Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Bye 2009!

Well now it the time to say farewell to what has been a packed year of learning and friendship building for me personally - overall it has been an awesome year.

Here are some highlights of 2009 for me:

* In January I started going to my now home church and established a great group of friends. The first time in my life to go to church with so many people my own age. It's been cool to be a part of something from the beginning as I went to my home church the very first week it started in my city (it branched out from another).

* I also began doing my school placements in January which were tremendously eye opening for me as they were my first direct experiences working with people with various disabilities. At first I wasn't so sure I'd make it, but I stuck with it and found my niche and now couldn't imagine doing anything else!

* March gave Wally and I our 8th wedding anniversary.

* In the spring I learned that I have AB- blood and was a perfect candidate for plasma donation and I have since become a regular donor (at least when my body is well rested).

* In May I got my very first job that required essentially 3 interviews and was a real agency in the field of my choice.

* June marked our one year anniversary in Wrinkleville and the big city - we still weren't feeling an itch to move!

* In July I challenged myself to my '40 Things to try in 40 Days' which proved to be a wonderful adventure with lots of fun, growth and deepening of friendships.

* In August Wally and I went an our first summer vacation in the north and had the best time ever!

* In September I applied and was offered a 30 hour a week contract at my job, while also beginning my final placement and semester of school.

* October held the wedding of my sister in law Pumpkin to her now husband Gourd - wally and I had an absolute blast at the reception. (This was a first for us at a wedding).

* November marked a turning point at my job and a realization that I would not continue to build my career at that particular place of employment. (I experienced an incredibly traumatic few events one evening which I will write about soon).

* December was a month of relief. Wally and I both completed our programs - both of us making the Dean's List each semester we were there. Wally was offered a job before exams were even finished and my placement also offered me a job there, bringing me the gift of resigning from my contract.

If I were to sum up 2009 into one word I would have to say it is: RELATIONSHIPS. That is what I feel like the year has been all about. Establishing, growing, weeding out and the evolving of relationships with new and old friends alike. It has been incredibly cool to start this blog and feel connected to people near and far. To help actually made friends through strangers - what a gift.

My hope is that 2010 holds adventure, excitement, love, growth, healing and even more building of relationship in new and different ways.

Every year I look ahead and wonder what the year to come will look like. Will it be full of change? Will I be living where I am now? Will those closest to me still be alive and well? Will I still have my health? Will I have children in the coming year? Where will I travel to, if at all? Who will I laugh with and build fun memories with? What will those memories hold? How can I make this year even better than the last? That is a question I really wonder about. I honestly feel so blessed (sorry for the cliche) at the fact that I truly feel like I am living my life that I can't possibly have a better year than I just had. But I will because I am determined to live connected and open to seeing whatever God is up to.

At least that is my goal.

Happy New Year everyone!!

Live great this year.

Live great right now!

Eva :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One of My Favourite Things to do

Is purging.

No not food. Although I have had times that I have really wanted to do that - you know, after a binge. What I am referring to is getting rid of all of the unnecessary junk you have lying around in your closet taking up space for no apparent reason.

I LOVE to purge.

I LOVE to make room.

I LOVE to create space.

And not just to fill it. This year I actually considered getting rid of some of my Christmas presents before I even put them away. I sound horrible I know. Here's the thing: my mama is a giver. A giver of things. She loves through giving tangible gifts. For years I loved this, I'd be lying if I said there aren't times that I still love this. But for the most part these days, unless the gift literally peaks my senses (gives warmth or softness, smells really good, tastes good - this one's up for debate these days, can be listened to or watched) I don't enjoy it that much. I realize that really anything can be enjoyed by our senses to some degree or another, but what I no longer care much for are things that don't specifically relate to me.

Boy I sound very ungrateful and selfish, but it's how I feel.

Today as I was sifting through our clothes closet and dressers I was ashamed to have built up a gigantic pile (actually two piles) of clothes. Clothes that didn't have stains in them, or holes. In fact many of the clothes were barely worn.

I generally go through out closet every six months or so and each time I come out with at least one bag of clothes for charity. I have never really been struck by this at all, at least not like I was today.

You see, I'm the kind of person who doesn't get too attached to stuff. Unless the item has deep sentimental value I could chuck it any day of the week, no matter the monetary value. And usually if an item carries some sort of sentimental value to me it is more times than not worthless in the realm of dollar values.

Getting back to the clothes. When I realized that I was being brutally honest with myself while parting with the pants I wouldn't be fitting back into in the next 2 months - or at least if I could, I knew I wouldn't likely choose to wear them. (Even though I bought them last boxing day and they have only seen day light maybe two or three times.) I was saddened by how wasteful I am. How easy it is for me to spend money on clothes and anything really, and not use it. I know that this is an age old lesson but for some reason today it got to me.

Hmmmm... now I'm thinking how this lesson could translate into a possible adventure of sorts. I know, I know, some of you are probably thinking 'Go to Goodwill for the next year and don't allow yourself to shop in a mall or regular store'. To which the pleading me would respond with 'I always get deals - ALWAYS!! I never pay full price! Leave me alone!'

Oh dear, I don't know...

Ok so another thought on purging.

The other night I had a meltdown in front of Wally. This definitely doesn't justify a news flash - it's been a fairly regular occurrence in our marriage through the years. This one was not unlike the others. It was related to over eating, my guilt, shame and physically ill feelings at that point in the evening. The funny part was that I wanted to fix it by throwing away all of the 'junk' in our apartment (I don't mean food either). The sight of the unwrapped stuff under the tree annoyed me, the pile of disheveled papers on the filing cabinet overwhelmed me, and the yet to be eaten mounds of chocolate scared me. My solution that night was throw it all away, just get rid of it.

It's odd though. After I got the third box of the same chocolates within a week from yet another adoring relative, rather than sticking them in the freezer or merely giving them to someone else that may like them, I felt obligated, since they were given to me, to eat them so I downed the whole box in one sitting until they were all gone and felt even worse for wear. All week I've been eating my Christmas chocolate with one thing in mind 'Gotta get rid of this stuff ASAP so I can start over'.

Sounds like a real gift eh?

By no means am I blaming the givers of these fine gifts but pointing out how many gifts can become burdens. Though I speak with lust so often about yummy foods (especially those of the sugary persuasion). Inside I am torn. Though my taste buds love them, my heart hates them because they truly torment me. People joke so much around the holidays about over eating and indulging and they are so light hearted about it. When I say I've gained ten pounds, I mean I've gained ten pounds. When I say I've eating an entire box of Toffee chocolate candy I mean I've eaten the ENTIRE box - in one sitting no less.

I'm not sure why I struggle so deeply with these issues. I don't know why some people can eat one or two chocolates and can put the rest away, while I obsess about such things all the day long and feel an absolute obligation to devour the evil splendor until it is gone and I can breathe again. I'm sure I could take a psych course and try to figure it out ... actually I already have but couldn't.

This year I want freedom from this. Not in a magical way that melts the now 30 extra pounds from my body and turns me into a bikini model (although I certainly wouldn't be entirely depressed if this happened). What I want is for one to be enough.

I know that during any overwhelming moment in life, it's easiest to bail. To run from it. To separate yourself from it, to throw it away so you don't have to live with it. But I 'm wondering if sometimes purging needs to be a mental activity. Purging old thoughts, old ways of thinking. To make room for new patterns, new beliefs, new ways of living. Maybe sometimes we aren't supposed to get rid of what is our biggest challenge. Maybe we are supposed to learn how to live with it until it isn't our biggest challenge any more.

I wonder ... am I up for this one?

'You can be a house wife now!'

So I just had a most interesting conversation with my boss. Well my barely boss now. The one I worked under while I was doing my 30 hour contract. She phoned a couple of hours ago and asked if she could pop by so that I could fill sign some paperwork. I really have no idea what I scribbled my name on but I did. As she was leaving she asked how my Christmas was, blah, blah, blah and as I was mentioning how I've enjoyed not working, not doing school and just hanging out she asked if my husband was off too. I said 'Yes, until Monday when he starts his job.'

She replied with lit up eyes and a high pitched 'Oh! This means you can be a housewife now ... if you want to.'

I say 'Yeah ... I guess maybe ... someday. I kinda want to work though.'

'But it's nice to know you have that option.' She says.

'Yeah, I guess it is.' Then we said our goodbyes, I got on the elevator in utter disbelief at her initial reaction.

I guess I shouldn't be offended or 'ruffled', especially considering the source (no disrespect intended, but she's human and has 'issues' like everyone else). It really struck me though that her first response wasn't congratulatory but rather assuming.

It's kind of funny because the person I was before I went to school would have openly said ' Actually, you are right! I am so relieved. I have really always wanted to be a house wife and now my dreams can come true!' To be honest when I first got married those were exactly my dreams ... maybe that's why her comment annoyed my so much.

Now I have to say right off that I think being a housewife is an amazing job, hard and often thankless work, running a ship of sorts. I respect any woman who takes this job on and seriously devotes herself to her home. I consider myself a housewife, to a degree, even though I work outside of the home. But I have to say since my recent 70 hour work week experiences I had to give up that job and allow my husband to take over completely, leaving me jobless in the home. And even now returning to that position it won't be the same, as my husband had to step up and take over for several months and now takes some degree of ownership of the duties that need to be done.

I suppose much of the reason I get bothered when people say such things is that it is assumed that the goal of every woman is to stay home to work. I used to think it would be my choice, then I realized that there were gifts and talents within me that could now bloom in that environment. Gifts no more important than that of a housewife but things that for me specifically couldn't be fulfilled (at least not at this particular point in my life) while solely at home.

I realized in the past few years that my aspirations to be at home were predominantly selfish and based in fear. Fear of what I thought I could do and what I thought I couldn't do. Fear of confrontation, fear of failure, fear of the big wide world. After several years of financial struggle and having to provide for Wally and myself I learned that no matter where you are you need to learn and grow. You cannot hide away and still grow. For me staying home would be hiding, at least while I was as immature as I was in life. I have one close friend in particular that is a 'stay at home mom' and I have to laugh when I think of that being her title because she is anything but 'at home'. Sure she doesn't hold a job outside of her family but man, that woman couldn't hide away if she wanted to. She has two wee ones and is constantly one the go with them, traveling, trying new things, going new places, meeting new friends and so involved in her community it tires me.

then there are those like another friend I have who is house bound. Not going outside much, afraid of the outdoors, other people, and so many other things I don't even want to go into. I would've totally turned into that girl. I am so thankful for how life has turned out for Wally and I. I truly feel like I've learned so many lessons I wouldn't have if I'd been a housewife from the beginning.

I won't lie though. It does give me a sense of comfort knowing that my husband can provide for us on his own. It gives me relief from the years when it wasn't enough and I had to work full time too to make sure the bills got paid, the car got fixed and the food was on the table. For the moment I do feel that I've been given the gift of little pressure to work, however that does not mean I want to abandon my passion to work with people in a formal setting. It's interesting that we assume that the preference would always be to not to get involved when given a choice.

After saying all of that I have to add that someday my natural reaction or desire may be to work because it is what I've done for so long. Fear of not working, providing, or fulfilling a career outside of the home may be what I have to overcome to answer a new calling to stay home with my family. Who knows? I aspire to be someone that is open and willing to follow whatever path I feel lead towards and become the woman I have been created to be no matter what fears may try and hold me back.

That my friends, is what can make life such an adventure!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I am getting very excited for the new year. I am getting very excited about blogging again. I am trying to think about what fantastic journey I want to go on in 2010. The thing is I want to know before 2010 comes to find me.

Perhaps I need help.

Perhaps I need suggestions.

I LOVED doing my 'Forty Days' of new experiences in 2009. They seriously changed me in a million little ways and a few big ones. But it's a new year and a new adventure. I really want to do experience big things. I just don't know what.

I have a mini list going that I'm thinking about. Maybe I'll share...

Maybe I won't.

Just kidding I will.

* Wally and I are going to host a HUGE party in celebration of life.

In efforts to make memories and thank those who have supported us through our journey so far. There will be a dance, cash bar, wonderfully fun decorations, a photographer to catch the memories, fun center pieces, thoughtful touches, and great food. Oh and don't forget the party favors and nice invitations. Oh yeah and the interestingly diverse party goers. We are so excited!!

* Wally and I are planning to go on a hot air balloon ride in the summer.

We've talked about it lots but have never conceived doing it because of cost - since my last adventure we've come to realize these experiences are worth it. At least we hope they are.

* I want to learn how to jog or run.

I'm really not aware of the difference but have always wanted to be the person that does 'that'.

* Wally and I are going to join a gym together.

This is something Wally has only recently began to show an interest in and to me is miraculous. I'm sure this will hold great stories to.

* I want to have a dinner, inviting a group of amazing women and honour them at it.

Really to celebrate them and to inspire eachother. Who does this?

* I need to go somewhere on a plane again, on my own.

Or at least travel and experience something - even if it's a learning experience. I've wanted to do a trip somewhere in the world to 'give back' for years. I don't know if this is the year to go over oceans, but somewhere new would be nice... we'll see.

* Go camping (like with a tent)

Some people like it.

* I would love to give up my addiction to sugar foods for a year.

I want to see if I can transfer my love for chocolate into something more healthy. That would be interesting...

Well that's all for now. Does anyone have any other cool suggestions? Feel free to add them.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Beginnings ...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to any and all readers that may potentially still be stumbling upon my blog after so long of me away. I very much hope to resume writing, at least every few days now. I have to get back into the knack of things and remember how to write or at least how I like to write down what I am pondering. I remember LOVING it and the constant communication it brought to my world. There's something just so fun about being 'anonymous' or maybe just 'read' that feels so great. It's probably the narcissistic side of me...

I guess it might be nice to update you on my (our) lives up to this point. I'll give it to you in short:
* As of Dec 26th my contract at work was over. For those who don't know, I resigned 2 weeks ago after we got news ...
* Wally is employed in his field - a computer programmer analyst!!!!
* My placement offered me a job and I accepted!!! I have been given 24 hours permanent (meaning they are my own!) one week and 8 hours permanent on the opposite week with plans of going up to 35 hours a week. (Oh and I'm being trained at every place the agency works at to fill my hours in the mean time - which not every body gets the chance to do!). I'll explain more about my new job later.
* The past few days have been all about getting reconnected with Wally and it's been (for the most part) great! I have no earthly idea how I survived and even did fairly well during the past four months now that I am getting back to 'normal'
* I have just realized how desperately in need of an apartment purge Wally and I are. I love to purge.
* I have begun loosely planning 'THE Party', more to follow on this.
* I have gained an unreasonable amount of weight during my placement and will definitely share more about this... blah
* I suppose I could mention one of the most obvious updates: Wally and I are finished school! well at least part 1. I am seriously considering getting an honours BA through a University that will accept my 2 years at college towards 2 years at their historically 'hands on' University ... however I'm going to take a few months off before I get into that (if I even do)

I think those are all of the most important events of the day. I have so much I want to share over the past few months but I'm going to let it trickle out slowly. I am so very excited to get back into life. I'm not sure that I would ever trade truly experiencing life for a challenge again - but I did and I have learned SOOOOOO much.

I'll be back soon!

Love Eva :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'm still alive ... just not sane

Well it's the truth. Ok so I'm probably not yet technically insane but I have certainly felt the potential to fall off of the tight rope at times.

There's so much I would love to share. So much I would love to say but the brief ten minutes I have to receive some therapy here is just not enough time to release much.

Here's the long and the short of it...

* I am 13 days, 1 assignment and 1 exam away from completing my college diploma
* 20 days, 9 shifts away from celebrating Christmas
* 12 days from being eligible to work for my placement agency which has indeed hired me on the day following my last day of placement (even though they aren't technically allowed to do that
* 17 days away from seeing an old friend who lives far, far away

Living in a countdown isn't really my style at all. I really believe in living in the moment, enjoying every second and learning through every mistake. By I have to say taking on a 70 hour work week in the field of my choosing doesn't produce feelings of philosophy they provide a desire to just survive. I am now more in tune with most of humanity - or at least most of North America. Something I'm worked the past few years to get away from.

Oh well right now my pursuit in life is to survive mentally sound, then indulge in philosophy and living after. Not recommended but sometimes necessary.

Here's a brief list of the things I have learned in the past 13 weeks of my crazy life:

* I will never, ever have issues with changing a baby's dirty diaper
* nursing homes are generally (in my opinion) cruel punishments
* a good co-worker is invaluable
* no your limits and play within them
* you can function with only 5 hours of sleep on a continuous basis but not forever
* your boss can indeed be that insensitive
* there are amazing places to work that knock your socks off and you are allowed to be selfish and take those jobs
* call the 1-800 counseling hotline - the first step is the hardest but the most necessary
* my husband can learn how manage the house completely on his own
* I like the lady I support with dementia, she makes me smile (in a nice way)
* you can forgive someone when they don't know better, but it's hard to forgive those who do
* the system is broken and it grieves me
* I still have the ability to grieve
* human services can be the most inhumane system there is sometimes
* there are places that put philosophy into practice
* I am strong even when I'm broken
* no one understands a traumatic event you've been through as well as the one who goes through it with you
* I miss cooking
* Just because a place has a wheelchair ramp by no means makes it wheelchair accessible
* I miss working out, even though it does little for my waistline
* I picked the right job
* I miss my blog family :(

Well I've used up more than my ten minutes. I look forward to returning regularly soon!!

Not that many people read this now but whoever does, may I ask for your prayers (in whatever form they may come)?

Eva :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Last night I held someone's hand

Lastnight after placement I strolled into work expecting a frenzy. For two reasons: there generally isn't a dull moment on a regular day and guy's roommate Gui was supposed to be released from the hospital after having a hospital stay due to a serious seizure he'd had Sunday evening. It was a status seizure (the worst kind and the only kind he has, when he has them). He had only been getting them around once a year and had one in May around when I started. However infection brings them on and he also had that so it was prime time for such an event to occur.

Let me tell you about what the following few days to a week after a seizure for him is like ... intense. His regular aggressions times ten. At least that's how it was the week after he had the last one (two weeks into my training) enough to make me wonder to myself what the heck I was doing. One day they had to call in 2 extra staff making it three for one person.

Anyways all of that being said I think you could understand my expectations for a circus that night at work. However when I walked in I learned Gui had not yet been released. He'd only been excavated - wait that doesn't sound right, let's say un-intabated (sp?) My manager informed me that she needed someone to pick him up as she thought he was being released that evening and I was the lucky staff to do it (since the other person on had a cold and the ICU doesn't like colds). I was nervous about the whole thing since the night before I was talking to Sista and she said that it normally took 2 staff to bring him home because he was usually very grouchy when coming off of te drugs they use to keep him "under" and difficult to handle. My manager didn't seem to think this way so off we went.

when we arrived at the hospital we soon learned that Gui would not be coming home that night because of a fever they wanted to monitor (phew!) so instead I was asked to stay for 3 hours to 'support' Gui. I have to say that I really had no idea what she wanted me to do. He had his own nurses and all the attention one could need in ICU so when I asked my boss what she wanted me to do she just said be there, do a brief change if they need it (um hello that's what the nurses are for and there was no way I was going to try and change him myself in a strange place with machines, tubes and all the like around - and by the way he had a catheter in anyway). I had no problem staying I just wanted to know what to do - because that's what I do ... stuff that needs to be done.

I have learned in the past few weeks that sitting with someone matters. I support a couple of ladies in nursing homes: one who's in her early twenties and shouldn't be in a nursing home but because of a lack of knowledge that's where her parents put her. and the other is a lady in her mid fifties that has Down Syndrome with early onset of dementia (60% of people with Down's have some from of Alzheimer's), I support her through supper. Mostly with Dolly (the latter) I sit and colour with her, reassure her that 'Jacob' her imaginary friend that apparently hits, slaps and teases her is gone away. I tell her to tell him to leave or go away at which time she does and follows it by sticking out her tongue or taunting him, or putting up both palms to her ears (sticking straight out like) kind of like saying 'Na na na boo boo'. She's an interesting character. However she experiences something called 'sundowning' behaviour around that part of the day, so I go eat supper with her (she likes to eat apart from the other people on the floor) I try to get her to calm down and hopefully eat.

After my recent experiences I know that sitting matters. I know that presence matters. I know that little things like that matter. I don't know why I thought it'd be different for my friend Gui but I did question my boss ... yet I stayed. I sat down after a while and watched the cable the nurse put on for me while Gui looked around, tried to get as comfortable as his arm and hip restraints would let him. when Big Mama and I got there initially he vocalized a bit, smiled and appeared to be glad we were there. This may be a no brainer to some but Gui sometimes smiles at odd times so it's not always like "oh he's smiling he's really happy" or anything - sometimes it is but not always. After a few minutes with the both of us the nurse that was there commented that this was the calmest he saw Gui all day, 'wow that's good' I thought.

I continued to sit beside him, watch my newly acquired cable and hold his hand which most of the time he held onto and squeezed. There were a few times he'd let go , I'm going to assume because it got pretty sweaty. After the three hours were up I stood, shut the tv off, turned to Gui, took his hand and told him I had to get going and that I'd see him on Thursday. Just to give you an in on his mental status Gui is very low functioning (by that I mean no disrespect, it's just the term that is most easily understood). He can complete simple commands if he wants to like 'turn on the light', 'pick that up please', 'get your shoes' but other than simple things you don't expect a while lot of rationale with him. Staff have often talked about he knows far more than we think or even know he knows but it's hard to figure him out sometimes. As I was leaving I really didn't expect anything from him. You don't usually get a lot of emotion in departures though they are there just not completely understood. As I said my goodbyes and he really squeezed my hand (and I really didn't think anything of it) I looked at his face and, I'm not kidding here, saw a tear falling from each eye. They weren't the fat rolling kind, they were the damp streaming kind, but definitely there slowing creeping down his fevered face. I couldn't believe my eyes. I'd never seen that before (of course I've only been around for 6 months - but still).

I left the hospital room and thought. I wondered if that was an emotion or a reaction the the alcoholic hand sanitizer I'd just applied, I couldn't imagine the hand sanitizer would do that from afar - the nurses applied it several times a shift. Who really knows what Gui was thinking or more importantly what he was feeling. As I was leaving I decided I did matter, my hand mattered, my presence mattered, my voice mattered ... he mattered.

Last night I held someone's hand. I was their person. What an honour.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Missing You

I only have 10 minutes before I have to scoot out the door for week 3 of chaos. I thought I'd fill you in on how my first full week of placement, school and work went.

Overall, not too bad at all. I still love my placement , even though the last of communication between staff is frustrating at times it just pushes me to strive to do better at my end of things. I am learning more everyday and loving the people I support - they have been teaching me so much. I just wish I could introduce you to them all in person (I say this to Wally several times through out my week).

Work also went better than I expected, though it too holds it's own frustrations with a select few (or one). But I did enjoy it for the most part. It's amazing how your body adapts to the lack of sleep you once gave it and gives you the will to go on. I'm chuckling to myself because seriously I'm not fighting death, really it's just a busy schedule that is life to some people. I'll learn.

Currently I feel great and am looking forward to whatever my day holds. I am so blessed (though that saying is so cliche and I try not to use it often). I am missing friendships and connecting so feel free to hook me up :)

I miss my blog friends too very much and staying in touch. I do hope that when this is over I can blog often again - there's something about it that is just therapeutic and fun too.

Well gotta run!

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Today I finished my first full week of my placement for school. What can I say ... wow! It's going to be an intense 13 weeks to come!

You may be wondering what a typical day of my placement is like, or you may not give two hoots. Here's one of my days in short... (For the record I've decided to forget about editing and worrying about being a writer while I am blogging on the fly. I realized today how much I miss sharing my thoughts about my regular old days, so I figured rather than worry about perfection I'd just whip out what I could and if people want to read it, it's there).

Hmmmm which wacko day should I tell you about? Thinking, thinking, thinking ....

Yesterday is fresh in my mind, why not it? (I may share a couple of other first days too, but we'll start here).

I started my day later Wednesday because I would be going pretty late in the day. The first person of the day for me to see was a lady named Vivvie. She's 54 years old, crippled up pretty bad in a wheelchair because of an accident when she was 5 that left her non ambulatory, non verbal, and unable to do much at all with her one side. Vivvie has a clear mind but has refused to use any method of communication created for her which leaves her to only use her own sign language, moaning, and some pointing - leaving those initially working with her (aka me) ready to pull their hair out (not because of her, but because of me not able to understand). Vivvie cannot read but does manage to do a few things for herself like heat food in the toaster oven, however with much work and challenge.

On my first visit I was 'shadowing' a worker named Bill who is younger than myself, soft spoken, carries a somewhat nervous laughter but a gentle and caring way in all I saw him do. I walked in and met Vivvie, who had began preparing her lunch in the toaster oven and Bill quickly took over for her, getting her food ready, then busily cleaning up the cat litter, some other odd jobs, then proceeded to work with Vivvie on a grocery list.

Ok so when I heard Bill say that they would make a grocery list I thought 'This will only take a minute or two'. Boy was I wrong. I was wrong because if it were me the grocery list making would've consisted of me peeking through the fridge and the cupboards for what was needing to be replenished. Instead it took Bill a good half hour to forty five minutes. Why you ask? No, not because he's a man. Because Bill had Vivvie participating in the chore completely. Bill carefully and considerately went through the fridge, looking at each shelf and asking about any potential items that Vivvie wanted. Remember Vivvie is non verbal so to guess what she was asking for beyond what you were asking her about was a tedious and intense process of actions, moans, points and A LOT of guessing.

I watched as Bill was able to guess yogurt, bread, bananas, and the one that shocked me when he got home: a specific sandwich spread she hadn't asked for in ages. Like how did he do that?!!! Seriously he started with sandwich meat and figured out sandwich spread and the flavor and brand and everything!! I was beyond impressed.

When Bill was done making the list he said that he would have to pop out for a few minutes to get the groceries (in reality I think it was an eternity, or an hour and a half - whichever). He said I could get to know Vivvie better. Off he went and I sat while Vivvie went back to her meal. I realized quickly that her food was cold and she wanted it reheated but didn't want to ask me. I allowed her to try on her own to do it and when I saw that it was difficult I intervened and asked if she wanted help. She nodded yes. I helped her out while trying to chat with her all the while. It wasn't long and the food was ready.

As she ate I noticed Vivvie trying to reach for napkins a couple of times so I offered help and she accepted - I never knew how good it could feel to have help accepted. We're taught in school to allow and encourage as much independence as possible, that's what I was trying to do. Some people refuse any sort of help, when Vivvie accepted mine I was glad.

As time passed I was able to sort of chat with her a bit and she tried to chat with me. At one point she was desperately trying to tell me something and I was trying to guess. She was motioning as if she was opening a bottle with the side of her leg (popping the top off) and then drinking it. Then she'd tap on her chair. I would ask 'Are you thirsty? Do you need a drink?' and she would shake her head. She did it a few times and then gave up. I told her that I was no good for helping and that I was sorry. I was able to understand a few things (which I was overjoyed about).

A while into our alone time a couple of VON ladies whisked into her room to change her brief and prep her ventilator. They obviously had an awesome re pore with Vivvie and did a fabulous job connecting with her and giving me ideas on things we could do together in the future (Vivvie and I). Not long after they whisked in Vivvie began doing the same drink and tapping signs she tried with me (to no avail) and one of the nurses responded with 'You want some hard liquor eh?' They chuckled, I laughed. She was just trying to joke around! Ahhh. At that point I told Vivvie that maybe we'd go out for drinks when I was off. She then made signs of being sick to which someone interpreted them for me as she can't drink much anymore because she gets sicks. Apparently she was a partier back in the day.

The VON nurses also shared Vivvie's secret crush on Bill the worker and her affinity towards Antonio Banderas (sp?) - I loved it. Her sense of humour also came out when she was having difficulty breathing and was coughing pretty bad. She made some signs pointing to a hook in her kitchen and Bill knew she was referring to hanging up her doctor and then she'd pretend she was the cat (her catch is a bit evil) clawing at him. After which she showed her fist and then flailed her middle finger. Obviously her doctor isn't her favourite person. Obviously Vivvie had an incredible sense of humour (and perhaps some pent up anger).

In the end I came out of our visit together excited about the opportunities I would have to get Vivvie out and about while I was doing my placement. I will have 3 hours a week with her to do social activities and outing. Something she doesn't get really at all because all of her support is wrapped up in taking care of her daily physical/medical needs. Don't get me wrong, I'm a bit overwhelmed at the idea that I need to learn how to book the para-transit system, call VON (her health care staff)to organize help pre-outing and take Vivvie (who'd be relying on me for her communication - eek!) out into the community. However at the same time I'm so excited to be a part of giving someone the opportunity to live a fuller life out in the community and to experience all those things we take for granted. A simple trip to the dollar store, a meal at a restaurant, trip bowling or to the movies would make Vivvie's month. What a privilege I have. When I get frustrated (which may be often) I need to remember this.

Well, This wasn't my whole day, in fact it was only a third of it but it was one of the many interesting people I will be supporting for the next 14 weeks. I hope you enjoyed meeting Vivvie. I think I will try and maybe share a bit about each person I get to spend time with through my week. I don't think you'd be disappointed with any of their stories. Perhaps I will try and get a couple posted over the weekend.

I have to say it again - I love my job and I love the people I support even more ... and it's only just begun!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

No sleep

Ok so this is a random, 'I'm up at midnight totally wide awake, about nothing in particular' post. I usually write it in MS Word then copy and paste but I'm trying to live dangerously these days so I'll give this a whirl.

I wrote a post the other day about my first day at placement but it hasn't been finished or edited so it clearly hasn't found a home on here yet, we'll see if that changes. Since I haven't written much lately at all about my current situation maybe I'll fill you in and give a refresher.

Last Wednesday was my first official day of my final placement with school. This is basically like an unpaid job for approximately 30 hours a week (for 15 weeks). Mine is with an organization that does Supported Independent Living with people with developmental disabilities. I will be meeting with between 2 and 5 different people everyday either in their homes or supporting them at different programs through out the city. I have only met two of the people I'll be with and so far I've really enjoyed it and them. I'm sure I'll have some great stories too. I'm not sure how great I'll be at blogging, considering my life will be literally taken up by 8 hours of school, 30 hours of work and 30 hours of placement and some study time somewhere in there - EEK!!

Tonight I went out for my last evening coffee time with Sista to celebrate her getting the 40 hour contract that she applied for (you see she was doing my 30 hour one for only a year then returning to her old 40 hour job when Bro's 40 hour contract came up and she got it). I wasn't so sure I'd be able to survive the 30 hour work week without her understanding spirit. I'll be honest, I'm still wondering if I made the wisest decision. However, I keep reminding myself it's only for 13 weeks. I start my contract next weekend. Be on your knees for me!

The other night I was out with my girls: Lovie, Artsy, and Shell Bell (at an amazing Thai restaurant all should visit) and when we were leaving someone mentioned planning our next get together and I sadly said that they should make sure to take pictures because I would not be there. Shell Bell said that they should take a picture of me and add it into their poses so that I would still show up in the pictures. This gave me a great idea (well really corny but great too).

I thought, why not print off a few 8 X 10 pictures of my face and have different people take their pictures of me doing fun things with them, things I can't do because I will be too busy to join in? I attempted to recruit some peeps to help out on the weekend and had several reply, I just need to tell them my idea. Though this is a very cheesy idea I feel like it may be essential to my sanity. You see I have a great conviction to live right? I mean I try never to say things like 'I can't wait until this is over' (which I'll confess has run through my mind a couple of times lately) or 'Everything will be great once I get through this...'. I think these are terrible things to have permanently running through your mind because who knows if I'll be around until after the 'storm has passed'. I think that we should try to live wonderfully through the storm instead (I actually love storms).

That's my current dilemma, or should I say challenge. Yes, I'll say challenge. How to encounter a crazy, potentially stressful, hectic, tiring and insane schedule of new experiences, deadlines, and stretching of my limits without giving up on truly living honestly and loving it. One of my biggest pet peeves are people that hate their lives and don't do anything about it. Or they just complain their way through - I can't stand it. I say 'Change it!'

However some situations you cannot change and some situations you simply put yourself in to see what happens. I'd say that the latter is my case. I've done this completely by choice and am now trying to think of ways that I can not only survive what I've done but thrive during this time. I'm gonna need some help ...I'm gonna need lots of help. The best way to cure a situation like this is to laugh, a lot, so that's what I'm hoping I will do. We'll see if the experiment goes anywhere...

I realize I sound a tad on the psychotic side but we all do sometimes right? (Just say right), it is after midnight now and I am seriously feeling deranged at this moment. Anyway, not my most insightful post but it's me, take it or leave it.

good night.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

40 Day Adventure Summary!

Items NOT completed:
#1 – Stop eating sugary, baked goods and chocolate for 40 days

This one lasted exactly 14 days and I truly loved while I was doing it. I didn’t find it difficult at all not to succumb to my ‘addiction’ because I was really engaged in life. I’ve learned this is a day by day thing I will work on for life …I’ll keep you tuned in.

#13 – Have my closest aunt over for a sleepover

I was sad but not surprised that I wasn’t able to pull this one off. In fact I’m not sure why I put this one on my list at this point. I think that I figured by putting it on ‘THE list’ that I would make it magically happen. Here’s the catch. My aunt has been caring for her dying mother-in-law for the past few months, after losing a brother-in-law as well. I didn’t really think through her commitment and should’ve considered this before listing it. I will make this a next year thing for sure!

#17 – Cook a Vegan Meal

There is no reason at all that I couldn’t have completed this item. I had a recipe and the ingredients for it since week 1. I had every intention of at least doing it on my last day but fatigue overcame me. No deep excuses.

#24 – Talk to someone in my city that works with an organization that helps the homeless

Well I sort of did this one. I did e-mail (at two different times) the organization that I really wanted to go and see and talk to someone. However I only got one e-mail back and still no reply to the other one about getting a tour. The must be busy people because to set up a time didn’t seem possible, I go the impression that they were more interested in serious volunteers (which I will hopefully be in the future) because the first step in the process was to fill out a volunteer application before anything else. Bummer. (At least I learned where it is on my little bus ride/pursuit of the passport office).

Top Ten things I learned while on my adventure:

I like relish and mustard on my hotdogs (along with ketchup).

It’s worth it to spend money (if you have it) to go to a beautiful place to stay for a vacation – however I’ll bet I could do this again and prove you don’t have to spend money to find a beautiful place. It was worth every penny though!

Relationships and people are the most valuable and interesting parts of life – they cost nothing.

Sometimes it takes practice to try new things – you may not love it right away but as you get better at it and allow yourself the room to try, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Sometimes the little things are really the big things.

Not to sound New Age-y, but the power of intention is incredible.

Nature is beautiful – make time for it.

It’s ok to spend money (that you have) on yourself – just don’t forget to do it for others too.

Your intention for completing a task may be one thing but the outcome may give you something entirely different – be ok with it and take with you whatever you learn.

There’s no time like the present!

It feels cool to inspire people but even cooler see people act on the inspiration (especially when it’s yourself).

That’s 11 things … guess I learned more than I thought!

Overall I had an amazing time doing my 40 things in 40 days. It was a great excuse to try new things without getting flack from people (or myself). It felt liberating in so many ways and pushed me out of me comfort zone for sure. I’ve been trying to decide how or if I will do this again. I’ve pondered doing another list right away (carpe diem right?), or doing a 52 things in a year, but as I remember how this experience went I think that I will pursue to try new things whenever I get the chance and for those other challenges perhaps do an annual 40 things in forty days would be fun. There is something about having a timeline and creating an adventure that made doing these things different. I will admit it totally wiped me out (as I got pretty into it). I think a lot of it had to do with the offshoots of life I came across from it. I learned that just by stepping out to try one new thing you may meet one person that introduces you to so many others that are interested in doing life with you – It’s been awesome!

The one thing I have to remember there are no rules to living life except for one – LIVE!

Adventure Day 40 Part 2 - #19 – Buy a piece of lingerie and wear it

Once I got home from my bus outing, around 9 am, I crashed on our spare room bed where I LOVE to catch extra sleep (or just missed sleep). Unfortunately by body was not co-operating and I just laid there with my eyes closed for a good hour and a half. When I finally realized that a good nap was not in my future, I decided to head out and tackle #19 on my list - yet again.


Third time is supposed to be a charm but I’m sure there is fine print that negates the saying when sleep deprivation is involved. I charged in the store trying to place my mind over the matter at hand. I decided that perhaps I’d go at this scant outfit shopping from another angle (wondering if perhaps I should’ve stuck around my bus stop down town a few more hours until the skanky ladies underwear store across the street from it opened up – neon and leather would definitely make my ‘never would wear’ list). I decided to look at bras and such (you know the ones you’d never wear under your clothes).

I scanned the contents of the stored and grabbed about 5 different ones. I went into the change room and was not too shocked to find out that none of them fit. I was borderline tears as I thought about perhaps putting them away and never to return, when a sales lady politely asked how it went.
“Not so good, none of them fit.” I replied leaving things open for discussion, something I don’t normally do – especially in a bra store.
“Would you like me to measure you?” she asked.
It’s at this point I would usually say “No thanks” and move on to an underwear-less store. But I had a stick-to-it-ness in me today that shocked even myself.
So I responded with a “Sure” and succumbed to some stranger putting a tape measure around my boobs – oh the fun of it all. She was a very nice, gentle spirited young woman who seemed to understand my plight, which made the experience all the better.

When she was all done she said you are a C36 or a D34. It’s at that point I almost died laughing. I’d never bought a bra beyond an A or B (usually the latter); maybe that’s why they never felt right. I had renewed hope as I went back out in to the store to find my new size. I grabbed another 5 or 6 bras and was back into the change room to try them on, thinking that things would be a whole different story. My hopes were dashed.

One of the bras I couldn’t even do up. When I reappeared out of my change room once again carrying a defeated look on my face the sales lady said that I could look for different sizes and that her measurement wasn’t a for sure thing. Even though I would rather have shot myself right then, I went back out and looked for 5 more bras to try on. Surely SOME thing, SOME where would fit. My result didn’t change and I took that as a sign. I briefly contemplated leaving the store to cry in the car but promised myself that I would not leave until I had something I’d never worn before (you know what I mean). So I marched up to a silk fuchsia cami with black trim and cute little pantaloons to match (that, by the way, said ‘Gorgeous’ on the butt), I got what I guessed would fit and went straight into the line the pay. I’d had enough.

After trying on 16 bras that day and countless other outfits in my two previous visits I finally had my buy. It wasn’t the stretch I was hoping for (there are absolutely no puns intended anywhere in that phrase), but it was different and fun. I left the store relieved, a little disappointed and ready for my 40 days to be done – I was exhausted! I’m quite positive that there were tears again while driving home but am not sure if they were as much to do with things not fitting as it was my incredible fatigue. Either way I was glad to have accomplished all that I had.

**Side story: At one point while I was in the store this time there was a man, I’m guessing in his late twenties/early thirties, that was with a friend of his wife/girlfriend’s, buying his lady something ‘special’ to wear. I almost lunged at his neck when I sawing him leaning on the counter with his cell phone in his hand talking to his presumed love. I heard him say (wearing a sleezy grin on his mug) “We picked something out for you to wear…” pause “Yeah I think it’ll be ok. I like it.” (Grin continues) “Well it’s not really for you, it’s more for me. I’m the one that’s going to be enjoying it…” I had made up my mind in that moment that men were scum – ok I don’t think they all are. But this one certainly was and it was due to people like him I felt so horrible about myself that day. Ok I’m being irrational, but admittedly I wanted to do away with him …. And whoever invented lingerie. **

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Adventure Day 40 Part 1 - #5 & Attempted to complete #25

#5 – Take the bus downtown alone

I’ve been on a city bus before. Actually I took one everyday to school once we moved here, and even to work if I had to. But going down town and stopping somewhere unfamiliar and trying to find a way back on again and perhaps even a transfer to another scared me. Yes I am poultry ok, I’ll admit it. This was also an item that Wally was afraid for me to do, however he is overprotective so it doesn’t’ carry a lot of weight in the grand scheme of things. Anyway I’d left it to the end for a reason: I was avoiding it. But no more! It was day 40 and I was going to take a bus downtown AND get my passport all at the same time – now that’s adventure ladies and gents!

I woke up early and completely unprepared for a day with little sleep. I pushed myself to go out and catch the bus for 8 am – I was determined. I only needed to take a tiny walk to get to the bus that would lead me down town, a little different than the one I’m used to. My usual bus is a brisk five to seven minute walk, and the route is simply: up the street, down the street, up the street, and so on. If you get lost doing that you have big problems.

As I waited I noticed a different demographic in my midst. There were a lot more older and middle aged and working people than on my college route. I was a lucky gal that day because as I boarded I spotted a place to sit for my ride – yay! I settled in comfortably and began to observe. I’m not sure if anyone else out there does this but I ALWAYS do – watch people. It’s actually a fun activity to do while being taken to your destination. I look at their clothes and wonder what they do for a living, or if they do anything at all. I watch their facial expressions to see how they react to the world around them. I take note of what they fill their bus trip with: listening to music, singing music, or just musing quietly to themselves. You have time, why not speculate what people are really like under their perfect bus demeanor? (I know Wally would want to kill me for sharing this but I promised to be honest here). I actually wonder what people on the bus are like in their most intimate moments. Not in a dirty way (well mostly not), but really, sometimes it’s so weird to see people act so robotic on the bus and think that they are actually people when they get off the bus with families and friends (lovas).

This day was no different for me. I saw a middle aged woman who was perfectly dressed for work (I’m assuming). She wore a nice crisp white blouse and red shorts (well she had some article of clothing that was red, maybe it was her purse), anyhow she was ‘altogether’ looking, except that the buttons on her blouse were too far apart and it was sitting so that there were gaping holes which ended up showing her undergarments. I wanted desperately to tell her, but this woman looked so serious and business like that I was not about to say a peep to her. Instead I spent the entire time trying to avoid looking at the ‘train wreck’ – why is it so hard not to look?!

At another point there was a young man in his twenties with ear buds in and playing very loudly (I could hear his music from across the bus). He was seemingly oblivious to anyone else remotely surrounding him; he was rather entertaining to watch. Not because I could hear his music through his ear buds, but because of the dramatic performance he was putting on with his air drumming and mumble humming that loudly accompanied his ear bud music. He had no shame, I sort of wish he had just a little. His moves sort of reminded me of Stevie Wonder – except that I like Stevie Wonder.

Overall it only really took me maybe 8 minutes to reach my stop. I had no idea downtown was so close and this bus was so accessible, and that I could observe so many interesting people in such a short period of time - what a great discovery! I need to remember when my car is in use or out of commission that the transit system is always an option. It even adds a new dimension of free entertainment too!

#25 – Get my passport

Once I got off the bus I headed down (or up, who’s to say?) the street in the presumed direction of the passport office. I was on the look out for even numbers, 400 to be precise. Actually the building was supposed to be down two blocks from the bus stop and to my left exactly. I shouldn’t have had to even look for a number really. I’d been there before (or so I thought) and knew what I was looking for (or so I thought), I figured it shouldn’t be that difficult to find (once again, or so I thought).

Once I walked the two blocks I decided I would cross the street in the direction I thought the building would be (since it wasn’t clearly where the map said it would be). I started towards one direction and walked. And walked. First I passed a parking lot of the city newspaper, so that’s where it lived? Hmmmmm, interesting. Then I walked some more. Oh, I found the organization I wanted to tour that helped the homeless – note to self. Then I continued to walk and found … nothing. At least nothing familiar to me. I decided to cross the street and walk the direction I came from (the crossing of the street was do to the many homeless types that were loitering in front of the building of the organization I had researched – I have a long way to go ok). Anyways I went down at least 3 or 4 city blocks (felt like a hundred in the wooden, not-for-walking flip flops I had on), past the convention centre, and several high end hotels, I was really finding a lot down town, fascinating.

Finally I spotted the familiar location I was looking for. I had to cross back over to the other side of the street but at this point I didn’t care I just wanted to get into the line up. I was actually right on time for them opening up – woo hoo! I made it. Or so I thought…

I got onto an elevator that took me to my floor and I got off to be greeted by a sign on my desired location that said “Passport offices have moved to 700 Far Away St.” (I got the ‘sorry about your luck’ vibe from it too). At this point I was exasperated and exhausted. Not to mention frustrated and ready to kill. Sleep deprivation and blisters can do that to you. Don’t forget the impending threats of rain that clung in the air. At this point I had to make a crucial decision: Do I go back down the street a few more blocks and risk potentially killing an innocent by stander if I couldn’t find the office? Or should I give up for this day and try another time when I was better rested to deal with uncertainty?

On another day with more sleep in me (and better shoes on me) I would’ve stuck it out, but this day I was wiser. I decided that taking the bus was a good enough accomplishment and I would hold this strike against me on my forty day excursion. This was all about living not going to jail for murder over a passport (seriously, when I don’t sleep I’m a crazy woman). I threw in the towel and headed back to the bus stop to see if I could grab a nap before any other outings that day.

**End note: One week later I did in fact locate and enter the passport office and it took all of ten minutes for me to complete. I was proud that I’d finally gotten it done and now I am waiting for my passport to arrive. Can’t wait to decide where I’ll travel to first! **

Adventure Day 39 – Not my best day ever

The second last day of my adventure would not contribute to my list really at all but I do feel it’s worth telling you about. It was a result of some of the things I struggle with; it sort of gave me a ‘slap in the face’ and in the end reminded me that I am surrounded by people who care. So I’ll share it with you anyway…

I didn’t have a lot going on that morning because later in the day I had an appointment to donate plasma. I was loving the fact I was back into my routine of giving and it felt so good to be able to do it again. I made sure to eat a healthy, protein filled breakfast of cottage cheese and fibre one, followed by a couple of tall glasses of water and a tuna sandwich for lunch (lots of protein). My appointment to donate was for 12:35pm so I was trying to make sure I was on schedule.

However my blogging and e-mail checking, then remembering that the dogs needed an outing before I left, interfered with my punctuality. I didn’t think anything much of leaving a bit later than planned until I hit construction. That’s when the fists came out (along with some choice words). After stewing through about 10 minutes of traffic without even getting as far as a block, I raged right and tried to get to the street I was headed to another way. After sneaking through a bunch of unfamiliar streets I made it, only to encounter another bout of my favourite thing – construction. EEK!! Road rage would definitely be a good term for what I was feeling.

When I arrived 10 minutes late and apologizing for my tardiness the lady at the counter was calm and cool saying ‘Oh no problem!’ and me thinking ‘Yeah, I have work to go to right after this, there better not be a delay.’ (Like I have a right to say that after being late). I sat down and awaited my turn to fill out all the regular papers and answer all of the bizarre questions they would ask. (For example: Was your grandmother born in Africa? My response: Take a 3 second look at me and answer that yourself. Have you recently played with monkey feces? My response: If I was that kind of girl do you think I’d be here right now? Where do they come up with this stuff?)

Anyway, I was already thinking ahead to when they would take my blood pressure and hoping it’d be ok. I figured I would be because I tend to have low blood pressure but today I was a bit high strung. I immediately took my place on the scale (had to get it over with since we hadn’t been getting along lately), then observed something miraculous. My BP was 112 over 78 – nice! It was meant to be. I then re-answered all of the strange questions they asked (verbally this time – seriously how do they do it without laughing their heads off?!) Next came the final step, my protein and iron tests. A breeze … I thought.

I ate my wonderful breakfast and I had yet to fail their test. I had come close the first time but I had gotten onto a diet plan rich in good foods so I was confident. Until the lady peered over at me with a peculiar look. She tested it two more times. I failed the test. By one point. No donation for me today. The lady asked if I’d had my period recently – no, any diet changes – yes. And that’s when it happened I felt like I got smacked opened handed across my face. I was found out! My ‘diet plan’ had been abandoned for the past several weeks as I tried another new weigh loss method. This time it hurt, really bad.

I was visibly upset and in disbelief but the lady was really great with me. She said I could come back in 56 days to donate again. 56 DAYS!!!!! What?! I was in shock now, and was just realizing what I’d done to my body. I know it’s only plasma donation. I know it’s not that big a deal. But it was the one thing I felt proud about regarding my body, that I kept it in good enough working order to donate something useful to someone. I got in the car and I cried. I got home and I ate. I was so bummed out.

Then I realized I still had to go to work. Yikes! I am not one to call in and cancel a shift or not go, for any reason really. I am always there when I say I will be – always. This day though I thought (for the first time) of calling in and finding a replacement. I felt deflated and worn out, I wasn’t sure if I could do my job at all. It’s not the kind of job you can get through without some measure of sanity, strength and patience – none of which I felt like I owned this day. After a brief debate I decided I’d go because that’s how I work and so off I went, praying for grace.

When I arrived it was Bro and Muscles working and would be for the next hour. I was relieved because it was just them, no guys to support – one was at camp for another hour and the other would soon be home from a visit. We just hung out and I sort of mentioned my day thus far but tried to slough it off. I was pretty quiet (not my usual at work self), as I had been the day before at the staff meeting. Muscles made a few comments of concern about the melancholy Eva that had appeared, but again I tried to play dumb. My shift went well overall and fortunately it was an easier than usual night – I was so thankful.

At the end of the night when it was just me and the two guys, Sista showed up for some paper work. At this time Muscles and Bro had come back with another male staff to do something footfall related in the office downstairs. By the end of my shift at 11pm everyone was chatting and laughing up stairs and it was decided that we should go out for drinks. All but the extra guy staff separately drove to a restaurant with drinks only to find out that it was closing. Off we went all the way across town to an actual bar (and grill but it was open for hours longer). We found a table and shot the breeze (it sounds weird when you say it that way). It was so late and I was so tired but just sitting around with some friends talking about work (what else would we talk about) just felt good. It’s nice to have people that understand what you deal with everyday.

My day ended at 1am but so much better than it had started out. I left the bar knowing that I had people that cared (as there were many comments about my current status at that time). I later found out that Bro was a bit worried because I ‘looked like a basket case’ and that ‘Eva looked like she’d been crying’ when I came into work. I thought I had disguised myself well. You know those times you see people that don’t really know you after you’ve just had a bad experience and you can totally convince them its allergies or a headache or something. I haven’t known my new family very long and they already see through that stuff and care too. I am so grateful for this.

I curled into bed at 1:15 in the morning wanting so bad to avoid day 40 but knew that in 5 hours the alarm would be calling my name to complete my journey … and I would answer.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Adventure Day 38 Part 2 - #40 Go on a motorcycle ride

Clearly this was a busy day for my list, I was accomplishing things left and right. Next would be the item I allowed one of my friends to determine. Yes, it’s true, if it were up to me this item would never have turned up on my list. However when I was given the idea I couldn’t turn it down - since it was indeed the perfect example of doing something I would never try on my own (or even be forced to do), but also something I should for sure experience.

My first reaction to Lovie’s e-mail was that of ‘Oh no! I can’t do that, I’m way too chicken!!! What am I gonna do? I can’t turn her down, it really is in the spirit of the whole thing. But I really am too scared!’ After a few days of pondering I accepted to challenge and decided to even embrace it. Luckily I’d been really busy through out day 38 and hadn’t given things a whole lot of thought. It wasn’t until I got out of my car at the park we were meeting at and saw the helmet and leather jacket that I’d be wearing on my fun little excursion that I began to ponder my sanity.

As we chatted about this and that I nervously made a couple of jokes about my life insurance policy being up to date and asked about how firmly implanted Rider’s (Lovie’s husband and my riding mate that evening) organs were inside his body. I was truly concerned. For two reasons: First I was afraid that I would unintentionally zone out and let go, which would inadvertently make me a glorious piece of road kill somewhere and secondly I was worried that I could quite possibly squeeze Rider’s insides so hard that the would become his outsides. (Two very valid concerns in my opinion). However not so much for Lovie, I was glad she had mountain moving faith.

Once Rider had pulled up and I had suited up, he gave me a quick lesson in being a motorcycle passenger: pretty much stay straight in the back, relax and don’t freak out. Sounded simple enough. He said that he would start out with a brief ride through the park and wanted me to give him the thumbs up at the end to say whether I was adventurous enough to try a highway drive then on to a beautiful back road. I braced myself, took a deep breath and off we went.

The ride through the park was quite simple just going very slowly on a path. I thought to myself ‘This isn’t bad at all, what’s all the fuss about you chicken?’ When the end came quicker than I thought it would Rider looked back to see the status of our outing, I gave him the go ahead to keep cycling. Off we went through town and then cranked up the speed once we got to the country side.

I won’t lie; I had to do a lot of self talking to keep myself calm and to try to really enjoy everything: the ride, the scenery, the whole newness of the experience. It reminded me of those times I’ve entered a store on Boxing Day just to get a great deal, getting in there only to have forgetton that I struggle with claustrophobia. I have to literally stop myself in the store close my eyes, breath deep and say ‘It going to be ok, you can do this, it’s not a race, take your time, you’re going to be fine’, often several times while I’m there. Well this day was no different except for the speed, that my friends was out of my control.

As we headed onto a highway I suddenly noticed the difference in speed (apparently we were going as slowly as we could go on the highway – Rider was very considerate, which I am thankful for!). Right away the wind was whipping about and I had to consciously try to hold my head when we came to any slow down’s or stops in order not to crash my helmet into Rider’s. I certainly had no intentions of injuring my driver. I also continually reminded myself of the positioning of my arms. Were they strangling Rider’s liver? Was his pancreas still pumping insulin? Would he be able to digest his food as he always had done before when this was all over? I didn’t want to maim or injure anyone here. At one point when I was trying to enjoy the trees, sunset, and fields I found myself not paying attention as much to my stance. It was then my mind quickly gave me a glimpse into my future if I stopped paying attention (I know everyone says you’ll be fine if you let go, but I’m not yet ready to test this theory).

After what I’m guessing was about 20 minutes or so we arrived back at the park we started out in and it was time for me to get off the bike. You’d think by my reaction I was anxious to jump off, but I wasn’t. In fact I was ready for more (well, I was ready for a next time – my back was a bit stiff from my slightly over tensed body). In the end I LOVED my #40!!! It was awesome and I will totally do it again sometime!

If you ever make a ‘List’ my advice is this: leave a couple of numbers for other people to decide because it’s the things you don’t expect that you may end up loving the most!

Thanks Lovie and Rider!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Adventure Day 38 Part 1- Another step in #25 & #36 Try 5 different kinds of cheeses

My day started out swiftly with an early trip to a somewhat far away land to get all of my documents signed for my passport. It took no time at all to complete this and by 10:30am I was back in my neighbourhood ready to tackle something else on my list before I had to go to a meeting that afternoon. I knew exactly which number I was to tackle: #36. Off to the Italian Bakery and Deli I would go!

I entered the store a bit disoriented as to where I should be. You see the only time I ever visit this place is with my one aunt when she visits and we generally only stick to the bakery section. They have THE best brownies (with little shaved pieces of white chocolate on top – sooooo good!), among many other yummy treats. But this time I was in for something different, something I would have to travel over to the deli section to get, my cheese! Sista had reminded my a while before that this deli usually has a couple of different kinds of cheeses out during the day to sample (if you were there at the right time) and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity take advantage since cheese can be rather expensive. I went over and browsed around not immediately finding the free samples, instead I started to pile several various kinds of cheese in my arms that were new to me and within my price range.

As I rooted through I discovered the sampling area and hit the jackpot! They had two kinds that I’d never had before. I snuck a piece of Canter-something right away and quickly wandered about the store to ponder the new taste. It didn’t take long before I strolled right back to an area that had little melba toasts you could also taste. Canter-something definitely needed to be eaten in conjunction with a cracker or bread or anything, but overall not bad. Once I realized I would save myself a dollar or two by not having to buy one of the hunks of cheese in my hand I returned it and headed over to the brownies … even trade, at least price wise. I soon decided that I should try the other sample available and made my way back to the free cheese.

Asiago. I popped it into my mouth and right away loved it and noticed that it did not NEED a cracker – hmmmm interesting. I put back another one of my cheeses. Eventually I figured enough was enough and it was time to move on out so I could try the others that I bought - off I went.

When I arrived home I got out some grapes and wheat thins and sat down for my favourite kind of lunch. First I tried Nappi, thinly sliced light cheese with little flavour – I wondered if it was supposed to be melted. No patience for that today, it was good the way it was, just not bursting with flavour. Next, I tried the sliced Havarti with herbs and olives. This was a soft, creamy cheese that seemed as if it too would be good melted but also great as is, I decided I would have to try it in a sandwhich someday – thumbs up for it. Finally I had to get out the knife and open up the Wensleydale (sp?) with cranberries. I had heard of this kind off of a movie so I had to try some. It was also good, better to be spread (sort of) on a yummy cracker – very sweet. Yum! You may also remember that I bought Blue cheese early on in my 40 days and did not really enjoy it. I do like it in dressings and probably would in very small doses. Unfortunately no one mentioned that this is how one eats blue cheese. Instead I had gotten out a sharp knife and hacked off a chunk to eat with a little cracker and immediately spit it out and wanted to brush my tongue right away. Warnings need to be on the packaging.

The first half of my day was rather productive with my list. I very much enjoyed my cheeses and learned of new inexpensive ways to try it. I really do love cheese but it really is quite expensive no matter how you cut it (I have even asked for baskets of it as gifts - I am still waiting). I think it’s an amazing discovery and a rich commodity. I think I am learning too why you eat it with whine – I need to attempt that sometime. Another thing to try!

Adventure Day 37 – Beginning #25 Getting my passport

Adventure Day 37 started rather early for me for some reason. I’m not sure why but every once in a while I wake up with things on my mind and a need to do them right away. I probably was considering the fact that I had very little time to complete my list and I really had to get on it, so I did.

I think it was 4-o-clock in the morning when I decided I should start working on my passport papers … sounds logical to me.

#25 has been on my ‘To do’ list for years actually, and I finally had to push myself to do it. I’m not sure why I thought that is was so much work, maybe it was the trip to the government office and the potential wait time I would have to go through in line. Maybe it was all of the tedious questions you have to answer on the application, or getting that stupid picture that truly makes you look like an inmate (and it’s supposed to convince them you are good to travel overseas eh?). Whatever it was that delayed my intentions I was determined to overcome it or at least try this time.

I actually began my paper work for my passport early in my adventure but when I went to save it before printing I accidentally lost everything instead. Needless to say that really ticked me off and sent #25 on my list to do only when I absolutely had to, apparently that was Day 37. Early morning work must sit well with me because I completed my papers, printed them off and was inspired that evening to whip over to the Wrinkleville mall where my car towing/travel place is that I could quickly get my mug shot done. I couldn’t believe how fast it went, I guess that’s because it was 7pm and everyone in Wrinkleville was already tucked into bed. I was the only person in the store and had my pics done in a couple of minutes (along with a couple of maps necessary for my fall placement at school). Why didn’t I do this sooner?!

Next that evening I called up my accountant who lived about 50 minutes away to see if he could be my guarantor for my papers (only because I didn’t know anyone in the city I lived that I’d known for long). It was set that I would visit early the next morning to have them signed. Wow, once again I ask, why did I wait so long?

Between my early morning paper work and my evening photo shoot I had made an appointment to have my hair done. This sounds like a normal thing to do but for me it’s always an ordeal. You see I didn’t just make an appointment for a trim but also to have a little colour done. This is always a scary thing for me since the last time I asked for some natural highlights put in I got a bleached streaky look that made me want to hibernate for the winter. Not to mention the wonderful bowl cut and hack job done on my bangs. I’m not a huge fan of hairdressers but my friend Shell Bell had been sporting a lovely haircut so I stepped out in faith and asked for her hairdressers’ name and made an appointment right away.

Another reason I don’t get my hair cut or coloured often (rarely coloured) is the cost. It just seems so ridiculous to spend money on something that’s just going to grow out in a matter of days. It seems a bit vain. However I had decided to put this on my next list then when I saw Shell Bell’s hair I thought ‘Why wait? There’s no time like the present!’

I ventured out to a new hair artist and was pleasantly surprised with both the work she did as well as the price – both very good! I had also made a date to meet with Shell Bell and her two little girls (who I am delighted by) after my hair was done, so off I went for another wonderful visit.

I had babysat Flower and Rosebud early in the summer and had a ball with them. You see I had only met them a couple of times before but we all seemed to click and ended up having a great day together – we were all sad when it was over. It was a great time to be able to see them again and go to the park together. When I arrived Flower (who’s 5 I think or almost) greeted me with a hello and showed off her beautiful black and white flowered top with lots of sequins on it which added lots of sparkle, of course Rosebud (I think 2 ½) couldn’t’ be out done and she too showed me the lovely dress she was wearing (the same one she wore the day I looked after them – I smiled and told her how cute it was). Apparently Flower told her mom that she was getting dressed on her own and picking out something special for my visit, I was honoured.

We enjoyed our time together outside and I wished I had longer but I was on the go once again. As I left I was thankful for the chance I got in June to spend the day with two little girls that I had not known previously. It’s kind of funny; it was totally on a whim that I answered a facebook plea for help from Shell Bell to offer to babysit for the day (I had no other plans or work to do – why not help a friend?) It’s something I normally would’ve paid no attention to because I didn’t really know her kids and I live a drive away, but the desire to be adventurous was already brewing (ok so babysitting a couple of little girls isn’t all that adventurous, but it was a step out for me).

I am thankful in so many ways how doing new things and blogging about it has brought people into my life or brought those already there in a bit closer. It’s these kinds of things that I enjoy the most!

Adventure Day 36 - #14 Walk into a place and get a pedicure

Before I make myself out to be a liar I want to set the record straight: I have indeed gotten a pedicure before. The catch is that I’ve never done it for no reason, it’s usually been before a wedding or something (or maybe I just needed an excuse to go and do it). I will admit I find it intimidating doing anything for the first time in a new place. It’s always nice to get a referral to go somewhere or to go with someone else. It was no different with this number except that the person who joined me for a pedicure invited me to join her - I readily accepted.

The person I shared this number with was Sista. Apparently she visits a pedi place every now and then and said she got a decent deal on it – I’m all about a decent deal, especially when it comes to doing something unnecessary.

We met for lunch (it seems essential to a girls’ afternoon out) then went to a little place called ‘New York Nails II’. The name of this place is absolutely hilarious to me for two reasons: First of all we live in Canada, second of all everyone that worked there were Asian and barely spoke English – a little off the beatin’ trail to New York in my opinion.

As soon as we arrived we were told to go to the colour wall and pick our paint. Sista went with a light bright orange and I a deep red, I thought I would try and match my ‘40 days’ purse (the colour actually looked like black in the end). We then got to take our seats in a couple of side by side gigantic massage chairs. Not long after we were seated the chairs were turned on and boy were they an experience!

I’ve never had a pedicure done while enjoying a massage chair before so this definitely added to my overall pedicure experience. I had no idea a chair could do such things! It really does work you ALL over. I had no idea my butt could be contorted in such a way. The weird part is when Sista saw my face and the seemingly immense discomfort I was in she said “You can change the settings you know, or shut it off”, I couldn’t do it, I felt obligated to get every cent out of what I had paid for my pedicure (even if it had nothing to do with beautifying my feet). I replied with “No, this will give me A LOT to write about … a lot”. Although looking back, I am now speechless about the chair, let’s just said it was a love-hate thing I guess.

As we sat and soaked our feet two Asian little ladies came to work away the calluses that had developed. First they cleaned, then trimmed, a little cuticle work, some cream, then the filing – and I don’t mean our toenails. If you’ve ever had a pedicure you know what I mean. The point when they bring out the huge rough file to help you say good-bye to all of your dead skin. Well, as my lady worked away (all the while speaking fluent something-or-other to the other little Asian lady) she immediately noticed my stiff reaction. I really tried to relax and just let her work but it was killing me! She finally asked “Tick-o? Tick-o?” I quickly replied “Yes, it tickles, a lot!” For some reason I had the absurd idea that if she realized how ticklish it was for me that perhaps she might try being more gentle or careful somehow – boy I was dreaming! She continued to torture each of my feet (along with all of my nerves too).

After the filing work out, more soaking and cream she eventually got to painting my nails. Thankfully that wasn’t uncomfortable – I was starting to wonder why pedicures were considered a ‘treat’. In time we were able to leave our souped up lazy boy chairs to sit on a couple of office chairs with our feet sitting under a giant fan (which by the way didn’t feel like a fan at all – I think it’s just there to make you think you are getting more for your dollar).

The whole experience took about an hour and a half I would say and an interesting one it was. Definitely different than any pedicure I’ve had before! At one point I thought ‘I could get used to this’ and at yet another point I thought ‘Beauty is painful man! Why do we do this?!’ overall I had mixed reactions. I will certainly do it again because there is just something great about getting your toenails painted evenly and perfectly by someone, they were so shiny – they looked fake.

I’m ok with fake every once in a while …

Friday, September 4, 2009

Adventure Day 35 – A regular day at work with lots of fun!

Yes my adventure was my work day for 35 and it’s never an understatement when I’m talking about my job. I have to say I love that I get to laugh so much at work (sometimes appropriately and sometimes to only keep sane, never the less I do laugh). This day was no different in the humour it held for me. Here are a few of the funnies I got from Day 35 at work:

Guy, Muscles and I were sitting at the kitchen table while Guy was eating. Muscles and I were joking about the fact that he (Muscles) wanted my blog address and had for a while but I was holding the information regarding it high over his head for a suitable ransom. Muscles describes himself as an eight year old kid who can’t stand not knowing something that others know and gets irritated and obsessed with it until he finds the secret out. I loved this and so I taunted him every chance I got. Apparently he had talked about wanting access to my blog for weeks at work, since he first heard about it. Once I found this fact out I tried to use it to my advantage every chance I got – this was too much fun!
Anyway, as we all sat at the table and I teased Muscles very discretely (not actually mentioning the blog itself), Guy (who is very defensive over anything negative that is said about his favourite staff Muscles) piped up after a while and said: “Eva you need to stop being a bully or I’m going to call the police on you!” At which point Muscles thanked Guy for his defense (as I glared at Muscles). I may have added another jab because Guy then reiterated “Eva, you shouldn’t be a cyber bully, I’m going to call the police on you if you don’t stop!” Finally at this point Muscles decided it was a good time to let Guy know that all was ok and that we were only joking around.

At one point later in the day Guy stated to me that “This house is a democracy, not a relationship!” something I’m sure he heard from his favourite staff. However I think the quote was supposed to be: “This house is run by a dictatorship, not a democracy!”

Later in the afternoon Guy suddenly ran up to me and was in a state of hurry. He said: “Eva, can you please time how long it takes me to go to the bathroom? Red (another staff) is the fastest person I know that can go to the bathroom – that’s a girl. I want you to time me.” I said sure and started watching my clock.
After exactly 60 seconds Guy returned from the bathroom and asked what his time was. I told him precisely one minute (in an excited tone). At that point I asked him if he remembered to wash his hands.
He was rather annoyed and replied “Yes. Why does everyone always ask me that?!”
“Well, you were really fast and I just wanted to be sure you did.”
He quickly put both of his hands around my neck and said “Feel. I washed them, they’re still wet.”
I was rather uncomfortable at this point (with the two of his hands clenched around my throat ‘n all) and I must have looked it because Guy then said “Why the look on your face?”
I replied with “Well your hands are around my neck and that makes me nervous. Can you please take them off?”
He sort of gave me a half smile and asked “Are you worried that I might choke you?”
“Maybe a little” I confessed.
“Don’t worry Eva” he said with a huge grin and a hand patting me on my shoulder, “I wouldn’t choke you because I think you are cute.”
Wow what a relief!

Another point during my shift Hottie (Guy’s description of another certain staff) and I were sitting during a meal with Guy at the table. He says “You know I just can’t seem to control my behaviour when ___________ (insert name) is working. Some staff just cause me to go out of control. They are the ones I try to get to quit because I don’t like them.” Hmmmm I’m thinking Guy is a lot smarter than everyone gives him credit for (aside from the fact that he tells on himself).

Just another day at work!

Adventure Day 34 - #3 Go to Catholic Mass

I had been looking very much forward to the day I would get to go to my first official
Catholic mass. I had been to one a few months ago while doing a placement at a Catholic school. I had really enjoyed working at that particular school as well as the mass the school attended together each month. I have briefly mentioned a friend of mine (sort of, I think we could say friends), that was raised Protestant and had turned Catholic a few years ago and who is currently seeking God for direction regarding the Priesthood.

If you are Protestant you are likely very surprised to hear of such a thing. Having been raised Protestant I was. Usually we are known for converting Catholics into our ‘more real, lively faith’. I have never really known a Catholic personally who practiced their faith (that’s not a knock, I just haven’t known any), so hearing Father Al’s story (my friend) really took me by surprise. Not only that, but the part that made/makes me curious is that he lives a life of calling rather than habit. He doesn’t assume what his path is, he seeks it out day by day (well it appears that way to me). I know only a couple of people well in my life that do that. Interestingly these people are single, are not bogged down by owning stuff (house, big things, etc), and they intentionally leave their lives open to where God could be leading them – no assumptions. I look up to these people to teach me what it looks like to live by Spirit rather than my man’s opinion and expectation.

It has been through some interesting conversations (e-mails) with my friend Father Al that I became interested in attending a Catholic Mass – hence this becoming #3 on my list. I have to admit I wanted to accomplish this number much earlier on in my adventure than I did. However I became intimidated by attending a religious ceremony alone without knowing the meaning, expectation and the duty of the unaware onlooker. Though I have grown up deeply involved in church throughout my life I have been very ignorant of Catholic practices. To help myself out in this endeavor I made a plea on facebook (I am very thankful for facebook) not expecting to hear a peep, when all of a sudden I had an offer! I was shocked!!!

Not only did I have an offer of a companion to go to mass with but this person was a former Catholic, someone I knew well, and they were willing to go to the Cathedral of my choice – could it get any better than that? My date was none other than Aims!

I was so excited when she offered to come the one hour drive to help me experience #3 and admittedly I was a bit baffled as to why. I mentioned before that Aims has a bit of a trucker’s mouth yet a heart of gold and she doesn’t hesitate one minute to tell you what she thinks. Though she was once Catholic she sort of made the turn to Protestant when she married and had a child of her own and has been growing ever since where she’s at. I did not think that she would ever want to come and spend her Saturday night (she truly doesn’t get out and about kidless often) driving a ways to go to mass with me, when I knew there was little in it for her.

Not long after she arrived I didn’t pretend to understand why she’d come to do this and I just came out and asked. She answered me on the way to the church: “I’ve started my own list Eva, both Bub (her husband) and I have. It’s time I started doing stuff, trying new things and getting out more so here I am!” Wow! I couldn’t believe it. I knew she was sincere because she had not yet come to visit me in my new home nor had we visited (aside from our outing a few weeks prior) in several months. She had truly taken the idea to heart. The odd thing was that I had only mentioned my list briefly. I hadn’t gone into any long drawn out explanation, just a simple ‘this is on my list because…’ I was stunned that Aims had been influenced by a single conversation about mass and tequila.

As we entered the church I followed Aims after her actions (I didn’t mimic, just observed) and we sat a third of the way from the back of the church. What a beautiful sight it was. Murals everywhere, stained glass, high ceilings, everything that could make a building stunning surrounded me. I later decided that there could have just been the organ playing in the background and me sitting alone and I would have had a deeply spiritual experience. As we sat, we quietly discussed what may happen and what I should do. Several times words had flowed out of Aims’ mouth that required the traditional crissy cross Catholic thingy (I told you her vocabulary left a bit to be desired – at least in a church setting). I had to hold myself back from laughing a couple of times – not the best way to quiet myself.

The service began and we watched a processional, then listened and participated in some singing (lead by a beautiful voice), then commenced the sermon, some readings, followed by communion (which I skipped out of respect and ignorance of what the rules were). (By the way it was the Eucharist that really spoke to the heart of Father Al in his experience). By the end I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. Aims helped me feel a bit better as we were approaching the parking lot by saying: “Well, I have to say, as far as mass is concerned, that was *made a sounds with her tongue blowing out of her mouth, along with a thumbs down sign*.” Of course I took this lightly as I know Aims had never practiced Catholicism from the heart but rather out of her family tradition, and only as a youth.

I came away with many more questions and a desire to learn the whys about many more things. (When I eventually got home I did send off an e-mail to Father Al letting him know of my experience and am yet to get a response. I am curious to hear what he thinks, but sure that I will try another mass sometime, perhaps somewhere else).

My mass experience may have ended there but my evening with Aims did not. She was game for a meal out and some good time together. I was pleasantly surprised and took in every minute. After much driving through the city trying to find a certain restaurant, then choosing another and accidentally driving in the opposite direction, we finally found a Vietnamese place to go where we were able to sit and enjoy some good food and conversation.

We had such a great time! In fact I don’t think we’ve ever had an occasion like it (at least not in several years). She has a way of making me laugh like nobody else (remember I don’t really laugh easy), but that night for the first time since I was a kid I sprayed water through my nose from laughing so hard (can I just say that water is far more painful than milk coming out the nose). We talked and talked, about all kinds of things. We’ve never really spoken all that seriously about life and spiritual things but that night we did and it was really cool. At the same time we were able to have fun and relax too!

Though the focus of my evening was originally one thing, the lesson and gift I got out of it was something totally different. I had hoped for a real spiritual experience of learning something new and seeing through different eyes. Instead I got a true gift of meaningful connection and friendship with family that I had grown away from in recent years gone by. We shared priceless time together that meant something. It wasn’t really planned (yes mass was but the rest wasn’t) it just happened out of a different intention.

Time and time again I am seeing the benefits of why it is so important to try to do things out of the ordinary and just attempt walking in different waters, because you will meet amazing people along the way. Perhaps people you’ve already met before somewhere else, but whom you meet again with new eyes and a fresh heart. That’s what Day 34 gave to me, a wonderful, wonderful gift of eye opening light.

Now I just pray the electricity stays on …

Saturday, August 29, 2009

40 Day Adventure is done!!

As I mentioned earlier I have a ton of posts to write about the last seven days of my adventure. Wally and I are going on our planned vacation for a few days and look forward to some relaxation after our busy summer (and my super busy social engagements as of late). I look forward to doing some writing while we are away and posting when we get home in a week.

I think to say that my last 40 days were an adventure is a perfect description because it has been all that and so much more. Please stick with me and come back in a week to hear how the rest of my experience went - you won't be disappointed!

Miss me and let me know if any of you have been trying anything adventurous of your own. I'd love to hear if anyone has challenged themselves in any way - big or small, it all counts!

Love Eva :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Adventure Day 33 Part2 - #12 & #6

#12 - Convince 5 other girl friends to go out for a night on the town
#6 – Have a shot of Tequila

Adventure Day 33 held one of the most memorable nights I would have in a very long time – it was going to be my girls night out, and a chance to try my first taste of tequila. What a night it would be!

As I mentioned early on in my 40 Day Adventure finding 5 friends to go out with was a huge challenge, or at least I was making it into one. You know how you have different groups of friends? Like old school friends, job friends, for me home church friends, maybe neighbourhood friends. Initially when I put this item on my list I thought ‘How hard could it be to invite 5 friends out for some fun? I have lots of friends – I can do this!’ … until I started making lists of invitees. That’s when it hit me. Girls aren’t always that easy to mix up.

Come on ladies, you know what I mean. We all have, and have been, the friend that was looking forward to hanging out with specific people that we know then we come to find out they’ve invited a bunch of other people they know. All of a sudden our quaint, safe gathering has turned into a block party and we have no one left to talk to. (Ok block party is a bit extreme but in the moment that’s what it feels like). We’ve also had those friends that we invite to a group function that feel like we have to ‘babysit’ the whole time because we know full well they aren’t the social butterfly we are (I’ll admit I’ve been this person too) and in the end we wonder if it was all that wise to have them join in.

You see this is the dilemma I faced, along with something else: I wasn’t too sure if I ended up inviting friends from all different areas of my life how they would all mix together. It’s kind of like menu planning … is it ok to serve grapes on a snack buffet along side of the chips and salsa dip? Is chocolate going to be an appropriate addition (of course chocolate can liven up any buffet)? What about orange juice being offered beside red wine? Will all of these various forms of indulgence compliment each other or completely clash and ruin a potentially great evening?

After creating and sorting through several different lists of people I had considered inviting to my fun night out, I had to finally just make a decision. Since my time was indeed running out and I was forced to choose, I felt no other option but to take a risk and mix up the party. I went on facebook one day, tired of trying to create ‘the perfect group’, and just started typing random names of people that came to mind that I thought may enjoy a chance to mingle and have fun with possible strangers. I invited around 11 people hoping that there might be five that would respond with a ‘yes’. I thought to myself ‘Surely it won’t be that hard to have 5 people out of this list that would want to come – I’m a nice fun girl’. Apparently that’s up for debate because it was no easy task.

In the end I got 4 movie goers and 5 Tequila watchers – and the perfect 5 they were!

Here was my plan: we would meet at the theatre to watch the new movie “Julie & Julia” (which was recommended by Sista and I had wanted to see), then we would travel across the street to a trendy little bar and grill for some drinks and appetizers (and most likely at least a taste of dessert). My final list of movie people were Shell Bell and her friend (whom I’d never met before), Sista from work, along with her best friend Mammy (also from work), and myself. We would lose Mammy after the movie and gain Smiles and Cricket (one of my home church leaders) at the restaurant.

I waited patiently at the theatre for my posse to arrive, nervously wondering how this night would play out. Would everyone get along? Would we like the movie? What would we talk about? How awkward would it be? I wasn’t sure of any answers but at that point was so ‘in the middle of it’ that I didn’t have a chance to care too much. Before long we’d assembled into our seats for the movie and none of my ponderings mattered much. Everyone was introduced and comfortably awaiting the show.

I’m not sure how it happened but I ended up sitting at the end beside Shell Bell’s friend (who fit in well by the way!), it seemed odd to me that after all of this ‘Eva’s night out’ talk happened that I ended up beside a stranger and in the aisle – appropriate I suppose after all of my lessons on meeting new people. Miss T was good at conversation and I thought to myself how cool it was I had been able to assemble the group necessary (including someone new) before my deadline hit. On to the movie…

Sista had told me she had just seen the movie and that it totally reminded her of me and my little experiment. I decided to trust her. Wow! She was dead on. If you don’t know, the movie is about a 30 year old woman who wants to shake up her life by cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook in a year and blog about it. I don’t know how many times through out the movie that I found myself thinking ‘Oh my goodness that’s me!’ or ‘Wally has totally said that to me before!’ (Regarding my blog). It was THE perfect movie (at least in my opinion) for my night out with the girls. At one point a line was given by one of the actors and apparently 4 heads leaned over and peered all eight of their eyeballs at me – luckily I hadn’t noticed (it was the part about bloggers being narcissistic – I have no idea where they’d get that idea!).

I think it’s safe to say that everyone enjoyed the movie. We then strolled over to the restaurant for some eats and there would soon meet up with my other friends. It’s at this point I wondered if accomplishing #6 on my list would be a good idea. You see I was exhausted from doing nights that week and starving (as I hadn’t had supper). I wasn’t too sure Tequila was the answer to my problems, however Sista convinced me otherwise (I was getting the impression that perhaps it was going to be an experience not only for me, but everyone else to see my first Tequila). Sista had brought her camera and was prepared for the whole event, so I went ahead and ordered my first shot. It didn’t take long after our drinks were delivered that the camera started snapping away, we got pictures of me with everyone there (along with me drinking everyone else’s drinks), as well as a step by step picture story of me and my Tequila. (Wally saw the pictures later and was a bit stunned at what I boozer I appeared to be, I really wasn’t, I just enjoyed a tasting, that’s all!)

I have to say, I had a lot of opinions given to me about what the Tequila would taste like, how much I wouldn’t like it and where to stop at. Marshmallow didn’t even want me to try it, another friend of ours (a veteran drinker) said he couldn’t take more than 2 shots at a time of it, and yet others talked of the horrible flavour. I however didn’t understand what the fuss was about. The taste wasn’t bad (at least not compared to other stuff I’ve had), I definitely felt good after one, but I could’ve handled another without a strip show on my part, in the end I made it out of the experience no worse for the wear. (In fact, I think Tequila would be choice of beverage if ever having to live through a torturous family occasion).

Once we had our drinks and some yummy appetizers the evening seemed to sail along. I can’t say that I remember what the conversation was about. I think some was about my blog (as a few were readers), some was about past drinking experiences (or lack there of), and maybe a little about men. I find it amazing that you can put together a group of women (the right ones anyway) and simply find a common thread. Everyone I had talked to afterwards said they had a good time, and I do think that if we got together they would come out again. Though none of them expressed their fears before hand to me, most of them did confess that they wondered how things would go and what the night would be like. The part I LOVE about it all was that everyone just took a chance on their Friday night to come out and spend some time together. In some ways I wonder why some of them would risk the only free evening they would get off from their regular woman/mom/work duties to be with people they barely knew - but they did, and I am so grateful!

As I mentioned before, #12 turned out to be one of my favourite events on my ‘List’ by far. It definitely ended up feeling like MY night. How many of us get a night to celebrate ourselves? Everyone was gathered there knowing the premise of the night’s events and came out to be a part of it – I couldn’t be any more honoured to have people that would do that with and for me! (And it wasn’t even my birthday!!!)

I am one of those people that feel as though you should never wait for someone to throw you a party or give you a compliment before you realize how important you are, just know that you are. I know people that get upset that they don’t feel loved or cared for in life. They want someone to notice them and do something special for them. Of course my hope is that everyone feels special in life without these things but sometimes it’s nice to know you are valued in extra ways. I’ve had days where I sat and wondered why no one thought to do something for me or why I don’t have surprise parties planned on my birthday every year (every year does count you know). But one day I realized that if I waited around for that it may never happen – why not make your own party then? Why not throw your own party to celebrate living life? Unintentionally that’s what I felt like I did with this little outing and I LOVED it!!! I was surrounded by fun, amazing women that ‘got’ me and weren’t afraid to celebrate my crazy firsts that many of them had long past accomplished. The part I love the most is that they lived it with me and shared my excitement – does it get better than that? Someone sharing your joy – acting like it’s theirs too? Well in my humble opinion it doesn’t and for those reasons I will cherish my #12 and #6 on my list forever.

The next time you feel like giving yourself a gift, do what I did and you will find out you are loved and celebrated more than you could ever imagine … 4 friends, 1 stranger and 6 hours = amazing things!

BTW: I totally went out with Smiles and Sista after (since I had no curfew) to another place to share a quiet beverage (mine was only hot chocolate). We did more visiting and I didn’t get home ‘til 2am – great memories. Thanks gallies!