OK, so the facts I am about to share probably aren’t particularly fascinating, flamboyant, or flagrant, but these are some of my favorite F adjectives, which is why I decided to use them anyway. I am linking up with Arman’s Spill It Sundays today in order to share some random facts about a variety of topics, since I was feeling the urge to blog but was lacking the creativity and motivation to come up with an idea of what to write about. It’s been nearly a week since my last post; this whole “write more in the summer” goal hasn’t exactly been going splendidly so far…However, I’ve been busy with dance, babysitting jobs, writing scholarship essays in an attempt to get as much financial aid as possible when I transfer to the University of Oregon this fall, doing household chores (laundry, dishes, etc…) while my mom and brothers were out of town, and watching the World Cup with baited breath and bulging eyes (not really; I never watch sports on TV or in person and honestly couldn’t care less about which team wins. Still, it seems as though a vast number of people DO care, so I just wanted to throw that in for their benefit. I mean, even Google has a special doodle for the World Cup!! Is this world sports-obsessed, or is it just me??). OK, now I’m starting to ramble, so I’d better shut up and actually start focusing on the main topic of this post.
Five facts about….your family!
1. My dad has been part of the Mafia for about 20 years now and is a huge crime lord in Chicago. I guess that statement might be more believable if it wasn’t for the fact that blabbing about the Mafia could get me murdered or end up with a severed cow’s head in my bed. When we moved to Illinois a few years ago, we would all joke about how Illinois was known for only a few things: the Mafia, corrupt politicians, and corn. Andsports teams in Chicago, of course. In all seriousness about his career, though, my dad was in the Air Force as an air traffic controller (and other positions) for nearly 30 years before retiring a few years ago. Being an air traffic controller is a notoriously stressful and demanding job at times, so I deeply admire him for his focus, determination, organization skills, and planning abilities.
2. When my 18-year old brother and I were much younger (he would probably despise me for sharing this story with the world), we used to play a made-up game called Fantasy Land that involved playing the roles of several creatures such as griffins, unicorns, dragons, and blue swimming squirrels (I made these animals up on my own; they basically look like giant blue squirrels that can swim). I even wrote a book called “Fantasy Land” when I was 9 for a homeschool group book project. Here are a couple pictures from the book; please excuse my dreadful artistic skills.
3. In order to keep some semblance of organization in our family, we keep a huge calender on our refrigerator upon which we write down important activities/jobs/events and what time they occur at. Some days will have as many as four different activities squeezed onto the small square with three or four different styles of handwriting. To an outsider, reading and interpreting our calender might require quite a bit of analyzing and squinting, but it definitely helps me, my siblings, and my parents keep track of who is where at what time.
4. My siblings, dad, mom (to some extent), and I all share a fondness for sarcastic, dry, and deadpan humor, which leads to many amusing conversations–though we can certainly overdo it at times. My parents love watching satirical news shows such as Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report, and I must say that these shows often capture the hypocrisy and illogical decisions of many government officials better than a “regular” news channel ever does. Still, as much as I adore sarcastic humor, I try not to go overboard on using it 24/7, since I realize that not everyone enjoys sarcasm as much as I do. Plus, it probably makes me sound like a bit of a jerk sometimes, especially when I am upset or stressed out and my sarcasm leans toward the nasty side.
5. Since there are six people living in my house, we do a great deal of laundry on a regular basis, and it isn’t unusual to have either the washer or dryer running at least once a day. Sometimes we even have the washer, dryer, and dishwasher running all at once, and then someone tries to simultaneously take a shower but quickly realizes that hot water is in very short supply. Then it’s either a cold shower or no shower until one of the water-draining machines has finished its cycle. I suspect that my 18-year old brother washes his clothes far more often than I do, which is a bit strange–well, maybe not, since I rarely wash my shirts and shorts unless they have visible stains on them, smell odd, or I can’t remember when I last washed them. Why waste water, right??
Five facts about…your childhood!
1. As I’ve mentioned before, I was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and lived there for about 10 years before moving to Virginia and then Illinois. While living on an 8-acre plot of land from about 2000 to 2003, we had a regular menagerie of animals: chickens, lizards, dogs, cats, rats, birds, fish, rabbits, and even a horse that we leased. I was a huge animal lover (and still am), and I absolutely loved to collect eggs from our chickens, cuddle with the baby rabbits, play with our rats, run with our dogs, and do absolutely nothing with the fish, who didn’t live very long at all. Oh well.
2. I kept up with a few semi-regular journals from ages 7 to about 12, which I still have in my room and enjoy looking through from time to time. My earliest entries are barely legible since my handwriting was so dreadful–and to be honest, it hasn’t exactly improved a great deal since then ;) In one of my journals/drawing books, I discovered a poem I wrote about rabbits when I was maybe 9:
Rabbits eat, run, hop, play,
They have fun every day
When they go to sleep at last
They dream of fun and hopping fast
Yeah, I had real poetic talent. Not. How on earth did I know what rabbits dream about?? Heck, they may not even dream at all!! Ah well, such was my youthful enthusiasm.
3. My siblings and I loved to put on plays when we were younger, some of them being Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and others that I don’t remember the titles of but usually involved going on an adventure of some kind and dressing up as dogs, cats, cowboys, magicians, or ghosts. We still have video tapes of our Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks performances, and they are quite entertaining to watch. I don’t know how my mom managed to keep a straight face while videotaping as we tripped over objects, hissed at each other when we’d forget our lines, and attempt to cover up any mistakes.
4. Before taking up ballet when I was about 8 or 9, I took gymnastic classes for a couple of years with my younger brother. I remember being so excited when I could finally do a back-bend and other stunts on the bars and beams, and also that one of my favorite parts was jumping in the foam pit near the end of class. However, when it came time for some sort of gymnastics performance or competition one day (I can’t remember which one), I got terrible stage fright, broke down in tears, and refused to perform. Needless to say, my parents weren’t exactly thrilled, but they didn’t force me to do it anyway, which I was grateful for.
5. My siblings and I rarely watched TV while growing up, except for the occasional Animal Planet show. No cartoons, Disney channel, or anything like that. We did, however, love watching movies every once in a while, especially those childhood classics such as the Lion King, all the Disney princess movies, Pixar films, and others. Speaking of movies, I remember watching E.T. once and being quite frightened by the scene in which the men dressed in astronaut suits come into the boy’s house. I would also get upset by any movie in which animals were injured or killed, such as Old Yeller.
(image source: http://s9.favim.com/orig/140121/lion-king-quote-Favim.com-1286245.jpg)
Five facts about…you + school!
1. As I’ve mentioned before, I was homeschooled up until college, and it was a great experience. My mom didn’t have a rigid school schedule for us; instead, we focused on subjects that we were particularly interested in, and also did hands-on activities like science experiments in the kitchen, taking frequent trips to the library and checking out stacks of books, going on nature walks and collecting rocks/feathers/dead bugs/etc…to study at home, looking at things under the microscope, writing our own poems, and taking “field trips” to museums and other places. Even though my younger siblings eventually decided to attend public school, I stuck with homeschooling and don’t regret this decision at all. I took online AP courses throughout my high school years to gain some college credit, and enjoyed being able to spend more time at home with my family.
2. I’ve always loved writing (as clearly evidenced by my desire to start a blog) and have been both pleased and slightly embarrassed by the praise that my AP teachers and college professors have given me in regards to my papers. I took AP English Language during my sophomore year of high school, and not only did I adore the class, but I also feel as though my writing skills drastically improved that year. I managed to get a 4 on the AP exam (out of 5), which allowed me to skip the first level of English when I started up at my local community college. Writing has always been a passion of mine ever since I began scribbling my first journal at age 7, creating stories on Storybook Weaver, and writing random poems and reports on other topics.
3. I suppose I’ve always been the “teacher’s pet” type of student in my first two years of college: listening intently during lecture, rarely missing class, remaining respectful and polite toward my professors, studying hard for exams, and being a total overachiever ;) I remember in my spring 2013 biology class we would always have these “biology bowl” jeopardy-style review sessions before exams, and I would end up answering the majority of the questions because no one else seemed able or willing to answer. It is quite possible that they knew the answers but just didn’t want to speak up–who knows? Either way, I didn’t want to appear arrogant or like a know-it-all, but I also didn’t want to let my teammates down by not answering the questions for which I had the answers.
4. I took a statistics course last fall and it was the only college class that I truly disliked. Yes, I learned some helpful things about Microsoft Excel, and also learned a LOT about the value of my scientific calculator, but it was such a tedious class and the exams usually took me 3+ hours to complete. Plus, it was an online course, so my “professor” didn’t exactly do any teaching–he would simply give us the assignments and grade them with minimal feedback. I was glad that I at least got a B in that class, though I was secretly hoping for an A…
(image source: http://www.troll.me/images/conspiracy-keanu/what-if-statistics-was-created-to-make-us-all-feel-stupid.jpg)
5. Before the fall of 2012 when I started college, I had never taken any foreign language classes, so I decided to start with Spanish 1101 and see how it went. Needless to say, I quickly realized that I actually enjoyed learning a different language, and that it wasn’t too late to learn Spanish, as I had previously feared. Though I am certainly not fluent in Spanish yet, I can carry on a decent conversation as long as it doesn’t require too much conjugation of verbs. Tambien, no puedo hablar español muy rapido, y para mi, es más fácil leer español que hablar español.
Five facts about…you + travel!
1. I’ve never been outside the United States before, though I would love to visit several other countries some day: Peru, Italy, Australia, India, and a few others. At the moment, though, I simply don’t have the money or time to go gallivanting around the world, visiting different countries and going sight-seeing.
2. For a span of about five years starting in 2006, we would go to Myrtle Beach each October to visit with my grandparents and cousins who are from Oregon and Florida, respectively. I would always look forward to those visits and the opportunity to swim in the ocean, collect shells, go for long walks on the beach, spot washed-up jellyfish, build sand castles, and simply enjoy the peaceful and rhythmic sound of the waves. Though it wasn’t exactly sweltering hot in October, the crowds were far smaller than they would have been in the summer, which was a bonus.
3. I have never traveled via boat before, and I don’t really have any desire to do so anytime in the near future. I know some people love going on cruises, but the thought of spending hundreds of dollars to sail on a boat with excessive amounts of food and flashy entertainment has never appealed to me.
4. I actually enjoy flying on airplanes, long lines and security problems aside. It’s always thrilling to look down from the airplane window and see the patchwork quilt squares of land below, or perhaps craggy mountains covered with snow. Or maybe I just haven’t flown enough times for the novelty to wear off. I’m sure people who have to fly frequently for business trips probably despise it at times.
5. When we lived in Virginia, we would often take the Metro bus up to Washington D.C. in order to visit the museums, zoo, and other attractions. We even got to tour the Capital and part of the White House once, and I must say the Capital tour was far more interesting than the White House one–mainly because we got to see more parts of the building and also learned more about the history and design of the Capital. If you ever visit D.C., I will say that the White House tour is somewhat overrated–the Museum of Natural History is far more exciting and educational, at least in my opinion.
Five facts about…your eating style!
1. If I had to label my eating style, which I usually prefer not to do, I would probably call myself “90% vegan.” I never eat the flesh of any animals (including seafood) and whenever I cook my own food at home, I always avoid using eggs and dairy products. That being said, I do consume products made with honey, which is not technically vegan. Also, if I am eating out at a restaurant, I will sometimes order food that contains small amounts of cheese or egg. Still, almost all of the recipes I create are vegan, and I am a firm believer that you can not only survive, but also thrive on a plant-based diet. Don’t worry, though–I won’t judge you if you DO happen to eat animal products.
2. I usually try to avoid consuming food that contains high amounts of added sugar, preservatives, or food coloring. Though I do occasionally make exceptions for this “rule,” I feel better both mentally and physically when I am not chowing down on food that has an ingredient list packed with chemicals and fillers. Just because a food is labeled “Fat-Free!” “Reduced-Calorie!” “Whole-Grain” or “Guilt-Free” does NOT mean it is beneficial for your body. Many types of packaged and processed foods may be low in fat or calories, but chock-full of nasty ingredients that may even be banned in other countries–but not in the United States.
3. I don’t remember the last time I drank soda, either diet or regular, and I don’t plan on drinking it anytime in the future. My family rarely buys soda anyway, except for the occasional bottle of root beer to make root beer floats. I dislike soda not only because it is loaded with either regular sugar or artificial sweetener, but also because it provides zero nutritional benefits for your body. Yes, it is sweet and highly addictive, but I can’t think of any good reason to drink it other than because it “tastes good.” And that’s not a very valid reason when we are talking about something as nutritionally deprived as soda. I have, however, tried drinking Zevia before (stevia-sweetened soda), and while it is certainly tasty, I try not to consume it on a regular basis, since even a natural sweetener like stevia could possibly be detrimental in large amounts.
4. I rarely eat out at restaurants–maybe once a month if that. This is mainly for cost purposes, since eating out at restaurants isn’t exactly cheap unless you go to somewhere like McDonald’s (which I don’t recommend!!) Plus, I can cook my own food at home for a cheaper price and sometimes even a better taste. However, I would be willing to splurge on restaurant-prepared Indian food, since this type of cuisine is not only extremely vegetarian-friendly, but also packed with nutritious spices, vegetables, and legumes. I also enjoy eating at Sweet Tomatoes, a buffet-style restaurant that offers a salad bar, soups/stews (with vegan options), bread, baked potatoes, pasta, dessert, fruit, and other food.
5. Not to sound like a stereotypical food blogger, but I do eat either almond or peanut butter on a daily basis–in my oatmeal, on pancakes, or just eaten straight out of the jar. I also have a total of 10 different flavored almond butter recipes on my recipe page. I do like walnut butter, cashew butter, and sunflower seed butter, but these spreads tend to be pricier than the other cheaper types. I rely on almond and peanut butter not only for the delicious taste, but also as a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats and protein.
Well, thus ends my lengthy essay. I may be laconic while speaking face-to-face with someone, but I am far more prolific with words while writing. I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your weekend!