Welcome to Take Two of February’s Secret Subject Swap. This week, 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com

http://sadderbutwiser.wordpress.com/

http://suburbiainterrupted.com/

http://stacysewsandschools.wordpress.com/

xcartwright.blogspot.com

http://snarkfestblog.blogspot.com/

http://www.themommyref.blogspot.com/

http://www.comeplayinthekitchen.com/

http://macdonaldsplayland.blogspot.com

http://www.theadventuresofthefamilypants.com

http://adventuresinhickeyland.blogspot.com

http://dawnsdisaster.blogspot.com/

http://sorrykid.blogspot.com

www.theblacksheepmom.blogspot.com

My subject is “No one knows, but my favorite thing is ________ because __________” and it was submitted by: http://dawnsdisaster.blogspot.com/ Here goes:

Baking In A Tornado

Well, this is a tricky subject. I mean, I’m pretty much an open book. Ask anyone who knows me — I’m an opinionated, heart-on-her-sleeve, indoor kinda gal with a passion for cooking/baking, writing, crafts…I’m not terribly unpredictable. At all. Oh don’t think that doesn’t mean I don’t get hair-brained ideas or get a little wild and crazy at times. But it’s usually not an out-of-the-blue “where the heck did that come from?” kinda thing. Not usually. Most of my family and friends know my likes, dislikes, subjects I’m likely to embrace or rant about, favorite colors (purple, blue, black, white), favorite foods (pastas, fruits, chocolate and more chocolate!), favorite types of music, art, etc. or at least pieces if they can’t narrow it down and need to generalize. So. Is there a secret passion I have that no one has discovered yet?? Plus, in this house it’s hard to keep a secret…ask my kids. They hate that!

Well…Maybe there is something after all that might surprise a few people. I’ll start with something small that people may not know…

Though I’m not really an “outdoor gal”, I do enjoy letterboxing (www.letterboxing.org) and geocaching (www.geocaching.com). Both are like a treasure hunt, which is probably what intrigues me and why I actually am more inclined to participate. People go through a lot of trouble to hide the boxes, post the clues. I really am a huge fan. You can find letterboxes and caches just about anywhere and everywhere. They are very easy “sports” to engage in. And child-friendly. Which helps when you’re a mom of six who needs to find some way to engage her children in “outdoor” tihngs even if you’re not an “outdoor gal”…

Other than that, I seriously dislike a lot about the outdoors. If you were to meet me, you would see what I mean…I do not look the least bit athletic. I look like I — ahem! — bake. A lot. But as a woman of a more advanced age (no I am NOT old!!! just…”older” than I was, say five or ten or so years ago…), it may be slow going. And I don’t like to sweat. Not ever. It grosses me out. A LOT! However, if there is dancing involved I may be inclined to sweat just a bit. But that’s an indoor activity, which means air conditioning is a very real possibility!!! Finally…I can NOT abide things that crawl…such as bugs. You can have them! I don’t want to be walking through the woods and attract ticks, mosquitoes, spiders…And that isn’t even the half of it — there are other things in the woods or in nature that I’m not a huge fan of…like snakes, ew! I am afraid of even the little garter snakes my sons find. And mice. Oh-M-G I am paranoid of mice! When I was pregnant with my now 8 year old son, we had a few mice in the house (we live in a very rural area — not good for someone who is not a fan of creatures). I jumped up on top of the table — at 7 1/2 months pregnant, mind you — because I thought I saw a mouse. My children have to come to my rescue for anything that is alive and not a domestic, intentional pet — you know, like a dog. Or possibly a cat (though I’m allergic). Maybe even a goldfish — because if it’s swimming in its tank I know it can’t get me. Yeah, I’m not terribly brave…And that’s one issue that is not going to be resolved any time in the near future between me and the Great Outdoors, though I am working on it.

So I dislike a lot about the outdoors. Oddly enough, I’m drawn to pictures of landscapes, flowers, birds…I guess on canvas or print, there are no bugs or other creepy crawly things — and no chance of any jumping out. You know, to get me. I realize I’m way bigger, and that the thought of, say, an ant causing me major bodily damage is ridiculous. But. Yeah…not an “outdoor gal”…

So this may surprise most people (except probably the very few who know me extremely well). Ready???

Well — I love kayaking!! Yeah, it’s an outdoor kinda thing. You probably don’t even believe me after all the rants about my fear of the Great Outdoors! And oh yeah — though I live in Pennsylvania, not too far from the Susquehanna River and the Conestoga River and…well, a few more small bodies of water — I’ve only ever been kayaking in Maine. I mean maybe two vacations’ worth – maybe something like 14 days out of my entire life total. But I kayaked my heart out. Every day, weather permitting. And even a little when it wasn’t so permitting. Since I’m such an “indoor gal”, this would surprise most people.

What do I like about it? Hmmm — I really can’t even put it into words. Because secretly, between you and me — and now the internet — I’m terrified of sharks. I have no idea why. Never been in the water when one was sighted, have had no traumatic shark experiences at a zoo or aquarium or anything remotely close. Once I let my nephew pet one at an exhibit on the boardwalk…I didn’t go too near it of course. It was a small little thing (from afar). In a tank. Like a controlled exhibit. But I don’t like anything about them. I mean their teeth regenerate after they lose one! What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks?! Do any other creatures do that?? I confess I haven’t researched it — I am kinda scared to know! But yeah…I’m afraid to watch Jaws, let alone Soul Surfer (though I peeked at bits of that one from the dining room). So most oceans scare me to death. And again where was I kayaking on the two vacations I actually kayaked?? In the Atlantic Ocean!!! First of all, Maine is the backdrop for most of Stephen King’s gory stories, so why was I taking a chance in the ocean off the coast of Maine????! I don’t know — but I loved it!

I loved being on the water, feeling close to nature in a way I might not have ever been before…You can see a lot of things much more clearly – things you may otherwise have missed if you were, say, on land. For instance, I saw mussels clinging to a patch of rock that jutted out of the water only at low tide, which was too far away from the shoreline to see. Except in a kayak. I got to see lobster traps (um, “lobstah” for the Maine readers…) up close and personal. Boats, fish, seagulls, these cool ducks that dive under the water and resurface elsewhere. You can actually see some of those things from the shore, but it’s oh-so-friggin’-cool when you’re in a kayak. On another trek, at the last house we rented on the coast, kayaks were included in the rental. It was easier to kayak to my husband’s grandfather’s house than it was to drive from the rental house up the coast and down around the point to his house. Kayaking — 5 minutes. Driving — maybe 20…depending on traffic. But — Off in the not-terribly-far distance from the rental house was a small island. Where bald eagles were nesting. On the opposite side where we would not have seen them. I got in real close with the kayak and took pictures with my video camera, which had an awesome zoom lens too! The ability to glide across the water powered by my own body was — exhiliarating. Racing my husband across the small cove…exciting. Paddling in the busy ocean amid lobster boats at sunrise, seeing the men at work in the glistening light…incredible. Swishing back toward the shore while the dusk fell upon the land and the waters were smooth like glass, still and silent…breathtaking.

So yeah — love love love kayaking!!! Which I guess is not quite such a secret anymore!!!

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