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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!
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.
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.
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.
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...|
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.
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.|
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.
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!