1) I am a huge hockey fan. This isn't a big secret, but a lesser known fact is that I'm finally living my dream of playing the game....as a goalie. I've always been enamored with what is known as one of the craziest positions in sports, and with the friendly atmosphere of the local roller hockey pick-up games, I decided to get a set of gear off eBay, and give it a shot! So far, it's been a huge success - I've had a blast, and everyone is happy to have a real goalie to shoot at instead of the plywood they've been putting in net. Yeah, that's me in the picture below!
2) You may have gleaned this from a previous post, but for a couple years in middle/high school I dyed my hair various shades of blue, green, and purple. If you knew me as the quiet, reserved child that I was, you would have thought I was one of the least likely candidates ever to do something wild and crazy like dye my hair. It was unlikely, but whatever it was that got into me to dye my hair in the first place never left. With those first blue and green streaks, the new Monika was revealed, and the shy and quiet little girl was gone. Ever since then, I have been more self-confident, quirky, and outgoing, and people have seen the real, you-never-know-what-she's-going-to-do-next Monika. I honestly pinpoint that moment as the one where I came out of my shell. The whole experience also humbled me when I realized how different you are treated - not only by strangers, but by friends and family as well - when something as superficial as hair color is "different". See the photo under 4, below.
3) Orca Encounters wasn't actually my first book. I've always been a worry wart, and when I was eight I wrote and illustrated a children's book about how to conquer your worries and fears that my family self-published. The book, Cynthia and the Web That Worried Her, sold a few copies and was a finalist in the National Written and Illustrated By... contest for books written by and for children.
4) For two and a half years, I owned and trained a young Kiger mustang named Milo. It was challenging to say the least, as I finally found a stubborn streak that matches my own, but it was also one of the most educational. I learned a lot about myself and about animal communication. One of the hardest decisions I had to make was to sell Milo when I just didn't have the time for him while going to college. I still regret it at times, but after a four year break I've just gotten back involved with horses while helping to retrain a rescue horse here on island.
5) I am terribly afraid of flying. While I do, with enough coaxing and drug-induced relaxation, fly when I have to, it is by no means a fun experience for anyone involved. This is one thing I definitely want to work on, because many of the places I want to visit (most of them for the sake of viewing wildlife) will require me to fly. I did manage to fly across the country once earlier this year, and despite my fears, still had my camera in hand to capture the beautiful sunset:
6) Like for many other whale-lovers, my first experience with orcas was at Sea World San Diego. It was apparent from early on, though, that my fascination was deeper than for most, as when I was 12 or 13 my mom dropped me off in the morning when Sea World opened and I spent the entire day sitting next to the orca tanks, observing the behavior of the whales inbetween their shows. I got my first chance to see wild killer whales on a family vacation to Alaska in 1998, and from that point, there was no going back. It was after that trip, while researching the closest possible place to Portland, OR where you could see killer whales, that my family rediscovered the San Juan Islands, where we had been on a family trip in 1990. I've been coming back to the San Juans every year since then, staying longer and longer every summer until, this year, I will for the first time be staying here year round.
Here are the rules to the Six Random Facts Meme:
1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog.
3) Write six random things about yourself.
4) Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5) Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Jeanne at Whale of a Porpoise
Jason at Nature, Kayak, and Travel
Peggy Sue at On San Juan Island
Dave at Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Photography
Adventures in Nature
and Max at The Apartment Biologist
They're all blogs I encourage you to check out, and you can now easily keep track of them with my new blog rolls on the right!