Tuesday, February 27, 2018

30 Things About Me

Thanks May As Well Event for this great idea! I've loved reading everyone's replies so far and had to jump in with a list of my own.

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1. I have a lot of house plants. Like...around four dozen right now. Many are spider plants and many are succulents and I'm working on getting more philodendrons because my house has a lot of exposed beams and a tree to train them to grow up/on/around.

2. And because I imagine the mention of "tree" in my house is going to raise some eyebrows, I'll address that... Dave built our home by himself - though many friends assisted for parts along the way. It's a white oak timberframe house, hence the exposed beams. In lieu of a central beam in the house, he used a tree. The tree wasn't easy to find - he and the friend who helped him the most throughout the process were sharing beers at the local brewery (which this friend founded/owns) bemoaning a particularly frustrating day of work on the house due to a rainstorm. While they were there, a local gentleman walked in, got a beer, and proceeded to complain about a large shagbark hickory tree that had fallen in the storm and was blocking a road on his property. The more he described the tree, the more Dave and his buddy's ears perked up. Finally they engaged in conversation with the man and agreed to help him move this tree, hoping that it would meet the specs for the house. Lo and behold, it did! We only have a portion of the tree (it was very, very tall) in our home, but it's almost as if it was made for the house.

The tree and the philodendron I'm training to climb and wrap around it; my loft surrounded by plants.
You can't tell in the photo, but there are four spider plants hanging along the right and 5-6 potted plants beneath - it's a wall of plants!

3. Of my many sports, the only one I have done as long as horseback riding is skiing. I began both riding lessons and ski lessons when I was 5 years old. Most of my school snow days as a kid were spent at one of three local resorts skiing with my family and friends because the resorts would give us a steeply discounted rate ($15-$25) on snow days. The local school systems also incentivized good grades with free ski passes, so that facilitated my skiing habit as a kid.

4. In the winter months, I am a professional ski patroller for two downhill resorts where I live. I've been patrolling since the winter of 2011-12 and really enjoy it. I come from a family of many medical professionals and really enjoy practicing first responder/first aid duties. Free skiing...well, paid skiing is a huge perk. Free lessons from some of the best of the nation is also a huge perk.


5. I never played with dolls as a child. Stuffed animals were much more my jam. I had dozens upon dozens of them. Hell, I still do...they're bagged and in my parents attic. I can guarantee you that I could pull them out and tell you every one of their names to this day. Horses, huskies, dolphins, and orcas were my favorite animals.

6. When I'm stressed, I will clean and reorganize. It's a pretty nice coping mechanism lol

7. As a kid, I was not an adventurous eater and was very content with typical meat 'n potatoes fare. As an adult, I love nearly every ethnic food I've met. Spicy foods are a struggle for me still because I didn't grow up eating them and my tolerance is low, but I keep trying them and can tolerate more spice in my food every year. Sushi is my absolute most favorite food.

I made this! Also, wow, look at that old slider cell phone in the background! Man have phones come a long way...

8. I am a biologist for the Federal government. I work with threatened and endangered species, primarily sit at a desk to achieve my work, and do a lot of technical ghost writing for the government. I don't like being inside so much, but my work makes a huge difference and that's what matters to me.

9. I swam competitively for 10 years and despite multiple college scholarship offers, ceased swimming after HS to focus on my academics/have a personal life. Similar to Amanda, I still love swimming and very much enjoy it, but simply do not have time for it. I dream of getting myself an endless pool one day when I retire...if I ever get to retire.

10. I grew up in 4-H and absolutely loved it. 4-H in West Virginia is unlike 4-H in any other state. We have project books and livestock projects like other states, but we also have a huge emphasis on volunteering within the community, implementing service projects, and pursuing self-discovery/self-awareness. Our summer camps are out of this world, the state camps in particular. The lessons, friends, and mentors I gained through 4-H made me who I am today.

Being a complete and total dork without any regard to how silly I was - THAT was what 4-H  was about. Being yourself with no reservations and not worrying about judgement. We couldn't do that in school (because preteens and teenagers are the worst kind of judgemental humans), but at camp everyone was so inclusive and welcoming of everyone.

11. My favorite activity as a kid was playing in the woods behind my house. I built multiple forts, loved climbing trees, and generally running amok like a fool as my neighbor and I imagined ourselves as characters from Brian Jacques books (she a badger, me an otter).

12. I was salutatorian of my high school class. I had NO idea I was even in the running for it at the time and was actually upset when I learned about it! I was terrified to have to deliver a speech to a crowd of 500+. In hindsight, I'm grateful I was because giving that speech absolved me of the irrational fear I had of public speaking. I still don't like public speaking, but I can and will do it - and often volunteer myself for public speaking as a part of my job.

Just....lol
13. On the same public speaking track, I was asked a few years ago to give a speech on behalf of my agency to another state agency. At the time, I was led to believe I'd be speaking to 30-40 people solely within that agency. In reality, I was speaking to [yet another] crowd of 500+, spoke from a stage and podium complete with three projector screens. I'm kind of glad I didn't know what I was getting into before hand or I probably would have begged out of it!

14. My undergraduate thesis was on black bear denning habits and den characteristics in one county of West Virginia. I utilized a spatial mapping program and a modeling program to input variables and produce a map showing the probability distribution for black bear denning within that county. As a part of this research, I got to crawl into dens with black bears and help take morphological measurements of the cubs. It was pretty sweet.

Year old cub. Cubs spend the year they're born in hibernation with their mom and the following winter. Then they get kicked out on their own the second summer so the mother can breed again. This cub was one of siblings spending the second and final winter with it's mother.

15. I learned what the word "deciduous" meant in fifth grade science. To help us learn it, my teacher first asked us to fall out of our chairs onto the floor (deciduous trees lose their leaves - they fall). We thought this was great fun. For the rest of the year we would fall out of our chairs whenever she said "deciduous".

16. I played violin as a wee kid, then piano for the middle school years, and the alto sax from 5th-10th grade. Thanks to piano, I learned to read music, but I loved the saxophone the most. Jazz band was my absolute favorite, although concert was a close second. I quit after 10th grade because the teacher who made it so awesome for me went on to bigger and better things. I eventually sold my saxophone (to a program who would sell it at a very, very reduced price to another school kid) so I could buy a mandolin. I've got 4 chords down on my mandolin and can play simple scales, but really haven't advanced further due to lack of time. I dream of devoting enough time to it to understand it well and prove to myself that I'm committed enough to music to justify buying a fiddle one day (which is the same as the mandolin sans frets and double strings).

17. I have been a brand ambassador for Mountain Khakis since 2009. The company has grown SO much in that time and I have truly loved being an ambassador for them and have enjoyed the opportunities it has opened for me that I wouldn't have experienced otherwise.

18. I went to five proms during high school and only purchased a dress for two of them. #winning

Actually NOT a HS prom but a 4-H function the following year that involved prom dresses. God I loved that blue dress. I still fit into it my some miracle of miracles...

19. While I majored in biology in college (and loved it), I was also very drawn to social psychology. Ultimately, the job prospects in biology interested me more than social psych, but I still hold a huge interest in the latter. What makes people tick and why fascinates me to no end.

20. The coolest, most fun, and most bizarre course I took in college was Human Sexuality. I took the honors version of the course in which we did all of the book work through eCampus and the classroom time was spent solely on group discussions. We tackled hard hitting questions, shared our most embarrassing sexual encounters, discussed the finer points of how-to perform certain acts, watched porn for a grade, sketched our favorite sex positions on the chalkboard, and had an end-of-semester party where we all cooked/baked sexually-suggestive (well, okay, not suggestive, just plain obvious) foods. It was a freaking BLAST.

21. Shockingly, I still haven't had a jumping lesson in my life from a professional. I'm very grateful for wonderful, helpful friends, the internet, and books.

22. I used to whitewater kayak and raft a fair bit as a teenager and in college. After my college boyfriend - a creek boater - lost 5 friends to whitewater accidents in a two year span I developed a healthy respect and fear of whitewater. Now, I experience a lot of anxiety if I raft on technical class V whitewater and pretty much avoid it at all costs.

Guiding us along a flatwater section of the New River. This was a spring break trip with the whitewater club. The water rose 11 feet overnight, nearly swamping our camp that had been set back >100 feet from the edge of the river the night before. We woke up and it was about 6 feet from the tents! I've never run a river at flood stage before or after this. It was pretty epic.

23. I refuse to get a fitbit or any other type of fitness tracker for myself because I know I will become obsessed with the data and let it rule my life. I know myself well enough to know I'd become obsessive about it and stress myself out if I didn't meet my own imaginary goals.

24. I have never colored or highlighted my hair. Old women still stop me about once a year demanding to know what color combination I use to "make it that way". They don't believe me when I tell them it's natural.

Yep, had that red hair since I was wee. And have dressed as redheaded characters since a young age. Here, I'm Raggedy Ann and my brother is "a bug". I've also been Pippi Longstocking, Mrs. Frizzle (the space version), and Princess Merida.

25. The freakiest horse accident I've ever had was when a horse I was cantering on a back mountain road slipped and fell off the road and down the mountainside. I felt him going and bailed off onto the road, rolling. To my surprise, the horse caught himself before he fell far and scrambled back onto the road, stepping squarely on my chest in the process to stand up. Fortunately, his hoof was centered over my sternum which saved me from broken ribs, punctured lungs, or other internal organ damage.

26. My office is very dog-friendly. Taiga has come to work with me nearly every day since I brought her home. Kenai comes rather often, as well, especially if Dave will be gone for most of the day.


Office dog! Kenai comes a few times a week, too, if the weather is conducive to riding after work. The dogs love running around the farm as I do horse things.

27. I have an irrational fear of fire and have since I was a kid. I can still remember a series of recurring nightmares I had as a child where I was told to put my most cherished belongings in a small box, walk outside with my family, and turn and watch as my house was burned to the ground. I would later have other dreams of the woods behind my house burning down and then catching my house on fire. Then, as a fifth grader, my neighborhood friend, a pyromaniac, ironic I know, started a fire in one of my forts that resulted in a half-acre of woods going up in flame. I was briefly trapped in the middle of a wall of flames. 911 was called and everything was okay in the end. Ultimately, I wouldn't light a match until I was 12 and wouldn't light a lighter until I was in high school. My fear of fire is a big contributing factor to my decision to remain on the east coast where wildfires are much more rare.

28. I have one brother who is 18-months younger. We fought a lot as kids but are really good friends as adults.

Brother and I at a wedding last summer. ....and that would be Dave photobombing. Thanks, dear.

29. My dad is a doctor; when I cut my knee from a fall in the yard as a kid, he took me inside and stitched me up on the bathroom counter. #thanksdad

30. One of the coolest things I got to do as a part of 4-H growing up was learn a lot of different heritage and folk dances: square, line, contra, swing, folk, eastern European, Russian, Morris, Irish, shag, spaghetti rag, waltz, and polka. Beyond these experiences (usually 1 concentrated weekend/year), I haven't had any dance training. I'd really love to find the time to learn ballroom dancing and ballet one day though!

39 comments:

  1. oohh i love all yours. I love everyone's posts. I hope i am not too boring!! You are such a badass:) I want to meet you in person this year!! #winning :) LOL!

    I love your house!! LOVE! (And the dogs too of course :)

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    1. Yes to meeting! I hope we can make that happen a couple times. I'm starting to look more seriously at my calendar as we transition to spring.

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  2. Your hair is gorgeous! Creek boating can be very dangerous. I had a friend get really into it and nearly drown. He backed off the never ending search for new, more difficult creeks to run after that. It’s an interesting sport tho as they chase storms to run creeks only doable after a significant rainfall. Not for my wimpy self!

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    1. Me either! Running all over the countryside to find the rarely-running creeks is insanity. I get the draw of it but man...anxiety!

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  3. I'm infinitely jelly that you can bring your pup to work...also, can Dave come build me a house on the farm? Please? I loveeee yours.

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    1. Hahahaha, he's sadly sworn off ever building a house again. It took him years to build this one and he hasn't forgotten the pain in the ass it was yet ;-)

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  4. These are all really fascinating facts, I am totally digging this blog hop and learning more about everyone! Also I am insanely jealous you can bring your dogs to work haha.

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    1. I LOVE this blog hop! It's been so cool getting to know people outside of horses/blogs. And yes, dogs at work is the best thing ever. My supervisor comes in to cuddle Taiga every morning first thing...most my coworkers do lol

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  5. So many things to comment on, but basically you live a pretty rad life and I loved reading this post! Dogs in the office makes everything infinitely better, Zuzu accompanies me every day and I love it. Also, Mountain Khakis is quite literally one building over from my office. I walk by it every day while walking Zu at lunch and casually creep through their windows to see what's up haha.

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    1. Oohhh that is SO cool re: MK! And YES to dogs at work. It's kind of the best...well, minus the fact that Taiga is whining her face off today and driving me crazy.

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    2. Zu is very fond of reminding me to take lunch and walk breaks... the whining is real! She also has the most incredible internal clock and knows EXACTLY when 4:30 hits and it's time to head out for the day. Maybe Taiga is trying to help you take breaks lol!

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    3. She's absolutely helpful for that =)

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  6. I love reading these and I swear you are the long lost sister of one of my very best friends (who I've been friends with since we were 11). Y'all look nothing alike, but otherwise are the same person - skiing, biologists (she works for WildEarth Guardians), eventers, theses on wildlife, played instruments... it goes on and actually freaks me out sometimes!
    I'm jealous of your skiing skills, I also clean when stressed, I think 15 is hilarious and you know I also love social psych! My dog also comes to work with me most days and that story of fire is terrifying - growing up in NM, we all had a very healthy fear of fire.

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    1. That's so crazy about your best friend and I! But very cool =)

      Blah, fire. I don't know how western folks get used to that fear accompanying their everyday lives.

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  7. I kind of love your hair. Your brother ain't bad either. ;)

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    1. NYC and his lifestyle there has definitely facilitated his evolution into his best self

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  8. Loved reading this! You've definitely lived (and continue to live because I LOVE your Insta pictures) an awesome life!

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    1. Aw, thanks. I try to be active doing things I love =)

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  9. 1. I'm coming to live at your awesome house
    2. My dogs would be a nightmare at work
    3. It's a good thing you and I didn't live near each other when we were kids or we would have had the best forts EVER and never come home. :D

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    1. You know, I would have been okay with living in a fort forever. Can we do this as adults? With our ponies?

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  10. Your tree house is amazing.

    Generally your life just seems much more exciting than mine! ha!

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  11. That house tree is so cool, and the story behind it is amazing as well!

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    1. Isn't it? I remember walking into the house for the first time and oggling the tree forever.

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    1. They're super cute. And they smell just like my huskies! Crazy thing to notice and remember, but hey, it stood out to me lol

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  13. I am pleased at how many of these things I *did* know about you! I hope to do this post at some point myself!

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    1. Ohhh please do it! I'd love to read yours.

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  14. Yup still basically one of the coolest bloggers out there.

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  15. #27 I HAD THAT SAME DREAM. I would stay up all night making lists of things I had to grab before the house burned down and how to get to them and uggggggh.

    That's really cool to hear that 4-H is so good in West Virginia, I'm glad you had it in your life!

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  16. Love that tree house AND the fact that you ski so much for work/fun. That's one of the hobbies I picked up as an adult and wish I had learned at a younger age

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    1. Skiing is so fun! If you're ever in the Canaan area in winter, let me know and I'll hook you up with some tickets =)

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  17. After all these years, still learning things about you, like the horse crash falling off the road?! Dee has told me a very similar story of her, Oli and a river bank and it is the number one reason I ask people on trails now if they're wearing one of those exploding vests. That said, those were some pretty epic memories. My favorite photo is the photo-bomb ... everyone looks beyond happy! Fun post.

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    1. Hannah was there for the crazy fall! And yeah, an inflatable vest wouldn't have done much in that situation unfortunately. They are great technology to have and definitely save people, though the initial price tag on them is pretty intense! Definitely a great investment though.

      I'm not sure I know that story of D and Oliver, though I have seen her take a couple tumbles off him! It still shocks me that she doesn't wear a helmet after the falls I've witnessed. Meep!!

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    2. AGREED! Crazy that she doesn't. As for the vest, it happened on the Durbin Ride. A woman's vest exploded open when her horse spooked at some cattle. The sound reverberated off the valley like a shotgun and sent the rest of the horses on the trail into "herd panic." Lol, it literally seemed like it protected no one and and just prefer to never see it again lol!

      Also, Dee's story is different with Oli. Something spooked him off a cliff side down a river bank. She tells the tale well.

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  18. Ok Liz- you have SUCH a cool life!!! YOUR HOUSE. I am Dying. Please post more photos. For real, I am INSANELY impressed that your husband built it! Like wow! I thought my hubby was handy. I am super jealous you can take your dog to work as well. Loved this post so much, it was nice getting to know you!

    <3 Kelly @ HunkyHanoverian

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    1. I want to get more photos and do another post about it in a few months once I have plants settled and artwork up. I've got a lot of family visiting in June to help me finally have a deadline to get it done haha. Until then, there are more photos here: http://liz-stout.blogspot.com/2017/03/a-new-zip-code.html

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