Barbara tagged me for the "Seven Random Facts" meme.
Here are the official rules:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
So, here goes.
1. I am unusually good at remembering names. Whenever anyone at my dog park wants to know who anyone else is, they always ask me. I invariably know the first and last names of the object of enquiry, as well as their dog's name. I don't know if this is a natural skill or a product of training. Once, when I was at a leadership camp during high school, one of the stupid bonding games we played was gathering in a huge circle -- starting with our instructor, each person had to say his or her own name and go backwards around the circle and repeat the names of everyone who had gone before. I was almost at the end of a circle of about 50 people and I could not bear to make a mistake (not that I'm a perfectionist or anything), so I got all the other 45 names correct as I went back around to our leader. Everyone clapped for me when I finished. I don't know if that experience revealed a talent that already was there or was responsible for creating said talent. Either way, I now rarely forget a name.
2. I love to cook, and I believe that an important part of preparing food is being mindful during each step of the process. For example, I use different cutting boards for different types of foods, and I wash my knife and the cutting board in between cutting different types of food. I also think happy thoughts while I prepare ingredients and cook them, and I envision sending good energy into the dish. I'm convinced that all of this ritual makes the food taste better.
3. Even though my college days are long gone, I am still a total Cameron Crazy at heart. For all you non-hoops people out there, that means that I am a Duke basketball fan of the most avid variety. When I was at Duke, students got into games at Cameron Indoor Stadium on a first-come, first-served basis. This always involved a long line and frequently involved camping out in front of Cameron, sometimes for 2-3 weeks. My sophomore year, I was in charge of student crowd control in front of Cameron, which was no easy task, especially when I had to oversee the monitoring of "tent city" for weeks at a time in addition to the game-day line. In return for taking on this pain-in-ass task, I got to sit at mid-court about three rows back at all the home games. By the time all the kids who would fit finally were packed into the stadium, I would always think that I was too exhausted to stay for the game. But as soon as I entered the building the intense Cameron energy would revive me and I would stay and cheer with the best of them. It is a very special (and hot!) place.
4. I love old English cars. I inherited the old-English-car disease from my father, who taught me to drive a stick shift in his 1960-something TR 3 and gave me a 1974 MGB GT when I turned 16. I drove that car for 15 years before I finally broke down and got a "real car" (i.e., something with power steering, power windows, air conditioning, and windshield wipers that actually worked when it rained, and that could be started on cool and/or rainy days without resorting to a manual choke). I really think that if a person can drive an old English car, he or she can drive anything. If I ever strike it rich, I will buy two mint-condition Jaguar E-types (in my opinion, the most beautiful cars ever built) -- one for me; one for Daddy.
5. I have a deep appreciation for architecture, and the first thing I do when I visit a new place is simply wander around looking at all the buildings. My favorite building of all time is the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, and I consider myself incredibly lucky to live within walking distance of it. It is simply gorgeous, inside and out, and all the beautiful decorations relate to areas of knowledge. I always go to the main reading room when I need inspiration, and it never fails to provide some. I also love Washington, D.C.'s Union Station (also within walking distance). Although it is an active train station and shopping mall (complete with movie theatre), it has an incredibly peaceful and tranquil energy about it. When I was in law school at Georgetown, I would always go to Union Station, which is just a few blocks from the law center, when I needed to calm down. Thank you Daniel Burnham for designing such a wonderful building, and thank you Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Elizabeth Dole for bringing it back to life (Congress nearly bulldozed it in 1981).
6. I visited Santa Fe, New Mexico for the first time earlier this year (my first trip to any part of the American southwest) and was stunned to find myself feeling more at home there than I do in my home state of North Carolina. That's really saying something, because I love North Carolina from the eastern-most shore of its Outer Banks all the way to the western-most point of its mountains (or "hills," as my grandfather used to call them). But there is something about the energy, light, and spaciousness of the Santa Fe area of NM that feels just perfectly, exquisitely right to me. I can hardly wait to go back.
7. Thus far in life, I have had only two speeds -- "total workaholic" and "off." This past year has been my first real experiment with being in the off-mode for an extended period of time. Although it has been wonderful to have an opportunity to pause and reflect and take myself away from the pressures of the DC rat race, I think that, on balance, I do better when I have a job to keep me occupied. When I return to work, which I hope will be by the first of the year at the latest, I would like to try to find more of a middle ground, where I'm a workaholic at work but feel comfortable leaving my work in the workplace and coming home to relax. I know that this is possible because, like just about everything else in this life, it is a choice. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to put that choice into practice.
Well, that's it for my seven fun facts. More than you wanted to know, I'm sure. I think that most of my blog friends already have participated in this or a similar meme, so I can't come up with seven people to tag. I will, however, tag Jeff (who is always a good sport) and also my blog friends across the pond, Virtual Voyage and SJW. Play along only if you want.
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