Saturday, August 12, 2006

Five Weird Things

As part of the meme going around the bloggosphere, Wade ‘tagged’ me to identify five weird things about myself. Narrowing down the list was hard – e.g. do the giant one-eyed white cat (now deceased), and the constant presence of Lithuanians in my life count? Where is Lithuania, anyway? (Don’t worry, I know exactly where it is!) But here goes:

1. I can’t swim. Yes, I know Canada is cold at least one month of the year, but it does have a lot of lakes, ocean shoreline, swimming pools, etc., plus the colony of Florida, so the opportunity is there. Despite repeated attempts to learn, I cannot master the breathing technique involved. I love the water, I love to canoe (and am quite fast), I’ve done more than a little portaging and whitewater, and can finally make my way across the length of a small backyard pool. But that is my limit. Fortunately, Momma Bear has every lifeguard designation imaginable. The Bear loves the water, so we’ll see who’s genes she has inherited.

2. I like to travel on my own. While I also enjoy vacations with others, and have gone away with family, large groups, small groups, girlfriends, and now Momma Bear (not yet with the Bear, but soon), I’m quite comfortable going on my own. I went to Israel by myself and worked on a kibbutz for four months (not a southern kibbutz where one hangs out with other non-Israelis, but a smaller northern kibbutz where I was at times the only volunteer). I’ve also backpacked and EurRailed around Europe by myself, from Norway and Finland to Greece and Italy, including through what was once East Germany and Yugoslavia. I also studied abroad with a girlfriend, and when we broke up I again went off traveling by myself for a bit. Whenever I wanted company it was never an issue to meet people and temporarily travel with them, but when it was time to move on, so be it. I would feel quite comfortable doing the same today, but confess that I would much rather go with the Bear and Momma Bear.

3. I love cartoons. I’ll date myself by mentioning The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny (for which I will drop almost anything), Tweety & Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, the Roadrunner & Wile E Coyote, etc. I’m not so big on the more up-to-date stuff, but I will confess to having to be dragged out of Entertainment departments in stores when 'Ice Age' or 'Monsters, Inc' have been playing.

4. I designed our house. I don’t mean rough sketches, but a proper blueprint-ready design. When we were ready to trade up, my wife and I hunted on weekends for a house that we liked. She also went looking during the week. For two years she scoured our region (we had the gas bills and mileage to prove it). When we couldn’t find anything, she switched to looking for land so that we could build to our own design. Once we found land, we went looking for a design, but again couldn’t find anything that was ‘just right’, so I got a couple of good books on design, figured out how to do it (including sizing – e.g. size rooms to match construction material sizing to keep costs in line), and drew up my own design (obviously with input and approval from Momma Bear). When done, we found a contractor to build it, and he turned it into final blueprints first. He didn’t have to change a thing.

My only regret is that the master bedroom is downstairs, while the rest of the bedrooms are upstairs. The theory was that the kids would be five and under for five years and teenagers for seven. I’m paying for that now.

5. I won a weight loss contest, losing 46 lbs in 77 days. We had a contest at work to see who could lose the largest percentage of their starting body weight. The contest ran from early January to end of March. Everyone put in $100 each, and the person who won took the pot, with second and third place getting their money back. There were twelve of us. I weighed in at 197 lbs (I’m 6 feet tall). It was during the time that we were building the house, and I wanted to use the money to pay for a Jaccuzi. I’m also way too cheap to give away $100. So I dieted (proper nutrition in small quantities and vitamins), exercised (at one point I was walking up 100 floors per day – yes, 100 floors), and the weight melted away. I had no idea how the others were doing except during the two early weigh-ins (in which a couple of others were close), so I just kept going. By the end of the contest I was down to 151 lbs, which in perspective is four pounds less than I weighed in undergrad. No one else was even close. Yes, I can be a bit competitive.

I used the money to buy a two person Jaccuzi (well, the contest paid for most of it). We’ve used the Jacuzzi three times in five years (all in the first two months). Today it holds the Bear’s bath tub, where my wife baths her. I now weigh around 180 lbs, having put most of the weight back on within three months.

So, now it’s my turn to tag three people. I tag:

María Luján (I’ll guest host if you want, but I see no reason that you should escape this)



Sorry all.

And Wade, starting a new meme tradition, in retaliation I just signed you up for the Lithuanian Wine of the Month club. ;-)


Wade Rankin said...

Mmmmmm, Lithuanian wine. [Wade drools on self.]

Shawn said...

Only five?!

OK, I can narrow down the list too. Here it is:

kyra said...

ian! your five are so impressive! designing a house! losing all that weight! exotic travel on your own! how inspiring. i'm afraid mine would only be embarrassing. cartoons are fun, aren't they? my husband draws them all day.

Ian Parker said...

Wade, I'm still cracking up at your comment.

Shawn, the biofeedback sounds pretty cool. Drinking water upside down doesn't work that well for those of us who haven't managed to learn to breathe under water.

Kyra, you haven't seen the house! Cartoons are a lot of fun, until your wife has to drag you away from the wide screen TV playing 'Monsters, Inc.' in front of all of the other kids.

María Luján said...


Well, being tagged I will honor the duties

Therefore, first thank you Ian :) for allow me to present here them.

Now, Five Weird things about me

1-I used to talk to myself frequently ( driving at the car ) even when I only talk very much with very few people- my mom, 1 or 2 close friends.. I am extremely enthusiastic with my work and use to talk loud while thinking. I am not an easy company in my office.
2-I like to wear 5 to 10 cm shoes height, even when I am near 1.80 m or 5 f 11 i (OK?) therefore when I wear these shoes I am really tall. My husband heights near 1.87 m therefore it is OK for us. Many people ask me why do I wear these shoes if I am tall. Well, I can only say that I like it. This situation has generated you know nicknames applied to me such as “Eiffelita”- Little Eiffel in english, “ giraffe”, etc. But still I like it. After adolescence, fortunately self esteem well thanks. During, forget it. Getting older I think.
3-People who knows me since several years to now at work ( out of work, at the family) call me “like wind”.I use to walk fast and I am very expeditive. I weight near 67 Kg therefore it is not that I am going to carry a bunch of people if I crash them -when accidents happen –because they DO happen for my embarrassment- generally I have the worst part because I have some tendency to fall down. Even when I have been defined as “ in her own world”, it is very difficult for me to pay attention to faces or what is happening around when I am thinking and I concentrate very much almost always. Therefore imagine “ a wave of wind in her own world saying hi to nobody looking for a coffee walking fast” has been my definition in a busy day at work. It is not my intention, I do not see them. I am very bad with names, faces recognition only a bit better, phones and to discriminate between left and right (I always need to see my hands first because I easily confuse one another)
4-I am a solitaire, even when I like very much to stay at home with family. I do not like big meetings with a lot of people, even with few people that I consider close. I prefer a book, a coffee if it is possible or watching cartoons/movies with the children and my husband (and I like also cartoons, including the ones that Ian mentioned here and also ones from my country: Patoruzito, Hijitus, Anteojito and now the Peques). One aspect of this is that I would have enjoyed to learn to fly planes- monoplanes.Not as a living, not as a profession, but for fun. The sensation of being alone on air in a plane must be wonderful. Perhaps some day.
5-When I talk I use to combine 3 or 4 conversations without clear distintion between one or the other. I can talk of several things at once. For example, talking about theme 1, after theme 2 and in the middle of theme 2 asking about theme 1 and so on. For people who do not know me, it is extremely confusing.
Well, now I tag who?

1-Hooray! I Did It! Way to Go!

2-More Than a Label

3-Squaregirl, when she returns

Sorry by the delay :), I was returning to work after some days at home with a flu.

María Luján

Ian Parker said...

Hi María Luján,

Thanks for the reply and for being a good sport. I quite liked your five answers, and will confess a 'slight' similarity to a couple of them - but not #2. ;-)

I also detect a love of coffee? Me too, despite the fact that it doesn't pick me up unless I want it to - I can have a coffee or tea and still fall asleep right afterwards.

The desire to learn to fly is another long-term longing. We have an airfield near by that offers flying lessons.

One day...

Joseph said...

I can’t swim.

And you claim you don't have a disability :)