Posts Tagged ‘Fun’

I never ate in a cafeteria until college. Malls and hospitals might have been the closest I ever came to seeing what most children saw in school everyday growing up.

I was homeschooled. My experience, or lack of experience, with cafeterias is just one example of the many things that make me just a little bit different from the traditional school population. I found that most of these things are like cafeterias, most people would say that I didn’t miss much.

I didn’t see friends in class everyday. But if I finished my school work as efficiently as possible and I could spend most of the day playing with friends.

I never did a group project. But I learned to do everything on my own.

I never had specialized teachers with knowledge about specific topics. But I learned how to find a book on anything I wanted to know about.

I never had competition with other students. But I learned to challenge myself and compete with my own abilities to get better.

I couldn’t be in an honors program, no matter how well I did. But I learned to excel for its own sake without the need for recognition.

I never had any sort of dress code. But I learned that you probably won’t get anything done while you are still wearing pajamas.

I never got to stay home sick. But I learned to get work done even if I did it in bed.

I could never leave school. But I learned that even when you can physically leave school at the end of the day, you never stop learning.

I never had a list of extra-curricular activities offered to me. But I learned how to find any activity I wanted and get involved.

I never rode a school bus. But I never had to wait outside for the bus or missed it.

I didn’t have a class of people who became my automatic friends. But I learned I could make friends anywhere.

I never had a class of people exclusively my age. But I learned to be friends with people of any age.

I never fought with kids at school. But I learned that I had to resolve every fight with my three siblings because we couldn’t escape each other.

I never had a schedule made for me. But I learned to make my own schedule and get things done.

I never got sent to the principals office or a detention. But if I did anything wrong, my parents knew exactly what it was.

I never had a summer reading list. But I always made my own list that was impossibly long.\

I never had people tell me what was cool. But I got to decide for myself.

I never had a crush on a cute boy in my class. But I was never rejected or hurt.

I was never one of the popular kids. But I never learned to care about popularity or what other people thought of me.

I never had P.E. But I learned to like exercising.

I never got bullied. But I knew what it was like to be alone.

I never felt peer pressured. But I felt enough pressure from my parents and myself to make up for that.

I never ate with friends in the lunch room. But I never felt segregation, stereotyped, or excluded.

I never ate cafeteria food. But I learned how to make good choices about the food I ate.


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Word-a-DayMy calendar thinks I am an idiot. It thinks I need a definition for Sweden.

You would have to be a relative of the 2007 Miss South Carolina Teen USA for this to be truly useful. You would probably also call it “the Sweden.”

I’ll be the first to admit I could not give a one paragraph summary of Sweden’s history dating back to the Neolithic times, like my calendar did. However, that seems a bit superfluous to me, as long as we are talking about practical knowledge.

I gave up learning subjects that are generally irrelevant to my life after I finished algebra in college. I’d rather know about the current affairs of Swedish politics.

This definition was accompanied by a tiny picture depMiss South Carolinaicting Sweden as adjacent to Norway and Finland, as if no one knows. Really, I have no need for this little picture explaining Sweden’s whereabouts.

I’d have a picture of the calendar for you like my normal word-of-the-day posts, but ironically I’ve lost my little map of Sweden.

Luckily for me I actually have real maps, unlike some “U.S. Americans.”

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LycanthropyNancy Drew taught me about werewolves.

A while back, my roommate,  who aspires to be a doctor, had been telling me she was trying to get an internship in lichenology.

Being the brilliant individual that I am and only half paying attention, I was suddenly intrigued and confused.

“You’re going to study werewolves?” I asked, as I wondered what on earth she was talking about.

Now she was confused. “Werewolves? No, it’s tree fungus.”

LichensIt dawned on me that we were not talking about the same thing. I had to explain to her that I had gotten the words confused for a second, and my mind had thought “lycanthropy,” when she said “lichenology.” Which made much more sense, because she would be excited about lichens.

And I would know what lycanthropy means. It was in a Nancy Drew computer game I played as a kid. This woman thought she was turning into a werewolf and you had to solve the mystery. Naturally.

I saw this word on my calendar and just laughed. Oh, I knew the answer was A. And I was almost surprised that lichenology was not one of the options to try to trick me.

Rotary Club    Members only    Frances Brady    5/17/2009
Joyce Foundation    Policy, not practice    Frances Brady    6/3/2009
Allstate Foundation    Exclusively existing partners, teen driving and domestic violence     Shannon McFarland    6/1/2009
Grainger Foundation    Exclusively disaster relief and technical education    Shannon McFarland    6/1/2009
Motorola Fountation    Exclusively math/science education, disaster relief and technology in developing countries    Shannon McFarland    6/1/2009
Irving Harris Foundation    Exclusively children    Shannon McFarland    6/1/2009
John Deere Foundation    Prefers direct benefit for employees and neighboring communities    Shannon McFarland    6/1/2009
Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation    Exclusively conservation and artistic expression    Shannon McFarland    6/1/2009

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Question?Try to match the definition with the correct word. You can leave a comment and explain why you choose that answer. I’ll post the actual answer from my calendar later, so you don’t have to suffer over the question forever. Or go through the work of looking it up yourself.

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Have you always wondered what single word can be used to describe an unusually elongated depression between geologic faults?

word 001

Well, wonder no longer!


See it? This is a graben.

Graben is your word, the useless vocabulary you needed to complete your day. Now you can freely converse about the unusual length of the indent in the dirt.

My calendar has enlightened me once again, contributing to my life a word that I never knew I needed. And likely will never need. As my calendar has shared it with me, I now share it with you. Enjoy.

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Last weekend, I found one of my friends looking distraught and tear-tainted. After asking if she was ok, she explained that she might be pregnant.

Yeah. Having a kid before you are out of college is, well, not exactly in the blueprint for success.

She couldn’t even take a pregnancy test because it was late afternoon on a Saturday and the pharmacy on our block was closed. Peace of mind was not exactly possible at the moment. pregnant

Ever the problem solver, I looked up the nearest 24 hour pharmacy and dragged her to it. Letting her sit around thinking of the possibilities and problems was not going to help. Begin the adventure.

Once we were walking towards our destination, the humor of the situation began to surface. We cracked some jokes, and almost started to enjoy the total awkwardness of the situation. There was still hope that it would turn out to be nothing.

Among other things, our shopping list included:

Pregnancy test


Juno (the movie)

It reminded me of something you would see on the grocery lists blog. Really, what better to watch while taking a pregnancy test than Juno? All we needed to add was some Sunny D.

Two closed pharmacies away, we eventually found the 24 hour one. And then we located the tests, locked in a clear plastic case, presumably so embarrassed customers can’t steal them. We glanced around, unsure of whom to ask for assistance. There was a big button next to the case with instructions to push the button for assistance. But my friend wanted to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to ourselves.

So I flagged a guy who worked there and asked him if he could unlock the case. He replied that he didn’t have the key, but someone with a key would come –when you push the button. And then he pushed it.

Following a loud beeping noise and a few announcements to the entire store that “customer assistance is needed in the personal care aisle,” a girl with a key arrived. She opened the case, and my friend hastily grabbed a test.

A short while later, after dipping two sticks in a cup of pee, watching Juno, and eating some chocolate, we finally concluded she was not pregnant.

The next day was Mother’s Day.

So my not-pregnant friend, if you are reading this, I love you –and I’m so glad you’re not a mother yet.

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cowswhitesAs a young child, asking questions was one of my specialties. I liked to know how things worked and thought there were plenty of interesting, and also delicious, things to think about at the grocery store.

There were two things that were of particular interest: eggs and milk. Specifically arousing my curiosity was my observation that these two cowsbrownitems came in two colors, white and brown. I knew from everything I had been told that chickens made eggs and cows made milk. The discrepancy in color led me to conclude that the different hues also came from different color animals. White eggs must come from white chickens. Brown eggs must come from brown chickens. White milk must come from white cows. White ChickensBrown milk must come from brown cows.

I didn’t know where spotted cows and chickens came in to my equation.

Later in my questioning career I found evidence that this was not the case, and my hypothesis was false. I learned that the color of the product was not Brown Chickensdictated by the color of the animal. I also found that while certain chickens just popped out brown eggs, people had tampered with the milk, adding chocolate to make it brown.

Although I was ultimately proven wrong, I had successfully been using the scientific method without even realizing it. All I did was observe, try to explain, and test my guesses –but that is the very heart of science.

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