I’ve just received my first Blogging Award! Toni over at BackYard Feast has sent me this pay-it-forward award. As part of my award I’m supposed to reveal 7 things about me that my readers might not know. Then I’ll pass the award on to 5 other bloggers. So, here it goes:
1. I have a sci-fi/fantasy paperback collection. I own the full series of the Belgariad and the Malloreon by David Eddings, as well as the other sequels and prequels. I also own the Shannara Series by Terry Brooks, and every Dragonriders of Pern novel by Anne McCaffrey. I first read these books as a teenager, collected them over the course of my youth, and still refuse to part with them. I actually have re-read each series multiple times, and will again, so I consider them worth the space on my bookshelf.
2. I played violin for 14 years. My father thought it important that we children learn to play an instrument. We couldn’t afford a piano and Dad had learned the violin as an adult so at the tender age of 3 I began violin lessons in the Suzuki tradition. The truth is, I hated it. I cried through most of my practice sessions with Dad (he’s a wonderful guy, but not a very patient teacher), and my series of tiny violins are still stained with the salt from my tears. But I had no choice in the matter. When I was in my early teens, Dad and I joined a local chamber music orchestra and I ended up enjoying that quite a bit. Playing with others was lots of fun, but the truth is that I was never really “into” my instrument. I didn’t play with any extra “oomph” because I really didn’t feel any. It wasn’t until I was 17 years old and starting University that I was finally able to quit for good.
3. I went to Catholic School. I’m not Catholic, though I was raised that way, and look back on most of my elementary and high school days as a colossal waste of time. However, there were some good things about Catholic School. Our class sizes (and the schools themselves) were very small. And I confess I actually really liked the uniforms. Being a girl who always shunned dresses I found kilts and sweaters to be very comfortable. It was a relief to not have to choose what to wear each morning. But it was still school, and with religious classes to boot. It was bad enough that my mother dragged us to Mass every Sunday (an utter bore), but we also had to do a Mass every Friday at school. Anyways, my first schism with the Holy Church was when I was around 9 years old and a new rule was passed that girls could no longer be alter servers at the Mass (one of the few things that made Mass tolerable for me). My little inner feminist was furious at being discriminated against simply because of my gender, and that was the start of a long and slow parting of ways.
4. I have a killer sweet tooth. I like to eat healthy, whole foods but my weakness is sweets. I love to bake but have to restrict myself because I gorge on my creations. I’ve recently weaned myself down from a heaping tablespoon of sugar in my morning (large) mug of tea to a mere teaspoon but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go. I have been known, on occasion, to buy a bag of chocolate-covered almonds or wine gums and stash them somewhere in the house so I don’t have to share (!). The only thing that keeps me in line is that I gain weight when I eat too many sweets (ah, for the days of pregnancy and nursing when I could support a chocolate-bar-a-day habit!).
5. I’m horse crazy. I’ve been obsessed with horses ever since I was very young. I used to hang pictures of them clipped from magazines and calendars on my wall. But growing up in the suburbs I didn’t get to encounter the real thing until I was nine years old and went to Horse Camp – a dude ranch where we got to trail ride (Western style) every day. I went to this camp for two weeks every summer until I was 15. When I was in my early twenties I began English riding lessons and soon became enamoured with Dressage. I competed as an adult amateur at the lower levels for a few years until I left University and moved to the States. I’d just taken up riding lessons again when I got married and pregnant and took a hiatus from lessons. I haven’t ridden since then but long to get back into it when I have more time. We don’t really have enough room on our property to properly keep a horse, but there are many boarding barns nearby and I dream of the day when I can one day ride again and take advantage of the amazing trails right on our doorstep. I’ve never owned a horse, a dream I’ve had since I was a very young child. One day I hope to fulfill that dream. Meanwhile, I still smile like an idiot and get all giddy whenever I see a horse – which is often now that we live in the country!
6. I suffer from vasovagal syncope. Which is a fancy way of saying that I faint easily. Over the last few years I’ve had some spectacular faints, often triggered by heartburn. I will also faint if I go too long without eating. Fortunately I can always tell when I’m about to faint and I lie down so I don’t do myself any harm. One time I fainted at home in the middle of the night after taking Benadryl but didn’t recover like usual. My husband had to call an ambulance and then wake my mother to come over and stay with kids so he could go with me. I fainted twice just getting onto the gurney. Being the scientist geek that I am, I kept asking the paramedics what my blood pressure and heart rate were, whether I was having any arrhythmias, etc. but they were busy trying to get me out of there and I was too busy passing out every few minutes to push the matter. I was trying to tell them that I’d taken Benedryl, but my husband grabbed a bottle of narcotic pain relievers left over from when my son was born by C-section (I hadn’t taken them since) and handed it to them. Being an urban hospital that handles a lot of drug abuse patients I couldn’t get anyone to believe my story of it being Benedryl until they finally did blood work and found no trace of narcotics. Meanwhile, the kids slept through the whole thing and Grandma brought them to see me the next morning, just in time for me to be released.
7. I’m adopted. I was 10 days old when my parents picked me up from the hospital. I always knew I was adopted and I’ve never been interested in finding out who my biological parents are. All my mother knew she told me, which is that she was around 21 years of age and lived in Montreal, apparently coming out to Vancouver to have me. I’m not interested in learning about my medical history either – too much of a burden and I’d rather take comfort in living as healthy a lifestyle as I can and let Fate do the rest. On my birthdays my mother always used to remind me that someone else out there was likely thinking of me, which was always furthest from my mind. As a result of my situation I’ve never placed much emphasis on “where I come from” or what my heritage is, which never fails to puzzle my Croatian husband, for whom one’s heritage has much importance both politically and culturally.
So now to pass the award on to five bloggers…
1. Jenna at No Name Farm/Ranch. She and her partner bought a plot of rural land, populated it with some cows and donkeys, and have been yearning to leave their suburban home and live on the land full-time. It’s been a rough road for them and yet she’s stuck with it, determined to make a go of it. That is dedication! And I recently found out she is horse-crazy, too.
2. Kim at Canadian Family Robinson. Kim is a member of our local homelearning community though I have yet to meet her in person. For the last year they have been heavily involved in building their cob house on their plot of Rural Dream land. I have followed their story back from the beginning and drooling over all the pictures, soaking up all the information, and dreaming of the day when we can do the same. I live vicariously through her blog and am grateful she is so good at posting pictures. They took occupancy just this past weekend, congratulations Kim!
3. Erica at Sweet Chaos. I’ve known Erica for ages, ever since my firstborn was a baby. She was one of the women who inspired me to homeschool and is just an overall amazing mama whom I admire very much. A couple of years ago they sold their Vancouver home, bought a used RV, and spent a year “roadschooling” – travelling all over Canada and the US as a family. They then purchased an acreage in Ottawa (where her husband hails from) and built a straw bale home. It’s just about complete now (just some inside finishing left to do). I have followed her story eagerly, as she is yet another pioneer who left urban life for the country.
4. Miranda at Nurtured By Love. I’ve never met Miranda but I feel I’ve known her for years. We are in the same provincial homeschool program and frequent the same unschooling discussion forum, and her blog has long been a great source of inspiration for me. Not just because she unschools her kids (who are much older than mine and, by all accounts, fantastic ambassadors for homelearning), but they live in a very small town in the wilds of the Kootenays, and they engage in many projects I find interesting and relevant. Whether it’s building an outdoor cob oven or managing the local wildlife that visits, I always learn stuff from her writing.
5. Chile at Chile Chews. She too had a dream to move to a more rural environment and take a stab at self-sufficiency. They finally fulfilled their dream only to have it shattered by incredibly restrictive zoning laws. Her determination, her honest moments when it all gets too much, and the way she has shared the incredible ups and downs of her journey so openly has been a real inspiration. It’s proof that seeking out this dream doesn’t always go smoothly.