26 July 2007

10 Random Facts About Me

(EDITED to add pictures since it turned out so long & I thought you might need a break.)

1. I have used pepper spray effectively on a charging grizzly. I have also used it effectively against a pissed off mama moose. (And for the record, there are more moose attacks then bear attacks on people and they can be more deadly.)
2. I have duel citizenship. I have a passport for both. The countries are Canada & the USA. I have lived in and explored much of my two countries of citizenship.

Mama Moose outside my window this past winter

3. I sit on a yoga ball at the office which prompts comments from my colleagues along the lines of “I see you’re on the ball today” and jokes about how my boss can’t afford chairs because grant X didn’t come through.

4. I have never had a television & my movie-going has been limited to winters when I’m not in the field and when I’ve lived in towns big enough to have movie theatres. Thus, I do terribly at all the celebrity-themed games. I can tell you the seven different sub-species of wild turkey (a random fact retained from college) but I cannot tell you who played that part in movie X and likely I will only know the name of the movie if it was also a book.

Horned Puffin & Common Murre on nesting shelf

5. l live in a house that is 20x30 feet (6x9 meters). I like this house quite a lot, particularly the fact that it has running water, a relatively new luxury for me. However, in a recent conversation with my grandmother she exclaimed “Out here we call that a shack!”.

6. I caught bubonic plague (aka the Black Death, you know, the one that wiped out half of Europe once) from a prairie dog bite once. Henceforth, I have always researched the zoonoses (diseases transferable between animals and humans) of my study species because the emergency room doctor just might not be familiar with the diseases that you could get from a sea lion bite.

Steller Sea Lion Bachelors

7. I bike commute to the office no matter the season. One of my sweet but slightly confused colleagues spends the winter trying to convince me to buy a vehicle because s/he thinks it is utterly impossible that I would ride by choice even though s/he knows I own a vehicle.

8. I am a compulsive walker because I go stir crazy if I don’t go for a walk at least once a day - even if I have to pace back and forth across the bow of a ship to get it.

    The Alexandra - a Russian fishing vessel I have spent considerable time on

9. My dog is named after a Filipino noodle dish because yes, he is a noodle head as you would know if you ever met him despite the fact that he is roughly the size of a juvenile black bear. And I won’t use his real name here because it’s distinctive enough that anyone who saw it and knew me would know instantly who I am.

10. I have lived in 6 different countries (in alphabetical order: Canada, Germany, Ghana, Mexico, Russia, USA) and on the sovereign Navajo Nation. I have lived someplace where -60F (-51C) was a normal winter time temperature (ColdPlace). I have lived someplace where 130F (54.5C) was a normal summer time temperature (HotPlace). When I was living in ColdPlace I looked up HotPlace in an atlas to discover that the coldest temperature ever recorded in HotPlace was the hottest temperature ever recorded in ColdPlace!

Sleeping sea otter - 'Go away, I'm sleeping!'


  1. Our lives might be polar opposites, but god damn if your life doesn't interest the hell out of me. I'd love to spend a month in your shoes.

  2. I think your life is the one that my mind is living while my hands are changing dirty diapers.

    Absolutely entrancing.

    And brave!

  3. what a wonderful way to meet you

  4. visiting you is wonderful.

    Jen has good taste.

  5. Hi!

    Thank you for the great book recommendation! I watched a movie about Marty Murie, "Arctic Dance" and she seems like an awesome person. I didn't know she had attended UAF and was the first woman to graduate. That is so cool. :) My library doesn't have a copy of "Two in the Far North", but I will order a copy off of the internet.

    Hooray for science and travelling!! I am already enjoying your blog very much. :D So nice to meet you!

  6. And if you aren't interesting, I don't know who is.

    Being bitten by a prairie dog? My greatest childhood fear come true. I'd rather be charged by a moose.

    Providing I was holding pepper spray.

  7. made the leap from jen. what an interesting life you lead. truly remarkable.

  8. I have visitors! How exciting! It's good to meet you all.

    senator murphy ~ well, if you ever come to Alaska give me a shout!

    jenn ~ awww...thanks! I'm glad you came back despite the dead fish.

    flutter, crazymumma, liv ~ thank you! You are too kind.

    jenni moody ~ Nice to meet you too! oh! I have two more recommendations for you. The author Dana Stabenow writes AK based mysteries which have a lot of fun facts in them but are easy reads and also "Mrs. Mike" which is actually about the Yukon but the Yukon & AK go back a long way together!

    jocelyn ~ laugh!

  9. jocelyn ~ I realized I have to add, that p-dog had some reason for biting me since I was putting an ear tag and a radio collar on him. And he didn't mean to give me plague - after all, both he, his family, and the entire colony were wiped out by it shortly after he bit me as p-dog are way more suceptible to plague than humans. That's how I knew I was in trouble.


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