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Blogging Challenge Accepted!

ejourneys's picture

"We are all about so much more than cancer," writes Nancy Stordahl in her entry, "15 Random Facts & A Blogging Challenge Too!" Inspired by this list from her friend Melissa, Nancy posted her own 15 random facts, then challenged her readership to do the same. So did Beth Gainer.

*waves hands wildly* Here I am! My list follows, plus a blanket challenge to whoever wishes to join in.

15 random facts about me:

1. I love Project Gutenberg (along with other free ebook sites) and have downloaded more books from there than I will probably ever read. I recently started in on Theodore Edward Dowling's Gaza: A City of Many Battles, published in 1913. It gives me some perspective on today's headlines that I hadn't had before. It still blows my mind that I carry a device weighing less than five ounces that currently holds 599 books -- which take up only half its storage space.

2. If I hear a song cadence in a completely unrelated spoken line, I'll probably sing it.

3. I call spiders "sweetie" and wish them happy hunting. I think of them as natural insecticides. Here's a mama wolf spider (Lycosid) carrying her spiderlings on her back in our garage. Since moving to Florida I've grown fascinated with photographing what I call "tiny wildlife" (and have sold an article to that effect).

Southern Emerald Moth. I almost got arrested for photographing this pretty thing. It was perched on my post office window after hours. Someone had seen me jockeying with my camera, photographing government property, and had reported my "suspicious behavior." That story made it into my article.

4. I say hello to planets and call them by name when I see them in the night sky.

Jupiter and Venus, photographed above my house in November 2008. Jupiter is above and to the right of Venus.

5. I say, "Hi, guys!" when I see ibises in my neighborhood. I adore them.

An ibis recently flew just a few feet above my head and honked at me as I brought vegetable scraps to my compost bins. The rest of its flock foraged in a neighbor's yard.

6. Two things I would love to see in person someday: an aurora (either Borealis or Australis) and the Magellanic Clouds.

7. There were no auroras when I visited Alaska in 1992, but one of the highlights of my trip was taking a helicopter over (and also walking on) Taku Glacier in Juneau.

Taken through the helicopter window.

8. Growing up, my dream trip was to see the Galapagos Islands. I went there in 1984, spending a week with 11 other people on a 40-foot fishing boat. It was glorious.

I take a journal break in the Galapagos. Details from my stay on the mainland in Quito, Ecuador, made it into my story "Another Place," published in Amazing Stories in May 1988 (one of many items in my bibliography).

View from the summit of the island Bartolome in the Galapagos. Full size.

9. I grew up in a musical family and used to have perfect pitch, but it's drifted.

I sing "This Is Our Gulf" at my local coffee house in 2010. Inspired by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and in the tradition of Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl ballads, Woodview Coffee House held a song-writing contest, which I won. I had composed music in the past, but had never before entered a song-writing contest.

Bonus random fact: Following the Deepwater Horizon spill, I collected cut hair and trimmed fur from around my county to make hair booms as part of Matter of Trust's hair for oil spills program. (Hair and fur are great for absorbing oil.) And I had my own hair cut -- for the first time since the 1970s -- so that I could donate it. I liked having a short cut so much that I kept it, which made it much easier for me to go bald from chemo.

I also joined a "Boom BQ," where we made hair booms out of donated hair and fur stuffed into cut panty hose.

10. I've been on a paleontological dig -- only about 60 miles from home.

I hold a sea urchin spine whose estimated age is between 30 and 40 million years old. I was told I could take the spine home with me because the quarry is filled with them. These fragments are part of what forms Florida's bedrock. More photos from the dig.

11. I've lived happily without a TV since May 2011, but I do watch shows online. I've especially become a fan of South Korean sageuks (historical dramas) and am currently watching my fifth one. My favorite so far is Secret Door.

12. I am a Trekkie going back to 1966 and love the podcast Mission Log.

13. My absolute favorite type of coffee is Indian Monsoon Malabar, though most times I drink Seattle's Best #5 ("dark, intense"). I had discovered Monsoon Malabar at the now-defunct Coffee Connection in Harvard Square from when I lived in Massachusetts. My favorite tea is Guayaki's Mate Chocolatte.

14. Except for cancer treatment (when I used baby wash), my shower soap is Maja. I had taken a bar with me on my Galapagos trip, and it was the perfect touch of luxury on the one day during that week when our boat was in port and we could shower -- in cold water, with one person using the tap at a time.

15. I've kept a journal for decades. Its words number in the millions. A notebook always travels with me.

Journal notebooks. I've filled several more since I took these shots.

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