What I Learned in November

What I Learned in November

Can you believe this year is almost over? Thanksgiving has come and gone, November is drawing to a close, and the Christmas Season is in full swing. Before I jump into the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I’m taking a moment today to reflect on a few of the interesting tidbits and life lessons that stood out to me this past month.

What I Learned in November 2014

Random Facts and Statistics I Picked Up This Month:

  • A study by Ispos (a market research company) found that the average social networker spends 3.6 hours on social media EVERY DAY! For users under the age of 35, that number is higher: a whopping 4.2 hours per day.

  • The first Starbucks—which opened in Seattle in 1971—was started by a writer, a history teacher, and an English teacher. One of the founders initially wanted to name the store “Pequod” after the Moby Dick whaling ship, but they settled on the name “Starbucks” (a Moby Dick character) instead.

  • Psychologist Brian Little found that drinking coffee can help extroverts perform tasks more efficiently. However, coffee can push introverts over their optimal level of stimulation, making tasks more challenging. As an introvert, I suppose it’s fortunate that I dislike coffee!

Coffee

  • Only nine African Americans—including Barack Obama—have served as officers in the United States Senate. This statistic shocks me! The first two African-American Senators represented Mississippi in the years following the Civil War, and the next African-American Senator did not take office until 1967.
  • Since 2003, no-fly zones have been established in the airspace over Disneyland and Disney World. The reason Disney initially petitioned for these restrictions was to prevent banner ads from flying over the parks.
  • Everything really is bigger in Texas: when the local Wal-Mart in McAllen, Texas, shut down, the city transformed the building into the largest single-floor public library in the country. The building features 16 public meeting areas, 64 computer labs, and 14 study rooms. The library even has its own cafe, auditorium, and Farmer’s Market. It sounds like a book-lover’s paradise!

Wal-Mart Library

  • I’ve always thought of Veteran’s Day as a strictly American holiday, but I learned this month that the holiday coincides with Remembrance Day (observed in Commonwealth nations) and Armistice Day (celebrated in New Zealand, France, and other countries). This year, my parents were in an Australian airport on November 11, and apparently the entire airport paused at 11:00 for a poem that was read over the loudspeakers, followed by a moment of silence.
  • Depression affects more than 26% of the adult population in the United States. The World Health Organization predicts by 2020 depression will be the second leading cause of disability and premature death in world, trailing only heart disease. Shawn Stevenson recently had a great podcast discussing natural treatments for depression; the show is long and a bit technical, but well worth checking out if you suffer from depression and are interested in alternatives to antidepressants.
  • I’ve heard of product placements in movies and television, but apparently they are now showing up in books as well, as companies have begun petitioning established authors to feature their brands and products in their books. One of the largest genres to feature product placement is children’s learning books, where titles such as The M&Ms Brand Counting Book and The Cheerios Christmas Play Book are making an appearance on bookstore shelves.

twizzlers

Lessons from the School of Life:

  • Adjective clauses, participial phrases, predicate nominatives. . . these are just a few of the new-to-me grammar concepts that I introduced to my junior high English students this month. Either I slept through grammar as a middle schooler, or my teachers did, because I have zero recollection of ever hearing these terms, let alone learning what they are. One of my students asked why they needed to know “this stuff;” I had a hard time answering him, since I seem to have gotten by just fine without understanding all these intricacies of the English language.
  • Passing a kidney stone is incredibly painful. And when you happen to be almost seven months pregnant at the time—and have NO IDEA what is going on with your body—it is unbelievably scary! On the bright side, I got some hands-on practice with pain management techniques; I’m hoping that will come in handy during labor!
  • My husband is going to be an AMAZING dad! He has already demonstrated so much love to our son: joining me in weekly childbirth classes, assembling furniture for the nursery, massaging my sore back and tired feet, and spending quality time (via my belly) with our baby each day. Our growing family is SO blessed to have him at the head of it!

Luke Assembling the Crib

What things did you learn this month? Share a fun fact with me in the Comments below! As always, I’m linking up with Emily and a community of other bloggers over at Chatting at the Sky to share what we’ve been learning.

  • Lauren Bates

    I had no clue Starbucks was a character in Moby Dick!!! (As much as I love to read, I have never read Moby Dick… that large library that you featured is right up my alley, though!)
    Congrats on the new little one!

    • Thanks Lauren! I had never made the Moby Dick connection either! (Probably because I’ve tried to block that book from my memory since I suffered through it in high school!)

  • Holy smokes, that Walmart-turned-library sounds AMAZING. Wow!!
    Actually this whole list is so great. Thank you for taking the time to share all of it!
    Really nice to find you through Emily’s link up.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Marie! I agree, that library is amazing—makes me want to move to Texas!

  • Faith Raider

    I LOVE the idea of a walmart turned library/indoor city space.