!!!
10) Wake me on November 5th (after I vote on the 4th). If McCain is president, put me back to sleep. If McCain is president and unification passed, rent me a U-Haul and point me towards Canada.

Nine Things About Myself:
1) When someone isn't eco-conscious, I'd like to slap them senseless.
2) I generally assume others are happy with their own lives, with or without me.
3) I prefer facts to emotion.
4) I would volunteer as a ghost hunter if I didn't fear inhuman hauntings.
5) I want to live somewhere smaller with a greater sense of community.
6) I'm not sure if I want kids, and time is running out.
7) I miss my mom in Pennsylvania every single day.
8) I want a dog so, so, so, badly.
9) I would give anything to be able to afford to work for a nonprofit.

Eight Ways to Win My Heart: (Robey already won mine, so this is for everyone else. He just said, "You're typing, and I can see the tiger in your eyes.")
1) Be a straight shooter
2) Be as concerned about the world around you.
3) Don’t assume I don't know what I'm doing b/c I lay low.
4) Trust me to help you when you need it.
5) Love dogs and/or wine.
6) Temper life with humor.
7) Have some sense of the divine
8) Finish #8 for me

Seven Things That Cross My Mind a Lot:
1) What will become of my children if I have them?
2) I need to do this and this and this and this and.....
3) Am I missing something?
4) I was born too late.
5) There's a manifesto in me somewhere (good, not evil)
6) When will I have a dog?
7) Somewhere, there's a cotehardie that needs me in it.

Six Things I Do Before I Fall Asleep:
1) Usually, take Ambien or Tylenol PM
2) Fret with household stuff
3) Set multiple alarm clocks
4) Baffle David with my incoherent end-of-day thoughts
5) Watch mindless cartoons
6) Leave glasses on, so David has to take them off.

Five People Who Mean a Lot:
1) David
2) Dad here
3) Mom and Dad back East
4) Linda, Lita, Kim (my trinity)
5) All the other people who may not know they're an integral part of my life

Four Things I'm Wearing Right Now:
1) Robe
2) Undergarments
3) A hat (always)
4) Exhaustion

Three Songs I Listen to a Lot:
(according to my iTunes Play Count)
1) "Give It To Me" by Madonna (Paul Oakenfold remix): the 2009 Yearbook Anthem
2) "A Little More" by Skillet
3) "I Take You With Me" by Melissa Etheridge

Two Things I Want to Do Before I Die:
1) See the aurora borealis (ROAD TRIP, TRISH!!!)
2) Go to Abruzzi, Italy

One Confession:
1) I don't have all the answers.


Time flies! Tomorrow, David and I celebrate one year of marriage tomorrow (how many "Get Out Of Being Labeled A Newlywed" passes does this buy me?), and it seems like the year just evaporated. We still haven't picked out wedding pics and it's our first anniversary. just grilled, a task at which neither of us particularly excel. I like to assuage my ego in this regard by telling myself that it's a sign of greater evolution; we've reached an apex where the ability to cook over fire has been bred out of our DNA. There's a serviceable plate of burgers on the table, but they don't taste exactly as I want them to taste. He's currently updating his online aquarium and feeding his virtual fish, while continously ignoring my requests to add a clownfish to the tank. We are dorks. It works. We are happy.

We leave for a cruise in the morning (my fingers were on the wrong row of the keyboard just a second ago; misplace your hands and try to type the word "cruise" several times in a row. I don't get out enough. Once, trapped in traffic, my friend and I made 147 words from "Chevrolet." But I digress.) San Diego, Catalina, Ensenada and back. We've opted to stay on the ship in San Diego and chill out, because we can always crash at my uncle's place in Oceanside later in the summer and hit some spots we've wanted to get to (Stone Brewery, Wild Animal Park, etc). Both of us love Catalina, so we'll wander around. We decided on the wine tour in Ensenada, because everything I've read says the city itself is mostly like TJ without the possibility of a hasty escape to the border. I can't believe we're actually going, because I always convince myself that only other people do things like this, I sit on my money like a hen on an egg, and never end up taking more than two or three days' vacation to the same places along the Central Coast.

We're still house hunting, and an article in the VC Star pissed me off so badly today that I wrote my first ever comment in the paper:

A blanket statement to homeowners, particularly those who bought during the bubble - I'm sorry. I can't imagine how much it sucks to have bought a house at the top of the market and watch it lose half its value. I'm watching two friends of mine losing houses right now. At least for one, it was only a second property, but for the other, it's a primary residence. However, the absurdity of the last few years has to correct itself. The LA Times printed a couple of great letters today that mirror my sentiments; how on Earth did ANYONE who makes $26K a year and signed off on a $500K loan NOT know they wouldn't be able to afford the payments, ARM or not? I can't support the idea that everyone involved in this is a victim of the loan industry. You don't have to be a lawyer to get it - you just have to be able to count. I was offered a $600K loan by Countrywide in 2006, ARM or neg-am or interest only - anything but fixed, and a friend assured me, "California real estate will NEVER go down!" Ummm, yeeeeah. I'm with Horatio on this one: "If your mind dislike any thing, obey it." Natural Law apparently applies to economics as well as the asassination of Danish royalty.

We have an offer in on one house for which the agent did call mine to confirm receipt. We figure that since she wasn't laughing or turning up her nose like the other lady did, maybe we're still in the running. If you don't hate me for the previous paragraph, think happy house thoughts for us.

A Happy Bastille Day to all.

(no subject)

I'm still here. Delving into summer projects is slowly decompressing me from the the school year, although I still still can't stay up past 12 or sleep past 7:15. I've restored the front of the apartment to a state wherein I would not be mortified to have people show up at the front door. Just think - it only took 2 weeks to clean and organize the front half of an 800-square foot apartment! Everything is put in its own place now, but it looks like one of those IKEA displays, "Living in 500 Square Feet." We're still looking for a house, but signs point to waiting a while longer being a prudent move.

Must start on the back of the place.

more cat pictures

I'm afraid of 16 out of 72 common fears...

From  Wilhelm:

What are You afraid of?

[ ] the dark
[ ] staying single forever
[X] being a parent
[X] giving birth
[ ] being myself in front of others
[ ] open spaces
[ ] closed spaces
[X] heights
[ ] dogs
[ ] birds
[ ] fish
[ ] spiders
[ ] flowers or other plants

Total so far: 3

[X] being touched (it's not my fave thing)
[ ] fire
[ ] deep water
[ ] snakes (as a concept, no.  In proximity with venom, yes)
[ ] silk
[ ] the ocean
[X] failure
[ ] success
[ ] thunder/lightning
[ ] frogs/toads
[ ] my boyfriends/girlfriends dad
[ ] boyfriends/girlfriends mom
[ ] rats
[X] jumping from high places
[ ] snow

Total so far: 6

[ ] rain
[ ] wind
[X] crossing hanging bridges
[X] death
[ ] heaven
[ ] being robbed (am I present?)
[ ] clowns
[ ] dolls
[ ] large crowds of people
[ ] men
[ ] women
[ ] having great responsibilities
[X] doctors, including dentists (doctors, no; dentists, YES)
[ ] tornadoes

Total so far: 9

[ ] hurricanes (anyone think to put earthquakes on the list?)
[X] incurable diseases
[X] sharks
[ ] Friday the 13th
[ ] ghosts
[X] poverty
[ ] Halloween
[ ] school
[ ] trains
[ ] odd numbers
[ ] even numbers
[X] being alone (more appropriately, being without David)
[X] becoming blind
[ ] becoming deaf (already have tinnitus, so this is a real possibility)
[ ] growing up

Total so far: 14

[ ] creepy noises in the night
[X] bee stings (ALLERGIC!)
[ ] not accomplishing my dreams/goals
[X] needles
[ ] blood
[ ] dinosaurs
[ ] the welcome mat
[ ] high speed
[ ] throwing up
[ ] falling in love
[ ] super secrets 

Final Total: 16

If you get more than 30, I strongly recommend some counselling
If you get more than 20, you’re paranoid.
If you get 10-20, you are normal.
If you get 10 or less, you’re fearless.
People who don’t have any are liars.

Why this reminds me of this poem, I have no idea:

We Who Are Your Closest Friends
Phillip Lopate
We who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting,
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
discontent and
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.