What I Learned in May

What I Learned in May

Some months are filled with heavy life lessons. Other months are a bit more carefree, passing through without leaving too deep of an impression. For me, May has been a lighter month; to be honest, this has come as a bit of a relief. I did pick up quite a bit of interesting trivia, though, as well as a couple of random personal lessons. Here is my lighthearted list of things I learned in May.


1. The very first speeding infraction in the United States was committed by a New York City taxi driver named Jacob German in 1899. German, who was driving his electric car at a speed of 12 miles per hour (on a street with a speed limit of 8 miles per hour) was arrested by a police man on a bicycle and spent one night in prison for his reckless driving.

2. Taco Bell was the first fast food restaurant to offer free soft drink refills. I always knew I liked Taco Bell!

Taco Bell Beverages

3. Unfortunately, I learned firsthand this month that adults can get ear infections. And an ear infection at 30 is just as uncomfortable as it was when I was a kid.

4. This month, the Social Security Administration released its list of the most popular baby names given to babies in the United States in 2013. (For a name enthusiast like myself, the annual release of this list is a highlight of the year!) In 2013, Noah unseated Jacob to become the new Number 1 boys’ name. Noah is only the seventh name ever to hold the Number 1 spot for boys. Previous names to hold this position are Jacob, Michael, David, Robert, James, and John. I find it fascinating that, with the exception of Robert, all have been Biblical names.

Social Security Names 2013

5. Per the circumstances I addressed in my Mother’s Day post, Luke and I are starting to dip our toes into the vast waters of adoption. We attended our first information meeting and learned of the numerous types of adoption, including embryo adoption, a concept that was new to me. I was surprised to learn that embryo adoptions are frequently done as open adoptions.

6. When taking pictures for my Smoothie Love post, I discovered that food photography is a whole lot harder than it looks. My biggest takeaway from the experience was the importance of natural lighting; it really does make all the difference! Though I don’t see a career as a food blogger in my future, I had a lot of fun “playing” with my food!

Smoothe Photo Shoot

7. The term “gung ho” (as in, “I am really gung ho about random trivia”) is an anglicized pronunciation of a Chinese phrase meaning “work together.” The term was picked up during World War II by a Marine who wanted to promote the industrious spirit he had witnessed in the members of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives.

8. A recent poll surveyed more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. about their favorite books of all time. Not surprisingly, the Bible took the top spot, followed by Gone With the Wind (a book I have yet to read) and the Harry Potter series. The biggest shocker, to me at least, was the book that claimed the sixth spot: Moby Dick. No offense to any Moby Dick lovers out there . . . but I think it is probably the worst book I have ever read, and I’ve never met anyone who disagreed with me. The fact that Moby Dick ranked at all leads me to question the legitimacy of the survey.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 2.54.08 PM

9. I have a long-standing love affair with all-things-personality. In the past, my attention has been focused primarily on Myers Briggs (any other INFJs out there?!), but recently I’ve started to explore the Enneagram. I had assumed this was a new thing, since I’ve only been hearing about it for the last couple of years, so I was surprised to learn that the principles behind the Enneagram of Personality date back to the 4th century.


10. After taking a few different tests, and reading the summaries of the nine personality types, I am fairly certain that I am a one with a two wing. (If you are unfamiliar with the Enneagram, this means that I am driven by my need to be perfect.) I told a friend my results and she laughed – not at the fact that I am, above all else, a perfectionist, but at my felt need to take a test to tell me I was a perfectionist. She has a point. Now that I know my own type, I’m working to identify the types of all of my friends and family members – it’s a big job, but somebody’s got to do it!

Enneagram Results

11. While we’re on the topic of personalities, I learned this month that there are scientifically proven links between creativity and mood disorders, particularly bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In other words, creativity and craziness are just two different manifestations of the same personality traits.

12. Finally, I learned this month not to trust movie reviews. I had heard nothing good about The Monuments Men, but Luke and I both thought it looked promising, so we took a chance and rented it from RedBox – and we both loved it! I’m not sure where all the negativity is coming from, because I thought it was a seriously good movie with a fascinating story and an excellent cast!

The Monuments Men

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What has May been like for you: have you been learning deep lessons, or like me, has your learning been a bit more lighthearted? Leave a comment to let me know one thing you are taking away from the month of May! And head on over to Chatting at the Sky to learn what other bloggers have been learning and experiencing lately.

  • The baby name list! I hadn’t seen it yet. I am so thrilled that my Jacob’s name is not number one anymore. When I named my almost 23-year-old that, we knew no one except an elderly gentleman and a teen in our town with that name. Then the floodgates opened in the late 90’s and Jacob was #1…for 14 years!!! Now my youngest is named Ethan which was #2 behind Jacob in 2009. I can’t seem to choose a unique name to save my life!

    Moby Dick? My thoughts exactly.

    My husband wants to see Monument Men. I’m glad to see a positive review of it.

    Thanks for sharing all these interesting facts!

    • I guess you just have a flair for picking popular names! Jacob and Ethan are both very nice names, but I understand your feelings – I like unusual/less popular names and am worried I will pick names for my future children that are relatively obscure, only to have them shoot up in popularity. I mean, who would have ever expected Noah to be #1?!

      Glad you are with me on Moby Dicky. I wonder if the people who cited it as their favorite movie were doing it as a joke . . . or maybe they hadn’t read the book and thought it sounded like a “smart” pick? I’m telling myself these things so I don’t have to think about actual Moby Dick fans out there. . . .

  • Fellow INFJ here! Though no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to pin down my Enneagram type. I probably just need to spend more time thinking it over.

    I haven’t read Moby Dick (though Gone with the Wind is one of my faves!), but Grapes of Wrath makes me question the whole thing. Really? Maybe it’s Steinbeck’s most famous, but it’s definitely not his best, IMO.

    I love looking at baby name popularity too! (Have you ever played with the name voyageur from Baby Name Wizard? So addicting and fascinating!) Our first is due in August, and we’re determined to pick something that’s not a top 10. I’m Ashley (which was one of those obnoxious trend names) and my husband is Jacob (which is less trendy but more overall popular), so we want to give our kids a fighting chance at a somewhat unique name!

    • I’ve heard that INFJs are frequently 1s or 4s. . . maybe that helps?! I actually enjoyed Grapes of Wrath, though the movie wasn’t very good. Haven’t read anything else by Steinbeck, though. Congrats on your baby-to-be! Good luck on choosing the perfectly unique name! On the plus side, even the most popular names today are less popular (given to few babies) than the popular names of the past – relieves the pressure a bit, I suppose. I need to try out the Baby Name Wizard, that sounds interesting!

  • I’m an INFJ too!! Looking into the enneagram now, so many people have mentioned it lately! I’m so excited I found your blog through the link up! I’m also laughing that the first speeder was arrested by a police on a bike. I don’t know why but I have a hilarious image in my head!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kailey! That story cracks me up as well – I can’t stop seeing a modern car and bicycle, and it it is just such a funny image. I can’t believe how many INFJs there are! I believe it is the most rare type, but I have met many lately; perhaps it’s just the circles I run in. You will love the Enneagram, though I have to warn you that it can become very addicting!

  • I love this list, Kendra! #1 and #7–so random and funny! (Also, I’m a word nerd so I love learning the history of words).
    And numbers 9 and 10–I’ve been intrigued by the Enneagram this month as well! Did you hear Tsh Oxenreider’s podcast with Leigh Kramer? That’s what got me interested in pursuing it more. I’d like to read some more, but I’m pretty sure I’m also a 1. I totally relate in so many areas, and even looking back at my childhood, I can see it. Also–I love that specific graphic of the Enneagram (in #9) and have been trying to find it everywhere. Yay!

    • Thanks Naomi! I read on your list that you were also looking into the Enneagram – I was going to comment and ask what type you were, but I was reading on my phone and couldn’t figure out the comments. Just from reading your blog, I wondered if you were a 1. . . we seem to have a lot in common! Do you know your Myers Briggs type?

  • Fun list, Kendra!! you are the 2nd person I’ve heard mention the Enneagram today– must check it out! Thanks for sharing all these things!

  • I’m with you on The Monuments Men. I thought it was a great movie and it’s based on a true story! I was deeply moved by the fierce devotion to preserve art, which represents our history.
    (I’m an INTJ)