Twenty Things You Don’t Know About Me, Part II

O.K., so I added the story to #4 on Part I of this list (posted yesterday) so you all do not have to plow through my self-indulgent crap fanfic.

Also, Nellie, Augustick and Caty are being tremendously indulgent with me too. 🙂

8. I am most successful when I am not paying attention. I just kept taking classes until the school notified me that I had completed my AA degree. The longest story I ever completed, I wasn’t even trying to write a story that long. I just sort of kept writing until it was done. I stumbled onto a subject of historical study no one had really looked at before. I finished a 5K because I was talking to a friend and just not noticing what I was doing. So I try not to be goal oriented and flog myself, which just makes me collapse and fail in guilt. I just go on doing my thing until I get to the top of the mountain and say, “Oh Hey…” Think of as living by pleasant surprise rather than self-satisfaction. It’s the way my life works best.

9. What goals I do have are pretty modest. A quiet little home in the middle of the woods with an internet connection and plenty of time to read and take long walks with the pups. There are things I want to do, like climbing the stairs of Mount Tai to watch the sun rise and visit the Taoist temples, visiting Varanasi for a festival, kayak or swim with (baleen) whales or dolphins in the ocean. I’d like to get a job in the field of history. But, y’know, getting to the top of my field, climbing the corporate (or otherwise) ladder, being famous, etc.? Not my thing. Never really has been. If anything motivates me, it’s curiosity rather than ambition.

Y’know, and outrage. 😉

10. I vape. Which means I “smoke” (though nothing is burning) e-cigarettes. I love them. I get my nicotine fix at a greatly reduced carcinogen risk without tar and poisonous crap R.J. Reynolds puts in commercial cigarettes. Plus, they taste like vanilla or cinnamon or grape (or any number of flavors). Not “vanilla added to tobacco” either. Straight up vanilla. So I don’t smell or taste like a smoker.

It’s also a helluva lot of cheaper than cigarettes if you buy cartridges or “tanks” you can fill yourself.

(I hope I am not being insensitive to Nellie.)

11. I enjoy rock climbing and when I lived in Southern California, I did so frequently in Joshua Tree National Park. I have not tried multi-pitch climbs yet. I have no interest climbing ice in any form. As one of my climbing instructors put it, without drama, “It’s alive.” Eastern North Carolina is very flat, so I have not been since I moved here coming up on nine years ago. 😦

12. I have sky dived. My brother-in-law had done a tandem dive and he loved it. He told me, “You’re so high up, you can’t conceptualize it. It’s like jumping into a big matte painting.” Since I am a bit of a thrill seeker, I decided to skip the tandem dive and take the first lesson. Maybe I would like it. If I did, the tandem dive would be a waste of money. So I took a morning’s worth of classes and then went up in the afternoon to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

I was the first up.

The aircraft door rolled open. I looked down and said to myself.

“I CAN CONCEPTUALIZE JUST FINE!”

I froze. I just completely froze and there was a line of people waiting to jump after me. The pilot had to fly all the way through the drop zone and circle back because I simply couldn’t move. Finally, the instructor said “If you want, you can come back and try another time.”

Well, hell. I wasn’t going to do that. And I think I had embarrassed myself just about enough.

But when that door rolled open again…

To this day, I am not sure if I jumped or I was pushed.

So we fell (which feels nothing like falling), ran through the practice drills and I opened my chute.

Then the ride was amazing. From where we were at two miles up I could see all the way out to the silvered ocean as the sun began to set. That part of it was a wonderful experience.

When I landed, I was bang on target and remained standing.

Boo-ya.

Then I gathered my chute wrong, the wind grabbed  it and slammed me down on my side, dislocating my shoulder. One of the staff was able to pop it back into place (I have to keep exercising though to keep the muscle built up or it can pop out again) . But I got to tell you, the combination of adrenaline and endorphins? Those are some goooood drugs man.

The way I see it, what I enjoyed was the “wrong part” of sky diving. I’d glad I did it. I will never do it again. Unless, y’know, I’m not in a perfectly good airplane.

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2 thoughts on “Twenty Things You Don’t Know About Me, Part II

    • Trust me, I did not feel impressive. 😀

      I have been looking at the Tumbleweed designs for two years now. 🙂 The big hiccup for me is stairs that the ‘oggies can get up and down. They’re used to sleeping in the same room with me so, I couldn’t possibly leave them on another floor. One design I found used a sloped roof rather than a pitched one (It’s the second video here: https://kiplingkat.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/small-living/), which allowed more headspace to the top so they could use real stairs. (Note they also have a dog.) I’ve been playing around with the basic Tumbleweed design, incorporating ideas from other designs. I think I would have the kitchen in the front, the bathroom across the back with a reading nook (book shelves, my great-grandfather’s chair tucked under the stairs and the family desk) in front of it. The living room space in between with a built in couch with lots of comfy cushions and the coffee/dining table stored underneath it. I would use the family sideboard as the entertainment center under the wall-mounted flat-screen TV. In the 24 foot model it would work and with it all being open (except the bathroom of course) it wouldn’t feel cramped. Or at least not too cramped. I think I would use a mirror on the siding door of the bathroom, so that would add the impression of a little more space too.

      Drawer refrigerator, induction burners, convection oven/microwave. A compact clothes washer and I would hang dry things (I’m doing that already). Solar panels mounted outside to stay off the grid as much as possible. I would use mostly electric heat, with a marine propane heater for emergencies if I went completely off the grid. I would install a carpeted runner shelf for the cats to get between the two lofts and put the cat boxes in the smaller front loft with a ventilator fan. (I’m very good about cleaning my cat boxes, but you never know if someone is going to leave something particularly stinky while one is out.) That whole front loft would just be the cat area which I would access by a ladder I can hang against the wall when not in use.

      And of course a yard for the dogs to run around in because even with their hour long walk every morning, this might feel cramped to them when they start to roughhouse.

      Regular white walls (I would use SIPs, Structurally Insulated Panels), blue accents with the couch cushions, rug (the place would have almost entirely hardwood floors), chair and curtains, and then the dark wood of the antiques and the book shelves. I think it would look quite nice.

      The wrench would be I would have to give up two family pieces of furniture (a lovely dressing table and a massive dresser) and at least half my comic book collection. But hey ho, I have too much stuff anyway. 🙂

      Comming to the realization that I am not a goal oriented person, yet have had a pretty good life, has been a little liberating. We are such a goal oriented society, I’ve spent most of my life feeling like failure. I’m not.

      I think this has also given me the right mindset where I can tackle my book: Don’t try to write a book. Just write.

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